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Who wants to help me plan a bathroom remodel? (super long, sorry!)

7 years ago
last modified: 7 years ago

I have posted some of my issues on the bathroom board but that seems much less active than here -- and you all were so helpful the other day enabling my painting purchase, so I thought I would turn to you for advice!

Our master bathroom is circling the drain, literally. It is original to the house (1998) so not that old but it is falling apart -- the faucet is leaking so badly that we had to shut the cold water off and are now brushing our teeth with the hot water. Some of the shower tiles are falling off the wall. There's a slow leak at the toilet supply line so we have to keep a towel stuffed under there to catch the drips. The sink has a huge rust stain where the porcelain chipped - it gets bigger and huge chunks of metal come off every time I clean so I think it is only a matter of time til there's an actual hole through the sink itself. In other words, the bathroom is well past its expiration date.

Problem is that I am overwhelmed at all the choices and really bad at envisioning how things will look (especially with proportion) til I see them in the space. So I have been procrastinating this remodel for years. I need to do it soon, though, as the bathroom is literally falling apart around me.

So here's the current bathroom -- this pic was taken several years ago but everything is basically the same:

We are keeping the basic layout the
same, but are planning to add a second sink where the open vanity space is. We are also going to pull the vanity forward so it is flush with the wall in the front left corner of the pic and push the tub deck (if we keep it) back so it is flush with the wall at the front right basically the amount of open floor space will stay the same but it will shift to the right a bit. The door from the bedroom is directly to the left of where I am standing to take this pic, the walk-in shower door is to the right and the toilet is right behind me. I am currently working on an accurate floorplan (my architectural drafting skills leave a LOT to be desired, LOL!) and will try to post it soon.

I am going for a
farmhouse-vintage look in the bath - probably some kind of vintage-looking hex or basketweave tile on the
floor, subway tile in the shower, white shaker cabinets and a soapstone
countertop is my current thinking. I am also drawn to large scale dark slate tile for the floor. No marble because I don't have the patience for cleaning and sealing it. And probably no quartz or ceasarstone or corian because (at least the ones I have seen) they seem to all feel too plastic-y and perfect -- not at all the vintage patina look I am going for.

OK so I have lots of questions to ask you but the first one is about the tub. First off, we are definitely keeping it. We don't use the current tub much (it mainly serves as a place to hold my laundry drying rack) because at least at this point in our lives we aren't "bath people" -- plus it is one of those older whirlpool tubs that grows mold in the jets so it is a project to clean that out to use it. But we already have a huge walk-in shower and don't know what we would do with the tub space if we got rid of the tub, so we are keeping a tub. The dedicated "tub area" is 42 x 80 and it's in an alcove, as you can see in the picture.

I am of two totally different mindsets about what kind of tub to get though.
Option 1 is to replace it with a 36 x 66 drop-in tub -- if I go this
route, I have pretty much decided on the Jason Microsilk tub because of
its skin softening benefits -- it's a tub technology that was developed for burn victims and claims to be able to soften skin and help with wrinkles and skin conditions like eczema, etc. It could be a load of b.s., but there are many positive reviews on the web so I think there is likely something to it. To do this with a low-end microsilk tub and
a soapstone tub surround would cost approximately $5000. Ouch. (The soapstone tub
surround alone is $1200! Maybe I need to find a cheaper countertop option but that is a subject for another day!)

Option 2 is to replace it with a vintage salvaged clawfoot tub -- there is a beautiful
one on craigslist right now for $400. That would measure about 30 x 60,
and I would have to figure out how to build a wooden ledge or something
around it for my plants which currently sit on the tub deck.

I am not sure how much I
would use the new tub -- in my head, I have these visions of
relaxing at night in my beautiful skin-softening microsilk bubble
tub....but in reality? By the time I get the kids to bed and the house
cleaned up, I am only deluding myself about having time for luxurious
soaks. But then part of me is all "what if as you age you need baths for
medical reasons?" or "what if the microsilk really does unwrinkle your
skin -- won't you want that as you get older?" I am 44 and my kids are
in 9th and 6th grade, so eventually they will be out of the house and I
may have more time for soaking (and more concern about aging skin!) but
for the next 5-6 years, I really don't see the tub getting much use, all
fantasies aside, LOL!

I know the cost difference isn't as clear cut as it seems -- I'd have
to tile under the whole tub area with the clawfoot and invest in
perhaps more expensive plumbing since the supply lines are exposed. But I
figure even with swanky plumbing and extra tile, at most I am looking
at $2K vs. $5K for the drop-in tub. And of course, I could go with a
regular non-microsilk soaking drop-in, but at that point, I am getting
no extra benefit over the clawfoot so that seems silly. And I could go with a new (non salvaged) clawfoot but I would want cast iron I think -- again, it goes back to keeping the authentic "vintage" style and an acrylic clawfoot tub doesn't have the right feel (unless I've only seen cheap ones) -- and those are so expensive that I might as well get my fancypants microsilk tub at that point.

So would the 30x60 clawfoot look too small in a 42 x 80 space? I
assume I could build shelves or something around it to help fill in the
space. I think I like the look of the clawfoot better but am concerned
about dust bunnies under it and where I would put the plants and such
that are currently on my tub deck. One other thing that is a factor -- I
often sit on our current tub deck with my legs up to do things like
paint my toenails -- I am honestly not sure where I would do that if I
lose that handy ledge space.So the drop in gives me that advantage plus
skin softening benefits from the microsilk.

I am only planning to do this remodel once so I don't want to cheap
out (and I've been procrastinating so long that I've managed to save a good bit of money so my budget is flexible). But the thought of spending that much on a drop in tub makes the
cheapskate side of me choke a litttle bit.

I welcome any thoughts or opinions you have specifically about the tub or about any of the rest of my semi-formed plan. Let's make a home decorating forum crowdsourced bathroom!

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