Bathroom


I’m reaching for bathroom “after”-ness- getting…closer… aaaahhhh! Not quite folks, which is why I’m going to show you the two not-that-exciting improvements I’ve made, in an attempt to feel like I’ve accomplished something. The bathroom has been 90% done for a while now, I’m just holding out on the big reveal because I have not yet decorated it. This is the fun part but why do I have to be so bad at it?? I will say this: I picked an accent color

and we hung up the vanity fixture

which the medicine cabinet barely clears, but hey- it clears (even if there was some bending and fudging). And now, when I go in there, I can see every last eyebrow that I need to pluck and if I had a mustache, I would be able to see all those hairs too. If I had a mustache. Oh, you do? Sad.

When I got home from work last night, all I really wanted to do was watch the Colbert Report on Hulu. And eat leftover carbonara, and maybe daydream a little. But nay, I did not give in! Thanks to Stan helping me finally lay the rest of the bathroom tiles (click here to see where it needed patching and touch up), I had just enough motivation to finish the grouting today. It was a bit of a pain reaching around the sink and the toilet (I do love some good up-close-and-personal quality time with a toilet) and hard to fit the rubber grout float in those tight spaces, but I may have cheated a little bit and just shoved some grout in those spots with my fingers. Trust me, no one will ever look back there, unless maybe they lose an earring. And anyway, it looks fine. Here’s the finished product! (Well, it will be finished after I clean it up a bit and caulk at the base of the tub.)

Previously:

And:

Previously:

If you’re wondering why there are cans of tomatoes in the picture, we used them to weigh down some of the tiles just to be sure they stuck. Then we ate them.

I was kind of at a loss for what to do with that big hole that was left behind when the toilet had to be moved. I don’t own a saw (my brother usually brings one for big projects) so I couldn’t really cut a piece of wood to go in there, so I just filled it with thinset mortar (uhh I hope it works):

That’s my hand chipping away at the half tiles that remained. Which brings me to the blood part of the post:

I guess I got really into it and scraped/split up my knuckles a bit. Sorry, I know it’s gross. There was more.

I’ll be able to post finished bathroom pics soon- I can just feel it!

I chose a paint color in the worst way- I looked online at the ICI web site. I wasn’t even at home when I picked it. But Jonny was sending Rodrigo over the next day, so I had to pick one right then! I chose Obsidian Glass, which is a nice color, but I was really going for this effect, which is a nice neutral gray that is calming and makes the accessories pop:

Instead, my online color choice ended up being closer to black. I knew I should have followed my instinct to pick a color a couple shades lighter! Paint always looks darker, brighter, more intense on the walls than on the swatch.

IMG_7508

But then again, it’s kind of growing on me. There’s so much white, with the tile, sink, and beadboard, that I think the dark color might add a good balance. There’s also a lot of natural light that comes in through the glass block, so even though it’s a tiny bathroom, I’m not sure if the dark paint makes it feel even smaller, or if it just adds nice contrast. I’m also thinking of accent colors, which would really contrast well to the gray-black. Maybe a lime green, or a really fun bright blue. I thought of orange, but that might be too Halloween-y.

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What do you guys think? Is it worth it to re-paint? Or should I stick with it and accessorize/decorate to bring out the richness? (Or something.) I could also do some kind of subtle faux to lighten it up a bit.

My elation at finishing the shower is waning… there’s still a little ways to go for the bathroom to be finished. Side note: Please don’t judge me for living in these conditions.

Jonny told me to put down some sticky plastic so we wouldn’t destroy the tile while we were working in there. I’m glad I did, but it is proving a huge pain to get it all off. Bits of dirt and grout have really ground in there, breaking the plastic, and making it so it will not peel up in one shot. Once I finally get the plastic all off, I’ll have to scrub the little sticky bits off with one of those green scratchy sponges.

