Bathroom Part II

I believe that your relationship will survive anything, if it can survive a renovation.

I say this with ample experience. We had a massive renovation/addition at our previous home that involved our back entrance, master bedroom, kitchen and adding an ensuite. That was almost 15 years ago! Things are looking good for us!

While you “lived” through our emergency bathroom reno from last year, I’m thrilled to let you know that, yes gentle reader, we hate ourselves enough to subject our marriage and family to ANOTHER bathroom renovation. Thank Sweet Baby Jesus that there are only two bathrooms in this house.

Mercifully, there is no dire, structural emergency prompting this reno. Thanks also to the experience (also known as “character building”) of the first bathroom, we are far more prepared for the cost. This time, we are PREPARED!

So let’s start at the beginning…

SHOWER

This is the “shower”, which is only 3/4 of a standard shower, made more difficult to access by the dumbass door which only allows you a foot and a half to squeeze through. The Big Guy and First Born Son took to this bathroom when we moved in, which makes ZERO sense because neither of them can fit under the door frame never mind the shower head. Since the last reno made the upstairs bathroom too “nice”, Second Born Son has taken to showering down here too. Again, at 6’2 this is not logical. ANYWAYS!

TUB

To the right of the door is the Jacuzzi tub. Yes folks Jacuzzi – trademarked and everything. I’m pretty sure this was the first generation, if not the prototype. I tried using it once, and dared not to activate the jets as a quick pre-soak inspection told me everything I needed to know about the condition of the calcified tube work. We were also fairly suspect of the condition of the wiring for the motor after 30+ years.

I’m going to assume you judged me for my poor choice of wall color, but that’s ok, because now you can see there isn’t much you can do with calf-scour brown tiles. Yes, those ARE the same tiles from the upstairs reno. So observant you are! Gold star! 1-inch tile was all the rage in 1983.

You might think the tiles are my favorite feature of this area, and I would say “No, good sir, you are mistaken!” It’s the du-lux hand-held shower modification. It ALWAYS leaked and because a Jacuzzi is not designed to be “shower tub”, water that didn’t hit directly dead centre of the tub, and ended up on the top of the tub, and was instantly redirected around the walls of the enclosure to the floor. Basically, if you tried to bathe in this beast, you’d have a flood on your hands or a fire. Good times.

CLOSET

Here you get a much better angle of the aforementioned shower basterdization modification. You will also see the staining in the tub. Did I mention we have crappy water? Fear not, we spent a small fortune on that too. Nothing like investing in new bathrooms and having them look like century-farm indoor plumbing within a year!

Here you can appreciate how the owner/builders maximized the use of space. Not only did they have a shower installed that could only fit adolescent girls, but they also crammed the world’s smallest linen closet. As we were going to update our doors, TBG pulled this one off as well, only to find out YOU CAN’T ORDER DOORS THIS SMALL ANYMORE. Son of a Doorknob! Yes, I did suggest he go back to the repurpose area of the landfill to reclaim the old door. No, he did not do it. I’m hitting Pinterest hard for a solution. I’m open to suggestions y’all!

SINK TOILET

This is the image that gives me nightmares. We have removed the toilet already, to protect the more sensitive readers amongst you. What remains is what a raw plaster wall looks like when you don’t paint before the plumber comes…30 years later, that is. The shower is to the right of the sink. Not a big room, but a main one as this is the one our guests tend to use. That’s right, we allowed friends and extended family to use this space looking the way it did. Hey, we don’t discriminate!

It was right about this time when I came with an idea! “I’ve got an idea” no longer fills TBG’s heart full of fear, but rather a knowing dread that this “idea” is going to involve him. And perhaps some money.

Originally we were going to close in the dinky shower and use it for a closet, but then I thought, “Why waste the storage space in the bathroom?” While the shower was tiny in its current form, it would make a great pantry for the kitchen which is across from the outer wall!!

Thankfully TBG agreed and made it so.

SIDE BY SIDE

Apparently I like plaster dust throughout my house, because let me tell you, this did it! The attempt at tarping you see in the image on the right was noble, but not as effective as one would hope. Therefore, I’ve suspended any house cleaning until this project is complete. It’s been a month with no end in sight. Don’t drop by, we are days away from being condemned for being a public safety hazard.

