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Bathroom babylon

If the kitchen is a home’s heart, the bathroom is its guts. You want that room to be trim, functional and reliable, with a bit of style, too. Here are three peninsular bathrooms, under three different budgets, given a touch of grace by their owners.



Brunswick Street bathroom
Budget: $5,000 plus Heather Frantsi and her boyfriend Jason renovated her bathroom over three weeks, with lumber from Heflers in Lower Sackville. “A long drive,” she says. “But well worth it for their prices and selection of wood, particularly clear pine.” The shower liner and drain came direct from the German manufacturer Schluter Systems. The sink came from TIM-BR Mart.

 Tile floors required the installation of one-inch subfloors and then a whack of $2.50 slate tiles, fortified thinset mortar, grout and stone sealer. “Any idiot can lay tiles as long as they can follow instructions,” says Frantsi. Plumbing was done by Roode and Rose Heating and Plumbing. “Not cheap, but plumbing that does not leak? Priceless.”

 Frantsi did the design, tiles, plastering, woodwork and painting, with some help from Stanko’s Painting and Services. The glass bricks and tiles came from Home Depot, paint from Benjamin Moore and help on the glass block from Art Sampson.

Harris Street bathroom
Budget: Approximately $10,000

For Margaret Anderson, in-floor heating beneath new tile in her bathroom was the best thing she ever did. But that was far from the only improvement she made to her old water closet---she did some of the demo and painting herself but hired contractors to do the plumbing, drywall, electrical, tile installation and cabinetry.

“The original bathroom was peel and stick tile, sink beside the toilet, and an old iron tub,” she explains. “The old tub, toilet and sink were removed along will all of the tile and flooring.” The new sink was installed on the opposite wall, the toilet moved over to accommodate a new storage cabinet, and the tub is in the same place but with a new surround and new plumbing.

 A vanity was built so Anderson could have a place to put a stool to sit on while she dries her hair, with an opening under the sink for stool storage.  “As a result, there are three sets of drawers all faced with Bird’s Eye Maple that used to be the kitchen counter in the downstairs apartment.” Also added is a low-flow toilet, a peanut-shaped tub and a low-flow shower head to reduce water consumption, with four potlights now in the ceiling.  

Suppliers included Centura for the tile and in-floor heat and Nova Tile for the counter top. The shower head and sink faucet are by Moen, the toilet by Mansfield, the sink is an American Standard and the tub from Maxx. The mirror was provided by Economy Glass.

Maynard Street bathroom
Budget: Approximately $7,500

“We live in a salt box,” says Heather Gibson of the bathroom in her home that no longer exists. Or, not in any way that you’d recognize it. “It was your standard three-piece bathroom.” It used to be a top-and-bottom flat. Gibson and her partner purchased the upstairs and expanded. They doubled the size of the existing bathroom and turned the rest of the bedroom into a walk-in closet. What was the kitchen is now a bedroom, which has a walk-out patio, en suite walk-in closet and bathroom attached.

  The space that used to have a clawfoot tub now houses a double-head shower, five by three. It has two heads “because Mary Ann would never shower with me because she said she always got cold. I gave her her own showerhead so she would. Now she’s quite happy to do that.” Gibson also put in a square tub that she can float in, six by three feet.

Renovations took about a year, due to a few surprises with flooring and the wall removed being retaining, as well as the job of turning a kitchen into a softwood floor bedroom. “The walk-in closet has our washer and dryer in it,” says Gibson. “So the plumbers were probably here for at least a week. And all the electrical work had to be redone.”

Because Gibson and her partner did much of the work, they were able to control their costs. She got the big tub from Better Baths on Strawberry Hill, the sink from Rona and tiles from Home Depot, though she did the work custom. That is, herself.

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