The Basement, Part 3: A Bathroom

Since I have a lot to do today, I’ll write a blog post instead.

I won’t write about painting the room under the porch or setting up a workbench made of the best remaining cinder blocks and the former back door, but I’ll show you a picture or two:2018-01-24 13.35.512018-01-24 13.37.02

I will write about transforming this:

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Into this:2018-02-14 10.38.24

I promise not to use all the 60 photos I shot of the process. I’ve pared ’em down.

Actually, my intention at first was to just have a cubbyhole with a toilet and sink (that’s called a “powder room”), if at all. Then one night, I heard banging noises long after midnight coming from next door. The next day, my neighbor told me it’s a good thing that he learned some plumbing before becoming a pastor (actually, he’s a bishop) because their toilet had broken. And happily they have a basement bathroom they can use until everything is back in order.

That got me thinking and I decided a full basement bathroom with a shower wouldn’t be such a bad idea if it didn’t cost much. “My” contractor said he’d do the work for $800. I bought most of the materials.

You get what you proverbially pay for, so I am not thrilled by my new bathroom. My contractor is a great mason and does a pretty good job on drywall, but he is no plumber, no electrician and no tile-layer. I didn’t know this, of course. He said he could do it all and had many times. And since the masonry and drywall all looked great, I took his word for it. And his low price.

Then again, I learned something and when it comes to renovating the main bathroom upstairs, will get someone with all the credentials and recommendations and happily spend lots more for it.

Okay, nuff said, let’s see the pictures.

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Above: The framework is placed.

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Buying tiles (above) was not as easy as I’d expected because I am so old fashioned. The “octagon and dot” were easy to get at the home improvement store, I found the blue trim at the downtown ReStore, but had to drive to New Jersey for the simple white tile.2017-11-16 17.35.24

Nowadays, they use plastic tubes instead of pipes (above and below).

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The brown door (the only one of the leftovers without lots of holes and gashes) was set aside to be the bathroom door after some fresh paint.2017-11-17 16.30.59

The lights are in.2017-11-17 16.31.39

The “ledge” between the floor and the shower. 2017-11-28 12.10.46

A nice straight floor is poured.2017-11-28 20.53.352017-11-29 14.46.44

And tiles laid. I’ve laid my share of tiles and they always do look a little crooked until you put in the grout. But they are a tad more crooked than if I had done it myself, dammit.2017-11-29 14.46.51

And since I wasn’t watching his every move, he used up all the blue trim around the shower. I wanted it above the sink, but he was short one tile for them to fit perfectly. Of course, that one tile was upstairs in my handbag so I could carry it around when I looked for matching accessories.2017-11-29 18.43.41

Above, the ledge thing is tiled.

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My white door installed. The other side of the door was unfinished veneer, so I just put on some polyurethane.2017-11-30 17.38.20

I asked him to place the sink ($10 at the ReStore) as high as possible. It’s great, but the “lavatory legs” (their name) don’t fit. The sink is solid, I removed them eventually. The toilet is brand new and a real water and space saver.2017-11-30 17.38.302017-11-30 17.39.282017-11-30 17.40.33

My door.

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Here’s the wayward tile and the 1970s vintage vinyl wallpaper that does match very nicely. It took me forEVer to get around to painting and wallpapering, I think because it’s such a small space and I just dreaded the claustrophobia. But I did it a few days ago!2018-02-12 08.26.23

I had to dismount the wall lamp and haven’t been able to get it back up, but my real electrician said he’ll drop by before May to do it for me. The thing on the wall on the right is a little space heater. Paul, if you’re reading this, remember the mirror?2018-02-12 11.56.33

Above, more wallpaper to admire while you’re seated.

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This morning, I went back down with cleaning gear and gave it all a good scrub. The blue bucket, which will hold cleaning agents and sponges, hides the exposed PVC drainpipe nicely enough.

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I bought the towel rods, which are rare here but common in Europe. The builder didn’t ask and apparently didn’t realize they are supposed to be at sink height. Maybe someday I’ll move the thing.

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(Poster above from the Climate March on Washington last year)

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And that’s the story of the basement bathroom.

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