BATHROOM EXPANSION: Planning, Prep + Progress

We’re just over half way through the Jeffrey Court All-Star Renovation Challenge and we are making some serious progress on this bathroom expansion! The prep work is almost complete and the fun parts are beginning. I love when I get to see my design come to life!

Voting opened last week and you are able to vote once a day for the duration of the renovation challenge. I would greatly appreciate it if you could take a minute to vote!

The Ever Changing Design

Speaking of design…it’s funny how my designs evolve over a renovation. I start out with a vision and slowly modify it to fit the space and my taste.

When I first found out about the renovation challenge, I knew I wanted to expand our half bathroom. This bathroom is the first room in our home when you enter through the mudroom. It made sense to use basalt tile, like I did in the mudroom, but I wanted to use a larger format tile. Initially, I planned on installing the 4″ x 12″ Honed Basalt tile in a herringbone pattern on the floor.

To go with the basalt tile, I selected a 4″ x 12″ marble tile. I planned on installing the marble tile on all four walls in the bathroom. In order to tie all of the rooms in my home together, I was going to use my favorite green paint and hardware for the vanity. Below is the original mood board I created for this space.


As I thought more about my design, I began making minor changes. The first change was the marble tile. I decided that I didn’t want the floor and wall tile to be the exact same size. I ended up changing to the Italian White Carrara 6″ x 12″ Honed Marble tile.

Once I had my tile selections, I wanted to finalize the tile layout. This bathroom is still rather small, and the amount of floor tile compared to wall tile is minimal. I love the look of the basalt tile and wanted to include more of it in the bathroom. Instead of going with the herringbone pattern, I decided to do a running bond pattern that started on the floor and ran up the main wall of the shower.

Since I changed my pattern for the basalt, I started to consider another pattern for the marble tile. I was concerned that having a running bond pattern with both tiles might be too much. Below you can see where I laid out my marble tile in both a basket weave and running bond pattern. After staring at this for a week, I ultimately decided to go with the basket weave pattern for the marble tile.


The tile selection and patterns were not the only thing that changed…I also changed my design for the vanity. Originally, I was simply going to paint our existing vanity. I am not one to take the easy way out, so instead of simply painting a vanity, I decided to build one! In order to soften the space, which would be completely covered with tile, I chose to use a satin for the vanity. I can’t wait to share my vanity design next week!

Prep for Shower Tile

With all of my design plans (hopefully) finalized, it was time to move on to tiling the shower! I’m a fan of cleaning up one mess before I create another. I guess I hope that this will make the final cleanup a little easier. As we were cleaning up the mess from the cement board, I found all of my drawings that I created for my husband. We actually had a great system going where I gave him all of the dimensions and he made the cuts. We carried this system over to the tile install as well.

Once all of the cement board was up, we were able to tape and mud all of the seams and screw holes. I know that we mixed methods, but being that this is my first shower installation, I wanted to use cement board since I’ve used it for all of my tile installations.

The next step for waterproofing was applying RedGard. We applied it to the walls of the shower and just slightly beyond the extents of the shower. It was not necessary to install it on the walls that would not see water.

RedGard gets applied just like paint. It goes on pink and turns red when it’s dry. We applied two coats per the instructions.

Shower Wall Tile

I chose to start the shower tile installation with the niche. I did a little math before making this decision and knew that the tiles would be close to centered. I started by installing the top and bottom pieces, making sure the bottom piece was angled and able to drain into the shower. I then installed the pieces on the back wall and finished it off with the side pieces.

Once the niche tile was complete, I set up my laser level for my first line of wall tile! I started with the tiles on either side of this line at the shower pan and worked my way out and up.

For the wall tiles, I chose to use these fancy tile leveling spacers. I have never used them before, but I love them! I can only imagine how much longer it would have taken me to install this tile with regular spacers.

The spacers are sold as two separate pieces. The yellow pieces are placed behind the tiles as the tiles are installed. Once the surrounding tiles are set, the green piece is tightened on the yellow piece with a special tool. This sets the tiles on the same level and makes everything nice and flush.

As with the drywall, my husband and I had a great system where he made the cuts and I installed the tile. Luckily, there were very few cuts required for the patterns that I selected.

We slowly but surely worked our way from the shower pan up the wall. Seeing this much tile on the wall certainly made me happy…I love progress!!

Funny thing…I’m a huge planner and try to have all of the necessary materials on hand before starting a project. We ran out of tile not once, but twice during this installation. I blame it on the baby brain! I have no clue where my math went wrong, but we were just a handful of tiles short. We scraped off all of the extra mortar and left the few remaining tiles at the top of the wall for later.

Since this bathroom is on the smaller side, I decided I wanted to use a compact toilet. This saved me about 3″ or 4″ of space in front of the toilet. I was so excited when it finally arrived that I made my husband put it in the bathroom so that I could see how it looked. I also put the vanity that I am building in the bathroom to see how everything fit together. Consider this a little sneak peak of what is to come!

That’s a wrap on week 4 of the Jeffrey Court All-Star Renovation Challenge! I feel like we’re well on our way and that I can start to breathe a little easier. Next week we’ll be installing the marble tile and I’m hoping to make more progress on the bathroom vanity. Don’t forget that you can vote once a day for the duration of the challenge! Thanks for following along and be sure to check back next week!

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