February 27, 2012

Thinking While Waiting: The Hall Bath

Waiting on the arrival of our kitchen floor seemed to go on forever. At first we occupied our time by getting caught up on all the little kitchen projects that had piled up. Then Dan got started on outdoors projects, whenever the weather was mild. Eventually though, because we were in the indoor project mode, we began to talk about another area that badly needs addressing, the hall bath.

Our hall bathroom when we first moved in.
More photos here.

We really needed to talk about this bathroom because it has been plagued with plumbing problems from the start (hot water faucet in sink doesn't work, toilet tank leaks, both drains refuse to unclog) and new (recent bathtub faucet leaks). On top of that the floor around the toilet is rotting because of water damage that happened before we bought the place. This means the toilet leans a teensy bit. The quick fix to all this was to shut the water off to this bathroom, because the plumbing requires more than fixing, it requires updating as well. And if we're going to do that, we figured we might as well decide what in the world we want to do with the room anyway. In the meantime, this bathroom is 100% nonfunctional.

This bathroom is a challenge, because it is small. Not as small as our kitchen bathroom, but at 5.5 by 7.5 feet, it is by no means large. When we sat down recently to discuss it's current plumbing problems, we agreed that we want to keep the project as simple as possible. Our kitchen has been relatively elaborate, but then it's one of the most important rooms in the house. The bathroom needs to be functional and pleasant, but we've had enough of elaborate for awhile.

Here's what we're thinking so far:

Ceiling - is tongue & groove, which Dan doesn't really like
  • Minimal updates
    • add ventilation fan
    • fresh paint
    • new crown moulding 
  • Maybe (depends on time, money, & energy)

Corner of the ceiling. The mouldings cover gaps where the T&G
doesn't meet. Paint cracks are common with T&G too. Would at
least like to replace both the crown and the corner mouldings.

Walls - also tongue & groove 
  • Minimal updates
    • paint, new color
    • new towel racks
    • shelves for extra towels
    • robe hooks
    • new corner molding (also to cover gaps)
  • Maybe 
    • something besides T&G? What?
    • new window? I like the energy star ones, they really help
Bathtub - is an old clawfoot 
  • keep but refinish
  • add shower enclosure
  • new faucet
Sink - the only thing we've done in this bathroom so far has been to add lights above the sink.

New over sink bathroom lights
Sink lights we added shortly after we bought the place

That was part of a general electrical upgrade when we first moved in. Our current thoughts:
  • keep sink lighting (of course)
  • replace sink & faucets
  • new vanity, one that extends from sink to corner
  • replace medicine cabinet (use old one from the kitchen bath)
  • replace outlet with a GFCI model
  • fix and upgrade
  • greywater recycling, at least prepare for
  • too wide for the room (32 inches)
  • replace with folding door
  • tear out vinyl & repair damaged area around toilet
  • box in toilet
  • tile? not vinyl (Dan doesn't like vinyl)
  • new baseboards
  • new register cover (old one's yucky)

Compared to the kitchen project, that doesn't seem like a very bad list at all. Still, these things have a way of turning into nightmares bigger projects than anticipated. Nothing will get done until after the kitchen is finished however. And then, only when the weather won't let us work outside. As per our 2012 homestead goal list, we still need to continue work on the outside of the house: the front porch is badly in need of structural repair and we need install the new front door so that winter winds no longer blow in through the gaps.

I recently updated my remodeling (formerly house projects) blog page and saw that we've basically completed one indoor project per year. Some projects have taken longer than others, but our progress is steady. We work on indoor projects mostly during winter months, when it's too cold and rainy to work outside, so it's likely that we won't actually start on this bathroom until next November or so. That, of course, is assuming the kitchen is done by then!


Amy Dingmann said...

Oh, the remodels. They have a way of taking longer than you expect or turning into something you'd didn't think they would! We are like you and try to do the indoor (house or barns) projects while its winter so we can do the outside projects when the weather is better. Good luck with the bathroom!

Theresa said...

My bet is with the known water leakage right now, you'll end up gutting the floor completely to the floor joists. As to flooring, tile or wood. You two probably don't slop around like a houseful of kids can in a bathroom, so wood would be my first choice. I would hate to see a dropped ceiling covering that old T&G, no chance of putting insulation above it or maybe doing tin ceilings?
What about the window if you add a shower enclosure?
They can be terribly problematic in a shower. Do you need a shower here where maybe a hand held unit on the tub facet might do? If the floor gets gutted is it much more or even possible to reconfigure the plumbing and change the layout with the tub allowing the window not to be in the shower surround area? Fat lot of help I am!

Jocelyn said...

I looked at your list and heard the cash registers. Bathroom remodels can be so expensive and always turn out to be more than you thought.

I wish you the best of luck here and I hope that it's "an easy fix".

PS--I love those lights. Such character!

Mama Pea said...

Boy, you two don't let any grass grow under your feet! If you're not actively doing your "thinkers" are going a mile a minute. Kidding 'cause I do know you've got to have a plan to start with. But as Mama Tea said above (and you well know) those plans do take some crazy twists and turns once you get into a project. My question is if the window and tub stay in the same place, do you NEED a shower in this bathroom?

Carolyn said...

Remodeling, remodeling, gardening, then more remodeling. Is there anything else in life?? :)

If we had actual plumbing problems, I would just board up the bathroom and use the outhouse. Plumbing scares the beejezus out of me!

OOOO.....I second the idea of a tin (or look alike) ceiling, the one in your kitchen nook looked so nice!

