Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Our Bathroom Facelift Almost Completed

Our Christmas Present to each other is to redo our bathroom in Our Old House.  We like making things more "original" and less modernized, if we can.  It fits the style of the house to restore it.

To recap.... this is what the bathroom looked like when we bought the house:

  • the acoustical tiles stapled to the slanted ceiling
  • the flickering flourescent tube lights on each side of the 1950 chrome medicine cabinet
  • the upper walls wallpapered with a floral blue vinyl glossy print
  • the blue faded plastic tub surround
  • the gold metallic vein linoleum wrapped up the walls in a quasi-baseboard design
  • the different floral printed contact paper covered access hole behind the shower
  • what you can't see is the leaking toilet which caused rotten sub floor
  • and worst of all, the plastic glued on 1960's tile. 

When we first bought the house, the toilet and sink were both of good quality and had recently been replaced. The rest of the bathroom had been untouched since the 1960's. We ripped up the flooring, fixed the subfloor, put in new sheet vinyl flooring called White Concrete.  It has a mottled opaque texture without a pattern. With all those funky tiles in the room, the last thing we needed was a patterned flooring!   We set the toilet and sink back into place. We sheetrocked the ceiling and the upper walls but left the plastic tiles in place. We added a new tub and a standalone shower and added new light fixtures and a vent fan. 

That was good enough for then.... but we always wanted to get rid of the whitish plastic tiles on the walls. They were falling off here and there and we had been gluing them up back into place.

Steve and I were talking about what we wanted to get for each other for Christmas. We decided on getting rid of the plastic tiles and replacing it with old fashioned dark wood stained beadboard wainscoting (like my fiend Juanita's old house).

We bought all of the beadboard and trim wood last week.  I had it all stained and ready in the basement (see my post 2 blogs back about that) blog about staining boards  

Saturday, after our cookie decorators left, we hauled out the paint and brushes and rollers.  We added a nice coat of "china white" paint to the upper walls. Five years ago we had painted it more of a creamy yellowish tone.  We wanted it as light as possible without being stark white. It is much easier to paint before putting up the stained wood.  We added a fresh coat to the walls, ceiling and slanted ceiling as well.  Steve doesn't like painting, but I did all the cutting in with a brush, and he did the rolling. 

He is so tall, he doesn't even need a ladder....

We started with the baseboard, making sure it was level all around the room. That is the good foundation for a great job, even in an old house with crooked walls and floors!

Just having the baseboard in place, not yet attaching the quarter-round and shoe trim, sure cleaned it up and looked nice against the floor.  It was step one, and I was anxious to get moving forward.  We had to work on it in between work shifts, cooking, baking, grandkids coming, and school concerts last week.

Sunday morning, bright and early, Steveio wanted to get some of the beadboard up. YAYYYY We started at the furthest corner that is also the first noticeable wall as you walk into the room. Being an older house, as I said, none of the walls are even. So working from this point in either direction should stay pretty level from here on outwards in either direction. We hope. 

Drawing level lines and working with scribbled measurements, Steve went up and down and up down 2 flights of stairs to cut each set of boards in the basement.  We could only do a few boards at a time as the measurements always changed as we went along to keep the top line even.  

We have the air compressor down below in the laundry room, with the long hose running up the back servants staircase to the second floor and around the corner to the bathroom.  The dogs do NOT enjoy the hissing and motor running and especially not the BRAPP! BRAPP!  each time it nails into the wood! They kinda hide out in the bedroom on their beds and wait till we are done.

Right about now, as we got a few feet worth of the beadboard done.... we BROKE the air nailer!!! ARRRGGGHHHHH!   That stopped us right then and there.  We trotted on over to the hardware store nearby to buy a new one, but they were closed early on Sunday.  We called down to New Holstein hardware store, and they were closed as well.  Oh geesh... we had to buzz over to Manitowoc 25 miles to the nearest Menards and buy one (on sale!) to get back to work.  That is an extra present now from Santa for our bathroom project.

We got back home, fired up the compressor again and got back to the task at hand.  He worked his way around the tub and then across the south wall around the window.  I was the "Glue Girl" with the caulk gun of Loctite Power Grab adhesive. I also wiped off each board of the sawdust from his cutting. It sticks in all the grooves of the beadboard unless I wipe it clean. I put old white gym socks on my hand to wipe it all down in the grooves before gluing the backside.  Steve would then take each board, fit it into place with the tongue and groove meshing ... and air nail it into place. Voila!  Each piece had to be checked for level as well, and adjusted as we went along.  The tongue and groove allowed for a little bit of shifting in either direction to get each piece of beadboard just right.

When we got to the windowsill, he was able to sneak in behind the sill on each side with his oscillating cutting tool to remove a 5/16 section of wood to slide in the beadboard.  The sill was untouched from the front and looked like it naturally was made to fit that way. That worked slicker than snot! hahahahha I have NO idea where that saying comes from, but Steve said it, so it must have worked.

