Small Bathroom Redo

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Riverview is a 3 bedroom and 1 bath house. Yup, you read that right. We've got one post-WWII bathroom that has seen about 3 remodels in it's lifetime. Add to that there is no room to expand the footprint and no money in the budget and you get a creative remodel on a dime budget.
 
But I'll make it work!
 
The best part is that I've undertaken most of the work myself. Sounds strange, but since the bones of the room are good and there are no major fixtures, tub, sink, toilet, etc... to be replaced, I think I can do it myself.
 
The first project has been taking down the fake bead board that was behind the vanity. Oh, there's more in the room, but since I knew what was waiting for me I decided to bite it off in small pieces. What was behind the bead board? Plaster walls, holes and lots of mastic left behind from the original tile that was put in when the house was built. Gauging that the countertops were green Formica when we moved in I'd guess that the bathroom was most likely pink tile.
 
My original thought (before I pulled the bead board down) was that I'd put up subway tiles in white. But that idea last just long enough for me start stripping the mastic off. It's a beast.

 
And this would be the chaos that I found underneath! Brown, very smelly and looking vaguely like someone had spread a jar of rubber cement all over the wall. As you can see we had a medicine chest with a built in light that I knew I wanted to replace. Also, when the electrical was updated to GFC outlet it left a gaping hole that now needed to be fixed.
 
Hubby's response was to rip it all out and sheetrock, but since I am the one doing the lion share of the work I knew that I didn't want to replace anything I didn't have to. Especially, if it means taping and mudding joints above my head. Hate it. So, after leaving it for a couple of days to air out I decided that I'd try to get the mastic off the plaster walls.
 
 
Employing my handy dandy 5 in 1 tool (Yup, it's mine!) I set out to chip it away. After lots of bruised knuckles and not much progress I decided that there had to be a better way. Since the mastic closely resembled a hardened glue... and in some places Shellac, I brought out my hair dryer and used it to make it a little more pliable. Sure enough, holding the hairdryer about a foot away from the wall and only concentrating on a small section made it go a lot faster. WARNING: Make sure to hold the dryer far enough away from the wall so it doesn't overheat. Could be combustible!
 
Note: I also discovered that gloves where definitely in order for this project.

 
After two days of fairly intensive work, this is where I am at. The mirror is a thrift store find and won't be staying, but it does give me a good idea of how much it opens up the small room to have a flush mirror.
 
By the way, in the middle of all the old home archeology we discovered notes from the past. Evidently the original owners knew the value of a woman's opinion.



So now that I this part is done I still have walls to patch and putty and then paint. Nope! There will be no tiles on this wall. I'd hate to think that some future owner was cursing me for what I leave behind. I do feel good that I've done this with my own hard work. Goodness knows that the stubbornness has to come in handy for something.
 
Next up I need to decide what to do with light fixtures and how to update the vanity on my $1 budget. Stay tuned for more adventures in Old Home Archeology!




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