Wed. May 29th, 2024

Once the tile work was completely done, it was time to do all the finicky finishing touches.

Painting

Every wall in our house is Chantilly Lace white and I’ve rarely had to buy non-white paint for any room in the house. But with the basement bathroom I wanted to be a little more exciting (hence my geometric tiles) and paint the room not white!

I had two major choices: either a blue/grey or a rose/terracotta colour. These were the looks I was considering:

But when I put the colours on the wall, the pink was a bit too much, so I decided to settle on the blue/grey.

With the room painted, it was really starting to come together. And I think the blue/grey was the right choice.

Once the walls were painted and grouted, we could install all of the faucets, lights and electrical outlets. Nothing was overly complicated, but it’s finicky work that takes time and care. It’s amazing how much installing the faucets and outlets made it look complete!

Lights and Electrical

As with every project in our house, we thought long and hard about the kind of lighting we wanted in the bathroom. It’s a small room so we settled on one line of 3 potlights in the middle of the ceiling (and the exact ones we used in the report of the basement), equally spaced with careful consideration for where the in-shower light would be and it they lined up with the toilet and vanity. Once the bathroom ceiling was fully painted, Alex installed the 3 potlights.

Alex also installed a bathroom fan that was installed in the ceiling and vented outside before we put the drywall up. I struggled with the ugliness of the fan (and really wanted the $160 minimalist Aria vent), but I think I can deal with it. It seems like a decent fan, but I’ll save judgement until we see how well it clears moisture after a shower.

For the switches and outlets, we decided to install black outlets on the patterned wall and white on the painted wall. I’m not totally in love with the black outlet – mostly because the GFCI plug is a different sheen than the rest of the outlet – but I think I prefer it to white. Also, interestingly, Alex followed the location requirements for the plug behind the toliet, but the toilet ends up covering one of the plugs. I’m guessing this is by design because you can’t have more than one thing plugged into that plug (it’s for a washlet, should we get one in the future).

Finally, we opted for a single light above the vanity, rather than 2 lights on the side, mostly because we didn’t have the space. The light seems to produce a lot of light and hopefully won’t cast a shadow over our faces when we’re at the mirror (a common problem with single lights installed above a mirror). We also like that this light actually shines upward as well, creating a nice effect on the wall.

Vanity

Installing the vanity was straight forward thanks to some careful planning during the framing stage. Our custom vanity is hung on a cleat that’s attached to the wall, so I measured where the cleat would sit (based on where I wanted my finished counter height to be) and added blocked in the wall.

With my tiles in place, I was then ready to install the vanity cleat in place. Drilling through the tile wasn’t easy and required a diamond bit and guide system that held the bit in place and also released water as I drilled. I was pretty nervous about cracking my tile, but I was careful and drilled slowly, allowing the bit to cool in between 15-30 second drills. My first drill bit was a cheap one, so it didn’t take long (2 holes ) to bend out of shape. But my second one was a bigger investment and got me through the rest of the tile holes I had to make.

I was very surprised, but my cleat was perfectly level and the vanity sat nicely in place when it was on!

Plumbing

With the vanity in place, we could install the faucets. Since all the plumbing was in the right place behind the wall, installing the faucet was relatively easy. We had a small leak at the manifold that we had to address when we hooked everything up, but other than that it was very straightforward. And luckily all my tile cuts were within the trim pieces, so it looked great!

The hardest thing about installing the sink was drilling the hole in the vanity. Hole saws are wrist-breaking jerks and I was pretty nervous about hurting myself or having the hole saw jump and damage the vanity.

After carefully – and slowly – drilling through the 1″ thick vanity top, we cut the p trap and installed the sink by siliconing it to the vanity (and carefully measuring to make sure it was straight). After the silicone set, we installed the drain and that was it!

The shower faucet installation was also straight forward because the faucet pieces attached nicely to the plumbing in the wall. The only tricky bit was installing the handset on the wall because I had to drill through the tile again and make sure it was installed perfectly plumb.

Toilet

The toilet installation was supposed to be really easy. We had a drain in the floor ready to go and it should have been as simple as installing a wax seal and bolting the toilet to the ground.

But of course nothing is ever straight forward around here. When the underpinners installed the drain, they didn’t level the drain, so the drain was too far to one side against the white plastic tube they use to hold the concrete back. The flange is supposed to fit nicely over the drain and within the tube, but it did not. So I used my oscillating tool and cut away the plastic until the flange could sit nicely in the floor. Luckily plastic is much easier to cut away than concrete, so it could have been worse. I was still cranky about it though.

Once the flange was in, we followed the toilet installation instructions and put down the wax seal, attached the mounting hardware to the ground and the installed the toilet on top.

We had another moment of stress, where we thought that the toilet might not fit. We were about 11 3/4″ from the finished tile wall to the centre of the drain, and we needed 12″, so we legitimately thought that the toilet might not fit. If it didn’t fit, it would have been off by just 1/4″. We took a deep breathe and put the toilet on the mounting hardware.

It fit! Perfectly!

Bathroom Accessories

There are many options for bathroom accessories and it was difficult to narrow down the options. I had found a couple of good options a few months ago, but they were out of stock by the time I was ready to actually buy them.

Luckily we had picked a bathroom mirror early on the in the design process and even prepared the studs in the wall for when we eventually installed the mirror. We opted for a mirror instead of a medicine cabinet, mostly because it’s not a large bathroom and we thought it would feel small. Also, because this is a spare bathroom and not our main bathroom, we thought the drawer in the vanity would be enough for the few things that we’d keep in the bathroom.

To install the mirror, I had to drill through the tile again, which was annoying but worked. I then carefully hung the mirror and made sure it was centred on the vanity.

It took me forever to find towel hooks and a toilet paper holder I was happy with, but I finally landed on Kraus towel hooks and a toilet paper holder from CB2.

Bathroom Door

What feels like forever ago, I installed pocket door hardware when I framed the bathroom. At the time, I hadn’t settled on the door that I wanted but I did check a few options so I had an idea of what I wanted.

I narrowed it down to two looks:

Although I liked the frosted glass look, we decided that for privacy and simplicity, a solid door would be best.

Deciding on colour took me a while. I wanted a white door, but my bathroom white was different from my hallway white. I decided that choosing a grey – the exact grey of my built-in cabinets – would be the best choice. I ordered a door from Home Hardware and waited a good

The custom door took about 4 months to arrive and the handle took almost as long. Once everything came, I cut the door to accommodate the handle and track and painted a few coats.

Hanging the door was quite easy, especially because my track was level and my measurements were accurate!

Trim and Final Touches

Once the door was hung, I was able to finish the room by installing the door trim and baseboards.

It took us almost a year to finally get a glass door made for the shower. Within 2 weeks, the glass place measured, made and installed the glass. We could finally use the shower – just in time to start the upstairs bathroom renovation!

Shower Glass

Two years after completing the basement bathroom, we finally found a glass cutter to come in and install some glass. We didn’t get 3 quotes, we didn’t shop around; I went through some old photos from when we were sourcing things for the bathroom and found the name of a glass installer. After looking on their website, I found a look I liked and we called them to book someone to come and measure.

Within 3 weeks, we had our shower glass installed! Now that we have a second shower option in the house, I can finally renovate the upstairs bathroom!

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