Putty and Pipes and A New Bathroom, Oh My!

There’s a big hole next to my master bedroom where part of my master bathroom used to be.

It’s a big, ugly, empty hole. No mirror, no shelves, no vanity, no floor tiles and some of the wall itself is gone, ripped out after 28 years of pretty faithful service. The standard white porcelain sink, the big square mirror with zero personality, the pressed wood vanity and the hospital-white floor tile. In short, a normal bathroom, circa the late 1970s and early 1980s. It worked for the hubby, but I hated it. I never had enough room for my makeup and other vital items. And you try keeping white bathroom fixtures clean.

It’s all gone, just a pile at the end of the driveway, awaiting trash day removal. Our toiletries and cleaning supplies are scattered between the guest bathroom, the spare bedroom and a plastic box sitting beside my desk chair. This was a good opportunity to clean out old, expired and unused crap from the vanity drawers, and there was plenty of it. From petrified bathroom cleaners that couldn’t be removed from the bottle with a hacksaw to calcified nail polish in colors I cannot fathom a liking for, it all got pitched.

What is it about renovating bathrooms that tempts us to arm ourselves with power tools, watch hours of  Bath Crashers and BATHtastic on DIY and spend ridiculous amounts of money on fancy tile inlays and shower systems? It’s not like you spend eight hours a day in there, the way you do on a mattress trying to get quality sleep. I know people who have no problem spending thousands on a new bathroom, yet balk at the idea of spending money on a good mattress.

Maybe it’s the idea of being able to show off the final product. An extravagant bathroom, with a  Kohler 10-jet shower/massage panel and a Toto toilet  says “I can afford to do this.” You really cannot display a $3,000 mattress quite the same way, unless you throw back the comforter and offer a tour of your bed, which will probably result in a few wide-eyed guests leaving your house immediately.

And yes, it is nice to come home to the luxury of  a waterfall in the shower or a real throne of a commode after a tough day. We think of a renovation like this as providing a long-term result we deserve to enjoy. And I say go for the best, if that’s what you want and can afford. As for us, we’ve got nice tile, sexy plumbing and a bigger vanity stashed in the dining room, along with a black and white granite countertop and sink. Not the top of the line, but compared to the little-missed, splintered pile at the end of the driveway, they are an improvement.

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