the beige blues

The Lion, the Witch and the Washroom - Part 2

LET ME JUST SAY FOR THE RECORD I should receive many prizes and international adulations for doing two blog posts in seven days.

It’s really hard. I don’t know how people do it.

Anyhoo, back we go to the One Room Challenge and el baño.

I shall take you muy pronto through mundane but essential details starting with the fact our only tub/shower was in the soon-to-be demolished bathroom. I had no intention of bathing in a bucket or washing my hair in the sink for six months, so the solution was a temporary shower in our creepy, spider-filled 118-year-old Michigan basement.

I watched Mike build this contraption and MUST SAY initially I was very dubious about the outcome because it started out looking like this …

… and then there was this …

But much to my surprise and delight, Magic Mike once again pulled a rabbit out of his hat and completed this stunning work of art aka our wibbly DIY plastic basement shower complete with reversed hot and cold handles, rusty nails and many electrical cords hanging overhead just to keep us on our toes.

I can’t believe we’re still alive.

(I think the nail on the right dates back to 1902.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we threw many bags of construction debris out the second story window due to inclement weather (i.e. snow and perilous ice).

(Of course, the bags formed a giant heap in the backyard and were then covered with snow and then more bags and then more snow until we had geological time layers of bags and snow.)

Within a few days of mostly Mike’s demo, we had the bathroom gutted past the lathe. This exposed many old house calamities, the details of which are unimportant and outside my purview and expertise although, as Mike explained, they basically were analogous to opening your walls/floors and finding the electrical and plumbing are a daisy chain of extension cords and garden hoses.

As for the floor, we were disappointed to learn someone along the way had ripped out the original hardwood, which they may or may not have done in connection with water damage, and replaced the hardwood with sheets of plywood. Under the plywood was the original subfloor which we hoped NO WE PRAYED would be intact. NO DICE. Whoever took out the hardwood also pulled up and hacked away at the subfloor, leaving perilous gaps and holes here, there and everywhere.

Mike therefore had to tear out what remained of the dilapidated subfloor and rebuild the entire thing. This was no easy task because, as you can see from the photo below, the workspace was riddled with craterous gaps which he needed to avoid because just one misstep would have dumped him through our butler pantry’s tin ceiling.

No bueno.

While Mike was on his hands and knees trying not to fall through the first-floor ceiling, I was very busy doing important things such as selecting paint colors.

I had been whacking paint splotches randomly onto the walls since we moved into the house in 2016 for no good reason other than I needed to get excess paint of my brushes. AND I wanted the bathroom to look as bad as possible in hope that Mike would agree to move it up the renovation schedule.

Interestingly, I chose none of these “test” colors but instead was drawn to the beautiful cerise color Rachel of @countryrectorylife (Instagram) chose for her kitchen. I therefore ordered a sample pot of Farrow & Ball’s Lake Red, but thereafter figured out the color was almost indistinguishable from Behr’s Glamorous.

In addition to Glamorous, I was eyeing a stunning metallic ruby red by Modern Masters which I thought would look fabulous on the Narnia cabinet against cerise walls. All of which, of course, would be trimmed with copious amounts of metallic gold.

(Glamorous is the third color from the left. The sample jar is Modern Masters Ruby Red Metallic. The other pinks are colors I might use on the floor, which I intend to hand paint.)

Mike finished the subfloor around the same time I started ordering paint. Now, Home Depot is a five-minute drive from our house, but for reasons no one seems to understand, our state’s governor made the sale of paint in big box stores ILLEGAL during the pandemic. Thus, I had to wait TWO WEEKS for the paint to arrive at our door after working its way across the United States via the pony express (Farrow & Ball would’ve shipped internationally faster than we got our Made in The USA paint).

Anyway, I digress. Back to the floor.

Once the subfloor was down, we were able to carry our new bathtub upstairs and set it using globs of construction foam. The tub is a gigantic 72” x 36” acrylic soaker sold by which we bought through Amazon (the brand is Mirabelle).

(This is the construction foam. It looks like frosting but don’t be deceived. Anything that touches this stuff will be fossilized for eternity.)

Whilst we're on the subject of the tub, one fun fact is that our demo confirmed this was the home’s original bathroom, and that it had indoor plumbing dating back to 1902. We’ve been told the original cast iron tub (which was removed a few years before we moved in, for reasons not clear to us) was in the same location as our new tub.

(The bottles and boxes of water are for weighing the tub down after setting it on the foam.)

After setting the tub, Mike moved to the next stage of the reno which was framing the Narnia cabinet that would surround the bathtub.

(That’s Mike starting the framing with his handy dandy Makita. The Makita served as our kitchen island for many months while we renovated that space.)

While Mike was very busy being build-y, I was on the hunt for tile to cover the walls inside the shower/tub area. I don’t remember why I started thinking along the lines of a tile mural, but nonetheless that’s where I ended up. Houzz is one of my favorite resources for building products and décor so I searched this website for hours before finding a very cool reproduction of an Alphonso Mucha art glass panel from the Art Nouveau period.

(Mucha was a Czech painter, illustrator and graphic artist who lived from 1860 to 1939. This tile mural is a reproduction of Mucha’s 1898 work called “Dance” and is sold by Picture-Tiles.)

Mike loved the mural as much as I did, so we ordered it in the 36” by 60” size which will be a perfect fit to fill the visual opening of the Narnia cabinet.

To be continued.

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