A blog that features my easy-to-moderate, inexpensive, do it yourself home improvement projects in an effort to transform my 1,000 sq ft bungalow built in the 1970's into something with lots of cottage chic/shabby chic/victorian chic/traditional chic style.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Transforming the Bathroom From Eeek to Chic Part Two--Finally!!!

So, the "new" bathroom is finally done and I just love it! I used to make sure that door was always closed but now I make sure it is always open, so lovely does it look and smell. Well worth the money and time we put into this. And the blood, sweat, and tears, of which there was much and many! (It's always harder than you think it's going to be.) (Always.)

We have two bathrooms in our little cottage but no one would use the "blue" bathroom. As the Middle Child says "horrific things have happened in there". Though this is all true, a big part of the problem was the broken fan, which, failing in its duty, meant it was a wet and smelly place even before the wall-encapsulating barfing.

As it turns out, the fan was the only thing that needed replacing, something we accomplished in a short space of time and for about $25.00. However, once I got The Spouse to agree that the bathroom needed a transformation of sorts in order to entice anyone (other than The Big Guy) to think of it as a safe place to be (the Little Guy and the MC using our ensuite bathroom is getting pretty old), the juices started flowing. And, without further ado, I present the before photo . . .

And the after! (please do remember that my camera can't produce a straight line at certain distances so things are not as warped as they appear . . .)

Note the lovely new fan (which came from a "cheater" kit, meaning we didn't replace the whole thing with new casing, etc., as that would have required making the hole bigger or smaller).

Next is the before photo of the problem with the tub--The Big Guy has pulled off the overflow thingamajig (in spite of all we did to replace that, I still never learned the correct term for that). There's a sad story related to this overflow apparatus; at some point the original tub was covered over with one of those tub and walls all-in-one features made of some kind of plastic. In doing so, the holes that are meant to line up with the holes on the overflow thingie don't --- so no screws can be used to hold it in place. The overflow thing that was there when we moved in was attached with glue which is probably the reason it eventually came off. We figured if we used glue, it could last at least a few years, at which point we would just glue it again.
Not. Non. No. Nein. So, in spite of money being spent on a new overflow thingie, special expensive glue and a second tube of a different kind of special expensive glue, the overflow remains uncovered.

The overflow failure almost proved too much for The Spouse but I convinced him that we had to carry on, make a success out of a failure, etc. etc. Which led to our next failure, one more spectacular than the last. Remember this mirror that covered the entire upper wall?

In my enternal optimism, I felt sure we could simply remove it, cut it down, and put it in an old frame that I had in the garage. We left this task nearly for last as, I must admit, it scared both of us. Finally the day came when we could put it off no longer (the family was getting tired of tools all over the place b/c I refuse to put tools away if I think I am going to use them again the next day . . . or the next--BIG waste of time, right?) The plan was to spread a blanket out on the ground in the garage, place the mirror on it, cut the size piece we needed and cut the rest of it into pieces that could easily be disposed of in the garbage can.
What happened was that the handy dandy glass cutter we bought ($13.98) was not the only tool needed. It seems there is some special holder/snapper-apart thing one needs. Once I finally convinced The Spouse to actually help me with this task and our hot breath was fogging up the mirror, I didn't dare take time out to purchase one of these special tools we would never again use. We figured we could do it without.
Not. Non. No. Nein. The glass cut fine but it cracked when we tried to split the two pieces apart. Sadder yet, the mirror was big enough for us to make three attempts, all with the same glass-splitting results. The Spouse was pretty discouraged by that point so instead of cutting up the glass in easy-to-be-disposed of pieces, he put huge chunks of the mirror in the garbage can and hit it with a wrench.
Glass. Every. Where.
However, the story ends happily. Living in the garage was a mirror we had bought when we had been married for just a few months and which has adorned many walls in many homes through the years but now had no place to dwell. I painted it the same color as the trim and now it hangs on the wall, smaller than it should be, but still living large.
But first we had to deal with the abomination we found beneath the mirror.

After two hours of work, scoring, misting, tearing (score, mist, tear, repeat!) and sanding, the wall was finally ready to accept paint. Did I mention we scored a can of blue paint for just $1 on the returns table at our local home improvement mecca? In the end, it was too dark and had to be mixed with the white trim paint. However, this was a blessing since the blue paint was flat and the white was hi gloss which, together, made for a nice finish for a bathroom that is often, er, glistening with moisture.

Lovely, is it not? And so much better than that mirror! The space does seem smaller and a bit darker but the new light fixture goes a long way towards that end (especially since the old one didn't work very well). However, the installation of this light fixture was the biggest challenge we faced and we had to face it FOUR times. It's too traumatic to talk about it but I will say that one of those attempts involved an electrocution. (Is there some kind of prize for the person who has been electrocuted the most times in the midst of a home improvement project? Does five seem like a large number? If so, The Spouse is in for a nice surprise.) (Bless his heart, is it any wonder he balks at these things?)

