This post has been “in the making” for, well, months. When we first moved into this house last August, we knew that the upstairs bathroom was probably going to be the first thing set for a “re-fit.” Largely, this was because the toilet (pictured above) had to go. It must have been one of those top-fill types that used to have the tank suspended high above it, yet no such tank existed. The toilet actually flushed just fine: you just had to fill it by opening a valve inside the tank, effectively rendering it useless to our 4-year-old (and a hassle for us).
The rest of the bathroom was “fine,” at best. Tiled all the way around. Nothing too offensive. Everything else worked fine.
So, we got a new toilet. One that flushed. And filled. Of course, in doing so, we lost some tiles behind it. As we clearly couldn’t leave it like that, Brooke started looking into replacing those tiles. As she tried removing a few of them, they started crumbling all around her. To make matters worse, she removed the towel rack from the bathtub area and found that the lathe behind it was wet, suggesting that the grout had to go. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned “crumbling” part, re-grouting wasn’t a viable option.
So, I came home from work one day to see much of the bathroom looking like this…
…minus the ladder, of course. I came home in the middle of this debacle. You can see some of the less-broken the tiles in the sink there. Brooke did nearly all the tile removal and I contributed by hauling tiles and debris outside. The wallpaper came down remarkably easy (though unsurprisingly, as the humidity in the bathroom made it pretty loose).
As you can tell, the plaster underneath the tiles came along for the ride, while the plaster behind wallpaper was mostly unscathed.
A similar story around the bathtub. Firstly, we had to solve the tub problem so we could actually shower in this bathroom (it’s the only one in the house). We grabbed some moisture-safe drywall and put it up where the tile used to be.
Next, we had to replace the tile, or at least line the tub with something more water-resistant than drywall. After looking around online a bit, we settled on fiberglass sheeting. As you can see in the picture below, we got it done in time to give the kids a bath.
It was a similar story across from the tub. This time, however, no fiberglass was necessary, so Brooke just used joint compound to merge the plaster and drywall, plugging a few holes in the process.
Not all that attractive, we know, but nothing a coat of paint (or two) can’t fix.
After filling in the gaps and patching the ceiling a bit with plaster, we primed the walls in preparation for paint. We decided to go with a brown-ish color, as it seemed to go pretty well with some of the shades in the floor. In the end, we think it came off pretty well.
Finished product in the tub! We added an organizer to the corner and put in a new mirror that didn’t look like it was from the 1940s. We’d still like to replace that pedestal sink sometime, but for now, it’s functional.
The wall across from the tub looks better with some paint, right? Brooke put up a rack of hooks for all our towels to go on. Nice and accessible from the shower.
The finished corner. It’s probably worth scrolling all the way up to the top to compare these images, as we think it looks quite a bit better. New towel rack, new toilet paper holder, some shelves above the new toilet, and the lack of tiles.
It isn’t perfect, though. The wall under the window there is a bit rough, as it’s still the original plaster and not drywalled. We may add some trim there eventually, but for now, it’s alright. I also need to remove the paint on the wood frames, the doors and the window, as I suspect they’re laced with lead, but that’s a job for another time. Perhaps this summer that’ll get done.
Much better than we found it, though! That’s the most I can ask for.