New Bath & Shower!!

THIS is what I’ve wanted now for 8 years, a new bathtub.  Sigh, I’m so happy it’s in and over with.  But first, the gory details.  Below is the original bath as it was when we moved in, sans the ladder. 😉

The process to renovation was about what we expected, but it never happens as quickly for me as I’d like.  I started this, as mentioned, by scraping down the old paint.  Then, I primed with an exceptional bonding primer, filled in with joint compound, re-primed with bonding primer on the walls and a sealing primer on the ceiling.  Next, I painted my first base coat, on walls and ceiling.  But, the paint work was easy compared to bathtub installation, primarily done by Billy.

You can see from the photo below how cracked the ceiling was and how yellowed the vinyl surround had become.  We believe it was originally white to match the bathtub.

In the meantime, we took apart the old surround, took out the old tub, and looked into the plumbing.  It took us hours to figure out how to turn off the water, but that is the true treasure and beauty of an older home.  We went through every single pipe in the basement together and took a look at how it all fit together, twisting every handle and finally discovering that none of them really worked unless the water from the street/village was turned all the way off.  It was just the back pressure that kept pushing water up to the tub.  Bill was able to attach new plumbing relatively easily and we were able to install the new (porcelain steel) tub.  It’s longer than the last tub, which is a boon for me!

We debated on tiling or acrylic surround for the shower.  Besides raising the shower head, which I’m also thrilled about, we landed on surround.  It is easier to put in and repair down the road.  Having only one working shower in the house means that we need to have it working quickly and efficiently.

And the best part of the room is the new mini chandelier.  We needed more light since the two sconces are rather high on the wall and the room is oddly shaped.  It was a fun bobble to add and gave us the chance to put in two more outlets near the sink.

New towels, new rugs and sigh.

Before too long, we will replace the toilet, but really it’s done.  SO HAPPY doesn’t even begin to cover how this new room makes me feel.  Nothing like a pretty bath to make you feel really clean.

Upstairs Bath Repair

Several years back, we repaired and prepped the upstairs full bath.  Within the first year, the painted walls and ceiling started to crack and peel – due to the high humidity this room gets during showers having no fan or ventilation.

Since then, we added an automatic fan to vent out through the attic roof, but the peeling paint has lingered, along with a hideous tub and surround, of two different colors.  Not to mention, I was never truly happy with the color I chose for the new paint and the stencil around the bead-board wainscoting.  The photo is the current bath colors, new photos to come.

We’ve decided to overhaul the whole room, except for the original sink.  It’s not my favorite sink, but I can’t bare to part with it because it is c. 1894.  Plus, it is a beautiful grey marble.  (And I found a lovely marbled top vanity to match.)

We’ll put in a new tub and I’d truly like to tile around it instead of acrylic surround.  Possibly a new toilet, additional and new lights and definitely new paint and ceiling.

The first part and biggest pain, however is chipping away at the patchy paint on the ceiling.  Once I get as much down as possible, I’ll use a strong bonding primer and then patch with joint compound.  Our issue might been that we used a shellac primer when we first did the work.  While shellac is great between layers of paint, or covering wallpaper with super adhesion, it isn’t the best for humidity.  We just didn’t know at the time how humid that room could get.

So this week has been full on scraping, bath and downstairs hallway, which I’ll share in another post.

Maybe next week will bring at least a little paint my way and more time to keep you updated with posts!

Powder Room is Finished!


Half bath before our work
Half bath before our work

Another three months between posts.  It does suggest that we aren’t working, or I stopped writing, neither of which is really true.  I write quite a bit, (just on other blogs) and we have been working quite a bit, just much slower these days.  Will has dropped his nap, which means we have very little chunks of time to accomplish things.

Back of the door, bottom half is re-oiled.
Check out this wallpaper, 80's looking, we think.
Check out this wallpaper, 80’s looking, we think.

So, it took us nearly 4 months to complete our downstairs bathroom.  We started in February, just taking down the wallpaper.  It was both dated and dirty.  And, it was stuck on with epoxy or something equally sticky.  I pulled it off in micro-bits after soaking it in warm water and laundry softener.  At this point, I also tested Danish oil on the door to see if it would refresh the surface.  Two coats did wonders.

By April, we had refinished the floor and put in a new toilet.  You can see the large ugly hole that we had to fill in once we took out the cabinet sink.  Bill keeps a great stash of scrap wood and he had enough pieces from our hardwood floors to patch the whole.  The room was small enough that Bill did the floor in a weekend, really.  Sanded and stained in a day and then took two more to get coats of polyurethane on it.  Toilets are heavy, but not hard to put in.  We had that part complete by Easter weekend.

Everything stripped
Everything stripped

By the end of May, the whole thing was repainted and ready for a sink.  We used two different primers, one for the plastered walls and another for the wainscoting beneath.  Two coats of primer on each surface and then two coats of paint on top of each of those.  Plus, Bill caulked holes and cracks between coats.

Primer complete
Primer complete

In June, we put in the sink, refinished the window and placed the fixtures.  Really, Bill did all of this.  He took out the window and stripped the pink paint and stained the frame, which looks sharp with the mirror and the floor.  We took out the old medicine cabinet and put it upstairs where it is more useful.  Moving the mirror from upstairs down works for now, too.  We bought a new light fixture a few months back when the old one died and I liked the placement of it.  Even though it is off center, it works for me.  All of the hardware is an oil-rubbed bronze.

The only thing left is to put in a new switch and find a way to put in an outlet.  Like the dining room, this room has no outlets.  For a powder room, it isn’t a huge deal, but it would be a nice feature to have just in case.  Getting rid of more pink in this room was a big priority for me, and refinishing the floor just makes the room feel new.  It is brighter and cleaner now.

The old toilet moved upstairs to our full bath, where it will reside until we get all new fixtures.  The previous toilet had to be 60 years old and it was ready to retire.  The half bath sink we put out at “Tiffany’s” where it “sold” quickly.  (Shopping at Tiffany’s is our way of explaining how quickly things disappear if we put them at the curb.  We have sold a lot at Tiffany’s over the years, but it is always fun to see when things go.)

So, our half bath is overall complete.  We are working on other outdoor projects right now, too, and taking time to enjoy our family and the outdoors.