Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

This Old Bathroom

When we first looked at our house, it was clear that the window in one of the upstairs bathrooms would need some work. Even through the storm window we could see the water damage, the rusted metal, the paint so bubbled and deformed that the latch couldn't catch, the rotted sill. The window is original to the 1929 restoration, as are most in the house. We didn't want to lose it. We want to restore it.

A month or so back, we had a representative of the Super-Duper Historical Restoration company out to assess the damage and give an repair estimate. The guy was very affable, very professional, very competent. He knew about previous work that had been done on the house, about the great attic collapse before our time, in which the ceiling had been so rotted out that the whole thing had fallen in. His company had done the repair work on that, and a good job it had been too. Indeed, the wallpaper is so fresh and clean upstairs that one feels the very air of 1910 stirring as you look at it. And a week or so later, the company sent us an estimate, neatly laid out on letterhead with clean graphics: $4700.

I don't even mind laying out that figure for the collective eyeballing of the internet, because it was so stratospheric that we were beyond being conflicted after we finished gasping for air. $4700? It is to laugh. Even after we asked for a reformatted estimate which assumed that we ourselves would do the refinishing work -- hey, I can strip paint with the best of them, but removing a window from the second story is a bit beyond my capabilities -- the ludicrous figure budged, but not enough.

Fortunately, about this time we were given the phone number of a guy the next street over, who has done restoration work in the neighborhood for years. He came over and chatted with Darwin about the house, the area, the work he's done around. I've seen his jobs in various homes. He knows the lathe, the plaster, the fixtures, the styles, and the local contractors. He bills hourly, and his estimate was thousands of dollars lower than than the Super-Duper guys.

Along with the window work, we're getting lights installed in the showers so we don't have to bathe in the murky shadows.

Maybe we'll have him put outlets in the library so we don't have to run the computer off extension cords. Three-prong outlets! The mind boggles.

After the window, the paint. The bathroom is tiled green, with a border of yellow tiles the same color as the wall (see under the tub, above). The walls are painted the same yellow as the tiles, which can be a bit... overpowering, not to mention dated. I love choosing paint colors, so much so that I'm paralyzed with indecision. The strong yellow afflicts me with an excess of choler, which may explain my irritability at bathing three splashing children at once.

(These photos were taken before we moved in and in no way reflect the cleanliness and clutter level of our lives.)


Dorian Speed said...

I don't understand what $4700 gets you, unless the new window would be wearing gold-plated diapers.

Rebekka said...

Is the $4700 for just the window or for the whole bathroom? Hmm. Maybe dabbling in sensitively authentic DIY restoration is in your future?

MrsDarwin said...

That estimate was just for the window. And for the increased levels of cowbell, apparently.

Lauren said...

That's ridiculous for just a window. Maybe if it was original stained glass or something super fancy, but that's a standard but elderly window.

I also love choosing paint. I'm thinking of doing some stenciling in the hallway. I recommend getting a fan deck. I like seeing all my options gathering than grabbing a few colors at a time. Plus, it makes you feel like a super decorator from HGTV. Pratt and Lambert sells a fan deck to the general public at a reasonable price. It's expensive paint. However, you can take the color you choose to Home Depot or wherever and match the color to another brand.

My 2cent on the color for that bathroom is a nice clean white. Not to exciting, but it will make the green tile pop.

Lauren said...

Fan decks are now more available and less expensive than when I was looking for one a few years ago.

MrsDarwin said...

I have a fan deck from Sherwin-Williams (and I'm loving the quality of their paint) but it's too much fun to play with it rather than settling down to one color.

I have been thinking of stenciling. I love the Mackintosh Rose, but I wonder if that's too Art Nouveau for the house, which is Tudor Revival with some Arts and Crafts thrown in. Still, the bathrooms, though from 1929, do have some throwback touches to the house's Victorian roots, so I guess we can mix up the style a bit. You should see what I'm doing in my downstairs bathroom -- pix to follow whenever I'm done with the fiddly painting.

Jenny said...

Sherwin-Williams can match just about any color you give them. If you bring in a color from Lowes or Home Depot, they usually have it in their computer. We usually use Lowes to pick the color and then get it mixed at Sherwin-Williams.

GeekLady said...

Hmm. It depends on exactly which parts you want to paint, I think. Are you repainting the trim, cabinets, door, etc? If you paint the trim bright white, do a cream or a non-white color for the walls. Maybe a shade of copper. But if you want bright white walls, the trim would look nice in wood. That's more expensive though.

Are you redoing the floor? This bathroom would kill with a penny tiled floor and cream walls/white trim above that green tile.

Foxfier said...

Heheh, $5k sounds like a "deal" for the yuppy restorer types.....

Glad you got someone sane!

Dorian Speed said...

MrsD, have you seen these stencils that are from the Arts and Crafts movement? They are really high-quality (despite their website being...not very user-friendly). I used the Sanctuary stencil on the headboard I made for our bed.