I’m Scared.

I may have mentioned in my post about the trip to Thailand that the next project on the docket is our main floor bathroom. And it is. This bathroom is not just a cosmetic upgrade, the thing needs help. The toilet is leaking to a point where the linoleum beneath is bubbling around the edges. Not to mention the severe wobble in the ceramic throne itself (likely not unrelated to the leaking?!?!) ☺


So anyhow, we dove in. I seem to always talk about how the hardest part is just getting started, or having the guts to get started, but this time I may have found my counterpoint. We managed to get started, in fact we gutted the entire thing and now, I’m scared.

I maintain that I can get this project done, but I’m more scared than I’ve been before. And as I share my tiny master bathroom with two teenage girls, I can say my motivation to figure this out is HIGH, but holy crap there is a lot to do.

Let me go back to this demolition for a moment.  I started with just a bit of curiosity about what was beneath the odd “shelf” at the end of the bathtub. I learned it was nothing, a simple void:


Then we started on a Saturday afternoon deciding we would just remove the rest of the 80s ceramic tile from the wall. That went relatively smoothly. The goal at this point was to maintain the functionality of the bathroom for as long as we could.  The first thing that significantly increased my fear was not the thousand pound bags of ceramic tile that my loving husband had to carry out to the car, but rather the massive amount of plaster that came with the sheetrock and the ceramic tile.


You see, it wasn’t just a simple layer of sheetrock behind those tiles but instead ½” of sheetrock + 1/2” of painted plaster + another ½ inch of plaster slathered over ¼” lath.  Now, I’m not sure why we dance around calling plaster anything other than what it is – CEMENT.  Perhaps technically I’m incorrect, but this stuff is ROCK and after a100+ year stay on our walls, it quickly turns to dust after a few whacks of the hammer.  dust that I’m still finding on every surface in my house, including an entire flight of stairs away. Anyhow, the silver lining here was that we are truly gaining square footage with the nearly 1.5” of wall we removed, well square inches anyhow.


In addition to this low, there were two fascinating discoveries that keeps me loving this stuff. First, the 2×4 studs. True 2 inches by 4 inches. It’s crazy! You hear that the 2x4s of today are actually not really the full dimensions which is true, but it’s impressive how substantial a 2×4 looks when it’s actually 2…by…4.  




Second were the gas lines! Extinct gas lines all over the place. Gas lines as in gas fueled lanterns on the walls for light.  So easy to forget all the work that went into these old houses before modern technology.



After we removed the lower half of the walls, Keven did all the work on the second half. Continued removal the 1.5” of plaster and lath and sheetrock from the walls right up to the 9’ ceilings.

Then we managed to drag out all of the appliances and we’ve officially gutted the bathroom. It looks hopeless and overwhelming, but I still see the potential…don’t you?!?

And finally we found another 2” of remodel on top of the floor trusses…truss + pine tongue and groove subfloor + maple tongue and groove original floor + plywood sub floor + 1920s maybe green linoleum + 1970s yellow linoleum + more plywood subfloor + the green 80’s linoleum tiles that were bubbling up from the leaking toilet. SO MANY LAYERS!



Last weekend we picked up a 53” claw foot tub from craigslist, which will give us almost 8’ of room at the base to add additional storage. Not to mention it’s from 1920, to 1980 which just seems right. Anyone want to come over and help move a cast iron tub up 2 flights of stairs? Here’s where a I give kudo to Kevin who dragged monster construction bags down two flights of stairs with tile, sheetrock and plaster with density of Kryptonite. Can’t be explained in earthly terms.

I already bought a shower curtain, which may be getting ahead of myself in this project, but gotta keep that light at the end of the tunnel bright somehow!

Next we just have to figure out how to…reinforce the studs, replace the subfloor, pour leveling compound, lay tiles, install a new toilet valve, remove some old gas lines, replace the exterior window,pick out a sink,move plumbing and electrical!?!?! Like I said, I’m scared.



One Response to “I’m Scared.”

  1. Molly Burtle says:

    I am speechless Maggie! I can’t even imagine such a huge undertaking. You and Keven Re amazing.

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