Monday, September 6, 2010

Work in progress

Those who followed this blog last February and March will recall that just last spring, Brian and I finished up the long-drawn-out process of remodeling, or refinishing, or what have you, our large downstairs room (which, by the by, is still being referred to as the downstairs room, as we have yet to come up with a more suitable name for it). During the summer months, we did a bit of messing around outside—planting the garden, painting the shutters, and so on—but only in the past few weeks did we really make a determined start on our next big project: remodeling (or refinishing, or what have you) the downstairs bathroom.

As with the big room remodel, we're aiming to keep this project as ecofrugal as possible. To that end, we're reusing as much as we can of what's already there. Fortunately for us, some bits of this room have been updated fairly recently. We got the seller to replace the old shower, which was cracked and leaking, back when we bought the house, so that's one big job we don't need to do ourselves. And the old water-hog of a toilet with its mismatched lid (which you can see in the photo) broke in our second year of ownership and was replaced with a sleek, efficient model. But pretty much everything else in the room—sink, walls, floor, lighting—has to be redone.

A couple of months ago, we made a start by removing all the old vinyl tile, which wasn't good-looking enough to be worth salvaging. Just in the past few weeks, we started in earnest with patching the damaged walls, slapping on something like a gallon of drywall in the process. We also moved the old bathroom fan (which originally was not only wired up wrong but also vented directly into the side of the cement porch steps) to a side wall—a process that involved actually breaching the hull of the house to make room for the new vent, which felt oddly daring. And we installed a new canister light in the ceiling where the fan used to be. By late last week, we'd finally managed to bring the room to a state that might be considered a blank canvas: all the fixtures and flooring removed, the walls repaired and freshly primed. In other words, we've finished all the taking away we need to do in the room, and we're ready to start adding, which is always more interesting.

Step one is going to be painting the walls, and in what may be an overly ambitious move, I've set my heart on a two-toned, sponge-painted effect. The base coat (Valspar's "Cream Cake") is drying now, and our next free evening will probably be devoted to the more elaborate process of first rolling on and then sponging off the tinted glaze ("Golden Moon"). After that, it's on to adventures in tiling, a new experience for both of us. We're going with ceramic tile, as a more durable and therefore greener alternative to vinyl, and I'm hoping our nearby Habitat Restore will provide a nice-looking tile at a reasonable price. If it's leftover or salvaged from a building site, then it will be both eco and frugal.

Watch this space for updates!
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