Thursday, March 5, 2009

Follow Up On Our Green Remodel

As I wrote two weeks ago, we've been in the middle of a bathroom remodel. I loaded a picture of the "before" bathroom, and then really couldn't post it; it was just too awful! But I will show you some of the rubble that was hauled out.
Remodelling, is very difficult to do in a "green" way, though we did the best we could. We reused two mirrors in the new bathroom. We recycled every bit of cardboard, plastic and metal we could. It's truly amazing how much cardboard there was from the packing for the new elements. I purchased low-VOC paint from Home Depot that I was very pleased with, and thankful not to have that intense paint smell in the house during a week when we had to keep the house closed up tight.
Still, a lot of stuff went to the landfill: old ceramic flooring with it's cement sub-floor, some rotted wood sub-flooring (so glad we found that and could get it repaired!), wall tile and sheet rock, and the dilapidated cabinet. A lot of heat energy was lost from the house on those cold days as the remodellers ran in and out to their truck and to the back yard, where they were sawing things.
There are a lot of things I love about the "new" bathroom, but I think my favorite is the Solatube skylight. All day long the bathroom is bathed in warm light, even on the cloudiest days, and it is unnecessary to turn on a light in there at all if the sun is up.
I also am kind of amazed by the new water-saver toilet. We had one from the first generation of water-savers and it... didn't really do the job, if you know what I mean. This one is tremendously better. I did a little rough calculating and I think it should pay for itself in reduced water bills within about 15 months. Toilets are relatively inexpensive. If you can possibly do it, I would encourage you to think about replacing your current one with one of the new ones, for both financial and environmental reasons.
I learned another interesting thing during this process. It is not recommended that a Formica-type laminate counter top be used in a bathroom any more. The glues used to make them have been reformulated to make them safer, and they don't stand up to the warm, steamy environment of a bathroom. That meant I had to look at solid surface counters. I had some crazy luck- there was a pre-drilled granite counter top that was on sale so cheap (and included the sinks) that it cost less than other more plebeian choices. This was a sort of embarrassment of riches!
In the end, we wound up with this:
Our daughter, currently the main user of this bathroom, says it looks like it belongs in someone else's house, because it's "so trendy". Of course, ten years from now it will be passe and outdated, but we're not exactly slaves to fashion, so this is probably how it will look until Mike and I can't live in a house with stairs anymore. Fortunately, I'm pretty happy with it.


Anonymous said...

Joyce - I love your new bathroom!
It's so bright and sunny.
Good Job!

Donna said...

It looks lovely! Thanks for sharing.

Jena said...

Wow - beautiful! I love that color on the walls too. I would have never looked at the color chip and picked that out but it really looks nice in there! Very cool, especially that solar tube thing.

Joyce said...

The color was kind of a walk on the wild side for me, but I love it! The photos make it look more orange than it really is. It's actually a nice deep salmon pink. I'm willing to gamble with paint. It's not that big a deal if we decide to change it.

Green Resolutions said...


Lady Sterling said...

Love the remodel! Thank you for sharing - I would love to see the before shots.

Rose said...

It looks beautiful, Joyce! I'm a little disappointed you didn't show the "before," but believe me, I can empathize:) I chuckled at your final comments--when I finally get around to replacing my carpeting, I'm getting something that hopefully won't go out of style, because it will probably be the last carpeting we buy:)

matt said...

Wow... the color... is amazing...

It's kinda like that orange-y color the U of I contrasted with the pale purple when we were trying to be the "kinder, gentler Illini" a decade ago. I'm surprised you didn't use that for the trim color! lol

That is to say, it looks good!

So did you go with the whirlpool tub or not? :)

Joyce said...

The tub is "just plain old". And, as I say, it really is pink in there, not orange.