Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Say goodbye to the circus - a bungalow bathroom renovation

Big project. After contemplating it for several years, we finally found - or were given - the time to rehab our bathroom. It is a limited rehab in that we did not change out the floor tile and we kept the plumbing fixtures but we did change out all of the lighting, wallpaper, accessories and decor. 




To say that things were rough to begin with is an understatement. The bathroom was a sort of mish mosh of thigns that had been added over the years. The over-sized and low-hanging light fixture, the big cabinet over the toilet, and the weird wallpaper choice all made the room a bit full and made me feel claustrophobic. 


The layers of paint and chipping and delaminating plaster were particularly bad in this room and there was some bad cracking and mold on the ceiling that just couldn't be fixxed given the surface texture and years of poor upkeep. 


The fist big part of the project was to remove all of the wallpaper. We were very fortunate that this part was relatively easy. We perforated the surface and sprayed it with warm water and it pealed off without too much work. After getting the paper down, I washed down the walls several times to remove all of the glue. 





There was a significant amount of patching to do in this room before we could paint. The main walls had odd score marks. It looked like the PO's contractor cut the wallpaper in place, scoring all of the original plaster. The lower part of the walls are all original faux tile - a plaster scored to look like tile. 



Thee were some areas where the original finish of the faux tile was visible and it was an incredible finish - as fine as Venetian plaster. Unfrotunately it had been covered with several years of paint to the bestw e could do is to patch areas that had fallen off and then apply another layer of paint. 
 

For the fixtures and accessories and all of the new hardware, we chose a polished nickel finish. This way all of the new stuff matches and it has a classic look. Nothing in the room was original so we figured we could take some liberties with this and get what we like. Unfortunately, with COVID happening, getting orders in has been a bit difficult but we have everything now except a couple towel bars. 


The new ceiling fixture is nice and high but still has some character so the room feels much lighter and larger.  


The colors that we chose for the room are much cooler than what we have around the rest of the house. My wife and daughter chose them all. We used all Sherwin Williams paints and the lower color and trim is "Greek Villa", the ceiling is "Crisp Blue" and the walls are "Debonair". I'd like to say that I miss the circus that was our previous decor but I don't. This is such a welcomed change. 





We are particularly happy with our choice of fixtures over the refurbished medicine cabinet. It is the Davis Double sconce with the faceted turtle shade. It provides a good amount of light and is also very decorative - and doesn't hang down over the cabinet the way our old one did.  


For being almost 100 years old, we are happy with our medicine cabinet. We had to change out the hardware though. A Home Depot white pull and plastic magnet latch just didn't do it justice. New polished nickel hinges and thumb latch fit the look of the historic bathroom and coordinate well with the rest of the room.  


 As we add more details, I'll update with another post but the bathroom is being used again and we are happy with how it came out. 



Another Summer...

 Not your "typical summer" but in a blink of an eye, it is almost gone. It was a productive one at the Tiny Bungalow. I am happy with the work I did outdoors, particularly the planter boxes out front. We spent a lot more time at home this year than in any past and it sot of shows. 



I am already starting to brainstorm about how to use these for fall decoration - and Christmas really is right around the corner. 




Thursday, May 21, 2020

Planters for the Front

I've always liked the look of houses in the neighborhood that had planters along the front. I didn't think I would ever put them in because I didn't feel that strongly to spend the money on the materials and time but last year, I was given a bunch of cedar from a nearby deck demolition and the idea came to me to use it for this project. 
I designed the planters around existing 36" planter containers I found on clearance at a garden store. The idea was to create a box that I could just drop these planters into, making them easy to care for and change out when needed.  
I don't have the highest degree of carpentry skills but I certainly have enough for some simple boxes that could hold the planters. It took less than a couple hours to cut down the wood and assemble all of the boxes.

Once assembled, I painted them the same color as the exterior trim. I was initially going to leave them exposed but decided they looked a little too rustic that way and the painting was in order. Between the finished cedar and stainless steel anchors used to hold thigns together, I think these should hold up for a long time.
I mounted the wooden boxes with three 6" strap anchors each, screwed to the back of the box and then mounted with a cabinet screw to the face of the porch. 
The porch is broken into 6 sections across the front, with 5 of those sections having windows and one has an opening at the stair. I centered each box on each paired section.
I chose a simple array of trailing and upright plants for the boxes so that purple sweet potato and vinca plants will trail down the front of the boxes. In the center are blue "cathedral" salvia plants that will be bushier and taller. I've used all of these plants in the past in containers in the garden so I know that they will do well in the sun up front as long as I keep them watered.
I am happy with the overall look and the planting and mounting took about a half hour to complete. All in all, with time for paint to dry, It took two days but relatively little time for the project. 
I am looking forward to seeing how they fill in over time. I've spent quite a bit of time in the front garden this year, since the painting and work is just about complete out front. It has taken a beating during the siding repair and painting so it hasn't looked "right" in a couple years. It is nice to have at least a small part of the place looking "finished".


Thursday, March 12, 2020

My work in preservation in the OP

I am sure that you can tell by this blog that I can get pretty passionate about preservation issues. Earlier this week, I was invited to be on a podcast that raises discussion about issues in the Oak Park community, hosted by Village Trustee, Dan Maroney.

I am always apprehensive of such things but I think Dan does a decent job at trying to raise issues and he's a good listener so I agreed. The podcast went public yesterday and hits on a lot of topics from this blog to my the city of Buffalo and why I find it inspiring to hot button issues facing Oak park homeowners and our community that relate to Historic Preservation.

If you have any interest in any of this, I hope you will take a listen:

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO PODCAST