DOORWAY

Here he is. The Creator of the dreams I come up with. He spends all his spare time, such as it is, working on this. No comments on the kitchen floor – he doesn’t have time for a kitchen reno right now.

Next year darling???

 

Aren’t You Afraid You Asked?

Welcome to October. You may be saying, “It’s about bloody time! Where have you been?!”

I am fully aware that my last blog post was in August, but folks, there weren’t no way in Tarnation that this girl was going to have the time or brain cells to publish anything cohesive in September.

To be clear, I’m not a huge fan of September. It’s always a rush to get the kids back to school, and although it’s nice to have a change of routine, its usually to a much more hectic routine. Then there’s the weather. Although this September might have been an exception to the rule depending on where you live, it always rains on September 22 where I live. Always. I know this because that is my birthday.  Again, not a fan.

But this particular September was especially chaotic.

First Born Son started his second (and final) year of college.

<PAUSE> Can I just take a moment to say, WHAT THE HOLY HELL HAS HAPPENED HERE? FBS is a CHILD! It’s impossible to think that he’s ready for the “real world” in less than a year. Who determined this? I’d like a review on this decision. I call foul on the play! I APPEAL!! If you are looking at your child right now and he/she is under the age of 10 BE PREPARED. You are going to go to bed one night and wake up with them driving, drinking (not at the same time – he was born with a brain) and ready to cash their first full-time pay cheque! I understand the going to college thing, but the GRADUATING from college? NOT. COOL.

 

PRETTY BOY POUT 1

Yup, I’m going to trot this picture out any time I have a chance!!!

Truly people THIS is what he looked like last week! It’s ok….I’m better now…. <PLAY>

So this kid moved in with three other friends into a brand new apartment complex. It’s nicer than anything he’s ever lived in before. Hell, it’s nicer than anything I’VE ever lived in before, which should set him up nicely for a lifetime of disappointment, frustration and failure knowing his living arrangements peaked at 19 years of age.

Second Born Son is away from home more often than not! A number of school trips for various educational and extra-curricular commitments means that he’s constantly bringing home permission forms and asking for signed cheques! When he’s not broadening his horizons, he’s at work, heading to work, or just coming home from work. No worries here with his work ethic!

At least he’s home on weekends. My niece, MM, moved OUT, as in “has a different permanent address” at the beginning of September. How did Little Sister take this development? Well, that’s a good question. I believe she thinks she packed up her eldest daughter, who is also her co-worker, in a box when she relocated her salon. Yes, moving a business is a huge undertaking, and one that LS knows well. She’s done it twice now. You would think she would have remembered how much it sucked the first time!

Because we Bowery Girl sisters believe in drawing all the B.S. the Universe has to offer, LS also sold her house late this summer. This resulted in a closing date of late September. Great news for her, but it launched a chain reaction of events, as she had an offer in on our parents’ home. This meant my Mom was going to be moving in September too. Sweet Baby Jesus what have we gotten ourselves into here?!? LS was packing her house, packing her work, renovating her new work location, moving her work and then moving her home. Yes, I agree, she DOES hate herself. While we tried to help as much as we could, she still had to live with the day to day of upheaval everywhere she looked in her personal and professional lives. She’s amazing. Or crazy. Or amazingly crazy.

Now moving can be a very emotional experience. Personally, I didn’t find it so hard when I moved from our first house to our current house, but I know my Mother had a lot invested in her home. She helped design it, was the general contractor when it was built, provided countless hours of personal sweat equity and lived there longer than any other home she has resided in. This was going to be tough for her. A saving grace was the fact that LS and her hubby Thing 2 were going to be there so it would be loved and maintained, but I’m sure the first time she walks in and sees painted wood, my mother will have a stroke.

