Bathroom Project ~ March 23, 2016

Dear Fellow Journalers

Denise continues her Home Remodeling.



The bathroom project has been going on for quite some time, for the past 12 years.  I know what you’re thinking . . . 12 years?  What could possibly be taking 12 years to complete?  It’s true though.

When I bought the house back in 1997, I knew there was a ‘soft’ wall in the tub/shower area that was discovered with the House Inspection.  No big deal, right?  Ha!  It turned out to BE a bigger deal than I ever could have imagined.

First I had Carpenter Ants which I finally got rid of . . .

Then something happened to the fixture and the tiles around the spout had to be taken out, the spout replaced and the tiles all replaced around it . . . .

Then the floor tiles on the outside of the tub started to escape because of the water dribbling down the side of the tub while taking showers; I am careful, my boys?  Not so much!

Then I found water in the basement from the shower upstairs; the water was hitting the full length window in the shower area and dribbling down the walls into the basement . . .

Then there was a water pipe issue with the shower . . .  (which I just had that very same issue again so I knew what it was) . . . .  After the tiles on the floor outside the tub started to loosen I found the wood underneath was soaked and started to disintegrate too.

When I had a little money saved because I was working two jobs I thought about having that bathroom window replaced.  My second job was bussing tables night and weekends at TGI’s.  One night one of the waitresses overheard me talking about the bathroom issue and told me one of her table’s clients who came to sit in her section weekly, # 1, thought I was kind of cute (joy) and # 2, they were all Contractors and could probably help with my bathroom issue and I should go talk them.  One night I summoned enough courage to stop by the table to gab for a few moments; we were encouraged to do that, to be friendly with the clients.  We got to gabbing about my bathroom and one said he’d come take a look at it for me.

After discussing my lack of finances, but still needing the work done we decided he’d do the work in between his other jobs, on his ‘down days’.  He asked me to pay for the window.  (I wanted the full length normal sized window taken out of the shower area and replaced with a smaller one with the placement up much higher on the wall, where the water wouldn’t hit it while we took showers).  I gave him a check for $250.00 for the window; he bought the window then didn’t show up to do the job till two and half years later.  That’s right, two, almost three years later he showed up, then tried to charge me for the window (again), some shingles, some 2 x 4’s, a few pieces of 30 weight tar paper and labor, two weeks before Christmas.  I told him I paid for the window (still had the cancelled check if he wanted to see it) and he had a lot of nerve requesting payment of any kind after making me wait 2 ½ years to have the job done.  I told him my financial situation had changed dramatically and while I had the money to pay him when I contracted with him originally, that was no longer the case.

You see . . . in anticipation of him coming to do the job, I’d taken down almost all of the tile on the walls and I’d been taking showers with plastic covered 2 x 4’s.  After he put the window in, he was going to fix the “soft wall” for me and re-tile the tub area.  We agreed I’d take the walls down to 2 x 4’s so I didn’t have to pay him for that expense or to cart it all away.  We were trying to do it with the least amount of expense to me since I needed it fixed, but I didn’t have a lot of cash on hand to have it done.

After it took him 2 ½ years to put the window in . . . . I chose not to have him come back to finish the walls.  Who knew IF the project would EVER get done!  We’ve been taking showers with those plastic covered 2 x 4’s ever since.  I finally had it fixed this past January, 2016.  I worked at TGI’s from 2003 – 2005.

Off and on throughout the years, I tried to match the tan color of the tiles in that room.  Ultimately [in the end] I decided to do everything white with some darker brown accents because I found it utterly impossible to ‘match’ the hues in those tan tiles.  I am a color freak and it’s got to be ‘exactly’ right for me, not ‘good enough’ or a ‘close enough match’.  No, [for me] it’s got to be ‘spot on’ perfect when it comes to color.

I also bought some wallpaper along the way (in the earlier years) because there was wallpaper on the walls when I moved in.  When I started to strip it off I found what they were hiding.  Wow!  Talk about U G L Y . . . .  Someone had sponge painted alternating hot pink and gold hearts in rows over the entire wall.  WHAT were they thinking???  Immediately I painted the wall white, but the next morning when I turned the light on and looked in the mirror . .  .  Whoa!   Too bright for early morning . . .   Okay, let’s tone it down a bit.  I’d had some blue from another project, but after a few weeks decided that it was a tad too dark for that small room; it over-powered it.  I finally chose a peach color, one I could live with, it harmonized with the tan rather than clashing with it.  Ahhh!  Peace!

Also, I couldn’t get all of the original wallpaper off the walls and in the end some was left up, some I painted over . . .   it was a mess!  Oh yeah, now I remember why I painted the walls blue to begin with; the wallpaper had blue in it.  Well that makes more sense now than just painting the walls blue in a tan tiled bathroom.

The Plan:

I wanted to keep the tiled ceiling intact.  Yes, the ceiling in my bathroom is tiled.  I also wanted to keep the tiled walls (they’re not completely tiled; I’d say there is tiling about 2/3 up the wall from the floor).  I didn’t want to ‘touch’ anything that didn’t need to be fixed.  Many contractors wanted to rip the entire bathroom out and start over, but it’s the only one with a shower so what was I supposed to do for the 2-3 weeks it was going to take to re-do the bathroom?  Where was I supposed to bathe?  I wanted to ‘fix’ the walls I’d ripped out in the shower area, finish having the wallpaper taken off and either adding the wallpaper I’d bought (which in the end couldn’t find) or just paint the walls and I wanted to change out the toilet (it had a crack in the tank top from the day I moved in), the sink (the porcelain was cracking), the vanity (which was an ugly white) and then I decided to change out the tile floor as well.  After the fact, my Contractor said it would have been easier if I’d let him rip everything out so he could have started from scratch.  Oh well . . . . he did it MY WAY and it didn’t cost me $15k.

