I have been working on my rental home now for a few years but it wasn’t until this past Dec/09 that I really got into the “spirit” of renovating the house by renovating my bathroom. A complete gut and haul out for a major makeover kind of renovation job.
With the moving in of my Uncle at the end of Nov, while he recovers from the major cancer treatments he received for 45 days straight I found that my 1 bathroom wasn’t going to work home depot health check. Not for a 72 year young man who couldn’t lift his leg up high enough to get into a bathtub and not even enough room to turn around in the bathroom, let alone dry off, dress and brush your hair.
It was an old, smelly and wayyy past it’s prime kind of bathroom that needed a major makeover. The colors in there were originally Lime green tiles and white walls, cream colored bathtub (not because of the paint but rather age) and sink. Oh and of course we can’t forget that lovely gold flecked off white lino on the floor that had more cracks in it then something with crackle paint on it!
I had wanted to renovate the bathroom for 5 years (that is how long I have lived in this place). My husband would have nothing to do with the changes I wanted. Stating that the landlord wouldn’t allow it. Was he wrong!
Upon my uncle starting to feel more his old contractor self (minus the strength and stamina) agreed with me that it needed doing. He wanted to just repair the walls around the tub and do something about the counter and sink area, that was so gross. I talked him into the idea of putting a corner shower stall in instead. Not mentioning that it would be much easier for him to get into, but said it would give us more room in the bathroom. After much deliberation and discussion, he started chipping away at the walls around the tub and realized just how much rot there was. He realized I knew what I was talking about when it came to what really needed to be done.
We gutted the bathroom completely. He and I did it in 2 days, with the help of my husband who came to help me roll out the old cast iron bathtub that was too heavy for me to lift.
As we started tearing out the sink, tub shelves, cupboards and flooring, we saw just what was making the stink. The toilet had been leaking for years! Again, I love when I am right:) My husband realized that I wasn’t trying to be difficult about what needed to be done but rather for the sake of our health, my sanity and the landlords pocket book this room needed a major repair, fix and update.
We cut away the walls around the tub to replace the rotten drywall from the leaking bathtub pipes and found we had to replace the pipes, drains and dry wall. We had to even replace the sink plumbing as well because of corrosion and rust in the pipes. Galvanized pipes aren’t the best thing to have in a house, that is why we have plastic ones now. Modern is sometimes better.
My Uncle and I didn’t replace the wood floors in the bathroom though. We looked at everything that had been water damaged and felt that both floors (yes, two floors one of old 1930s and one from 1960s all hardwoods) were just fine. We repaired around the toilet it’s self and I sealed the whole floor in a stopz sealer. It sealed the floor so well that when it was dry, the wood floor was hard again, not soft near the tub or sink. We then put a beautiful dark grey and brown floating foam backed lino down on the floor.
After the plumbing was replaced and new drywall up, I mud and painted the bathroom. Then in went the pedestal sink, corner shower and the toilet. What a difference it was just with those changes. The bathroom felt clean and when you had a shower in there you didn’t feel like you needed another one!
I have added a free standing white shelving unit to match everything in there. However, to make sure it wasn’t to “institutional” feeling I put in a dark brown framed oval mirror over the sink, a small handmade bench that my uncle made that I stained dark. A few different sized dark baskets and some dark and light brown towels, shower mats, etc.
By incorporating door knobs to hang towels on instead of a rack. I did this so we could have more room to hang towels for everyone but also because it brought in the nostalgia of the era that the house had been built in. The handles and taps on the sink are also old style in keeping with the feel I have been trying to carry throughout the house.
My family says that going in the bathroom now feels like they are in a spa or hotel bathroom. Hee hee I had to laugh at that. But they mostly like that it smells better in there and more room! I like that when I clean the bathroom now, it actually feels and smells clean in there.
We showed the landlord and his wife what we had to do in the bathroom and they saw all the pictures of the water damage, the pipes that were corroded and rusting away along with how serious the plumbing was getting. They asked for receipts and when I showed them that I actually spent less than a $1000 on giving the bathroom an overhaul, they were shocked. They paid for everything immediately and said that it was a great job!