Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Wife of Bath's Tale

Remind me, when did the re-fit of our bathroom begin? Oh yes, Wednesday 2 January was the date I received the phone call and had to remove all the gungy half-bottles of shampoo and hand cream from the cupboards, dump them in the spare room and allow the fitters to dismantle the rest.

Three weeks of plaster dust, noise and numerous mugs of coffee later we now have a bathroom, albeit without new blinds and accessories: everything we had before complemented a blue and white scheme and are therefore not allowed back in. They will remain in a 'just in case' box which will never be opened again.

Initially the disruption upset the family routine. Dougie had to get showered at 6.30 am so he could vacate the en-suite in time for Rory to take up residence at 7. Once the boys were off to school and work this didn't leave me any time to get ready myself before the fitters arrived each day. Occasionally if I knew they were going to be late, I could be done and dusted in time, but usually I had the unsettling experience of showering in one room whilst a strange man hammered the life out of the adjoining wall, so much so I had the awful image of him knocking a hole through then handing me a bar of soap and a loofah.

I don't know how people manage to oversee house renovations without being on site. Every day I had to make lots of very important decisions: height of mirror, colour of tile grout, positioning of loo roll holder. Things didn't always go to plan. A few days ago our resident fitter cut his hand badly while pulling tiles off the wall. Although the bleeding stopped reasonable quickly, there was quite a gash so I sent him five minutes down the road to the surgery for Dougie to patch him up. He returned in ten minutes with his hand glued, dressed and covered in a fetching rubber glove.

A crack was found in the bath....twice. On our third bath I was assured it would be perfect but after two faulty ones, I'm a tad wary and haven't yet tried out the Archimedes principle on it. Our wacky choice of radiator - a huge sheet of copper - was sniffed at by the fitters who thought we'd lost our minds and wondered if we really wanted it in the bathroom as it looked like scrap metal. In the end we agreed, it looked ridiculous in the bathroom but was just perfect for the kitchen so it is now going to be mounted there instead as a functional piece of artwork. The fitters just roll their eyes.

Work has now begun on the en-suite so Dougie and I have moved ourselves to the spare room so the bedroom can be dust-sheeted. We quite like it in the spare room: the novelty makes it feel we're on holiday which is just as well as that's the nearest we're coming to one at the moment. And going into the new bathroom, which is clean and hasn't yet become stuffed full of rubbish, feels like being in a hotel. Maybe I should find all those stolen hotel toiletries and pop them in the room to complete the effect?

I suppose I ought to show you what the new bathroom looks like, though I suspect most of you have just scrolled to the bottom anyway. The photos don't exactly show the proper colours. The floor tiles, though grey in natural light, look more like a light sandstone under the ceiling lights or with a flash: the tiles are called 'anthracite' which doesn't help at all. The cabinets, though described as 'natural', would be far more accurately described as 'double-shot full-fat latte'.




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30 comments:

  1. Great bathroom, love the colors. We're getting ready to have some work done in our bathroom, we want to change our standard shower to a frameless glass one.

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    1. We were a bit limited with shower cubicles as our shower fits in a recess in the wall so only requires glass one one side. But it is lovely to freshen it up, change colours and having it look smart again. Good luck with your bathroom too!

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  2. That loo looks like it could make love to a person's bum without even trying.

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    1. Actually that sounded more wrong than I had intended.

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    2. And here's me thinking it was just a bog standard one.

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  3. Since we have remodeled every house we have ever lived in, this subject is very familiar to us. The final product is beautiful! You would have appreciated Mr.L and me having a heated discussion about what you have going on in the shower cubicle there - we love it: stone? Granite? Tile? It's gorgeous.
    And,as always is the case, I did read the whole post before scrolling down to the photos, so I'm snickering in an immature manner about you and Dougie feeling like you're 'on holiday' in the spare room.

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  4. The shower cubicle walls have something called Mermaid panelling on them. It's a very thick, smooth laminate designed to replace tiling - advantages no grout to get mouldy and very watertight. The design we chose was called 'firecoat' so it would look like stone. So far we think it's great - so easy to wipe down and the warm colour makes it feel very opulent. Pleased you like it!
    Dougie is so happy in the spare room he is still asleep in there this morning and it's now nearly 11am.

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  5. Wow, it looks very posh and I love the color scheme! Enjoy your holiday in the spare bedroom, and please post a photo of the new "piece of art" in the kitchen! xx

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    1. Once the new radiator is in place, my camera will be out asap!
      You should have seen the workmen's faces when they unwrapped it: at first they thought the copper sheet was a cover for the real radiator and were going to pull it off. No soul.

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  6. Nice. I can see why you chose a copper sheet radiator to go with those colours. Why did they talk you out of it?

