What Sue J does in her spare time …

I know it’s Poetry Wednesday, but let’s change it up a little, okay? I have house projects on my mind and I need to share them with you. You see, I’m taking a couple of days off from work this week to help out Big Brother T-Jello with a couple of things at the Jello Homestead. The front door of the folks’ house has been sticking for years, but last Sunday when I went to visit for Mother’s Day, Father Jello had a really difficult time opening the door to let me in, and we all agreed that seems like a fairly large “safety don’t.” We’ve been putting off the door repair, because while I say “the door sticks a bit” you might think we could just plane off the bottom, possibly a side. But no, Brother and I both suspect that the framing of the doorway was not done correctly lo so many years ago, and that we will be tearing out some drywall and saying things like “jack stud.”

Why so cynical, you say? Well, two years ago I noticed that the upstairs toilet seemed to be leaking from the supply line. No biggee. Just a $5 part from Homo Depot and good to go, right?

You see, it turns out that the leak was in fact from the toilet, which had a loose seal.  And that meant that the subfloor was pretty sketchy around the toilet. SO up came the 4 layers of old linoleum and rotted subfloor. In went more supports for the floor (so that’s why the floor was “bouncy” by the toilet!). And a few other things. Notice in this picture the impressively industrial-sized shut-off valves where the old sink was. What? They leaked too? (Click the images to embiggen to all their glory.)

When we took out the old vanity to replace the subfloor, we realized that it was damaged around the bottom because of said leakage, and we also realized just how ginormous it was for a small bathroom. I mean, you couldn’t open the door all the way because it would bump into the vanity. Having it out of there helped us see that this little room didn’t have to be that little if it just had a more narrow vanity.

So, out went the vanity and sink, down went the plywood subfloor, the cement backerboard, a new more efficient toilet, and new tile:

Removing the old vanity, of course, just raised more problems. The walls are the original plaster, but with a nasty fake stucco coating on top. Except, not where the old vanity was, of course. That would be too simple. Why on earth would we just be able to slap on new paint and be done with the walls?  No, there’s the issue of the dirty brown area is in the picture above, where the plumbing for the sink is sticking out (including the downright dainty shutoff valves.)  The wall is just a mess there, and would need major re-plastering or replacing to look halfway decent. So …

In our next edition of “Damn this Old House,”, we’ll discuss the joys of wainscoting in a house with irregular angles ….



  1. Yeesh. This is why I’m always worried to take on “easy” projects. May the force of Bob Villa and Norm be with you.

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