Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Diagram

So last week I told you about this crazy idea I have to tear up my house.  It's somewhat difficult to explain without pictures, a sentiment my friend Walt echoed when I was telling him about it and halfway through he said, "Wait, I think I need a diagram." 

So I made one.

May I direct your attention to the right side of the floorplan, where I've colored on it with a Sharpie and two highlighters?  (This is probably easier to see if you bigify the photo, by the way.) 

When the house was built, the area that's marked as back porch/laundry was an open porch.  That green line there marks the original exterior wall of the house, a wall that's now covered with painted paneling and storage closets.  At some point (I don't know when) the back porch was closed in and the back door was located directly across from the kitchen door.  The second bathroom (the long, narrow one) either didn't exist at all then or was only a half-bath.  But then along came Charline—who, not so incidentally, is the same person who put the shingles over the original clapboard siding on the exterior of the house—and decided to put in a shower, which she had tacked on to the end of the long, narrow bathroom.  The shower is that area outlined in red, and although it's not quite to scale, you get the idea.  That necessitated moving the back door 3½ feet over so that it no longer lined up with the back walkway. 

Pause for explanation:  How do I know it's Charline who did it?  Circumstantial evidence.  The walls around the shower stall aren't really walls at all, just studs with cedar shingles nailed to them.  And as I've previously mentioned, the patch over the old back door opening was poorly done, which leads me to believe that it was never intended to show and was covered up with shingles in short order.  Charline did a lot of bad stuff to this house in the four or five years she lived here...

Anyway...the idea is that Mare and I will take out that shower stall (which is 31 inches square, by the way, with grab bars all around it so the "usable" space is really only about 27 inches square—now you understand why I don't like it), take out the structure around it, and take out the doorway next to the shower.  All this is marked in red.  That will give me some more room on the back porch and make it safer to access the trap-door to the basement.  We'll also move the back door over to its original location.  And see that little orange line along the green line that marks the original exterior wall?  That little orange line marks the location of a window in the master bathroom, which I think is kinda weird.  So, we'll move that window over to where the back door is now.  Then I can finish tearing the shingles off the back of the house, paint, and the outside of the house will be done.  For now, anyway.  We'll also put a door in the opening that's cut into the original wall in the long bathroom, since there isn't one there now.  (It was almost certainly originally a side door out to the porch.)  The rest of the bathroom will remain as a half bath.

But wait, there's more!  That was actually the easy part.  There's still the little matter of the other bathroom to deal with.  Right now it looks like this:
Not too long ago, I painted the walls in here and put in the least expensive peel-and-stick flooring I could find.  It was a temporary fix.  The floor in here between the toilet and the tub has some water damage and needs to be replaced.  The plastic tile on the walls is yucky.  The tub was never properly caulked and the finish on the inside of it is almost non-existent.  The toilet leaks a little bit and the bowl is stained.  And the vanity in here...eww.  The 1970s were not a good decade for interior design.  So....the bathtub will be replaced with a clawfoot tub (probably one that Mare already has) with a shower attachment, the floor will be repaired and then covered with hex tiles, the plastic tile will be replaced with beadboard, and we'll put in a new toilet and pedestal sink. 

But before I do anything else, I will heed the good advice of Cheryl, who cautioned me to "spend the time to chart out what has to be done before something else can be done and what doesn't depend on anything else".  As she pointed out, it will seem to take forever to chart it all out, but it will save me loads of time and trouble in the long run.  I have a bad habit of starting something and then having an "oh, crap!" moment; for instance, standing on the ladder with an 11-foot-long roll of wet wallpaper in my hand and realizing I don't have my utility knife, towel, or wallpaper squeegie with me.  Or the moment last spring when I told Mare after we set the porch posts that I decided not to screen in the whole porch after all.  That's minor in comparison to the big trouble I could get into on this thing without prior planning.  I see a lot of lists in my future.


  1. That drawing helps a lot, although I'm still a little confused.

    But in looking at it, I wonder if you need that second bathroom (the long narrow one)? I'd be tempted to tear it out and get some major closet space and less maintenance.

  2. Nice drawing. That Charline must have been a character. Is she the one who hung drapes across one whole wall? You have a lot of work ahead of you.

  3. THANK YOU! I was having such a hard time picturing this before. This makes so much sense, but now I REALLY understand what a huge project this will be. WOW!

    I love the word bigify. Jane from Beach house uses "embiggen" which also cracks me up. And yeah, sometimes I can be entertained that easily.

  4. I'm loving your plans. And as a long-time project manager by trade, heavens yes chart all of that out before you start. You'll find everything is connected to everything. lol

  5. Yeah, thanks for the diagram. I'm glad I'm not the only one who needed it.

    I've always been confused by bead board around a tub with a shower. Do you just depend on a good shower curtain? Or do you mostly take baths? I'm not a bath person (in 5 years I've only taken one bath in our claw foot tub). I would just be worried about moisture on the bead board, that's all. Otherwise, it's a great look.

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  7. Maybe that little window in the main bathroom was for ventilation and light. It probably got more of both when the porch was open. Maybe the open porch was even a later addon.

  8. Karen Anne, You and my mom think alike! She said as long as I'm tearing things up, she'd take out that whole bathroom and make it a closet. :)

    Milah, Yes, that was Charline too! I teased Sarah when she & Dylan were getting married, because their colors were turquoise & white, that I was gonna make my mom-of-the-groom dress out of those bedroom curtains!

    Why S, Mare mentioned that too, and when I said, "Well, they do make vinyl beadboard," I thought he might have a stroke. lol