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    1. It did go with the colours in the bathroom but was quite large and, to be honest, a bit wasted on a wall you don't even see when you enter the room. We think it will look better in the kitchen as a focal point and give us more heat which we need in there. I suppose if we could have afforded it, we could have bought two, one for each room, but that was a non-starter!

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  7. Oooh posh! I have now done two massive (ie. whole house gutted down to the studs) rehabs, as they call them here. We also did one on our property in Colorado and miraculously, it went well despite us being 1,000 miles away. On the whole though, you really do have to be on site because some of the decisions the builders make are just stupid. My best example was with my first house; the living room and dining room were one huge room, which meant very little wall space against which to shove furniture. I came in one day to find they'd positioned the heating thermostat slap bang in the middle of the only big wall. I just pointed at it, shook my head and walked out.

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    1. Thankfully no daft decisions so far: only the ones by us!
      I'm not sure I could cope with the whole house being done. It's stressful enough just having this done and although we are in a bit of a mess, at least we always have two loos and a shower working so we aren't exactly having to have a strip wash.

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  8. It looks lovely and I'm very jealous - our bathroom fitters also started on January 2nd but don't seem to be close to finishing yet. They lost a few days because of the snow, so maybe they'll be done by the end of the week.

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    1. I've been wondering how you've been getting on, Gretta. Thankfully we haven't lost any days with the snow and we had one week with two fitters and an electrician so things moved on at quite a pace.

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  9. That looks gorgeous! They have done a great job! Emma :) PS. My mum has gone to Iceland tonight (the country!), I thought of you!

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    1. Ah thank you, Emma. Yes, we are pleased too. Needs some things in it now to personalise it. New towels are in order I think. We have a lovely Lloyd Loom chair which fits in the corner (not in photo) so it's starting to look less like a showroom.
      I do hope your mum loves Iceland. Did she see Caitlin Moran's article in yesterday's Times? Very funny. Let me know how she gets on xx

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  10. Ah so beautiful and pristine.....looks gorgeous. I would love to have an en-suite.....usually it is just me and the mister here but when the kids are home or friends are staying me running across the landing in quick need of a wee is a sight no one should see......
    Looking forward to seeing the fab sounding radiator in the kitchen.

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    1. Won't be pristine for long but at the moment I'm wiping down the taps every time anyone uses them!
      Can't wait to see the radiator in the kitchen too! I think it will look right, it will be on a wall next to the brickwork arch into the hall, so I think will be in a better place. The fitter reckoned its position near the basin in the bathroom was dodgy as there would be a risk of burning your backside on it!

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  11. OOOH I have severe bathroon envy. We have to re do the childrens bathroom but reluctant to have a gorgeous fancy one as they are reluctant to clean it!!!! but we could pinch some of your ideas for our en suite, loving the idea of laminate rather than tiles

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    1. The laminate panelling looks really smart - it has a lovely smooth finish and so much easier to wipe down. Rory is a dab-hand with a squeegee!

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  12. It looks lovely. I'm quite surprised to see you have a bidet. I thought they had become rather retro now that everyone takes showers all the time.

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    1. I love my bidet. The last one has been broken for months as I dropped a tap on it, so have missed it. As well as its usual function, it's just the right height for any foot-related work needing doing!

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  13. It all looks beautiful - I can sympathise with you & the dusty workman & their never ending need for mugs of tea in the house - I have to live with my builder!

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    1. Ha! I do hope your builder makes sure he does jobs at your house first, or are you always last on the list?

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  14. Looks fab and can't wait to see the copper radiator (the Shah will not love you for this!) We have avoided having bidets as we discovered that certain elderly relatives became, er, confused as to their purpose when visiting one of the Shah's brothers. Put us off for life!

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    1. Ooh heavens, not good!! On holiday we always used to rinse out bathing costumes in the bidet, but thankfully not been that confused.

      Radiator should be on in a day or two so will photograph it for you so you can annoy the Shah.

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  15. ooh yeah we just had our bathroom done and two months later I still feel so excited like I'm staying at a hotel. I have the teeny tiny mosaic tiles like yours mine are seafoam colored. We also had our kitchen done which was a bit of a nightmare but now its finished I feel like I am rebirthed as Nigella Lawson and love to cook.

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    1. 'Seafoam' indeed! You're even talking like a brochure now, Emma!
      Totally agree about the benefits of a new kitchen. We had ours done in 2011 and my cooking has improved so much...mind you it's probably because I now have an oven with decent seals and a window so I can see what the food is doing!
      How long will this domesticity last I wonder?

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  16. Oh this is beautiful- I have SERIOUs bathroom envy now although you know I could take or leave the bidet ;-) love the copper radiator too- such a statement!

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