Here it is, coming straight to you from last August, the continuing saga of my "simple little bathroom makeover project". Just in case you aren't up-to-date on this epic docu-drama, and assuming you have all the time in the world for reading (!) you might want to take this opportunity to go back and catch up to this point by reading Part I.
Day 5 finally arrived. That is, in the real-life timeline, after 11 non-DIY-days, 12 new designs for one client (don't be too impressed, they're small) and 13 final revisions for another, 5 calendar proposals for yet another, the foundation of a new fabric group, 2 shifts at the wildlife center, an octogenarian's high-school reunion, 16 dog-walks, a wedding anniversary, and...well, you get the picture.
To complete that picture, however, remember that during this time there were several boxes of toiletries sitting below the bathroom sink, boxes that had started out neatly and tidily packed but that became jumbled messes of various containers strewn about and probably leaking all over one another. Clean towels remained stacked downstairs on the dryer until needed, and the toothbrush stuff remained plugged-in next to the kitchen sink.
Oh yes, it's a glamorous life.
So, to Day 5.
After reorganizing the workspace and taping and dropclothing all (again) the final coat of primer went on. Woo hoo. Then off to buy paint.
Oh yeah, about that.
This has been going on for at least the past year:
Lime green (no).
Spring green (no).
Sky blue with clouds (no, we're doing the cloudy sky in the other room).
Plummy-magenta (hell no).
Brown (absolutely not).
Spring green (no!) Purple (nah).
Sage green and brown (you want every room in this house to be green?).
Dark blue (I don't want it dark in there any more).
Bright Mediterranean blue (no, I like a darker blue).
A garden, remember, like I painted that lady's bathroom years ago? (I don't want my whole house to be a cartoon). That, by the way, was my favorite reaction to any suggestion made by either of us. A cartoon, he said.
Spring green (no, but you can paint the office that color).
Don't you want dark blue? (no!).
OK, you know what? Now that I've gotten rid of the icky texture and see it all clean like this, I think I just want it white (ew, white? You're kidding, right?).
Who knew that the compromise for this would have been...yellow?
Well maybe if it's a creamy yellow, not much darker than the white I wanted.
No, a goldy-warm yellow.
Ew, that one looks like peach. I don't want peach.
That looks too green.
I don't want a neutral bathroom.
But I don't want a bold color in there any more.
I want it to be spa-like.
I don't want a hotel bathroom at my house.
But it's going to be hard finding a yellow that doesn't make the trim look muddy. Then use a brighter trim. No, a brighter trim will make the old porcelain and tiles look dirty.
I like this one.
No, I like this one. I don't care, do what you want.
That's the answer you always think you want to hear, but really, you don't. It never really means that.
Like if someone sent you a manila envelope full of banana custard. I never knew I liked this color, really. Neither did Husband-Guy. Hmh. Learn something new every day.
So, paint was specially-mixed (split the formulas between 2 shades) with a half-formula for the ceiling (in my previous life I was the paint-matching computer for a paint store, before real ones were invented...since I did that kind of thing for people all the time, I tend to annoy present-day paint store employees with complicated requests like this).
After measuring the bathroom then measuring several pieces of unfinished furniture then measuring the bathroom again, the new shelves were picked up. 2 home centers later I had some of the new fixtures (but not all) and was ready to paint. The first coat went on (wow that's really yellow). No, dude...I mean really yellow. The shelves were painted out in the front yard and left out there to cure overnight, in hopes that I wouldn't find opossum footprints on them in the morning. Who knew it would rain that night? It had been clear all day. In Seattle? Rain on a summer evening? Whatever.
Fortunately it doesn't rain (much) under fir trees.
Wait a minute (insert scratchy-record sound effect here). In the living room? Why there? Don't I live in a house with a full basement?
Yeah...it's a full basement. Believe me. Full of stuff. Alright, the living room it is.
So, anyhoo...we're ready to get to work in the bathroom...here we go, ready to roll.
Husband-Guy announced that he needed a shower.
What? There's no room for personal hygiene in DIY.
Unless, of course, you're working on a team where one guy holds up stuff while the other hammers or something. You know, noses-near-armpits kind of work. Then it's important. But now? Really? Take a deep breath, Beth, and then a long sip of that delicious iced latte he brought you while you were still in bed this morning. He deserves a shower. Sigh.
And appropriately so, as 7 has always been my favorite number. Additional coats, touch-up, and trim, oh my. I dig this part. You finally see clean, finished edges. I dig clean, finished edges. Oh yes I do.
As satisfying as it can be to pull that blue tape from an edge, uncovering the flawlessly straight line of color left behind, that stuff's for new construction, smooth walls; in an old, irregular, lumpy and crooked-edged house, hand-edging with a small brush is where its at. Even on those pesky interior-corners where the wood trim meets the wall. This is another of those Zen things, believe me.
Then it's cleanup time...away go the wretched dropcloths for the last time, you start to feel, well, almost human again. Scrubbing and scouring and putting away supplies has never felt so satisfying as it has after making a monumental mess of extreme proportions like I did the past couple weeks.
