Friday, October 05, 2012

What Happens in the Bathroom

I actually made it into the office a couple of days ago.  I had been confined to the home front for about 2 and 1/2 weeks running while I waited for various gangs of construction folks to do their thing.  All that time I have been monitoring the bathroom phase of the remodel.  On a day to day basis there was the total demolition of the master bath, the moving of drains (involving a jackhammer), the ungodly stink from the installation of the fiberglass shower pan, the partial demolition of the powder room, the addition of frames for pocket doors in both bathrooms (no doors just yet, only holes in the wall), the installation of sheet rock and copious amounts of plastic sheeting draped around during the spraying of texture on the walls, and massive amounts of dust filling the air.  My job was herding cats and dogs in the background and dosing myself with the odd amaretto and milk to keep my nerves settled.

Last week began the new tile work in the master bath.  I've enjoyed working with the boss of the tile crew.  He really knows his business.  Unfortunately, the day the setting of the tile began, he was leaving that afternoon for an extended trip out of the country, but we discussed the design before he left and I was confident that his crew knew what I wanted.  I wasn't able to check on the progress as they worked, because of the tiny space and poor lighting, but they had done such a spectacular job in the kitchen that I stayed out of their way and felt sure all would be well.

So, when they told me last Friday evening that the shower was completed and they would be back to grout on Monday, I bounced into the bathroom eager to see the reality of my mind's eye.  It took about 15 seconds for me to realize that we had a problem.

I had decided to add a stripe of art tiles in the shower.  Thanks to that little 4-inch blip in the line of the tiles, when they added the borders, they ended up staggering the grout lines at different points from the interior tile.  While I could understand why they did what they did, I also knew that my obsessive compulsion for order was not going to be able to live with the result.  I like clean, straight, geometric lines.  I knew that if I allowed this to stand, I was going to be angry every time I stepped into the shower.  

I hate confrontation, but I pointed out what I wasn't liking to the crew before they left that night.  They didn't really get the problem.  I gave up, sent them on their way, and called my builder.  I figured if he didn't understand the issue, then maybe I was being too persnickety.  Fortunately, he saw it the same way I did, got in touch with the boss in South America (aren't cell phones great?) and on Monday the crew arrived with extra tile and set about to make the client happy.

At the end of the day, I had straight lines, my stomach settled down, and I could really step back and enjoy the progress on my future shower.

I love the tile I chose.  We used the larger version to tile the floor of the bathroom and the dressing area just outside. 

I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how much I love the choices I made in such a whirlwind of a morning studying the options.  Everyone who comes in admires the backsplash in the kitchen and the few folks who have ventured upstairs and seen the new tile in the guest bath have been very complimentary.  I've had no regrets, but rather I stand around admiring the effect.

When I was in the office Wednesday, I got a startled look from someone when I mentioned that my builder had used the "F" word.  I laughed and said I had been tempted to use a particular "F" word myself at frequent intervals during this process, but that I preferred his "F" word:  FINISH.

It looks like we are really approaching the end of this remodeling tunnel.  The pocket doors and trim are to be addressed on Sunday, the painters are coming back on Monday or Tuesday, then it will be a parade of  plumbers to install the new bathroom fixtures, counter folks to install the vanity tops in both bathrooms and electricians to install the pile of fixtures I've acquired since they were last here.  (And I got a call this week that my new blinds are in and ready to be installed as soon as the painters get the remaining windows painted.)  All that will remain is the fine work of installing mirrors, towel rods, and door knobs/hinges.  (I am on a mission to de-brass this house, switching to the oil-rubbed bronze look.)

I may survive this remodel after all.  Of course, in the back of my mind is the fact that I will need to do something soon about the hideous carpet.  Being a homeowner is a never-ending series of upgrades.  There's always something else that needs to be done.  But, I'm close to having an entirely new environment and I can't wait to get there - maybe by Christmas.  This has to be the biggest Christmas gift I've ever given myself.


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