Saturday, March 31, 2007

Renovating the Half Bath

I posted another "before" picture of the half-bath a few days ago, showing the original toilet and nasty old flooring. Those were bad, but the cultured marble vanity, crappy base, pitted and leaking faucet, really complete the picture of an outdated bathroom. There was also an old-style medicine cabinet/mirror and 60's era light not pictured here. Overall, the only thing worth saving in this room was the oak trim around the door and window.

The vanity was easier to tear apart than I could have hoped for. The top wasn't glued down at all - only gravity held it in place. While tearing it apart (and I'll admit that I wasn't careful at all about how I did it) I broke the P-trap where it goes into the wall. This was actually a good thing, as I found that the drain line was about 75% blocked. After tearing it apart, I found out a little about the history of this bathroom. The first color on the walls was that light blue you can see little bits of in the following picture. You can see a lot more of it where the base molding was in the following pics as well. It's a pretty nasty color, in my opinion. After blue came an avocado green and then a layer of off-white. Next was that beautiful wallpaper. After the wallpaper was on the walls, the original pedestal or wall-mounted sink was replaced with the vanity I got the pleasure of destroying. Eventually the wallpaper not covered by the vanity base was removed and more off-white was applied. 20 years later, I get to ridicule it on the internet. Yay for me.

I had to break into the wall to replace part of the drain line. At this point, the wall is ready for drywall to cover my destruction and the hole left by the old medicine cabinet. I've also sanded the walls where the vanity was to try and even out the ridges left by the layers of old paint. New shut-offs were added to the supply lines for the faucet, as there previously were none.

The old linoleum was covered with a 1/4" layer of cement board, held in place with thinset cement and about 100 screws. On top of that was laid travertine tiles in two sizes for some interest in this small room. In this picture, I've got the tiles installed and have just finished pushing grout into the joints. 20 minutes later and the floor would be finished.

A couple of days later and the trim is back in place, the walls are painted, and the new toilet and sink are installed. I went with a somewhat classic style and tried to keep everything with the same look. There are still a few details to take care of, such as cutting the extra material from the toilet bolts, but it's essentially ready for action. We're extremely happy with how the flooring turned out, and plan on using the same tile in the kitchen, full bath, and entry of the house. For the full bath we'll probably use a heat-mat under the tile to take the chill out of it on cold winter mornings.

Giving the House a New Entrance

The original door to the house has been weather beaten for decades due to the southern exposure. Having the glass storm door compounded the damage. The wood is heavily checked and loose on the door. The locks on the door are also quite old, and since we have no idea how many copies of the keys are floating around out there, it's time for some changes.

The storm door that came with the house is pretty dated, and not as secure as the style would indicate. It's pretty darn heavy and works fairly well, but the style is just nowhere near what we want so it'll have to go.

An few hours into the project and the new door is in place. It took a bunch of trimming along the top edge to make it fit, but the sides just slipped in between the bricks. Luckily, door sizes haven't changed in 45+ years! The urine-yellow color is the primer which comes standard on the door. I've got some high quality exterior paint for the door which I'll apply once it warms up a bit.

From the inside, the door makes a big difference in this corner of the living room. Since it isn't a dark wood (like the previous door) that corner looks larger and lighter. I still need to re-install the old trim and pull up the old laminate flooring. Speaking of that laminate, the original laminate is hidden under the equally ugly more current laminate. They'll both be removed to make room for travertine floor tile in the near future.

With the new main door installed, I could go ahead and add a new storm door. I prefer the look of not having a storm, but it really makes a difference when the weather is hot. As you can see, the storm has two glass panels. What we really like about this door is that when you lower the upper panel, a screen unrolls from above the top panel to take it's place. You can open it as much as needed for some airflow.