DIY diva

Upstairs Bathroom: In Progress

December 17, 2014 | 22 Comments | Uncategorized
DIY diva

If you thought maybe I was taking a long break from giving you updates on my bathroom because it was finished and I’m spending all of my evenings lounging around in my bathtub… yeah.


I’ve had that fantasy too.

But mostly I’ve been spending my nights and weekends covered in drywall dust. And paint.

It’s a glamorous life, you guys. Try not to be jealous.

Actually, this transition into cold and dark-all-of-the-time is hard as hell. Every year. And even though I’ve gone through this for a lot of years, it still surprises me every time. I know we like to glorify that ability to “push through” all the hard shit in life… I get it. Like, meh, it’s just a little cold and dark. Put your big girl Carhartts on and get over it. Right? Right. I tell myself that a lot.

But I’ve also learned the power of giving yourself some grace. Of saying, you know, most of the year you can’t get me away from my power tools with a pry bar and a winch, but right now I get home from work, take care of the animals, and all I want to do is put on my PJ’s and read books. And that’s okay. (In the last month I’ve re-read the Harry Potter series, Ender’s Game, and started in on the Patric O’Brian books, by the way, and I highly recommend this way of easing yourself in to winter. Even if you don’t have a working bathtub to soak yourself in while reading.)


Enough lamenting about the loss of daylight and almost all of my motivation. I’ve still been working on the bathroom (once I play enough Brett Dennen on my iPod to get me motivated by dancing around and singing into my paintbrush… it happens. (If you need some dancin-around-the-house music, I recommend checking this out.)

So, anyway, I’ve been working on the damn bathroom, but let’s not pretend this all happened in the last weekend or something. This is hours here-and-there over the last month or so…

First, you may recall, there was a ton of demo for this small space, including the tile floor (uncovering this disaster), the closet, and some of the walls around the tub. It doesn’t seem like it should have taken effing forever, but it did. Still, I eventually got it all done.

Then I got to work “rebuilding” everything. First up was patching the rotted subfloor around the toilet.


Which basically consisted of cutting a piece of OSB down to size and then screwing it in place. Not hard, just the general pain-in-the-ass of working in a small space. (Also, I did this when it was still warm enough to be cutting the wood out on my back porch.)

Then I leveled the floor. For whatever reason I’m leery about using a self-leveler (control freak, anyone?) and there was really just one corner that needed to be fixed. So I used a few screws (screwed in to the appropriate depth) to mark my “level.”


Let me just be clear that this is my no means an “approved” method for figuring out how to level your floor. There are probably much better ways, but I didn’t google it, and I happened to have screws on hand, and, you know, it worked. So. I highly recommend trusting your own brain and problem-solving skills, and not just whatever I did.

Anyway. Once I had the screws in place I used mortar and a trowel to level everything out.


Which worked well enough. This is just the base for the 1/2″ tile board that I’ll be putting down next.


Then I turned my attention to the walls.

There was so much drywall to patch, with seams that were close enough together that I had to completely finish one seam in order to mud the one 4″ over properly.


I also ended up with a funky little spot on the ceiling that needed to be patched. Note: I used the term “funky little spot” and not “the four inches of ceiling drywall from hell that were specifically designed to to crush my soul” but after a few hours of trying to patch this bitch, I can tell you that they’re pretty much synonymous.


The first patch was too small and I couldn’t manage to attach it properly.  So I finally gave up, cut a larger patch, traced it and cut a larger hole on the ceiling…


And was then able to get the patch in place.


It only took an hour, four unnecessary holes in the ceiling, and half of the swear words in my vocabulary.

So that was fun.

BUT just in the last week enough of the walls were done that I decided it was time for a coat of paint.  Which means it’s time to say goodbye to this iteration of the words on my bathroom wall


I’m going to miss this one particularly. Mostly because I make myself laugh.


That wall served it’s purpose though, and was meant to be temporary since this will mostly be a guest bathroom eventually.


Next up…


A few more coats of paint, a little bit of drywall work, and getting the tile board in place on the floor and in the shower. And then, finally, it will be time to tile (like I thought I’d be doing a couple of months ago.)

Things take the time they take though, especially in winter.

DIY diva


  • Victoria

    Good progress! My bath has been ripped up since last March, so you’re still ahead of me! :) After much deliberation (and work travel in between) I keep choosing tile that is discontinued.

