So, the downstairs bath isn't really 100 percent done yet. The old floor molding, which Brian went to so much trouble to salvage and refinish, turns out to be not quite flush with the not-quite-even walls, so it will have to be replaced with some smaller shoe molding. The threshold isn't in place, the doorframe still needs to be finished off with some quarter-round, and eventually, we'll want to replace the old set of corner shelves with something that matches the rest of the room a bit better. But enough of it is done that I thought I could produce a reasonable set of before and after pictures to show just how big a transformation this room has undergone.
So here, to start with, is the "before," taken on the day we first came to look at the house. Now, there are a lot of problems you can't really see in this photo. For example, you can't see the cracks in the old shower surround that were causing it to leak all over the floor, the cracks in the old sink, or the truly hideous old light fixture hanging up over it. You also can't tell that the ventilation fan in the ceiling is both improperly wired and improperly vented, so it doesn't work at all. And from this angle, you can't see the big hole in the wall directly opposite the door, put there for a perfectly valid reason—to provide access to the main "stack" (plumbing drain)—but awful to look at. But you can see enough of the old fixtures, ghastly institutional-style vinyl tile, and haphazardly arranged items on the wall to realize that this room was obviously going to take a lot of dealing with.
Now here is the "after"—or to be more accurate, the "almost there." Observe: old, leaky shower enclosure replaced with new one-piece shower surround and nifty blue-and-yellow shower curtain; walls repaired and repainted golden yellow with a lovely tone-on-tone effect; new slate-look tile, courtesy of the Habitat ReStore; new toilet, sink, and vanity (built from scratch); new covers for the heaters, which serve the additional purpose of covering the hole in the wall; entirely new lighting; wiring and ventilation problems fixed; old wall-mounted medicine chest removed, but the mirrored door salavaged and refinished; hole in the upper wall covered with a handy little plug made from scavenged materials; doorframe and door refinished; new artwork hung up; and new "jewelry" (towel rack and toilet paper holder, not visible in photo) and towels. The result: what was unquestionably the ugliest room in the entire house (at least, of all the rooms that are actually used for living space) has been transformed into possibly the nicest-looking of all.
All told, this project took us about eight months from the time we first set to work in earnest on the room. ("Slow and steady wins the race" is our motto when it comes to home renovation.) We've spent a total of $875 (this does not include the new shower surround, which our lawyer talked the seller into installing for us before we bought the place). It's more than I had originally hoped to spend, but it's still less than half the amount the bloggers at Young House Love spent on their full bath remodel, and they were delighted to come in at $1819 (especially considering that two contractor friends of theirs had independently quoted them a figure of around $10,000 to have the whole room professionally redone). So on the whole, I think our drawn-out DIY bathroom remodel can be considered an ecofrugal success.