Saturday, October 19, 2013

Upstairs Bathroom Project: Complete!

This summer we should really have re-named the Pink House “Renovation Land.”

I have two bathrooms in my house, which is not common for a house built in 1900, so I am uber lucky. 

My upstairs bathroom, however, left much to be desired.  I don’t know anything for sure, but with a house built in 1900, it’s possible that the bathroom was an afterthought, a retrofit (meaning that the original house had no bathroom at all).  It certainly looked that way.  All of the plumbing was wadded into one corner.  The bathroom had been updated in the fifties, so I had a fifties era tub and homemade vanity, and then the tile had been updated in the nineties.  It was esthetically tacky, to say the least.  But, also, I am 5’3”, and would hit my knees on the vanity when I sat on the potty, so I can’t imagine what it was like for someone taller.  The way that they had retrofit the tub to accommodate a shower had a weird extension on it, which was also crowded into the corner with the toilet and sink, with only about a six-inch gap from the toilet.  I would be aware of this during the day, but when I would get up in the middle of the night to go potty, would usually forget, so I had perma-bruise either on my knee or shin.  I was so over it. 

I wanted to not just remodel the bathroom to make it more user-friendly, but I also wanted to restore it, to make it look like it belonged in a house built in 1900.  In addition, there is no master bedroom upstairs, with an en suite, so I wanted to add a door to the bedroom next to it, to give it a “Jack and Jill” type entrance, where it made one of the bedrooms seem like a master, but still gave access to the hall and the rest of the house, as it’s the only upstairs bathroom.   All of this required moving everything around, plumbing wise, ripping everything out, moving the current door, moving the lights.  Phew.  It was a tall order.

So, the contractor that I hired started in mid-July, and quoted me two and a half weeks to get the job done.  We finished last Friday.  That’s more like ten and a half weeks, if you do the math.  Nothing went according to plan.  The guys that did the initial work had to do a bunch of stuff over again.  I eventually had to call in back up (thanks, Dad) to get them to follow through on what they said they were going to do.   It’s been an emotional roller coaster.  It made me feel really widowed.  I had to keep remembering that even if my husband were alive, I would still have been the one dealing with the contractor, because I was better at it.  I felt like I was being taken advantage of because I was a woman with no man around to back her up.  I also felt like it sucked that I’m 34 and a half years old and what it took to finally get it right was to call my daddy and have him talk to them.  I realize that it’s more like I’m smart enough to know how to use my resources, and in the end, the job got done (my dad is a construction engineer who deals with contractors on a daily basis, so even if he were just my friend, he’s exactly who I would have called to support me on this). 

It was a long ten weeks.  I got so tired of plaster dust, of having stinky men in my house, of having to be up with a bra on at 9AM every day (even if they didn’t show up by then, which was the norm).  In the end, I got the bathroom of my dreams and I’m so excited!  (I can’t wait to finish painting the bedroom next to it and move into my new “Master Bedroom!”)
Arthur and I in the "new" vintage tub.


...with everything ripped out.

This is the before shot of tub that I refinished myself.

...and the "before" shot of the vanity that I refinished myself.

"After" of the vanity, shown through the new pocket door.

"Happily Ever After."


  1. Oh, your bathroom looks SO pretty! I love that subway tile look and the vanity and period floor. Don't feel bad about having to have your Dad call the contractor. You will be your daddy's little girl until the day he dies. I sure called mine a lot for advice right up until I was nearly twice your age when I lost him. At first it was because I needed his advice and then it became a thing where I wanted to make him feel needed. Like you said, you were smart enough to use the resources available to you and that's important.

  2. It is absolutely glorious!! Well done on the design and refurbishing!!

  3. Hi Noel, just been reading your past post. I have just become a widow myself so have been trawling the internet for blogs and people who understand. Would love to get in touch with you if possible XXX