The great (or not so great) bathroom remodel

This is the best “before” picture I can find of the bathroom. Imagine also a black tub and many, many, many white hard water stains that must be regularly scrubbed with vinegar to keep at some sort of respectable level.
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This lovely gold embossed wallpaper graced (oh, how glorious is the past tense there!) the ceiling, with two dim recessed ceiling lights providing all the light. I write “all the light” as though all is a good word to describe the pitiful amount of light they provided. It was a cave.
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Then we noticed that a puddle would form in this bathroom, emanating from the ceiling. So I gleefully took a crowbar to the ceiling to see if it was the toilet or something else from the upstairs bathroom leaking through. So much satisfaction in destroying that awful wallpaper…
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We figured out that the water was coming from the overspray of the shower, and leaking down around the toilet through hole in the floor for the sewer pipe. A bit of caulk around the upstairs toilet fixed the leak. All we had to do was patch the ceiling hole. But… What if we tore out those stupid recessed lights and put up something that would actually provide light? And it would be nice to have a light in the shower. And a fan. And while we’re at it, a toilet that actually flushes and a sink that isn’t black so it won’t show every single drop of hard water.

I pulled the wallpaper off the ceiling, squared up the ceiling holes, and cut new drywall for the patches. My multi-talented husband re-wired the bathroom so that the fan runs off of one switch and the lights off of the other, drilled a hole through the exterior wall for the fan duct, installed the fan and ducting, reinforced the floor under the upstairs toilet, and patched the ceiling holes. We had some momentary despair when we found the drywall we’d purchased was thicker than the ceiling drywall, but Ken cut back the places where it was getting attached so that the bottom would be flush.

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I spent my Friday off sanding, texturing, and putting two coats of paint on the new ceiling. With that finished, I scrubbed every single surface (good thing it’s a small room) with glass cleaner to get rid of the drywall dust and built up hard water stains, and installed the new lights.

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Installing the toilet went very smoothly, but the valve in the wall for the toilet had a slow leak, probably due to our ridiculously hard water and old age, so last night Ken set out to replace it, which required turning off the main water valve to the house… Which promptly began spraying water out as soon as he tried to shut it. So, after a third trip to Home Depot for the day and having our neighbors kindly help us by allowing their water to be turned off at the master valve, he installed a new main water valve. That done, he replaced the toilet and two sink valves, theory being that they were probably going to have the same problems. We now have a brand new vanity with functioning sink and storage (!!!), and a new, very white, toilet.
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Obviously we’re still missing at least a toilet seat and a mirror, and small details like a non-brass lion towel holder and matching non-gold shower and toilet paper fixtures, but the mirror has been purchased (at a thrift store! For $12!) and we know which toilet seat we need, just haven’t gotten around to getting it yet. Even missing these elements, it’s a huge improvement!


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December 2013
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