We got this far on Sunday night, and took a well deserved break.  I like how it is coming out, but the top edge looks rough for now. We have a top cap trim that will even it all out. The only problem is the ceiling isn't level in either direction, horizontally nor vertically where it meets the wall.  We have a few ideas of adjusting that and covering it so it all blends together.  More on that later.

The next day, we had a few short bursts to work in the bathroom, in between other commitments.  We got around the window the rest of the way and into the corner. Whew!  It was looking good, but the last wall to go would be the hardest. The sink and toilet, along with all the plumbing fittings and the heat register vent had to be worked around. 

We usually work together well on projects. Remember, we built an entire house together, from the walls and insulation, to the wiring to the plumbing to the tiles to the cabinets and the carpeting and finishing.  But sometimes.... sometimes.....

Each time Steve took a measurement, he tried to keep it in his mind until he got down 2 flights of stairs to the saw set up in the basement.  Sometimes the number slipped his mind. Then he would hollar up the 2 flights of stairs for me to measure it again.  Arggghhh! I finally convinced him to WRITE IT DOWN each time, or else I was going to lose it and move the whole cut off saw and table up into the bathroom! Good Grief!

We tackled the last wall on Tuesday morning...  He didn't have to go to drive for the county job until the afternoon, so we were able to get a large enough block of time to work on it.  First part of the job was to remove the bathroom pedestal sink.  We had taken it off a few years back when we replaced the floor, so it was pretty easy to do it again.

In no time he had the sink apart and on the floor 
so he could work on the wall behind.

Painstakingly, he cut each board for the proper opening for each water line, the drain and remounted the bracket for the sink support.  He even cut tiny pieces of wood to go around the pipes, even though most was covered by the escutcheon flange.  When my guy does a job, he does a Good Job! 

We stood back and looked at our progress with a smile and a pat on the back. This was coming together rather well.  I like the effect of the old fashioned looking beadboard and am happy with our choice. The pitcher is there for an occasional drip drip from the shut-off valve.

We worked our way around the heat register vent and just had the toilet area to get past. This was easy because the toilet is not mounted to the wall in any way, just the floor.  The end was in sight... (well, at least for the beadboard part)

We had enough room to work behind it 
by slipping in the boards from over the top. 

And there it is.. the LAST board put into place!!!  It sure looks good to me!  Next comes the trim cap along the top, as well as the medicine cabinet and trim around it between the two sconce lights.

The sun shining in looks so pretty!  Coming through my lace covered window panes really looks nice.  We were worried it might be "too dark" in there with the stained wood.  Our backup plan was that we could paint it all white later if we found it too dark. But nope, this can stay! 

Wednesday morning, Steve had a couple hours before heading off to drive for the county.  So he decided to do some of the quarter-round along the floor and shoe trim along the top edge of the baseboard. I was busy giving a sockknitting machine lesson to a local gal, so he was on his own to make all the 45 degree cuts and measurements. (and keep them in his mind or write them down himself!)

Yesssss that is looking more polished and finished! 

Look at all of the crazy angles he had to cut to get around the chimney!

Now that the baseboard trim was done, we could put my freshly painted cast iron heat register vent back into place.  We had thought of painting it brown or black. I thought we should try white and see it stand out with a stylish old fashioned flair.  With the white toilet on one side and sink on the other, I think it looks nice! 

Steve had some time after supper on Wednesday to get the trim cut for around the bathtub as well. Wheee that looks so nice now.  The finished look is pretty nice.  

There was some concern from some comments about having wood on the wall by the tub.  Well without a shower overhead, there isn't any splashing going on.  Remember, we have a standalone shower stall in the other corner. We had painted sheetrock wallboard around the tub for the last 5 years without any issues and no splashes.  Even with the grandkids in the tub.  This wood is sealed with polyurethane, so it will be even more protected than the painted sheetrock we had before.  Not only that, but in our last home, we had an entire bathroom all of wood on all of the walls with no problem.  Having a properly operating vent is key, as well as not splashing all over the place.

And here it is .... Thursday night.  We started just a few pieces of cap trim around the chimney section. It sure finishes it off nicely!  WHEEEEEEE!!!! I love how this is coming together! 

You can see out into the hallway to the beadboard linen closet (our inspiration) that ties it all together.  The cap trim to the right still needs to go up, as well as the medicine cabinet.  That is enough for tonight.  Maybe tomorrow. 

Tonight we are relaxing and watching Charlie Brown Christmas and now Saturday Night Live Christmas Special on NBC of vintage Christmas skits.  What a HOOT!   LOL LOL 


  1. That is coming together so nicely. What a wonderful project together.

  2. You both do such great work. I love the bead board look always have. Looks beautiful

  3. You two are amazing! I still laugh a bit when I remember that you thought you might want to be full timers!! You two really need a great old house.


Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog! I moderate all comments so it may take a little while for your comment to appear.