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Hi, I'm Elizabeth and I invite you to grab a glass of sweet tea and join me as I (along with my husband, John) renovate our love nest. We're both born and raised in the south and love to share with you some of our favorite recipes, stories and our life. We hope you'll come back often!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kitchen Diva Mom and Ranger Dad's Bathroom Remodel Part 1

My parents have lived in their house for 23 years. They bought it 3 weeks before my baby sister, Annie, was due. As the years have passed, they've managed to transform each room execpt for one. Their bathroom. This room is the bane of the house. It's small, hospital green, and has had more leakage in the shower pan over the years than a pregnant ladies' bladder. That's a lot of leakage people.

The shower stall was 3ft by 3ft. A closet. Typical 50's construction. Nothing of today's huge, monster spa bathrooms. While mom was pregnant with Annie, she could stand in the shower and her backside would touch one side of the shower, and her belly the other. That's tiiiiiight peeps! Heaven forbid you drop the soap.
Mom and Dad are getting towards the thoughts of retirement. Ah, the golden years. But, for them to cash in on the workforce, they first have to get this house prepared to sell. Their plans are to build a new house on some property they have on the NC coast. Since Dad has had a few extra months on his hands here recently (due to the economy downturn), they decided to go ahead and begin renovating this last space.

I knew they were starting on demo last week, but unfortunately I had to be at work. Dang how work gets in the way of so many other things. So I came over and got some pics after Dad's first day ripping things out. I just knew the whole bathroom would be torn out by the time I got there... Wrong-o. I'll give details on why later.
Just so you can get a good idea of the layout, here are a few pictures:
The room itself:

The shower:

Ceiling of the shower:

(sorry for the horrible pic, I only had my cell with me)

Look at all that head room up there!
Ok, so now on why it took so long for the demo. Behind all the lovely tile, was 4 inches of cement. 4 inches people. This place was a bombshell. We could have survived a nuclear blast in this thing! After working all day on demo, this was all dad was able to tear out. The shower walls. That's it. It took so much more strength and sheer pounding with a sledge hammer than anyone thought. If he had any frustrations, they are gone now. Just to put this into perspective for you. For every 10 swings of the sledgehammer = only a few cracks in the tile. It took brut force. Luckily, Army Dad has it. It took a while, but he was able to get the bathroom demo'd by the end of the week.

Of course with any demo project on an older home you run into some unexpected details. Like the fact that there was NO insulation behind the wire mesh. None. Zippo. Makes perfect sense why their bathroom has been frigid in the winter for all these years.
After ripping out the floor of the shower, we discovered some rotten wood that would need replacing as well. This is no huge surprise with how many problems they've been having with their leaking. After further investigation, it was discovered that the builders of the house didn't put down the necessary foundation for the shower pan. After years of use, the foundation had settled and created divots running through the space. It looked like a tiny little grand canyon right under our feet. No wonder all the tile was cracking around it. The shower pan had nothing to keep it from moving around.

What burns me up is this: over the past 10 years, that particular shower has been *fixed* 3 times. By "professionals". 3 times it's been torn out, replaced and *fixed*. Apparently the workers didn't want to take the extra step to find out what was causing the problem in the first place. They'd rather take the easy route, tear out the ugly part and replace it. Sure it makes it look pretty for a few months, but then the tile started breaking.. again. Might I mention that this was while I was in high school and not only did I have to share my bathroom with my sister, but now, with Mom and Dad too!?! Oh lord. There may have been a few instances of toothpaste fights. Maybe.

Well, never again.

After Dad's hard work last week, here's the bathroom after the demo:

That's right. Out the window people. In true Dad fashion.
Stay tuned for more as this project continues...

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