Bathroom Update

Having now lived with my new bathroom for a few months.  I figured it was time to update on how it is doing.  There a few good things… a few iffy things… and a few things still to be completed.


When we bought the house, adding a bathroom in the back hallway was always our dream.


It was just a short hallway with a barely used closet, a door to the outside (hardly ever used) and a weird basement access panel.

We basically just used it for storage – mainly the wrapping paper and gift bags and boxes were stored here.  Still haven’t found a good new home for them.  For now, they are in the garage.


Our initial dream was a small 5 x 5 or 6 x 6 bathroom, with a stand up corner shower, a toilet and a small sink.  Having a clothes chute directly to the basement was also on the list.   So… we planned for it when it became necessary to add on to the house in order to care for my mother.


Over time… and with the loss of the initial plumber, and then the contractor… the bathroom evolved into something much cooler than we initially dreamed.


The first change was to take the sink out of the enclosed bathroom area and put it in the hallway, to make room for a bigger shower.   Since it was to be visible from the living room, we decided to go unique and put the sink into a roll top desk.  It is a furniture piece and some future owner could use it as a bar sink because the drawers and doors lock.


Finding the right sink was a big decision.  We finally settled on the clear rectangle one, so you could see the desk…. well… city water is hard and it is covered with water stains.  Also, it splatters so much that we put some rocks in to lesson the spatter… well, they just held the spit/soap/toothpaste and started to collect mold.  So… most have been removed and you just don’t turn the sink on full.  You have to lean down pretty far to spit into the sink and not hit your head on the desk.  But… I still love it and think it is really, really cool!!


The ceiling above the sink, is not finished.  It needs some molding around it.  Not a big deal, but a little detail yet to go.


The other side, also is in need of some molding.


And some repair work from where the first contractor tried to remove bricks for the duct work but made a mess instead.  Just needs some mortar or something.  It will be fine.  Again, just details.


The shower started out being just a small corner shower (in our dream), and then moved to a larger 36 inch square shower… and finally ended up being a full width shower!  With tiled walls.   The towel hooks on the wall, are perfect and really finish out the usability of the shower.    The curtain rod was connected to the ceiling to reduce having to drill into the tile.  The only issue, is you really only have about a 3 foot square in front of the toilet to change your clothes.  This isn’t a super big deal, I’m just pointing it out.  We knew the bathroom was going to be small, so we have taken that in stride.


The toilet fits in nicely.  With the pocket door, there is no door in your way either by the toilet or the sink.  We were able to used a door that was found in the garage.   An over the toilet shelf provides some storage and an outlet allows for phone charging and/or radio noise while showering.    We had to have a grinder crock for this bathroom because of the level of the sewer, but so far, no issues.   Just an FYI (and maybe TMI) if you are female and visiting, ONLY toilet paper can go down this toilet, no tampons of any sort, they told us the strings get tangled in the grinder things.


The shower… WOW!   We did pick very inexpensive and large tiles because the builder said that would be easier to install, especially since some of it would be going over that stone wall.   I can see the few areas where the tiles are not even/smooth with each other, but who cares.  That doesn’t bother me at all.  Adds character.  We did put the grab bar in… everyone is getting older.


Another detail that needs finishing… some of the grout has little pockets that need filled.  Not a safety or water issue, just an aesthetic that needs finished up.  Also, not a huge fan of the the caulking in places, but it will be fine.  Who really takes a lot of time to stare at the wall and ceiling?


We have a window in the shower.  Whatever.  If you take the time to walk around back and look in the window while someone is showering, that is your fault if you are grossed out!!  🙂  The window sill was tiled and a tiled box was installed to hold all those shower essentials.  Just FYI, the female showerer only has shampoo, conditioner, and one bottle of soap.  Low Maintenance!!


So… only a few things to go to call this room complete!



New Bathroom!!

While there are other things completed on the addition/construction, I am just going to focus on the bathroom today.


First, remember that it started out as a hallway with a small closet:


Then it got torn apart and plumbing had to be added:



The unused back door was turned into a window,  a shower was added, and a wall for a pocket door.



