Welcome to Tumbleweed Tidings! So, you decide to remodel or update your bathroom and you think you’ll just pick out some pretty tile, sit back, and wait for it to look beautiful. Well, if only that were true. Doing an update involves several decisions before the demo begins, and you will want to weigh in on those decisions or risk being disappointed with the final project.

Today I’m sharing the first steps we took in our recent bathroom remodel; some of the key decisions that needed to be made pre-construction. Our home was built in 1999, and although it was built with excellent quality, as expected with a 24-year-old house, there were some outdated features. One of these were the glass block windows in the bay window of the bathroom. Although they let in a filtered natural light, because you can’t see through them, it felt like another wall. We had gotten an estimate on replacing them years ago, and it was just too much money to justify at the time. However, over the years, not being able to see out of those windows was really starting to bother me. We only have one other window on this west facing side of the house, meaning you can rarely see a sunset or afternoon sky. I wanted the openness of seeing beyond the glass blocks. Decision 1: the glass block windows had to go!

The old and new windows from the outside…

Of course, that meant new window treatments, because after all, this is a bathroom, and these windows are right in front of the tub and shower. So, we replaced the decades old blinds with top down, bottom-up shades that allow us to adjust the height. At a little over halfway up, the privacy issue was solved. Just being able to see the beautiful sky, trees, and clouds has been a real game changer in that room, and it was definitely the right decision.

So much nicer to see the beautiful trees and sky…

The next decision was whether to keep the deck mounted bathtub or replace it with a freestanding tub. There were pros and cons to both, so we weighed them carefully. On the pro side to replacing the existing tub was the fact that freestanding tubs are, as they say, “having a moment.” But they have had a moment in the past, and then they went out and were replaced by built in tub/shower combos. Then those went out and were replaced by the large deck mounted tubs, which have now been replaced by free standing tubs. The pendulum will always swing in home decor trends, and I’m not a big fan of chasing trends.

The deck mount tub before…

The main cons were related to the cost of a new freestanding tub and the associated demo expenses. First, this is a really nice Jacuzzi brand tub, thankfully without jets. When I researched replacing it with something of this quality in a freestanding model, the cost was anywhere from $4000-6000. Yikes. Add that to the increased demo costs, and it just didn’t add up. As for enlarging the shower, this would involve buying new glass, which would be a huge additional expense that we felt was unnecessary. Besides, our shower is plenty big, so why enlarge it? Decision 2: keep the tub!

Once that decision was made, we needed to address the safety of the deck mounted tub. There was never a step installed in front of it, making getting in and out somewhat treacherous. Luckily, the tile installer was able to frame and tile in a step that has alleviated this concern. We topped the step with the same tile as the shower pan, which is a heavy patterned marble with lots of grout, which equals lots of grip, and this problem was solved for just a couple hundred dollars.

The small triangular seat in the shower…
A triangle actually takes up more floor space than a rectangular bench seat…

Another decision involved the inside of the shower stall. Previously, it had a triangular corner seat type unit that was lower than the adjacent tub decking. It protruded into the shower base about 14″, taking up valuable space. We asked the tile installer to demo it and he was able to rebuild a rectangular shaped seat that was at the same level as the tub decking. We now have a very large seat that takes up less floor space, and with careful measuring by our installer, it still allowed us to re-use the existing glass. Now as we age in place, this larger seat may come in handy, and in the meantime, it’s a great spot for leg shaving. Decision 3: scrap the triangular seat and replace it with a much larger rectangular one.

The last decision was whether or not to touch the sink/vanity side of the room and replace the existing countertop. The countertop, while may not have been our first choice, is a lovely marble in neutral tones and in like new condition and could easily be worked into the design. Decision 4: keep the marble countertop. Once that decision was final, we made tile selections for the tub/shower/flooring that would coordinate well with the existing marble countertop.

So, there you have it, our decision-making processes. We tried to be mindful of budgetary constraints, environmental considerations like not sending things to the landfill unnecessarily, and most important of all, aesthetically pleasing choices that would be timeless enough to last another 24 years.

Hey, what happened to my bathroom?? Just wait …it has to get ugly before it gets pretty:)

Now that these key decisions were made, it was time for the fun part…tile selections. See you next post when I share all of those choices!

Good tidings,


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