I’m at that weird place where so much shit has gone wrong in the last week that I don’t know if I want to recount the details of my own misery for every single person I see, or if I just want to forget the whole week ever happened.
I do know that Saturday afternoon, right about the time my truck became inextricably wedged into a snowbank in my driveway, I decided that the only way to set things right in the Universe again would be to go to my happy place. (By which I mean Lowe’s, obviously.)
I actually went there for rock salt and tire chains, but since they didn’t have either of those things, I decided to buy enough random shit to give my downstairs bath a mini-makeover instead.
Because that’s logical.
My haul included:
- One gallon of paint, trays, rollers, and brushes
- Grout stain
- A farm-ish light fixture
- Junction boxes, wire, outlets, and outlet covers
- A lantern
Yeah. That last one is unrelated, but I was binge-shopping and it was on the end-cap of the checkout aisle I was waiting in and I’m pretty sure I needed it.
Okay, so let’s talk about my downstairs bathroom and feelings for a little bit, shall we? First of all, the downstairs bath has looked pretty much like this since the day I moved in…
And in less flattering lighting…
The thing about this bathroom is that there’s nothing overtly wrong with it. I don’t think it causes any visceral negative reactions like some of the other bathrooms I’ve started out with. The “prison bathroom” in the garage I used to live in, for instance …
Uh. Yeah. That happened. But if you weren’t around back then, rest assured I turned it into something less likely to make your skin crawl before I actually moved in. I’m crazy, but not that crazy.
The full bath in the Memorial house was another fun one…
Also never showered in that room until it was ripped down to the studs and replaced with (in my humble opinion) the most awesome bathroom that ever existed.
All I’m saying here is that I’ve had enough experiences with holy-effing-yuck that the downstairs bath at the Liberty house has, for the most part, fallen into the “I’ll get to it when I get to it” list of projects.
Here’s the part where we’re going to talk about feelings. Does anyone need to go get a glass of wine first? I do.
So the thing that’s been really hard for me to reconcile about life on the farm, and with this house specifically, is that it’s been both the most amazing, rewarding, fulfilling, and simultaneously soul-crushing work I’ve ever done.
I know that some of this is just the snow talking. The snow that takes a 1-hour job and turns it into a 6-hour job and gives me fifteen new gray hairs. The snow that makes it almost impossible for me to go get hay when I’m out, and is giving my chickens frostbite, and means I spend less time with my favorite fuzzy little dudes than I’d like.
I know this is also because I’ve reached a point, as far as house-projects go, where most of the easy stuff is done. There’s a whole lot less of “slap a coat of paint on it” to make it look better, and a whole lot more of… other stuff. Like needing to rent scaffolding, and trying to find a time to get an expert opinion from a plumber, and dreading another eighteen hours of quality time with the drum sander.
And even though I’ve pretty much got a decade’s worth of proof on this website that I can actually do some shit, after a couple of months where I feel like I’m not making progress on anything, and when it seems like everything I do is a struggle, it starts to eat away at me.
It’s weird, but I am capable of feeling like both a total badass and completely helpless at the same time.
I want everyone who reads this website to know that, because there are a lot of stories out there that make it seem like fixing up a house, or starting a farm, or enjoying the hell out of life while still taking care of the things that need to be taken care of is, well, easy.
And sometimes I’m the person who, in retrospect, tells stories like it was all easy. Except it’s not. Sometimes it’s hard to finance the project you want to work on, sometimes the weather hates your guts, sometimes you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. And sometimes you need to do something that doesn’t quite make sense, just because it energizes you to do other things.
That’s exactly where the downstairs bath falls, in the scheme of things. It doesn’t make sense to “pretty it up” because I’m planning to rip all of the tile out of the first floor in the next year. It doesn’t make sense to paint the walls because I’m planning to move some awkwardly placed outlets for the “final version” of this bathroom.
It doesn’t make sense to paint the trim when I’m planning to rip it out to put in board-and-batten on the lower-half of the walls.
This room still drives me effing crazy.
I’m just going to say it. I hate the cream/pink colored walls, and the off-white switches and outlets. (And sometimes, part-white, part-off-white)
The walls are dirty, the doors are a weird gray color…
Which became far more obvious once I started painting them white.
Since this might be the room most seen by guests and myself at the moment, a quick-ish makeover seemed like a good idea, both for the overall feel of the house and for my own personal sanity.
This is not going to be a big project. I’m determined to keep it as small as possible, while getting rid of all the things that drive me nuts.
First up, paint.
The walls are Roycroft Mist Gray (Sherwin Williams) at 50%. The trim and doors are the same of the rest of the house– Moonlight White (Benjamin Moore) at 25%.
I’m also in the process of moving a couple of outlets/light fixtures that are making life difficult. Part of the reason I’ve been putting this off is because I plan to swap the positions of the toilet and sink when I finally re-do this bathroom for-real, which means all the light fixtures and outlets are going to move anyway and nobody likes drywall work enough to do this more times than they have to.
This bathroom is going to stay in it’s current state for at least another 9 months, so I’m going to invest a few hours into patching drywall now so that I can actually enjoy this space for the next year.
Luckily I have a secret bat-cave entrance to the electrical in the bathroom from some holdover architecture from the original house. This is in the closet under the stairs, which also shows an old doorway and the “inside” of the bathroom walls.
(I’m not responsible for the closet-graffiti.)
I’ve probably spent 5 hours on this bathroom in the last couple of days, and here’s what’s been done.
The walls and doors have been painted (but the doors need a third coat.)
Many of the ugly outlets have been swapped out…
And now look like this.. .
And even in a late-night picture you can see the difference some paint makes.
Up next this week:
- Moving the light and electrical outlets over the sink (and patching the drywall)
- Staining the grout back to white
- Getting a new (extra-long shower curtain)
- Installing the mirror for my old beachy bath
- Installing a new light fixture over the mirror
- Swapping out the door hardware
- Purchasing and installing this cabinet from World Market
The long-term list includes:
- Swapping positions of vanity and toilet
- Building vanity
- Installing new tile
- Patching the ceiling
- Dancing around in the new bathroom like a lunatic
Honestly though, I got the Rotozip out, tore into some drywall, and already feel like I’m back to myself again. While this project doesn’t make any sense in the grand-scheme of things, doing something that keeps you motivated should never be underestimated.
And boy, I’m so glad to be back.