Tag Archives: bath

Flushed

The bathroom is finally [almost but basically] done.

I was going to wait until the last of the touch-up paint was dry, the rest of the pictures re-hung, the little vintage medical cabinet back in its spot, and new rug and towels procured, but then I saw the missing threshold and knew how long I can take with those, and I don’t have immediate plans for the new built-in cabinet, so enough already.

This is what we started with:

What you don’t see is the three broken light fixtures, a broken fan, a broken window, some broken plumbing, the big stain in the floor by the toilet, and the well-worn acrylic tub and surround.

What we did for the meantime (that was supposed to last 3-5 years) was to fix the window, the electrical (including the light above the sink), replace the rusty triptych medicine cabinet that bisected your face, and paint everything – especially the floor. And we thought we fixed the leaking toilet.

But the toilet was still very sloooowly leaking, and eventually we couldn’t ignore that we were finally stepping on a spongy oogy spot – the leak had spread in the subfloor a couple of feet.

So we committed to fix the whole damn thing ahead of schedule.

And I went a little nuts over the whole thing – not good nuts – just frustrated and confused and decisive and indecisive and then frustrated again and again. I don’t know what went wrong – I can usually bang this shit out – there were too many options but not the options I wanted. And then everything was more expensive than I wanted to pay, everything I’d picked out went discontinued or out of stock in a matter of days, I couldn’t find professional help where I needed it, and then the sewer pipe went bad too, and then I (we) changed my mind over and over again…

This shit woke me up in the middle of the night and it is absolutely something that shouldn’t do that.

But then I got what we needed and the plumber was able to book us for 5, yes 5 weeks in a row….

His first visit for the bath was the longest, and I was whirling in the throes of reno anxiety- we’d removed all of the fixtures and demoed the floor which is fun and rewarding (thank you for dealing with the toilet N since that isn’t fun) but then all of the worst is yet to come so it is a false reward, it’s the ribbon for participation without achievement. The first day of the plumber was also the first spring-feeling days and the leaves had yet to come out. Our new tub sat in the yard for hours (as did some copper pipes) and I equally fantasized about the bodies that could fit in its box and was amused that we live someplace “safe” enough that copper can lie about unsupervised…

But afterwards the real work began.

I’d researched some of the new waterproof wall systems and was planning to use one of them, but to save money in the end, we used backerboard and a paint-on membrane. By then the membrane fumes and the project crazy converged and I think I vocalized a few of the redrums shouting on repeat in my brain.

But once the bath tiles were up, I cooled down to a workable, only slightly unhinged, state.

The wall color choice was a bit of an issue – I wanted to repeat one we already had in the house, and we loved the kitchen’s mint, and online polling voted overwhelmingly for the mint, but it was just too intense (as was the yellow).

(I don’t wear make-up and the two of us have yellows and greens in our skintones, so I wasn’t worried about looking in the mirror in a green room.)

But we fairly easily agreed the dusty/dirty “champagne glee” pink would be the best – and we’re happy with it.

And then it was time for floor tile – I’ve used a similar one to this before, and our half bath has a mosaic pattern too.

I knew I needed to spend the time to dry fit it to make sure that the pattern was right and to make some of the cuts beforehand.

N numbered the tiles and made a handy chart for me to use – it was foolproof.

I thought the layout was perfect – N found a flipped tile, and we didn’t see any manufacturing flaws.

But there was one.

And we didn’t spot it until it was grouted.

But it was barely an issue and now I can’t believe we were willing to put up with the almond plastic bathroom for another couple of years – that old bath had some sort of stockholm hold over me…

The elements are both a bit more vintage than the ’50s, and contemporary – but it isn’t out of place with the rest of the little house.

And the tile feels so nice on my feet…

And the shower is roomier and brighter, and the tub worth taking a lingering bath – thankfully we got it in springtime when the well is full.

(And yes, we really need that threshold).

 

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Still in the bathroom

Another day, another day without plumbing…

(And of course I’ve got to pee – I thought this plumbing visit was going to be just a couple of hours, but it’s another all-day affair).

The bathroom saga is finally well underway, and long, and tiresome, and not yet done…

Sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind having a cabin way off the grid and without most plumbing. You’d be prepared for it, and most of the time the weather would be warm enough for an alfresco splash down, and composting toilets aren’t that bad if not shared by too many. But not having a fully functional bath/shower in your everyday home sets my nose out of joint. I’m one who must shower every morning to wake up, open my sinuses, de-creak my body and to get clean at an even rate. For most of the four years I worked from home, I tried every variation of less-often hair-washing, no-‘poo, some ‘poo, conditioner without ‘poo, cooler water, etc., etc., but in the end, I could never get used to feeling unevenly clean.

So today I’ve had the last shower I’ll get for the next week (hopefully), or two (likely).

We de-almonded the room first with joy and abandon I later regretted (from pain, not fondness), repaired the rotten subfloor – opening it up brought forth such an intense stench – thankfully like a rich, deeply composted forest floor rather than an excrement-soaked one, but mildly gag-inducing just the same, and after the plumber puts in the new tub, we’ll be tits deep in the most difficult tiling job I’ve done. I’m sorta kinda looking forward to doing the floor – hex tile is easy to work with – but the shower walls have got to line up, and straight lines aren’t in my playbook.

