Saturday, April 3, 2010

Shower Saga... Redone is finally Done!

Remember how I'm always telling you that living here is all about the land
and never about the house? How when we were shown this house as an option
my darling T refused to come inside, opting instead to tour the property first?
And, how when he finally did come into the house, he declined the appliance
tutorial offered by the owner, because he told her the first thing he knew I'd
want to see tossed into the dumpster was her electric stove! Well, it's all true!
There was nothing in this house we planned to keep and first on our agenda,
after ripping out all the carpeting and wall paper was my master bathroom!

This bathroom had to die. It was so bad I could hear the studs behind the
walls begging to see daylight. After driving 3,318 miles to get here, the first
thing we did was to peel this wallpaper off the walls so that I could take my
first shower in our new home with my eyes open. This was way beyond the
excuse of the 70's! The only solution was to tear it down and start over. So I
sketched... And, he said, are you really sure you don't want a shower door?

And I said, Just build it, please. So he did!

The other side of the bathroom wasn't much better! Just look at
that light fixture. And that vanity... The sink was super-low too!
This was my idea. It's actually a handicap sink. Okay..., are you done with
the jokes now? Thanks. Now allow me to tell you about it. The half-pedestal
is meant to allow a person in a wheel chair full access to the bowl. For me,
it meant he could hang my new sink as high on the wall as I wanted it!

And it's high... Just perfect for me! It would have been easy to
discard the old mirror but after shopping around for a new one
we discovered new mirrors aren't made the way these old ones
were. New mirrors are thin and they don't reflect as well as
these older mirror do. So although Pottery Barn was calling
my name, we decided to rehang the old mirror. I love it!
He did a great job! He installed a new window, new walls, new sink, new
toilet, can-lighting inside the shower on a dimmer, a new ceramic tile floor,
a beautiful tile shower with glass block and he also surprised me with a new,
full-body shower valve! This project even required him to move the plumbing
in the floor to relocate the toilet and the shower drain! I really appreciate all
the hard work that went into helping me forget the huge master bathroom with
double sink and soaking tub (and walk-in closet!) we left in California. However,
there was one problem... As amazing as all the work he did on his own is, the tile
floor in the shower didn't quite drain the way it should. As talented as he is with
tile, the slope just wasn't right. There was alway a little puddle left at the end of
every shower. This meant I either had to coax water down the drain with my foot
or throw my towel onto the floor to remove puddles. Who has that kind of time!

About a month ago, I convinced him to try again. And while I loved
the new tile pattern we chose, the slope still wasn't right. Better, but
there was still one little low spot where a puddle formed at the end of
my showers. So I cut a deal with him. If he wouldn't be offended, I would
handle hiring someone to fix it. Let me tell you, my personal handyman
is SO much easier to work with than the contractor I actually paid!

His estimate was quite high. It also took him two weeks to come back to
me with his plan for my project. A promise of two days to complete it turned
into a week. I had to provide all the materials and basics of the project, things
even I knew were a must, such as sealing the grout, turned into something I
had to negotiate for because he said it wasn't included in his original bid!

Oh! And I was expected to pay before I saw water drain!

My sweet Bing couldn't believe it either!

Bing said, reach for the sky, Mom! Make this guy do it right!

Or I'll chew off his tile spacers to show we mean business!

So I did! I insisted grout sealer be included in his price. And, I watched
water drain completely down a perfectly sloped tile floor before I paid!

Day four of the project was probably the toughest. You see, I told him when we
first met that I wanted the step re-tiled to eliminate a cracked tile that bothered
Bing (me), and he said that was no problem. But when he called me to ask if I would
come home to inspect his finished work and pay him, I found the step hadn't been
touched. So we discussed it. He said I misunderstood. I said I thought he spoke
English. He said his English wasn't that good. So I went back into my office and
loaded (most of) what I wanted to say, into my friend, Babelfish, printed it
off and handed him the piece of paper. While there seemed to be clarity coming
into the picture, he still said he couldn't tile the step and make me happy. So I
asked what he would recommend, as a professional that works-for-money, not
like my honey, the unpaid tile contractor I'm used to. I mean, surely this guy has
encountered a step-in, Roman-style shower before. Right? No. Not even once, he
said. We had indeed hit a brick wall. Suddenly, the surface I love most in the world
flashed into my mind and I had the solution! Why not add creamy, white... Carrara?! 

The next day, we met at a kitchen counter fabricator, I asked to
see a scrap-slab of Carrara, selected my edge, paid for it, and
even offered to deliver it to him the next afternoon if my tile guy
didn't think he could handle it. But he handled it, and now my
shower is perfect! It's not in my new kitchen where I wanted it...

But I finally got my Carrara! And, all of this went on while the
busy working at the Dream-job and plotting to bake 300 cookies!

How's that for multi-tasking?


  1. But vertical stripes are slimming! ha ha! That paper is hideous!

    ANd you finally got your marble- yay! It looks great.

  2. We are in the middle of a bathroom reno also. We gutted the entire bathroom down to the studs and started over. My Dude has never tiled before and he is concerned about our slope as well. Crossing fingers that the water drains. Please let it drain......

  3. "that bathroom had to die..." Janet, you are too funny!


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