This is only partly what we originally envisioned.  Initially, we thought we could get a shower, sink and toilet all within the 5 ft by 6 ft space.   However, the more we thought about it, that seemed really, really, small.   We didn’t want to just make it a powder bath because the point was to have a shower for our master bedroom on this level so we did not have to share with the kids and/or my mother.

OK… so then the plan changed …  we would have a 36 inch square shower and toilet within the space and put a sink on the outside of the official “bathroom.”   That seemed to be a good plan.


Because of the level of the floor in relation to the sewer, we ended up having to have a grinder crock – a self contained unit that sits below in the basement and all the water/waste goes into it (gets ground up, if need be) and then pumped up into the sewer line.


When my original contractor and builder walked off the job in  December, our plans came to a halt… but maybe that was a good thing!   The new builder, along with the plumber, questioned why we were doing a 36″ shower and would only have about a 20 inch space to squeeze into it.  Why didn’t we do a full width shower?  5 ft wide by 36 in.  Huh?   Hadn’t thought of that.   The only problem… it would mean I would lose my clothes chute… but… a huge shower???  Worth it.


So… now we have to find a shower surround that size… (and return the one we had already purchased)…  guess what!?  They don’t make shower surrounds that size that would have easily gone into that space and worked for us.  The problem being all the white brick and how we would work with it/around it.

So… the builder suggested we use tile and grout.  Huh!  Why not.  It actually ended up being not that much more expensive in the long run.



The floor got repaired in order to receive the toilet.



But what about the sink.   The sink is going to be visible from the bedroom and the living room.   I don’t want it to just look like a regular old bathroom sink.   What could I do to make it look more like a piece of furniture?   I’ve seen sinks in dressers on HGTV.   Hmmm… not really my thing.    What could I find to put a sink it?   What about a desk?   Just any old desk?  What about a roll top desk?  Then I could hide the sink if I wanted to.  But they are expensive… where can I find one that I can put a hole in and a sink on?   I start scouring Craigslist and the Habitat Restore.  I finally found one, a decent size, and solid enough and at a price I was willing to pay.  We have always wanted a roll top desk but never really had the space for one as a desk.  Why not use it as a sink?

I coated the desk with a marine sealer to make the surface more water safe.

We measured and re-measured and made sure that the wall for the pocket door was in just the right place.


Remember when I did a survey on what sink bowl to get?  I settled on the clear glass rectangle one with a waterfall faucet.



A ring towel rack on the front where the handle for the drawer was.  The drawer is no longer.  The back middle panel is moved up to hide the pipes.  The left side cabinet locks, the lower right drawer locks, the roll top locks…. not something we will utilize but when we are dead and the kids sell the house, someone else might use it for a bar sink (or something) and be able to lock up alcohol.

The sink is in place. The water splashes as it goes into the bowl because it hits right on the drain.  I added some river rocks to reduce the splashing.  If anyone remembers, my second choice for a sink was one that looked like a rock.  So, I guess I got the best of both this way!!

Electricity has been added on the right side.  I still need to find a mirror for over it.


You can see the pocket door in that photo as well.  I need to clean it up a bit more, but it was a door that was found in the garage when we bought this house.


Trim around the pocket door still needs to be completed as well.


The toilet is in place now!   I will get an over the toilet shelf for some storage.


The tile is pretty amazing.  It goes almost all the way around the bathroom.


The shower is awesome!


It is 5 ft long and 3 ft wide.  The shower rod is up high!  We have been creative and got some supports that come down from the ceiling for it.   That eliminated the need to drill into the tile to secure it.  I will get the shower curtain up tomorrow.

There are a few spots that need a bit of grout filled in for aesthetics.  Also, there needs to be some caulking around the front of the shower pan.


My bathroom is fully functional, even though there are a few things that need finished.

No longer a hallway that just collected crap in it… now it is a bathroom you can crap in!


4 DOTRS Landscaping

.. or maybe not!?