Sylvanna said...

Our bathroom is tiny like that. Have you considered linoleum for the floor? That's what we put in and love it. My only other thought at this point is that boxing in the toilet could make the room look even smaller.

Nina said...

It's still a fairly long list of things which need doing. A lot of them are small fixes though, which should make the job easier. I hope the floor turns out to be an easy fix. It's amazing how far water damage can seem to travel sometimes. I really like the light fixtures you chose. They have a lovely old fashioned feel to them.

Leigh said...

MamaTea, that's what we've figured out, LOL. Even "simple" can take a long time to accomplish in the world of repair and remodeling.

Theresa, have you been talking to that fly on the wall? LOL These are the exact things we've been debating. Dan is the one who wants to do that to the ceiling. For some reason, he doesn't like the T&G, I think because as the house has shifted over the years, there are huge "cracks" in the paint between the individual boards. It would make it a bigger job to re-do ceiling and/or walls, so may change his mind and just let me paint it! The things you mention about the shower are also the things we debate. Generally, we both like showers in the evening. I found a lovely antique brass hand held shower thingy, but we haven't decided on that yet for sure. If we do go with a shower surround, I'd go with a clear shower curtain. Still, there's a lot of time to change our minds numerous times!

Jocelyn, that's it exactly, and why we want to keep this simple! We both tend to have fun imagining all sorts of elaborate changes, but I think this time, it will be easier to just go with the basics. At least I hope so!

Mama Pea, that's Dan in a nutshell. :)Good question about the shower and window. As I mentioned to Theresa, we both like a shower in the evening, and if we turn this into a master suite, it's the only bathroom the 2 of us will likely use. My only thought at the moment is a clear shower curtain. Or maybe a lightweight white one to let in light but still provide a sense of privacy.

Carolyn, no, I frankly don't think so. Remodeling and gardening are all that exist, until the goats get hungry for their grain. :)

Sylvanna, I didn't say that very well. It's actually a structural boxing out, in the joists under the floor. Maybe framing would have been a better term. Usually a builder creates a framed out box under the floor to add strength a heavy object like the toilet. Whoever built this house just put a hole in the floor for the drain pipe! That's part of the reason the toilet leans. :)

Nina, fortunately the joists are not water damaged! That's one small favor. The floor will definitely be one of the biggies though.

Sherri B. said...

You are always getting so much done but with older homes, sometimes it feels endless. We had to use the molding on the gaps in the corners too..love them as they cover a multiude of 'sins'! xo

CaliforniaGrammy said...

I can't tell you the joy it brings me to watch your progress, Leigh. You two are so stinkin' organized and skilled in your refurbishing projects. You really amaze me!

Renee Nefe said...

you know that I'm not a fan of tile...or any flooring that has cracks in it because that's just a place for dust to collect. but I've yet to find a flooring surface that I do like.
I think that I would probably go with making the bathroom to be what you wanted instead of the minimal plan, just because I wouldn't want to do the work twice.
This post makes me think of my bathroom upstairs that I would like to rip out and start over with...meanwhile hubby would rather sell it to someone else and just buy what we want. Seems to be the new American way. sigh!

m said...

I haven't any idea whether this would work for you or not. In both bathroom areas upstairs in our house we have cork tiles on the floor. They are warm to the foot, sealed with varnish, and show little signs of wear after 11 years of use. In our downstairs toilet, near the back door, we have a tiled floor which is easily washable. The grouting is grey, so doesn't show up muddy footprints. (I'm surprised that expanded polystyrene ceiling tiles are still available. I wouldn't consider them, as they might pose a fire risk.)

Anonymous said...

No matter what you decide to change or upgrade, it will be gorgeous. You both have great taste!

Linda said...

We too have several remodeling jobs going on...Hall bath, kitchen, small room by the kitchen....this has been going on for months. I am so ready for something to get finished. Good luck with everything!

Leigh said...

Sherri, that's a fact. Both about older homes and about moulding!

Janice, thanks. We're not really that organized. It looks that way on paper, but once the project gets started, organization seems to fly out the window!

Renee, yeah, every type of flooring seems to have its faults. Actually, we'd like to make this bathroom into part of a master suite! Of course that makes the whole project bigger, but it has to start with the bathroom because it has the most problems!

Mary that's something to look into thanks! There are a number of "new" materials being used for flooring. For us, it has to be water proof for the bathroom. :)

Stephanie, thank you!

Linda, good grief, simultaneous remodeling; you are so brave! We started on our kitchen a year ago and it's nowhere near being done. Gets frustrating after awhile, doesn't it?

Unknown said...

Oh, remodeling is so fun isn't it? :) Good luck with your bathroom. I went back and looked at ALL of your remodels and I love it, you have great taste! I'm hoping to do the same, a remodle maybe every year, if not more. I really hate the way my house is right now. We moved in almost a year ago.

Leigh said...

Even though it's a lot of work and money, we've really enjoyed our remodeling projects. It's so much fun making the house your own! You've got a talented husband and great helping kids so you should accomplish a lot!

100 Thoughts of Love said...

you know, people all over, decorators, etc, are all spending money installing tongue and groove/beadboard on the ceilings and walls...It is all the rage to have a farmhouse look...Why not go with what you have, fix the plumbing and fixtures and have a beautiful farmhouse bathroom? Look at this link and scroll thru, its not the bathroom but same idea...also they have bathroom somehwere on that blog that does have tongue and groove walls and ceilings!