Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hall bath: "finished" product

I've been bad about beginning to tell you stories of what we did this spring and summer, and then neglecting to finish them.  Sorry about that.  I'll try to do better.

Let's begin by wrapping up the hall bath, shall we?  To refresh your memories, we started here:

And then we (okay, I) demolished the bathroom in our (my) attempts to get the wallpaper off.

So the wall was in really rough shape.  P was going to have to skim coat it, but he was annoyed and disgusted by the whole thing, so the project languished for a few months.  To be precise, he just wanted to rip the walls down and start over.  I thought that was an unnecessary amount of work and expense.  He thought I didn't understand how much work was involved in skim coating walls that were that bad, and how obnoxious it was to work in such a small space.  Plus he was convinced that there was other stuff wrong with the walls that we hadn't yet put our fingers on, and what was the point in putting all that effort into fixing walls that wouldn't ever be made quite right?

Plus, he didn't like the tile.  Maybe I should have started there.

But I won, and he finally skim coated the walls.  My parents visiting in mid-August provided a good deadline for us to pull the place together.

So, without further ado: 

The color is Benjamin Moore's Healing Aloe, and I'm in love.  Very peaceful.

The color is a little more accurate in the above picture--it's predominately green, but with strong elements of blue and gray. 

I'm not sure why I didn't bother to put the globe over the bulb for the photo.  It generally doesn't live there because there's not enough clearance for the medicine cabinet to open with the globe on.  No joke--that swings out to reveal a medicine cabinet!  I really worked to select a fixture where the bulbs didn't hang straight down from the electrical box, so that the mirror would clear.  So I was pretty annoyed to discover that even this one didn't work.

What do you think I should do about this?  Options:
  • Who needs a globe?
  • Who needs a medicine cabinet?  Just block it, and keep toiletries on the counter, and overflow in the closet (directly opposite the sink).  (FYI, right now I'm practicing a combination of 1 and 2--I haven't bothered to put the globe on, nor do I bother to put my stuff away unless company is coming.)  See the closet in the reflection?

  • Get a new fixture.  This one was cheap, and I'm not in love.
  • Make P move the electrical box that the fixture is wired into to allow more clearance.
  • Get a normal-looking (and normal sized) medicine cabinet.  I find this one charmingly quirky; P finds it ugly.
Anyway, proceeding with the tour.  Our new bathroom fan:

You might not be impressed.  You would be if you knew how much work went into getting it installed.  This one requires a smaller hole in the ceiling than it's predecessor, so P had some surprisingly difficult patching work to do.  (And that's why we were so excited that all our master bathroom fan needed was a coat of spray paint.)

Why replace the fan, you ask?  We almost didn't--neither of us had a huge problem with the old one.  But both of us had this nagging feeling that there was something wrong with it--something with the wiring that might burn down our house.  We each developed this feeling independently, and were very surprised to find that the other felt the same.  So bye-bye, fan. 

(Note: P then got out his electrical meters, and found some very disturbing measurements.  There's a significant amount of voltage floating around in those wires, even when the light switches are off.  Bad sign.  We haven't retested since installing the new fixture, but that probably didn't solve the problem.  It's more likely that the house's original wiring needs some updating.)

Our original plan was to replace the ugly yellow toilet seat.  Why put a gold toilet seat on a white toilet?  Then the toilet died on us.  It probably just needed some part replaced, and we probably could have done it for under $20.  I say "probably" because we didn't bother to even diagnose the problem.  Instead, we just replaced it:
Why spend $200 when we could have just spent $20? 
  1. P really wanted a fancy new toilet with all the modern comfort features: chair height and an elongated bowl.  Personally, I don't really notice the difference, but he's in love.
  2. And this one's the biggie: our old toilet used something in the range of 4-5 gallons of water per flush.  This one uses only 1.28 gallons, yet still manages to have a much more powerful flush that is much less prone to clogging.  (P has been testing capacity by throwing paper towels in after cleaning the bathroom.  So far, he hasn't managed to find its upper limit.  I'm not sure I want to be around when he does.)  This is one of those great moments when what's good for the environment is good for us.
We highly recommend this toilet, if anyone out there is shopping for one.  It's an American Standard Cadet 3.  Not only do we have no complaints after using it for 5 months, but we like it so much that we bought a second one for the master bath.  That toilet was perfectly functional, but a water hog, and since we had to remove it anyway to install the flooring, we just put a new one in then.

Our only complaint was the super-cheap toilet seat it came with--why go to all that trouble and expense for a new toilet and then cheap out on the seat, right?  So we sent the brand new seat to to Habitat ReStore, and picked up this one instead.  Turns out the modern hinges are much easier to clean than the old ones--just as promised.

Enough potty talk--and that completes our tour.  Next time I'll tell you about all the changes we still hope to make in here.

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