Monday, September 27, 2010

A Word about Bathrooms

So, as I've mentioned, the Husband and I have been hard at work lately with the tiling of our bathroom.  Between us and our contractor, the total renovation of the bathroom is a project that began in mid-June and "should be done by early August."  Well.

ANYway, I thought I would share a little bit of this adulthood-induced pain with you, in the hopes that you may be dissuaded from embarking on a similar journey.  Or at least, if you choose to so embark, you will be minimally prepared for some of the challenges that will kick you in the face.

THIS is what our bathroom looked like when we bought our house:

You will note the peeling linoleum floor, the choice of awkward aqua (hereafter known as "awkwa") for the wall tile, bathtub, and commode, and the fact that the *uncurtained* bathtub is RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW.  Don't forget to check out the creeptastic shower-cave shoved under the sloping edge of the roof.  Yes, the Husband and I bought this house, looked at the bathroom, clasped hands, and said with all the pseudo-intense romantic glory of a 1980s-movie couple, "we can do this... if we just work together."

Well, the Husband got out a crowbar, and we started romantically destroying things.  After a few weeks of hard (HARD) labor, we ripped out the tile, the tub, the walls, the floor, the ceiling, and the 3000 pounds of concrete UNDER the floor, and our contractor transformed the bathroom into this:

Magic, right?  Well, after another couple weeks seven more weeks, we reached the painting and tiling stage.  Upon receiving the revised "estimate" for the cost of our bathroom, the Husband and I decided that we would rather learn to tile than learn to live without groceries.  Thus began


I started with the bathtub, since it seemed less intimidating (as in, if you are being actively mauled by a Liger cub and a Mama Grizzly, you deal with the Liger cub first. Baby steps).  I studied a seriously helpful, snark-free, pretty much all-around adorable website called to learn how to Do It Myself, and got to It one night after we got home from work, with a notched trowel and some mortar. 

8:45pm: As I spread the first patch of tub surround with mortar and set a few tiles into place, I feel very capable and independent. 

9:02pm: I want to light the bathtub on fire. 

9:05pm: The Husband (who is priming the walls and ceiling) successfully reassures me that this is not the worst task in the history of humanity, and that I am not going to collapse and expire in the bathtub.  I return to work.  I inexplicably have the song "Golden Ticket" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory stuck in my head for the duration.  I resist the urge to bang my head into the wall because I will get mortar in my hair.

12:35am: We stop to take pictures.

1:24am: We remember that we have work in the morning.  We seal up the mortar and hit the hay.  Around 6:30, I get up, stumble around like a six-legged unicorn who drank too much moonlight, and figure out how to cover the tile with plastic sheeting so I can shower before I have to stagger off to work.

We finished laying the tub tile the following night, and grouted it a few nights after that.  Grouting basically consisted of smearing a toothpaste-cement hybrid all over our neatly-laid tiles and shoving it into the cracks until they were reasonably filled.  The next morning, I felt like I had filled about sixteen knee-socks with wet sand, handed the socks to a passel of Twilight fans, and told them that I found both Edward and Jacob utterly unappealing.

This was about ten days ago; having had time to recover, we began on the floor yesterday.  The only difference was that, instead of using ceramic tiles like we had for the tub, we were using beautiful rosy marble tiles.  We quickly discovered that the marble was a little more high-maintenance than the ceramic.  Basically, it cracked easily.

However, we eventually got a basic handle on laying the tile in a way that did not encourage it to crumble under our fingers, and it looks pretty good so far!

Overall, it's starting to come together quite nicely.  However, I'm beginning to fear that my sanity may be the price.  I've become increasingly unable to take a normal picture.

Concerns about my sanity notwithstanding, spending an inordinate amount of time on the bathroom floor has made me think of a rather humorous story from my childhood that lends itself well to pictorial storytelling.  Please stay tuned for that post, which will be freely given to you as soon as I dig myself out enough (from work and grout) to finish the illustrations. :)

Happy Monday!


  1. on a positive note, your walls don't look as pink in these pictures. it must just be the lighting.


  2. Thanks, Victoria. :) The Husband decided last night that he truly could not live with the pinkness of our bathroom walls.

    We are going to repaint (translation: HE is going to repaint those darn walls while I sip an appletini and write blog posts). Maybe the next time you guys come over, the bathroom will be finished!... ?... :(

  3. OHHH...someone needs a more MANLY wall color to frolic about performing bathroom duties, eh? Baby-bottom-pink-fresh-from-a-sink-bath doesn't quite do it for him? ah, dear brother, the time will come when you are faced with pink walls, and the pink walls will PREVAIL.

    mua ha ha.

    love you both. -S

  4. I found your blog on 20sb. Great work with the bathroom. I would have been WAY to overwhelmed to do something like that! It's looking awesome.

  5. WOW! This tires me out just reading this! You guys are awesome!

  6. We had to re-tile some of our kitchen floor and that alone was more work than I cared for. An entire bathroom? You are my hero!
    It looks beautiful, and I hope you can maintain a speck of sanity long enough to enjoy it when it is finally finished.

  7. Nice work on the bathroom! Congratulations! =D


  8. Oh my gosh, I'm never renovating anything! hah, that would be way too much work for me. It's looking awesome! I love the tile you picked.

  9. Sarah - wait till you see the new color. It's called "Deep Garnet." WHOA is it dark! But sexy. :)

    Missy & Meg - Thanks so much! If I feel demoralized by the grouting/painting still ahead, I will curl up in a corner of the bathroom with my laptop and stare at your comments some more.

    Whisperer - Props to you for dealing with ANY aspect of a kitchen! Ours was move-in-ready (other than the prospect of painting), and I think I would have imploded if we had to do any work in there.

    Mia - Thanks for finding me! I'm surfing over to Miafied right after I hit "post comment."

    Sam - You are very sweet. :) Let me know if you DO renovate something in the future, because I'll be more than happy to cheer you on.

    I can even cheer for other things, if you want, like, "Yaaay Sam! You WEAR that shirt today! That's RIGHT!"

    (... Sorry, I couldn't even do cheerleading when I was seven, and EVERYONE could be on the team. But for you, I'll try.)

  10. You can have the sink and vanity unit in the middle. Take after a shading plan in the outline. Keep the style smooth and clean for a contemporary search and for simple upkeep.he said