Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bathroom Remodel: Chapter 5 - "Surrounded by Love and Pinwheels"

Last time I updated you on our bathroom remodel, we had actual walls and a solid floor that didn't threaten to send us crashing into the basement with each hesitant step. Well, I'm proud to say that not only have we covered the walls, we've also covered the floor, thus continuing to add to the confidence level of anyone who chooses to walk around in our bathroom.

Bathroom Walkers Everywhere: I've got you covered.

Over a couple days this past week The Professor got to work priming the walls with a tinted primer specifically designed for bare drywall:

I have no idea how it's different from plain primer. Heck, I didn't even check its price against the price of plain primer at the store. I just saw the knowledgeable saleslady suggest this one, grabbed it, and happily bought it. But FIRST I tried to sound knowledgeable myself and insisted that she tint it for me, even though she didn't necessarily think I needed to. Well, I'm glad I had it tinted, really. I chose a super dark color for our walls, and I think a white primer would have taken more than just two coats of our paint color to cover up. And I'm ALL ABOUT laziness when it comes to painting.

I won't go into great detail about the color yet--I'd like to save that for later--but suffice to say it's in the dark brown family, very warm, and really pretty fantastic. Here's a teaser shot of the paint against our new lighting and recessed medicine cabinet, both of which were installed just last night:

I will say that we went with an Olympic no-VOC, low odor paint, the first time we've ever done so, and we were just SO happy with it. It had just a faint paint smell that didn't linger, and that's it. No seeping, gag-me odor, no dizziness from the fumes, no fear about what my children are inhaling. I plan on using this stuff from now on.

I don't plan on keeping up that plastic film forever, you know. I do plan on loving this medicine cabinet/light combo forever. I should have taken a picture of this (remind me for later), but the inside of the cabinet is all mirrors, all the time, which just makes me so happy. Other ones we saw were lovely on the outside, horrible on the inside, like they were keeping a terrible secret and maybe needed to start attending Ugly Medicine Cabinets Anonymous, but this one didn't stop being beautiful. And while the lighting is a little more traditional than I was originally planning on using, I'm really happy with it and how it works in this space. I'm mainly thrilled to have lighting that will, you know, light up the bathroom. I might be able to actually see my eyebrows from now on.

Since we are so desperate for things like A TOILET AND SINK, my husband was a hero and worked all afternoon and evening today (a Sunday! good man) to get in our floor tile. This is the part that was my inspiration from the very beginning, and I am so excited to show it to you, even in its pre-grout state:


Isn't that just wonderful? Really and truly, it just makes me want to dance circles around the boring old builder-grade tan ceramic tile that everyone seems to want nowadays. This. Makes me happy. This. Perfectly syncs with our home. This. Is beautiful and different and just so patterny.

Long, long ago I had found a similar tile (this is a black and white pinwheel pattern) in a bathroom remodel magazine and fallen in love with it. The owner said he was going for an "old hotel" look, and I knew right then and there I wanted the same thing for our one full bath. When I found this tile at Lowe's for a perfectly reasonable price, I knew it was destined to be. And from there I kept my eyes out for other, "grand hotel"-looking elements, which also easily fell into place. So really, this tile was the building block for the rest of the bathroom. Isn't that fun to know? I have been so desperate to see it in, waiting so impatiently, and now it's in and I'm so happy. Soveryhappy.

My husband even agreed to buying enough of this tile to (eventually, as in "when the bathroom is done") put it in the small entryway space of our home. !!! I'm going to be surrounded by love and pinwheels.

What's left? Well, mainly lots of little, niggling (yet fun and necessary) details. There are a few big things left, starting with finishing up the tile. We have to wait 24 hours for it to set before standing on it, so Bathroom Walkers and would-be bathers (which would be us), sorry. After the tile sets, we then need to grout it, which requires another 24 hour wait before we clean it up and start putting in the toilet and sink. So by the middle of the week, if plumbing and grout cooperate, we may have a fully functioning bathroom! (I need some cheers, please.) Then it's lots of the little things: sanding and staining the threshold, some extra, last-minute caulking, installing and painting trim, hanging things (including another cabinet, a shelf, and various towel hooks) on the walls, doing touch-up paint work, buying a new toilet paper holder and bathmat, and just general detail work. And lots of clean up.

Oh, I am forgetting one big thing: I need to strip the paint off of the back of the bathroom door, as well as off of its hardware, and then stain it to match the rest of the door. You might remember from my letter to Mrs. Dorothy that (thankfully) the only door that anyone painted in our entire house was the back (?) of the bathroom one. Yes, I'm thankful that the rest of our doors and woodwork were left unscathed, but still, I'm grumpy that I have to deal with this half of a door on top of everything else. Still, I want it done, not hanging over my head for ages and ages, and I plan on (fingers crossed) tackling and finishing that this week. If you have any miracle products that won't make us all pass out on fumes, please let me know. I'm approaching this project with gritted teeth: not really looking forward to it, but very anxious to see it done and out of my hair.

Another thing that is funny in some ways and pathetic in others: Due to our drying floor tile, we have no access to our shower for a couple days, and to celebrate that fact the sink in our upstairs half-bath has decided to refuse to drain. At all. First it was just draining slowly, so The Professor dutifully took it apart, emptied the refuse trap, realized that the problem was in the actual plumbing underneath the bathroom, put it all back together, planned on buying Drano, came downstairs and announced his intentions to buy Drano, and then went upstairs to brush his teeth, only to find a sink that decided draining was beneath it entirely. We think it heard our plans and panicked. So. Our only method of washing up is now the kitchen sink, which is surrounded by un-curtained windows and also usually lots of dirty dishes, and really, we just can't win.

When I get frustrated about this, I walk into the downstairs bath and marvel at that tile, that wall color, that tile-and-wall-color together, and I feel much, much better.

I hope you are as anxious to see the "big reveal" (whenever that may be) as I am! Let me know what you think. And truly, if you have any suggestions for paint and/or hardware stripping, let me know. I've never done it, and while I'm excited to see my door without nasty white paint, I'm a little nervous about getting heavy-handed with intense chemicals.



Anonymous said...

Looks gorgeous so far! Loving the color combination. You really have an eye for decorating.

Gallo Pinto2 said...

LOVE the tile!!!

Tracy said...

it looks great! I bet you are so ready to use it!

Emily said...

OMG. Yay! It's looking so good. Can we just please pause to reflect on the wonder that is your tile. It truly is ohsopatterny. And lovely. And what an idea you have to use it in your entryway! That will look so great! Ah, you shall forevermore be known as Christine, Tile Goddess Extraordinaire. Has a nice ring to it, yes?

jane said...

Hey you. I really love it all so far and can't wait to use it! Um, one suggestion, and maybe you thought about this already (probably), is to take the door off it's hinges, take it downstairs or to the garage, put it up on sawhorses, and strip it that way. Would be easier on your arms and better clean-up. Do you have a black and decker mouse sander? that's what I used to take paint off of the buffet/dresser and it worked well. For what it's worth!!