February 16, 2010

The Bathroom Remodel was Easy Compared with Finding a Shower Curtain

In March of 2009 we had saved up enough money to have our main floor bathroom remodeled. It was in terrible condition.  The tub was cracked and the toilet had issues.  The sink was pulling away from the wall, just to name a few of the problems.  The prior owners to our home had done a lot of the "cosmetic" renovations themselves and they should have saved their time and hired out instead.  The walls in the bathroom were uneven from where the drywall did not meet.  I'm not kidding.  Also if there was any type of oak - wicker accessory available in 1982 when they remodeled, then they bought it.  For a small bathroom all the walls were covered with shelves, mirrors and cabinetry.  It was awful.

It was a hard decision when it came to parting with the money.  We did know at the time that there was a good chance that I would be losing my job that summer so this made the decision more difficult. After a lot of thought we decided to go ahead and spend the money as it would definitely add to the value of the house.  With all the other remodeling jobs that we need to do to our house, this is the only project that we cannot do on our own.  Also the bathroom needed to be done as we were having plumbing issues with the tub and toilet and so we bit the bullet and spent the money.  The key here is this:  we had saved up.  We didn't need to borrow the money and best of all, we never went over budget.

When we had the money saved up, we hired a contractor and he got to work making it a bathroom that we were not afraid to have a guest use.  When he gutted the bathroom we found wallpaper from the World War I era.  It was beautiful.  Then we found lime green, pink and yellow wallpaper from the 60's.  Oh my.  I never took pictures of the bathroom before it was remodeled because I knew I will never, ever forget what that room looked like. 

I was determined to not have a too modern looking bathroom in an old Victorian house and I was also determined that we were going to stay on budget and not break the bank.  This meant I would be putting in a lot of sweat labor while working a 50 hour per week job. 

I spent hours taking layers of paint off of the woodwork around the door frame and the door itself.  We found a local carpenter that was able to mill woodwork to match the rest of the 125 year old woodwork in our downstairs, then I stained it.  It took me 18 hours to get the layers of paint off of the radiator.  Yes, it was hard work but the result was a nice bathroom with touches of the past. 

This bathroom is used by our youngest son and also by overnight guests. 

Yes - I still need to stain some of the door frame

The infamous radiator.

Picking out the cabinetry, the fixtures, the tile flooring and the wall color was easy in comparison to finding a shower curtain.  For the past year the only thing up in the shower is the white vinyl liner.  I had searched the internet, been to Bed, Bath and Beyond and numerous other stores to find a shower curtain.  While we were on vacation I went into stores and looked.  I then started to look into fabric stores to find what I was looking for.  Then I started to ask myself, "what am I looking for?" I knew I wasn't looking for anything "modern" or with butterflies or flowers all over it.  It had to be something that was vintage looking.

Yesterday I was at Wal-mart looking at Valentine fabric and I looked across to some new bolts of fabric that they had just received and there it was.  Yep - I had found what I was looking for.  It is perfect.

The colors on the fabric look great with the wood, the wall color, the tile floor and the sink.  I am so excited to finally, after almost 1 year, have a shower curtain for that bathroom.  Rather I should say the fabric to make a shower curtain. 

Perhaps this post isn't very frugal, but I wanted to get across that sometimes spending money can be a good investment.  Especially if that money has been diligently saved up for the project.  I would have never been comfortable with taking out a home improvement loan.  If we didn't have the money to remodel the entire bathroom, we would have had to make a decision about what we would be able to afford to fix in that bathroom.  Pulling out the cracked bathtub was going to lead to replacing some plumbing, getting the walls fixed and so on. 

Putting money into a bathroom remodel has added value to our home.  It had to be done.  Now when guests need to use our bathroom, I don't cringe.

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