Small-Bathroom-Shower-Tub-Renovation

refined aesthetics for a spa experience at home

This blog post is sponsored. All opinions are mine.

And we are at it again :). Yes, we upgraded our bathroom last year by changing the vanity, the faucets, sinks and toilet but we are doing a small bathroom shower-tub renovation now. We’ve always wanted to add a shower. At that time, we did not want to embark on a bigger project due to time and other priorities we had. But here we are now doing adding a step in shower. The objective is to focus on aesthetics and functionality and of course make it a space that helps cultivate our wellbeing.

Small Bathroom Shower-Tub Renovation – every inch counts!

There isn’t a lot of space, but just enough to add more functionality and value to this bathroom. We would keep the tub since we love it and use it, and add the shower to make a combo. The space between the tub and the vanity as well as toilet is 64″. So, we can use a space of 38″ for a shower plus a 5″ for the frame. That’s good enough for us to easily take a shower and keep things airy and practical.

That also means that we would change the floor faucet to a wall-mounted one to save space. Additionally we’d push the bathtub a little further towards the window. It’s just enough to gain a few inches while keeping it accessible to clean.

Preparation and design elements

The faucets we had installed before are discontinued, so we could not add the same finish to the shower. However, as we were planning the design, I had the opportunity to partner with Vigo on this project. So, I decided to change all the faucets to keep the same finish throughout in addition to their shower doors for the shower space. Vigo‘s designs combine form and function, they’re beautiful, modern, and they fit perfectly in our bathroom.

So, I started looking into the design and finishes on their site. As part of a small bathroom shower-tub renovation, I wanted to keep the spa vibe of the space and incorporate warmth. Since I had to remove the curtains that added warmth, changing the colour of the fixtures to gold would do that. I chose a matte brushed gold with beautiful detailing on them, and I love them! Vigo has a wide range of products that are design-forward and made to elevate experience at home. They seamlessly add a touch of simple sophistication and enhance life at home thanks to their environmental and quality standards.

I combined products from various lines that add personality and all combine beautifully together and with the rest of the bathroom. Here’s my selection:

Apollo single hole single handle faucet 

Its modern Single Handle with a diamond design on the spout and handle adds a touch of luxury to the sinks. It’s high-arc spout provides enough space for washing hands and the push-button delivers a relaxing water flow while conserving water by 20%.

It is spot resistant and easy to clean! This faucet will go on the vanity sinks.

Cass Two Handle Wall Mount Bathroom Faucet

The tub faucet is a sleek two-handle wall mount faucet. The two wheel handles mimic the look of pipes and mix perfectly with the diamond knurling to create a beautiful textural contrast.

It is also water saving, and it will wall mounted for the freestanding bathtub.

Ellington Shower Panel

This shower massage panel includes a rain showerhead for a relaxing stream of water and an extended-reach hand shower. It has four pressurized massage jets for targeted body areas. It also delivers three separate shower settings for the head, massage jets, and hand shower.

Elan cASS aerodynamic Frameless Glass Door

These glass frameless shower doors have sleek lines, concealed screws, elevated height, and a quiet, smooth air gliding open and closure thanks to their aesthetic aerodynamic rollers. The handle also has a diamond design and they accommodate up to a 4″ adjustment.

The other thing that I love is that they have all the necessary accessories that match the colours you choose. So, I was able to pick the 36″ Shower Linear Drain in Matte Brushed Gold as well as the Sink Pop-up Drains.

In designing the shower space, here’s what I added. Some of these elements are for functionality. Others are to be able to get the right measurements in with the faucets and doors.

  • Build a half wall behind the bathtub. The wall mount faucet will be installed there and the wall will be used for personal care products.
  • Build a niche on the opposite side of the shower for dry products such as bath salts and so on.
  • Frame the shower with a slight arch to fit the doors within the space. It also puts an accent on the window view with the trees.

Choosing the tiles for our small bathroom shower-tub renovation

Since we already had two different types of tiles (floor and backsplash), I did not want to mix too many. Therefore, I opted for the same tiles in the entire shower area. I wanted a marble effect with beige veining and hesitated between two I saw. The majority of the votes on Instagram leaned towards the one I preferred :).

choosing tiles

Kicking off renovations!

While doing a small bathroom shower-tub renovation is not a major undertaking, it still is a big project that requires planning and attention to so many details. And during the process, we encountered several issues and had to make consequent decisions as well. In some cases, the decisions were not a choice, and in other I modified what I initially had in mind.

First, we determined the placement of the fixtures and door, and started taking off everything…. window trim, beam, curtains and the old tiles. The floor was not levelled as we knew, we just did not know why. Also, one of the old tiles cracked next to the toilet. We wanted to be able to save at least one tile from the shower area to replace it. Otherwise, the plan was to replace the entire bathroom tiles.

