Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Guest Bath Remodel - Part 1

I know you guys are itchin' to see how things are going with the current kitchen countertop project. Let me just say that we ran into another obstacle (who didn't see that one coming, huh?). So things sort of came to a screeching halt this weekend, amidst tons of black granite tile dust and mayhem. Tom stuck to our motto "When in doubt - go to Lowe's", and dropped by the other day to talk to one of our employee friends there in the flooring department (no joke.) who has run into the same problem before on other jobs (some of the employees there are contractors). Anyways, we might've figured out a "work around", or "trick", that requires us to "rig" our tile saw (surely rigging power tools isn't that dangerous...) to fix the flaw. Cross your fingers for us! If all goes to plan, and the weather is decent, hopefully we'll get further along and be able to update you guys on our progress.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd share some of the progress we've made on the Guest Bathroom, and the little story that goes along with it.

First of all, the Guest Bathroom is the only bathroom in the Basement, located right off the Guest Bedroom. Like everything else in the basement, it has wood wainscotting running across the bottom half of the walls. Unlike the rest of the basement, however, it sports some snazzy pipes there on the left of the sink. It is also the only way to access the water heater (and whatever else is in that room), which is located through a doorway on the left. Here's the bathroom the day we bought it:

It is tiny! It is very small, but I have to say that whoever put the pedestal sink in there had the right idea, at least. White vinyl tiles are on the floor, and there is a rather large linen closet there in the back.

Or so we thought.

Shortly after moving in, we discovered a small pool of water in the laundry room, back behind the washer...

After some investigative work, we found that there were multiple problems that were contributing to the damp mess we found. Two of the problems were leaks. One was from the washer that came with the house, so we immediately hauled that baby out and brought in our 1980's Push-Button Kenmore washer, along with the dryer (the dryer that was there didn't work either). Yup, they may be old puppies, but these babies work like a charm, thanks to the love and maintenance of Tom's grandparents, who graciously gave them to us when we moved to town. Thank goodness we went through the trouble of hauling them over during the move, because we heart those two ancient machines.

The second leak was from a rusty old pipe. We aren't plumbers, don't know a thing about it, but we knew enough that a leak was bad. Very bad.

So we followed the pipe to see what it went to, so we knew what sort of leak we were dealing with here. We followed the pipe back through the laundry room wall, behind/under the stairwell, through the Water Heater Room, where it led, inexplicably, right to the Guest Bathroom .... linen closet??

Yup, there was a leaky pipe coming from the linen closet. What in the world?

The linen closet was a shower. I kid you not.

There was a small section of carpet on the floor of the closet, and when we took that up we found tiles and a drain. We found more pipes, that led up to the top wall of the closet, where the previous owners/renters/someone, had drywalled right over the old showerhead and knobs.

We couldn't believe that our 1.5 baths was actually 2 baths. Is that the biggest surprise we've found since being handed the keys to this fossil? Quite possibly, or at least a close second... we'll tell you about the other thing we discovered later, when we dig it up this summer. Yes, it is buried under several inches of dirt and mulch. Curious? You'll just have to wait for that one...

Anyways, back to the topic. We then had two options: keep it as a linen closet, or hire a plumber to fix the pipes and turn it back into a shower. We chose Option 1, to leave it as a linen closet for now, considering all the other projects we had on our to-do list, and we were sure that new plumbing and tiling wouldn't come cheap. So we grabbed some endcaps, a caulk gun, and cut that leaky pipe off so it would leak no more. It must've worked, because we haven't seen any moisture at all since.

So back to our updates. Back some time ago, I started working on updating this bathroom to fit with the rest of our Basement Remodel. So I whipped out the paint and some paintbrushes, and a couple weeks and 3 or 4 coats later, the bathroom was slightly improved (please excuse the mess you see in the "linen closet"):

A bit better, no? So far I've painted all the paneling, the ceiling and the trim. We've already got the paint for the walls picked out, to the tune of 5$ - score! Not to mention we have plans for the open doorway on the left, the linen closet, and lots of other things in here. Stay tuned for those updates.

Isn't that a crazy story about the shower? We never would've guessed it was a shower at one point in time, if the pipe wasn't leaking. What are some things you've discovered in your own home? Anything as stupefying as this? Maybe a friend or relative found something flabbergasting when they moved in? Or something just didn't seem right in a house and the owner didn't discover the truth until later? Do tell!


  1. This is a great example of what simple, neutral cleaning up can do to turn a space completely around!


    p.s. I remember you mentioning that washing machine story on my blog! Thank goodness you kept your old one.

  2. Wow, that is crazy! We haven't discovered anything like that in our house... yet!

  3. It looks a lot better! I can't wait to see more!

    I cannot believe the closet is/was a shower - wow that's scary what people do to houses that people have to later discover...

  4. Kelly - Yes, it is amazing what a little bit of white paint can do for a space. And I'm so thankful we kept our old washer and dryer, too! :)

    Micah - I hope you won't discover anything this outrageous in your beautiful home!

    Sarah - Craziness, right? I wonder what you'll discover in your first home! (hopefully not anything like this...) ;)

  5. What?? A shower?! I can't imagine why they would have covered up a shower, but even crazier that you guys found it. Man, if walls could talk...

  6. I just found your blog through your comments at The Flipping Couple (I can't pass up snooping new links). I love your site, and I'm adding you to my blog roll so both of my readers can check you out!

  7. Chelsea, thank you for stopping by my blog this week! I have to say, it's pretty crazy what previous owners will do to houses! Maybe they had something against showering? ha

  8. Thanks for stopping by, ladies! :)

    Oh, the closet shower is a good story - definitely one we will be telling the kiddos. "When your Dad and I were newlyweds, we bought this fixer-upper of a house, and we found a shower in the guest bathroom closet...."

  9. That is cah-razy!! Who would drywall over a shower? Yikes!!! It's like "If Walls Could Talk"..wouldn't you just love to know what they were thinking when they did that? I'd say put it back to a shower(not sure what you decided) but when you have kids, it will come in handy and also for guests!!

  10. Hi Heather - thanks for stopping by. :) We decided to leave it as a "linen closet" for now, since it will require some serious dough and time to get whipped back into shape enough to be called a shower again. But we are loving that we have the option in the future to turn it back into a shower - because you are right, an extra shower would definitely come in handy with kids and guests.

  11. I gotcha! Priorities. It's is wonderful to have that option when you're ready. Keep up the great work!!

  12. It is looking good after the remodeling.Good to do up the bathroom once after some years to make sure that there are no leaks and holes anywhere.


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