Many moons ago, well six years ago to be exact, I attempted my very first bathroom update. It all stemmed from the fact the 1960s steel window in my unit needed to be replaced. It didn’t have a latch so swung freely in the breeze thus becoming a potential danger should it drop off its rusted hinges and fall onto someone below.
The Body Corporate arranged it’s replacement. Unfortunately, the man who undertook the work was a) like a bull in a China shop, and b) sleazy/creepy crawly. (Note to self – this is one time I wished a male friend was present).He set about ripping out the old window, letting huge chunks of glass fall willy nilly on the driveway a storey below WITHOUT checking if anyone was down there. The entrance to the laundries were there too. He also kindly smashed and ripped out a section of my perfectly preserved 1960’s tiles. You know, the ones with the bullnose, virtually un-replaceable.
Look, it may have been pink but I grew very fond of that bathroom. It was in mint condition, even if the shower height was made for people of the shorter variety. The walls had been painted dark maroon (seems maroon follows me everywhere) so I had freshened them up with a lick of white paint when I moved in.
Now I had no choice but to rip out and replace the tiles. Big bummer.
You know when you watch those reno shows and tiles virtually pop-off with a few taps? Yeah, no that didn’t happen for me. Goes to show how well they built things 50 years ago. It took several weekends of ear piecing hammer drilling to lift those beauties off. Oh the noise. Oh the dust.
This forced reno was something I hadn’t budgeted for so I had to keep costs to a minimum. I decided to leave the floor which was in perfect condition and kinda cute and the bath which was the good old metal kind. My view was to eventually get it sprayed white.
In terms of a vanity, well I have tastes more expensive than my budget. And the space was tiny. So I made one.
I had an image in my head of what I wanted so I literally just bought the timber and started fashioning it on my balcony. The nuts and bolts of it just made sense.
I always remember my Mum building book shelves for my bedroom as a kid – Dad helped but if truth be told, he played more of a supporting role (sorry Dad). So maybe I picked it up from Mum.
I also sourced two pieces of Carrara marble to go either side of the basin. I love Carrara marble. LOVE and the little off-cuts I needed were just enough to finish it off.
Tiling took place most evenings after work. The building’s sewage pipe was hidden behind a panel behind the loo. I suppose for easy access should it be needed. It was covered with an ageing, mottled mirror so I had a new one cut to size to replace it. It conveniently also served as one of the only full length mirrors in the place.
The aim was to get the room as ready as possible before my plumber swapped out the toilet and did the final fix. I loved the old “Hampton” bathrooms with the exposed pipe work. And as I couldn’t change the location of the waste outlet, I went with chrome fittings – generally you couldn’t see the tap, just the chrome pipe. I refused to go with one of the skinny “powder room” type sinks/vanities so keeping the bottom open gave the impression of more space.
It wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t bad either! Considering how small the space was, it was new, clean, fresh and bright.