It’s done! I’m excited that I can now share with you the process and results of my bathroom remodel, and more about the repairs and remodeling that were done on the rest of the house. I always love looking at other people’s remodeling photos and hearing how the experience went, so I hope you’ll enjoy this dive into how mine turned out.
This was the third big remodeling project that I’ve been through in my 32 years in this house. The first (in 1997) was to chop off the back of the house and do a 3-story addition including a much larger kitchen, giving us the space we’d need to live as a family of 5 in a small house. The second (in 2006) was mainly finishing the attic space into a bedroom and bath, giving us a second bathroom in the house (yay!).
This current remodel project encompassed a lot of bits and pieces to improve the house, repairing things that weren’t working, replacing parts that were rundown, taking care of long overdue tasks that needed maintenance. The work was done by Wonderwoman Construction, a wonderful woman-owned company that had also done the previous attic and bathroom remodel. I’ll get into more of the nitty-gritty about the full project below. But first, a few Before bathroom photos.
It’s a narrow bathroom and had the usual tub-and-shower setup. The previous owner had been a do-it-himself type, so there had been issues with plumbing and water damage, and we’d been saying that we needed to gut this bathroom for 20 years. But that had always been a daunting project and it was easy to just put it off and get by. Now was the time to get it done, and so it was the major project in this round of remodeling.
The first parts of the remodel started in April 2022 with a team of electricians coming in to bring outlets up to code (including one in the basement that was seriously and dangerously arcing), replace a ceiling fan, repairing a light switch and fixtures downstairs that hadn’t worked in 15 years, and installing new motion-sensor lights outside all around the house.
In the summer, subcontractors showed up to demolish the crumbling steps and sidewalks and pour new concrete in the front, side, and back of the house. Then it was installing central air conditioning (yay, had lived with window a/c units for too long), rebuilding the back wooden steps, and giving the garage a new roof.
Over the next year, different parts of the project were worked on. Supply chain issues and scheduling around everyone’s work calendars were the main reasons this remodel took so long. It helped that I wasn’t in a rush — I just wanted everything done eventually. Here’s what else was done:
- New light fixtures in the living room and attic
- Smoke detectors replaced
- Stove hood in kitchen replaced
- New railings installed on front and back steps
- Storm doors replaced on front and back entries
- Front door knob/lock replaced
- Timer switch installed for the fans in both bathrooms
Some photos of the outdoor work as it was happening:
The hardest part to live through was the bathroom. The main floor bathroom being remodeled meant a lot of disruption, with everything in that room being emptied out, and the bedroom next to the bathroom would be cut into to expand the bathroom. That bedroom would also be workspace for the construction workers so I had to move my bed and clothes upstairs. The work started in mid-January and the bathroom wasn’t usable until the end of May. There were workers in the house all the time, lots of noise and debris, and it was darn inconvenient to have to climb the stairs whenever I needed a restroom.
There was also a lot of choosing to do. Maybe some people find this to be fun, but for me it’s stressful and overwhelming. I didn’t really know going in what I wanted my bathroom to look like, I needed to make a lot of decisions, so I started hanging out on Pinterest. I would have to live with the outcomes for a long time, so the stakes seemed high. The tile was the most difficult– there are so many freakin’ options! And they look different from a website when you see them in person. There was floor tile and shower tile and shower floor tile. And then there were shower fixtures to choose, and a vanity and countertop and medicine cabinet and sink and more fixtures and paint and linen closet door, and… and… and…
How about some bathroom-in-process photos?
Yes, there’s a lot to complain about the process of remodeling and living through construction! But it’s also an immense privilege to be able to do this, to take care of getting all this work done. There’s a reason it had all piled up waiting to be done. It’s expensive and draining, and now that I’ve lived through the Messy Middle, I’m so grateful I get to enjoy the fixes and improvements.
The last little fix was done on the bathroom today, which means that the big, multi-faceted remodel project of 2022-20223 is finished! I appreciate the improvement in the quality of life around here from everything to having light switches working to the beautiful walk-in shower.
Some of the Messy Middle still continues as I have to put everything away and deal with dust, but my life has also been very Messy Middle in other ways, with still being in the middle of a job search, adjusting to being a solo-homeowner, figuring out what I want to write next, and dealing with health issues. I’ve learned to just keep taking steps forward, even if they are small steps. Eventually you make enough progress and you can look back and see you’ve come quite aways. I need to remember that when I get discouraged or overwhelmed. Progress, not perfection.
I’ll leave you with the bathroom After photos. Thanks for following along!
Addendum 1: Bathroom Fan Timer
The electrician installed a bathroom fan timer in the new bathoom, and at first I didn’t think it was necessary. He explained to me that he really recommends timers since there’s so much moisture in bathrooms that you really do need to run the fan, but they can cause fires if run too long and forgotten. This was news to me. The timer switches aren’t expensive so I had him install one in the upstairs bathroom too. I wanted to share this info since I’d never heard this about bathroom fans before.
Addendum 2: Networking
I’m looking to network with people during this job search. Please let me know if you have any connections or know of open positions in communications, content writing, marketing writing, etc. You can check out my resume on my professional website: https://theresajalberti.com/resume Thank you!