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The bathroom- Before

Sometimes there is just not much good that you can say about a space.
Not the tile. 
Not the layout.
 Not the size. 
Not the details that are there... that you wished weren't.
It is probably better to just shut the door.

But when you get ready to open that door and delve into that what in the world space
and make it something pretty and functional...
just know that a lot of sawdust is involved.
And that you need big strong guys to help you.
And what seems like 5000 lbs of tile laid in 3" thick concrete and chicken wire
will have to be moved. 
A few feet at a time. Several times. Because it is THAT heavy.
And that you will most likely find old damage, old wiring and many things 
that you had no idea were even there. 

You see we have this bathroom that
has been the thorn in the side of this house probably since the 1960's.

It is the bathroom down the hall that no one really used much.
It was an ugly duckling.
It is not like we didn't know it needed to be renovated.
We just knew the amount of work involved was not going to be fun.

When we moved in- as I mentioned before- the ceilings in this house were not finished.
Well in this bathroom- the ceiling was open to the attic. 
As in OPEN to the attic completely with a breeze and a lot of hot air coming in.
 Seems somewhere along the line they were putting in a skylight
 and got as far as the skylight...
and that was it.

Did I mention that this was a bathroom with no sink?
There were just pipes where there might have been a sink at one point in the wall. 
Oh and let's not forget all.that. floor to ceiling tile.
Peach and white stripes for those wondering.
And the floor tile- not the best choice.
It was glossy which is a really bad choice for a bathroom floor.
So it was slippery when wet
and set in that 3" of concrete and chicken wire.
 I kid you not.
Take a look at the dump photo
and you can get a good idea of how thick AND heavy it was to remove that.

There was a 'privacy' wall that split the bathroom into two sections 
but only partly
and maybe the best part was the 'Spa Bathtub' in my dads words. 
Sounds relaxing right? 
It wasn't.
Lets just talk about the 'spa bathtub'.

Before we moved in-and in the lower corner is where the sink pipes were.

A tiled tub that had a ledge at the back that you could sit on-
 but because of the length of the slant of tile where you could lay back was too long- it was awkward
 so you really had no place to put your feet.
And you couldn't lay down and relax
because half of you was out of the water on that slope.
It was not rejuvenating.
It was not a spa or zen bathtub where you could gather some chi
& it was a pain in the rear to clean (all.that.grout) 
Have you ever taken a bath in a completely tiled bathtub? 
Those tiles are freezing cold 
even when you put boiling hot water on them.
 And when they do finally warm up-
 they suck all the heat right out of the water in about 5 minutes. 
And you are starting all over adding more hot water.
So... it worked but it was definitely not ideal.
and since luckily we had another bathroom with a tub-
 this one was happily avoided.

So, back to back in the day -when we moved in.
We took the unfinished
no ceiling
no sink
and not so sure about it bathtub
and made it all functional.
We closed the ceiling, put a new sink in, cleaned the bathroom up
and patched it up - I might have even wallpapered and put up some board and batten.
It was not bad for a 1960's bathroom that totally didn't fit our 1940's house really.
It was functional - it just wasn't pretty.
And we were okay with it because it was on the list for a someday renovation.
We had plenty on the to-do list and focused on the bigger projects
where we needed function.
The kitchen, other bathroom, floors, siding, windows- 
they were all far above the simply 'ugly' bathroom.
 So it was pushed to last on the list for a makeover.
Until now.

The day the sledge hammers came out was a good day.

We ripped out. 
Made a HUGE mess.
Got dirty.
And my dad who is a contractor shook his head. A lot.
But when the dust cleared here and there- for about 5 minutes
  I took a few photos to document.

We found the original plank walls from 1940 that matched the rest of the house
 under the tile walls.

And we rediscovered our old friends-
those ceiling rafter boards that we covered up when we moved in.

And though it looks realllllly messy and yucky (and believe me,  it WAS) 
We cleaned it up and waved a magic wand
and put it all back together again like that.
Yeah something like that-
 but it looked a whole lot more like work.

And yes, it was as exhausting and as big a back breaking  project as we anticipated.
And there were issues.
A lot of issues.
Some quite frankly
I am going to need therapy for I think.

But- you know what?  It was so.worth. it
I cannot even tell you how excited I am for the new bathroom. 
And most of all- how excited I am that it is done.

Are you ready to see the reveal?
Or should I just share a few more of the before and in the project?

Well, the reveal is coming your way this week. 

I am wrapping up photos of it and will share soon.
Stay tuned.


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  1. Oh my gosh....I can't even imagine all the work that went in to renovation that space, Courtney! Holy moly. Three inches of concrete?? What were they thinking?? lol Can hardly wait to see your big reveal, because I know it's going to be utterly fabulous!!!

    xoxo laurie

    1. Haha- right? WHY did they need 3" of concrete and chicken wire to go over hardwood floor (yes, I know) in a bathroom? Insanity. Kind of built like a fortress.

  2. This post cracked me up - and it sums up the chaos of renovation perfectly. You've ALMOST inspired me to tackle my mint green powder room…:) Can't wait for the reveal!
    Best wishes,

    1. So glad I could make you laugh :) Oh renovation projects... always enjoyable. Now, if my bathroom had been mint green- I might have kept it! Is this mint green in a good vintage way or a not so good vintage way?

  3. Please , don't leave us hanging too long -Just love your home and what you have done and can't wait to see the finished bath !!

  4. We had the same kind of chicken wire and concrete nightmare in our bathroom too! What's up with that??? You are so brave, I can't wait to see what you did!!!

  5. Lot's of work for sure but I bet it was well worth it. Please don't leave us hanging for too long. Can't wait to see the reveal!

  6. Well, Courtney, we know it will be beautiful. Can't wait to see for ourselves..Happy Week..Judy

  7. Well, it looks like you got a sink from the last photo!! Never gutted a bath before but did a kitchen and it was a nightmare!! Layers of old linoleum with what looked like tar gluing it down.....and we raised the front roof to enlarge a bedroom and add dormers.....lotsa dust!! I know your reveal will be fabulous!!

    1. We put in a new pedestal sink when we moved in- but yes- we found a pretty new sink for the makeover ;)

  8. WoW!! Looks like you all had your work cut out for you...Can not wait to see your new bathroom. I love reading your post the way you put humor in most of them.. Always bring a smile thank you.
    Have a great day.

  9. What!! Got to the end only to have to wait till later!!! Ugg...I'll be watching for it..

  10. Oh you are inspiring me to take on the big project -- convincing hubby to get rid of all the dusty rose tile in the guest bathroom. I think that'll be harder than taking all that tile out. Talk about dated!! Can't wait to see the finished bathroom!.

  11. I do think you win the Ultimate First "BEFORE" Title for this one. Short of finding black mold….you were certainly…shall we say 'challenged'. Waiting for your transformation…and the pretty, pic..the only one pretty, I hope is an inkling!

  12. Oh My I feel your pain, I just had my old ceramic tiles in my kitchen replaced and what a was hard for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel sort of speek.....but ohhhh wow the end result was worth all the mess....looking forward to your bathroom reveal...