Here is our first DIY bathroom remodel. We definitely underestimated what an undertaking this was but we learned so much. It gave us the confidence to take on more projects and continue to grow our skills. The overarching theme for this experience was practical design. There were so many things I envisioned differently from the final product to the different methods.
In a perfect world we would have scheduled and blocked off time to focus on the project. With both of us working all the time and having a newborn and a toddler, we had to seize any opportunity we could. We primarily shopped at Home Depot and Lowe’s. This was mainly out of convenience. We could pick up things we needed quickly and it was easier when it comes to returns. There were a LOT of returns. We had to make style/material compromises based on what was available there in store. I would find a material I liked within the budget only to learn there was not enough in stock.
A soap dish was a must have on my list. I designed the size and location and once it was time to frame it out, we were really disappointed to see one if the studs went through where I wanted the soap dish to be. In doing research we learned that you can cut that stud and be fine. There are many other studs in a bathroom that it would not negatively effect the house structurally. However, being the amateurs that we were, we did not feel comfortable cutting out the middle stud and so we framed the soap dish off center.
When it came time for finishes I was excited to pick out the faucets. There are so many options out there and getting to this point was an indicator of the progress we made now that we were moving on to design elements. I did some research prior to ordering the faucet and learned that typically you need to change the preexisting valve. The idea of DIY plumbing was a bit overwhelming for us at the time and we did not feel comfortable. Replacing valve cartridges sure, but redoing the copper pipes and soldering - not yet. Finding faucets that were compatible to our existing plumbing layout and valves was annoying and tedious but we found the right ones.
In the end, our main lessons were:
Plan for longer timelines and larger budgets than you think (sometimes paying extra on something is worth the headache to save your sanity)
High quality tools make all the difference
Quit when you are fatigued - whenever we tried to push though our work got sloppy
Expect the unexpected
The final product is far from perfect but we are happy with how it turned out and gained invaluable experience that we have been able to build on.