Friday, 4 November 2011

Of mud and mayhem

Just for those of you who like to know how a major renovation can go wrong is getting on nicely, this is a glimpse of my revamped bathroom as of 5 o'clock this evening. It requires a little explaining.


Top right: a corner (well, leg) of the freestanding bath, finally plumbed in and working at 5 o'clock, after a drama with the wrong-sized waste and some improvisation by a determined plumber. There's a window where the builder broke two panes of glass.


I only wept once today, and then secretly, alone in the sitting room, and only for a moment, honest, when it looked like I might not have a bathroom for yet another weekend.

Lower left: the corner of the walk-in shower, not working because of wrong/missing fixings; our second attempt to have them posted out from the manufacturer won't yield results till some time next week.


Centre: the missing floor tiles? Well, before they were even finished being laid, let alone grouted and sealed,  a builder who shall remain nameless trod large clods of red mud all over them. Then a joiner who shall also remain nameless swept them with the broom, smearing the mud liberally all over those tiles, by now firmly cemented into place. Whereupon the mud stained the tiles - not cheap tiles, mind you - and could not be completely cleaned off. I went on a bit about this, as you can imagine - "my friend has cream porcelain tiles in her kitchen, with direct access to the muddy garden, and her floor always cleans up like new...." and so on.

And so the foreman was summoned, and the worst tiles were chiselled out laboriously by the two nameless ones, somewhat subdued by now, and are to be replaced; the supplier will be given a stained tile to ponder over quality issues.


The rest of the bathroom looks no better; in fact, for authentic bleakness, it should smell of carbolic soap and have a ragged scratchy towel hanging up on a nail in the wall. And maybe one splayed-bristle toothbrush used by the whole family and for cleaning the plughole.




It will get better though. The supplier sent the wrong size of basin but a bigger one will be in place on Monday. The toilet seat and lid will also be replaced with a soft-close one (honestly! how princessy of me!) and behind the slatted blind, the rattly broken window will be removed to be repaired and completely reglazed, and hopefully won't allow whistling winds to make little waves in the bathwater.

So we must try to imagine it with the walls painted in some yet-to-be-determined gorgeous colour, heaps of  lovely fluffy towels, candles, plants, a shiny chrome towel radiator, gleaming mirrors, delicious scents, and me having forgotten all about the past two weeks' rather spartan arrangements, accidents and mud.

But now - well, I'm going to find my scratchy old towel and that bar of carbolic soap, and .... no of course I'm not. I'm going to have a lovely bath in my unlovely bathroom, and just be glad that we got this far.

22 comments:

Lins' lleisio said...

It will be lovely when finished, hang on to that. Very envious of your free standing bath. I had one once, installed only ten months before moving (I didn't know we would be off at the time). Can't recreate my 'old' bathroom here, no room and no money. I shall just have to share yours!!

Lucille said...

And Izal toilet paper. It reminds me of my childhood bathroom. Freezing cold and decidedly short on luxury. It wasn't bath salts that clouded and scented the water but the remainder of the Ajax scouring powder.

rachel said...

Of course you can share - all of you. If you want to..... Ajax! I'd forgotten that. Vim was my mother's preferred bath enamel-eroding scouring powder, or Chemico, a pink paste in a pink tin. Both left a gritty residue....

the veg artist said...

I've done the bathroom renovation thing twice, in different houses. Never again. I know, only too well, the feeling of being pathetically grateful when they leave you with a functioning loo and running water! Flooring, paint on the walls, matching towels? Huh! Just getting clean is enough........ until they come back to finish!

mountainear said...

Am drooling at the very thought of your gorgeous bathroom. We made the foolish mistake - or rather I agreed to the pragmatic decision that we didn't need a bath. We always showered. Right? Yeah. Enough of that.

A bath is about to be ordered and I will be joining you in the dust and disruption department..

Val & the Girls BK & CK said...

Gosh darn it ..vim on the bum that brings back vivid memories.... lol

When the family home bathroom had to be redone and was 'finished' the plumber leaned against the basin and it fell off the wall.... we were so glad he leaned on it before he left

Karen said...