As with any challenge, a job half planned is a job half-assed. No. A job well planned is a job nearly done. No. Well, anyway, we had a strategy which was that we would treat it like a Band-Aid; just rip that puppy off and get it over with all at once. That is, get a truck once, move twice. Yup, we were going to try to move two households in one weekend. I must say I am somewhat disappointed in my circle of friends, none of whom had the nerve to say, “Hey Sarah, you are bat-shit crazy to be part of this.” Nope, they did the equivalent of smile and wave as I marched off into battle.

It didn’t help that I went into the weekend very tired, since my work required that I attend a week-long exhibition that involved standing outdoors in a tent with various lighting and temperature conditions. By the time Friday came, I was most definitely punch-drunk. See what I indicated above about the Universe. Not. Kidding.

As we all know, there are some do’s and don’ts for moving, and while I would think they are universal, apparently some people didn’t get the memo. While most of the moving went smoothly, there are always one or two people that you wish you could choke with their coffee cup or at least ask them to secure child care for their pre-school aged children. It’s never a good thing to roll a piano on a toddler! No, not referring to my nieces and nephew, who works like soldiers the entire weekend.

But I digress.

At the end of the day…er weekend, we had two households in two different households. Mom was fairly settled, while LS has pretty much the next 6 months worth of weekends planned out for her. If she and her hubby aren’t building shelving, they are going to be in the garage sorting the possessions that preceded them in the multiple trips that were made with non-essential items. That’s when she gets over her version of the wicked cold we all developed the day after the move. If the Universe had an arse, I’d be kicking it right about now….

So “in a nutshell”, “alls well that ends well”, or “at the end of the day”, or “we can all look back and laugh” or some other such tie-a-bow-on-it statement we survived, barely.

I jokingly told The Big Guy that since Mom and LS had new homes, it kinda gave me the “new home” real estate itch!

He just started talking to me again yesterday….

 

 

 

Musical Chairs

There’s been a lot of furniture shuffling going on at Boweryville. It started with the fact that Little Sister bought our parents’ home, and our Mother is moving to a new, smaller, lower maintenance abode. This means she has too much furniture.

At the same time, The Big Guy’s aunt is revamping her home, and wanted to move some older family pieces. It’s times like this that I’m glad we have a big house.

Now, some people like buying new, and we do have some newer pieces in our home, but there’s nothing like a well-made piece of furniture that has been used and loved by your ancestors. This first one has a special place in my heart.

Yes, I have two external drives. I'm a pessimist when it comes to technology.

Yes, I have two external drives. I’m a pessimist when it comes to technology.

This desk was where my paternal grandfather conducted his business when he ran a mechanic shop. After that, my father used it. It became the place where I did my homework as a teen and then my father took it back for his office once I was in college. Having it back not only means I get to hold on a piece of history (mine, and my patriarchs) but I also have a decent spot to work on my laptop. It should be noted that most Bowery Girl entries are crafted in the semi-prone position of the couch with my feet elevated. It’s all about blood flow to keep the creativity going folks!

Next were the matched set of wooden plant stands.

Spider plant is VERY happy!

Spider plant is VERY happy!

While one of the planters is rather water damaged, I’m hoping it can be salvaged. These belonged to my maternal grandfather. I don’t have much from that side of the family, so it’s nice to have such a nice pair of pieces.

Then came the pieces from The Big Guy’s aunt.

Table and Buffet

Table and Buffet

This table, matching buffet and four chairs (not shown) were purchased by TBG’s grandparents after they married in the early 1930s. Two of the chairs are gone, but the remaining seats need some TLC and will be as good as new.

2016-08-18 19.28.37Ignore the flooring! The buffet is the perfect height for out TV, has storage for our clutter and fits beautifully with our decor…flooring notwithstanding.  I love the mirrored back.

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I am fascinated by the grain of the table. Although it’s not a collector piece, knowing that TBG’s family had this table for formal events in their dining room, just makes it priceless.

We have been fortunate to have another family piece from TBG’s clan. A small 2x3x4 ft wooden trunk, one of two his ancestors used when relocating their family from Scotland to North America, is being used as our coffee table in our living room. I cannot imagine anyone from this era being able to whittle down their belongings to share one trunk with their kin, so this is truly a conversation piece!

