We finally tackled the last bathroom in our old, 1940’s fixer-upper farmhouse, and bathroom was quite the process. Here is our DIY small bathroom remodel (before and after) process!
A little backstory…
We bought our fixer upper farmhouse back in 2017, and have been remodeling the house one room at a time, with plenty of space and breaks in between each room remodel.
The small upstairs bathroom was one of our, “last to-do projects”, solely because our main bathroom had been remodeled and finished, so it was the bathroom all 5 of us (Mr. Hubs, myself, plus our three kids) used.
Well, as you can imagine, after about 3 years of all sharing one bathroom for the most part, I was ready for us to finally tackle the small kid’s upstairs bathroom.
Here are pictures I snapped of our small bathroom, when first bought our house.
As you can see, the upstairs bathroom is super small, outdated and had some very wonky half walls, that were pretty pointless.
We definitely had our work cut out for us on this one!
The first thing we did in our small bathroom remodel, was to remove the half walls.
The half walls were just sheetrock, and I’m honestly not quite sure why they were there in the first place, but I guess they did things differently back in the day.
The walls unnecessary walls just made the bathroom feel even more smaller than it should have been.
After removing the useless walls, the next thing we did in our small bathroom remodel was remove the mirror, light fixture, and bathroom vanity.
Oh, the vanity!
How to remove an old bathroom vanity
The easiest way we could remove the old bathroom vanity, was to break it into pieces.
With it being made out of actual wood, there was no way that we would have been able to carry it down the stairs in one, in tact, piece.
We pulled the drawers out and carried those down first, and then started smashing away at the vanity.
Honestly, guys, this is the bathroom we all had to use when we were remodeling our main bathroom, and I’m not even sure how we stomached using this. Yuck!! I can’t believe we didn’t remodel this bathroom for the 3 years we’ve lived here.
I guess it was because we didn’t use it, since we had our main downstairs bathroom.
Here’s where it gets a little crazy and slightly funny…
Next up, removing the old DIY shower from our small, upstairs bathroom.
Removing an old shower in our DIY bathroom remodel
Because there were water pipes in the side shower wall, we knew we had to remove the existing shower carefully, and slowly, taking care to not hit a water pipe.
As Mr. Hubs started pulling away at the wall surrounding the standup shower, we came across this nastiness…
Yep, my friends. That there is mold because whoever had the brilliant idea of putting the shower in prior to our moving in, used the wrong type of sheetrock, so it got moisture inside and thus, mold.
Okay, the funny story….
As Mr. Hubs was busy tearing down the old stand-up shower in the bathroom, we had talked about maybe shutting the water off just in case of some mishap.
But for some reason we didn’t. I might have been doing laundry or something at the time… I can’t remember.
So Mr. Hubs has this electric saw thingy-ma-jig, and is trying to cut into the heavy duty beams surrounding the stand up shower.
He’s cutting and cutting, and it gets stuck in the piece of wood.
Now, mind you, I’m in the next room doing something totally different.
Next thing I know, Mr. Hubs yells, “Babe help!!”, and I hear a thud and he runs past me at lightnening speed!
I run into the bathroom to see what happened, and I immediately began to get sprayed with water!
What had happened was that when the electric saw thingy got stuck on the piece of wood, he was trying to get it unstuck, and it slipped and hit straight into the water pipes.
You know, the ones, to which, we didn’t shut turn the water off.
So water was shooting everywhere like a summertime sprinkler in the bathroom.
Very entertaining, indeed, I tell ya! And of course, to make matters worse, the water seeped through to our bedroom (which is underneath the upstairs bathroom, btw) and we had a slight water leak come into our bedroom.
Surprise underneath the shower
The standup shower in our small bathroom, always felt really unsafe, and we could totally tell someone DIY-ed it, who knew nothing about DIY-ing a bathroom correctly.
The shower floor was always super soft, and we didn’t know why.
And then, we found out why.
Underneath the standup shower, was a big gaping hole.
No support beams, no plywood, no…nothing, whatsoever!
Once the shower was removed, we made sure to enclose the hole, moved the drain over for our new tub about to go in, and put support beams on the floor to support the bathtub so that everything would be safe and secure.
Removing the old peel and stick tiles in our bathroom
Nothing in this house was done with quality work or design in mind, I tell ya!
The bathroom had those old, cheapo, peel and stick tiles, that buckle up the moment they get wet.
They were a huge pain to remove and they basically just crumbled, along with the subflooring underneath.
Adding in a bathtub to our small bathroom
We were a little undecided as to whether or not we wanted to put in another stand-up shower in our small upstairs bathroom, or if we wanted to put in a full on bathtub and shower.
With it being the “kid’s bathroom”, we figured it was probably smart to add in a bathtub.
I will be honest though, I was super unsure about the floor even being able to hold a full size bathtub.
All I could picture is someone taking a bath one day, and then falling through the ceiling and landing in our bedroom.
But Mr. Hubs added a ton of support beams and made everything strong.
Now, to make sure we didn’t run into any more mold issues in the walls, we used cement board which is waterproof and works better for showers. Mr. Hubs also cemented all the cracks and joints together with cement and built a wall for the back of the shower.
Choosing tile for our DIY small bathroom remodel
We went with a white subway tile for the shower walls because it was pretty inexpensive and they’re really easy to apply and don’t require too many tools.
For the floor, we went with rectangle tiles in a light grey color. These also were super inexpensive, and they look really nice. We also used the cement board on the floor underneath the floor tiles as well, which is waterproof.
Finally, we did a couple coats of Kilz primer on the walls, painted the walls, and then started adding in all the new bathroom accessories.
DIY Small Bathroom Remodel Reveal
I wish I could say that I am going to decorate this bathroom super fancy, but nope.
My boys have begged me to give them a “hunting camo” theme in there.
So I guess, I will comply.