I had a fairly fix idea in my mind of what I wanted the bathroom cupboards to look like. But in order for David to make them he needed something a bit more visual than just my jumbled description. So I set about finding pictures of the style I liked.
I put together a collage of images of what I thought were all very similar cupboards but David, turned carpenter, pointed out that in fact they were quite different in terms of construction. For example, the doors can either be set into the frame or on the outside of the frame.
After much discussion and designing David got down to business and built the cupboard carcasses. Then it was over to me to paint them. I did one coat of undercoat and two coats of white eggshell (we thought gloss would be too shiny).
The slatted shelves took ages to make and even longer to paint, but worth it in the end as they look great.
We decided to have the doors set into the frame, but in terms of actually making the doors, I might have to wait until we can afford to buy a router. Which probably won’t be any time soon…
We have made a giant leap forward in the bathroom – we have a fully functioning shower and toilet!
For three months we got up at the crack of dawn to have a shower at work. For three months we had to fill up a bucket every time we needed to flush the loo. But not anymore! Never has showering at home felt so luxurious!
The shower screen weighed an absolute ton. I am not built for heavy lifting but managed to find some inner strength to help David manoeuvre it into the bathroom and lower it into place.
David made installing the shower and toilet look like child’s play and once again I was impressed by his plumbing skills.
Next on our list of things to do:
Finish building the cupboards
Finish painting all the woodwork, including the cupboards
We were so close to being able to shower at housenumber59, yet so far… Remember when I told you about the importance of making sure you do things in the correct order? Well this was one of those moments when we had to think really carefully about what we did next.
Before we fitted the shower, we had to fit the shower screen but before we fitted the shower screen we had to move the roll top bath into the bathroom (it is a beast and we need plenty of room to manoeuvre it) but before we moved the roll top bath into the bathroom we had to restore it. So even though the roll top bath was going to be the last thing we install, it became our priority to restore it.
We had bought the roll top bath six months ago and dreamed longingly of day when we could use it. It was bought from our local salvage yard for the bargain price of £200. The claw feet were really rusty and the outside paint was peeling away and starting to go rusty in places. But the enamel on the inside was in really good condition and we may get away with not having to re-enamel it.
When the bath arrived at housenumber59 it spent the first few months in the master bedroom, until we could no longer decorate around it and it moved to the hallway. More recently it found its way to the back bedroom, our current dumping ground.
The first thing I did was to give the outside of the bath a really good clean. Six months of living through our renovations meant it was really dusty and dirty. Once fully dried out I gave it a thorough sand, removing all the peeling paint and rust. Then I gave it a good wipe to ensure the surface was clean and dry ready for painting.
For the first two coats I used Hammerite Red Oxide Primer, followed by two coats of Fired Earth Aryclic Eggshell in one of their National Trust colours, Parterre. I used a sponge roller which meant painting was quick, easy and gave a really even finish.
The claw feet
I wish I had a before picture of the claw feet, but sadly I do not. So you will have to take my word for it, they were in a bad way.
Firstly I gave them a really good clean, then using a drill with a wire brush attachment I blasted off all the rust. This was really satisfying and they already looked a hundred times better.
For the paint I used two coats of Halfords Zinc Primer spray paint followed by three coats of Montana GOLD spray paint, in silverchrome. Using spray paint and building up the colour in lots of light layers gave a really good finish.
Moving the bath into the bathroom
Somehow David and I managed to manoeuvre the bath into the bathroom. On average a cast iron roll top bath weighs about 300lbs, that is the equivalent of a giant panda or a baby elephant. Let’s just say I will not be in a hurry to move it again!
Work on the bath was far from over. We still have to fit the exposed waste pipes, plug hole, taps and plumb the whole thing in, but for now it was in place and looking good!
I do have a slight irrational fear that the bath will fall through the bathroom floor, but that just happens in films right?
Once again I was leaving the bathroom renovations in David’s capable hands whilst I abandoned him went away for the weekend, this time for a long weekend in Cornwall with girlfriends.
