#46 Bathroom before

by ana on May 24, 2011

In preparation for my upcoming tax protest (doesn’t it seem like I just protested?), I took pictures of the wretched bathroom to bolster my case. And what is my case? That a fixer-upper that hasn’t been fully fixed didn’t go up $20,000 in value during a recession. Unless the Travis Central Appraisal District got excited by the un-sexy updates (like the radiant barrier, R-52 insulation, solar screens and electrical panel), it just isn’t possible.

Unlike last year, though, I’m not handling the protest in person. Doing it myself made sense last year because I had a recent sales agreement that warranted an appraisal reduction. But now it would be like trying to push a Peep through a pinhole. So I signed up with a company that does the protesting for you and only gets paid if your taxes get reduced; then it gets a percentage of the savings.

So to make the company’s job easier, I spent part of my lone day off taking pictures of the bathroom. Exciting. Without further ado, I give you … the bathroom.

bathroom door

You step into a somewhat unimposing entrance hall. And the door can be a little hard to open from the inside if your hands aren’t fully dry.

bathroom entrance

The other side of the entrance hall houses a linen closet and a lower cabinet that would be a great place for a hamper if one could find one narrow enough. Overall, the functionality of the linen closet makes it the best part of the bathroom. (It would be great if I were tall enough to reach the top shelf, but that’s a personal problem.) I don’t even use the rusty medicine cabinet, which the tour will cover in a moment. But first, stop and drop your gaze to the flooring.

bathroom sheet vinyl flooring

The sheet vinyl (with chocolate-milk-colored squares on a white field) works well for containing doggie accidents. And that’s about all the praise I can spare for it. It’s uneven and covers a spongy sub-floor so it’s gotta go.

bathroom heater

The wall heater still works, though I fear lighting it. Those aren’t allowed anymore, by city code, but mine has been grandfathered. When the power went out in the winter, I could’ve used it as the house’s sole heat source, but instead I just didn’t get out of bed. I’d like to take it out and maybe use the space for an inset wall shelf for toilet paper or something. And the wall around the heater needs help, too. The intense temperatures made the plastic tile sheets crackle and bubble, which (note to whoever did it!) was not improved by a coat of paint. And the wall bears a few scars from where I removed the 1970s oak-and-brass toilet paper holder. The toilet still looks and works well — it will be nice to bring up the level of its surroundings.

bathroom vanity

That brings us to the vanity and contractor-grade corroded faucet. According to the home inspector and the plumber, old leaks left those too damaged to keep. (And of course its ugly factor did it no favors.) The trim and possibly the wall behind it will also need replacing. I’m planning to use a wall sink (since storage isn’t an issue) so I have a spot to stick the trashcan where it can’t be seen from the doorway.

bathroom medicine cabinet light

Above that is the medicine cabinet with an etched design. It shrieks in protest when you open it, which would be a plus if I had weird medications to hide from people. The bathroom’s sole source of lighting could stand to be upgraded. There’s nothing wrong with the fixture, but it houses the bathroom’s only outlet (a non-GFCI) that’s hard to reach and needs to be updated for safety reasons. And because the sink lacks surface space, someone mounted a glass wall shelf, which I’ll probably take down as I don’t find it all that functional.

bathroom colors

As for future colors, I taped up some paint chips similar to the color of the painted-over wallpaper. The striped shower curtain (from Target) pulled together my towel palette, but that could change in the future.

bathroom tub shower

The last stop on the tour brings us to the tub and shower. The tub, original to the house, remains in great shape so it’s staying. The enclosure … well, if I could rip it out with my bare hands, I would. The current plan calls for white subway tile in a grid pattern unless I find something fun that I like more (and that’s also cheap). The shower hardware will be replaced with a complete Kohler Purist set from eBay (a steal at $140).

The 1970s remodel (re-muddle?) wasn’t kind to the bathroom, though there are a couple of original details left, like a vintage glass towel bar. Unfortunately, you have to reach over the toilet to use the hand towel so it likely will get relocated.

Well, that concludes the tour. The before shots should provide context to the upcoming remodel, for which I’m getting bids. So close.

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