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19 Mar

Live shot from Ittybittybungalow:


Its done (almost)

17 Mar



The shower is all done!

It still has some grout haze in places which I’m working on removing, there are some paint touch ups that I need to make on the trim surrounding the tile, and the taps are clearly not finished yet but those are all manageable and will be sorted out as time permits.

The important thing is that I can take a shower again comfortably.


These taps took me all day to sort out. I wanted to change the handles to this vintage style but that was much easier said than done without a total plumbing overhaul. Apparently, every manufacturer makes a different locking mechanism for attaching their handles to the valves in the wall. My taps were set up for the American Standard brand. After a trip to Historic Houseparts and Period Bath I thought I had what I needed, but the handles I brought home wouldn’t fit. I headed back out to try another architectural salvage, ReHouse, but they didn’t have anything to help me either. From Rehouse I headed to Home Depot, where a fellow in an orange apron helped me look for quite a while, we did find an option but it was ugly.He looked a little aggravated when I turned it down and left empty handed.

That’s when in desperation I went to Black’s, an independent hardware store where I knew I could at least get someone knowledgeable to give me some ideas. What do ya know, not only did they have advice but a solution and a rather inexpensive one. After explaining my situation they helped me identify the exact type of fitting I needed and then showed me the adapter I could use to add a knob with a universal fitting to the valve. The two handles you see above were exactly what I had in mind and were a great price at $19.99 when others were charging $20.00 each. The middle, diverter valve was not in stock so they ordered that in for me and even gave me the adapters that I needed for free. Thank you Black’s Hardware! The next thing I need to do is to find three escutcheon plate to cover the valves but I do think I saw some at Houseparts that might just work. So I’ll be heading back that way to make some exchanges on Monday.

Now If you’ll excuse me I have a shower I’m looking forward to taking.

Things are looking up.

13 Mar


That is the ceiling. Normally, I wouldn’t think about tiling this, but the whole premise of this operation was keeping the paint on the upper area of the shower from molding and peeling and the ceiling was a participant in that offence. Its all because of that archway, which traps the moisture in the shower and keeps it from reaching the vent fan.

You can see that I still need to cut all those little pieces near the top (I can think of a zillion other things I’d enjoy more) and when that’s done I think it will look less crude. It was more difficult to place the tile on the ceiling and get the grout lines just right. You really had to load the tile with mortar to get it to sick just right and then you could only play with it so much before it would just fall off. I did the best I could, I mean at the end of the day you gotta realize that this ain’t the Sistine Chapel we’re building here.

Today also marks the third trip to get more tile. I could have saved myself extra trips if I had done the math to figure the amount I would need but that sounds a little too much like a word problem to me, so I’ll keep away from that. I quite honestly believe making three trips to the hardware store has been easier and more enjoyable than doing that math.

So the goals are:
Finish the rest of the ceiling then cut and place all the little pieces for the top before I head in to teach tomorrow.

Then after school I can tile the back of the archway and the outside near the base of the tub since the shower water has been disintegrating the plaster there.

I’m taking Wednesday off because its my birthday and  the celebrations will include an I-HOP breakfast and a field trip to Period Bath to pick out a reproduction shower head and tap set as a little present.

Then I can grout on Thursday.

Shower in Progress

11 Mar

I’m too tired to write much, but here’s an update on the shower.



A lot of the tile is in place, but no grout yet.You can see there is more to be done, like the ceiling and the backside of the archway. The hole cutter I bought is not doing a good job helping me to tile around the taps, so I’ve left them behind for now.

Seeing as I’m not a pro at this I ‘m pretty happy with my results, but after doing this alone for two days straight I am exhausted.


9 Mar

Some of my favorite bloggers are having some work done  DIYing their bathrooms. You can see how well they are doing here and here. Meanwhile, my bathroom is not looking so hot.


This is the top of my shower. I just painted all of that with expensive paint this summer and look what has happened. When it first started I thought that  I could solve the problem by installing a vent fan . Well, clearly that didn’t work. So I’ve decided to tile the whole shower, floor to ceiling in order to keep this from happening again. Here’s the timeline of events.

5:00 – Arrive home. 
              Check mail for paystub – We’re in luck

5:30- Head to Wegman’s for necessary food  provisions

6:30- unload car, head back out to the hardware store

7:30- Arrive home with 6 panels of Hardibacker, screws, joint tape, mortar and a boxcutter. Costing $111.00

7:45- Take the long last look at the shower and hope I know what I’m doing



8:15- Peel off the last of the fake tile, remove shower rod and knobs and really hope I know what I am doing.

I can’t figure out how to get the tap thing  out (not the shower head)- suggestions welcome, it won’t twist and there are no screws of any kind


9:30- remove the last of the drywall and plaster.


10:00- Dry-fit the Hardibacker board

Should I remove all the lath, or is that unnecessary? Most of it is in good condition. I don’t see how it could hurt to leave it in place. Thoughts?


10:15- discover power drill has no battery left. Cleanup, take a sponge bath and then blog about the mess I made.

