The new home renovation project for this year has commenced, in a small way. This is the renovation of the master bathroom – number three on my grand five-year plan for sorting out the tiny suburban bungalow – which in another two years will be entirely paid off, mortgage-wise. It was once my ambition to do a second mortgage, once the first had been paid in full, and use the profits from sale of the California raw acreage to purchase a half-acre in the Hill Country and build my dream house on it. This probably will not happen, although I still have hopes of the Adelsverein Trilogy or the Luna City series suddenly (and miraculously) attaining the popularity and stratospheric sales figures of Fifty Shades of Grey, or the Outlander series, and enable us to buy a substantial property and build a bespoke mansion on it. But hope is not a plan – and this; this is the Five-Year Plan to sort out the present house, and make it fit for a local author with modest tastes, a huge library, and a tasteful collection of career mementos to live in.
So – the master bathroom becomes the next item on the list after renovating the guest bath (AKA Blondie’s bathroom), the new roof, and the Amazing Catio. Those three items were completed last spring; the Catio is almost completely paid for. Time to move on to the next two projects; the garage – now a good part cleared out in preparation for a new door – and the master bath.
This facility is a pair of rooms about five by five feet each, as laid out by the construction firm which built most of the Spring Creek Forest subdivision over three decades. They were one of the better firms, which meant that the constructor-grade appliances and installed fixtures were not absolute dreck, constructed from paper straws, tinfoil and bottom-grade cabinets of compressed wood chips and a thin vinyl veneer, and purchased by the railcar-sized lot. (Seriously, when Neighborhood Handy-guy ripped out the small bathroom vanity last year, I demolished it myself with a carpenter’s hammer, and stuffed the remains into the ordinary trash can.)

One roomette contains a toilet and bathtub, the other is mostly filled with a wall-to wall single-sink vanity of eccentric size and a large mirror, ditto, opposite a door into the walk-in closet. I’d have a mind to take out the wall dividing the two compartments and just have one merged bathroom space, save for three things: it may be a load-bearing wall, there are electrical switches and outlets in that wall, and I’d have no place then to mount the toilet-paper holder. Did I have money to spare, I’d say the hell with it and make it one space – but this is me, and Neighborhood Handy Guy, and maybe it is a better idea to have some divider between the john and the sink where you brush your teeth anyway.
My grand plan as it now stands is to rip out the tub and cheap tile surround, replacing it with a walk-in shower, nicer tile, and glass sliding door. Replace the vanity with a smaller, and yet more ornate one, replace the toilet with a newer and more luxurious model, install wainscoting halfway up the walls, white hexagonal floor tile, and an anaglypta-wallpapered ceiling to replace the grotty popcorn texture, and moderately ornate cornices and door surrounds – all painted in shades to match the tiles…
The tiles for the shower – yes, I ordered them already. From the internet bargain-basement provider, Wayfair, who offered an excellent price per square foot and offered free shipping to boot. When the arrive at mid-week, I’ll be able to sort out the shades of pale blue and cream-color paint and explore the possibilities of having wallpaper in the sink-dressing room area, on the upper part of the walls – if I can’t match a wallpaper to the shower tiles, then plain paint on textured anaglypta. There will be pale cream wainscoting and wood work, plain white hexagonal floor tile, and overall a kind of Victorian farmhouse look. This look is apparently quite popular, and appropriately retro-appearing fixtures are readily available at the big-box home renovation stores, and on Amazon for fairly reasonable prices. I am foregoing the claw-footed bathtub, though – it would be impossible, logistically, to get one into the space without demolishing a wall or two, and I prefer showers anyway.
And that’s my project for the rest of this month.


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