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The Great Pandemic Bathroom Remodel

Started: 2020-08-05 19:58:00

Submitted: 2020-08-05 22:13:47

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator shows off before-and-after pictures of his pandemic bathroom remodel, and contemplates the legacy of the project

I wrapped up The Great Pandemic Bathroom Remodel less than forty-eight hours before moving out of the house, so I didn't have much time to enjoy the finished bathroom. (I did, at least, get to use the shower for a week.) By the time I was done, the bathroom looked almost totally different: I had replaced the shower entirely and redone the floor; and we had the rest of the tile refinished in a glossy white. (I also changed the lights above the mirror, but those are barely visible in these pictures.)

Completed master bathroom
Completed master bathroom

The only thing that remained was the tub spout, because I wasn't confident I could get a spout long enough to reach over the edge of the tub, and I was afraid of making a mess with the tile and the plumbing to connect the tub spout under the countertop. (Given everything else I did in the bathroom I probably could have managed to make it look good, but I didn't have any time to spare in the end.)

Wallingford master bath
Wallingford master bath

My only real complaint about the outcome is that the new bathroom is oppressively white. (It got worse after I took these pictures when we had the entire house painted with the current trendy off-white paint color (Benjamin Moore White Dove, I'm told).) If I had stayed in the house I would have wanted a different color, but white is versatile and generic so white we choose.

Completed master shower
Completed master shower

I ended up spending around $3.5k on the materials and tools for the project, not counting my time. In an alternate universe in which we had gotten a contractor to do the work for us we would have paid that plus their labor.

Completed master vanity
Completed master vanity

The project absorbed virtually all of my otherwise-unscheduled time for six weeks (and encroached on my work time; I took a couple of days off to work on the project). I don't have a clear estimate on how much time I really spent, but a very-rough back-of-the-envelope calculation (four hours a day on the weekend, ten hours a week during the weekdays) gives 120 hours. (I'm 80% confident this is on the low end.)

Wallingford master vanity
Wallingford master vanity

The biggest question — the counter-factual question I will never know the answer to — is whether this whole project was really worth it. It will probably help our house get a better price because fewer people will be scared away by the obvious water damage around the shower. But I don't know how big that impact will be (and, as I'm writing this, we're about to list our house at a price that's 6% less than what we paid for it, let alone what we paid installing carpet and updating the house or fixing the roof or painting the house after we left, and I don't know if we're making the right decisions around the sunk costs in the house).

But whatever happens I'm still proud of the work I did to remodel my bathroom, by myself, in the middle of a global pandemic. This project was an order of magnitude bigger than any home-repair project I've previously undertaken; any one piece of the project was equivalent to any earlier project. I bought a bunch of new power tools, and blades and drill bits (and two diamond hole saws). (I'm no longer scared by my circular saw, but I still have a healthy respect for it.) I laid tile and flooring, created a partition wall where none existed, soldered plumbing, and painted baseboards — and, in the end, I signed my name on the work so maybe someone will see it, someday.

Last baseboard, signed and dated
Last baseboard, signed and dated
Everyone I'm sure, knows that when something goes wrong somewhere,
anywhere, anytime it is automatically SCOTT'S FAULT. Your dog ran away?
SCOTT'S FAULT. Your car won't start? SCOTT'S FAULT. Your power got
shut off because you forgot to mail the check? Yep, once again, SCOTT'S
FAULT. It is very similar to the "six degrees of separation" theory.
Somehow everything can be tied back to Scott.
- Renee Galvin, 25 October 2000