I’m feeling rather proud of myself, and I hope you’ll indulge me as I tell you why.
I think the reason I got such a good deal on my house is because the kitchen and main bathroom both needed updating. The kitchen just needs new countertops and a dishwasher, which I’ll take care of eventually. The main bathroom, however, was bad. Really bad. “Shield the kids’ eyes, Martha!” bad. The walls were covered partially in fake brickface, partially in gaudy marble-look laminate. The tub surround was beige, but the tub was white. The sink was made of flimsy plastic. I didn’t even know they made plastic sinks! The vinyl tile was laid off square. A closet lacked a door. Only one of the four light sockets worked.
I bought the house anyway because it was less than a mile from where my sons lived, I could afford it, and it was otherwise in good shape. I wanted to gut the bathroom to the studs and rebuild it, but I was still broke after my divorce. I would need to be creative and find ways to make the bathroom livable on the cheap. Not long ago I wrote here that one thing I do to keep my equilibrium is work on personal projects that give me a feeling of accomplishment. Let me tell you, this bathroom has provided no end of such projects! I photographed my progress at every step. Check it out.
As I worked, there were a few times that I wanted to wring the previous owner’s neck. The first time was when I ripped the godforsaken laminate off the upper parts of the walls to find it glued onto wallpaper. The next time was when I removed the mirror over the lower window sash to find the glass was covered in opaque plastic film, which wouldn’t have been so bad it wasn’t also painted. The final time was when I was trying to cut out a portion of the brickface-covered wall to make way for a new mirror, and found the brickface attached to ceramic tile. My saw wouldn’t cut through it!
It all turned out better than I imagined. I thought I was putting a little lipstick on the pig, but instead the bathroom is transformed. And I did it all for a little less than $500!
There’s more work to do, of course. I need to replace the glass in the lower window sash and hang some sort of window treatment. I need to lay a new floor, which will involve lifting the toilet so I can lay tile under it like you’re supposed to. I might even replace the toilet while I’m at it, with a more compact model that flushes with more, ahem, authority. I will eventually reconfigure and paint the bathroom’s other closet. I’d like to replace the tub surround and the sliding doors, which are permanently stained. And I’m going to move the towel bar, as it is in the way when you’re spending quality time on the toilet.
My pride here isn’t about having completed these projects. It’s about having figured out how to do them. I’ve always lacked confidence in my home-improvement abilities, and beyond wielding a paintbrush I’ve never done anything like this before. I had to do some carpentry, electrical work, drywall work, and plumbing to pull this off! I also had to imagine what I wanted the room to look like then make it look like that. I tell you what, I feel all he-man!
I am surprised to find that I enjoy working around the house. My favorite job is mowing the grass. I love driving my lawn tractor!