How it All Came Together:

  • The walls ended up being painted Ralph Lauren “Tea Biscuit” which is peach in color yet the hue is more on the yellow side than pink; it really brought out the color of the tiled walls which I always thought were kind of bland, but that Tea Biscuit made the walls pop!
  • The walls in the tub/shower area were tiled basis American Standard White with a white grout.
  • The floor was re-done in a white 8” floor tile and I chose to go with “Earth” grout from Home Depot which actually matched the tile walls perfectly (I’m not a clean freak and I know how difficult it is to keep white grout clean). In fact, I mentioned it to my Step-Mom; she said she’s never been able to get the grout white in her bathroom and she IS a clean freak!
  • I chose a dark wood for the vanity as the accent to those tan tiled walls; I went with a white sink and brushed nickel faucet.
  • In the shower area, I also switched out the old fixtures with brushed nickel fixtures.
  • In the end I decided I hated my ugly hollow slab door; the Contractor and I met at Home Depot one Sunday afternoon where I picked out a solid wood un-painted door with raised panels. We bought stain and a brushed nickel door knob to continue the brushed nickel theme throughout the bathroom.
  • I bought a brushed nickel wastebasket and brushed nickel anchor shower hooks & shower rod to complete the hardware theme in that room.
  • I bought a throw rug, a nautical shower curtain and went back a week or so later for the nubby water wicking rug to step on just out of the shower.
  • I bought several different medicine cabinets too, but none of them seemed to “fit” when I got them home; in the end I decided to keep the old one.
  • Oh and I changed out the old light fixture with a new brushed nickel one and found some awesome crystal-cut bulbs from Lowe’s that make the bathroom look elegant.


Pics below of the whole project from beginning to end…..

The beginning   During Production_Jan 2016.  Oh Look_New Tile_2016Better Pic of Light Fixture n Faceted Bulbs_2016 New Light_New Fixture_2016 New Vanity_New Fixtures_Jan 2016 Floor Tile Grout matches wall tiles_New Door_Vanity_Feb 2016 New Sink_Faucet_Jan 2016 Old Tile (left)_New (right)_New Shower Rod_2016 Bathroom Blog_2016_Last Pic for Blog


Next week, our last week together . .  . the end of my Project Journal (for now) I shall talk about the upstairs bathroom (taking some things out that were started, but never finished) and building a new closet.  Oh and I’ll touch upon the basement project as well.

Till then . . .

D  ~


Exterior Painting, Railings and Steps . . .

March 2, 2016

Exterior Painting, Railings and Steps . . . .

If you own a home you know it’s an ongoing project with “something” always going on, always needing fixing, etc. MY home had an owner who lived paycheck-to-paycheck and couldn’t afford the normal upkeep it required. MY home started to fall into grave disrepair. The house desperately needed to be painted, the hand-railing on the front steps fell off in my hand one day, the garage door fell apart, the roof of the enclosed porch started to disintegrate (I could see sky), I found pock marks on the walls in the basement, a bathroom needed fixing . . . . shall I go on?

With each new passing year, the list grew a tad longer. I started a journal . . . . I added a new entry as more and more things fell into disrepair, noting the projects which required ‘immediate’ attention IF I happened to have a little extra cash along the way (tax refunds helped immensely). When mom passed on, she left a small legacy which has allowed me to fix some of the more immediate issues.

First things first; paint the outside of the house to appease my neighbor’s thoughts IF ONLY they had the guts to comment at all!   I didn’t price shop. I’d seen their lawn signs around and called College Pro painters; truthfully though, they weren’t very professional and I won’t use them again. They painted things that never should have been painted, they needed electricity one day so they climbed through the window in my garage which was ‘locked’ [for a reason], they plopped their paint bucket in the middle of my August Lily plant while it was still in full bloom (to say I was a tad perturbed was an understatement), but “Nice Me, Gracious Me” didn’t say anything and just let it go; I’d learned my lesson; call a professional next time around. When they asked me to fill out their survey and asked for a recommendation, I chose not to. Before the painting started, neighbors out walking stopped to ask, “What color?” My reply, “Same color.” I was met with the almost disappointingly proverbial, “Oh . . .” My home is a pale purple; it’s a gorgeous lavender with a darker medium purple on the shutters, foundation and the underside of the roof extensions. I think they were hoping for something more traditional. (before and after photos below)

One day I came home from work and rounding the steps up to the mailbox I grabbed the front railing . . . the whole thing came off in my hand. Uh oh, now what? Add another project to the “immediate” list; didn’t want the mailman [or anyone for that matter] falling off my steps and getting hurt.

I did some research online and realized I could get a whole new set of steps and railings for the same price of wrought iron railings; told them to go ahead and do it. I never met them in person; I picked out what I wanted from online pictures, they came to measure, done. All my dealings with them were done via telephone. I do have to mention though that they contracted with a local general contractor to jack hammer the old steps out and when they placed the new steps against the house there was a huge gap which I complained about because a neighbor of mine noted that because the new steps were hollow, it was possible for small animals to make their homes in there. Great! Just what I needed was unwanted pets. The General Contractor came back and sealed the gap. (photos below)

Next week we move to the rear of the property: the porch, garage door, gutters and the garage roof.

D ~

Left Side Gap (Close-Up)_09-03-14  After.

Before paintingHouse after Painting_2015




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