Another Adventure in Home Improvement

March 1, 2012

It was clearly designed in another era, perhaps another planet.  It was a bathroom with shag carpeting.  Zebra-striped shag carpeting.  I’m sure it looked snazzy in its day, especially with the black tub, black sink and black toilet (which was a little scary for toddlers and adults alike).  

The carpeting did not last long, replaced within months of our moving in with more appealing and easier to clean, but alas perhaps even less ecologically friendly, sticky vinyl tiles.  But that was a) when we had less money, b) before I’d seen the (green) light, and c) when I was desperate to get rid of the shag carpeting.

Now, nearly 18 years later, it is time to totally redo the bathroom.  The underlayment around the toilet was rotting from decades of tiny leaks.  I was afraid someone would end up in the kitchen.

While most of the design features in the bathroom were not what I would have chosen, I have to admit I’d grown fond the of the tub.  It is a black, cast iron, drop in, soaking tub circa 1960’s or 70’s.  The outside dimensions are 5’ x 3’.  I can stretch my legs out straight easily.  Before my daughter became a tween and usurped the bath, it was my favorite hiding place.  It will be mine again!

Once the decision was made to redo the room the fun began.  Finding the people to do the work was easy – the same people who do all our work, most recently the garage

I have been seriously considering how to redo this bathroom for about a year, ever since our tax return indicated it was possible.  Last May, my husband and I spent a weekend getting ideas and I figured out what I wanted.  We knew the carpenter and his son would be booked through summer; it turned out they were booked clear through January.  But in February the work began.

Here are just some teaser photos:DSCF9937

Here’s the tub with a black slate surround.  The mirror is actually very nice in a wabi-sabi way – beveled glass but worn silver.  I hope to strip the paint from the wood frame and use it again.






There were many built-in cabinets. around the built-in vanity.  None of this is bad, but it made for cramped quarters (I think I may have been in the tub to take this picture).



The hardware was not to my taste – but it has held up well and is still in excellent shape.  I will donate it to the local Education Foundation to sell at the community auction.  I hope someone actually wants it.



After we’d cleaned out all our belongings (as well as half of the adjacent office where the toilet and tub are stored during the renovation) the demolition began.  That is a scary time.  DSCF9953I start to worry that something bad will happen to the carpenters and I’ll be left with a black hole for a room. 

There was an interesting surprise.  DSCF9950Where the sink and cabinets had been built the wall actually slanted back at a 22o angle. You can see on the floor where the vanity had been.  We just found some space!

Today I worked from home.  The carpenters were here all morning and then the plumbers arrived at 1:00.  It is now 8 p.m. and I still have a plumber in my bathroom. He is finishing up the plumbing for the bath so the carpenters can tile.  When you find good workers you hold onto them!

There are signs that the room will actually be a bathroom again. The room has most of a floor, a framed in cabinet (where I hoped we’d have a window, but alas a chimney made that unworkable), and a glass brick window/wall at the room end of the bath.  DSCF0028And Hark!  I hear water!



As tempting as it is to take a bath tonight.  I think I’ll wait until the room is done.



  1. […] Green Moving my family ever greenward. « Another Adventure in Home Improvement Spring Break– I need to go to work to rest March 18, […]

  2. Love the glass block. Hope it continues to go smoothly! We just had a water leak in our newly remodeled bathrooms… the upstairs toilet had a very slow seep that finally pooled enough to show through the downstairs bathroom ceiling. It was where the new seal met the old pipe, so thankfully the floor upstairs didn’t get wet. The contractor responded very quickly; the repair has been dry for a week, so now it’s time to get things patched back up.

    • frustrating! I hate when new things have flaws – you expect it from something old, not something new.

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