Well, officially, Day 8 occurred something like a week after Day 7. They all start to mush together into a sticky muddy blur to be honest with you, and I'm really tempted to drop this dumb day-marking system that I've devised to share this whole sordid mess with you poor, helpless blog-readers. What is the passage of time anyway but a bleak, meaningless, journey through a cruel existence, marked by numbers - and what are numbers anyway? Why do they matter? They don't, none of this does, it doesn't matter.
You sense a shift in attitude, a slight feeling of animosity toward this project? Really, is it that apparent?
But the end is in sight, right? Things are more exciting than ever...right? Why so glum now? Come on. The bathroom walls are smooth(ish) and nice, and it's painted a really happy shade of yellow. Yellow really does work as an attitude-adjustment, it's so nice, it makes me smile in the morning (and believe me, that's some task). Maybe I need to step away from writing this and take a break in there to look at the yellow walls.
Alright. Back to Day 8: I'd been crazy-stupid-busy with new projects, I had deadlines and was trying to wrap up work and home to leave for a long overdue week's vacation, my first in a year. I wanted the bathroom to be finished and fabulous for our wonderful house-sitters.
I had a ball shopping for knobs and hooky dealies. Ooh ooh ooh, what perfect details, exactly what I'd wanted. I spent way too long at Anthropologie, in some sort of trance it seems, touching every single knob and pull, rolling it around and marveling at how the light reflected, drinking in the shapes and colors so fast I almost got a milkshake-headache. Absolutely mesmirising. I got the new doorknob to replace the only non-glass doorknob in the house, and some lovely little hooks and dealybobs. And the little knobs at Restoration Harware...perfect. A few soft, lush new towels...sigh, it was finally coming together and it was going to be wonderful.
Back at home it was rush, rush, rush...trying to accomplish way too much in way too little time. Installing new knobs was satisfying, but that's where the fun part ended. And we've already established that nothing ever goes exactly as planned with this kind of stuff.
There were wall-issues: when smugly filling-in and smoothing extremely large and messy holes where I'd removed old screws, I blocked the memories of why they were like that in the first place. This Old House is held together with This Old Plaster which is dry, brittle, and stubborn (as we all should expect to be at age 88).
Forget the concept of molly-bolts, the entire wall about an inch around them disintegrates into fine dust as you screw them in (I'd forgotten that). Any of those newfangled modern hangy-dealies are not made for lath-and-plaster walls, stop before you even think of suggesting some great new thing you've found.
What works here are long, long screws...you need to get them firmly into at least 1 layer of the petrified lath-wood but it's even better if you hit a beam behind them or use a crazy-long screw that makes it through to the other side. Seriously. And if you make it far enough out the other side, you can hang something sturdily in that room from the pointy-end. It's win-win...as long as you aren't picky about where stuff's hung in other rooms.
I wanted the adorable new wall cabinet with it's pretty glass knob to be hung so things could be put away...after fighting with the walls and various screws I had planned on using, I jury rigged a funky setup with old bolts and gaskets from my granddad's rusty hardware collection I've kept around for more artsy projects than this; that would at least work until we returned home from vacation. It's sad and looks slightly more dangerous than it really is...but it hides behind toiletries inside the cupboard. Then, while zoning out and trying to think about nothing on vacation, I designed the perfect method for hanging it later...this you'll see in Part 3 (I hope).
Then there was the big mirror for the back of the door. Well, I'd measured for it and planned on going to my favorite glass-place to order it. But of course that didn't happen until the last possible moment...in those last few days before we left. Then, funny thing happened, our truck wouldn't start. Just like that. After attempting to diagnose the problem at home with no success, it was towed to the shop but they wouldn't get a chance to look at it until the day before we left town.
I measured the interior of my little hatchback, seat down, seat up, sideways, diagonally...nope, there was no way that mirror would fit in there. It's got to be the truck. I guess that will have to wait until we get back.
I hung the new ceramic switchplates but they were smaller than the old plastic ones that preceded them, and now I think I'd like to sand and touch-up paint around those edges so they lay on the wall a little more smoothly (but no time now). I guess that will also wait until we get back.
And in the grand tradition of Measure Once, Cut Twice (not recommended) I hung a lovely little glass shelf above the sink for the toothbrush charger and UV-cleaner. Hung it a half inch too close to the medicine cabinet so they don't fit on it. %(&)@$# I guess that will wait until we get back.
I had bought a new toilet seat in a panicked-rush but we decided it was wrong before we even broke the seal on the package. After further scouring home centers for a decent toilet seat to no avail, I finally found a nice looking one online and ordered it. Yup, you guessed it...when we get back.
Oh, and did I mention that I was trying to wrap up all business with all clients before I left for a whole week? Deadlines? New art that people suddenly needed right away? Things I'd been working on that had already been taking too long?
You get the running theme to Day 8...you know, the day that actually fell 17 days after this whole thing had started...it's "holy crap I've got to make this bathroom look decent for the housesitters before we leave town!" It was thrown together and amazingly enough, looked pretty decent after all.
Well, except for the door with only primer where a mirror should go, the lack of hangy hooky places for towels or robes, the precariously-hung wall cabinet, the rough edges around the new switchplates, the fact that there are still several spots in the paint that needed touch-ups, and the old near-busted toilet seat covered in plaster, primer, and paint because someone was planning on replacing it sooner than later.
Besides that, it looked awesome.
(to be continued...)