Every time I do a major DIY project, I swear I’ll never do another. Every time, it’s a lie. It’s part practicality, part sickness, really. The practical part is that unless you’re extremely wealthy and can have work done endlessly upon your house by other people, a la Mrs. Winchester, often if you don’t DIY, you don’t get to have it at all. And I’m not willing to accept that; if I do a lot of things myself, I can hire out what’s beyond me, and still operate within a reasonable budget. Plus, I’m a smart person, and eager to learn, and tend to believe that if any person can learn something, I can learn it. And this is true, but I never do enough of these things to have them become automatic and done well–it’s a struggle the whole way. I’ve done exactly two tile projects, including this bathroom; while it may have FELT like 10,000 hours while I was doing it, I haven’t really put in the kind of time that allows it to go smoothly and leave me uncrippled. (My hand is still not right.) My brother (the contractor) reconfigured the plumbing in my shower in less than half an hour while teaching me and my dad how to sweat the pipes; I had to buy two faucets and do the whole soldering bit twice myself. (And I’ve still got a hole in my arm that is reluctant to heal due to my dropping hot solder on myself–literal blood and sweat went into this project; not so many tears.) I get it done, but it ain’t always pretty while in progress. I shared the pictures with a former coworker, and she commented on how I must’ve worked with a contractor to get this done. I was the contractor, in fact. The shower resurfacing and glass block I hired out. Everything else, I did myself, with a little plumbing help from my brother and a pro at the very end, and Scott grouted the tile for me, because my arm was fubar.
The sickness part is, despite my knowing all of the above, I still want my house to look the way I want it to, and I keep doing it. This time around, I wasn’t even finished with the bathroom project when I started tearing apart my office at home. (Part of that was out of necessity–my guitar humidifier leaked, ruined the carpet, and the whole room stunk to high heaven–exit old carpet, which I tore up in a fit of pique one Wednesday morning; enter new ideas for the room.) It’s next up on the docket–the paint and flooring are bought and waiting, but Scott strenuously suggested I take a break from major projects until April, and/or until my hand finally heals. It’s probably a good plan, and I’ve been keeping things light this week–just a little minor painting. But I enjoy the creative aspect of designing my environment to suit, moving from the dream to the reality through the application of hard work, tools, and a fair amount of profanity. As frustrated as I may be in the middle of any given project, I am always so proud when it’s all done and beautiful, because I made it so with my own two clumsy hands. It’s pretty gratifying.
As the bathroom project wound up, I struggled with getting the toilet reinstalled, and in the end called in a pro, not because I couldn’t do it, but because I didn’t want to. I was well past done, and had run out of swear words for this particular project. I watched him as he did it and learned a few things, even though I thought I was pretty well versed in all things toilety. Sometimes you just have to pay da man, for your own sanity. When you get to that point, it’s worth every penny.
In any case, I started the demo on this bathroom on January 26th, and put the finishing touches (the darling little knobs that I am totally in love with on the dresser, touching up the paint, and new towels and bath mat) on it today. It is officially done, and I am happy with the results, and even happier that it’s actually finished. If you would like to see the entire process, and how I worked my ass off, you can see the whole project start-to-finish here. If you just want to see the original and the reveal, (which is why I like to watch the last 10 minutes of any show on HGTV myself), read on.
And here’s the AFTER: