We have had quite the season change in the last six months, with selling our lovely first house and moving to Geneva to work on our PhD research for two years at CERN, the largest particle accelerator in the world.
HouseCapades doesn't seem like the right moniker for our current season of Swiss apartment and semi-nomadic life, so I've started a new blog for the next couple years, over at neatniknomads.blogspot.com. I hope you'll make the transition with me and pop over to see what we're up to!
How. Ever. I cannot finish posting about our Oklahoma house without telling you about the bathtub renovation that we daringly attempted our last spring in the house.
This is a hint. If your husband gives you the crazy-eye when you suggest ripping out the fugly fiberglass bathtub surround, *this time* it might be for a good reason. Unless your husband likes showering at the gym and going to sleep to the sound of the wet saw and endless How I Met Your Mother episodes, he might not appreciate the full loveliness of this project.
On the other hand, the author may or may not have completely forgotten to go to bed one night in the excitement of tiling/grouting, looking in confusion at the oddly-colored window curtain upon reappearing from the bathroom before realizing it was morning sunshine, and then been excited because that meant Lowes had just opened at 6am and she could get MORE GROUT to complete a certain stage of the program. FABULOUS.
Anyway. Have I established that said project will in all likelihood be harder than ripping out and replacing the kitchen, harder than tiling the sunroom floor, and more time consuming than my hand-sewn duvet cover that has brought in so much lovely Pinterest traffic?
Am pretty sure we made it harder on ourselves than strictly necessary for several reasons:
- Self was too cheap to buy one of those mixing attachments that fits onto a drill and mixes your grout for you. Used old plastic serving spoon. Three words: BUY MIXING ATTACHMENT.
- We chose 12" square tiles, with 3/16" grout lines, which looks *awesome* and is easier to clean (hello fewer grout lines!) but was a PAIN to install, because if one tile is crooked or one cut is off, it affects the future tile-laying much more than smaller tiles. And also bigger tiles are thicker, so harder to work with in smaller spaces. Am pretty sure those people with the small white subway tiles have something right going on.
- Beginning of project included unforeseen but fortuitous plumbing and HVAC vent repairs
- Wife's crazy desire to add custom details (am getting to that)
Anyway. When I last blogged about it, we had gotten this far:
- demo drywall
- install tub
- do new plumbing
- build up wall corner around plumbing
- install plastic moisture barrier over studs
- install cement backerboard over moisture barrier
With all the plumbing complications we had, you would think the rest was easy sailing...so then I had to decide to go and put in these lovely customized shelves (inset into the stud space...why let it go to waste, after all??)
After the shelves, the rest of the steps, while tedious, were pretty straight-forward. I found this v. awesome bathtub-tiling guide that I followed for most of it.
And when I say tedious, I emphasize that this is not the 'seven day quick install' that Julia over at MerryPad managed to bust out. This was countless evenings of husband making dinner while self toiled away, and then after dinner break, husband exercising his excellent detail-eyes to make wet saw cuts for self till getting bored and going to bed, while self continues to various wee morning hours fueled by some strange desire to have a shower again despite how good we eventually became at using baths out of necessity...(also found that awesome snack for middle of night tiling is sandwich of shredded cheese+red onion+mayonnaise, all chopped and stirred together...)
These photos after tiling and grouting but before caulking show how I made it hard for self with all the extra corners and shelves (but - interesting to figure out, and so functional!)
In those photos you can also see the problem that developed with my shelves. Due to the thick 12" tiles we were using...I had these ugly seams that no way caulk was going to hide:
That was definitely a throw-in-the-towel-and-go-to-bed evening. But the next day, husband had the best suggestion.
|Apologies for the weird coloring of photo...|
I think the camera was compensating for all the blue painters' tape
Oh yeah. That was totally what I should have planned on from the beginning. And I had just enough leftover small tiles to get away without buying another pack!
And with that we had a functional, spacious bathtub/shower, and the main thing, hot running water again! We installed one of those curtain rods that curves outward (totally worth it), and a shower head that adds extra height for the tall people (From Amazon). Those two additions by themselves added great flair - would be a great upgrade just by themselves!
We didn't install the shower rod at the ceiling like so many DIY designers are fond of doing (*coughYHLcough*) because in our case we would have had to use one longer than the standard size due to that shelf past our showerhead. I actually like the lower rod better, both for functionality (for steam to get out of the shower) and aesthetics (curved rod + leaving the curtain open to show off the tile).
I do love the tile going up to the ceiling, though. It makes the whole space feel bigger and more open.
Phew. Yes. Love result, but don't want to do that project again for a v. long time! But was v. happy when professional contractor friend came over to see completed bathtub and drawled, "well now, that's great work. you could hang your shingle out." Will be hiding said shingle in a deep dark project closet.