Tuesday, January 05, 2010


The girls' bathroom is the only original room in this house. It still has hideous peachy-orange tile with black trim. Apparently that was in style when the house was built in 1947. When we first moved in I replaced the vanity (I did that myself I might add and will NEVER attempt a do-it-yourself plumbing project again. There's a reason plumbers make so much money) but even that was a decade ago and it is looking sad. Then there was the leak. Michael gave me the bad news last month--the clamp he put on the leaking pipe which is in the floor of the bathroom/ceiling of the downstairs-- was only temporary and about the only way to get at it is to pull out the old tub. Might as well re-do the whole bath.

To my surprise Jeff agreed. "Absolutely. That bathroom is hideous." And so it was decided.

Since Grace is the one who spends the most time in there I enlisted her help. She immediately got out her colored pencils and drew up three different plans of where the new vanity would go, how many new jets would be on the new shower, and what the tile would look like.

Unfortunately for Grace the bathroom is only 8' x6' (hard to believe it was the only full bath for the first 50 years this house existed and I know for a fact there were four boys living here in the 70s) and Michael informed me there really is no way to move anything anywhere nor is there room to expand anything. After the time she spent drawing up the elaborate plans we can't use she was exceedingly disappointed. So I told her she could choose the new vanity.

After an extensive internet search she chose one of those things that looks like a bowl set on top of a dresser. This is progress? This is what our great-grandparents washed up with--but I know they are in style right now. "Umm, Grace, I don't know if this is practical," I cautioned. "It will be hard to clean and also it's too trendy."

"TOO trendy?" she blinked. "Isn't trendy a good thing?"

"Oh right. Usually but you know, it will be really outdated in ten years or so."

"Ten years?" she blinked again. She's a very expressive blinker. I may as well have said a hundred years. What is ten years to a 14 year old? More than half her life that's what. Sometimes she doesn't understand me at all. I thought about it. Why on earth would she care if our bathroom looks dated in ten years? In ten years she'll be in her first apartment in LA waiting tables at night and going to auditions in the day. (A side-note here about how quickly time passes when you're old--I know, a recurring theme for me--last week I was making chili and I thought, "Hmm, this chili powder is probably a few years old now because my ex-sister-in-law bought it for me and they've already been divorced two years, so I checked the expiration date: 1995. The kids were howling at me.)

Anyhoo, sometimes I have to remind myself that one of the bad things about getting older, wiser, and more practical is that if you're not careful you can end up with a suitable, non-trendy bathroom that won't go out of style for twenty years (and 15 year old chili powder). It's nice to have kids around to remind you of that (and laugh at your old spices).

So after more thought I'm ditching my practical approach. Next time you're over make sure I show you our new bathroom. It will be trendy and look great.

But look quick--it will be out of style by 2020.

Afterwards, we'll have some bland chili.


  1. So there was I, thinking it strange that my brother in 1985 discovered a tin of pepper of a grocery store that had gone bankrupt twelve years before, when cleaning out his student room.

  2. Don't touch that tile! I know just the tile you mean, and it's practically antique! Can't you design something trendy around that peach/black theme? Seriously, give it some thought...

  3. The most important part of the remodel is getting all that mositure out of there from the 2 hour hot showers.