Sippican Cottage

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boudoir de merde


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

The Boudoir de Merde

You know you want it. You know you gotta have it. Before and after pictures!

Our little bathroom remodel project got its share of internet attention. If you’re just tuning in, and you’re wondering why I deserve a Pulitzer or some kind of plaque or statue or something just for fixing my bathroom, it’s understandable. Lots of people fix their bathrooms, and don’t even write 10,000 words about it. They write maybe a total of one thousand words, all on checks to the Orange Place and some sketchy contractors. What makes this project so notable, you ask?

Well, for starters, I could show you the absolute best thing in the bathroom:

We recycled a big cabinet, remember? Well, it’s always great to solve several problems with one solution, especially a solution that you already own. We screwed that cabinet to the walls and the floor, and painted it, and swapped out the knobs and hinges. It looks great, and solves any number of problems. Storage? You betcha! You can fit everything for the bathroom in there. Towels, toothpaste, toilet paper, doesn’t matter, it swallows all the clutter whole. And it solves that problem with the cat. You know the one. What the hell do you do with the box of sand and tootsie rolls that’s usually on the loose in the bathroom? Why, you install a boudoir de merde in the bottom of the cabinet! All we had to do was leave the magnetic catch off the left-hand door. The cat goes in and out without much fuss. There’s plenty of room for the tray and the bags of kitty gravel and the little rake and the trash bags for the, you know, cylinders.

On to the rest of it. If I’m trying to demonstrate anything to the general public, besides egomania, it’s that you don’t have to spend a fortune to fix your home, or parts of it, either. As a matter of fact, I’d prefer that you didn’t spend a fortune. It’s probably just gonna get wasted making everything gaudier and less useful than if you had a smaller budget. I’d like the world to be more pleasant, tasteful, and attractive than it currently is. I’ll leave it to you if I should try to be more pleasant, tasteful, and attractive than I am, but that seems scarcely possible. The law of diminishing returns kicks in.

So we pointed out that the Orange Place, and many of its brethren, expects you to spend $30,000 and up just to get your bathroom remodeled. They’d like you to spend most of it with them, of course. Me, I don’t have a dog in this hunt. I’m not trying to sell you anything. I just like you and want you to be happy. I hereby testify that if you’re willing to put in the work, and steer clear of faddish things that aren’t important and cost lots of dough, this is what you can accomplish with $2,000, max:

This little doorway is in an alcove by the kitchen. That’s another item that’s common in Victorian houses: bathrooms with two doors. Victorians often laid out rooms enfilade.  You have to pass through rooms to get to other rooms. Since many bathrooms in old houses are converted bedrooms or parlors and such, they often end up with two doors.

That door is tiny. Only eighteen inches wide. But this is the only bathroom on the first floor so you have to let people get to it without going through our bedroom. You can spot the results of running the HVAC ducts in soffits in the ceiling in the kitchen. There’s heat in the bathroom now, and air conditioning, too. I’ll bore you with that story another time. But it got mighty cold in the dead of winter with no heat. It forestalled problems with people lingering in there too long, however, when there was four of us using it.

Here’s the toilet area. It’s a modest improvement over the way it looked when we moved here, if I do say so myself:

Because we solved the storage problem early, and in a big way, we didn’t need to buy a sink base cabinet and pretend that it could hold much more than a lot of plumbing and a few rolls of toilet paper. We bought a a nice pedestal sink, the same model we used upstairs. It’s actually cheaper to buy a pedestal sink than a typical cabinet with a solid surface top and undermount sink. Bathroom cabinetry is mostly hideous looking nowadays anyway.

Remember the old sink wall? ***shudders***

Of course the tub was the stuff of nightmares, too:

Of all the improvements in this room, the new shower takes the cake by far. I stand in there and mutter, “I can’t believe this is our shower,” over and over. Can you blame me?

No more Ye Olde Access Doore falling off the wall. No more rotten flooring. No more holes in the floor. And a light switch that simply turns on the light, instead of improvising every time. And get this, the second switch is a real, live exhaust fan. No more opening the window in February trying to air the place out:

So there you have it. I assure you that you could do this yourself, kids. Just respect the process and put in the effort, and husband a few shekels first. Of course, your mileage might vary. Your circumstances might be different than ours. You might have to spend more. After all, if you have fifteen bathrooms in your house, you’ll still have to spend the whole thirty grand to get the same outcome. No way around it. I just hope you don’t have 16 daughters for those 15 bathrooms, because you’ll have to build a bathroom addition and that costs real money.

[Thanks for reading and commenting and buying my book and donating to my tip jar. It’s greatly appreciated!]

5 Responses

  1. You have done a beautiful job! Congratulations and thank you so much for the insight–it gives me hope!

    Your bathroom reminds me of a reality I have come to require–two bathrooms! Sorry, but yes–two bathrooms are a must. They don’t have to be fancy but they do have to function.

    A long time ago I read a short story about a couple retiring from the British Civil Service in India. I don’t remember the story’s plot, but I do remember that they had become accustomed to two toilets and worried that they would have to do without that essential item in the housing allotted to them back in the UK. I am in agreement with them. Have to have two toilets and showers! Not big showers. Just two small bathrooms that fulfill the functions of toilet, shower, sink and a storage area.

  2. Well done! I am applauding from somewhere West of Laramie…Gotta admit though, I kinda miss them howling wolves…

  3. Whoever used that old toilet last, needs to head for the emergency room…STAT

    Good to read you, Again Sipp. We’re considering a bathroom remo and much good info has been gleaned.

    Keep up the good work.

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