Fun scrubbing

Fun scrubbing

Here’s a fun challenge. The bathroom door won’t close! They had to move the toilet over when they installed the new wider tub, but they moved it a bit too far. Not quite sure how we’re going to fix this one, since they have to work around the floor joists in the basement. The plumbers are coming Friday so hopefully they can figure something out. This is one of the reasons I haven’t had anyone over for dinner… heh heh.

Uh-oh!

Uh-oh!

Here are some sad pictures of broken tile. You can see where the toilet used to be. I’m not really sure what to do to fill in that hole. Matt suggested thinset I think. Also you can see where we gained a few inches behind the sink and toilet that was not tiled. And we so nicely cut those edge pieces, which will now have to be chipped up.

Tile needs fixin'

Tile needs fixin'

And I haven’t finished going all the way to the tub yet either.

Next to the tub

Next to the tub

And of course, I still need to paint.

Need paint

Need paint

The beadboard will be the same color as the tile (did you know you can take any object to the paint store and they can match it? Cool!). And I’m thinking of doing gray for the walls. I’m digging this one from cococozy.com. Except mine would be the opposite of course. Any thoughts? Is my bathroom too small for gray? Or would it be a nice contrast to all that (off)-white?

Oh, the shower. The shower, the shower. The shower has been my biggest project to date. It has taken hours and hours of my life. It has taunted me. It has promised to be beautiful and then laughed in my face. It’s been mean to me.

The whole bathroom has actually been kind of mean to me.

I’ll back up- the first thing we did in the bathroom was take out the old scratched cast-iron tub. It could have been a cool piece of the bathroom, but I already had enough on  my plate. So Matt and Jonny somehow hoisted that thing out of there and onto the front lawn (someone picked it up within 24 hours). We removed the toilet and sink and decided to rip up the linoleum and do the floor- why not? Gotta start somewhere, right? Kind of.

Under Matt’s direction, Wendy and Stan helped me put in these neato classic old-timey tiles. Nice work everyone!

Bathroom floor

Design magazines are funny, because in one article you’ll read “Use small tiles in a small space to make it seem larger.” and in another, “Use large tiles in a small space to make it seem larger.” Sometimes they have good advice, but in the end you just have to pick what you like and make it go with the rest of the bathroom. Well, the floor was an okay place to start, but it was a little sad because when the plumbers came they found more wrong with the pipes than right, and had to do some serious finagling to fit the 5′ tub (apparently the old one was even smaller), and ended up breaking some of the tiles. The whole wall behind the sink and toilet had to come out and therefore be re-sheetrocked, and we gained about 4 inches which we sadly had not tiled.

Gutted wall

Gutted wall

Sniffle. So, the job of finishing that strip is on the list. The new tub was also wider, so the sink was hanging over it. The plumbers moved the sink, which meant they had to move the toilet, which means there is now a big hole where the toilet used to be. Sniffle. (Too depressing to take a picture.) Ah well. Live and learn. Live and learn.

Stan standing in the future tub

Stan standing in the future tub

Now we start the shower!

Matt shows me how to do wall tile

Matt shows me how to do wall tile

I'm getting the hang of it.

I'm getting the hang of it.

"Just tile up far enough so they can put the fixtures on, so you can at least take a bath for now." -good advice from Matt

"Just tile up far enough so they can put the fixtures on, so you can at least take a bath for now." -good advice from Matt

What better time than now to rip out the window?

What better time than now to rip out the window?

Oooh yeah, the glass blocks will look nice.

Oooh yeah, the glass blocks will look nice.

Before we could put in the glass block, we had to make sure the opening was level and square. This was quite the challenge, but I got lots of good help from Stan (left) and his twin brother, Duncan.

Leveling the window

Leveling the window

Gotta keep the burglars out somehow

Gotta keep the burglars out somehow

The window and one wall of tile are finished!

The window and one wall of tile are finished!

I made this cute little frame around the window with bullnose trim pieces, but then I realized that there would be too small a space between the top tile and the bottom of the trim piece for another tile, and too big a space for a big thick line of grout.

Cute frame!

Cute frame!

So I had to take off my cute frame.

Poor window frame.

Poor window frame.