I had all 4 daughters over for dinner tonight.  We cooked Miner’s Chicken on the campfire because we could not camp this Memorial Day weekend.    Also, because this would be the last night that all 4 of them will be together for 6 months!!  On Monday, #3 reports to work at summer camp until August.  The next Monday, #2 starts hiking the Appalachian Trail – ALL OF IT – with her boyfriend.   They will be back shortly after Thanksgiving.


While waiting for the dinner to cook, they decided that the hedge row, that looked like you are entering Narnia, needed to be trimmed.   They started with the hedge trimmer and quickly moved on to brute force and a dull hatchet.  The tree saw could not be located (imagine that?!).


Please enjoy these photos.  There are captions, I think you have to mouse over them to read them?

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We have made progress on the house too.  I’ll post that tomorrow!  🙂

Room #2 in progress

Room #2 – Esther’s Room – is in progress.  Some things yet to be moved in, but you get the idea.




Unfortunately, we discovered that both screens for the windows in this room have HUGE rips/holes in them… they are BRAND NEW!  So, I guess I call on Monday to get those taken care of.


This is the room formerly known as Liz’s room… this mess all has to go somewhere… not sure where yet.



This is the room formerly known as Esther & Lydia’s room… I will spare you the smell-a-vision… *GAG*… not sure where all of that mess is going either.   DSCF7504


Now, if things could be stored in the garage… which they can’t because everything from my room has been in the garage SINCE JULY!!!!!  I suspect that some things will have been stored an entire year before they get back into the house and in a usable format.



One down…

… one room down… 4 to go.


Final Electrical inspection has been passed!!


Yep… one new room to set up tomorrow … 2 old rooms to clear, wash, paint, carpet, and prepare for my mother… and the master bedroom that still needs paint, and flooring, and lots of things, because it is the work staging area right now.

First:  This room has the trim on it now… after the flooring debacle on Wednesday, the floor is NOW done and the baseboard is on and it is ready to receive furniture.



The Liz/Lydia/Cat room now is ready for occupation.  Bunk bed is in place.  Eventually there will be a hole in the wall above that bunk that leads to the cat castle in the hallway, giving the cats a fun way to get to their favorite sleeping place, the top bunk.



The trundle bed is in place and has been given the cat nap approval by Venus.



Shortly after this photo, college dorm exploded in here and the floor and closet (that doesn’t have shelves or anything yet) is now filled with clothes and stuff from college.  Lydia also claimed 2 of the 3 dressers in this room.  🙂



Plants from 2 different college girls.   Liz will bring more later, I’m assuming.  She just sent the big ones now.  We placed them strategically so that the cats could still sit and look out the window.



If you look out the window, you can see that the soffit is not completed yet… and there are no gutters.  It will get there… don’t worry.


Progress has been made in the last couple weeks.  Progress that is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel!!

First of all… the spiral stairs are functional.  Unfortunately, the installer messed up the hand rail and I am trying to figure out how to get a new one.  It comes from near Philadelphia… anyone want to pick it up for me and meet me in Pittsburgh?


The door went it.   I ended up going with Terra Cotta for the paint color.


Here you can see the major dent that the installer put in the hand rail.  DSCF7333


Then progress began again INSIDE!!

The two windows had to be removed to become doorways.   The one in the bathroom was hiding a drain vent.  WHAT?

The one in the bedroom was hiding electric.   *sigh*

Both of those issues have now been resolved.  The electric went up and over the door.  The vent was re-routed.


And now the openings look like this:


Esther even got to help with the bathroom door!!!!


Insulation went in at the end of last week.  Which means I am no longer heating the out of doors.  🙂



Then today… DRYWALL!

The hallway from the bathroom door to the back door.DSCF7406

Esther’s room


Everyone else’s room… and the cat room!DSCF7408

The hallway from the back door looking towards the bathroom.



I have a walk through video, but my free website doesn’t support videos, so I will upload it in the comments on Facebook.


More drywall and mud/plaster tomorrow.   Paint in about a week!