Friday, March 16, 2012

First Floor Bathroom Plans

Our downstairs bathroom qualifies as one of the most unpleasant rooms in the house. I will go upstairs to use the bathroom, even if I am in the living room right next to the downstairs bathroom.

This room has resulted in a lot of discussion, confusion, ideas, and changes. If you asked me a year ago what we were doing with this bathroom, I would have said we're cutting it in half.. half will be part of the pantry and the other half will be a half bathroom. We'd get rid of the tub and shower (hey, they are ugly and don't work anyways!) because we had plans to expand the bathroom upstairs and add another upstairs bathroom. But all of that will be in the future. A year later, we're now at the point where we're thinking it might be a good idea to not only have a bathtub but also have the option of a second shower.

It is a known fact that I hate the layout of this bathroom. It is awkward. It's a large room, but everything is squished in one corner, leaving more than half of the room unused. It has a massive closet that is about 1/4 the size of the room. More wasted space.. there are a lot of pipes in here and it's too deep to be of any use.

Now we're at the point where we just need to do something in this room. R is really set on keeping the tub. He also mentioned maybe keeping everything where it is and just updating the plumbing and light fixtures and repairing the walls. I let that sit for a couple days. Finally, I realized that maybe he had a good point. Someday, I plan on relocating the downstairs bathroom to the other side of the house. Where the garage and mudroom will be. So why spend the time and money now relocating the plumbing in this room? And why spend the time and money putting in new walls? What use will a small room be once I relocate the bathroom?

The answer came to me while looking at some plans I did for a house we lost before we found this house. It was the same style with a similar layout. In that house, the room where our bathroom is was a bedroom, but when I saw it I immediately said it would be my library. So I got to thinking. By the time we put on the big addition and relocate the bathroom we will hopefully have one or two kids, and that means that at least Ryan's office will be gone. Wouldn't it be nice to have a room off the Living Room where we could have a computer and desk set up plus lots of bookcases? Yes. Yes it would. So if we do that, why make the room smaller now and then expand it in the future. That would require changing the layout of my pantry, which I will hopefully have by then. It just all of a sudden seemed pointless to me.
So I spent a couple hours and came up with this layout. I love it! Now whenever I walk by the bathroom I stop for a minute and imagine the new plan in my head. Love love love!
Tub: We'll remove the tile surround, but the actual tub is in good shape. It's just a nasty color. We plan on getting a Bathfitter cover for it. The new tile surround will be white subway tile with a square blue glass tile accent strip. We'll also get a new shower head and faucet. The existing shower head doesn't work (diverter is broken).

Toilet: New toilet, but in basically the exact same spot as the existing toilet. I think we will need to put in some extra support in the basement. The floor beneath the current toilet is sloping.. perhaps partly due to the weight of the toilet, some holes in the floor for previous plumbing and maybe some water damage.
Closet: The new closet is still deeper than your average 24" closet (it's about 36" deep), but it is positioned so that the window is centered on that wall and all of the plumbing going to the second floor bathroom will be concealed inside the closet. The inside will be all shelves, for towels and extra supplies.

Radiator and Window: Don't move at all. We'll just give them a new coat of paint.
Vanity and Tall Cabinet: I love the look of furniture in the bathroom. Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware make some vanities that are made to look like a piece of furniture, not just cabinetry. I've seen a lot of pictures of refurbished dressers being used as vanities. This is something I might consider. Otherwise, it will be something we'll build ourselves, with a granite or marble countertop and under-mount sink. The tall cabinet next to the toilet will have the toilet paper holder attached to it, plus lots of open shelving for baskets and other knick-knacks. It will be made by us.. either to match the vanity we built, or built to match a piece of furniture we buy and re-purpose.

Walls: The walls will be tall (5') beadboard with a shelf on the top. The shelf will only be about 3 or 4" wide, but deep enough to display small things. I love the look of this. It's the one thing that has never changed in my vision for this room. I'm thinking a blueish green for the walls.

Floor: The existing wood floor will stay. It is currently painted and I don't think we'd be able to remove the paint without destroying the floor, so most likely we will be repainting it, despite my dislike for painted wood floors. A large rug will go in the center of the room.

By relocating the sink, we are pulling that side of the room together with the tub/toilet area. Now it is just a big empty space, but by having the center of the room be large and empty, it'll help make the room seem smaller.. more to scale with a bathroom.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Living Room Cabinet

We have two amazing corner cabinets in our house. One in the Living Room and one in the Dining Room. Before R's birthday party in November, I cleaned off the Dining Room cabinet and put some dishes on the shelves, so that I could get rid of some boxes and set up a table in there. It's not finished or acceptable in my terms, but it's better than nothing! At least it got rid of boxes!

