this doesn’t happen with contractors much, or so i hear, but yesterday the twins not only showed up and on time, but they brought two other guys with them to help make the job go more quickly: gilbert, a portuguese man who admires my ceilings, and christiano, also portuguese, but the strong, silent type.
until monday night, i had never had four people in my bathroom. and i definitely never thought there’d be four men with tools in there just 48 hours later. how they managed to simultaneously caulk the bathtub, install a sink, and hang things is beyond me — but i guess that’s why they’re the pros, not me!
aaron, one half of the twins, showed up at the door just before 10am and i walked him through the job while the rest of the guys relaxed on the porch with their coffees. the first thing i pointed out was the baseboards, which had been notched to accommodate the vanity now occupying the real estate along the side of our house.
i’d been to home depot and lowe’s, but hadn’t been able to find anything resembling our 1940s mouldings. given my neuroses for continuity and authenticity, i’m lucky to have these mouldings intact (nothing a little polyfil can’t fix!) and throughout the house. so even though i couldn’t find anything close to what i was looking for, i knew i’d rather live with a notched baseboard than replace them with something generic from a big box store. my mom also had the idea to look out for renovations in the neighbourhood — next week’s warmer weather should pretty much kick things off. i know our next door neighbours have the same baseboards as us and it’s likely other people around here do, too.
but luckily knocking on doors with building permits pasted in the windows won’t be necessary, because aaron made the baseboards look perfect with a piece of moulding i had bought and a material he had with him that he told me the name of but i unhelpfully can’t remember. this picture was taken before he primed and painted the area and now it looks absolutely seamless. i texted this photo to pierre and sent a message along the lines of, “seeeeee?“
here is aaron again, demonstrating how you don’t even need to stand up from our toilet in order to wash your hands. the boys assembled the sink and faucet on some car blankets in our living room and i think even they were amazed how easily it all came together. something i didn’t realize was that the plumbing would be exposed; i thought the pedestal would hide the pipes, but the twins said that’s how all pedestal sinks are, that the pedestal has to sit away from the wall to support the basin. i guess i’ve never studied a pedestal sink from the side before. at least plumbing parts are ridiculously beautiful.
gilbert installed our lovely, new raincan shower head after all the boys had a good laugh over our old shower head. it’s a new arm and flange, too, to mimic the profile of our teapot taps. they couldn’t replace the shower hub and faucet without cutting a hole in the drywall, so we still have our old delta fixtures in the tub, but i love this shower head. and it passes the test — with the new caulking finally dry we were both able to take showers this morning and we both agree that it’s a glorious improvement.
after seeing the finished product, i’ve decided not to re-use our over-the-shower-head shower caddy. right now we just have our shampoos on the tub ledge and i may look into one of those corner caddys. either way, i don’t want shampoo bottles mucking up how this shower head looks.
the twins rehung our freshly painted medicine cabinet a few inches higher than it was before so that i could fit a couple of floating glass shelves beneath the cabinet for additional storage. the clear containers inside the medicine cabinet are the perfect depth and width and keep toiletries organized. i got them from kitchen stuff plus just south of bloor st shortly after we moved in and i have them in a few kitchen drawers, too, for cutlery.
where to hang the toilet paper roll holder was the biggest debate of the morning. gilbert, aaron, and greg all took their turn on the toilet so that they could weigh in on optimal placement. i was really glad i had four boys here to test everything out so that placement and height (this applied to the mirror as well) would for sure work for pierre as well as for me.
lots of fingerprints on the mirror, but you get the idea! here we have the trifecta of loveliness: pedestal sink, schoolhouse electric light fixture, and cast iron brackets. i think i was most excited to see the light fixture up out of everything, but in the end, it’s the $45 brackets and $2 floor board-shelf that transformed the space into my dream bathroom.
lastly, christiano removed our door and planed an additional ¼″ off the bottom. we have one porcelain tile that sticks up a bit and the door had been scraping it for about a year. pierre fixed it a month ago, but we thought while we had the boys here we might as well fix it for good. the twins then rehung it, using longer screws because the doorframe was a bit stripped due to all the unhanging and rehanging of doors this frame has seen in the last 70+ years.
these towel bars replaced the hooks that were on the back of the door, plus greg put an old classroom hook up near the shower because i know pierre prefers the ease of a hook to the delicate act of halving, folding, and hanging.
so this is our bathroom with all the handiwork done and nothing in it! i have to move our toiletries back in, at which point things will look a little less pristine, i’m sure. on the flip side, i’m going to wash the floor, so some areas will look better in a few days.
i’m really happy with the way everything came together, though, and also very glad we decided to keep the tub and tiles as-is. the facelift provided by the paint, shower head, sink, faucet, and light fixture really seems to have been enough, and i actually love the big floor tiles now that the walls are painted; i don’t think hex tiles would have been the way to go in here anymore, so it’s just as well we didn’t have the budget for them!