I live in a 1922 brick house, solid, pier and beam, charming, and a bit worn around the edges. Recently, spurred on by family, I decided it was time to redo the bathroom—there are cracked tiles, the floor is those tiny hexagon tiles but some are chipped and there’s a crack across one portion. The built-in drawers on either side of a mirror speak of the house’s age and I would not for a minute get rid of them—but they are balky and difficult to close.
So today, Lewis and Jim Bundock, who have kept my house in good shape for twenty years or more, came to talk about renovation. We all had the same thing in mind, but they talked at length about bringing the house up to code—if we remodel, the plumbing pipes, old copper, have to all be replaced with PCV or whatever—major expense. Replicating that floor of hexagonal tiles would be labor intensive and therefore expensive—I’m not married to that floor. We would replace the old iron tub, its bottom now badly scarred, with a large shower with a bench, grab bars everywhere and two hand-held shower heads. The wooden drawers would be refurbished and possibly rebuilt. The medicine chest will be retained because it matches the drawers. The top of those drawer sections will have silestone or some similar material.
It won’t be cheap, but working on an older house never is, and I’m not a believer in cutting corners to save money.
But the biggest revelation to me was that Lewis, the Bundock I’m most used to dealing with, kept repeating, “We aren’t doing this for resale value. We’re doing it to make this the safest possible bathroom for you while you live in this house.” He labeled my bathroom now unsafe, principally because I have to step over the edge of the tub to get into the shower—even though they have installed grab bars.
I don’t think I’ve come to grips with the eight weeks it will be under construction, and I will be confined to the half bath off my office. Nor the displacement of my cosmetics, etc. Nor the dust and dirt that will result. But I’m excited about the outcome.
This was also Christian’s birthday, so we had a celebratory dinner of veal scallopini (a recipe I’d never tried but really liked), Christian’s green beans (with bacon grease, shh!, bacon bits, scallions, and vinegar) and salad with a new cilantro/lime ranch dressing I found in the market. Plus a chocolate cheesecake which I intended to politely decline and ended up eating a fair-sized piece. So fun, so good. Happy Birthday, Christian! Forty-three is not old.