Bathroom Renovations: Remodeling Your Walk-through Closet
Part of any good bathroom renovation, especially in the case of a walk-through closet and en-suite combination, will include renovating your walk-through closet. Some might advocate re-purposing the walk-through area, so that the bathroom can be expanded, but this would also entail changing the footprint of the original bathroom. If you already have limited storage in the bedroom, this may not be your best solution.
Remodeling an en-suite, or any bathroom, can also entail hiring a plumber to move pipes, or lay new pipe, and relocate the fixtures. By retaining the original footprint while replacing your fixtures and the cabinetry, you can save a large part the money you would have paid out to a plumber. It will not cost nearly as much to have him plumb your new fixtures into the existing pipes. You may have to be a bit more creative in selecting different elements to create a new, updated look, but the savings from the plumbing costs can allow you to upgrade your fixtures, giving you a bit more “designer punch.”
Walk-through Closet Stripped and Ready
Step 1 – Demolition
The first step in any good renovation is to remove everything down to the bare bones of the space you are rebuilding – that is, strip your space down to the bare studs. This will allow you to see what is behind your walls, in terms of wiring, and spot any potential problems before they become major obstacles.
In this case, the wallboard was retained – the wiring had already been investigated, and OK-ed. The old carpet and underlay were removed, and the floor was stripped down to the sub-floor, to make way for the new vinyl flooring that would be installed. The sub-floor was in great shape, so nothing further was required there.
After everything was out of the space that was coming out, including some old shelving units, the walls were washed down with a cleaning solution of hot water and TSP, or trisodium phosphate . Care must be taken when using TSP, a corrosive cleaner, so it is best to wear rubber gloves to protect exposed skin. Normally, soap and water would do the job sufficiently, but the former owners of the house had been smokers, so this was a good opportunity to get rid of some lingering tobacco residue still clinging to the walls behind the old shelves.
First coat of paint...
Step 2 – Painting
Once the walls and floor were completely dry, the first coat of paint was applied, followed in just under eight hours by a second coat. Acrylic eggshell paint was used, in a very pale, warm, café au lait color - a perfect background for the grey and rust accessory baskets, and the warm dark flooring that was chosen.
Cutting in around the tops, bottoms, and sides of the walls made rolling the color on much easier. As well, the indentations in the wallboard were hand-painted with a brush. The finished effect was a pattern similar to irregular bead board – a charming look for a dressing room.
The trim color for the new dressing room, as well as for the bathroom, will be the same mocha color chosen for the bedroom. The bedroom trim will use the same paint as the bathroom main color, the palest of the three shades. Using the main color of the smallest room as the trim color for the largest, the bedroom, and reversing the effect in the dressing and bath rooms, will lend a feeling of continuity to the finished rooms.
Flooring and BaseboardsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Step 3 – Flooring and Baseboards
The flooring chosen for this renovation was a vinyl peel-and-stick product that has the feel and finish of medium, warm, Oak-finished bamboo. The flooring is easy to apply, lending itself to single-person application. It also presents a virtually seamless finished floor that is stain and scratch resistant, and easy to keep clean and shining with regular vacuuming and the occasional damp mopping.
The non-slip surface mimics the fine veining of bamboo flooring, and also resists mould and mildew – an added benefit for a dressing room next to the master bedroom’s ensuite.
To prevent seams or awkward cuts in highly visible areas, the flooring was laid starting from the bathroom entry side of the room, and from the main entry to the back, rather than from the back of the room to the sill. That way, if there are any short pieces to be fitted in, or awkwardly lined- up cuts, they will be hidden by the new cabinetry and shelving units that will line the walls.
The base boards are unfinished pine that were given two coats of the trim color, and then fitted and nailed in place with finishing nails and a compressor-driven nail gun.
Cupboards and Shelves
The shelving units were all purchased from one of the local big-box stores, and assembled at home. Though not as expensive as built-ins, this kind of cabinetry can put home renovations well within the reach of even a modest budget.They can be assembled with a few modest tools, including a drill, a manual or electric driver, and a hammer.
The products chosen were of solid wood construction, putting them near the high end of the spectrum for this kind of self-assembled furnishings, but the solid wood doors and shelves tend to stand up better under constant use than the lower priced units that rely on chipboard construction.
As well, the solid wood sides and shelves will stand up to the humidity from the bathroom better than the lower-priced items.
Some of the lower priced shelving uses a cardboard backing, which doesn’t really stand up to much usage, but the higher end products use a thin paneling. I can vouch for its solidity, having had to make my own guide holes in the panel backing so I could nail it onto the shelving units – the paneling is very tough stuff.
Much more space and better organized
Finishing the Project
The finishing touches, besides hanging up clothes, and filling the drawers and shelves with bedding, socks, towels, underwear, and other necessities, was adding the cloth baskets that would hold toiletries, and all the extras – bathroom tissue, facecloths, shampoo, cosmetics, etc. – usually relegated to the bathroom cabinets.
Available in some form in most big-box hardware stores, these particular boxes feature a sturdy, closely woven fabric construction. Capable of being folded flat for storage, the baskets are double sided, and have a reinforced, drop-down bottom panel.
The baskets for this project were chosen in a warm grey and medium rust color, to add a pop of color to the finished room.
New lighting is planned to coincide with the bathroom renovation, but in the meantime, the old chain fixture was polished up, and new chain and globes were purchased to freshen up the look of the room until the rest of the renovations are undertaken.
A lovely copper rod with acorn finials was chosen to complement the new antique copper switch-plates and plug covers. As well, room-darkening tab-top curtains in a heavy off-white twill were chosen to match the shelving units, and provide privacy for dressing. In addition to adding a crisp, clean look to the room, the curtains will effectively block out the dressing room light, so no-one is left groping for clothes in the dark so as not to awaken their sleeping partner.
The total cost for the renovation came in at just under $800.00, including cleaning supplies, two gallons of paint and painting supplies, flooring, storage/shelving units, new baseboards, storage baskets, curtains, curtain rod, and new switch-plates and covers. By doing the all the work themselves, they were able to save quite a sum, as labor for the renovation project had been quoted at $600.00, which would have almost doubled their costs.
At the end of the day, or actually at the end of the three days it took to complete the renovation, everyone agreed that the savings certainly balanced out the effort, and the finished, re-furbished dressing room was worth each and every protesting muscle.