What the heck is wrong?

The hubs and I neither one love to spend money. We like what money gets us, of course, but we hate spending. It’s painful. We’re the people who nearly cry every time we buy milk or get gas. Don’t even get me started on the cost of bacon these days. And, my goodness, home improvement stuff is so much more expensive than it used to be. We’re forever saying, “I know we paid ___ for this in 2006” or “this was HALF the price in 2003.” Lumber is so much more expensive than it used to be. And paint. And lighting. And hinges.

We’ve literally remodeled entire kitchens (building the cabinets ourselves, but still) for what we’re about to spend on this bathroom. It might cost more than either of our vehicles are worth. (Which isn’t saying a whole lot. As you could probably guess, we’re not fans of spending much money on cars.)

So why not just go cheap, you say? We can’t. Our vanity is ten feet long. There is absolutely no way to go cheap on that. None of the big box stores carry white melamine-covered particle board vanities that come in ten feet. IKEA has no “birch-effect” vanity in ten feet. (Not to mention that going cheap would hurt us in the long run, considering the size and location of our house. We know better than that.)

That’s okay. The hubs knows how to build a vanity (with over-priced lumber… sigh). But it is going to cost a full college semester’s tuition to put a counter on it. Well, tuition from back in my day. Of course tuition these days is much higher. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. I can hear my grandmother telling me about going to a movie for a nickel, and I’m thinking about how it will cost my kids $50. Inflation is insane. I don’t have the words to express my frustration, annoyance, and utter sadness at the state of our economy. Suffice it to say that I think it sucks.

Why not skip the bathroom remodel all together, you say? We can’t. I can’t believe we’ve lived here this long without redoing this bathroom. It’s so funky and probably unsafe in many ways. When Nathan Mobley (it’s serious when I use his name) says that we HAVE to redo a room, it’s bad. Very, very bad.

He’s the cheapest of cheap, remember? Doing things for his/my own benefit seems like a “waste of money” to him. And I get it. That’s why I married him. I love that cheapo! He loves to flip a house or fix up a rental, but when it is just “for us” in a house in which we might actually stay for a while…not so much. But even he keeps saying we’ve got to get this bathroom done.

To be fair, he does not at all mind helping me work on small/inexpensive projects. He also does not mind to do projects that he sees as a need…like the classroom…or building the kids’ beds. It’s the things that cost a lot of his hard-earned money, and require a lot of his precious time, and the things that are functioning fine already that he hates to “waste” money on. He’s definitely not the guy to get rid of green tile just because it’s ugly. But he’ll get rid of it to turn a profit. Make sense? (And occasionally to please his wife. Thanks babe!)

So it isn’t just that this bathroom is old and ugly. This bathroom is nasty. (But it doesn’t have green tile. That was our last house. The entire place…entryway, bathroom, kitchen. Hunter green tile throughout that he changed just for me, with no thought of financial gain. We had planned to stay there for quite a while; it was the first time we had spent money on renovations with our own use in mind…and then we moved anyway…oops.)

Alright, so I say all of that to let you know how we feel. It takes us (like everyone) a very long time to save up money. We have some saved up right now and we’d prefer not to spend every penny of it on a bathroom. But we also don’t want to cheap out on what could be an amazing room. Sometimes people actually waste money by being too cheap on their renovations. We’ve seen it time and time again in our house hunting. We don’t want to be those people. Those people provide us the opportunity to buy houses under FMV, so we love them. But we try very hard not to be them.

We’re trying to walk a fine line. The hubs is resisting the urge to go too cheap and I’m trying not to spend all of our money. I’m the one who MIGHT be tempted to think, “well, since we have to gut the entire thing, we might as well redo everything in carrara marble.” Just kidding. Not on my dime. But you know, I’m the one who would lean towards spending a bit more money. Not a lot. But more than My Darling Cheapest.

This isn’t HGTV and I’m not Sarah Richardson. Or Candice Olson. I don’t know what all this talking about money has you thinking, but this won’t be one of those $50k bathroom renovations like they do on tv.

I have a set budget in mind, but I’m not going to tell you until we’re finished. Haha. I promise to be honest and tell you if we go over budget, but I don’t want you to pre-judge the quality of the bathroom based on a dollar amount. Hopefully instead of you saying, “that bathroom is full of cheap crap!” you’ll say, “whoa! I can’t believe they got that amazing bathroom for that price!”

Of course we will be doing all of the work ourselves, including plumbing and electrical. We will “save” (I hate when people say they save money while spending it) literally thousands on labor alone. Hopefully you’ll be surprised by what we’ll be able to pull off for the amount that we’re going to spend.

And hopefully it won’t take us longer than summer to finish. The hubs was diagnosed with LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes of adults) last year (which progressed quickly into insulin dependance after that video), and I’m just plain old and tired these days. There was a time when we could work 18 hours per day, but sadly those days are gone. Just like my perfect figure and his full head of hair. Just kidding. He has hair.

So…what the heck is so wrong with this bathroom?

First, let me show you the picture from the listing when we bought it.

master bath

Not too bad, right? It’s huge and bright and mostly neutral. No carpet. No green/brown/gold/orange counter. No wallpaper.

It’s deceptively fine.

Sure, the tile is weirdly pink. The walls are a nasty green. The light fixtures are the cheapest and most boring available. But the bones look great. The counter is white (this house was built in ’83, so there were so many ways it could have gone wrong); the vanity provides a ton of storage. The tub and huge window seem great. The skylight lets in lots of natural light. There’s a good sized shower to the left of the tub. (The photo is taken from the doorway of the water closet. Toilet room? Lavatory? WC? What do you guys call that tiny room with a toilet?)

