Accidental Remodeler


November 24, 2009 by billie789

Stu and I have talked before about our passion and outlet in home remodeling projects. I take on a project about once a year, depending on how much the old whatever is bothering me, available budgets, materials, techniques, etc.

This one sneaked up on me while I was naked, wet and defenseless. No, it wasn’t a drunken swimming party at the Holiday Inn. I was in the shower. I noticed a 30-year old tile that looked odd while rinsing shampoo off my head. I reached down and gave it a thump with my hand, and…it’s like potato chips, once you start…

Yeah, I got dry and dressed first! Then, realizing I’m on a beer budget, threw caution to the wind and got out my Home Depot card and began a two-week sojourn that began with a loose shower tile. Janet reminded me that I was supposed to be looking for gainful employment and a remodeling job was at the bottom of her list. Wasn’t her shower that imploded, so, of course, I just kept right on going. 

Travertine stone tile is my weapon of choice on a number of projects. Soft, easy to shape and cut, durable, random and beautiful. These are 18″ tiles, the largest I’ve ever used. The drain was something else entirely. The old, ugly round drain looked horrible and I wasn’t going to lay new tile in the floor and keep it, so, naturally, I did the hardest thing I could think of, cutting out the old square brass drain pipe collar and installing a square drain cover. My god, I can still smell the carbide cutting wheel and brass.




Ok, enough with the grizzly details…the pre-grouting  results:

And the re-paint and decor points.

Family heirloom I kept from my Mom’s stuff. Janet doesn’t like it, but when I told her it was made in Italy and is a numbered piece, she warmed up to it a bit. I discovered these details when I took it down to clean it and reinstall after painting. Now, she wants to know what it would bring on Antiques Roadshow. Probably $50. The value for me is that it gives that Gladiator Bathhouse feel…naked, sweaty men wrestling and laughing, passing the olive oil urn, challenging each other to sword fights…

Used a cheap shower curtain  for now, but this thing is begging for a new shower door set-up. Got it picked out at Home Depot (brushed satin nickle) , but had to promise to “get by” until steady paycheck starts again. New flushmount lights, shower head (check out the extension…I don’t have to bend over and duck under the shower head for the first time in my adult life!) Don’t mind that little white patch, there were a lot of tiny-touch ups.

I had remodelded the outer area/countertop a couple of years ago and used Travertine for the counter and a ridicously expensive ($1,800!?!?!?) sink-bowl on a trade for printing work for an art house glass studio in Seattle I didn’t want the damn thing, but my former boss heard I was remodeling back then and offered it as a bonus.



All done! I use it now and I must say, after all is said and done, the next time you’re in the shower and notice something that doesn’t look quite right, Do Not Touch It, turn off the water, grab a towel and run like Hell!


10 thoughts on “Accidental Remodeler

  1. Stu says:

    Very nice! I now wish I would have taken some photos of my bathroom before I started. Maybe when I am finished I’ll throw up some “after” shots. I see we’re both into earthtones…my tile is very similar.

    But I hear you about not touching something. It all started as simply recessing a medicine cabinet for me. Bad idea!

  2. Bill says:

    Yeah, here’s the tar baby: You replace the tile and then your fixtures look old and beat up, so you replace those. Then, you have to paint. I ended up on my hands and knees scrubbing and re-sealing existing grout because it looked dingy next to the new surfaces, and on and on and on.

    You ever get those painful, little splits in the skin on your fingertips near the nail from working with tile, water, mortar, grout? I’ve used nearly an entire bottle of Liquid Skin patching up my fingertips every night just so I can use my hands. Sucks! And hurts like Hell.

    • torqdog says:

      I know what you mean! Those little cuts are a bitch if you don’t get to them before the infection sets in. When I had my Picture Framing business, paper cuts were the norm. I learned early on that if you stop what you’re doing (VERY difficult for moi) and dress the wound, small as it may seem, the “pain and sorrow” that is sure to come, will not.

      Sometimes, I looked pretty wierd with bandages on each finger and many on my hands as well.

  3. Stu says:

    Your sink reminded me…my nephew (by marriage) works for the Sonoran Glass Art Academy in Arizona. He’s on the left in the photo on their main home page

    He actually studied under Dale Chihuly when he lived in Seattle. We’ve got a few of his pieces around the house (my nephew’s, not Chihuly’s).

    • Bill says:

      “We” bought a Chihuly and hung it in Symphony Hall downtown about 10 years ago, I believe. “We” meaning Salt Lake City/County. Beautiful! Looks like a bitch to clean.

  4. torqdog says:

    Thanks Dude! Now Viv has already figured that if you did it….. so can we!

    I’m so not ready for this! :-(

    BTW; VERY nice Bro. Stunning looks and yes, excellent workmanship! I’m slightly envious only in the fact that you have the time to do that stuff…….. but then again!

  5. Da Goddess says:

    Nice job there, Bill!


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