One Room Challenge Week 5: Are You Going To Add More Water Or Throw In The Trowel

This past weekend I had one major project that I wanted to tackle in the guest bathroom remodel for the One Room Challenge…grouting the shower tile.  I knew it was going to be a big project, like a buckle down because this is going to take a decent chunk of your day kind of project.  Not a let’s just tick this off the list after work kind of project.  So first thing on Sunday morning I put on some work clothes, grubby old sneaks, and sat down in the bathroom to start mixing the grout.

Installed marble subway tile in a guest bathroom shower combined with planked walls and rustic wood beams

Colby helped me mix the grout because…well…he has man arms and I just have the kind that jiggle.  I’ve always used pre-mixed grout in the past so this was new territory for me.  We mixed and mixed but the grout seemed really dry, hard, and clumpy.  We had added a precise amount of water and mixed it to its exact specs so it must have been mixed correctly, right?  So we powered through and pushed and jammed the stuff in the tile gaps as best we could but something just wasn’t right.  It took nearly 30 minutes of grouting work to finish about four tiles worth of grouting.  On top of that, I was HATING the grout color.  It looked like mud when the box showed a pretty, medium gray tone.

Enter a major meltdown.  MAJOR!  Questions were racing through my head (who am I kidding…more like they were gushing out of my mouth as a proclaimed some serious “I’m over this project” attitude towards Colby…poor guy).  Why is this grout so difficult to work?  Why is this color so gross?  We have to chip it out.  This is so wrong.  Why did I choose this color?  I don’t remember grouting to be so difficult last time?  Did I do this wrong?  Intermission for Googling unsanded grout directions.  I can’t do this.  Why did I think I could do this?  Why don’t we ever hire this crap out?  Oh right, we can’t afford it.  We’re never going to finish this bathroom on time.  Are we ever going to finish this bathroom?  There’s so much left to do, how are we going to finish?  Oh my goodness…I forgot to order pretty new towels to fluff the space.  Can I get away with our ratty, old, stained towels for the reveal?  Argh…this grout!  What am I going to do?  I quit.  I am literally throwing in the trowel!

I know how ridiculous this all sounds…especially over grout.  In the end, Colby convinced me the grout would dry lighter AND we decided to just add some more water to the grout, a little at a time, until it was the right consistency to work with.  A couple hours later and a Home Depot run for another box of grout mix, we were done.

DIY is hard guys, HARD.  And I’ve learned a very valuable lessen here.  Are you ready?  This is going to blow your mind it’s so profound!  Here it goes…the middle is HARD!

Why the middle of a DIY project is the hardest part

Hear me out.  You start off a major project like a bathroom remodel with all the gusto.  You’re excited, you’ve been dying to rip into this project, and you demo your heart out.  Then you get to start putting it all back together again.  You plan it out and begin to see the space take shape and things are still exciting.  Then you reach a point…maybe it’s a few weekends in like us…where the punch list is getting longer with all these little things you didn’t think about.  Or challenges come up.  Maybe the grout doesn’t mix like it’s supposed to or you forgot to pick up grout sealer when you were at the store which is 35 minutes away.  Or maybe you’re tiling and you’re down to the last few rows when you realize the last six boxes of tile is not marble like you bought but travertine (true story).  You return them to the store that’s still 35 minutes away, go to buy more but they only have one box left.  You need six boxes.  So you waste the rest of your Saturday driving 2 hours south to the next closest store that has your tile in stock.  But you get through it and suddenly you’re adding the last piece of trim and it’s time for touch ups, accessories, and fluffing and the joy is back.

Today I should have been sharing our grouting progress or vanity build or something that shows our progress.  But I can’t.  Everything is in a half finished stat of affairs.  I just barely finished grout sealing an hour ago.  The vanity sits half built in the workshop with progress halted until we can pick up some hinges (forgot those at the store too…35 minutes away…have I mentioned that we live in the country?).  Instead, I’m sharing with you why I think the middle is hard and I can’t wait to get out of the middle and into the end game of this project.  The part where I can touch up paint, install the towel hooks, and fluff the space with accessories that I finally got around to ordering (thank you Amazon Prime for your expedient deliveries!).  So to all of you out there also stuck in the middle, power through my friends the end is near!


  1. Hi Angie,

    I loved your post this week! Gosh…isn’t it the truth! This DIY stuff is hard work and rarely in our case goes according to plan. Always need more time, effort, and money than we anticipate. But gosh do we love it! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Angie I am currently echoing your sentiments. But I can’t wait for the reveal! I love the direction the space is going in. As a fellow ORC participant it’s been wonderful to gather some fantastic inspiration. I’d love for you to share your progress at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Our readers would love to see it. The gathering is at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *