Time Thief

Sunday, April 16, 2006

bathroom tour

Thanks for everyone's plumbing input. I decided to go with plumber #2. The fact that he did provide a detailed written estimate and that he had recently done a very similar job just a few blocks away clinched the deal. He's asking a reasonable price and letting him do it instead of doing it myself means I will be able to sleep at night, not wondering if the pipes in the wall are going to explode. As we all know, knowing how to do something isn't always enough. Some things take finesse and experience and I'm not willing to gain that experience on the pipes inside my walls. Now, I just hope plumber #1 doesn't call wondering when I want him to start. (I am so bad at rejecting people.)

Since I called for your advice, I will take you on a tour of my skanky bathroom.

Here is the before in all its beauty. The small bag over the top part of the window is covering an old ventilation fan. It was disconnected long ago and sent quite a strong breeze through the place because there was no damper. Not a good thing when you're taking a shower on a cold winter morning. The design on the bag is a post-911 american pride thing, so that gives you some idea of how long it's been like this. The large black trash bag was my attempt to keep water from going behind the wall and raining all over the basement. It took me a while to get to that point and I wish I'd done it sooner because it was about 90% effective. My other method of shoving caulk all over the grout lines didn't do much at all. I knew it was temporary so I was just smearing it all over everything. In any event, it didn't work very well.

Here is the window from the outside so you see what I mean about the fan. Judging by other houses in the neighborhood, I was guessing the plywood section was originally a slider window, but I found evidence to the contrary as you'll see when I get to the demo pics. When I re-sided, I just put 1 inch trim all the way around for easier removal later.

Here are the lovely original faucets. (That's not sarcasm, I actually like these.) This was back in the day when Kohler meant quality, I guess. I used all Kohler in the master bath and have not been happy. There will be no more Kohler in this bathroom.

Here is the drum trap in the basement, under the tub.

And here is the bucket that catches the rusty water from the drum trap. ewww.

Here is the fabulous sink, complete with 'Do not use' post-it note. I am a female of average height, and the top of this sink comes to just above my knees.

Be sure to note the pointless mold-experiment "ledge" that was built between the vanity and tub. Betcha can't guess how it was attached.

Only a select few get to see inside the vanity cabinet. Aren't you lucky?

Here is where various medicine cabinets used to be. The "current" wall paper is some funky early-80's stuff that's like thin canvas. I couldn't even hammer through the stuff. The older, funky paper must've gone very well with the light blue paint I found on the trim. Oh, note the towel sticking out of the wall...That's where the old outlet was, a mere two inches from the shower tile. I moved that when I re-wired the first floor eons ago.

The tub is staying. There's no reason to get rid of it and it will look fabulous after it's re-finished. I like its funky curves. It's like mid-century designers thought about tubs the same way they thought about cars.

This toilet couldn't be any more broken. Really. The seat is broken. It doesn't flush right. It leaks. I guess if it didn't hold any water at all it would be more broken. That's the only way. And check out the nice, crusty vent. That is a supreme location on a cold winter day. You just have to time it right so you're there when the furnace kicks on.

Nice shot of years of toilet leakage and the original pinwheel tile. I'm conflicted about the tile. I love it, but I don't like the grout color. The tile itself is a little worn, but it could probably be workable. I certainly don't want to remove it all. It's probably sitting on two inches of mortar. Plumber #1 had a brilliant suggestion and that was to just tile over it. The toilet flange would just need to be raised, and then when someone comes along in 30 more years, they will be thrilled to find the original tile underneath! However, if I were to put down new tile, I would probably just put down more pinwheels. So, I'm investigating the option of coloring the grout.

Here is a close-up of some of the worst tile. Anybody have an opinion or tried this grout colorant stuff? They say it can last 10-15 years, so that's not too bad as a stopgap. I think I'd go insane if I attempted to saw out all those grout lines.

Finally, you know it has to be there. You know you wanna look up......

Glitter and popcorn and sparkles, oh my! I added the fan when I re-wired and obviously didn't care about being too careful with the drywall saw.

I have much more to share, but this will have to be all for now. The kitties and work need my attention.


  • Hello-We are presently working on a 1880 colonial row house in Delaware. We are very experienced in Old Homes and love NYS history.Take a trip to Pine Lake and the great camps.You will be Glad.That bathroom should be ripped. Its easy to save what still works and fits the time period.Trust me any new walls and fixtures w/ old plumbing will be a nightmare. You will need a saws-all to cut that 4" galavinized pipe.Get a Slip coupling and start fresh w/pvc pipe. I like cpvc pipe better now for water supply-easier to work with and resists N.Y.S cold weather instead of copper. MY NAME IS MIKE-We own Property in Afton,NY

    By Anonymous Mike, at 10:48 AM  

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