While it may seem sappy, I do feel that we each have a valuable family story. A lot of these stories are lost over time. These pieces are built better than most furniture being sold today, so I have no problem collecting “old” stuff. It will outlast any of my “new” stuff.

Murphy’s Law in Full Effect!

I’m not a tease. I promise.

I will post a photo of the bathroom, once we get it pulled together. In fairness, it was “together” for about 24 hours: everything installed and cleaned. The next morning, I was putting on my war paint, and stepped away from the mirror for a moment when one of the lights above the vanity exploded. As in, I was about 5 seconds from my face – specifically my eye – catching shards of glass shade.

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So after taking the light down, returning it to Home Depot (shout out to Home Depot who handled this promptly with professionalism), getting a new light and just installing it after the ceiling was touched up, we may have it finessed sometime THIS weekend.

But in case you thought we were just loafing about, you should know that we were on to the next project…the roof. This is allegedly where the water issue that surfaced in the bathroom, originated.

The Big Guy and I looked at every option, from asphalt to shakes to metal roofing. We had numerous quotes, and finally decided on a hybrid metal roof (steel, zinc & aluminum). While the investment in the house played a large role, one of the deciding factors in which company to go with, was professionalism. One company’s reps spent more than an hour in our kitchen trashing the competition; even showing us a binder full of photos depicting faulty roofs. The stories were endless. I’m sure he was shocked when we advised him that we would get back in touch; his binder alone should have been a slam-dunk.

The second supplier was much more gentile. He explained how his product worked, why he thought it was the best and how solid their track record was. When I asked him what would happen when/if we had an issue with his product, he gave us a detailed, straightforward answer. We signed with him, after advising him part of the decision was based on his lack of competition bashing. After all, if the only way you can promote your product is to trash someone else’s, you have a problem!

Thankfully, the rep advised that we could have the roof installed within a month. The Big Guy used the fabulous weather last weekend to remove the problematic chimney that was slowly succumbing to gravity.

It was always a contest to see how many brick chips were on the back deck.

It was always a contest to see how many brick chips were on the back deck.

TBG enjoyed this job a little too much, and was impressed to see how the chimney was still standing, given how easy the bricks were chunking off!

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Honestly, with the wind we get up here, it’s a miracle that thing was still standing.

This chimney was for our old oil furnace, which has been updated. Then the conversation turned to the second chimney…

That that one on the left...

That thar one on the left…

It’s connected to the wood fireplace in the basement. During the Furnace Incident of 2012, this was the only way to heat our house. It also proved to be the last time we would use it. Let’s leave it at the entire house was nicely smoked after an hour.

Eventually, we’d like to convert to a gas insert. But, since we’ve already had our visit to Santa Claus the loan officer for this year, the insert will have to wait.

Murphy needs to stay away from this place!

 

It’s all Downhill from Here

I’ve gotta tell you, it’s awesome to hear from people who read The Bowery Girl and ask “So, how’s the reno going?” I can’t say that I thought my mother was the only person reading the blog, as she has yet to succumb to an internet connection, so it’s rewarding to hear from you. Thank you.

Writing about the renovation means I can refrain from losing my MIND over the Jian Gomeshi trail. I am literally taking notes on stuff I want to rant about following the verdict in March. So there you go – mark that on your calendar. Something to look forward to.

As far as answering that reno question, well, it’s going. The Big Guy is an absolute workhorse on this project; after long days at work, he’s putting in late nights on the dry walling in the bathroom and the hallway.

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**Editor’s Note** TBG says he hates it when I post photos of him while he’s working, because he doesn’t like what he’s wearing. I advised him that when I change The Bowery Girl’s direction to a more fashion-forward theme, I’ll let him know. Until then, I’ll continue posting working man shots. Keeping it real here!

I am excited about an unexpected detail – we (I) decided to install transoms above the bathroom and the Master Bedroom doorways. Since the house was built in the early 80s, the only item of architectural interest is seizure inducing flooring. No, I’m not showing you that. You’d have to sign a waiver first.