  • Anne

    Enjoyed the tune, thanks!

    Books are my favorite escape solace, too. It’s good to go somewhere else while not moving sometimes. Patrick O’Brian’s acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels??

    2 days until Solstice!!! Not that it will make much difference for several weeks.

  • Jack

    I see great progress Kit. Some of the special out of the ordinary fix stuff you can run into, like the wall fixing, fixing bad floor under stool,many things I’m not mentioning. Drywall patches takes more time in addition to the extra chores a cold winter n snow can lay on us. I see it coming together good.
    Winter is a great time to rest a bit more, reflect, plan, catch up on your reading….
    ah yeah…lest I forget, use your tractor 😉
    I was born and raised in N.E. So.Dak. n loved the snow, dressed for the cold….not so much now, but like the seasons.
    constant growth…

  • David

    You’re reading Patrick O’Brian? Seriously? Ok, now you’re perfect!

  • Catherine

    Ah, nothing quite like the comfort of rereading a keeper.

    When you mentioned Ender’s Game and Patrick O’Brian, my mind went immediately to Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (specifically the Captime Vimes books). I highly recommend them to you.

  • Michael

    LOVE Patrick O’Brian!

  • mcgrimus

    Winter solstice is almost here, so there’s that to look forward to (although I’m guessing that, where you live, you’ll still have a few months to go before it’s not cold as balls and you can really take advantage of the extra daylight).

  • Ann

    The Wall Street Journal had a great article about Patrick O’Brian’s 100th birthday last week. Good info about a good author.

    Do you ever feel like you don’t know/understand what you think until you’ve written it down, reread it, and it feels right?

    • Kit

      Absolutely. (Or sometimes I write something down and then I’m like… actually that’s not quite it.)

  • Eska

    1. That song is one of my jams by him. The other that makes me dance and sing by Brett Dennen is

    2.Keep motivated. I insist because it keeps me motivated. I’m a few months into finishing a basement art studio and I must.keep.going or die.

    • Kit

      Yeah, I love Sydney too!

  • Dar

    Sorry to see the chalkboard go but inspiring to see the bathroom getting there….I have two to do and hopefully that will happen in 2015. Your tiling tutorial is at the ready…if you do something new that works please share. Nice to see the progress, thanks.

  • Feral Turtle

    Things are moving right along! It’s all the stuff that gets covered up that seems to takes the longest eh!

  • Margaret

    Uh, fall and winter get to me too, I definitely suffer from SADD, seasonal affective disorder ! I used a light box for a time. It did help but I got out of habit of using it. Rolling with it and catching up on ones reading is ok too! Stay warm and happy holidays.

  • Margaret

  • Jenn

    You read Ender’s Game. You are my new favorite person. (I love that book!)

    I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and also (diagnosed) OCD. Yeah, my brain is fun. This time of year is extremely dufficult for me. I have so many projects and things to do, but sometimes I just have to (try to) switch my brain off and (try to) relax. Stuff will still be there to do later. (And yes, easier said than done!)

    Progress looks great! I look forward to any and all updates from you, including pictures of sweet donkeys, amusing chickens, and one fantastic cat. :)

  • Susan in MD

    I have been operating with one bathroom because my upstairs one has been ripped apart for the better part of 8 months. The whole thing is done except for reinstalling the toilet. I just. can’t. seem. to. motivate enough to put the damn thing back in…. ah, well, the toilet isn’t going anywhere… maybe by Spring?

  • Linda K.

    To Jack from NE SD: That’s where I’m from and am there now for Christmas – Rosholt area. I’m 100% enjoying this blog and all the stuff Kit accomplishes that I don’t have tools or cash or daring-do to do.

    Happy Christmas to all – do-ers, followers, lurkers and all.

  • Linda Schombert

    OK, it’s Dec 27th, where are you??? I miss you and need an update on the shenanigans at Black Feather Farm!

  • Troy

    Nice progress, that’s a big job. We gutted our bathroom and started over too. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product!

  • Roy Watson

    Just found your blog, and I have to say I really liked this article – you manage to make redoing your bathroom look both more and less intimidating than it actually is. Coming from an area with a pretty long winter, I can understand why these sort of projects would take a while!

  • Charles

    You have more guts than me taking on this project.

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