Friday, February 10, 2012

The Prairie Cemetery (But First, A Quick Stop At Home)

Ah, but who am I to talk? When it comes to beauty we can live with, I am the prince of procrastination.

Our house is nearly 200 years old. When we first moved in, my wife took down the wallpaper, only to discover that, in the bathroom at least, there was no wall behind the paper. On the upside, this has kept the bathroom well-ventilated.

On the downside, it's the ugliest room in the building, and we use it every day. I could give you a sheet of reasons why I don't get to this project. Some of them are pretty solid, too — even experienced renovators are loath to touch bathrooms. But every morning this one ugly room confronts and sneers at my failure of nerve.

And every morning I shrug it off and face some other pressing task. It is, after all, a bathroom — the one room in the house where the contemplation of the beautiful has a piquant irony of its own.


DarkoV said...

Sir, our house is a mere 100 years old, which simply means my dirt is newer. Like you, I have bathroom issues...well, they are issues only if they are framed in the modern times. If I think of the room as to its function, it serves its purpose well. When the house was built, it was never a room that was intended for deep thought, escape, or, as seems to be the current rage (last 15 years or so) lounging.
Visiting friends' McMansions, I always leave their bathrooms feeling queasy. Why would anyone want an unholstered chair or, yes, sofa in the bathroom? The airs, the humidity, the....well I'll stop there.
I applaud your well-ventilated bathroom, which is what the depository should be.

Whisky Prajer said...

McMansion bathrooms are entities unto themselves, aren't they? The sheer space they inhabit is intimidating, to say nothing of the heating issues. Such a great distance from the outhouse, and not necessarily in the right direction.

paul bowman said...

No wall behind the paper eh?

(my captcha: nukke. — a hint at where to start, maybe?)

Whisky Prajer said...

Technically, that observation only applies to one wall. The bathroom is part of an addition to the house, which was built in the 1920s. Between the bathroom and the original house is a large hallway closet, an unheard of indulgence for the time.

paul bowman said...

Bathrooms can be tough in any case, as you say. What are you expecting to keep and how much rip out, when you do get to this?

Whisky Prajer said...

Tub, toilet, taps & sink have to go. Paneling also (which is cheap and easy to tear out). New floor, new walls, new lighting. Possibly a second sink where a shabby wall of counterspace is.

paul bowman said...

Judging from the photo, the floor looks like it might be relatively simple tear-up. That's a mercy for sure. Is the tub steel?

"New walls" always sounds scary, but I gather that the plaster is intact and not coming down. Is that just going to be a lot of scraping and patching then?

There's a toilet I've used several times and been pretty happy with — better than big box grade but not outrageously expensive here in the States — if you haven't already got something nailed down for that.

Whisky Prajer said...

"New walls" will be scary, actually: 1/4" drywall will be put up over what plaster is there (remember, one "wall" is in fact paper). The walls are all weird angles and measurements. Getting the old tub out won't be hard -- bust it up with a sledge, I figure. Bathroom floors aren't problematic unless there are soft spots (none in this bathroom, I don't think. Downstairs is another matter). And toilets I've done. I'll likely keep this one, or switch to an Aussie tank.