Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy Belated Holidays

Including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah.  Here's a photo of my first use of the fireplace, along with its Christmas decor:

There have been no posts in a long time due to the busy holiday season, among other things.  My mother was also here for three weeks and it was awesome!  It was the first Thanksgiving we had spent together in several years.  Unfortunately, I had to work the entire time but getting home around 3:30 in the afternoon still left plenty of time in the evenings.  I even worked Thanksgiving day but came home to wonderful smells of turkey, dressing and desserts.  I so miss having her around and wish she could just move here and live with me.  We had the best time while she was here.  She loves my house and said she totally understands why I fell in love with it, too.

Three days before her arrival, the sink in the main bathroom tore up and had to be removed.  There had been a very slow leak coming from a rusted hole in the trap.  Only items I seldom to never used were stored in the vanity, and it was a rude surprise to open the doors and discover everything covered in black and really fuzzy grey mold.  I got a mask, gloves and a trash bag and discarded all the items.  I had a new trap in the toolbox already but when I tried to remove the rusty one, it crumbled and broke along the tailpiece (picture below).  Further trying to remove the rusted stub sticking out resulted in it breaking off in the wall.

The entire vanity was removed to access the plumbing, revealing three subfloor repairs that had been made around the vanity and not under it.  This was no surprise to me, as I had previously removed a floor-to-ceiling cabinet that was in front of the toilet so closely that anyone using the toilet had to sit sideways.  Repairs had been made around it, too.  That cabinet now has a new home in the utility room and is used to store tools and other supplies.  It made no sense to spend money repairing a vanity set-up I didn't want and planned on replacing in a few months, anyway, plus the subfloor problems had to be fixed.  I decided we'd have to use the bathtub to wash our hands for awhile, as I wasn't going to spend my Mother's visit doing construction.  After she left, I started the work. 

Former bathroom.  Vanity on left was removed.  You can see part of the tall cabinet on the right, where the brass towel bar is sticking out.
First, two layers of luan and vinyl came out to help reduce the floor height to install tile, and also made the two patches (under the vanity and tall cabinet) much easier to figure and cut.  I used the same color and type of tile and grout as was installed in the other bathroom, minus tile cove base.  All door trim was removed, stripped, primed and painted.  As for the floor trim, the only thing salvageable was the base cap because all repairs to the floor had been done without removing any trim, so I had to break the original wide base to get it out.  New 1"x6" pine and new shoe mould was used.  The walls had to be skim-coated with drywall compound three times to cover up the plaster, which had been deeply etched to mimic a subway tile pattern 3/4 of the way up the wall.  This was much easier than installing sheetrock over the plaster, plus having to reconfigure any trim reveals.  For paint color, I chose the same as the other bathroom; eggshell Oyster White Valspar.  Not a fan of Valspar; just couldn't get Behr in the color I wanted.  The trim is done in semi-gloss Snow White Behr.  Thanks to a generous gift card to Lowe's from Other Half's parents for Christmas, I was able to purchase a small Campbell-Hausfeld compressor and air nailer.  This is perfect for attaching woodwork to plaster as it minimizes jarring, which can lead to plaster cracks. Plaster is almost impossible to nail into, anyway.

There were a few money savers for which I am very thankful.  Once again, the ReStore proved invaluable, yielding the vanity light and medicine cabinet.  The vanity light was $10, each glass globe was $3, and each bulb $1.
The old fixture was brass, with two upturned fluted/tulip glass globes.

I'm prouder of the medicine cabinet.  It was a great find, misplaced in the lighting area, and was FIVE DOLLARS!!  There was a 13" x 16" hole already in the bathroom wall, behind the massive newer medicine cabinet I removed and donated.  I wanted a bigger mirror than a small cabinet would have, so I'd planned on buying a mirror and making my own recessed cabinet but this one was perfect!  It has a larger than normal mirror and the existing hole only had to be lengthened by 1.75."  And it has storage in the door, like a refrigerator!  One of my antique dealer friends, who coincidentally gave me the medicine cabinet for the master bathroom remodel, said he's never seen one like it.  A $4.98 can of Rustoleum white appliance paint made it good as new.  Who knows how old this cabinet really is but I can't find anything like it on the internet.

Good as new!

Original glass shelves.  See how much door storage?!

The only new items are a chrome spacesaver ($24.98 Wal-Mart), schoolhouse overhead light ($24.95 Lowe's...with my gift card..yay!...) and chrome toilet tissue holder ($9.98 Marshall's).  Fortunately the toilet was just fine and could be reused.

New overhead light with great view of plastic covering the window.
My pièce de résistance is the vintage Kohler wall mount sink with chrome front legs and a chrome towel bar on each side.  Here's one page from a two-page original ad I found online:

And here it is, installed in my house.

Without plumbing hooked up, but you can see the wall trim, tile and wall color.  The paint looks purplish, but it's actually a very feint grey.

With chrome trap.   You can see how shiny and new-looking the legs are!!  Part of the spacesaver can be seen to the right.
I can't believe how fortunate I am to know such wonderful people.  In October, a neighbor of Other Half's parents and I were discussing remodeling old homes and he mentioned he has an old sink I can have if I want it.  THIS IS THE OLD SINK, like in the Kohler ad!!!!!!!!  It had been in his barn.  He thought he would have a use for it but decided otherwise.  I offered to pay him but he refused, instead joking that there would be a restocking fee if I tried to give it back.  Aside from buying new supply lines and a chrome-plated trap, all I had to spend on the sink was around twenty cents on two washers for the faucet stems.  Much sediment was scrubbed and flushed out of the stem housing and the existing washers were so dry-rotted that the water wouldn't shut off.  No drips nor leaks now.  I couldn't be more proud of my "new" sink.  It's what really ties the bathroom together to give it the original look I was so hoping to achieve.  The only work to be done to the chrome was a good scrubbing with Greased Lightning using four 00 steel wool to make it look good as new.

It's difficult to get good pictures of the bathroom since the floor space is only 5'x5' (not including the tub) so I hope these were able to show the transition.  As soon as I have the money, the tub will be professionally reglazed ($300), I'll remove the old window (now covered with plastic to protect during showers) and install a glass block one (around $175), and tile the shower surround from the tub to ceiling.

New view.  Much more room without the vanity and the tall cabinet in front of the toilet.
In the meantime, the people who contributed to this fantastic retro bathroom are welcome to use it whenever the need arises.  In fact, in honor of the sink donor and Other Half's parents, I may just name it The Branch-(insert Other Half's parents' last name) Room.  You know how mansions from eras past had to have each room named something fant-cy.  Why should my little bungalow be any different?

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