Bath/shower reno, with an eye toward accessibility (days 1 through 3)

IMG_1968By Elle

I moved out of my parents’ house when I was about 18, and now that I’m 53 (ouch), my mom has decided that we need to live together again — I knew she missed me — so she’s packing her bags and coming to our house. (Dad passed away a number of years ago, otherwise he’d definitely be in tow.)

In preparation for this Monumental Event, we determined that we needed to make some adjustments to the house, namely to her new bedroom and bathroom to make things as accessible as possible.

This is one project we couldn’t tackle on our own. For one, we need to get it done post-haste. Since we both work full time, we have only weekends free, which is why most of our DIY projects move at a glacial pace. For two, much of this remodel requires a level of expertise we don’t possess.

Luckily we have a good friend, Dan Djuric, who builds custom homes and does remodeling. (His company is called 4 Star Homes & Construction, and we’re happy to send referrals his way. In a word, he is AWESOME.)

Dan and his team have been at the house for a few days now and have made remarkable progress. And while they’ve been doing all the hard work, we’ve been having fun picking out tile!

First, some before photos:


The shower and built-in seat were too small to be accessible for someone who needs help showering. Not that Mom needs help showering. But if she did ….

Bathroom built-in shelving

To the right of the shower was shelving, which we tore out to extend the shower.

bath down

While the bathroom is deep, it was very narrow. We tore out the wall to the right of the toilet to make a Jack and Jill bathroom. The new doorway leads to the adjoining bedroom.

Day 1: Demolition, framing and prep work. Day 1 involved tearing out the shower surround and busting a hole through the wall to create the doorway into the adjoining bedroom. Here’s why that worked so well: That bedroom, for some peculiar reason, had three individual closets, all in a row. (See photo below.) Luckily, the closets were on the wall shared by the bathroom. By taking out the two closets nearest to the window, we could accommodate a door to the bathroom and still use some of the closet space as storage.

bedroom down three closets

Three closets in a bedroom. Seriously, is that weird, or what?


Now the bedroom has one closet and a door directly to the bathroom. Not really a door, yet. More like a hole.


When you walk through the door and turn to the left, you can see where we have space for shelving and storage.

Days 2 and 3: Plumbing, tiling and prepping the shower. Because we extended the length of the shower, all the pipes had to be re-plumbed. And because we knocked out a wall to widen the bathroom and create another door, the floor, which was formerly two closets, needed to be tiled.

Dan and team installed the concrete backer board and floor in the shower, created a knee wall to accommodate the extended length of the shower (he’s going to add a pane of glass to the top of the knee wall to let in natural light) and created two insets in the shower: one on the side wall and another in the knee wall.


New shower floor membrane.


Here you can see the inset on the back wall and part of the knee wall in front. The pipes hadn’t been moved yet to accommodate the extended length of the shower.

The tile in the inset is an Italian ceramic tile called Waves. We’re going with an Asian theme in this bathroom, and we felt that the earthy colors and gentle movement of the design on the Waves tile conveyed a Zen-like vibe.  Wait until you see what we picked out for the rest of the shower walls and the floor! The goal is to feel like you’re showering outside, without the embarrassment and possible police citation, of course.


Close-up view of Waves. Lovely!!

Anytime you undertake a renovation, you have to be prepared for surprises — and they’re rarely good. Luckily, the only surprises we got were discovering that we couldn’t make the back wall inset wider because of pipes, and we couldn’t bring the doorway inside the bathroom all the way to the ceiling because of a vent. If you look at the photo below, you can see the header above the second doorway. It doesn’t look wrong — just would have been cleaner not to have it. In any case, those are surprises we could handle!


Stay tuned for updates and the finished product, and if you need a contractor you can depend on for a build or a remodel in the Cleveland area, send us an email at or leave a comment!

2 thoughts on “Bath/shower reno, with an eye toward accessibility (days 1 through 3)

  1. Pingback: Bath/shower reno — and an eleventh-hour upgrade | Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design

  2. Pingback: Bath/shower reno — and a surprise built-in (days 4 through 8) | Abby & Elle Upstairs Fashion & Design

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s