Friday, July 31, 2009

The search goes on...

Outside, the frame for the bathroom addition.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I head to Charleston searching antique stores for stained glass. Alas, I find several pieces that are beautiful but not what we are looking for-the prices were similar to the piece at the antique mall.

Gary is supposed to do the rebar today but gets delayed at work. He will come out tomorrow.

Still thinking about the $500 piece of stained glass...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More research on several websites for antique stained glass (poor mom received several emails a day with different stained glass window pics). I found a marvelous website in Pennsylvania with a great selection and good prices. Several pieces are in the same price range and lovely, but still not as nice as the piece at the antique mall in Lilburn.

Later that evening with a bandaged finger and a better dust mask, Darryl continues the destruction of the tub/shower combo! WooHoo!

Still thinking about the $500 piece of stained glass.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stained glass mania...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Still thinking about the $500 piece of stained glass.

Can’t take it anymore-I call the antique store. The owner answers, says he believes the piece is still there but that they are closed until Thursday for some construction work. He’s says to call back Thursday.
This is great! I have a few days to do some research before making a decision.
Let the search begin!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Let the destruction begin!

Sunday, October 14, 2007
Pauly (plumber) and his brother-in-law, came out in the afternoon to begin the plumbing. He helped us determine the tub location in the new addition.
After the initial plumbing work was done outside the destruction inside the bathroom began!

And so do hubby's injuries.

Later that day after a run, I walk into the house and follow the trail of blood (a very faint trail) from hubby’s bathroom to my bathroom where a loud, sawing sound is emanating. Through the closed door I ask if he is alright. He says ‘yes’. I ask if he is hurt-there is a pause-then a quiet ‘no’. ‘Where did the blood come from’, I asked, ‘Did you cut yourself?’ (after all, he is working with a saw!) ‘No’, he says, ‘I smashed my finger.’
I have never known a smashed finger to bleed (but leave it to hubby to find a way). He caught his pinky finger in the trigger part of the electric saw which smashed it. The finger was swollen to double its size and it looked pretty gross with a small gash near the nail. But not to worry-we have plenty of band-aids!
He was able to cut away some of the fiberglass tub which resulted in a great deal of fiberglass dust in the air. This is not good when you have just returned from running and are breathing heavily, so I learned. Fiberglass dust hurts when you breath it in-thus why hubby was wearing a mask. I tried using a mask but the dust still got through so I left the room.
Later I researched stained glass on eBay and found several nice pieces but not as nice as the one at the antique mall.

Still thinking about the $500 piece of stained glass...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

If architectural pieces could talk...

Saturday, October 13, 2007
Gary arrived and constructed the form for the concrete.
Mom calls me early from the antique mall in Lilburn. She found antique architectural pieces (Palladian window as well as two matching columns with Corinthian style caps) within a reasonable price.

She calls me later when she and grandma find a large, beautiful piece of stained glass to hang in my center bathroom window. It has a fleur-de-lis and a new wooden frame. The history on the piece is given (it came from an old house built in the late 1800’s and has been sitting in the attic of the house since 1911). The price tag is $650! Once I get up off the floor I ask for the dealer’s best price. The gentleman says $500. (Mind you, when he first brought it into the antique store he had said the asking price would be $450-not thinking about it mom says he should ask more before she realizes that this is what we are looking for). At $500 we have to think about it, after all it’s not going anywhere. No one is going to walk in and buy such an expensive piece of stained glass. In the meantime, the antique store owner emails me pictures of the piece. It is beautiful! But I will do some research before investing that much money (not to mention that Darryl said ‘no’)...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Out the window...

October 9, 2007
The next day brought more fun. The windows needed for this particular project are an unusual size, one 30” wide window and two 16” wide windows (come on you didn’t think we were going to get out that easy did you?). Of course, windows this size must be custom ordered raising the price from the basic windows available at most hardware stores. It wasn’t terribly bad, about $50 more per window. Since the regular windows had to be custom ordered the Palladian would also have to be special ordered. When the price quote came back I nearly fell from my chair. $709 for a 30”x15” Palladian window! Yes that’s right! The Palladian window would cost more than all of the other windows combined! So, out went the Palladian window (did you hear the crashing sound that came with that comment?).

I returned home later that evening to find Darryl refilling and tamping down the area that I had dug the day before. Gary is supposed to come out tomorrow to do more work.

A few days later we got some good news! Darryl has requested quotes for windows from two local hardware stores. One price quote was close to the national chain stores but the other local was able to get us a great price. All three windows, including the Palladian window, will cost about $600. Looks like the Palladian window is back!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm diggin' it...

