Friday, June 15, 2012

Some Progress in the Bathroom

Please do not take this as a Grand Before and After, or what they term on television design shows "the Big Reveal." If I were to call it either this post would fail to live up to its billing and you'd all be sorely disappointed. Instead consider it a snapshot of a room in progress, like you're just stopping by for a quick visit, trotted down the hallway and noticed in passing that hey.....

There's a new bathroom floor in there!

During my recent week of home improvement projects, a neighbor who is a plumber and handy with the other trades too came on over, tossed my toilet into the tub for a few nights, slapped down some new plywood subfloor and vinyl tile, and got this bathroom a for real floor.

Those of you who've been with me from the very beginning (and I thank all three of you!) will recall that when I moved in, the problem with my main floor bathroom was, erm, many-layered.

The first layer was a layer of carpet tiles, which I did not photograph because I have no intention of portraying graphic content on this blog. They were that disgusting.

Next was what you see above, the crumbling layer of mauve tile (at the back near the toilet) and then the dried glue encrusted and warping plywood subfloor. The above picture was taken shortly after all the approximately two dozen moving in plumbing disasters, when my friend Dave came and put in the first new and fully functioning toilet in my house. At that point there was no time to address the floor. Some people have fire drills. I have potty drills.

Later most of the plywood was removed, except for a square around the toilet, to reveal this:

This was at one time perfectly, amazingly great floor.....before it had nail holes pounded into it from the subfloor that went over it. So it wasn't really salvageable.

This bathroom has multiple problems besides the floor, but I don't have the time or money right now for a serious and total remodel. But the fact remained I needed a floor. I decided to put down an inexpensive option that would hold me for a few years until I could swing the big project.

Longer ago than I care to admit I bought some serviceable, dirt hiding, vinyl peel-and-stick squares at the home improvement store, buying out the last of a discontinued 88-cents/square foot tile at a discount.

My neighbor, great person that he is, had that floor down in no time, and looking better than I thought it possible considering the less-than-stellar quality materials.

Here's a closer view:

You know how you get one problem taken care of, one thing in the room improved, and instead of feeling better, you feel even LESS satisfied with all the other things that are bothering you? Yeah. That happened.

This is in NO way to discount either a) my friend Dave's grand heroism. He rescued a lady in crapper distress; or b) My neighbor's work. Every time I step onto smooth, clean flooring in this bathroom I am so eternally grateful it looks good and the carpet tiles are gone.

But the bathroom is a smokey lavender mauve hue that is muddy and uninspiring to me, and I bought an inexpensive Wally-World shower curtain JUST because it coordinated with a color I don't like. Not a good choice.

I've been contemplating what I can also do in the short term to give the room a retro feel without giving it the expensive gutting it deserves.

Perhaps instead of that blah lavender we could have some tropical turquoise:

                                                       Source: via Laura on Pinterest

This 80s strip lighting is so glaringly bright and warm in this small bathroom that when it's on, it's like being roasted alive in a deluxe-size Easy Bake Oven. I've even taken bulbs out of it to make it a) more ugly and b) less hot/bright:

Instead something like this would be nice:

                                          Source: via Laura on Pinterest

While the cabinetry is actually good quality (though yes, that's a missing knob there):

.....perhaps these would help:

                                                                    Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Anyway, it's making me wonder if just a little more work will give me an entire bathroom I actually like, instead of just the floor. I'd hate to be "meh" about it for the next few years

I'll leave you with a detail of my open-sided tub, which I believe to be the original one to the house. I love the Art Deco detailing on the outside, but inside the enamel is completely gone. I'd like to have it re-enameled if I can.

What quick fixes would you suggest for my bathroom until I have the time and dollars to really invest in it?


  1. YAY!!! For having flooring in your bathroom!!! It's too bad the old flooring was not salvagable, but honstly I think the new vinyl squares look just fine.

    I'd definitely add retro touches to your bathroom to make it a bit more "kitsch". Totally look for a bath bar light at a salvage place or thrift, or get that new light I posted about at Home Depot. And those star knobs, heck yeah...I LOVE those!!!! You could also think about a new laminate countertop that looks a bit more retro, laminate is pretty inexpensive.

    Your tub is AMZING!!!!

    1. Thanks, Sara. You read my mind! I'm thinking about a laminate countertop partly because of the sink, which I did not show in this post. Because the bathroom is so narrow, the countertop is smaller than standard front to back--16 inches. Instead of looking for a smaller ceramic sink (they are out there, though they are often hard-to-find or a special order item) the previous owners stuck an RV sink in there. That's right! A plastic sink that you find in motor home kitchens! GAH!. And a bottom dollar, leaky, faucet. I think if I replace those I'd have to replace the counter anyway, and I could find a more retro looking material.

  2. Hooray for new flooring! :) And I think painting over the color you don't like will improve the whole feel of the room, for not much $. I know I felt so much better about the rooms in our house once they were all colors I actually like!