Sippican Cottage

bathroom loc


A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Fuzzy Pictures Delenda Est

Well, we’re moving right along with our master bathroom remodeling saga. Of course it doesn’t look it. There’s no shower, sink, floor, or finishes in the pictures yet. Or maybe there are, but they’re too out of focus to see them.

My wife’s smartphone pictures became a sort of running gag around the cottage. She’d dutifully wade in to whatever construction devastation I was presiding over, take a few snaps, and then hie her way back to safety and sanity. Then we’d look at them a few days later, and laugh. They were mostly optometry tests. What gives?

Here’s where I’m going to break all your hearts. I got to wondering about it. What was the problem, exactly? My wife is dumber than I am, it’s true. I married her and she married me to prove it. But she ain’t dumb. Is her android thingie on the fritz? Am I moving too fast to be photographed properly? (this is very doubtful) Couldn’t we fix this problem? So I watched her take a picture. She dutifully set up the phone for a photo, pointed it at us, and then tried to press an imaginary button they have displayed on the screen to take the picture. This button is about as responsive as Google’s customer support line. She was following the directions, which while technically allowed in our home, isn’t common. You end up waving the phone all around to get the illusory button to acknowledge that a human is touching it. Waving it all around makes the focus unfocused.

Gimme dat, I said. I went into the menu and moved an entirely different imaginary slider, and handed it back to her. “Press the actual, real, live, mechanical volume switch on the side of the phone to take a picture, dear. I know Steve Jobs’ festering corpse hates those, but we’ll have to disappoint the gods of the smartphone once again.” So I’m afraid today’s batch of fuzzy pictures is about the last you’ll see for a while. I miss them already. You’ll all have to make do with images that more clearly show what a shabby job I’m doing at any given time, and how homely I am. Sorry, but the Soft Focus Guccione Era of photography is pretty much over around here.

For old time’s sake, here’s some murky photos of the flooring we selected for the bathroom. Or more accurately, the flooring that was selected for us by the Blue Place.

It looks like slate, but it isn’t. It also looks like the tiles we put in the pantry porch, but they aren’t. Those were totally Orange Place cutout bin specials. The bathroom is done up with Blue Place “No one wants this sh*t anymore” bargain bin discoveries. I don’t know why everyone wanted faux slate floors all at the same time, or why everyone decided they didn’t want faux slate floors any more all at the same time, either. But we paid less than the cost of the plywood underlayment per square foot, and they look great. They’re textured a bit, too, which is great for footing in the bathroom right outside the shower.

There are three ways to lay 1′ x 2′ rectangular tiles. There’s running bond, which is like railroad tracks, with each course offset from the course beside it by half its length. Most brick walls are constructed with a running bond, for instance. Then there’s herringbone, which is how the tiles are laid in the photo above. That’s my default for everything, including brick walks and such. Of course there’s also stack bond, where the tiles are laid in straight stacks with no offsets. That’s a favorite among deranged people and serial killers, in my experience.

In the last photo, you can see that the wall that encloses the shower has been extended a bit further into the room, and covered with moisture-resistant drywall. That’s because my shower will no longer be the width of a mail slot, like it was before. I may be able to wash even around the sides of my torso in there, instead of just my sternum while I stand at attention and get molested by the shower curtain.

The order of operations might puzzle some folks in the construction biz. But we’re trying to keep this bathroom at least partially usable almost continuously. We tiled half the floor, near the shower, on day one, and left the toilet in place and working. The next day, we removed it, fixed the subfloor, and tiled the remainder. The throne was back in service the next day after grouting. With the floor in, we could put in a new sink, too. It was a pedestal job, and couldn’t hover while we put in the floor tile. The shower will go in last, because we can limp along without it the longest. We put in a second bathroom, first, for just that reason.

[To be continued. Tune in tomorrow. Same Bat time. Same Bat Channel]

4 Responses

  1. “Of course there’s also stack bond, where the tiles are laid in straight stacks with no offsets. That’s a favorite among deranged people and serial killers, in my experience.”

    Also budget hotel bathroom contractors. It seems to minimize cuts.

    1. Hi Michael- Thanks for reading and commenting. By the way, I’d like to see the Venn diagram of itinerant budget hotel tilesetters and serial killers. I’m predicting serious overlap.

  2. Diagonal herringbone? I deduce the existence of a well-employed tile saw. One of which gave me a severe drubbing during a long-ago marble tile installation weekend. Since then, I purely enjoy watching other people work.

    1. Hi Mike- You deduced right. We bought a very inexpensive tile saw at the Orange Place, and gave it a workout. It was cheaper to buy than renting a better saw for a few days.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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