The cabinet in the Living Room has basically been ignored since we moved in though. The paint is peeling really bad on the back (curved back) and I shudder to think about the super big project of removing all of that paint. Ugh. I don't even want to think about it!! The shelves were basically empty, with a couple random things thrown on there from time to time (papers, boxes, etc.). It didn't look nice. When I was removing paint this weekend, I had to clean out the little corner between the end table and corner cabinet. Once I start cleaning something I go crazy. I found two boxes shoved in the corner. One of them was filled with picture frames that I had forgotten we even had! I needed somewhere to put them. I decided to clean off the shelves and put the pictures up. It's not done, but it will at least make the room look lived in a little. I ended up putting some books on the bottom shelf and realized that it helped cover up the horrible looking peeling paint on the curved back. I need to find more books (never thought I'd say that!!) to fill the top shelf as well. It's the only shelf I don't like how it came out.
Nothing fancy, just better than what was there. And it really helps make the room feel more lived in and less of a 3/4 finished room. We're slowly getting there.. As soon as I finish removing the paint from the windows and paint them we're getting a rug and possibly some new couches. And curtains. And hanging stuff on the wall.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goodbye Paint!

Our Living Room is still 3/4 done. There's just that little 25% of the room left keeping me from officially finishing the room. That 25% is the reason there's nothing on the shelves. No rug. No curtains. Nothing on the walls.

Well, I've had enough. I want a rug. I want curtains. I want a pretty Living Room that I'm not embarrassed by.

First things first, lead paint needs to be removed. I went to Home Depot to buy another gallon of Peel-Away, only to be told that they don't sell it anymore. Thought I was going to break down and cry in the middle of Home Depot. Some quick research on my phone brought me to a Sherwin Williams store. They had my Peel-Away. For twice as much as I had paid at Home Depot. Ouch. But, I needed it. I swore to myself that I'd be more careful and not waste any this time.

As I'm reading the directions, I see that "1 gallon is enough to remove the paint on approximately one side of one average sized door". Uh.. I have three windows, three doors and one large corner cabinet. This is going to get expensive. And fast! But. It's cheaper than $32,000 to have a contractor do it.

It appears that Peel-Away has improved a bit in the last year and half since I bought my first gallon. The cover is child/tamper proof and literally took me a half hour to open. You need 4 hands to open it. No easy task when you're home alone. After rigging something with string, tape and a nail, I got the cover off. I remembered from the never-ending project that is the Living Room fireplace, that the more PA you put on, the easier the paint comes off (it's a trade off.. you're using more PA, so you're going through the gallon faster, but it removes better...), so I glopped on the stuff and put the paper on. I had also grabbed a roll of duct tape, so I taped the edges to the wall so that it wouldn't slide down (a HUGE issue I had with the fireplace... no matter how thick or thin I spread it... no matter the temperature in the house... no matter if I let it sit a couple minutes before putting the paper on, it always slid!). I also went around with a pin and popped any air bubbles I saw, about a half hour after applying the paper.
The duct tape worked. When I came back the next day, it worked amazingly! When I did the fireplace, I had a lot of areas where the paint just didn't come off, due to me not putting the paper flat enough, air bubbles or sliding. I've been able to correct this on the windows and had no issues. It came off clean and beautiful! I wasn't able to get all the paint in the crevice on the edge of the trim, but who cares. It came off enough that when I paint over it, you'll never notice.
On the second window, I put up the PA, but then was too busy with work the next day and couldn't remove it. I prayed that it wouldn't ruin the windows and I wouldn't need to re-apply and waste more PA. So, 48 hours after application, I removed one side of the casing. It came off pretty well. However, it still took about 45 minutes, and was only half of the side. The other side of the window I had put the PA on the whole side and I had tons of work that needed to get done. I once again prayed that it wouldn't be ruined and put it off until the next day.
So now we're 72 hours post-application. Oh my God. I need to wait this long always! I removed and cleaned the whole side of the window in about a half hour. Less than half the time it should have taken me. And it came off perfectly! That section of casing is the best looking out of all my PA projects so far!

I thought it was interesting because in the pamphlet that came with the PA it said to leave it on for 12-24 hours.. basically don't leave it on for more than 48. With the fireplace I found that if I left it on for about 20 hours, it worked the best (though comparing the fireplace to the windows, I did a horrible job on the fireplace!!). With window #1, I left it for about 24 hours. The section left for 72 hours wasn't messy coming down (my one concern is that because it wasn't messy, the chemicals(? whatever changes the toxicity of the lead paint) weren't working anymore and it had reverted back to it's bad self) and quicker to clean up.