Beautifying a Half Bath – Paper Removal, Plaster Repair, New Floor

I mentioned not too long ago that our half bath/laundry room went unexpectedly out of commission when a simple toilet switch-a-roo resulted in a disintegrated floor. Remember that?

Well, progress has been made, my friends, and boy is she beautiful! Of course, we’re stuck in 95% done land now (as we are and have been for weeks with the upstairs bathroom as well), but I just can’t wait to show off our work.

This is our bathroom before. It was pretty hideous. Tony called it the scar on the face of our house! When we moved in these big white holes weren’t there. That was from the insulation instal. We didn’t bother fixing them for a while as we knew this room would be getting a makeover… We just didn’t realize it would be literally floor to ceiling!

This photo was looking from the doorway to the right. The room is long (almost 10 feet) but skinny (under 5 across) with the door almost directly in the middle. They’d already taken the toilet out, which is the only way I was able to open the door all the way! In the right hand corner you can just barely see the sewer pipe. Tony replaced the original cast-iron pipe (Remember that original for us is the nineteen-teens!) with new PVC, so the new pipe is white. That pipe was fully exposed and the toilet used to be directly in front of it but at an angle.

This was the other direction, where the sink and washer/dryer were located.

We’d painted the window trim, frosted the window, and added the old hanging window during out kitchen update to let in more light, but it was still a dingy, dark, and clearly very dirty little room! No one can blame me for not wanting to do laundry, right?

We lived with the room like this for nearly a month, but in that time we did a lot of prep work. Mom and I took down wallpaper.


I learned how to repair plaster.

20140315-082720.jpg Luckily only the outside wall is plaster, but it had one major crack and several small ones. Not to mention all the holes which had been partially filled before the old wallpaper had been put up. My online research revealed that plaster pulls away from the lath, which is what causes sagging and cracking, so I ordered these washer screws online to fix the problem. Tony used the drill to locate the lath behind the plaster, then I used a long drywall screw with the washer-thing on it to attach the plaster back to the lath. It was amazing. Once the screw hit the wood you could see the plaster just suck back in!

Then we mudded the whole thing…. like 5 times.

Tony and Dad installed a new laminate floor. This was tricky though – not the actual install, but the idea of putting down a new floor. Our only access to the cellar is in this room. There’s a big trap door that takes up most of the middle of the floor (you can see the handle in the photo below), so we had to choose a flooring option that could be glued down, as it needed to be affixed to the door. Also, the door is really heavy. There’s no way I could open it. Tony even has trouble! So, we couldn’t put anything heavy down – tile was out. The previous owners had a carpet down and it just rolled up when you wanted to get into the cellar. I personally didn’t mind the carpet, but Tony’s trying to talk me into a dog, and a hard, not-100+-year-old-wood floor would be a good place for the dog to be while we’re away in case of accidents. So, we found a laminate at Lowe’s.


The new floor looked so nice – all one solid piece! It was almost painful to have to pull out the razor blade and cut right through it around the door frame!

Then, finally, Tony and Dad built a false wall at the right side (toilet side) so they could hide away the sewer pipe. They were going to built it straight across, but the pipe’s only located in the right corner, with a little curve near the top and the bottom so it can fit around our stone foundation, so I convinced them to include a space for some open shelving and a cabinet with a door to hide away toilet brushes and plungers.


With all this work done, I could get started with the fun part – the painting, paneling, decorating, etc. The details of that process will have to wait for another post, but I’ll leave you with a sneak-peak.


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3 Responses to Beautifying a Half Bath – Paper Removal, Plaster Repair, New Floor

  1. Nancy Clewell says:

    Holy cow! That cannot be the same space. LOVE the light fixture!

  2. Pam McNicoll says:

    That was one fine project! Filled with laughs, too! It is a gorgeous room!! Great work kids!!
    Love, Mom

  3. Pingback: Beautifying a Half Bath – Wallpaper, Paint, and Paneling | A Guy, A Girl, and a Really Old House!

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