Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bathroom #2

We must really be gluttons for punishment, because yesterday we started renovating the second of the three bathrooms that all needed re-doing when we bought the house. This one is really only half a bathroom - a powder room, to be exact.

I'm bemused by what finally got us started. This bathroom had been on our list of things to do since we moved into the house (along with nine million other things), but it wasn't at the top of the list. Two days ago I would have guessed that maybe we'd get to it next fall. But for some reason yesterday - the planets? boredom? avoiding other less fascinating projects? - Kim suggested we get started, and I took up a pry bar and hammer. This is what it looked like 20 minutes later.

I've frequently heard that when renovations start there are always surprises around the corner. It took removing the tiles around the sink to find the surprise waiting for us with this project. We knew the tile around the sink had been installed after the sink was in place. What we didn't know was that the drywall had been installed after the sink was in place. At least the studs were there when the sink was put in, but the sink was apparently just that much too wide, and the studs were notched out so the sink would fit. That's right: the sink was actually wider than the room itself, and extended into the cavities between the studs. (If you click on the photo to make it bigger you can see the notched studs on either side.)

Now that's dedication. That's someone saying "Damn it, I want that sink!" and finding a way to make it work. Unfortunately it meant we had to destroy a fair bit of drywall to get it out again. Once the sink (which, though charming, was badly iron-stained like all the fixtures in the house) and the vanity were out, and we removed a bit more drywall, we realized someone also had to do some plumbing gymnastics to make the sink work. Now I feel badly for taking it out.

We finished demolition, cleaned up a bit and then it was time to go shopping. We had reluctantly decided to replace the vanity as well as the countertop/sink, because the existing one had been modified (again to make the sink work) to such an extent it wasn't structurally sound anymore. I had a sinking feeling (ha!) as we headed to Rona in the truck - Kim and I don't have a good track record when it comes to efficient purchasing. We had been looking for a new vanity for the ensuite bathroom for months, and hadn't been able to find anything we could agree on. (Typically heard while shopping: "You like that?") What were we in for this time?

Someone was smiling on us today, because within 5 minutes of walking into the store we saw a vanity that we both liked, that would fit well, that was reasonably priced and was in stock. And the obscure, hard-to-find faucet we bought for the last renovation? They had one more in stock - just for us, I said as I clasped the box in joy. The employee who was helping us may have burst into laughter, but it didn't bother me - she doesn't know how long it took Kim and I to agree on a faucet the first time! We were out of there in 30 minutes, most of which were spent watching the employees maneuver the heavy box off a shelf fifteen feet high, through the store and onto our truck.

Is it all going to be this easy?


Paula said...

Yeah- I took one look at that exposed plumbing and thought, hmmm, somethin' ain't right here. It also looks like relatively new plumbing as well.

Can I make a suggestion? Think about wiring for two lights- one on either side of the mirror, while you have the wall off. You can make them fit your style- modern or otherwise. Two lights are more flattering than a single overhead and make a difference as you get older. For fun, you should check out Rejuvenation Hardware in Portland. Check them out online: http://www.rejuvenation.com/

Miriam said...

It's funny you should suggest that, because we talked about the overhead light fixture today and the fact that it doesn't really cast enough light for a bathroom. Definitely somthing to think about!

~Kim~ said...

I can't wait to see the finished project and what vanity you both so quickly agreed on!!

Toni aka irishlas said...

You ladies have amazing energy!
I was told a rule of thumb years ago about renovations/remodeling - twice as long, twice as much. It's been a pretty good rule of thumb during every renovation project I've taken on.
Can't wait to see the grand finale!

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