The WideEyedHousehold spent the last fifteen months without a bathroom door, shower, sink, or toilet more or less sequentially. This embarrassingly long duration of inconvenience was, of course, the fault of unadulterated laziness and winter ennui. In recent days we bootstrapped ourselves into finishing the job.
More than one year ago, the WideEyedSpouse got to picking at the paint peeling off the 104 year subway tiles (see: 6 Days in the Bathroom). He peeled up the cheap sticky tiles and cleaned pink mold from the antique hexagon tiles on the floor. He stripped spray paint from the tiles around the radiator. I stripped nine to fifteen coats of paint from the woodwork, primed, and repainted. I scraped and sanded the ceilings and walls, primed and repainted. We replaced the tub faucet and shower surround. I bought a new beveled mirror for the old medicine cabinet. I broke it. I bought another one and some glass for the shelves inside because I thought that would look nice. It does.
We found a 100 year old Empire reproduction bureau to stand in as the vanity. It had a 1930s St Louis bus token in it. And an envelope taped to the bottom of a drawer. We shook with excitement. It was empty. After months of looking at all, at ALL of the sinks online we bought the sink and faucet.
An exhaust fan went in, which necessitated some filthy attic labor. Blown in insulation has flaws.
We tore out the cheap vanity and whacked it with a sledge in the back yard. It exploded. We sorted through 500,000 used bathroom tiles at the Reuse store to find the 23 that were antique subway tiles. I think the Spouse caught the plague there. We tore out the (cracked) toilet. The old one had been held in place by insulfoam. If you know something about toilets, you’ll understand that the WideEyedDiningroom below was one scary flush away from…something unpalatable.
We scrubbed the tile walls with vinegar. We remasticked loose tiles, placed new (old, resued) tiles where some had disappeared over the years. Grouted. Miserable. I scrubbed the floor with an Oxyclean solution. It took days. I don’t like to think about what came up and I hope my gloves were thick enough. We remasticked loose tiles, placed new (old, resued) tiles where some had disappeared over the years. Grouted. Miserable.
The new toilet went in and it has a dual flush button: low water and more water. What luxury to not have to creep down the night dark steps to the halfbath. The new vanity, all waterproofed with coats of Waterlox, went in. Yes, I turned the fan on in a dog hairy and dusty room while the new varnish was drying. Let’s not talk about that. The Spouse remodeled the drawers to fit around the plumbing. I bought a tissue box caddy on etsy. I made curtains.
It sounds so simple, just listed out like that. It wasn’t. It stunk. Mostly it stunk. Shopping online wasn’t terrible. But the rest of it was filthy, even unsanitary, grueling, meticulous labor. Although it sure is clean now.
The moral of the story: don’t start peeling paint (or wallpaper for that matter) no matter how tempting the little loose bits look.