Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Problem With (and the Solution for) the Bathroom

The other day I mentioned something to Vern about "the blog."

"Yeah," he replied, "when was the last time you posted something? November? Maybe you should give up the whole blog thing."  Supportive eh? 

My response? 

"Ummmm, no." 

While he is technically right (November was the last post) it's not for lack of trying.


Look at all those drafts!!! See! The intention is there! But I get it...world's worst blogger. I know, I know. Meh.  Moving on...

Instead of focusing on another flip house this year, Vern and I decided to FINALLY work towards finishing our own house!  There is a to-do list of roughly 101 projects that have slowly accumulated over the last 2-3 years.  We've made progress.  Actually, we've made quite a bit of progress, especially in the last few months, but there is still a lot that needs to be done. A lot.

Ideally, we would like to have our house in a place where we could sell it tomorrow if we found a piece of property/house we really like.  The reason we've been so fortunate with the properties that we own is because we were willing to move into them.  When a house is owner-occupied, you will receive far better mortgage rates than if you're using it as an income generating property.  Granted, with the real estate market the way it is today, the likeliness of us going anywhere is pretty slim. Either way, our focus has finally turned back to our own house and I couldn't be happier.

Over the next year we plan on adding a master suite to the first floor, finishing the backyard landscaping, replacing the roof, repainting the exterior, and adding a covered front porch.  All of those are rather large projects that require lots of monies and time to complete, so our progress is going to be slow and steady.  In the meantime, I've made it a point to tackle the little projects that have gone unnoticed for far too long.

Our initial intention when we bought our house (dubbed the "Mason" house) was to flip it.  I was adamant that I, "WAS NOT MOVING AT ALL. NO WAY. NO HOW!"  Obviously I changed my mind (much to Vern's annoyance), and we stopped all work on Mason and focused on moving. Once we were moved, two more flip houses came into the picture and before we knew it, almost three years had come and gone.  This is the longest we have ever lived in any house.  For awhile, Vern was making me move every year, so I'm happy to stay put for awhile.  Maybe I'll actually live in a finished house for once! Ha!

The first room on the to-do list? The bathroom.  Ugh. The bathroom. I hate the bathroom. I hate cleaning the bathroom. I hate working on the bathroom. I hate the bathroom.  It's my least favorite room.  Some people love bathrooms. I don't.  Give me a beautiful, big kitchen over a bathroom any day. But our bathroom was in dire need of some updates. Not big updates, just time consuming ones that I had put off.

For reference sake, here's the layout of our upstairs.  At the moment there is one full bathroom upstairs and a 3/4 bathroom downstairs. Eventually we're going to turn the upstairs guest room and "junk" room into a master suite, but that's a rather large project that we're just not ready for at the moment.


And no, that's not an accurately scaled representation of our house, but it's close enough.  I can already hear Vern's comments. Shhhhh!  

The bathroom was in pretty bad shape when we received the keys.


Everything was outdated and gross.  There wasn't anything to salvage, so we took the entire room down to the studs.



Then slowly put it back together again. 


New bathtub. 


New tile. 


New paint. 


New sinks, electrical, mirrors and lights.


New everything. 


We went from left to right and called it good.  And it was good.  The bathroom worked for us...for awhile....until it didn't.  We didn't design this bathroom for ourselves, we designed it to be a flip house bathroom, which isn't to say that it wasn't done properly.  There were just a few things that I would have done differently if I would have known we eventually were going to live there. For example, I would have gone with a double sink vanity rather than two separate single sinks.  There is absolutely NO counter space in this bathroom. Something like that is just one of the little things we didn't really think about. 

Over the last two years I started noticing that things were looking a little rough.


Not necessarily "bad." Just rough.  Granted, the above photo doesn't look horrible, but upon closer inspection...


Cracking trim around the window.  Wenatchee's temperatures fluctuate greatly.  Winter is freezing cold and summer is ridiculously hot.  Because of the fluctuating temperature and moisture in the air, we typically notice cracks more in the winter as the air is colder.  All of our trim is MDF, and MDF doesn't have a grain like lumber, so it shrinks and expands in the winter when the air is dry.  The window trim wasn't the only area being affected either.  The crown molding was suffering the same fate:  


Dirty and messed up caulk where the tub meets the tile floor.  When Vern installed the tile he decided to use the color matched caulk rather than white silicone caulk.  We definitely learned our lesson on that one.  The bead didn't run smoothly and the caulk was just poor quality.  Poor quality caulk doesn't have the ability to stretch and flex, and over time will lose its elasticity, which is exactly what happened here:


The same happened around the toilet.  The caulk looked awful and just generally gross. 


But the biggest eye sores?  

The wall next to the shower: 


...and the grout lines on the floor. 


Eeesh. Not pretty.  The wall was due to water from the shower sneaking out of the shower curtain and down the wall.  That problem ended up being an easy fix.  A clear acrylic lip affixed to the tub to stop water from leaving said tub.  However, the wall has sat like that for over a year. For the most part it's honestly not that noticeable, until you use the toilet and are staring right at it.   And the tile?  Yeah, that mess is completely our fault.  We never sealed the grout lines, which allowed dirt to slowly stain them. Sad bears. 

 Sad and dirty looking is how I would describe the state of the bathroom, which is NOT my style.  

When Vern told me that he was leaving for a week-long climbing trip, I resolved the finally fix the mess, and I resolved to do it $150. 😀

Plan in place:





And a direction on design: 



Time to get to work!