Hopefully, I can get all the backer board up and tape the joints in the morning. Then I’m off to a baby shower and maybe we can talk tile tomorrow afternoon. I’m thinking white subway with gray grout. Perhaps, a four inch band of white hex tile 3/4 of the way up to tie in with the floor and add interest. Or I could install a band of glass tile but I’m afraid it might look dated in a few years since it is so popular now.

I’m going to keep the two handled hot and cold knobs to keep it vintage and because I’m not a plumber but options at the hardware store for this style were majorly limited and mostly plastic. So I’ll have to keep looking.

I ‘m really not sure how any of this works besides what I have read online so any advice would be more than welcome.


26 Jan

Ok… so in the end, I took nobodies advice.



Not only did I not take anybody’s advice I went with the most boring curtain design ever, and the blinds are still there but I’m open to to idea of a small panel of sheers. I made the curtains myself from the Dwell Studio by Robert Allen material that I had liked for awhile. I did only need a yard and it was 1/2 off so these cost me 17 bucks in fabric, I had the clip rings from the old curtains and then  I spent 2.75 for the curtain rod.They were just hung tonight so they are still hangin’ kinda funny but I’m sure  they’ll relax some over time.

You might also notice that the bathroom is now extra luxurious with the new hand towel ring beside the sink.

And here’s a little something so you can ooh and ah over these major changes.












           Before                                                                    After

Bathroom Ceiling

21 Jan

Since the bathroom is a hot mess right now I figured I’d just keep going and add beadboard to the ceiling like I wanted. Sometimes there are do it yourself jobs, sometimes there are do it with a friend jobs and sometimes there are do yourself a favor and hire someone jobs. This was definitly a do it with a friend job. Standing on top of the toilet trying to hold a 4 foot by 4 foot panel of beadboard on to the ceiling and nail it in place just where it was supposed to be did not go well at all; furthermore, hammering upside down while this takes place is insanely difficult.

After a lot of cursing, and an “I give up break” including a nap and an episode of Dear Genevieve we  were in business. You can see here that I did manage to get the panels on the ceiling and I started to add crown molding around the perimeter of the room, but its not going well. I can’t seem to make the cuts right. It seems so simple but all the angles make my head spin. So, I’ll have to try again tomorrow.

Here is the before picture:


and here is the what I have so far picture:




I think it looks a little more interesting. The room is small and it helps to draw your eye up making the space seem a little larger.Now, if I could only finish off that molding I’d be in ready to paint.

I’m also having thoughts about changing the curtains in there. I don’t like valances or café curtains and the blinds have to stay for obvious reasons but I’m not sure what other options there might be.Any thoughts?

Batten Down The Hatches

19 Jan

I’m finally doing it!






I’m finally putting in the batten strips in the bathroom. I’ve had them primed and cut in my basement since the summer and for some reason I had major fears about doing it without any help. Well, I decided it was time to put my big girl pants on and get to work. 

It looked a little like this:


I’m no carpenter and I bet this lady could have done a better job than me but I’m pretty happy with how it looks. Tomorrow I’ll putty and caulk the gaps and prep the strips for paint. Then on Saturday I’m going to hang bead board on  the ceiling and trim it out with a small crown molding and then cover it all with a fresh coat of white paint.

Each batten is hung between 9 and 10 inches apart. They are  not even all the way around because I needed to avoid parts of the sink, the heat vent, toilet paper holder and the window sill. However, I don’t think anybody will ever be able to tell.


A 100 Dollar Plumbing Lesson

22 Dec

Good news. I took everyone’s advice and I called a plumber to repair the bathtub drain. I’d be lying if I told you I did it right away. This was the first time I have had to call a professional into IBB and I wasn’t going to surrender without a fight. I tried drain cleaner and failed, I tried to snake the drain and failed, I tried to plunge the drain (and that’s when the water turned black… thinking I was making progress I kept on plunging until every sink in the upstairs stopped draining), epic fail.

Next, I called my Hometrust Warranty which up until now has been worthless, and if it weren’t for them covering this issue I’d have nothing good to say about them. I mean, they wouldn’t even pay a locksmith to repair my front door lock after it broke.  So one simple call and a 100 dollar deducible later it was all fixed.

However, I’d like to elaborate:

When the plumber came out, and said my pipes really should be replaced.To which I promptly replied that  unless Hometrust Warranty was going to pony up for that then he was gonna need to figure something else out. Meanwhile I used my best annoyed teacher skills to  shoot him the sternest “that idea is unacceptable” look I could muster up (I happen to be quite good at that one since it gets quite a bit of use at school).

After which he determined where the plug must be and he cut open my a pipe jammed a stick in it and then wrapped it back up with some type of compression sleeve thing.  Thing was… I had already figured the plug was where he said it was and I totally could have taken that 100 bucks and bought my own reciprocating saw and done just what he did. I was pretty frustrated since  that was all that needed to be done, since I could have done it, I just didn’t know how at the time.

Anyways, the important thing is that all the drains are running, and better than ever before. The plumber said that my pipes should last for longer than I need them to and he showed me how to undo the sleeve and shove the stick in the pipe to clear the pipes myself if this ever happens again. So I guess I will just chalk this one up to an experience and just be thankful that it was only a hundred dollars.

This doesn’t look (or smell) good.

20 Dec

Anybody have any suggestions?