I have a new favourite room in the house, and it used to be the one I hated the most.
I have never loved our tiny bathroom. In fact, when we briefly thought about trying to sell our house, the realtor wrinkled her nose and said we would definitely have to renovate it if we wanted to sell.
After all, the electrical socket didn’t work, and neither did the heater, so the towels were always damp. There was no window to air things out, and the fan barely functioned. The cover on the fan was also broken, so you could see it’s rusted inner workings. The hot and cold taps turned the wrong way in the tub. The tiny steel tub was dirty and chipped. The sink backed up constantly. The toilet bowl was cracked and there was a weird smell. When we drained the tub, the toilet gurgled ominously.
We fixed the toilet a couple of years ago but beyond that, nothing changed except that the sink faucet broke so that we could only turn on the hot water, which isn’t great when you have a small child who wants to wash his hands, and your hot water heater produces scaldingly hot water.
Oh, and when we changed the tub some of the linoleum got ripped up and we replaced it with some vinyl that totally didn’t match.
We tried to replace the fan but modern fans don’t fit the housing for our ancient one, and when we got a guy in to replace the housing he took one look at the job and said there was no way it was worth it to him.
All in all, it was not a charming place to be.
So my mother’s big gift to me this year, my birthday and anniversary gift with a bit of “I’m sorry your life has been extremely challenging for the last couple of years” thrown in, was a new bathroom if I could find someone to renovate it with a reasonable budget.
When I finally emailed people for quotes I got quoted $15,000.
Then a friend of mine gave me the name of her renovation guy. He renovated her bathroom and kitchen before she sold HER townhouse (she got asking price within two weeks) and when she bought her new house he put up a wall to turn a big bedroom into two small bedrooms, fixed her porch and did some other small jobs. I have seen them, and they all look great. My friend said he was scrupulously honest and strongly recommended him.
He came in and gave me a quote of $5500 which seemed much better. Then followed a stressful few weeks of trying to pick a new tub, new vanity, new fixtures, tiles and so on.
The new tub is a SOAKER TUB. It has arm rests and a contoured back for me to lean back and read!
The new vanity is not as deep as the old one so our floor seems bigger and I can open the door without hitting Owl’s step stool.
The tiles are porcelain and the feel both smooth and pleasantly textured at the same time. They have enough roughness that they don’t get slippery when wet.
There is SO MUCH MORE storage in there now.
The best part, though, were the little things our guy threw in.
“Hey, so I noticed that the heater doesn’t work. I picked up a new one – it’s $50. Is that okay? I picked a model that blows the air up and I’ll put your towel rack right over it so you’ll have nice warm towels in winter. Does that sound good?”
“Hey, so, I noticed your socket doesn’t work. I put in a new one and this one has a safety with a reset.”
“Hey, did you know you have rocks in your plumbing main?”
That’s right. ROCKS. For years we have struggled with drainage in our sink and it turns out that was because there were RED LAVA ROCKS IN OUR PLUMBING MAIN.
It took him a lot of trouble to clear the blockage but now things DRAIN.
He managed to replace the fan, although it took him a lot more trouble to do that because apparently our crawlspace makes the fan completely inaccessable from above.
So now I can take a nice bath in my soaker tub, then dry myself off with a toasty warm towel, then turn on the nice new COVERED fan, and blow dry my hair.
Oh, and our new giant medicine cabinet has a mirrored back inside so when you open it the light dazzles you and you feel like you are in a glamorous commercial.
It is my new favourite place to be. I go to pee and end up just sitting there, looking around and feeling good.
Oh, and our work guy also nailed some board to shore up our rotten kitchen counter because the faucet was lifting up when we tried to turn on the water. We’ll get that fixed some day too, maybe.
In the meantime, I’ll be in the bathroom.