RS: before & during: bathroom

This one, I’m sorry to say, is a bit less glamorous than the dining room.

Part of this is because it’s a bathroom. Unless you have unreal amounts of moolah at your disposal for their renovation, they don’t always turn out especially glamorous.

This one, though. It required extra special levels of bravery (and youth) (and recklessness) to get the bathroom to where it is today — which probably still looks unimpressive to the untrained eye.

True story: when we first started renovating the house in October, we kept the bathroom door closed to keep its odors contained.

So, being able to breathe in the bathroom? To me, this is glamorous.

Here’s the only picture I bothered taking of the bathroom during our tour in December, 2011:

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I can’t lie. The stench drove me out.

If you recall, our house had a thing for multiples of bad things . . . it was a rough phase. Here we have a doubled drop ceiling.


I took the picture below when I was feeling only slightly braver. I sort of wish now that I had taken pictures of the stained carpet, unbelievably foul toilet, crusted plumbing, and colonies of mildew. Even if I had, though, there’s no way to capture the way it smelled, and no one would believe it anyway.

Here’s a glimpse into the general quality of the bathroom:

When my brother started to deconstruct the bad things in the bathroom, he ripped off the whole lower half of the wall by yanking the toilet paper holder fastened into the wall. You can sort of see this on the far left side of the picture below.


The whole thing just popped off.

Under the wood and wallpaper was this beauty:


That, friends, is glue.

Now, I don’t have anything against wallpaper, but . . . okay. No. I do.


Pictured above is the some of the progress we made the day we recruited high school boys to help us destroy the house-wide curse of old plaster and supporting plaster boards. Through that lovely ragged gaping hole in the wall is the dining room.

Below is the view from the hallway (check out those mint walls) of the finally plaster- and mold- and pee-stained carpet-free bathroom.




Oh, and the engineer – to the rescue. Shoveling out the plaster boards.


This spring, my mother and I tag-teamed the awful floor (again with the doubles) which had been glued (again with the glue) mercilessly to the hardwood floor beneath it.

We did this by hacking wildly at the old linoleum tile with all variety of shovels. This should sound more fun than it was in reality. I did not like this project.

But I accidentally made Africa. That was pretty cool.


We were finally ready for new stuff, which I have dubbed Phase 2.

Our first major new-stuff project involved a lot of discussion. The problem: the bathroom in its original 1938 state measured about 5′ by 7′. As in, don’t put on any weight or you won’t be able to turn around in your bathroom.


But the room adjacent to the bathroom, which I’d been calling the weird little room while we figured out what to make it, was – well – weird and little. I feared making it weirder and littler.

In the end we decided to make it only slightly littler — by pushing out part of the wall about 16 inches. (By “pushing out,” I mean the old wall had to be torn out and a new one put in. I didn’t do it, but I’m sure it was as simple as it sounds.) This section of the wall was around 40 inches wide, enough to absorb most of a bathroom vanity and sink.


Is that confusing? I’m sorry. I’m not very good at explaining things and that picture is worthless.


Here’s the view from the hallway again (no more mint green!). The above cabinet (new, $50 on Craigslist) will someday slide back into our little alcove, with our mason jar sconces.

Did you notice any other changes? How about that horrendous glass block window is gone? I fought for a new window for three reasons.

1. After three months as a professional cleaner, I advocate for windows that open.
2. Fire escape.
3. I hold that there are two kinds of old: good, quaint old (vintage, antique — the kind of chipping, shabby, decomposing things you pay out the nose for) . . . and bad, dated, cloudy old. Guess which this is.

And speaking of dated and cloudy (except not really), along with the window (and along with the wiring in the rest of the house), the bathroom wiring had to go. My husband just finished wiring the bathroom last week (now that we’ve settled the sconce issue and once again are living in peace).

Presto: Let there be light.

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To take this picture, I stood in the shower that doesn’t exist yet. (You’re looking into the weird little room on your left, then the hallway on your right — and the kitchen past that.)


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I hear that kitchens and bathrooms are the rooms that sell homes. So we may need a toilet, at some point.

One thought on “RS: before & during: bathroom

  1. Pingback: RS: plagues and missing the point | la corbeille

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