The paint ended up being the dull pink “champagne glee” to be exact, and yes, the name partially sold me on the color the first time around. We loved the mint, it is perfect in the kitchen, but it was too intense (as was the yellow) in this small dark room.

*****

It is now a week later and I’ve got the sink bath down to an art as well as a science, and neither of us smells too much, though maybe we’re nose blind.

And yes, the plumber is here again!

But I won’t blather on about my bladder again.

The tub/shower is tiled and grouted and has fixtures – the grout is still curing though, so no shower for a few more days…

There is wonkiness of lines, of course, but less than I’d feared – the ceiling is nearly 2 inches higher on the one side than the other, so it is what it is.

Next up more wall repair and painting – not in love with the color yet – it’s leaning a bit beige (NO NO NO!!!!) but not enough is on yet to tell.

This weekend will be for tiling the floor.

Hopefully my fingers will be healed in time…

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Rage against beige – or – the project with the very unexpected turn

I love almonds.

I love them raw, toasted and spiced, ground up in cake, made into marzipan (or hell, the paste straight up by itself) smashed into butters, and I prefer almond milk to the other dairy alternates.

In no way, however, do I like almond as a color.

Nor beiges and sands and driftwoods and the darker ivories and all that is considered “neutral”* but really isn’t because you have to work with something pale yellow/brown/grey that isn’t really any of those, but is all of those in an ugly drab grouchy tone.

When we first toured our house, I was assuming that one of my first projects would be to rip out the almond bath because I assumed it had to be at least 30 years old and the toilet was one that wasted multiple gallons of delicious fresh water.  But once we moved in, I discovered to my horror, that the toilet is a recent-ish low-flow good one.

I also hate vinyl flooring, especially with a pattern, and most of all patterned beige vinyl floors.

And I hate “wood”** in bathrooms – most of all wooden toilet seats, but a “wood” vanity is still high on the list.

bath-beforethebefore

But the environmentalist (and cheapskate) in me hated to re-do a bathroom that was just re-done in 2009.  But the floor was stained, the cabinet looked sorry, the triptych medicine cabinet was just plan asinine not to mention rusty, and the vinyl or acrylic or whatever-the-hell-it- is tub and surround were scratched up, so we had to do something.  (And a cheery rug and shower curtain in the meantime didn’t really help enough.) But after spending a more-than-expected chunk of change on the house over the last year (including more of a makeover of the half-bath than we anticipated) we decided not to do a total overhaul of it just yet.

bath-attempt

So we painted many things, and replaced a few things (except the maligned almond pieces) instead.

At first I wanted a bright, colorful, cheery room – something with challenging colors to enjoy for a limited time – something that played off the rug and shower curtain – we had some leftover aqua-green paint that seemed like it would do the trick.

Only after painting some samples, it proved it to be very wrong for the room, and the shower curtain was starting to show the end of its life anyway.

I switched directions to the grey-green of my studio and a nice not-purple, not-brown, but sometimes looks like either one, color we’ve been using on shitty hollow closet doors, and set off to the paint store.

Only something was off that day (or it was off the day I got the original cans) and I came home with mauve and grey with less green and I didn’t realize the extent of the difference until everything was painted and dried…

bath-after

I really didn’t want to paint it all over again. (Color more accurate in pic below)

My fabric stash revealed a perfect complimentary print for a curtain (which was originally going to be a shutter) and we found a cheap cotton rug of almond and mauve at the first placed we looked.

bath-rug

So now we’ve got the bathroom of a post-menopausal woman in 1987.

 But it is fine for now – in fact, I’ve come to really like it.

Eventually the sink, tub, and toilet will be a proper bright white (and the sink a pedestal instead of an ill-fitting vanity), and the floor a vintage-looking marmoleum (or possibly tile, but not likely) once we work out some technical difficulties and save up some more clams, but in the meantime I’ll fluff out my hair and do a little jazzercise as I get ready….

(I neglected to mention the details of the floor – yes, we painted the sheet vinyl – gave it a thorough cleaning, roughed it up with sandpaper, painted on BIN primer, and used two coats of Ben Moore porch paint. This color is also wrong – was supposed to be a lavenderish-brownish-decaying rose-putty color and it’s just about petal f*cking pink instead. I was going to stencil it too, but I’m lazy and don’t feel the need to impress you.)

bath-during

And a side-by-side before and after:

Bath-before bath-after

The fabric on the left was a temporary fix after I broke the cheap vinyl blind, classy, eh? That’s when a fabric stash is truly useful – and especially because the new curtain fabric is 8 or more years old, so it’s another route to savings.  We splurged on a fancier medicine cabinet though it looks just like a plain box from here, but we were very limited by size, shape, and surface-mount options. The light was a challenge to find as well due to some odd electrical placement and our desire for something vintage-looking. And yes, when you open the left door on the vanity, it bangs into the radiator.

Stupid, stupid choices, you former owners…

*Grey is now the new beige, and I’m mostly cool with that, though not all greys are great…

**In larger bathrooms or more vintage/French estate/rustic New Mexican bathrooms I’m okay with wood in the right kinds of ways, but not in a small heavily used space were splashing occurs, and never ever on a toilet…

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