The Bathroom Chronicles

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND POST

Hope everyone is enjoying their Monday! Last Wednesday Weekly mentioned the trials, tragedies, and slight progress we’ve experienced in the upstairs bathrooms… let’s look back at some original photos before we discuss all the above.

The Master Disaster:

Here are the pictures of the master bathroom BEFORE any updates:

Heart Throb!

To help you get your bearings, this is the view when you first enter the master bedroom,
and the master bath is just through that doorway to your left.

Master Closet

Blurry old iPhone 3 pic of master bath entry including closet built-ins

Master Bath (only 1 sink!?) Look at that vintage hanging light fixture

Single Sink and Single Stall Shower (toilet room to your right)

... but NOT with that!

Toilet Room, complete with pink porcelain!

Rusty Shower Head

Rusty Shower Head

OK- you know the shower head is too low when someone my height (5′ 8″) has to stand with knees bent in order to get her hair wet; but imagine for a second what it must be like to be my 6’6″ husband!!! Stepping into this dinky stall must make him feel like a giant who’s just entered the ever-shrinking room of Willy Wonka! Claustrophobic much?! Our quick and temporary fix for this little problem, or so we thought, was to install a new head with an arm extension that would allow for more height – without having to deal with any major plumbing quite yet. (We’re eventually redoing the whole shower; we’ll tear out the soffits, expand from a single to a double stall and hang large dual waterfall heads for some added luxury… but we’re talking months down the remodel road and I don’t think our knees could “stand the wait”!) Another quick fix we made was simply removing the moldy/leaky glass door, replacing it with two $5 rods, and hanging a shower curtain we already had from our condo.

...AFTER!

The new head sits a whole FOOT higher than the old one!

Shower Curtain Rings

So what’s all the complaining about?

Problem #1: We replaced the head and lost the water pressure! The hot water in the master shower was already questionable prior to switching out the heads, but once the extension was installed  – let’s just say I could rinse off faster in the sink! After trying a bunch of solutions and suggestions, still no flow to this day. #firstworldOLDhouseproblems

Problem #2: After removing the carpet and glittery gold-flecked linoleum, we found the underlaying plywood in a less-than-suitable condition (though not surprising considering its age).

Gold Flecked Linoleum

Gold flecked linoleum underneath carpet

Glitter Bomb! (I actually kind of liked it... in a weird way)

Glitter Bomb!
(I actually kind of liked the linoleum… in a weird way… minus the gross human hair!)

Bathroom Remodel

Rotting Plywood
We discovered this old TP rod hiding beneath it all!

With plans for tile, we replaced the plywood with fresh tile-friendly cement backerboard, then I went out in search of my wanted flooring materials! EASIER SAID THAN DONE.

Concrete Backerboard

Cement Board

Problem #3: All I wanted was glossy white tile for the master and glossy black/white checkered tile for the kids bath, so I went to CFM (Contract Furnishings Mart), Lowes, Home Depot, Stone Wood Design Studio, all of which said one of the following:

ME: “HI, I’M LOOKING FOR 12″ GLOSSY BLACK/WHITE TILE…?”

Them: “Yes, we carry b/w tile, but only in 24″ squares which are actually 23.blah blah inches, so even if you cut them with a tile saw, it wouldn’t yield an even four 12″ tiles.”

Them: “Yes, we carry 12″ b/w, but only in matte ceramic or stone which will look more like slate than black.”

Them: “Yes, we carry b/w tiles, but only in vinyl.”

Them: Yes, we sell 12″ in glossy black, but our glossy white is 12″x 23.blah blah inches rectangle.”

ME: “ARE YOU KIDDING!? HOW COULD SOMETHING AS CLASSIC AS BLACK/WHITE CHECKERED FLOORING BE SO HARD TO FIND??? EVEN THE 1940’s GAME OF CLUE HAS A B/W CHECKERED KITCHEN, PEOPLE!”

Ok… I didn’t shout that… I didn’t even voice it… but I LOUDLY thought it!

Classic Checkered Kitchen

Classic Checkered Kitchen

I had almost given up for the day when I decided to make one last stop at a second CFM location; now I was even further from home, with my phone on 4% battery, being told “no, black/white floors are very uncommon and considered high-end, so there’s no demand to carry it.” I started to get SO frustrated with the day’s lack of success, and I couldn’t have disagreed more with that first sales associate’s statement. Uncommon? High-end? According to whom?  It was this determination/denial that kept me rummaging the displays till FINALLY, a second associate approached me and offered to help. Within minutes she was holding a beautiful black/white sample of shiny glazed porcelain, available in a few different sizes including 12″ square! By this point I almost couldn’t believe my eyes…“OH! THANK YOU KINDLY MISS, I don’t care how much it is, I WANT IT”! (The price wasn’t too bad actually, I think it was somewhere around $8/sqft.) Alas, my hunt for the not-so-popular checkered flooring was over, and now it was time to patiently wait for our special order to come in!

