Friday, February 26, 2010

This Old House: Bathrooms

It's raining in Portland again. It was inevitable, just like my blogging....

Yep, it's true. I am combining all three bathrooms into one monstrous post and I am putting them in order of completion. As previously mentioned, one of the bathrooms of our new old house did not have a working toilet and that was the upstairs bath, the one that is on the bedroom level. The bathroom that is first when I come home and enter the house through the garage and run through the family room because I definitely have to use that bathroom as soon as--and every time--I get home. I do not know what it is... like one of Pavlov's dogs.

The first thing I did before we even started remodeling was head to Home Depot for a toilet. I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice quality floor model for sale. That white HD special is the toilet in the pictures below. These pictures were taken with the contractor's polaroid camera after he took up the bug infested carpet that was installed over the pink tile. Who says polaroids don't hold up over time? These pictures are 13 1/2 years old. This was the official pink bathroom. Everything was pink, black or white in there, but man was it all in bad shape. Maybe I mentioned this before? Michael did not want to have anything to do with this house... and this pink bathroom is one of the main reasons why (well that and the fact that he was afraid of waking up on Barbur Blvd. some day). Well, I guess I better explain that since some parts of Barbur Blvd. house some questionable businesses... our house sits directly above Barbur Blvd. and he was afraid the whole house was just going to slide on down there over night. There probably is still a little fear of that left in him, but sheesh, after so many years if he fretted about that every night, it just wouldn't be healthy.

Back to the pink bathroom. Wow was it atrocious. Michael made me promise that before we moved in, this bathroom would be remodeled. Complete. Everyone has their favorite room of the house and I would say bathrooms rank pretty high with Michael. Well... if there is one thing you can count on, it is that remodeling projects never get finished on time and this bathroom was no exception. Michael spent nearly a month taking showers up at the Community Center. Ultimately we had to wait quite a while for the shower door, but in the meantime, eventually, we had a toilet and a big jacuzzi tub. Actually a WAY too big jacuzzi tub which I begrudgingly purchased because it was in stock and substantially on sale and the contractor did not want the bathroom held up waiting 12 weeks for the soaking tub I really wanted. Lesson learned. When you are going to live in a house forever, wait for the tub you really want!

So here she is, in all her pink glory. Absolutely everything went. The room was gutted, stripped to its bare studs. There were some really odd things in this bathroom but my all time least favorite had to be the mirror and glass block wall:
Above: notice the placement of the garbage can... yes indeed, leaky pipes everywhere.

Ok... nope, my least favorite thing was the tub (below). Needless to say we NEVER took a bath in that thing!

Now, one of the things about houses is... nothing lasts forever and really, this bathroom is already in need of some updates. With a kid heading off to college, however, I won't complain. Looking back at the pink monster makes me appreciate the fact that it doesn't look like that anymore.
...there are some really fun things in this bathroom. We have very talented friends. The starfish photo was taken at the Newport Aquarium and is another of Elliot's masterpieces. The metal shelf it is propped on is gorgeous and was made by our friend (and "Ruth the designer's" husband) David Bath. And I LOVE the Stickley chest... and yes, it did have to go to the refinishers to get an extra special coat of something in order to live in the humid bathroom.

Moving on to Bathroom #2, affectionately called the blue bathroom. Definitely in better condition than the pink bathroom--it did have a working toilet after all. One really nice thing about this bathroom, which is really a powder room since it is on the main floor and just off the front door entry, is that it was SO LARGE. Not really powder room size at all, so when we remodeled it, there was plenty of room to put a shower in, making it great for guests.

This bathroom will go down in history as the bathroom that tried to kidnap Papa Skip. Weirdly enough many of the internal doors on this house had locks on the OUTSIDE. This bathroom was one of them. During move-in, my Father, Papa Skip, somehow got locked in. We do not know how. The lock on the outside was not engaged. He claimed there was no lock on the inside. He kept accusing us (his innocent children) of locking him in. He got REALLY upset. The other lovely thing about this house were the bars on the windows. ALL the windows! There was no climbing out the oversized window. My brothers were here and I think they ended up taking door knobs off and possibly even the door came off its hinges... I don't really remember, but it was NOT a pretty picture.
Originally we had planned to salvage the blue sink and toilet. Even though we spent so much time removing wallpaper in this house, I thought that I would like to have wallpaper back in this bathroom. The original wallpaper was ruined due to water damage so I searched and searched for another wallpaper that would match the blue color of the toilet and sink. It was a very long search. I finally found a floral Ralph Lauren print that I really liked. In the end, we ended up taking everything out of this bathroom including the sink and toilet.
I really had fallen in love with the wallpaper, however, so I went ahead and incorporated it into the plan for the new bathroom. The wallpaper pretty much defines the old fashioned country feel of the bathroom. A little out of place, perhaps, but I love the bathroom anyway.
Unlike the bathroom upstairs, which houses new treasures acquired from relatively new friends, this bathroom includes antiques both from our family as well as other families.
and I still love the wallpaper.

For the third and final bathroom, which when we moved in was no color at all, we have the boys bathroom in the basement. It was really nothing but a toilet and a sink so many years ago. The toilet was working, but the basement was so scary no one would go down to use it anyway. The pictures below are taken after we started working on making the basement inhabitable. At the time, there was a laundry room, the little bathroom, the furnace room, a couple storage closets, and another family room. All that, thankfully, has changed and the family room is now two bedrooms for the boys and now this is possibly the nicest bathroom in the house.

The name 'boys basement bathroom' doesn't sound very appealing, but it is! It really is. Once again with the help of my friend Ruth, we have something really lovely.
Ruth picked out the Ann Sacks Tile and handy Danny installed it. The shower has triple water action: a traditional shower head, a hand held head and an overhead rain shower head.

This bathroom even has a gorgeous marble counter top!

So, three floors and three bathrooms. A lot of time and a lot of money went into these bathrooms, but we're not complaining!


Sarah said...

Kari, I can't beleive that I have never seen the downstairs bathroom finished. I LOVE it! What amazing before and after pictures on all of the bathrooms.

Anonymous said...

As my sister would say you need to rename the basement the "lower level" since it's so nice. Has it really been 13 and half years?! Wow. By the way I'm still waiting to hear about your new friend in Japan.
Love, Dana

Heaven said...

if I ever do a re-model.. you are hired as my go to consultant.. those are beautiful!

kjlubitz said...

Thanks! They are all great until it comes time to clean them--especially the boys bathroom... on the lower level :)!