Mission Accomplished. Sort of.

28 Jun

You know, in a George W. sort of way. Today was the day. We were going to finish the main bathroom or throw in the towel–forgive the pun. And finish it we did. Sort of. After a spat with my better half yesterday about my ‘expectations’ (sheesh!), he ended today by saying ‘when you’re right, you’re right.’ Were sweeter words ever spoken?

In truth, we were both right. After the let-down of yesterday, driving around looking for sinks, getting lost and then thwarted by the Rock and Roll marathon, Brett gently (and then not so gently) reminded me that not everything has to happen at once, that projects need to be bite-sized in order not to be overwhelming, that life has to have its place also.

Around here, I am known as the patient one. The one who lets things play out, lets them evolve, lets them simmer into deeper flavors. Except any kind of renovation, apparently.  I want it finished and I want it finished now. Something about this process turns me into a fist-pounding two year old who just heard the ice cream truck jingle. I had visions of painted walls, new sinks and faucets purchased and installed, and even in my wildest fantasies, a new floor. It was my baby step, remember? It’s one of the smallest rooms in the house! It shouldn’t take long. Knock this baby out in a weekend, right?

Wrong. I was delusional. Friends tried to tell me this. People tried to warn me. This will be a long and painful process, they said. No worries, I said. I can handle this. I’ve re-done houses before. That sentence needs to be corrected with ‘I’ve PAID people to re-do my houses before.’ I have never really dived into the labor like this. And let me tell you, from this vantage point, I am also realizing that I have never paid them enough.

So when I say mission accomplished, I mean two things: One, that we got the bathroom to a place that I feel good about, a place that I want to take a hot bath in (coming shortly).  And two, that I learned that this is a slow and meticulous process.  That projects should be bite-sized, not room-sized.  That my expectations should be based on reality, not on my excitement after finishing the last issue of Dwell. Based on those criteria, we succeeded indeed.

We started here:

Yesterday we werehere:

And today we ended up here:

I did finished removing all of the wallpaper and giving the walls the TSP rubdown (detailed here), which removed most but not all of the forty-some-odd-year-old wallpaper glue. I patched walls and sanded. I painted the cabinets a shade of gray that I think I am in love with, Benjamin Moore’s Deep Space, though it and the wall color Benjamin Moore San Antonio Gray appeared more blue in the bathroom than I expected. I even think we may get away without painting the tile countertops, as the neutral color seems to work with the grays. We even finished all the painting in time to head to the Roanoke for lunch Sunday while Hailey and Hannah went shopping with their grandparents.

I bought very cool mod cabinet knobs (10-pack $19.99 at Tar-jay) and swanky chrome light-switch plate covers ($2.49 at True Value). Add to the cart new Thomas O’Brien towels and wall hooks and floor rugs (around $100 total) and we have a new bathroom…or a reasonable facsimile thereof. We still need to put in new sinks and faucets and floors and floor trim and light fixtures, but those are projects in their own right and will happen in due time. Or so I am promised.

I feel that we are achieving the mid-century vibe without kitsch and with a head-nod to contemporary modernity. I am happy with the result. Ironically, the shower curtain that inspired the whole project no longer feels right in the room. The grays are too warm and the poppy too green. The curtain is no longer deserving of our masterpiece and I think something more steely and a cooler gray would be a better suited. A hunt for another time though. Patience.

For now, it feels finished. Or more finished. I am celebrating small victories. It was all worth it when Hailey came out of the new bathroom and said, ‘It’s even more fun to pee in there now!’


7 Responses to “Mission Accomplished. Sort of.”

  1. Trish July 2, 2011 at 10:33 pm #


  2. Kate June 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Congratulations, B&B, it looks great! From the little photo, I think the shower curtain looks fine. In fact, I was going to say “Oh, I like the shower curtain,” before I finished reading the end of your post. The towels seem to match the darker grey perfectly. I think the whole thing looks beautiful!

  3. Kristen Elliott June 28, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    BEAUTIFUL!!! So fun to watch the house…and you…evolve. Thank you for doing this.

    • Brandy June 28, 2011 at 8:23 am #

      Thank you! I was thinking of you this weekend and remembering you saying I should never really be allowed to paint after dropping blue paint on your carpet. You were SO right. I am not a good painter and this is all an exercise in slowing down. I had better become a good painter and fast!


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