Here is a personal story and a lesson learned: Listen to my own advice.  Quit fighting things that are not working in your bathroom renovation. Do it right and make sure the pieces work with your design.

So, my main floor toilet had been leaking for some time. I won’t tell you how we found out, as it was not a pleasant experience.

Our home was renovated by “renovators” before we moved in, and they went cheap all the way and seemed to have taken shortcuts anywhere they could. So instead of pulling up the 30 year old lino they covered it with laminate, which created a height difference from the kitchen to the dining room. Nice. We were planning on replacing the laminate they put in at some point, and most likely the kitchen cabinets, too, just not quite yet.

bathroom renovation

The 1/2 bath on the day we bought the house 6 years ago. EWWWWW! (that toilet got the boot a few years ago)

So, back to the toilet. Sure enough, it leaked through each layer of floor. In between the laminate and the lino, in between the lino and the K3, and in between the K3 and the plywood substrate. Can you say mold? When we pulled up the toilet to see how bad it was it was like opening up the proverbial can of worms. Up came the laminate in the bathroom, and of course that spread into the back door/pantry area, too. Next came the lino and the K3. Of course they installed the vanity on the K3, so we had to smash out the backsplash tile, disconnect the plumbing, and my husband had to cut out the back of the vanity so we could get the vanity out. All because we had to pull up all the K3 to do this unplanned reno right.

bathroom flooring

Pulling up the laminate…pausing in dread

Gross, gross, gross

Gross, gross, gross

Now that the vanity was out of there we had to come up with a plan for the vanity and whether it was worth keeping it or not. We had been looking at Ikea for vanities, if we decided to ditch the old vanity, due to a sale they were having. The problem is that their plumbing is CRAZY! My husband was not at all comfortable with it. Then we looked at other off the shelf vanities elsewhere but nothing was right, or in stock. So, we went back to the solution of working with the old vanity.

Ikea plumbing: Swedish for "I don't want to deal with this"...or, "More hassle than it's worth"

Ikea plumbing: Swedish for “I don’t want to deal with this”…or, “More hassle than it’s worth”

I had bought wallpaper for the 1/2 bath 3 years ago. Yes, I procrastinate, among other reasons for the delay. Our quandary was whether we should just put the old vanity back in (it’s ok, but it isn’t ideal at all nor a good match with the wallpaper), wallpaper around it, and then replace the vanity later; or wallpaper the whole wall, put the vanity back in temporarily, and replace the vanity at a later date. We were leaning towards the latter option, but our problem was what to do with the backsplash. No matter which route we took we would have to contend with damaging the wallpaper or having a new vanity not quite cover the damage from the backsplash or the edge of the old vanity. UGH! This old vanity was causing so much stress!!

bathroom wallpaper

The wallpaper

This is where I am a bit embarrassed: I looked at stick on fake backsplash tiles. They have their place in this world, but if you have anywhere where you could see how thin they are (sticker thin, to be exact 0.04″ thin, and are gel) it looks super dumb, and cheap. Kind of like you were desperate and trying to make something work, which was me. The stuff you consider when you are desperate – shame, shame. I am glad I finally vetoed them from myself. Then I found metal tiles that are stick on. These are actual tiles and they are actually thick like tiles! But, alas, they would damage the wallpaper…I was so excited when I found them…and then we read the instructions. So back to being stuck.

Once home I started looking at stock on one vanity that we had seen and liked, that wasn’t in stock at the store we were at. I found it for $76 less at the NE store!! With disbelief we made the trek. Sure enough the price was that low, lower than the sale price at Ikea, and a much better constructed vanity with no strange plumbing to deal with. No hesitation from my husband. We took the plunge…peace at last.

bathroom vanity

The new vanity

And you know what? If I had taken the advice I give to our clients we would have been further ahead with this project as I would have known that it isn’t worth fighting something that is causing more stress than it is worth, wasting time, and is not the right item in the space anyways! I realize there are always caveats to statements like these, but for me it was the right thing to quit trying to make an ugly duckling look good.

So if there is something that you have been trying to work with and it just never feels right in a space, or you are holding on to something you don’t like because you feel bad if you don’t use it, STOP IT! Just let it go and move on. Your stress will be less and your space will thank you.

I think my wallpaper is thanking me.