Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Quarter Finesse Bathroom Renovation | Before

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

After thirty-three years the upstairs bathroom needs renovating to become more ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant, to replace worn out fixtures, and to add more French Country style. The first post published early this summer explained the overall design from the planning stage and the details about the new tile selection. 

Today's post is a look at how the bathroom looks now, before the renovation. 

F r e n c h  Q u a r t e r  
F i n e s s e 

Bathroom  Renovation 

No. 3

Existing Layout - The Before


French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
The current layout of the bathroom includes two small sections separated by a door (visible in the mirror). The first section is the sink area with storage cabinets and drawers under a long laminated counter with one white porcelain sink. 

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
The under-sink cabinet doors are already removed so we can analyze any problems with the sink's plumbing. Previously there was a leak that showed up on the ceiling in the kitchen below this bathroom. Since we are renovating the bathroom, we are checking all plumbing in the entire bathroom to repair/replace any problem pipes. 

The existing white wood baseboards are also already removed and set aside to be reinstalled after the contractor completes the remodel. Past experiences with having contractors remove baseboards taught me baseboards are sometimes damaged beyond repair. 

The baseboards are similar to the visible moulding trim that divides the wallpapered walls from the bead board covered walls above 8'. Real wood baseboard moulding was expensive when we originally installed it, and we installed the baseboards one room at a time ourselves as our budget allowed.  As long as the baseboard is not damaged there is no reason to replace it with new materials. 

Toilet & Tub/Shower Area 

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
The second section of the bathroom is the toilet and combination tub/shower area. The tub is raised about 8" above the floor and has a step to get into the tub/shower. The top of the tub rim is about 17"-19" above the floor. For younger people and people with no health issues, the step is easy to navigate. But, for older people and those with health issues, the step is a safety hazard. 

Vaulted Ceiling Above One-Story Dividing Wall 

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
The sink and tub/shower/toilet sections are divided by an 8' wall with a vaulted ceiling over both parts of the bathroom. Two skylights in the roof ceiling provide natural light to the two sections. The ceiling and structural cross beams/rafters are painted white. 

Bead board wood covers the walls above 8', up to the ceiling. The bead board walls and the moulding at the top of the 8' dividing wall are painted a deep pink that coordinates with both the sink laminated countertop and the flowers in the wallpaper. 

Planned Renovation   

The bathroom renovation will occur in two phases. 

Phase One changes are for three purposes.
  1. Make the bathroom more ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliant.
  2. Replace worn-out plumbing and fixtures.
  3. Add more French Country style with updated fixtures. 

The second phase will be the decorating stage after the new fixtures/plumbing and tile floor are installed. More about Phase Two in future posts. 

Phase One 

Enlarge Opening Between Two Sections 

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
The existing six-panel white-washed solid pine door is a standard 24"x80" interior door. The plan is to remove the door and to enlarge the opening between the sink and shower/tub sections of the bathroom. The black lines indicate the position of the new opening which will be about 36" in width, the standard ADA door size. 

There not be a door between the two bathroom sections. The left wall will be continuous, and the two bathroom sections will have their walls flush to one another. New wood trim will cover the sheetrock cut edges, but there not be any new exterior trim on the outside edges of the larger opening. 

Remove Tub

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
The existing tub/shower combination, surrounding tile walls, faucets, and step will be removed back to studs and bare floor. 

Plumbing is unique in the house since the house is post and beam construction with massive beams. The water lines and drains go around the beams, not through them. The step-up to the tub was created to accommodate the plumbing when the house was built. Some of the tub plumbing is below the bathroom floor into a fur-down in the master bedroom closet directly below the tub. 

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
The step-up around the tub was L-shaped to cover a large exposed pipe near the toilet. Once the new toilet, shower, and tile floor are installed, a new wood cover will be built to cover this pipe. 

New Floor-Level Shower

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
A new floor-level shower will be in the same space as the old tub/shower combination. Plumbing lines will be reworked to get the bottom of the shower as low as possible, but the shower base and bathroom floor cannot be the same level due to the plumbing. There will be a low curb along the shower base, but only 4-7" tall depending on the water lines and drain under the new shower. 

Tile Floor

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
The existing flooring is one solid piece of pink and white checked vinyl that covers the pine plank floors.  The vinyl flooring coordinates with the wallpaper, pink painted bead board walls, and the pink laminated sink countertop. The flooring is waterproof, easy to clean, and a pattern I really like. However, there are some paint stains in the tub area I cannot remove, and the decorating plan is to remove the pink countertop and to change the pink walls to white. 

Now seems like the perfect time to also update the flooring with a white 1" hexagon tile with a blue ring pattern. I found tile in stock to recreate the beautiful tile floor in my inspiration print taken from a catalog ten years ago. 

Sink Counter and Faucet 

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
Since we are updating the tub/shower area and the flooring, we decided to do a complete make-over of the entire bathroom including the sink area. 

The pink laminated countertop is still in good shape, but has always been a bit too pink for me. We are replacing the laminated top with a new white cultured marble countertop with an ogee edge. 

The white porcelain sink will be reinstalled into the new countertop, 

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
A new chrome French-style faucet will replace the old brass faucet that leaked around one of the handles. As much as I loved the brass sink and tub faucets when they were new, I will not install brass again. Some people love the look of old weathered brass, but I am not one of them. I will save this old faucet and the tub faucets/spout for possible future projects or to sell to someone who loves old brass with a patina. 

All of the new fixtures for the renovation of the bathroom into a beautiful French Country style with French finesse have arrived. 

  1. Kohler Shower Faucet System 
  2. Kohler 16"-17" height toilet 
  3. Pfister Sink Faucet
  4. Moen Grab Bars
  5. Hexagon Tile, white and blue 

We are hiring a contractor to complete the renovation since the plumbing presents real challenges. We need a professional to oversee the job and to troubleshoot any issues that arise. Right now is a waiting game for the contractor to slot us into his schedule. He is extremely busy, which is what I hear is true for all contractors right now.  

French Finesse Bathroom Renovation Before
A ray of hope to get part of this renovation started right away is the pink wood walls are above the major demolition areas. So, Phase Two is starting before phase one. The painter comes this week to get started painting these pink walls with white paint! 


Want to see bathroom inspiration photos?  
See what caught my eye for the past few years 
and I pinned on my Pinterest boards about bathrooms. 

While viewing my bathroom inspiration boards, 
I would love for you to follow all my Pinterest boards. 


Have questions? 

Send me an email directly using my Contact form 
which allows me to reply directly to you by email.