Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Oh, the bathroom.  Yes, there's one and only one.  We looked at adding another one, or at least a water closet, but everything was prohibitively expensive.  But given that we spent a couple of weeks without a toilet and months of a bathroom with no door, I'm so grateful for what we have.

The original bathroom looked okay.  And there were a lot of things going for it.

We were fine with the taps.

The toilet and sink were fine.  And we really liked the huge mirrors on both sides of the bathroom.

But the core of the bathroom had problems.  The floor was sloping.  (And the "wood" in the picture above?  It's vinyl.)  The shower over the tub was next to the window so water would pool in the window sill.  The window wasn't insulated, the plumbing was dodgy, the electrics weren't to code and we had to knock the ceiling down as part of the loft conversion.

And I didn't like the shower head.

The tiles looked okay from a distance.  But they were horribly uneven, not flush and it was doubtful whether the proper work had been done to make the over tub shower watertight.  (Guess what?  It wasn't.  So glad we took the tiles out.)  It turns out there were tiles over tiles.

So out they came.  And behind the two layers of tiles was some old wallpaper with sweet little flowers.

Above the window there was just brick.  Water ingress and cold air was a problem. 

And the floor sloped so much that I worried the toilet would tip over!

There were huge mirrors on both sides which Niall and I both liked and we wanted to save.  I'd arranged for a glass specialist to come and remove the mirrors, but things didn't work out as planned.  The day before the demolition (where the ceiling came down to make way for the reinforced loft floor) we tried to remove the mirrors ourselves.  One broke before we could get it out.  The other made it safely downstairs (it was SO heavy) but ended up breaking later.  It's still in the back garden because I haven't been able to throw it away.  Shame!

The whole bathroom was gutted.  I thought we could reuse the entire suite, but the sink and tub ended up being unusable.  For weeks we didn't have a toilet and it was a major pain. Not having two bathrooms is a minor inconvenience.  Not having a toilet is fairly dire.  I took a lot of trips to the local cafe.  (Which has public restrooms.)  Mind you , we weren't living in the house at the time.  Just working on it.  (Thank goodness!)

After the walls and ceiling were plastered, I spent a whole day putting in a new sub floor.  It was one of the most discouraging days of the renovation.  It was cold, I was in the house alone for 12 hours (Niall and the baby did come by to visit for a bit) and it took so long for me to lay the floor, which should have been a couple of hours at most.  Part of the problem was nothing is straight in this house.  More of the problem was me!

But, I finally got the floor in and it was flat and almost level. 

I started tiling.  We'd special ordered hexagon mosaic tiles off ebay.  And guess what?  I did a total botch job trying to lay them.  There was no power in the house aside from one socket.  I kept unplugging the portable lantern to boil the kettle so I could put my hands in warm water.  But in the dark I started thinking about how the house is 90 years old and maybe has ghosts...I totally ended up freaking myself out.  Also, I can't tile.  I used too much adhesive.  The tiles weren't level.  It looked really bad.

I tried and tried until I'd used so many of the special order hexagon tiles that there weren't enough left. And we were so tight on money I had no idea how we'd ever afford new ones.

Several amazing things happened.  We were able to use Tesco vouchers to get more tiles.  (Not the ones I really wanted, but tiles all the same.)  Our builders stepped in and did the tiling for us at an amazing price.  I didn't use enough screws when I laid the subfloor.  Since we had to pull up the mosaic tiles it gave me a chance to put in loads more screws. And now we have a bathroom!

My mom got us the towel radiator as a gift.  Thanks mom. 

The window has insulation and we had the tub flipped around so the shower doesn't shoot water into the window sill.  And there's a vent. 

We used metro (subway) tiles for the bathtub.  I laugh now that I thought I could do the tiling myself and have it look good.  It took a professional three days!

We're short on storage so used a tall DVD storage unit from Ikea for some of the supplies.  And there's a new shower head.

And the sink?  That was a saga.  The original sink has been installed with a black tar that oozed out when it was removed for the demolition.  So we couldn't reuse it.  Our builder gave us an extra sink he had, but it had to have a counter under it.  The least expensive solution we could find was to have a vanity built (yes, a handyman built it as per my design.)  It ended up being a good thing because it means more storage.

If you ask Niall, I'm obsessed with storage.

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