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Goodbye Bath!

June 20, 2011

When we moved into our new (to us) house last August, we knew one of the first rooms we would completely change is the bathroom.

It was usable, and in okay condition, but just not to our tastes. It needed to be updated and brought out of the ’50s into this century in the worst way.

This is what it looked like before we moved in.

Pink cast iron tub. Pink sink. Pink tile. Almond (?) surround that was obviously a later addition. Grayish vinyl that was another later addition. Icky textured wallpaper.

The showerhead was a good foot short for the hub and I (we’re rather tall people) and I had to do a sort of modified back bend in order to wash my hair. Not entirely comfortable.

While the sink had good storage and counter space, that just allowed for clutter and junk to pile up on it. Plus, there was one medicine cabinet/mirror and one bank of lights, not all of which worked. Not ideal for putting on my makeup.

The toilet was fairly new, tucked into a corner on the other side of the bath. There was some nice storage shelves, which made it easy to stock 12 rolls of toilet paper at a time.

The only change we made after moving in was to tear down the wallpaper and take down the window treatment. Otherwise, it’s basically been the same for the past nine months.

After months of planning and dreaming and researching, we finally settled on what we wanted. In order to keep costs down, we would do the work ourselves with some help from family and friends.

And about 10 days ago, we finally started.

The ILs were able to come up and help, which was a big deal to the hub because FIL has a background in plumbing and could help out with some of the necessary plumbing work.

The first thing to go was the vanity.

You can see where at one time, there was a hole cut in the floor for a basement laundry. We no longer needed that as the laundry had been moved to the first floor.

Next to go was the almond surround and pink bath.

We think the bath was just a bath originally (not unusual in the ’50s) and they added the surround whenever they converted it to a shower. They put the surround directly on top of the pink tiles that had been around the tub. The pink tiles we later discovered were plastic.

They also had to tear out that support wall – some of the wood had water damage and it was easier to install the new plumbing for the shower if they just built a new one. That meant we lost the shelving next to the toilet, but we had bought a cabinet to go above the toilet, anyway, so losing the shelving wasn’t a huge deal.

The toilet was next.

Don’t those stains look lovely? I’m pretty sure that’s why our bathroom always smelled like a boy’s locker room, despite regular(ish) cleaning.

And finally some of the pink tile.

Before we started the demolition process, we thought maybe we could salvage the tile and resell/give it to someone interested in restoring a midcentury bath, but once we discovered they were plastic, the hub decided it was easier just to completely cut out the entire wallboard with the tile on it.

By the end of the weekend, the hub and FIL had a lot of the plumbing done (or at least roughed in)

and even had the tub (and later surround) installed.

The tub technically “works” meaning the water runs to it and it drains correctly without leaking, but it’s not in a usable state. Mostly because the hub is using it to store some of the other things he needs to continue working on the bathroom.

It’s a slow process. The hub is fitting in work on it as he can around his other (real, paying job) schedule. There has been even more progress in the past week (all the wall tile removed, new subfloor, new cementboard for the tile floor, plumbing roughed in for the double sink vanity, wall reworked for the new medicine cabinets and a lot of rewiring). But there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Thankfully, we do have another full bathroom in the basement, so we aren’t walking around totally stinky for the next few weeks. It’s only a cinderblock shower, however, so twice a week I load the kids up and take them down to my parents’ so they can have baths. Plus, in order to use the toilet, we have to schlep all the way downstairs, too. And when you’re 20 weeks pregnant like I currently am, getting up and traversing all the way downstairs in the middle of the night to pee isn’t exactly fun. But we’ll get there, a little bit every day. And it’ll be so nice when it’s all done.

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