'We have the worst bathroom in the world,' Na says.
But because she's trying to talk and brush her teeth at the same time it sounds more like 'weavezewersebarfroominvaworlve'.
OK, maybe ‘worst’ is a slight exaggeration. The worst would be completely decrepit, not working and falling down, a take-your-life-in-your-hands-every-time-you-take-a-shower kind of bathroom. Ours isn't nearly that bad, it is functional after all. But it sure is ugly.
When we first moved in it was the worst room in a house that reeked of crimes against interiors. Pink walls, a pink bath, grey and pink tiles and a laminate vanity that even the 1970s would have rejected. Here, look at it.
Inspired by watching every season of Selling Houses Australia we did a cosmetic reno - changed the tapware, updated the lighting, sprayed the tiles, painted the walls and replaced the stick-on vinyl floor tiles with basic porcelain ones. Shaynna would have been proud.
And for a while that was fine. But then things started to change. The spray-on surface started to lift and our two small children (Maddy is five and Ava is almost three) delighted in peeling it off during bath time. Fun! Even our dogs, Sid and Bella, got in on the act by scratching some of the paint off the tiles. And now it looks completely crap.
That was almost four years ago when we first moved to our renovator in Somers.
Somers clings to the south-eastern tip of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. It’s a quiet town - there’s the General Store, Post Office, a primary school, a kindergarten, the Lord Somers Camp and, well, that’s about it. If you walk down to the beach you can look across Western Port Bay to Phillip Island.
I’ve always thought that Somers was a very apt name for a coastal town; almost a little too perfect. Turns out though that it wasn’t someone in the council planning office trying to be a bit clever but it was named after a past governor of Victoria who established the Lord Somers Camp. Thank you, Wikipedia.
Some consider this to be the unfashionable side of the peninsula - it definitely isn’t Sorrento or Rye, but then it’s not Capel Sound either (Google it) - but we love it because it’s quiet and largely undiscovered.
Somers is made up of an odd mix of houses. Some are classic beach shacks that look like they were built over a series of weekends, others are Hamptons-inspired retreats that wouldn’t look out of place in Portsea, while other houses look like they belong on Ramsay Street.
Our house is one of the latter. It’s a late-50s cream brick veneer house that would look perfectly at home in any suburb - there are thousands just like it throughout Melbourne. There’s probably one on your street. Here’s a picture of it.
Since moving here in mid-2013 we have renovated pretty much the entire place. We painted every wall, steamed off the colonial bush scene wallpaper (what was even stranger than the design was the decision of which walls to hang it on, random to say the least) and the chicken wallpaper in the kitchen. Next, we ripped up the green carpet and polished the beautiful floorboards that were hidden beneath. We knocked a wall out between the kitchen and dining room, windows have since become doors, and our kitchen and dining room now look out onto a large deck.
On weekends our two girls cut laps around the deck on their scooters like its Chapel Street on a Friday night, while our dogs laze happily in the sun, keeping one eye open in case one of the girls zigs when she should have zagged.
It’s not the kind of house you’ll ever see featured in a magazine - ‘Startling beachside renovation’. No, this house is a piece of suburbia that took a wrong turn and never bothered finding its way back.
But it’s home.
It’s taken a lot of weekends, holidays and evenings but finally the inside is taking shape, the tide has turned in the battle against the ugly. And emerging from the wreckage is a space that our family feels connected to and is proud to call home. We’ve worked together to complete as much of the work as our limited DIY skills have allowed us to, we’ve argued about light fittings and paint colours and come out the other side. Now as our renovation journey nears its end there’s just one room left, the bathroom - AKA the worst room in our home.
So my wife, Na, and I made the call - the bathroom has to go. We’ve decided on a full reno, a total gut job. This is the diary of our bathroom renovation.
In a house we renovated a few years ago I let the guy in the tile shop do the calculating for how many tiles were required in our new bathroom. I wanted them to go up to about 1900 in the shower area but only one tile high every where else. After I returned home from work the day the tiling began the guys had started on the wall on the opposite side to the shower and had tiled all the way up to the top. Apparently the 'tile shop man' had sold me enough tiles to tile the entire bathroom, floor to ceiling. Hmmm. I thought they were more expensive than I'd expected. What can I say? I'm a dill.
So the whole bathroom was tiled floor to ceiling because one and a half walls had already been tiled. It was over the top. Simply unecessary. But I did see something the other day online that I thought gave a really nice finish without being as expensive as tiles. It would probably fit great in your era of home too. Here's the page address:
It some type of wall panelling obviously and frankly if I hadn't seen it and someone said to me 'why don't you put wall panelling on your bathroom wall?' I would have thought they were mad, but I like this. If it was painted with the correct paint it would be so easy to keep clean too. Just an idea.
Thanks for joining the discussion. It's great to have you as part of the Workshop community. I'm sure you will find plenty of great tips and inspiration for your own bathroom and laundry project from other community members like @Darren. Perhaps you could start a new discussion and share some of your plans and photos like Darren has done?
Please let me know if you need a hand getting the most from the site. Thanks again for joining us.
Hey @Manda thanks for reading and good luck with your upcoming reno, make sure you post some pics!
Days 14 & 15: Edging closer
Another milestone - the bath is in! Tiling is almost done - still a few tiles short under the vanity - and grouting is half complete. Also, the shower screen is in and the mirror is up. With the bath installed the room is starting to feel more complete and we’re getting a better sense of the space.
Today the painter is coming in and tomorrow the electrician returns to install the exhaust fan and lights (5 downlights and an LED strip under the vanity) and the plumber will be in to install the tapware.
Unfortunately our builder is on holiday for the next two weeks - the job turned out to be a bit bigger than we planned. So final shots of the finished bathroom won’t be done until later this month, I’ll post them as soon as it’s finished.
@Darrento be honest I didn't find your bathroom Diary Inspiring enough as I've seen these type of blogs everywhere IMO, progress photos with a short story in the form of a Diary really doesn't give the Battlers,Punters & Stakeholders enough
Pity @Jason he can't edit it and put in some relevant Data & Costs for each day?
@BIM_Engineer - my mum told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all. I'm also not sure how much value there is in posting the costs of trades and such when everyone is going to have different size spaces, services in different locations, different style prefrences etc.
@Darren - I loved reading about your project. It looks awesome!
@Jacksonyou are entitled to an opinion as I am.
I am well aware that Tradies & Builders Hate having their rates/prices scrutinized, you can make up excuses if you wish..
but the majority of battlers have budgets and are happy to pay a fair price for their projects
Putting up "Feel Good" & "You Can Do This" photos & ignoring important Data, Costs & Details is noteworthy., in engineering we ask for proofs...
BTW Bunnings Lists material prices ...what's the difference?
I assume this workshop website is trying to lift DIY Industry Standards for renovations
This is a good opportunity to remind all community members about the Workshop rules of participation. Our key guideline with posting is to show respect to all Workshop members. It's also really important to ensure all posts add something constructive. This is a friendly place where you can celebrate your accomplishments, learn from each other and inspire others to have a go.
@Darren Thanks again for sharing your renovation journey with us. Your posts have already had thousands of readers who I'm sure have found your photos and descriptions informative and inspiring. And thanks for being open to answer questions along the way. Looking forward to seeing more updates soon when your builder returns.
Great work Darren. Really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together. Love that huge window and the egg shaped bath.