But it’s okay, because I found some thicker bullnose trim pieces, and just cut them down to the right size. I took 5 hours of vacation one day to finish the tile and boy did it feel good. Jonny came and put wood trim around the whole thing to give it a more finished look. Don’t worry, plenty of caulk and paint should keep it from rotting since none of it will be directly exposed to water. Then this weekend Stan helped me grout, as well as clean the film off each tile afterward. He’s so awesome.

Shower! Done! With grout!

Shower! Done! With grout!

I just need to caulk, and then I can take a shower in my own house! Someone pinch me! Paint next weekend. Exhale.

Renovating is truly maddening. It really is. The first month that I owned my house, I didn’t live there because, well, it wasn’t livable. (I house-sat for my realtor and stayed with friends during that time.) But as more and more got done, I realized that if I waited until it was “ready”, I would be waiting a looooong time. And besides, a lot more gets done when that’s the place you go after work, rather than having to make a special trip over there and then a trip back to your friend’s house. And you can stay up till the wee hours working on it without having to wake anyone up when it’s time to go to bed. So after scraping off the cottage cheese ceiling, painting (thank you, Rodrigo), new carpet, and gutting and partially putting back together the bathroom among other things (many other things), I moved in! It wasn’t a dramatic “My house is finally ready!” move-in, more of a “Sigh. Here goes nothing.” move-in. I mean, would you be excited to get to bathe in this?

Tub

Or keep your toothbrush here?

Medicine cabinet

Maybe you would be. I was lucky to get my bedroom at least somewhat relaxing, so I have somewhere to unwind after the day. By no means is it decorated or finished, but it’s a pleasant contrast to the current bathroom.

My room

Remember the before?

Yeah. Much better. By the way, after removing the pee-soaked carpet and pad, we painted Kilz over the wood floors (not the kind of wood floors you could re-finish, so I didn’t feel too bad) to hopefully seal as much of the “substance” far below the new carpet.

Also, I had no idea how long tile would take. NO idea. I knew it was “a lot of work” and would “take some time” but I still wasn’t fully prepared. Especially since the window had to be built too, which was a project that was tough to get advice for (not many people have done glass block). I decided to go with glass block because I didn’t want to deal with water/mold in the window tracks and with a vent fan installed I didn’t see any reason to need an opening window in the shower. And glass block lets in a lot of good light. It’s probably not totally private, but hey, it’ just my back yard. Just don’t come over to take a shower while I’m having an outdoor garden party.

I took these pictures through the front window before I bought the house (that’s how excited I was). Yes, that’s water on the kitchen floor (that’s how badly it needed a new roof).

Kitchen and hallway doors

Kitchen and hallway doors

A fuzzy picture of my beautiful picture window in the disproportionately large dining room:

Picture Window

Picture Window

And here you can kind of see the fireplace and eyesore swamp cooler vent in place of a small window.

Nice arch.

Nice arch.

Now for the actual Day 1 pics.

View from right in front of the fireplace: Don’t be fooled by how nice the wood floors look. HUD came in and did a crappy stain job and let stain overlap and make ugly stripes,  and there are still plenty of spaces that need to be filled.

Arch from fireplace

Arch from fireplace

Fireplace

Fireplace

Trying out paint colors

Trying out paint colors

Yep, here we are on day one, already starting work.

Kitchen minus appliances

Kitchen minus appliances

Here are the ones sure to make your skin crawl:

Dog pee. Lots of it. Nasty.

Dog pee. Lots of it. Nasty.

More pee and holes in the wall. Classy.

More pee and holes in the wall. Classy.

Darling green linoleum! <gag>

Darling green linoleum!

Thankfully the instructions on the yellow tape had been followed.

Nice natural light!

Nice natural light!

Please note the wood trim around the shower window (?), the wood around the top of the tub (??) and last but certainly not least, the electrical outlet in the shower (???)

Just know that nothing in the house looks the same as these pictures currently. It hasn’t become a butterfly yet, but there have been improvements. Watch for some current pictures on my next post!

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