Zekiel helped me choose our custom grout color - Alabaster. Not as white as the tile because it starts to look dirty, plus it would have created the illusion that the white tiles were slightly bigger than the black tiles.

Zekiel helped me choose our custom grout color – Alabaster White
It’s not as white as the tile because white grout tends to look dirty, plus it would have created the illusion that the white tiles were 1/2 inch larger than the black tiles.

For those interested in black/white checkered tiles, porcelain is the way to go if you’re wanting a reflective quality. The great thing about porcelain (although it may sound more delicate) is that it has a higher density and durability than ceramic. Yes, porcelain is part of the overarching family of ceramics, but the actual process of making porcelain yields a product that’s not only harder to chip but also less porous – making it more impervious to moisture thus better around tubs and showers! Just be sure to use a bath mat as high glazed tile will be more slippery when wet. The only downsides to doing a DIY project with porcelain is it’s a little more $$ per square foot, and they’re harder to cut with a wet tile saw than ceramic. (It’s recommended that you order about 10% more than you will need to allow for breakage.)

We had no idea of the problems that lied ahead…

My husband went to pick up the tiles as soon as we got the phone call, and I’m so proud to say that he (and friend Dimitri) laid it all by themselves! I’m sort of mad that he chose to do the cutting on a day that I was out because now I have NOTHING to show for it; no pics of my hubs handling that tile saw like the man he is… no pics of Dimitri doing such a great job of evenly placing each piece… it’s a tragedy really. (PS. Jared, next time I’m not there to document something, you best take some pictures if you know what’s good for you! I do need to take a minute to brag however… about the fact that you only broke 2 tiles when it was your first experience EVER working with a tile saw! That deserves 2 thumbs up and proof that you learned from the best! Thanks Coach Dimitri!)

Installing Tile Floors

Dimitri... DOIN' HIS THANG!

Dimitri… DOIN’ HIS THANG!

Problem #4: Darn you, Grout! Why’d you have to go n’ turn on me??? The custom-colored grout turned 5 different shades of white when it dried…….

Mixing the Custom Grout

Mixing the Custom Grout

I know what you grout connoisseurs are thinking… they waited too long to remove the haze… THEN WHY DID IT DRY PERFECTLY IN THE KID’S BATHROOM??? And why are there areas so dark they look beige??? Without skipping too far ahead, let me just say that the full-functioning flooring in the kid’s bath has been done for some time now, whereas the master bath is about to undergo a ridiculous round 3! (Let’s just hope the 3rd time really is the charming one! I’m so sick of dealing with this grout I could spit on it! No one would notice anyway!) Overly kind Dimitri used a grout saw to meticulously dig out the first batch, regrouted and… nothin’ – still the same exact problem. Jared has now done TWO applications of an acid that’s suppose to remove grout haze… nothin’ – still the same discoloration.

COMIC RELIEF! (Jared applying the haze removal acid)

COMIC RELIEF!
(Jared applying the haze removal acid)

Our prognosis: It’s the grout. We used the same custom color in both bathrooms, but different boxes. One box provided a beautiful even Alabaster white…

…the other gave us this:

Grout Problems

current state of grout

Grout Issues

It looks stained/dirty already when it’s brand spankin’ new!

Meanwhile, we never sealed the floor (obviously) because we know we may need to dig it all out AGAIN and regrout with a new (hopefully comped) box of Alabaster, so it’s still not water-resistant; Basically, we couldn’t shower in there even if we did solve the water pressure issue! So where have we been showering?

We haven’t……………… Steer clear of the Stricklands everyone!

GROSS, Brittney, have some class!!!

Kidding. We HAVE been showering, in the kid’s bath that’s also shared by Alyssa, Austin, Baby Z, and soon to be baby #2! This bathroom has come a LOOOONG way! Here are some pics from the journey…

60's bathroom remodel

Green Toilet and Tub!

Green Toilet & Tub
(Please tell me you can see the brown crud in the toilet bowl?)

I actually like the cast iron tub... but the MOLD growing in the grout is a little scary!

I actually like the vintage cast iron tub,
but the MOLD growing in the grout is a little concerning!

Double Sinks in the KIDS bathroom... GENIUS!

Double Sinks in the KID’S bathroom… can someone say “GENIUS”!

Removing the linoleum in this bathroom was EXACTLY like removing the think Formica in the kitchen... THE WORST!