October 8, 2007
I was told on Saturday by hubby, much to my surprise, that WE are supposed to dig the area for the foundation. Hmmm-I thought the reason we hired a contractor was for HIM to do all of this. This needed to be done before anything else could take place so I agreed in order to get the project going. Sunday was out due to prior obligations and church. Greg, I mean Gary, had to work on Monday. Darryl also had to work on Monday. Guess who was left? Me! So, Monday afternoon I began to dig out the area that Darryl instructed me to dig. He told me to remove the top layer of all the organic materials. I figured there had to be more to it so I was determined to get it ALL done. When my arms and shoulders started to get weak from digging out the dirt and hauling it to the back yard I would take a break and cut a section of lawn. I managed to completely cut both our yard as well as the yard next door. Finally, I had managed to dig out a 6’x8’ section of dirt about 8 inches deep. Wow, was I sore! Wouldn’t it be nice to soak in a tub right about now? Oh that’s right, I don’t have a tub yet! That’s why I am digging a 6’x8’ hole in the side of my yard-for the addition to my closet size bathroom to allow for a tub to soak my sore muscles and to help me relax!!! Does anyone else see the irony in this?

Of course, once Darryl returned home from work he informed me that I only needed to remove the outside edges and top layer of dirt, not the entire area.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Window of opportunity...

October 6, 2007
Ah yes, the story continues. The building permit was approved. Saturday was the big day! Gary (Greg has asked that his name be changed for the diaries to protect his identity) came out to begin the layout for the bathroom addition! I was so excited! He put up stakes and measured out the space. But then the first of many changes took place. The turret was out. It would not work well on that side of the house and would be significantly more expensive. But I was offered another very good option. After discussing it we decided to go with a 9’ vaulted ceiling in the tub area which would allow for a Palladian window.
Now the search for Palladian windows begins...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's the little things...

"Rubber ducky you're the one, that makes the bathtub lots of fun..."
Ernie, Sesame Street
Now I needed somewhere to put my soap, shampoo, and towels while bathing in luxury amongst bubbles with classical music lilting in the background. The search for towels, racks, toilet paper holders, and other such accoutrements began.
· Cost of all the little extras-To be determined

But wait, there’s more.

Originally we were told that an actual bay window would run about $5000. All I wanted was the three tiny windows like the one we currently had in the bathroom. (I think by now you have figured out that this too will change). The bay windows were still too expensive so I decided to save money by going with three regular windows and possibly adding three small windows over them. We are still researching this although I have found several very good windows at the national chain stores at reasonable prices...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

From floor to ceiling...

Don’t forget one must have authentic tile flooring to achieve the period look. Black and white tiles were generally the norm so black and white tiles it would be. We just had to figure how much of the black and white tiles were needed as well as a design. After considering several options we opted for authenticity and affordability and went with 8”x8” black and white tiles. It would take about one week for it to come in at a small cost of $468.

But wait, there’s more.

The vanity, tub, and flooring would be authentic enough but the original light fixture would be too small to light the soon to be much larger bathroom (we were originally going to keep the original fixture to save money). So I began looking at lighting. I found several viable lighting options at national chain hardware stores and was thrilled that the lighting costs would not be too terribly high. And then I found an online store with reproduction lighting fixtures much more to my liking. Not to worry! The new lighting cost would only be a bit more than the stuff from the chain stores (at this point what’s a few more dollars?). And so the lighting was ordered.

· Estimated lighting-$859

But wait, there’s more...

Monday, July 13, 2009

First Steps...

The original estimate was $3000. I began the next day by locating an antique claw foot, 60” tub at a wonderful tub supply store in Jacksonville, Florida. I was able to choose all of the tub fixtures and plumbing accoutrements that I wanted, within a reasonable price range. We were originally going to drive to Jacksonville to pick up the tub but the delivery fee for everything was reasonable so we went with the delivery option. Various tub colors and foot finishes were tempting but in the end I went with traditional white all the way around! It would be four weeks before the tub was refurbished and shipped to the house.

Now that the first step was complete it was time to go for the dreaded building permit. I took all of the necessary paper work to the county office where I was told that our contractor had to complete a form and then we would wait for up to ten days for approval! I was unhappy with the time line, but hey, the tub wouldn’t be here for three more weeks anyway.

So far everything was still within a decent budget:
· Estimated construction costs-$3000
· Antique claw foot tub with fixtures -$1734
· Zoning permit-$25
· Building permit-$52
· Being able to soak in a tub soon-priceless!

Of course, there is more to a remodel than the obvious. We had already located a small antique vanity for the sink area ($275) and a small white drop-in sink from a local thrift store for a mere $5.

But wait, there’s more...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's all about the tub...

Finally, I could take it no longer (neither could anyone else who knew me). I must have the tub at any cost!!! This time we called a contractor friend. After plying him with wine and dinner he gave me the wonderful news. The bathroom could be made larger and for a reasonable amount of money! WooHoo! I was getting my claw foot tub and not just any tub but a full size, 60” tub!

Let the Games Begin!
Whoever said that you should generally add 20% to the initial estimate of a home improvement project never met me.
Twenty percent is for amateurs!

Friday, July 10, 2009

And so it goes...