Still, we love its alabaster glow and aren't even concerned about the fact that the matte finish on the fixture doesn't match the shiny one of the new toilet paper holder since it's most likely not long for this world, anyway (we have been through so many of those, both in size and shape but The Big Guy seems to defeat them all).

Now, when I walk down the hall, I am greeted by this view, one which I have fantasized about ever since we moved in. The crown moulding was meant for a different project (my bedroom) but one must make sacrifices when the juices are flowing and The Spouse is willing. The beadboard was purchased almost a year ago and has been living in the garage all this time, inducing guilt and anxiety every time I barely miss running over it with my car. The trim at the top and bottom of the beadboard are left-overs from other projects so they were free. That's my favorite number: free. (The beadboard, or as it is often called, wainscoting, is the faux kind and comes all in one piece--we used about $10 worth.)

Please note how white and lovely the caulking looks in this sink! It took nearly an hour to get it just right--who knew it would be so hard?!?!?!

When I look at this picture, all I can think of is how much I want to change the floor--gah!!! (Even The Spouse agrees, even though it would involve removing the toilet and resealing it.) However, that and the new tub and tiled surround and pedestal sink all must needs wait . . . and wait and wait and wait until who knows when.

Still, I am very grateful for what we have been able to accomplish. We caulked, glued, nailed, wood-filled, painted, bead-boarded, mirrored, lighted, trimmed, sanded and repaired most of the bathroom at a cost of approximately $125-$150, which is a bit more than we planned on spending. (I hate math so I'm not going to attempt arriving at a specific number but the main expenses were the fan $25, the light fixture $35, the glass cutter $14, the beadboard $10, the toilet paper holder $16 and the white paint $27--of which approximately $22 worth is still sitting in the can. No pun intended.)
It was hard, aggravating and at times, downright dangerous, but it was worth it.

And if you come for a visit, I will even let you use it (though the Middle Child advises against it . . .)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Transforming the Bathroom From Eeek to Chic

Welcome to my hall bathroom. Myself, my husband and our three children live in a 1,000 square foot 1970's "villa" that is in dire need of transformation. However, until our income gets a strong infusion of new blood, all the transforming will have to be done by me and on a shoe-string budget. This is quite a scary prospect when you consider I have little to no experience. My husband hasn't any more than I and zip-zilch-zippo desire. My oldest is a 20 year old man-child with many disabilities so he's no help (this is his bathroom, by the way--and yes, that's why it looks so incredibly grungy). My 15 year old daughter isn't interested in anything but her headphones and FB profile. Last but not least is my 8 year old son who would happily weild the five pound hammer for me if he could only lift it with his Betty-Spaghetti arms.

However, since the fan has been hanging at that jaunty angle for nearly two years, allowing mucho black mold to build up everywhere your average toothbrush and elbow grease can't dislodge it, we needed to take some action. If deciding to replace the fan six months after it breaks, than returning said fan out of pure DIY terror a week later, than letting it slide to the back of the brain box for another year, than buying another fan that seemed more do-able six months ago and looking at it where it sat on the garage mini freezer every time you went out could be described as "taking action" . . .

My oldest son (oft referred to as The Big Guy) has what I affectionately call "Sasquatch Toes". They are wide. They are broad. They are enormous. Apparently he decided to hang them from the overflow thingimajig one too many times and it has become dislodged. Add one overflow thingimajiggies to the list of purchases for this on-the-cheap bathroom transformation.

The grout is yucky. The mirror--one of those huge ones that covers the whole upper wall--is showing gray around the corners. The countertop, when cleared of the mold that thrives in the inches upon inches of water The Big Guy inflicts on it every single night when brushing his large and copious teeth (okay, I lied--he has just as many as the rest of us) isn't too bad. Since we can't afford to replace that, anyway, it stays. In this photo, one can see that the area across from the sink/toilet is fully taken up by the tub shower. Good to know (I guess?)

The fixture above the mirror is old, ugly and not in good working order. Since we found a replacement fixture at Costco with three alabaster shades for an unbelievable price, it's out! (And to think I had to talk The Spouse into it. He'll know how right I was to spend the pittance of money on it when it's up.)

The above photo shows where we were one hour into renovations. We plan to paint it a new wall color (we scored a can of blue paint on the returns table for a buck) as the color I painted it when we moved in is really just too purple. We will put a beaded board wainscoting on the end wall under the window, paint up all the trim, including the sink cabinet which is grody to the max, replace the light fixture, remove the large mirror and cut out a piece of it to fit into a garage sale frame, replace the toilet paper holder with one that juts out, allowing The Big Guy's big hands to get ahold of some (the old one is set into the wall--the one we are covering up with beaded board), clean the lime scale (or perhaps calcium deposits?) on the toilet and floor (did I mention that everyone refuses to use this bathroom but The Big Guy--there is good reason for this) and replace that bathtub overflow with a new thingimajiggie.
And we will do this with our sanity intact, and all for under $100!!! (Oh, what the hey, make it $75!)
Check back in a reasonable amount of time for me to make these changes pretty much all by myself to see the newly transformed hall bath!