Monday, October 28, 2013

Powder Room Dreams, Toilet Closet Budget

Hello long-suffering readers and new readers that haven't suffered at all-and hopefully won't for a while! You're probably pinching yourself in disbelief upon reading this. Wondering in what world it could be possible that I, Katherine Fugit, have gotten off my ba-donk (or climbed out of camper photobooth world) long enough to take some pictures of something other than people then put those pictures on the internet and write about them. Well, it's a whole new world y'all! 
**Also, I am sitting on my ba-donk while writing this and Conan took the pictures for me, so...

But anywhoodle chicken noodles, let's talk stuff! 
Right off the bat, I have to share this exciting news: 
We're on Apartment Therapy's "The Kitchn" today!!

Check it out here.
As you might have guessed from the blog we're featured on, it is about our "Accidental Kitchen Remodel" which you may remember from days of yore on ye olde blog.
Very exciting stuff!

Also exciting but in kind of a sad way, we're taking a little break from Lamphouse Photo Co. while the weather begins its rapid descent into the frigid depths.

Turns out, chemistry has to be a certain temperature to you know, chemistry-ate things. Science! But in all seriousness, we're a little bummed to find out what we expected to be true all along - this is a spring/fall/summer business and so the chilly Kansas winters/falls are for now, non-negotiable. BUT we're going to use this time to test out a new process that would mean a faster developing time which would mean the possibility of doing weddings when we return next spring. Hooray for vintage camper businesses and all of the "exciting challenges" that they bring! It's been a wild ride and we can't wait to see where it takes us in the next year! It's already introduced us to a few people who read this very blog which was probably one of the neatest things of all.

That little hiatus also means that we're going to have some time to ACTUALLY work on things around our actual house! What? Can you believe it?! That's crazy!

First up? This little thing we like to affectionately refer to as
TOILET CLOSET. dun dun dunnnnnn

So, lemme break this down for you since we've never shared pictures of this part of the house EVER. 
Fancy architectural rendering time, y'all! 

Between the stairs in the living room and the stairs (we never use) next to the kitchen there is another set of stairs that go down to basement town. On your way there, you pass toilet closet land an the rest is history.

I'm actually kind of surprised it's never come up before since it probably seems a little strange that a 2,500 square foot house with four or so bedrooms only has one bathroom. But I digress.

If my excellent drawing wasn't cutting it, here's a picture to help you visualize it. 
In that little hallway, there's a set of stairs that leads to the toilet closet. Cool? Cool.

So let's talk toilet closet. 
We actually find that it gets used quite a bit. I was even doing my hair and makeup in there up until a few weeks ago just because I couldn't get close enough to the bathroom mirror upstairs to do the eye makeup which I require in order to be seen by the general public. That's another story, though. 

This thing is r-to the-ough. ROUGH. 

the plaster is cracked...

The baseboard paint is falling off at an alarming rate. Considering it's probably full o' lead that's not an ideal situation. 

The window is completely wedged shut. The cords are still intact but it doesn't really matter since home slice won't even budge. Which is a problem when you have such a small bathroom. If

One of the only things we've done to this bathroom was that film we put over the bottom window before the wedding so that people walking by on the driveway couldn't see your business. Awkward.
Here you can see the results of one of many failed attempts at loosening the window.
Even the tiny, decorative owls are ashamed to be in here. Look at their eyes.

The ceiling has multiple offenses.
1. Popcorn texture
2. There's a hole in it

The floor is the same, impossible to clean stuff that was in the kitchen and the upstairs bathroom.

The outlet may look fine but the screw doesn't hold the outlet into the wall (because there's nothing there to screw into) and so this things falls out when there's a stiff breeze.

So, why are you showing us all of these pictures of your dirty bathroom, Katherine? I'm glad you asked! We're going to fix this bad boy up so that it's at least passable as a functioning bathroom and we're going to do it on a shoestring budget.

Here's my (very tentative) plan:

First things first, we need a place to wash hands. Then we can stop referring to this as toilet closet and instead start calling it a powder room. How refined!

This lil' guy at The Home Depot is the smallest and most affordable corner sink I could find at about 19" across and $90.

Lowe's also has one that's even smaller at about 17" but it's more pricey at $115

I'm thinking (hoping) that this is where we'll spend the most of our budget and since it's integral to making this a "bathroom" I think it's worth it.

Where are you planning to put this sink in a room that's roughly 2 1/2 feet wide with a toilet taking up most of that? Wellll...

I'm thinking that we'll need to push that wall on the left as far as it will go.

How far will it go? Well, that depends on two things.
1) The staircase in the living room starts to slant in near the ceiling of the toilet closet so the top 2/3 or so would have to slant to accommodate it.
2) There's also a piece of duct work that feeds to the return in the living room and it's pretty much right in the way:

I'm going to put a scientific guess in at 2 feet. I believe with all my heart that we can add two whole feet to this toilet closet. Did you hear that? That's the sound of my dad laughing his head off somewhere in south Wichita. Whatever. I think it's possible. I BELIEVE it can be done.

So, that would take up a fair amount of our budget buying lumber and replacing all of the old plaster with sheetrock. I'm going to put that money back into the budget by re-using our old bathroom tile.

Remember this stuff? Well, we had quite a bit left over. We also have the charcoal grout mix as well so the only thing we would need to add to that list would be Hardie Backer (I'm not totally certain we need this though since it's not a really steamy, wet area like our upstairs bathroom) and mortar.

I'm going to try my best to strip and re-use the baseboards that we have already to save a little cash and we're of course going to re-use the toilet we have as well as the light fixture and that cute little toilet paper holder.

So cute!

The door is in need of something and I'm not sure if I want to do a full-on refinish job like the upstairs bathroom or just strip the hardware and give the door a fresh coat of paint.

This all feels very ramble-y and speculative but I really do think that once I knock the first (intentional) hole in the wall, things will start to come together. Or apart. Whatever. It's a toilet closet. No pressure situation. Right? Right?!!

We'll build that bridge as we cross it!

That's our motto 'round these parts!

So I guess the only thing left to do now is get off the computer, go downstairs and get to work. I'll share pictures, progress and more ideas as we work. Thanks for hangin' in there with us and of course,
Keep Smiling! 


  1. You guys are brave for showing this spot. I would get anxious with it in that state if people used it often. Actually, they must be pretty chill people if they keep going back to it. Anyway, good luck and have fun you guys. I'll be following along!

    1. I don't know if I would say brave. Firemen are brave, we're just living in an old run-down house! Luckily our friends and family are all pretty chill folks and as of yet, none of them have threatened to stop speaking to us on account of our less than perfect toilet closet. What can I say, it ain't all pretty in the land of old houses.

  2. Could you do a pocket door? That may help avoid having the door open to the bottom of the stairs.

    1. We've actually talked about that and our neighbors did that exact thing in their little downstairs bathroom. I'm not sure if there's enough room for one between the two sets of stairs but if we find that there is when we start demo, we might seriously consider it.

    2. Cool! I stayed at an AirBnB place with a very similar toilet closet (size wise) and it seemed to really make somehow seem spacious. Good luck!

  3. Hooray for toilet closet! I was happy to see your funny post pop up in Feedly - glad you're back in action on the home front.

    1. Aw, thanks for your toilet closet enthusiasm and thanks for hanging in there while we focused on other stuff!

  4. Bathrooms are always fun! Good luck, and just remember when you open up that wall that an old house is always an adventure...

    1. That's no joke! We found all sorts of neat stuff when we redid the upstairs bathroom, so who knows what's in store for this little one.


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