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My bathroom renovation: Before and after. Many, many pics.

13 years ago

My bathroom in my 1925 Center-hallway Colonial Revival was horrifically unattractive. At some time period in the 1970s, someone else put cheesey-looking 4" ceramic tile on top of (gasp) the original 1920s white 1" hexagonal tile.

Sometime in the 1970s, someone on hallucinogenic drugs put up wallpaper with black and red psychedelic butterflies. True story. As if that weren't enough (and it was) they put up extra-crappy 4" beige tile as wainscoting, using some low-rent constructive adhesive, and some of these tiles were laid on TOP OF the black and red psychedelic butterflies.

The substrate (where the wall tiles were placed) was a mess, so no two tiles are level with one another.

And then...

In 2005, the people who were going to "flip" the house put some 12" faux stone floor tile atop the 4" ceramic tiles on the flooring. So now our radiator is slowing disappearing into a chronology of cheap floor tiles through the decades.

My goal was to restore the 1920s look. The good news was, as we started tearing into walls, we found a hole for the old medicine chest and even old wiring for the porcelain sconces, so the restoration part went pretty well. We hired a lot of people, including boiler repairmen (to do the radiator repair), plumbers, electricians, plasterers and a carpenter to do the wainscoting. I did the demolition, the painting and the clean-up. ;)

The flooring is sheet vinyl, sold at a linoleum store in Hollywood. I checked the entire country and that was the only place I could find that sold it.

The sheet vinyl really does look like real tile. In fact, it's so realistic that THREE construction guys were fooled by it, thinking it was real tile. We had a professional floor guy do the installation and he did a beautiful job. Before he could install it, he had to apply THREE coats of floor leveler to clean up the mess we found hidden under those two layers of floor tile.

And we had to set the toilet up on a marble slab because the old flange was 1" too high after all those other floors were removed. We had two plumbers give estimates on replacing the flange and both said it would require tearing up the concrete floor in the bath *and* the kitchen ceiling. One of the reasons the radiator repair was so expensive was because an old elbow - buried underneath the radiator - had started leaking. To our surprise, we found six solid inches of concrete beneath the old tile floor. I'd expected three or four. Six was insane. And just tearing open one little hole for that radiator elbow cracked the kitchen ceiling below.

I started this in mid-January. The project took a little time. :)

First, the before photos (awash in Beige):

Radiator is slowly disappearing under many layers of tile.

The floor was a horrible mess. I'd hoped to save the old 1920s hex tile, but it had been torn up and replaced with concrete.


Electrical goes in.

New floor and new bathroom:

Radiator returns after being removed, sandblasted and powder coated.

Wainscoting goes in.

Paint job complete!

A shiny new pedestal sink (Kohler's Memoirs) will be installed as soon as I get the special order faucets in.

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