Non-Garden Project Part 2

 Construction began on November 13th.  The first week was devoted to demolition, which is now 95% complete.  Demolition took longer than it might have because we are retaining some parts of the original, including the bathtub, mirrors, and cabinets.  This demands slower, more careful demolition. 

The remodel doesn't rearrange much, because the basic layout of the bathroom was fine.  The remodel does three things:  

1. fixes the shower leak and its associated issues
2. fixes a few quirks we did not like about the layout
3. installs more durable, easier-to-clean surfaces than the original materials.  

1.  The shower leak damaged a section of the sub-floor and one part of the framing of the shower.  The sub-floor section will be replaced and the damaged corner of the shower will be re-framed. 
2 a. The shower entry was originally on the right in the photo, with a glass insert on the left to let in light.  We're exchanging the positions;  the glass insert will be on the right and the entry on the left.  In addition, there will be a glass door on the shower entry, where before there was none.  With no shower door, showering in the winter is chilly.  A door will make it more comfortable. 

Damaged area to be replaced is circled:
2 b. Here's the first photo of the post again.  One quirk we wanted corrected was the step around the bathtub (where the wiggly white line is).  The step made getting into the tub both awkward and dangerous.  It also made the room feel smaller than it really is, because the step made the floor of the room look smaller.  

In the 90's, a sort of stairway-to-the-bathtub was the Trend, and like many Trends, it was a fairly stupid idea.   The room already has a more spacious feel with the step removed.
2 c. We're adding a bathroom door!  Another fairly stupid Trend Of The Past to correct was the lack of a bathroom door.  We want to preserve the interesting arch in the bathroom entrance, so the door to be added will be built something similar to this: 
3.  The walls and floors will be porcelain and ceramic tile, and the other horizontal surfaces will be synthetic quartz.  These surfaces will be more maintainable and more easily cleanable than the original stone, which required regular and pricey polishing/resealing.  We're also getting a new (but proven-to-be-good) kind of grout, which will not need periodic resealing. 

The original surfaces were a soft sandstone which deteriorated.  It became pitted by water contact.  We were not able to select surfaces when we bought the house and would have never chosen stone for a shower had we known the maintenance issues involved.  

The cabinets will be reused and given a darker stain.  They are good quality and still in good condition.  Why put stuff into a landfill if it is still good and of a classic style?
 One weird mysterious thing the demo revealed:  there were electric plugs hidden behind the cabinet drawers.  What the ?!?!?

My guess is that the builder was planning to put two small vanities instead of one long one, leaving an empty space in the middle of the wall.  What do you think?  
Now that demolition is essentially complete,  the next part of the project is framing/sub-floor repair, and a small amount of  "rough" plumbing, "rough" meaning the plumbing inside the walls.  "Finish" plumbing is work done outside the walls, such as installing faucets.  The shower head is moving to the wall to the left of the new doorway; everything else will remain in place.  We're changing to quarter turn (ball) shut off valves as well.  

All this is Not Gardening.  Sorry.  Rest assured, I am Out There.



  1. It looks like good progress! Showers without doors are fine in Hawaii but SoCal most certainly isn't Hawaii . It's funny but the lack of a bathroom door in our former townhome never bothered me until my in-laws moved in with us temporarily after their house burned down - that made the need entirely clear.

    We now have an architect working on the plan for our kitchen remodel, even as we're still waiting for the stage 2 approval from the city to bump out the wall. We're gambling but hopefully it's not a high stakes game.

    1. Husband is something of a night owl while I'm up before the sun is. A door is going to help us both get uninterrupted sleep.

      Hope the city approval comes soon!

  2. It'll be so much more comfortable when it's done! Doors are a good thing. And the change to more easily cleaned and maintained materials will keep on paying for itself far into the future.

    Re: outlets behind the drawers - Your theory about the double vanities is probably correct, but I'm also reminded of efforts in kitchen remodels I've seen to create an area that collects and conceals the many devices in 21st century households that need charging.

    Hope it goes super smoothly while you're Out There this month.

    1. Thanks! The contractor is very organized, hoping all goes well--it is, so far.

      I realized the wall section with the electric plugs was painted the tan wall color, while the cabinets in the corners had white-painted walls behind them, so I think my theory is likely correct. Devices that need recharging were not so prevalent back in '99.

  3. So glad to see that the pretty arch can stay! And congrats for reusing the cabinet. I love renovating/decorating shows, but it always irks me when they smash cabinetry. Even if you don't like it anymore, you can always find a use for it in the basement or garage! Have fun!

    1. Agree, good solidly built cabinets are useful somewhere! And I do like that arch quite a lot. There are other places in the house with the same arch, a repeated element (like a favorite plant in the garden).

  4. What fun getting your bathroom remodeled. You will feel like you have a new house. I love the arch on the doorway. I have never seen that in a house. It must be a CA thing. It looks Moorish. Good luck with the rest of the remodel.

    1. We're clearing out unused stuff and moving stuff around, and more repainting--it is--well it will be--refreshing. Does feel new again.

      The arch, I don't know how the builder came up with it, but it gives a somewhat generic house a little character.

  5. I really like seeing a demo'd bathroom for some reason. I guess it makes me feel better seeing the pipes to know what's going on behind the scenes? I want to hear more about the 6" of concrete on the walls!

    1. The 6" of stuff left in a dump truck; all gone. The original tile job was pretty poor; perhaps the guy was practicing?

      Today the rest of the damaged sub floor and the damaged part of the shower frame was removed; Tomorrow they will rebuild both. It is interesting to see what was inside the walls, like the hidden electric plugs. There was a conduit inside one wall that was empty, and went from one nowhere to a different nowhere. Visible in the first photo, below the picture taped to the wall. (Which is a sketch of what the final product is supposed to look like in that area.)

      Except for the dust everywhere, it's quite interesting to watch the process.

  6. Perhaps the hidden plug was meant to provide discreet access for a hairdryer in the drawer?
    Or an electric razor, toothbrush??


Post a Comment

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.