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Big challenges in a little bathroom

Housebathbeforemontage2I’ve often suspected that the house I live in (built in the 1970s?) was made from "found materials."

We have ceiling beams of different thicknesses, various kinds of siding and window sizes that make no sense other than that’s what someone found cheap or free.

But what I’m happy the original builders found was a whole bunch of tongue-and-groove cedar boards, which they used liberally inside the house, including this bathroom, the home’s main bathroom.

(A second bathroom was added about 20 years ago in the basement area, and it’s an awful, cobbled-together mess. More on that later. Much later.)

This bathroom is a bare 5 1/2 feet wide and 6 1/2 feet deep. Unless something major happens in that downstairs bathroom, this will be the size of my bathroom for many long years to come, maybe through the end of my days. There’s just no way to make this bathroom bigger, as the bedrooms on either side of it are not large enough to borrow space from.

And so I think we’ll adopt the "not-so-big-house" philosophy here and enjoy this modest space. For me, as long as I have a bathtub, I’m happy and healthy.

You can see the challenges:

1. Horrible stainless-steel mirror-light combination.
2. Bad, cheap tile on the wall.
3. Molded sink-countertop with peeling paint (yes, it’s been painted), rust and mineral stains.
4. Cheap, style-free vanity.
5. Ten-dollar sink fixture that failed about five years ago.
6. Molded shower-tub surround topped with a cover that blocks most natural light.
7. Shower and bath fixtures have failed.
8. No natural air flow (high window is fixed glass) and the exhaust fan has failed. Unless you leave the door ajar during a bath, you will be frantic for oxygen in about three minutes.
9. Cheap vinyl floor that’s worn and torn.

And, oh yeah, there’s probably some water damage behind the shower surround on account of the broken fixtures. On the positive side, the toilet seems to be fine.

So, isn’t this a dandy challenge? I’ve been ashamed of this bathroom for years and cringed when Bill invited people to come and stay. But now that we’re fixing up the house, I’m happy to expose my misery.

What do you think? Any ideas that don’t involve dynamite or a moving van?

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