Home Sweet Home, Indonesia, Life in Asia

My Indonesian Home Makeover Part 9: Guest Bath Redux

It was our biggest makeover yet. Other rooms in our new home had new coats of paint, new curtains or new furniture. But the guest bath? It’s getting a total remodel. I had been counting the days until this project since we moved in. While the bathroom was fairly functional, however still missing a sink, I was waiting & hoping to change the design of the entire space. But this would require more than a rearrange. It was demolition time.


Most Indonesian bathrooms come equipped with something called a bak, which is like a tall tub of standing water. This is extremely functional when your house doesn’t have consistent running water, because it can be scooped out to flush the toilet, shower, do laundry, wash dishes or even mop. We wanted to remove the bak from our guest bath to give the room more space and to put in a sink. But to remove the bak, we had to ensure that we would have consistent running water. Our home had lost city water for a few hours up to an entire day multiple times since we’ve lived there over the past 6 months. And every evening, our whole street’s water pressure was so low we couldn’t shower, wash dishes or fill up a tub for baby with out prior planning. Before we could remove the tank in our bath, we had to find a running water solution.

First we tried to use the well that our home already had bored. But after realizing it was only 8 meters deep, we understood why it was completely dry. We decided not to use it. So plan B was to install a separate enclosed water tank and a pump that would keep consistent pressure throughout the entire house. It would run on electricity, so if and when our power goes out, we’d have to switch back to city water. But we were willing to take the risk. After a few days, the workers had a giant 550 liter tank installed beside our house. Step one complete!

Next step was to tear the “tub” in the bathroom. It’s made of concrete covered in ceramic tile, so it was so easy task. Many hours of drilling and hammering resulted in the removal of the large awkward box tub in our bathroom. Then since we were already destroying much of the tile by removing the bak and relocating the shower to that location, we decided to just redo all the tile on the floor! The bathroom is floor to ceiling tile, and a different pattern on the ground. We decided to minimize the work by just painting the wall tiles white and putting in only new floor tile. It’s such a small bathroom that I thought it would be a breeze. Little did I know the amount of work that goes into tearing up ceramic tile.

I also had the fun of choosing the new tile for the bathroom! I searched high and low for the style I wanted. More than once I’d be at a building supply store, see a sample of a tile that I loved, ask to order it, only to find out that it’s no longer in stock or discontinued. Why is it still a sample in the store!? Things I’ll never understand. But I did find a nice pale gray patterned tile which complements the new white walls and white sink beautifully.

Bathroom Tile Shopping

The guest bathroom is quite small and we had to get creative to put the shower & new sink in a way that was functional. We opted for a curved shower curtain rod, so we could keep the shower in the corner. Where there was once a water reservoir stands a lovely little shower space, with a beautiful white & black leaf patterned curtain. We picked a sink that would hang from the wall, instead of taking up bathroom space with a large countertop. Atop the sink, sits a small simple mirror. Now it’s starting to look like a familiar bathroom!

Overall, the job took about 5 days, which was longer than promised, but still good considering the amount of work that was done. The removal of the tile left a layer of dust all over our house. The epoxy paint smell for the wall tile burned our noses for days. But in the end, we have a stunning new bright white guest bath. And with that, our first real “renovation” to the house is complete!

Guest Bathroom After

To read other posts in My Indonesian Home Makeover series, check out this link!

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