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The Room is so Tiny! What Could Go Wrong? Bathroom Remodel Update

My small bathroom remodel is………progressing?

Yes, that was a question mark.

As I’ve mentioned I have a fixer upper house. Built in the 40s it boasts some cool details and beautiful floors.

…..and some seriously quirky construction issues.

Each time I tackle a project I can’t escape the feeling that, although the lipstick has been beautifully applied, I’m pretty sure I’m living in a pig.

And my pig eats money.

As I turned my attention to the smallest most depressing bathroom in the world I (foolishly) thought “this will be a snap! The room is so tiny! What could go wrong?”

On the Glass Half Full Side:

Demo cost less than estimated because all those shower tiles that were so haphazardly applied turned out to be REALLY haphazardly applied.Stunning Tile Job - Worlds Dumbest Bathroom Like they used mastic originally and once one was removed the rest, basically, fell off the wall! So…..yay?

Yeah. Yay! we’re going with Yay!

It looks so much better now, yes?Shower remodel in progress

On the Some Jerk Drank Half My Glass side:

The room lacks any form of storage and I decided to be super smart and put a big, recessed shelving unit between the studs in the wall over the toilet.Welcome



There is no wiring on that wall. All one needs to do is remove the plaster and pop it in there.  Just like they do on TV!

Except for the giant, random, pipe.

“Pipe?” I asked the contractor. “Why is there a giant pipe in the wall?”Useless PipeIt turns out the giant, random pipe is the vent for the toilet (I didn’t know toilets needed separate vents so….thanks for the information).

It also turns out that that pipe was attached to……nothing! Yes!  nothing.

So I have a giant vent pipe that is both in my way and has been completely useless. And I’m very lucky that there isn’t a large pool of ancient sewage underneath the house so……yay?

“There are also these other pipes”

I’m sorry, was there once an organ here? What’s with all the freakin’ pipes!?

Nope. These pipes are the former pipes for the former hot water heater.

So now pipes have to be removed, pipes have to be re-routed (and, you know, connected this time just as a kicky change of pace). Oh, and roof venting needs to be capped.

…..and the shower controls need to be moved because the previous ones were, mysteriously, not remotely centered on the wall.

Oh, and the room needs a vent in the ceiling.

And the new vanity is smaller so the light above the vanity needs to be moved.Tiny Bathroom remodel in progress…..except that’s right where a stud is so the box needs to be moved and the stud needs to be rejiggered and the previous sink piping needs to be moved and, and………


My glass now needs to filled, TO-THE-TOP with some kind of powerful alcoholic beverage AND NOBODY BETTER DRINK ANY!!!!

I shall keep you posted.





About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

21 responses »

  1. On the upside….you made me laugh! I am actually laughing, because I live in a super old house, and we have dealt with SO many quirky, stupid issues, that seem funny when someone ELSE is dealing with them!

  2. Well, now that you are an expert in demolition, plumbing and electrical work, I have a tiny bathroom that I would love to update ( with expert help). I’ll supply the booze.

  3. You are a riot. I can’t wait to see how you get around these obstacles.

  4. Oh, I have a tiny bathroom, since my house is over 150 years old and I read your post thinking, “Isn’ t he just darling, he thinks tiny means easy. My bathroom is so tiny, I can sit on the toilet, put my right foot in the tub and put my left hand in the sink. Old houses have charm but they also hold the ghosts of old remodling and sometimes, they are evil spirits! You must have died when the tile fell like dominoes in the tub. I shudder to think what I will discover when I schedule my redo. Hoping nothing else goes wrong and you KNOW it will all be so worth it!

  5. David… you brighten my day with your blog! I’m sure all the craziness will be fixed up and you will have such a fabulous bathroom in the near future. Chin up!

  6. Cant wait to see how this turns out!! 🙂

  7. Looking forward to the finished room!

  8. I feel your pain! Our home was built in the 1890’s, yes, 18. My hubs refuses to let anyone else work on it, and every time he go to do something it’s a major overhaul.

  9. Kathy Hartzell

    If you want, I can give you a few things you can be grateful for: you didn’t find that there were mice living in the walls that actually ate through the studs and wiring seeking water or tastier insulation. Or, you didn’t find a giant mushroom, all striped and colorful, on the back side of the sheetrock under the sink – did you? Or the joists had been moved once before, and the guy who did it didn’t actually reconnect them to the sill plate.

    See, it could be worse!!

  10. Maggie Sorensen

    We fixed ours. We moved.

  11. Sounds like there was a previous remodel. Those always make me nervous too. I looked at a house for sale the other day, built late 40’s I think. Someone in the last few years decided to make a bathroom out of a closet. A 3 foot deep closet. Too shallow to open the door inward, so it opened out into the hall – because the end of the toilet seat only had 6 inches to the door. They could have used your plumber.

  12. Best post ever.

  13. At least you have your health!

  14. Wow, what a mess….I am still cringing at the hint of ancient sewage…

  15. When you’re done…please feel free to come down South and work at the farm…house that is. 🙂 Yay!

  16. Your experience is just like every episode of This Old House that we watched. And we watched the complete set for 4 years. After seeing that every one had “hidden suprises” and the owners had experiences like yours, we decided that instead of buying “a charming old house” we would design a new house and have a professional builder build it from scratch. That didn’t go totally smoothly either, but we had fewer bonanzas of weird stuff than you experienced.

    You have a wonderful sense of humor. Your posts make me laugh out loud almost every time I read them. This one was especially funny. Thank you so much. (Sorry you have had so much frustration, and expense remodeling your tiny little room.)


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