I already had a regular tub. Lots of people take baths in regular tubs so why couldn’t I? I filled the regular tub with hot water, added bubble bath only to discover that in order to soak in 11” of water one must contort the body and lay somewhat sideways while shifting constantly to stay submerged in the water. Instead of coming out of the tub relaxed and relieved I exited stiff and discouraged. Shy of enlarging the bathroom the claw foot tub (and long soaks in bubbly water) was not to be.

But these things have never stopped me from achieving my goals! Remember, I am an eccentric! An obsessive eccentric!

In the meantime, my husband found an antique, 54” claw foot tub for sale at one of the old houses on The Point. Not only would I have a claw foot tub but it was from a house on The Point (another obsession-I can’t have a house on the Point but I have a tub from a house on The Point!) The tub was brought home for a mere $40 where it became a beautiful fountain in the back yard (I'll have to find the pics of it as a fountain-as you can see in the pics above it is now a planter:). Prior to the tub’s rebirth as a fountain, it sat patiently on the back patio awaiting spring. One winter afternoon, after two long days of staging my mother-in-laws’ condo, I was stiff and sore. All I needed was a soak in a tub! Let’s face it, when you can’t have the real thing the next best thing is one’s imagination. As I watched the dogs romp and play in the back yard I slipped into the ever so small iron, claw foot tub on the back porch. It was a stretch of the imagination being that it was winter and iron tubs outside in cold weather tend to be, well, cold. But I have a very strong mind. Closing my eyes and concentrating I could almost feel the hot water and foamy bubbles. Of course, hubby walked out onto the back patio and asked what I was doing. I explained that I was soaking in a tub with hot water. He just looked at me and said ‘that’s pathetic’ and returned inside. For the next few months any pictures, television shows, or reference to claw foot tubs only resulted in my whining about the closet size bathroom. Even our dog Lizzy got the pleasure of the claw foot tub fountain out back as she often jumped in for a swim to cool off after chasing squirrels.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How It All Started...

Once upon a time there was a fairly eccentric, unusual woman who for reasons unknown was more at home in an era gone by than the current one in which she existed (if you haven’t guessed yet, it’s me). Victorian era manners and mores infiltrated my everyday thoughts, but little did I know that very soon a new obsession from the 19th century would overtake me-the quest for an antique claw foot tub! Not only would this quest lead me to a long soak in an old tub but also through a rather long and harrowing renovation process.

Upon returning home from a trip to Louisville, KY, where I discovered the pleasures of soaking in a century old claw foot tub, the process began. Within days I had chosen the perfect 60” slipper tub at a national chain hardware store. After choosing a new, acrylic 60” claw foot tub (and overcoming the sticker price shock of $1700+), I called a plumber friend to help begin the process of removing the old tub/shower combo and replacing it with the slipper tub. Alas, something that seemed so simple in fact was more complicated than I ever dreamed. The tub was 60” but our closet size bathroom was only 59½” wide. Not to worry because these tubs can be found in 54” styles! I returned to the hardware store the following day where I discovered that indeed 54” tubs were available; however, not in the slipper style. No problem, I could live with the regular style, and the smaller size, as long as I could soak! Problem solved!
Or was it?
The 54” tub required 8” of plumbing, once again too large for the closet size bathroom. Humph. All hope was now lost.
Or was it?

Let the Insanity Begin!

Thinking of remodeling? Husband told you that he can do the work to save money? Got a price limit in mind and believe you can stick to it?

Well think again!

Welcome to the Bathtub Diaries-a journal of our master bath remodel all to install a claw foot tub. Although I make jokes about the nightmares of remodeling I must say that all of the time, money, injuries, dust, and disruption in our home for months was well worth it! If you have ever remodeled or know someone who has then the diaries are something to which you can probably relate. Take the plunge with me into a nearly year long process of knocking out walls, making decisions (and then changing my mind), shopping, shopping, shopping, installations, and a whole lot of sweat equity all for the simple pleasure of soaking in an old claw foot tub.
Once you read the Bathtub Diaries you will learn that things are never as easy as they seem. Upon returning home from a vacation I immediately began planning for the installation of a claw foot tub in my closet sized bathroom. However, we soon realized that our small bathroom could not accommodate a claw foot tub so the entire project was scrapped. Well at least for a little while. About two years later we decided to remodel the bathroom. This idea came about when a vintage vanity arrived at the antique store where I was a dealer. Although it was from the 1950’s it was Victorian in style and would fit nicely into my overly small bathroom. Hubby agreed with the idea and so the bathroom remodel planning began. We started searching for tile flooring (my old vinyl flooring was stained and molded) and a sink. We were fortunate enough to find sheets of small, white octagon tiles at a local thrift store along with 4” square black tiles to use as the border ($60). In addition, we found a small sink ($5) to drop into the vanity. For a minimal amount of money we found a way to remodel the bathroom although the tub/shower combo would remain the same. At least the bathroom would look nice. I was more than content with this idea until...

Monday, July 6, 2009


Welcome to the Bathtub Diaries! Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the daily journal entries and pictures of our long and tedious bathroom remodeling project.
This blogspot is under construction so please check back as the first entry will be posted soon!
Happy Soaking!