Tuesday, February 26, 2013

DIY #2: The Guest Bathroom

When we moved in, our house was pretty much left as nice as it could be. Everything was freshly painted, and the wood floors had been refinished. There wasn’t much the sellers could do about the ancient kitchen or second-floor bathroom, which need to be gutted. But you got the sense that they’d done what they could to make this house appealing to people like us—ready to fall in love with a real gem of a home, and willing to put in some work.

Then…you get to the attic. There, you get the sense that the sellers just threw up their hands and prayed the rest of the house would carry its deadweight. The attic is kind of a mess. There’s one really great wooden room, billed as a bedroom and ideal for an office or playroom someday, once it gets insulated. There’s a large raw storage space. There’s also a guest bedroom and guest bathroom, and it’s in these rooms that Rochester would have found ample comfort for his insane wife.

The guest bedroom is a DIY project for another time, so I’ll save the details of that for the future. But the guest bathroom required some attention, particularly since that’s the bathroom I use: I refuse to shower in the dungeon-stall in the second-floor bathroom, and though the guest bathroom was a wreck, at least it had a normal tub and shower. When I say “wreck,” I’m not being a picky perfectionist. There was peeling, disintegrating, discolored wallpaper that hadn’t been applied properly in the first place. The paint on the ceiling, nubbily textured, was raining down steadily; each morning, I stepped with damp barefeet from the shower onto a snowdrift of crunchy paint flakes. Ick and ick. The discolored, hideous linoleum on the floor was peeling up along all the edges. All the paint was yellowing and old. The window blind was broken. It was beyond a mess.

Every morning as I showered, I had time to study these things, and I decided we could address this room ourselves. We plan to renovate the entire attic someday into a fabulous master suite or something, so we didn’t want to put too much money into renovating this bathroom—but it needed help. So, one weekend, we decided to just dive in and start fixing it up.

We (Andrew) scraped the paint from the ceiling. I tore down the wallpaper. We got a new blind. We repainted the walls and trim. We laid down peel-and-stick tiles. We got a new bathmat. Andrew recaulked and installed a tile over the strange fixture-holes in the shower wall. And—that was it. It was a lot of work, and the results aren’t perfect, with part of the plaster already crumbling despite Andrew’s spackling; but it looks quite nice, and it’s actually a pleasant space now.

Estimated time: less than 2 days
Actual time: 5 days (working in the evenings)
Number of trips to Home Depot/Target: 2
Tools borrowed from neighbors: 1 (caulk gun)



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