Saturday, March 7, 2015

Here's Hoping...

...that in the next few weeks, we'll get started on one of the two of the major projects facing us with our house -- replacing the tub surround in the hallway bathroom. Like many houses from the mid-20th century, this one has a window above the bathtub, and in the almost 60 years since the house was built, the wood frame and sill have sustained extensive water damage. Even worse, the is water damage behind the tub wall.

Best we can tell, ceramic tile was applied directly to the plaster walls in the tub area, and leaks behind the wall have led to some rotted furring strips on the outside wall. Fortunately, the studs on the inner walls don't seem to be damaged, but we won't know for sure until we remove the tile.

It seems unlikely that we can find the milled woodwork in the same pattern to replace the window facing, but very similar patterns are available at surprisingly reasonable cost at the big box home improvement stores. (I always thought millwork was very expensive; glad I did some price shopping!) Furring strips are quite cheap, and we won't need many. We will tear out the ceramic tile and the walls behind it, and replace them with backer board and a five-piece tub surround (three major pieces plus corners). These are available in various plastics for various prices (from fifty bucks to over a thousand). And apparently, a cut-out for the window is easy to do. (Just measure twice before cutting!)

The finish is gone on the tub, and we'll do a DIY refinish job with a Rustoleum or similar kit. Apparently, these DIY kits available today are a vast improvement over those from just a few years ago. Success depends greatly on how well the surface is prepared -- i.e., cleaned and sanded. Really, really sanded. We will see how will my little palm sander works for this job.

Once the tub wall and surround, window facings and tub surface are complete, we will install a sliding glass shower door salvaged from my late parents' retirement cottage. Aluminum framed with frosted glass, it is very much in keeping with the age and style of our house.

The last major bathroom change will be the vanity. The faux marble sink and homebuilt cabinet supporting it will be replaced. With what is uncertain right now. We didn't use the cabinet, so I'm considering an ordinary wall-hung white lavatory of vitreous china, possibly a pedestal model, if one can be found compatible with the style of the house, and for a reasonable cost. That should give the bathroom a larger and more open feel. The three-door medicine chest (husband's purchase; I hate it) will be replaced with one that mimics a mid-century model. (1950s "Satin Glide" model on the left, current model on the right; several manufacturers make similar items.)

Replacing the sheet vinyl floor with vinyl tiles will be a relatively easy job. I want a beige-green marble look. It will have to be carefully sealed to prevent water seeping into the seams.

The tacky floral striped wallpaper will come down off the walls, any holes or cracks will be spackled, and the walls painted cafe au lait.

Futura-syle linen hardware (two towel bars and a towel ring along with a toilet paper holder) will fit right in with the simplicity of the decor. And the piece de resistance, if I can find it, will be two original 1960s paint by numbers paintings (or prints made from them): the flamingos and snowy egrets set. Talk about Old Florida meets Mid-Century modern!

Love how this lady used a repurposed metal mesh telephone table for towel storage, though I think rolls of tissue might fit better.  Pink bathroom at Retro Renovation  Also like the little tray on the toilet lid holding soaps. So naturally I'm on the lookout for some vintage metal mesh accessories for the bath. Like so many other things from back then, they are small -- perfect for small rooms. (I also love the gold atomic stars she stenciled on the wall, and I'm keeping that idea in the back of my mind...for something. Who knows what!)

There's a lot of work to be done, but nothing particularly difficult, even for an ol' broad with bad knees...

And after that! On to the kitchen! I have finally come up with a color plan for the kitchen that is MCM out the ying-yang -- avocado and orange! It was inspired by photos posted on one of my MCM groups by members showcasing their authentic 1950s houses (one designed by a student of FLW). But I remember visiting in homes back in the 50s and 60s with orange Formica countertops and walls of olive or avocado...

Can't wait!

That's it for now. Will post occasional reports as the work progresses.

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