A New Throne

Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  We had a weekend full of craziness.  After some garage sales, golf, red wings game, and good food indulgence on Friday and Saturday, we put our butts in gear on Sunday to get some work done.

I had so much to do that I hired help.  The free kind of help from Nancy and Will (the ‘rents).  Mom and Justin were hard at work cleaning out the landscaping, mulching, weeding, cutting grass and fixing the lawn.  Dad and I were occupied inside arguing over how to tighten a bolt on a toilet.

My efforts really need to focus on the exterior of the house this year. And I’m so thankful I had some help this weekend.  The projects really won’t take long (many can be tackled in a weekend or two), but we are more active in the summer so if we get these done early Justin can spend more time on the golf course and I can spend more time spray painting outdoors.

    • Trim tall trees  (September 2012)
    • Repave driveway (August 2012)
    • Replace garage door (December 2012)
    • Repair lawn (May 2013)
    • Trim bushes (May 2013)
    • Clean out landscaping (May 2013)
  • Mulch (May 2013)
  • Power wash house, fence, patio and porch
  • Seal concrete patio
  • Stain porch
  • Stain fence
  • Replace garage light

In the meantime, the bathroom renovation has been placed on a back burner (Remember way back in November when I shared my dreams for the bathroom). In order to extend the life of the bathroom I aimed to replace two problem-causing fixtures sooner than later.  Which is why dad and I were arguing over a toilet tank bolt.

Here’s a reminder of my original bathroom plan.  I still love this design so my focus is to work towards this final look.

Here is what the bathroom looks like today.  The trash and Kleenex now has to be kept in the bathroom closet because of a curious little dog who has a love for tissue…

Sometime in the 1970’s, my house was expanded to accommodate for wheelchair access, and the bathroom got some extra SF’s (as well as the kitchen and master bedroom).  The square footage in the bathroom increased about 20 sq feet.  Which doesn’t seem like much, but in a little 3 piece bathroom, you need all the space you can get.
The original fixtures are inefficient and faulty.  The toilet bulb breaks whenever it is being used frequently (with guests) so it would run and on a normal basis it would use between 5-7 gallons of water per flush.  The sink also has a bunch of issues.  It’s mounted really short (30″ from the floor to the top of the basin) to accommodate a wheelchair and the faucet dripped incessantly for 2 solid years (and probably many years before I bought the house).  I didn’t even try to fix it.  Oh, and the shower fixture isn’t super efficient either.
Problem:  Whole lotta water being wasted.
Solution:  Use less water.
The best solution to the issues was to replace the sink and toilet A-sap since this seemed to be the easiest solution.  I already knew what I wanted since I did the research back in November.  So I expected to spend about $600 to replace the toilet, sink, plumbing and faucet.
Because of my mad money-saving skills I actually was able to spend quite a bit less…I’ll get more into this later.  While garage-sale’ing with my friends Anna and Peter on Saturday (the day before the replacement), I found an American Standard white porcelain pedestal sink at one of the garage sales.  It probably wouldn’t work because I have restrictions on size (possible interference with the door), so I didn’t count on it.  The price was marked $40 – and after some negotiating I talked it down to $25. If it didn’t fit, I knew I could easily resell it.  The sink I planned to buy is sold for $180.  $25 garage sale sink for the win!
You can see the difference in height between the new sink and the original sink in the picture below (sorry for the Iphone picture):
Crazy, right? I’m so excited to have a normal sized sink.  In fact, I think everyone else is more excited than me.  The short sink was perfect for my 5’2-ness.  After standing them next to each other, I felt pretty good about the sink fitting.
I already had the sink, but still needed all the other goods.  Sunday morning we grabbed the last few items and we tallied up the bill (I was doing a happy dance when I came in under my $600 budget):
– American Standard Champion 4 Toilet – $188
– Soft-close toilet seat – $35
– Water supply (toilet, 1 line) – $5
– Water supply (sink, 2 lines) – $10
– Hardware for mounting sink to wall (2 washers w/lag bolts and 1 anchor) – $3
– Tank lever (oil-rubbed bronze) – $15
– DAP clear silicone – $7
– Plastic sink trap – $3
– Extra wax ring – $3 (we ended up needed this)
– Delta faucet – $108
– Garage sale sink – $25
Total – $402 (I used my Dad’s 10% military discount – which saved me $40!)
I could’ve saved an additional $142 by reusing the faucet from the garage sale sink and not getting the soft close toilet seat.  But…a soft close toilet seat is genius (guys love this kind of stuff.  Put a cool feature on a toilet seat and they’ll want to close it).  PS – if I ever sell my house that toilet seat is coming with me.
I would show a tutorial on how to replace a toilet and sink…but I had gloves on up to my elbows and wanted to spare you the grossness involved with removing a really old toilet (don’t worry, just a nasty wax mess and some toilet water…nothing too bad.  I just don’t want you to lose your dinner).
We only ran into one issue.  After we put the new toilet down and bolted it in, one of the bolts broke as we tightened it.  This meant that we had to remove the toilet, scrape off the wax, use a different bolt (thankfully the bolt from the original toilet was still strong) and use the extra wax ring.  A wax ring sits between the bottom of the toilet and the drain pipe – it looks and smells like earwax (yuck), but creates a secure seal so there’s no leakage.  Which is a very good thing when we’re talking toilets.  Each ring can only be used once.  If you ever have to remove the toilet (re-tiling or replacing) you’ll have to replace the wax ring to ensure a good seal again.
Lowe’s didn’t have the original fixture I wanted in stock.  I grabbed this one in place of my original choice because the handles can be swapped out with a porcelain one.  I also thought it looked farmhouse-ish.  Which is funny because my parents reminded me that they use the same faucets, and so did a friend.  We all have very different styles, so it shows how one fixture can be so versatile!
I grabbed the toilet lever not sure if I was going to use it or not.  I’m glad I did.  It ended up looking odd – I would either have to go all chrome or all ORB.
I’m more excited about the functionality than the look in the bathroom.  It’ll be nice not to “shimmy the handle” to get the faucet to stop dripping.
It’ll definitely look more put-together if I redo the tile and paint.  In the meantime, I am on the lookout for a mirror replacement.
Let’s look one more time at the vision..
Ahhhh…it’s so beautiful!
Oh wait…you want to see the soft-close in action?  I thought you might…  here you go 🙂
Men – you only have to lower the seat and the cover follows.  You should try it out sometime.
And the slightly dramatic before-and-much taller after:
Mom and Justin worked so hard in the yard.  It is so improved!  I was too embarrased to take before pictures…so if you were here for the Kentucky Derby Party, please rest assured that the backyard is much more appealing.
Thanks for reading!

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