Thankfully, it was quite easy to remove the tiles and we were able to save many… yay!

Problems we ran into and solutions

There is rarely any renovation without issues. By now, we know that many things are not made in the right way in this house. So, we always factor in extra time and budget for corrections. I am sharing this in order to help anyone who may encounter such issues. But also, if you are getting started on your renovation journey, there are always learnings to be made.

Flooring issues

Old tiles: the tiles were installed on press wood only without plywood underneath. This means taking off the entire floor and redoing it with the right materials.

Floor level: the studs were not equal throughout and we had to level them. The balcony just outside the bathroom is built in cantilever. So, the balcony structure coming into the house and the studs in the floor had a 2″ difference. We had to level everything before rebuilding the floor.

Insulation: there was insulating foam added on top of the insulating wool without enough space to expand. Probably why the floor was not levelled in some areas. We removed everything and put in new insulation before rebuilding.

Wall issues

Niche: the wall where we placed the niche has electricity, however, the wires were placed all over the middle instead of being at the top or bottom. They weren’t long enough to be dragged either way. So, we had to make thicker shelves in the niche and place the wires behind them.

Exterior wall: the exterior wall was wider at the top versus the bottom, which we saw as we tiled upwards. So, we had to fill the gap on top with an extra small 2-inch tile. Not what I want, but I have to live with some things that were previously made.

Bathtub plumbing: we added new plumbing to connect the new wall mount tub faucet (the old one was floor mounted). When we finished the waterproofing and started the testing, it was leaking on the inside of the wall. After many tests and looking into the problem, we realized that the issue was in the connector piece. So we had to return it, and it turned out that there was a defect in the piece itself. Luckily it was the only piece to change, and so we did before continuing. I am sharing this point particularly to highlight the importance of testing many times when it comes to water and electricity before closing down everything.

New flooring and Framing

Then, we proceeded to cutting the pieces that would allow us to create a slight slope on the floor to towards the drain. After redoing the plywood structure, we installed everything in place. This took some time because it’s important to create that slope without it being too steep. It ensures the water doesn’t accumulate but the floor looks levelled and the tile doesn’t crack.

small-bathroom-shower-tub-renovation-new-leveled-floors
small bathroom shower-tub renovation-shower-slope

We added a frame on both sides of the wall in order to fit the shower doors properly, each side is 7 inches. And, since we had to do this, I decided to take it a step further to add two small arches on each side to create a more aesthetically pleasing frame. This makes a focal point on this part of the bathroom. Also, it frames the window with the view outdoors.

small bathroom shower-tub renovation-framing archway

We did the little arched with pieces of wood and drywall that we wet to curve, similar to what we did with the custom range hood. Then, we then mudded, sanded and painted. We kept the same paint as the rest of the bathroom, Simply White by Benjamin Moore. I decided to keep the frame with paint only on the outside, and stop the tiles at the shower door level.

Waterproofing

When everything was done, including all the plumbing which we also modified a bit (added extra accessible valves in the wall instead of in the ceiling of my office underneath to avoid the water damage that happened last year), we proceeded to the waterproofing.

We were recommended a liquid waterproofing. We already had a roll of membrane for the floor, so we used the liquid one on the walls. It was super easy and dried quite fast. We applied two coats just to be sure everything is properly waterproofed. We then installed the other membrane on the floor, niche and little wall behind the tub and ready for tiling!

Tiling

Other than that, tiling involved several little decisions such as how we place the tiles, when do we do the cuts on the tub and niche area, etc. But that was quite simple. I decided to tile the walls horizontally to give the illusion of a wider bathroom.

When the concrete was dry, we applied the grout. I chose a colour that could blend with most of the colours in the tiles, bone. It also blends well with the tile edges I chose.

grout selection

Installation

Installing the fixtures was so easy, everything is pretty straight forward. They all come with installation guide and you can do it yourself. We first installed the sink faucets, then connected the bathtub faucet and the shower tower. I love that the Vigo fixtures are easy to install by anyone, without the need for a plumber. This makes the process fast and convenient, and it definitely plays a role in the choice of faucet brand. Another point I love is the fact that they are available in major hardware stores like Home Depot, Rona, Lowes and online at Wayfair.

As for the doors, they come with everything required for an easy installation. The screws are hidden, so it’s more aesthetic.

shower-panel-vigo-matte-brushed-gold

The finishing touches

As always, the little touches that make it all come together is the styling. I always like to add a plant or two, candle, beautiful containers for soaps and so on.

freestanding-tub-faucet-matte-brushed-gold

This concludes our small bathroom shower-tub renovation. I get to have both which is the best combo. With the step-in shower and Vigo’s beautifully designed products, the bathroom truly feels elevated, sophisticated and a little space that’s perfect for relaxing and nurturing our wellbeing. We have the option of a shower and/or a bath in a relaxing setting.

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