I stood in my living room Thursday morning and watched as water rained down from the ceiling from the master bedroom bathtub above (*my* bathroom). Plumber called at 7:30 am, came at 9:30 am. Fortunately, I think, he could fix the problem without opening the living room ceiling. I'll find out tomorrow morning when I go back to use that bathroom and not the hall one. I'll repaint the living room ceiling over the Thanksgiving weekend and wish I had the funds to redo that 40 year old wreck of a bathroom.

I don't know that we even have carbolic soap here in the States. Sounds frightful.

(Blogger won't let me post with my Gmail account, so I'm having to use my URL. Grrrr).

Frances said...

Keep the faith! It will be beautiful. Love the tiles......lucky that you found out about them staining before finishing rather than after...perhaps those builders did you a favour?

Toffeeapple said...

And all will be well. Eventually.
Lucille made me laugh, that was so reminiscent of my childhood bathroom.

frayedattheedge said...

Yes, we too grew up with Izal toilet paper, and both our Mums used Ajax! If you half close your eyes and squint through your fingers, it doesn't look so bad.....
Fingers crossed for it all getting sorted out on Monday.

Arthur Ransome said...

All these memories of the privations of our youths - it was so cold most of the time, wasn't it? Central heating completely unknown and only grit to wash with. We don't know how lucky we are in our dotage(s).

Lucille said...

When Radox bath salts appeared we knew we'd arrived. If I could get hold of some Lanolem shampoo I'd be twelve again. Badedas brought me out in a rash. Sorry Rachel for hijacking your bathroom.

flwrjane said...

Well how great is my life today?

Putting it all in perspective you are:)

xo Jane

Isabelle said...

Chemico, yes, I remember that.

Free standing baths are all very well, but personally I don't find them good for balancing the book on the edge as you dry yourself. And then, without the bath panels you can't have the breeding colony of slaters (the things that English people call woodlice and Americans, pillbugs) living under the bath. What is a bathroom without the odd slater wandering out from beneath the bath panel?

Noelle said...

Here I am laughing when I should commiserate with you! You had me at the carbolic soap and the scratchy bath towel!
In the past year we have plugged a roof leak, install a chimney and a woodstove, replaced twice the kitchen range - first one was electric, the second is now LP gas for those many, many days we are without power (!), removed the bathtub and installed a super size shower stall reminiscent of Roman baths, tear out the kitchen cabinets and replaced them, build from scratch tiled kitchen counters, installed a dishwasher - where there were none -
now to find there is still a roof leak somewhere (at this time it is the wallking in pantry ceiling that needs replacing)...
But I would never have found the right words to entertain readers as you have so far!
Looking forward to hear the next installment and sending lots of 'patience waves' your way!
Blessings,

Jinksy said...

Makes me remember similar horrors when I had a shower cubicle installed instead of a bath, and three loos - the first two were substandard, the third one totally wrong design - in quick succession before the fourth one was in and working. Luckily I had a downstairs loo during this fiasco... Good luck with your tiles and window...

Marcheline said...

Sigh... am trying hard not to be jealous just because you are gettING a new bathroom, no matter how slow and tedious it may be. My old horrible bathroom is just sitting there, unrenovated and likely to remain so forever, smirking at me from beneath the grotty vinyl floor tiles.

Marie said...

You could use a twig for a toothbrush...

BumbleVee said...

I absolutely feel your anguish.....sigh..... damn renovation 'contractors' anyway (as they have the nerve to call themselves) ....... the exact reason we began just doing most of it ourselves. Now we are faced with some more in the spring but, this time ... we can't and won't be doing it ourselves... and is it ever difficult to even begin thinking and planning it knowing we will be handing over the reins to somebody else to do the 'doing'....mohhhh...I don't like it at all....I'm sure we will cave and do most of it ourselves.... if my arm and Greg's knee can handle any of it....

hang in the Rachel.... you'll sort it all out eventually.....

jabblog said...

You've had a couple of plonkers 'working' in your bathroom. I hope they've learnt something and that things will go more smoothly now.

Elizabeth said...

Moving house is such hard work, even when it's a good and chosen move. In a few months time it will all be lovely and you can start to enjoy your new home and surroundings properly. I shall look forward to seeing it!

elizabethm said...

Well it looks great already to me! Love the tiles. Love the bath. All coming together and will be totally fab. You might guess from my own blog that I am pretty good at imagining the finished article!

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