David’s task for the weekend was to tile the shower, something he was not looking forward to. I was sent regular email updates and despite hating every moment he was making good progress.
Later the following day I was sent the final update, a fully tiled and grouted shower area, with the subject “this nearly killed me”. It turns out he had left the grout on ever so slightly too long before wiping it off, so he spent the best part of a day scrubbing the grout off the tiles until his fingers bled – literally.
I came home to find David feeling very sorry for himself, with plasters on the ends of all his fingers. After a big cuddle I bounded upstairs to admire the newly tiled shower and it looked amazing!
I was so confident in the shop when choosing the paint and tiles, but recently I found myself lying awake at night worrying about how it would all work together. So it was a huge relief to see it all the components together and they looked great!
Now that I had finished painting the walls and ceilings it was time to hand the metaphorical baton back to David.
Whilst I swanned off to Bristol for a relaxing weekend with Mum, I left David putting his blood, sweat and tears into tiling the floor (bad wife). So I am afraid I cannot comment much on this particular task, other than to share my absolutely delight when I came home to find the bathroom floor beautifully tiled!
Considering David had no real experience in tiling, other than the small hearth in our bedroom, he did an amazing job! For all I know he actually hired a professional tiler and had the weekend off – it is that good!
After much deliberation we decided to paint then tile. Our reasoning behind this was that if you get grout on the wall you can wash it off and touch up, but if you get paint on the grout you may never get it off. So I got the go-ahead to get the roller out!
First up was the ceiling. Normally I do not mind painting the ceiling, yes it is hard work but we have a decent platform ladder and I find it quite satisfying. However, on this occasion it was really tough and not the least bit satisfying. I was using a special anti-mould bathroom paint and it was horrible to work with, it was thick and dried really quickly so you had to work fast otherwise it looked patchy. In fact in certain lights it does look patchy. Grrrrr!
With the ceiling done it was time to move on to the exciting bit! Housenumber59 was about to get an injection of colour! Whilst painting the walls I changed my mind about a hundred times as to whether I liked the colour or not. But by the time I had finished I had settled on liking it and over the next couple of days grew to like it more and more. During the day it is fresh and bright and at night it is warm and cosy.
Whilst I am really happy with the colour, I am disappointed with the finish. I thought that by buying Fired Earth paint rather than our usual Dulux we would be getting a far superior product, but apparently not. The paint was hard to work with, there are variations in the colour (despite mixing the tins thoroughly), and the finish in the some places is bubbly. I am a bit of perfectionist and you only notice these things if you look really closely, but I know that they are there! Next time we will not stray from good old Dulux!
Now the only thing left to do before we could start tiling the floor was install the shower tray. David laid the cement and all I had to do was help lower the tray into place, you only get one shot at doing it right so it was a nail biting moment! We had done a few practice runs before laying the cement and I am happy to report it was a well-executed military operation. Woo hoo the first bit of bathroom installed!
Next on our list of things to do was the wood work. We wanted the bathroom to be traditional and in keeping with the rest of house, so we set about installing picture rail and architrave around the door and the windows.
(We will be installing skirting board at some point but that has to go on after tiling the floor – which brings us to the great debate – do you tile then paint or paint then tile?)
If you are wondering why we bothered installing picture rail in the bathroom here’s why:
The walls are so wonky in the bathroom that with the walls painted Greenwich green and the ceiling painted white the line in-between the two was never going to be straight. By installing picture rail and painting above the picture rail the same colour as the ceiling it creates the illusion of a straight line.
With the dimensions of the bathroom being approximately 4 metres by 2 metres, we run the risk of it feeling long and thin. By painting above the picture rail the same colour as the ceiling you create the illusion that the ceiling is lower than it actually is, this in turn helps the room feel squarer and cosier.
To hang pictures from! I love art and think that the bathroom is the perfect place to exhibit a few choice pieces.
We also started work on the two cupboards. The first cupboard, next to where the bath will be, will house the boiler. The second cupboard, next to where the sink will be, will be a storage cupboard so we can hide away toiletries, cleaning stuff and loo roll.