Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bathroom and Patience Renovation

We're living through another renovation project at the moment.  In the scale of some of the things we've done over the years, this is a relatively minor one.  (And when I say "we", I really mean that my husband does 99% of the labor part.  I do help out with financial end and the keeping up with the running of the house and children.)  Anyway, "we" are completely redoing the half bath that is attached to our master bedroom. 

We've lived in this house for nine years this September.  This has always been a sad little room. It hasn't been helped by the fact that two summers ago, I thought I'd paint it aqua.  I got a few strokes up on the wall and realized it was awful.  Dan told me he would just go over it with some paint in the garage left over from when the previous owners painted it.  Except it wasn't that paint.  It was what we had used to paint our sunroom a few years before that.  At that point, we both mutually decided it was only the half bath, afterall.  No need to fix it.  But this spring I decided- no more! Because, after all, while it is just a half bath, it is convenient whenever someone has the stomach flu in the middle of the night.  That, in and of itself, meant it deserved more respect than we were giving it. We were going to paint the bedroom and completely re-do the half bath.

(Just an aside, don't you love to hate those brats you see on House Hunters who walk through McMansion after McMansion saying things like, "I'm not sure the kids can share just one bathroom?" or "It's kind of disappointing the master bath doesn't have two sinks." Let me tell you something. All five of my family members shared ONE bathroom in the house I grew up in.  And it had ONE sink.)

We (and by "we" here, I am now referring to me) picked out the new paint color, sink, toilet, vanity, light fixtures, faucet, and cabinet back in May in one afternoon. And it's all been sitting in the garage...until this week.

    Behold - a thing of beauty!

Dan's been on vacation for the past two weeks.  After getting back from our beach vacation last week, he painted our bedroom first.  I picked Benjamin Moore's "Owl Gray".  Man, I am really interested to know how a person gets the job of naming paint colors!  I would like to fill out the application.

We've never had curtains for our bedroom in our 13 years of marriage.  My kids' rooms, on the other hand, have always had them.  For some reason, it was much more fun to pick out their curtains.  For us? Not so much.  But last week, I summoned my strength and patience and took an hour to pick out bedroom curtains at Target since they were 20% off with their Cartwheel app.  I also had to buy rods since, ahem, we didn't even have those.  I think they call your adult card carrying into question if you don't even have curtain rods in your bedroom by the time you're in your forties.

Do you ever do something small like this in your house and wonder why in the hell it took you so long to do it?  Me too. We stood there admiring them and I said with delight to Dan, "It looks just like a real bedroom now!" 

The depressing thing was that I got to spend all of one night in my "real bedroom" before he started on the attached bath.  And then everything in the half bath was promptly moved into our no longer beautiful peaceful haven of a bedroom.
    Just keepin' it real, folks

I was impressed by how quickly he gutted the room.  I'm always optimistic at the beginning of every reno project, thinking to myself, "This is going to move right along!"  I obviously never learn my lesson.  This is pretty sad, considering a grew up in a house where my dad did any project that needed to be done himself.  He built the house himself.  I should know by now that it never moves right along for the duration of the project.

When everything was pulled out, Dan informed me we would in fact have to put in a new floor because the previous owners had not tiled under the vanity he had just taken out.  I still wasn't discouraged, because he had told me this was a very real possibility beforehand. Plus, I hated the old floor. It's a very small room, so I knew it wasn't going to be that expensive.  Off we went to Lowe's, with our twelve and ten year old in tow, because you know how much kids this age love to consider grout colors.

Still, I was in good spirits. I'm a pretty decisive person (I'm not sure if you know, but one hour for curtains at Target IS actually quite impressive), so I knew I could knock out the choices quickly.  I settled on porcelain tile lickety-split and moved on to grout color.  No problem.  I liked the one they show in the picture. Sold. Then we had to decide on the adhesive.  And the subfloor.  And the spacers.  And the trowels.  And sponges.  It was at this point that I started to get antsy. And frustrated.  Did I mention that in addition to being a pretty decisive person, I'm also a pretty impatient person?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  I don't brag about that one as much.

At this point, Dan had a question about the subfloor.  He was waiting to ask a salesperson who was helping two of the slowest people in the universe.  So I, being pretty decisive, decided to take charge and find someone else who could help us.  Have you ever seen King of the Hill?  Yeah, I was Hank wandering up and down the aisles calling, "Hello? Hello?"  At this point, the salesperson Dan had been waiting on helped us re-choose our adhesive, which meant we had to pick out a different type of grout, etc., etc.  My  10 year old son, who is the least patient of all four of us, had now given up hope of ever getting out of Lowe's alive. 

We finally got up to the check out with two carts and realized that we brought my car and may not be able to fit the subfloor panels inside.  My husband sensed that I was ready to blow at this point because I had stopped talking.  By smashing the kids side by side with no space between them, he managed to get the panels in the car.  On the way home he mentioned he was going to have to borrow a tile saw from someone.  I gave him a look and asked, "You don't have a tile saw?"  (In my defense, he has a million tools and has laid all our other floors.)

I recouped a bit when we finally saw the inside of our home again.  At this point, Dan started looking at YouTube videos.  I gave him a look again and asked, "Have you never done a tile floor before?"  This question may seem strange, but he has done EVERYTHING to the three houses we have owned, including a complete kitchen renovation, building a deck, turning a screened-in porch into a sunroom and putting on two new roofs.  I just assumed that at some point before I knew him, he had done this too.

"Well, no," he admitted, "But I can."

And that's the thing.  I know he can, but everything takes so much time with a renovation project.  And it's so hard if you are patience-challenged, like me.  And I always forget.  It's like the pain you feel at childbirth.  Your brain protects you from remembering so that you might do it again some day.  This special brain-protecting mechanism is why everyone in the world is not an only child.  And it's also why people continue to do home improvement projects.

As I type this post, he has finished cutting porcelain tile (with a saw he borrowed) and has the floor all configured and put down with no problem.  But, oh yeah, the floor has to sit afterwards for 24 hours to properly adhere to the floor.  So there's that.  So I'll have to be patient again tomorrow. 

 See how God gives you plenty of opportunities to practice what you're not good at?



  1. Doing home renovations really requires a lot of patience. But there really comes a point when you feel like giving up on it sometimes, particularly when the project proves to be a challenging one. For me, I think shouldn't let your ideas go to waste by quitting. I hope that everything's settled now in your bathroom, Kim. I'm sure it looks great, given that you put your best effort on it. I hope you can share some photos of it. :-)

    Essie Reed @ Valley Home Improvement

  2. It's all done now! Check out this post: