The bathroom renovation has started!

March 22, 2017

It's been awhile since I've gotten down and dirty with a DIY project and I jumped back in big time with this one! It was SO fun! :) 

My whole family thinks I'm nuts by the way. Husband came home from a business trip and son came home from school to this happening...they know by now to expect this. 

I've talked about the changes I've wanted to make in our son's bathroom for years now. I mentioned in January that THIS was the year we were going to make it happen. My plan was to add a window in the back room first, and then determine if I wanted to take the wall down:
Two room bathroom makeover

But I knew all along I wanted to take it down...I hate it. Loathe. So yesterday I got a wild hair and did just that. Sometimes I'll sit on a project forever until I just bite the bullet and just jump in. I knew I could make some progress on this room and still have it function, so I went for it. 

And man, was it fun! And messy! I loved it. :) 

I knew there was some electrical in the wall, but didn't think there would be any plumbing. I was right...kind of. I started on the toilet/tub side of the wall (in case there was no way to take it down and I would have to patch it up) and made a hole...and immediately saw it. DRATS!:
How to check inside a wall before removing

It's a vent to the roof. I'm not sure if it can be pushed back into the wall, but even if so I don't think the expense is worth it. So I immediately figured out a solution, which I'll show you in a bit. 

I used a flashlight to look both up and down in the wall to make sure there was nothing else to worry about and kept going. 

A professional would be a little more deliberate (clean?) with the way they did this, but I went the easy/messy route. Using a hammer, I pounded through the drywall: 
How to remove drywall

And then I used a saw to cut through it. I did it in sections so it's not the cleanest of jobs, but it will all be fixed later: 
Saw for cutting drywall

There are so many drywall fixes that will have to happen in here, I wasn't worried about perfection. I knew how to take down a wall from when we did this in our family room years back. 

Once I saw that light coming into the dark cave in the back I was SO excited: 
How to remove a wall

The more I removed the happier I was. Whoot!:
Removing wall in bathroom

It was about here where I realized something -- I wasn't sure I wanted to take the WHOLE wall out. I was planning on it all this time but I really liked the idea of a small pony wall there. So I used (affiliate link) this reciprocating saw to start cutting through the studs, and I liked the idea more and more:
Removing wall down middle of bathroom

How to take down drywall and studs

Ignore the sad droopy shower rod. That's on the list. And yes, I left all of the stuff in the room and it was fine. I wiped off the dust onto the floor and then swept it all up. It was actually a quicker clean up than I thought it would be. The mess was welcomed though -- I was so thrilled!

Here's a closer look at the vent...
How to deal with vent in bathroom wall

My plan is to add a stud in front of it and then drywall around it. I may wrap it with stained wood to make it look like a beam -- I'll see when it's drywalled if I want to do that or not. I'm actually not so sad about the vent, because it gives me a good stopping point for the tile behind the mirrors that I plan to add. 

The pony wall will be shorter than this (guessing around three inches shorter) and I'm going to pull the studs out at the end and take it back about five inches:
Pony wall in bathroom by toilet

I didn't want any wall there initially but now I don't mind the idea of a short one. It will still offer a bit of privacy, but again, I'm not sure if that's really needed? I mean, you'll just shut the door. 
How to remove a wall in a bathroom

BUT I think because we have to keep that little bit on the right, it makes more sense to have the half wall there. It would look odd to just have that small wall going down the middle of the room by itself. 

And I've seen all kinds of great ideas for adding storage in bathroom pony walls too -- I may consider something like that!

It only took me a couple hours to get it to this point! Today I plan to take down the door trim and stud on the left side of the room and I'm excited about that too -- I think that will really complete the open feel. I'll take down the wood on the ceiling too, and I may go ahead and cut down the width of the pony wall so I can be done with this step. Here's a look after I finished cleaning:
Removing a wall to open up bathroom


The opening will be much larger by the time I finish up today. Can't wait!! My arms and wrists are already killing me so I just want to get this part done. The next step will be getting quotes for some electrical and plumbing work. I'll be sure to share the process with you every step of the way! 

I had to laugh as I looked back at my inspiration photos I shared years back -- this room is set up nearly the exact same way as how ours will be!:
Bathroom renovation with pony wall

So weird that this is one I shared! Ours won't have the header at the top, but the bump out on the left and the pony wall are exactly how our room will look. And we're adding a window (longer and thinner than this one) to the top of the shower wall. 

I'm so excited to get this moving -- I have NO idea how long it's going to take me but like always I'll be doing it in smaller increments for budget reasons and so we can still use this room along the way. (Although I've told our boy he can't use the back part until we get that electrical back in the wall -- hopefully soon!)

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  1. I like the idea of the pony wall. It'll give somewhere for the counter to rest/end and offer a dedicated space for your hamper or more storage. Otherwise, it would just be one more thing of the floor. And hey, you can always take it out later if you really don't like it.

  2. I like keeping the pony wall. My father in law always says the indicator of a nice, quality home is that you when you walk into the room, you don't see the toilet. I wish I could add a pony wall in our narrow master bath!