So, what the heck is wrong? What’s so bad that even the hubs is demanding we get on this immediately? Let’s take a closer look…

The problems could probably be broken into categories.

  1. Dangerous to our health and the future value of our home.
  2. Doesn’t function properly.
  3. Just nasty and old.
  4. Liveable, but not my preference.

Let’s start small.

I believe in using as few flooring materials as possible. Changing flooring for every area makes your space feel smaller. It also makes it look choppy and the eyes don’t move around the room as easily. If you step into a home and can see the kitchen and living room from the entry way, it might be a good idea to consider using only one or two flooring materials. Don’t use one tile for the entry, one for the kitchen, wood for the hallway and carpet in the living room. That’s a lot to look at all at once.

That’s all just my opinion. Ultimately you should do whatever you want in your own home, of course.

So the toilet room (or whatever it’s called) has a different tile than the rest of the bathroom. I don’t even understand that. Plus, it’s ugly. It looks dirty no matter what. I understand wanting a floor that hides dirt, but a floor that looks dirty right after it has been mopped is another story. We’ll definitely be using one tile throughout, and it won’t be the color of red dirt haze.

nasty tile

The lights.

What can I say? There aren’t words. I realize half of America has them. And that’s why I hate them. They are the cheapest of cheap. Seriously. A brand new light fixture for less than ten bucks. No wonder builders love them. I do not.

split pea soup

The paint is the color of split-pea soup. ‘nough said.

The countertop is stained. It’s not hurting our health or anything, but I don’t prefer purple stains on my white counter. (I circled it for you, because it’s not showing up as obvious in the pic as it is in person.)

stained counter

There are lots of other little things that I don’t prefer, but that wouldn’t warrant a remodel all on their own. The drawer pulls. The cheap, dated shower tile. The funky frosted shower door with a nasty frame. The frameless mirror that’s all one unit with the lighting.

Let’s move on to just nasty and old.

The toilet has grout and mortar all over it from this horrible tile job that someone did when they “updated” the bathroom.

grout toilet grout on toilet

The shower arm is rusty.

rusty shower

The bathtub doesn’t come clean (and I’m a frequent bath taker!). See that orange ring? It doesn’t go away no matter how much I scrub. (And I don’t love the not-white color anyway.)

orange ring

Yeah, that’s next to impossible to see in this image. It’s like a regular tub ring, but orange. Difficult to tell what’s going on in the pic, but ask anyone who has been to my house…it’s funky.

The sinks are cracked. I don’t know if this goes under “just nasty and old” or if it should go under “dangerous…” But they’re awful. All of the acrylic (?) is cracking around the drain area. It can’t be cleaned well. I’m not sure if that’s rust or orange mold.

cracked drain

Moving on to functioning issues…

The toilet doesn’t stop running. And it leaks. The very first day we closed on this house, the hubs bought a new valve and whatever he needed to repair what we thought was a simple problem we’ve encountered many times. It didn’t fix it. I’m not sure what the problem is, but there’s grout and mortar all over the toilet anyway and the pressure is awful. Also, it’s kinda low (short). Definitely need a new toilet.

The bathtub drain doesn’t function properly. I don’t mean that it doesn’t drain correctly. That’s usually just a matter of unclogging the drain. I mean it doesn’t stay plugged. It just doesn’t work. It’s the kind where you pull the lever, rather than the pop-up kind where you twist the thing down. (Does that make sense?) And it doesn’t hold water. Drains right out. I bought one of those rubber stoppers for in the mean time, but we need a new tub and drain.

Now for the dangerous part…

The bathroom stinks. And that’s because of underneath my sink.

moldy cabinet mold cabinet

It was the first area that caused the hubs to say we HAVE to redo the bathroom. It’s not just a bit of water damage. It’s falling apart. Totally not salvageable. And it stinks so bad. I don’t even open it. Ever. We don’t use that cabinet. It makes me want to pass out when I open the door. It has been dried out for a while now (thanks to a new faucet the previous owner put in in an attempt to update this bathroom), but the smell is still horrible!

And then we have this…

moldy skylight

Mold growing in our skylight. Partly do to moisture because the bathroom doesn’t vent well, but also because the skylight isn’t sealed well. So, the water runs down the side of the wall up by the skylight causing mold to grow. And then it pools at the corner, which has caused this…

leaky corner damaged drywall

The hubs looked from the roof, and this skylight just isn’t installed as well as the other one we have in the house. I’m betting that rain is running all down the back side of this drywall (because of how it leaks at the corner even when the inside of the skylight isn’t seemingly wet) and that we might find mold when we tear this whole thing out. Not sure the exact plan, but we may just deck and shingle the roof and do away with this skylight all together. We have that huge window over the tub that lets in lots of natural light, so it won’t be painful to lose it.

I’m over 2000 words, so I’ll stop complaining. I could go on about little things I hate about this bathroom (because I hate every single thing), but this pretty much covers it.

I should say that I am very thrilled about the size and the light. I do love the potential of this bathroom. In fact, it was a major selling point for me. So while I sound very negative (because this post is purely about the negatives of the bathroom), I’m actually very thankful for the bones. And I’m thankful to have the money to be able to gut this bathroom.

I’m so ready to get started!




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