Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bathroom renovation

We live in an old downtown Wooster house. By old, I mean that it was built in 1918, has original (drafty) windows and faulty ele, has walls inhabited by some lovely woodsy critters, and has modern updates that are as new as 1983.

When we bought the house, we knew that the first things to be renovated would be the kitchen and bathroom, which had a very 1980's vibe to them, which is not at all in keeping with our traditional older home. These two pictures are of the house at the Open House, before we bought it.

This year, after postponing our Italy trip for one more summer, we decided to use some of the money we put away to renovate the bathroom. We really didn't have much of a choice, the drain in the shower/tub combo had pretty much closed completely. We had snaked it, and were going through an entire bottle of Draino about every other week to no avail. Still, it would take about two hours for dirty, grungy water to go down after someone had showered. The first picture shows the shower, with dirty water still in it, and the following show the bathroom as it was before the renovation.

As the renovation got underway, we learned a lot about home renovations. First off, projects always take longer than you will think. You will spend almost as much time driving to and shopping at Lowe's as you will doing the project. Tony actually thought that the bulk of the project would be finished THAT WEEKEND. As I sit here typing, the project is still not done. Secondly, things have to get a whole lot worse before they get better. The bathroom was stripped completely down. Everything had to come out, including the sink, tub, toilet, floors, subfloor, plumbing, and electric. The only thing we left were the original built-in cabinets above the toilet. When the plumbing was removed from the tub area where we had the problems, it actually just disintegrated in the guys' hands as they were taking it apart. If we hadn't started the renovation, we would have had a MUCH bigger problem on our hands. The guys threw pretty much everything they tore out of the bathroom out the 2nd story window. The only thing that didn't fit out the window was the shower surround which Tony took out the front door, breaking the glass in one of the panes on the door in the process. Dirt and general nastiness was tracked down the hallway carpet and up and down the carpet on the stairs. This is my face during this process.

The last thing we learned that I want to mention is that it is good to have a budget, but there will always be unexpected expenses. The most expensive part of our renovation was the shower door. We did some serious shopping around and ended up finding exactly what we wanted as a special order from Menard's. We were really disappointed because it was going to take 3-4 weeks to receive it through special order. The funny part is that after we DID receive it 4 weeks later, and then it sat in our garage for 2 more weeks because we weren't ready for it.

The concept behind our new bathroom is a 1920's style, black and white subway-tiled bathroom. I wanted it to be more in keeping with the style of our home. One benefit of this plan is that subway tile is cheap. One downfall is that they are very small and it take A LOT of them to fill a bathroom. Contrary to what the pictures show, the subway tiled walk-in shower was my baby in this project. I spent DAYS in that small enclosure, cutting and measuring, grouting and cleaning. It was really an awful process. We did not have a working shower in our bathroom for almost a month. The guys rigged up a system of showering in the wide open scary, cob-webby basement with the sprayer from the basement sink. I utilized this every time I wanted to shower for over 3 weeks.

This story is "To Be Continued". If my bathroom isn't finished yet, my blog about it doesn't have to be either.

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