    1. I agree! I know it's not really a privacy thing since this is just his space, but there's something nice about not immediately seeing a toilet. :)

  3. Love it! I wish I had even half of your vision!! Thanks for sharing this journey! Can't wait to see the finished product!

  4. My kids' bathroom is not as long as yours, but I would love a pony wall if there was room! I will say, you will love the window in will make a huge difference. My kids' bathroom has a transom window over the shower, and it is a game changer.

  5. I would have done the same thing. I'm sure it really lightens up the shower. Taking a shower in a dark space kind of grosses me out. Good decision.

  6. You get the bravery award! Good for you! It will be fun to watch this project move along.

  7. I love following along with projects like this. I forwarded a link to this page to my sister-in-law because they have exactly the same layout and want to take that wall out, too. I think she'll find this very inspiring.

  8. Fun project! Our bathroom is set up like yours was with a pocket door between the bath/toilet and the vanity. We love it because we have two girls; one person can use the bath/toilet privately while the other kid uses the sink/mirror. However, I can see with one kid that wouldn't be necessary.

  9. Our guest bath is similar with the toilet next to the vanity and then a pony wall. It's a jack and Jill with a door to the right and left of the tub. It too is windowless. However, rather than go to the expense of a window..which requires masonry work for us, a Solatube is a much cheaper faster and easier option. Had you considered that. Since a shower curtain covers the window back up too. We have several light tubes in our home and they bring in amazing amount of light.

  10. We are just starting to redo our master bath. Huge project but we know it will be worth it. Your house is beautiful and I love what you have done with this bathroom so far!

  11. I like the idea of a pony wall. Good choice. I admire your spirit!

  12. This post is cracking me up! I'm trying to picture my husband's face if he came home and I had started hacking down walls, LOL!!! It's going to look so good when it's done, can't wait to see the after pics! :)

  13. We did this in our kid's bathroom a couple of years ago. I think you shared it on one of the Monthly Round Up Posts. It was the Jack & Jill with the Navy Vanity & Hot Pink Vanity. Anyway, taking the wall out made a HUGE difference! We didn't do a pony wall, because we needed the space for a longer vanity, but if I had the room I would have. We couldn't do a window because of masonry & 2nd story, but we did 2 LED can lights over the tub & lots of white tile.

    Have fun!

  14. Are we related by any chance? The hubs has been heard to remark that while other men's wives simply move furniture around, his wife moves walls and doors and windows....and closets and cabinets.... and sinks and bathroom fixtures....Lol! And I discovered three decades ago that the best way to get him moving on a project was to start demolishing something before he came home! Works like a charm every time!

    We put a pony wall between the sink and the toilet in our master bathroom that is used to store a twelve pack of toilet paper. The extra TP is accessible from the toilet side so you never encounter that "oh crap!" moment when you realize someone didn't replace the empty roll with a new one. It also provides about six inches by two and a half feet of counter top next to the pedestal sink to put something down on if you need to. We love it!

    I can't wait to see what your finished bathroom looks like. My sister-in-law's second bathroom is laid out in a similar fashion and it would give me the heebie jeebies to shower in that dark, windowless cave! Already yours looks so much brighter!

  15. Look at you go! I love renovations and have lived with them for years. I use to draw house plans for work and I always liked having the flush set behind a half wall at the end of the vanity counter when I designed bathrooms. For one thing, the counter top can be painful if you bump into it (if you are clumsy like me) and things fall (get knocked off) and get spilled and broken when the end is left open. But not only that fact but I have yet to see a toilet that I can say I love seeing when I walk past the open door to a bathroom (unless you are desperately searching for a washroom and are in a strange house) But even then other clues usually give it away. The room looks just a bit nicer with the water closet tucked in out of sight if possible. Now if only they could come up with a wall (and heater) that doesn't get stained (and rusted) from the guys splashing around while using the facilities. All would be perfect!
    Best of luck with your renos! :)

  16. Yea!! I love to follow along on your big projects... you amaze me. :)

  17. I am excited to see how it turns out. I actually really like the header at the top. It helps the pony wall feel balanced.

  18. Good for you! We tore that wall down last year in our kids bathroom and I love how the whole room turned out. Being able to move around in a bathroom is so nice. Go get em!!

  19. This reminds me of our kitchen remodel. My new husband and I loathed the outdated and dysfunctional design, and one night after dinner he just put a hammer through one of the walls, and off we went. Found out we were pregnant about two weeks later. Pregnancy during a full kitchen remodel -- FUN!

  20. Oh this is a great improvement - and love the pony wall for sure - well done, can't wait to see how it all turns out; light, airy, bigger looking and spacious visually - whoo hoo how AWESOME!

  21. Quite the project! I would not be able to tackle something like that! Good luck!

  22. Applause! Applause! For your energy and enthusiasm, and willingness to go the extra mile. My suggestions would be to include a shelf/shelves built within the pony wall on the toliet side for toliet paper storage, a toliet paper holder and deodorizer spray or votive. Underneath those, think about including a small magazine/book rack. For the vent column, a possible decorating boon, consider mounting display corbels. You are brilliantly capable with design savy. I look forward to seeing your results.


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