Removing the linoleum in this bathroom was EXACTLY like removing the
stubborn Formica in the kitchen… aka THE WORST!

Bathroom Remodel

Notice the ring of water damage around the old wax doughnut!
This toilet was obviously leaking which would explain the ceiling issues downstairs in the dining room!

Bathroom Remodel

Yet ANOTHER color to add to the previous owner's pallet... Lilac!

So far I have found proof that BEFORE THE BANK SPRAYED EVERYTHING WHITE, the previous owners had painted with olive green, cherry red, marigold, powder blue, and now lilac… not to mention the multiple patterns of wallpaper and linoleum!

Laying Tile

New cement backerboard, now the games can begin!

Black / White Checkered Tile

Laying Tile

I had fun removing all the spacers!

I had fun removing all the spacers!

Tile Spacers

caffeine always makes things easier! #starbucksrun

Step 1 of applying the grout

Step 1 of applying the grout

Step 2: Remove the Haze (also fun!)

Step 2: Remove the Haze (also fun!)

Laying tile

Step 3: Clean and Detail

Remember the 3 new toilets we bought!?

Remember the 3 new toilets we bought!?

Are you ready for the GRAND reveal!???

.

.

.

.

.

Heart Throb!

Heart Throb!

Black White Porcelain Tile

The unique thing about b/w checker is it will never go out of style. The colors are still considered neutral because they aren’t colors, and the pattern is one that has continued to thread itself throughout design history. Shortly after we installed this floor, I saw that the Kardashians did the 24″ version in their entry way and it just confirmed in my mind that I WASN’T the ONLY ONE who had an appreciation for it… unlike some people’s opinions! My dream would be to replace the marble in our entry with b/w checkered, but that falls very low on the priority list since that floor is already black and white! Plus it’s original, which is fun.

60's Bathroom Remodel

I LOVE THE FACT THAT I CAN SEE MY OWN REFLECTION! This mirror effect definitely brings light into the room!

I LOVE THE FACT THAT I CAN SEE MY OWN REFLECTION!
This mirror effect definitely brings light into the room!

From the top of the stairs

View from the top of the stairs

Entry

Entrance (still no baseboards… boo hoo)

Black White Tiled floor

Loving the new toilets!

Loving the new toilets!

Shower curtain from condo matches with seafoam tub & sinks!

Shower curtain from condo matches with seafoam tub & sinks!

Vintage MOD <3

THE LOOK: Vintage MOD ❤

B/W Tile

Peeping Tom's Favorite Hideout   (the upstairs moulding has yet to be installed)

Peeping Tom’s Favorite Hideout
(the upstairs moulding has yet to be installed, leaving a small crack around the door perimeter)

Baby Z made himself right at home… his toys are ALWAYS all over the bathroom 🙂

Zekiel has made himself at home:) Ever wonder if they really come to life after you leave the room? #toystory

Ever wonder if these Toy Story characters really do come to life when left alone? 

The grout turned out PERFECT! Now what's wrong with the other bathroom!

The grout turned out PERFECT!
Now what’s wrong with the grout in the master bathroom?

AND…

One more look at the MASTER DISASTER

One more look at the MASTER DISASTER 😦

It may be a disaster, but at least we’re able to use our master toilet and sink! Plus – in latest news – I found a product by Polyblend (same brand as our grout) that’s called Grout Renew. It’s supposedly a color sealer that will restore grout to its original color and ideal for making old, dirty grout look like new. It comes in all their custom colors, so our next step is to buy some Alabaster Renew and give it a go. Cross your fingers for us and hope that it works or else it looks like were gettin’ out the grout saw again and digging everything out! At least things look better than they once did!

Bathroom Remodel

Even Ezekiel looks like he's judging the grout job!

Even Ezekiel looks like he’s judging the grout job!
“And my parents call themselves DIYers???”

But let’s end on a high note, shall we?

Take one last look at the kid’s bath before n’ after!

^ From old to MOD ^

Now that’s progress!!!

Enjoy the rest of this (rainy) day off!

– B

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6 thoughts on “The Bathroom Chronicles

  1. The floors are incredible and your patience is outstanding! Love your writing and sense of humor 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness! Every time I read your blog I’m more amazed and inspired to do … well something:)… Your thoughtful ways and tenacity to get it done just how you want it just go unmatched in my book! What more can I say? I am so entertained by this blog and absolutely love your humor and how you still manage to tuck in useful info and instruction!! What a gift you are to all!
    LOVE YOU!

  3. I didnt know you couldnt shower in your own bathroom! OMG! How do you do it? I LOVE the checkered flooring! I would love to have a kitchen in it someday. But, i wont hold my breath!

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