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

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Old Bones

Future historians, sifting through the detritus of July 2022 in our house, will find:

  • Abandoned summer camp bags, receipts for COVID tests, an unexpected level of paper plates and soda bottles and plastic Go-Gurt sleeves.
  • Playbills for The Sound of Music, dated July 8-10, with several people surnamed Hodge in various supporting roles
  • Records of dumpster rental
  • Layers of plaster dust
  • Debris from the removal of tons of tile and concrete
  • Thousands of dollars of plumbing receipts
  • Slivers of lead from removed pipes. 
  • Shavings of PVC from new pipes
  • Samples of tile and stone
Yes, we have begun to Renovate the Bathroom.

In a stroll down memory lane, I found some photos of the bathroom from when we first looked at the house -- not fully representative of its state even then, since we didn't get shots of the already crumbling plaster. I assure you it was a good deal less charming and functional than it looks here, and that shower under the roof was bitter in the winter

The sink was angled slightly down so that nothing could rest on the edges, and the faucet was low and inconvenient. The radiator did not put out much heat, nor the sconces much light.

That green tile was also on the floor -- in good shape, and embedded in inches of concrete, which also encased the plumbing. They did that in the 1920s-40s, the workmen tell us.

In 2019, part of the ceiling collapsed, after sagging precariously for some time.

Last year, when we first started the demolition process, we filled one dumpster with plaster and tile, and left the shower intact enough to use.

Now there's nothing anymore but the studs, and some spanking new PVC pipe (too new for these week-old pix).

Behind the slot in the bathroom medicine cabinet, we found a century's worth of razor blades. 

They say that few things try a marriage as much a home renovation, a bit of wisdom I never had much cause to contemplate until I saw the holes cut in my library walls, and the paneling, undisturbed since 1929, pulled down from my beautiful bookshelves, and the gleaming wood molding popped off the ceiling. Darwin and the plumbers are very sorry, but that was the only way to access the pipes running down behind the walls from the gutted bathroom to the cellar. The holes will be patched eventually with modern drywall against the older, thicker wallboard, and perhaps with careful texturing and painting they will be mostly unobtrusive.

It's nothing compared to the hole in my heart.

The gutted bathroom has become the climax of all our home tours these days, surpassing Chthulu the ancient furnace in the basement or the old laundry chute. Come on over, and you too can see the bones of the house, as large as life and overengineered enough to confound renovators for centuries to come.

1 comment:

Ladyhobbit said...

Our bathroom also had the slit for razor blades in the back of the medicine cabinet! What a crazy idea!
On the other hand, the space never really fills up. It takes a huge number of razor blades to fill a whole wall.