The Bathroom Project of Dooooooom (Day 1)

Having only one bathroom for six people is a sanctifying experience. Especially when said bathroom begins to fall into disrepair, and the occupants have no idea where to start, and are scared to begin, because of the fact that there is only one bathroom, and they don’t know where to start.

Just an observation.

That said, we are growing. We are changing. We are letting go of fear, and learning to dig in and do things we didn’t think we could. We are learning to ask for help, watch YouTube videos, and get started. And we have lots of friends who are willing to work for food. It’s terrifying and awesome, but we ripped out our bathroom yesterday. Levi has a co-worker who jumped at the chance to come to our house and teach us how to do stuff and things. Her name is Dorenna (Doh-ree-nah), and she is full of awesome. Since Levi worked yesterday, it was just her and me, and we went at it with a will. I learned so much. I started out the day full of fear, but earned a lot of confidence by the time she left.

She’s amazing, and I am beyond grateful for her help and guidance in this. That said, here’s what we started with:

Mouse over images to see captions, and click on them to see the larger version. Pardon the quality – all I have currently is my phone. (Trying out the gallery feature on WordPress.)

At the end of Day 1, this is what we had:

Thankfully, that subfloor damage is not extensive. It’s all concentrated in that one corner. So, that’s our next task. We’ll be replacing that section, after adding extra support between the joists underneath. Thankfully, they’re spaced close enough together to make it a pretty simple fix, all things considered. (I sound like I know what I’m talking about, but this is all what Dorenna and Levi are telling me. I just do the grunt work after they tell me what to do.)

Also, speaking of toilets, because we totally were… I thought we had to replace our toilet. Turns out, the tank gasket/bolt/things just needed to be replaced. So yesterday, Dorenna taught me how to do that, with the help of our neighbor, Mike. We ran into a bolt that was just far too rusty, and we didn’t have the tool we needed to make it let go. Mike did. Super cool of him to come help. (Where was Levi? His schedule and Dorenna’s don’t always match up, so he was at work, while Dorenna and I tackled the demolition. No good reason for me to expect Levi to do it all when my hands are capable, too.)

Highlights for me:

  • I learned that it’s not too hard to fix most things, if you are just willing to learn.
  • Getting the bathtub out of my house. Her name was Bertha, and she had it in for us, but we won!
  • I took out the tub drain. It was really hard, but I did it. Grunting helped.
  • I am scared of power saws.

I am tired, sore, and happy with the work we did. I can’t believe what I was able to do with my hands yesterday (Saturday the 10th, by the way). This experience is going to be interesting, and probably even more sanctifying than we think it will, but I finally feel excited and ready instead of nervous and fearful. In the meantime, we will re-seat the toilet every night (thanks to a handy-dandy reusable ring, rather than the traditional wax). We are washing hair in the kitchen sink, and using a plastic wash basin to clean up as needed, and we have a friend or two willing to let us come over and take a shower if it takes longer than anticipated to get the tub in. We will see.

Yes. We will see.

Once this project is done, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do anything.

What has been your biggest household project? What did you learn from it? Any tips?

Grace & Peace,


4 thoughts on “The Bathroom Project of Dooooooom (Day 1)

  1. I had to laugh at the question at the end.
    Twice, our hugest project was fixing a totally broken house. The first one needed all three bathrooms completely redone, but we were poor so we were really into make-do, as in contact paper for the tub surround, at first, to be gradually upgraded as we went. And wallpaper on sale is FAR cheaper than paint, so I learned how to do that, too. Pulled all the toideys and redid all the floors and on and on.
    In the second one, the walls were impossible colors, but we had a bit more money. Redid the purple with FIVE coats of Kilz, and then a nice tan paint. 🙂 Almost every room had to be redone in the walls and the carpet was horrendous. Really some creeps moved out of it and the realtor was in on it. She wanted the sale and everyone knew we needed the house. So. bacically, I can tell you almost anything you want to know, and lots you don’t want to know. So ask. Anytime! You’re welcome! Ha!
    I will say I steam-cleaned carpets every night until I was so tired I could not remember how to turn off the machine. Usually that was 2 a.m. And one time, my teen daughter nearly fainted from exhaustion and we just stopped everything and did something I NEVER do: had a Coke. Ha!

    • Goodness! This is quite literally our first major project. It’s overwhelming, but we are getting it done. Not perfectly, but we’re ok with that. 🙂

  2. It’s going to be great! Look at you just diving in there and getting at it.
    My husband became a contractor after all of the house moves (literally moved two houses), renovations, reconstructions and remodels. The last bath remodel was to put in an accessible shower for our daughter and we hired that out with a grant we were given.
    What did I learn?
    I can cook for the hungry people who do all the work and be okay that my construction skills end there.
    When it comes to choosing materials don’t be afraid to spend somewhere in the middle. If you go too cheap it won’t last. If you go to expensive you won’t even notice the difference from the middle to the top.
    If you have the chance to use Annie Sloan chalk paint for cabinets or even walls, DO IT. It seems expensive but is much more efficient and a little goes a long way. It’s incredibly durable and the colors are spectacular.


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