It’s no secret that I love houses, especially old ones, and I love a redecorating project. So, at some point in our current (and forever) home purchase process, I told David, my husband, “it’s a project for the rest of my life, and I couldn’t be more delighted!”
Of course, this statement was much to my people’s chagrin. I am not one to miss an opportunity to make a home more aesthetically appealing and, more importantly, comfortable for those I love. When we bought this house, it needed some serious updating. The previous owners brought most of it up to a 90s style, which was all usable and allowed us to move in and live in the house for a while. There were a few rooms, however, that weren’t entirely usable.
Like this one:
This hall bath has sat silently, waiting since the 70s for me to come along. As usual, home projects start with either necessity or frustration, as I finally get tired of looking at it and want it to change. Pronto!
David and I share a running list of projects, but this hall bath wasn’t on it. I have been dropping hints about starting this little room because we love entertaining and had committed to hosting a school event, a church event, and two birthday parties. While we didn’t complete the hall bath project before the “party gauntlet” (shocker and another phrase I coined), we made progress, and I was happy about that.
When we first moved in, I tried to clean the tile. We painted the cabinets white. I tried to paint the floor tile, as shown below. But this still wasn’t working for us.
Before I dive into the project progress details, let’s talk about why I decided to pull the old tile. I’m always a fan of keeping things original if the original finishes were of quality and everything is still in good working order. Well, bless this powder bath’s little heart. It didn’t have much going for it. The tile on the floor was dirty as all get out, a lovely shade of goat-vomit-green (that one’s my mom’s phrasing, guys). The goat-vomit-green floor tile didn’t match the Mexican tile on the wall. And the Mexican tile on the wall didn’t match the mustard tile in the shower. It was an odd assortment of color selections, to be sure. The original sconces were 1970s antique brass, made out of thin metal and hung too close together for comfort. I was hoping we could save the mustard tile in the shower, as I had a fun wallpaper scheme to tie it all together, but alas, even that had to go—more on that below.
David started the demo one Saturday while I was running around the house and yard, in one of those “We have to fix everything this weekend! Now!” Moods. As demo always goes, I was surprised by how fast the old tile came up! He pulled the old vanity, removed the tile from the floor and walls, and then hit a snag.
Demo slowed down when David got the tile off the floor. The adhesive used on the 50-year-old floor was solid, and the challenge was the best way to remove it. David consulted our go-to construction advisor (my dad), who thought it might be old mastic, requiring a trip to [The Home Depot] for a solvent to break it down. One trip to the store, and 4 hours later, it’s not mastic. The original installers used a sturdy thin set and laid it on pretty thick. In the end, it took 3 hours with a hammer drill and chisel and a couple more with a diamond-bladed grinder to get down to the foundation.
The original plan was to leave the shower walls as-is, but we wanted to replace the shower floor, to remove half a century of grime (see above). But, after speaking with our tile guy, we determined the old lead shower pan would have to be replaced to avoid potentially leaking. When we talked to our favorite local showroom about faucet hardware and moving the shower head up, this further solidified the reasoning for removing ALL the tile in the shower. While I’m sad to lose the mustard tile (I thought about replacing it, but it’s a small shower, and ultimately, I think white will be better), I’m excited about the pretty new fixtures we’ll be getting!
So, here’s where we are now:
With demo complete, I have moved on to the part I love most. I am picking out all the new tile and fixtures to go along with some vintage pieces I have picked up in the last few months!
But more on that in Part 2!