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I found a local glass installer who had some remnants from his stained glass days and for a sweet price, we were able to get two panels of “Hammered Flemmish” glass. I’m sorry, every time I say that I think of an intoxicated Belgian and it makes me laugh. Originally he had two other samples for me to look at. I had picked one, and was on my way out when I saw this pattern on a larger piece of glass and hit the brakes. He would sell it to me, he said, but cautioned that it was his last piece and if it shattered when he cut, or when TBG installed it, we’d have to look at a new pattern. He’s not getting any more Hammered Flemmish. (Sorry, giggling.)

<PAUSE> If you really want to go down a rabbit hole, look up glass patterns. It will truly devour and afternoon for you. Start with “Pinhead Glass” and we’ll see you sometime next week. You are welcome. <PLAY>

No pressure on TBG when he received the finished pieces. No anxiety when the glass installer cautioned him AGAIN when TBG asked for advice on how to build a custom frame.

But the results are terrific. I knew he could do it!!

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I love how the light throws a pattern onto the ceiling. TBG does his own drywall work, and because we hate ourselves, we’ve incorporated odd angles all over the place. I’d like you to take a moment to appreciate the corners. They are awesome. That is all.

You might say, “Sarah, what are YOU doing to help with this project?” and I would reply, “Gentle Reader, I am FEEDING the man who is doing the work AND keeping his work clothes clean and at the ready.” Then I would add, “I am also the designer/visionist who brings exciting, yet time-consuming and stressful design elements for TBG to execute! I am also the head cheerleader and task master! That’s not NOTHING you know!”

The truth is, TBG is anal-retentive a perfectionist. The only thing I’m allowed to consider helping with is the painting. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to successfully complete a practical exam before I’m allowed to pick up brush on this project.

So, that’s all for now. Drywall is primed and we are looking to paint this week. Then flooring. Then vanity. Then toilet. Then I’m going to have the world’s longest spa day in this bathroom.

After The Big Guy of course!

 

From Bad…To Worse…

Some people are addicted to plastic surgery. They start with a little nip or tuck, and before you know it, they have landscaped their entire face. Unrecognizable.

I’m beginning to think this is the case with our recent renovation. As you know from my most recent post, the bathroom renovation was an unexpected endeavour. We were on the verge of finishing the demolition.

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This is my Brother In Law. He’s smiling because he likes to demolish stuff. He especially likes to do this at other people’s houses. He’s a very happy camper at this point.

We decided to open up the doorway. It would mean cutting down the size of the hall closet. The trade off was worth it – smaller closet, safer doorway. Move it away from the top of the stairs, because, hey, if you’re going to make a mess, you might as well bring the house up to code, right? We were excited, picking out flooring, new vanity and countertop. Life was sweet.

Until the guys found the vent pipe for both bathrooms and realized we weren’t moving the door over. Son of a NUTCRACKER! First Born Son, The Big Guy and BIL put their heads together and they realize, the solution is to angle the doorway. The dilemma then becomes, what to do with the rest of the closet. This is when I came back home  – to three guys standing in the hallway, wondering if they should put the wall back up!

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What the hall used to look like. If you squint and hold it away from you, in certain lights, you can see how there used to be a closet.

So now the bathroom reno has evolved into a hall reno. Then the lightbulb goes off over their heads. We should do the same thing to our master bedroom door, so the two doors look like they were meant to be on angles!!!!! No more closet.

Before you can say “buzz saw”, my doorway is GONE.

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But TBG was happy because after a rough start to the day he felt he accomplished something. You see, we realized early in the day that water WAS coming in from the outside. Further investigating proved that not only is there an issue with the exterior wall in this area, but the ENTIRE ROOF will likely require replacing. That’s siding and a roof for those of you keeping score at home.

So. What’s the good side to this. Give me a minute…. <crickets>

Oh! I know! It’s January but the contractor thinks we can make it through to spring before doing the roof. And, if not for the bathroom reno, we never would have known about the roof issues, that could have meant that structural damage could have taken place. Dodged a bullet there, I tell ya! High Fives all around.

TBG is dealing with all of this fairly well. I’m pretty sure it’s the shock phase until the quotes start rolling in, but I’m going with it.

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So we now have insulation, vapour barrier and fully prepped for the tub to be installed.

Oh, and waiting for roof quotes….