Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bathroom renovation begins

Dan starts a new job after Thanksgiving and had a miraculous two weeks off. I thought that we should celebrate with either a trip to New York, or by renovating our over-sized and hideous bathroom. For better or worse, we have chosen the more expensive but more permanent option: the bathroom. New York will always be there, right?

A few years ago we made a temporary fix by removing the wallpaper and giving it a neutral coat of white paint, but we just couldn't get beyond that pink tub and toilet, the waste of space and the fact that the shower dribbled like a water pick. The whole room was disappointing. This is our time for revenge.

Our main bathroom is possibly the largest room in our tiny house. It is the same size as our kitchen and main floor 2 piece bathroom. It was originally a tiny bedroom and a tiny bathroom. Alas, we are going to undo that modification and return it to it's original configuration, but hopefully it will be much nicer.

We started last week by removing the closet and cupboards. Dan began chipping away at the ceramic floor tiles on Wednesday and Thursday, and finally finished this hideous task by Saturday. We bought a Rhino Bag from Home Hardware and put it on our front yard and started to fill it with debris. Any usable pieces were re-gifted to strangers on Craigslist. (Will somebody really want that giant pink bathtub?) Things were looking pretty bare on Saturday night when we used the pink shower for the final time. A little bit more water pressure would have helped my aching muscles, but why would it change now? People and bathrooms do not change.

With this giant task complete, all we had to do on Sunday was remove the fixtures and then tear up the subfloor. We got an early start, but like most things, I underestimated how time consuming these tasks would be. I spent about 30 minutes laying under the toilet as rusty water dripped on my head, trying to loosen the tank bolt. Finally we decided to leave the damn tank on, and Dan carried the whole thing out and placed it proudly on our front porch. A few hours later, we brought the sink/vanity outside as well. I checked my email and somebody had responded to my craigslist posting and wanted all three pieces. Hooray. We had to have the tub out by 6 p.m. because that was when they were coming. This led to the video at the top of the posting, where Dan smashed the hell out of the tiles while I cowered by the windows, and pieces of shattered tile flew through the air. (We both had our safety glasses on.) I got into the action as well. I took my turn with the hammer, and pulled down quite a few pieces of cement board covered in tiles, but we just didn't get any photos of this.

A pink fiberglass bathtub that measures 70.5"x35" is not that heavy, but it is very awkward. We called our good friend Matthew in a panic to see if he could help get it down the stairs, but luckily for him, he was on Highway 407 at the time, and with the new owners coming soon, we had to do it ourselves. Surprisingly, it only took us a few minutes to negotiate it down the steep stairs and over the hand railing, to the front porch, where we leaned it against my bike.

Now it was time to cap the copper pipes so that we could turn the water back on. There are now showers in our house now, but we do enjoy the simple pleasures like washing our hands, or a cool glass of water. Renovators cannot live on beer alone, can they? I pulled out my "plumbing shoe box" of tools and accessories from the course that I took back in 2005 at Central Tech. With an aluminum cookie sheet as a shield, I fired up the torch and managed two good solders on my first try. I was as pleased as Dan when he finished the floor tiles.

Alas, we had run out of time for the day and the floor would have to be done by Dan the next day. So off we went to dinner & showers on Upper Montrose, a civilized way to end a busy renovating weekend. It's not quite New York, but still very nice.

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