The master bath was the last surviving 1990’s theme room in our house. The other two bathrooms (and kitchen and laundry room), which had been perfectly preserved since their creation in 1990, were torn out last fall. Since we aren’t able to work on our own home full-time, putting them back together has taken a long time. But now that all four of them are at least 3/4 done, we decided to start on the master bath.
It really started when we just wanted to change out the clear plastic diamond-shaped handle to turn on the shower. There was a half-millimeter difference between boiling and freezing with the original knob, which didn’t make for the most pleasant of showers. No problem, right? Unfortunately, the world of shower knobs is not so simple. The old Delta knob that we had could not be changed to a new Delta knob or any other brand, but only to a new version of an old Delta knob. They sell replacements at Home Depot and they look exactly the same as the original ones. Actually changing it to a new fixture of our choice would require tearing into the wall and changing out a piece there. So there sat the old shower, clad in beige swirly cultured marble, with the 25-year-old handle laying inside, hidden by the brass door that never quite closed. We decided to take showers in the kids’ bathroom until we figured out a plan.
The plan came just a week later, when we found a vintage clawfoot tub at ReStore, with the original faucet and showerhead. This was what we were originally looking for when we found the more modern acrylic tub a few months ago. We decided it would be worth it to get this one and sell the one we originally bought, so we headed to ReStore with a U-Haul trailer to pick it up. Once it was carefully placed in the garage, we looked at the empty U-Haul. It didn’t have to be returned until the next morning, so we came up with a plan.
We’d rip out the tub and shower and use the U-Haul to get rid of them. Since they were both made out of cultured marble and wouldn’t come out in one piece, they were headed to the dump.
Here’s the beginning of the tear out. You’ll notice there was a surprise under the cultured marble “curb”– years worth of a leak that rotted the wood. Here’s after the rip-out:
And the leak was in the other corner, too. You can actually see down the holes to the kitchen ceiling. The leak had been fixed by the previous owners, so there wasn’t still water pouring out of the kitchen ceiling, but the floor under the shower was hidden. Just rotting away, ready for us to take a leisurely shower one day and fall through the floor into our new kitchen.
Here was our tub as we were just starting to tear into it.
It also has a beautiful, original faucet with crystally-diamond handles and yellowy brass. It’s supposed to remind you of an ’80’s engagement ring.
Dave started cutting this thing with a Sawzall and then had to move to the big guns: a sledgehammer. Here’s the after:
Normally we donate things instead of smashing them, but there was no way this tub was going to fit through the door in one piece (or survive the tear-out). I think they installed it before the drywall was put in, so our only chance of getting rid of it was smashing it to pieces. The pony wall also came down, the place got swept up, and the faucet went to our engineering-minded son who wanted to take it apart and then keep the copper pieces.
The vanity is staying for now, so we’ll be able to use the sinks until we’re ready to actually finish the space.
For now, everyone will be taking showers in the kids’ bathroom, pictured below (which happens to be without power at the moment, so night showers are hard): Oh, and the 10-inch rough-in is making it so we may need a special-order toilet in there, which isn’t going to happen. So for now, it looks like this:
Floor is in, 1902 sink is in, wall is patched. Painting hasn’t happened; nor has a toilet been put in.
Also, the laundry room is under construction…more pics of all this later! The kids’ bathroom and the laundry room are supposed to be done in the next couple of weeks.