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:
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.
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).
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.
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!
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!
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.)
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!)
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…….
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.
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:
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…
Are you ready for the GRAND reveal!???
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.
Baby Z made himself right at home… his toys are ALWAYS all over the bathroom 🙂
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!
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!