Just Like New

One of the many unwritten adventures of having your own place is the hands-on-ness of making the place your own. Sure, painting and putting together Ikea furniture is its own ball of fun but there’s a whole other mess I’m referring to. I feel fortunate that I was able to take away a sense of familiarity around the basics of electrical wiring from my previous job. Changing outlets and light switches was a painless endeavor for me. Installing a dimmer switch was an early milestone in my handyman checklist. All of those tasks are relatively small potatoes to what my home, what any home may require down the road. Which brings me to the bathroom.

This little bathroom resides on the first floor, direcly below the stairs. I would define this space as…cozy. The sink is about 3 small steps from the edge of the toilet and the celing is slanted above the toilet (remember, below the stairs). Creativity is rather limited with the space considering what you need to have in a half bathroom and what you may like to have if the resources are available so I took on this remodelling task knowing that this room wasn’t going to show up on HGTV or anything.

First, let’s look at the before. (These pictures were taken during the first detailed walkthrough just before I closed on the condo. This is as ‘before’ as it’ll get.)

The Floor.

Medicine Cabinet and such.

Le Toilet.

The floor was a stick-on laminate, the medicine cabinet was this fake shiny plastic mess while the inside was bright green. Don’t ask. The lights, while functional left much to be desired. And of course, there is the issue of the cabinet/vanity. Initially I would have settled on just replacing the faucet and dealing with the rest of the bathroom later but we know how that adventure ended up. A while later I removed the laminate floor and the baseboard that lined the bathroom walls. Foolishly, I didn’t take any pictures of what this room looked like after the “demolition”, but it shouldn’t take away from this story.

After the vanity top and cabinet were removed Dayle and I picked out a replacement vanity and some tile for the floor. I felt like the task of tiling the floor, grout and all, was not beyond my technical ability but as the weeks passed and the arrival of Dayle’s sister for Labor Day weekend approached I realized 1. this bathroom needed to get fixed up and 2. it wasn’t going to get fixed up in the time available by someone with my ‘skill level.’

I placed a call to the guy who helped install my ceiling fan and the new deck at my parents’ place and agreed on an estimate for labor to install the tile, vanity and associated plumbing and a new light. All of the big pieces were already sitting in my dining room: the faucet, vanity top and cabinet, and most importanty the tile. Over the course of last Thursday and Friday (and a half hour on Saturday) our new bathroom took shape and eventually became whole again.

New Lights.

New Sink.

New Floor.

Same Toilet.

I still maintain that tiling a floor is something that I can do, maybe even with a decent degree of efficiency one day but the big curveball with this room (also not appropriately photo-documented by the time this is published) is the far wall from the door. Rather than sit perfectly parallel with the doored wall, there is a slight slant. From one corner to the other, there is almost a quarter-inch slope. This means not only that every tile adjacent to that wall needed to be cut, I knew that much was a necessity, but that each tile cut had unique measurements. That level of precision takes time, time I did not have. Looking at the finished product I’m definitely glad I made a call for help. I still want to cross off ’tiling’ on my handy-man checklist of pride but that will have to be saved for a different room. As it stands, there is a brand new half bathroom ready for admiration and (more importantly) use if you ever swing my my neck of the woods.

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