Thursday, March 13, 2008

Powder Room, Part 1

Our downstairs bathroom just off the kitchen is actually a full bath, although we have never bathed in that shower. When we moved in, it was painted lavender topping cheerful yellow wall tiles and small wood tiles in a parquet design. The vanity was a square thing, painted many times and showing water damage near where the sides met the floor. The room is pretty small and the door didn't swing open all the way, but bumped into the vanity causing the occupant to squeeze around the commode to enter and exit the room.

We started the re-do last spring, and it took us much longer than we expected, due to some surprises along the way. Jeff chipped off all the yellow 4x4 wall tiles and found some kind of vinyl wall covering. Under that was bead board, nice old inch-thick boards covered in mold. Out they went. Under the bead board was the outside wall of the house. No insulation. In fact, if you bent down and looked up through the horizontal siding, you could see daylight streaming through. That explained why the bathroom was always so cold!

After adding insulation, Jeff put up cement backerboard and then surrounded the tub with white subway tiles. The rest of the room had been covered in white faux-wood wall panelling and painted, so that was replaced with beadboard.

We also added a small toilet, pedestal sink, bamboo flooring, we splurged a little on a bamboo-styled faucet to match the flooring. After consulting the Pottery Barn catalog for a pleasing Benjamin Moore paint sample (why reinvent the wheel?), the room was patched, plastered, and painted Silvery Blue (1647) and finally completed. A mere 8 months after we started.

To our credit, in addition to the doing all the demo and renovation ourselves, Jeff also moved the plumbing, rewired a light, and installed a water shutoff valve that didn't cause the entire house to be shut down. This was a little beyond the "update" we originally envisioned and morped into a true renovation.

Which is why the words "Honey, why is it raining in the basement?" brought that familiar sagging feeling when Jeff uttered the question 2 days before Christmas.

To be continued...

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