17th Street Project – Working Bathroom!

Hi there!  Thanks for checking back in to see the progress on the 17th Street Project!  Last blog, we discussed our first major project, the flooring, (which you can find here) and all the “fun” that came with it.  This week, we are looking at the last crucial improvement that we needed to make in order to move in – a fully-functional bathroom.  We decided to work on the hall bath first – it required less work (if you can imagine – see below for a reminder on where we were starting from) and was more easily accessible to everyone in the family.  

While I would have loved to keep the vintage pink bathtub, unfortunately, it wasn’t in good enough shape – it had years of staining, etching and Las Vegas water and couldn’t be repaired.  Not only that, but it was less than 12 inches deep!   Makes me wonder how people actually took baths in the “olden” days – it would be akin to “swimming” in a kiddie pool! – not quite the experience we are looking for these days.  Anyway, as it turns out, we would have had to tear it out anyhow –we learned the hard way that while the tub had to have been functional at some point in it’s life, it most certainly wasn’t now.  The bathtub wasn’t tied into the plumbing!  We’re not sure how that was missed in the inspection, but that’s another discussion for another day.  It does inspire a strong recommendation though —make sure that YOU check everything that you can, particularly when purchasing an older home.  We didn’t think to run the shower or see if the bathtub drain worked during our 4 different showings/walkthroughs prior to purchasing the house – but you can bet that we won’t miss that on our next home purchase!  

With the tub, toilet and vanity removed and several days spent fixing the plumbing, it was time to put it all back together!  I had long ago decided that I wanted to choose classic, vintage-inspired finishes and fixtures for the house to help stay true to it’s roots, but also because they’re classic and work with many different design styles.  We opted to go with a great octagonal white ceramic tile that is very representative of years past but still has a clean, simple design.  

Since the removal of the 1970’s era paneling took half the wall and layers of wallpaper with it while simultaneously leaving behind swirls of old adhesive, we needed to figure out what to do with three out of the four walls.  We could have removed all of the drywall and installed new sheets, had it taped, mudded and textured and then painted it —but that seemed like too much work, so I had the “brilliant” idea to just tile it.  All. Floor to ceiling.  On three walls.  Which was really 5 vertical spaces.  In hindsight, that may have been a questionable decision.  Although it looks great, it took me far longer than I would like to admit to tile that much square footage in 3” x 12” white subway tile.  Thankfully, the end result was worth it in my opinion – it’s a clean, bright, modern-yet-vintage feel that aesthetically works really well in the space.  

The fourth wall housed the single sink, six foot vanity and toilet.  Since this bathroom is the hall bath and will service not only the communal spaces in the house but also the two non-primary  bedrooms, we knew we needed to add an additional sink.  Mike tore apart the wall, installed the necessary plumbing and then re-drywalled it.  An additional sink meant that we would also need an additional light fixture, so he ran the electrical for that while he was at it.  All we had to do was put in the vanity, hang the mirrors and we were good to go. 


Small problem though —the vanity still wasn’t here.  It was supposed to arrive on July 27th – just in time for us to install it and move in on August 1st.  Only it didn’t show up on the 27th – or the 28th, 29th, or 30th – despite the retailer ensuring us it would be here any day. After MANY conversations, they decided that they didn’t actually have any idea where the vanity was – it had apparently “gotten lost in the system” and they opted to refund my purchase.  Had this been any other year, I likely wouldn’t have lost my mind over the situation — but it was 2020 and COVID had already delayed the delivery and finding another one of that size, that I liked and was readily available was impossible.  I started searching for vanities that were physically in Las Vegas and had zero luck and all the online options had extreme wait times. While I sat there in full-blown analysis paralysis trying to figure out what to do, like a miracle descending from the heavens, a giant box was delivered to my driveway.  No note, no notification from the delivery driver – just a giant box sitting in my driveway.  A box  that was excitingly vanity-shaped.  Never have I been so excited for a random box delivered to my house!  I ripped it open and what to my wondering eyes should appear?  A vanity, perfectly chosen for a bathroom, so near! I have no idea how it managed to find its way to me – but I like to believe it was kismet and it was dead set on coming home.  After a crazy amount of creative “engineering” Mike and I wrangled it into its final resting place and it’s been working like a champ ever since. 

With all parts of the bathroom installed and working, we could finally move in!   I mean, all you really need is a roof over your head, floors under your feet and a place to shower, right?  We knew better, but we also didn’t want to pay for another month of rent and our mortgage, so we loaded up the U-Haul on July 31st and were fully moved in by 9pm that night.  

Apparently, we’ve been so thrilled to have running water that we still haven’t paid a bit of mind to the fact that we haven’t actually finished the bathroom – we still need to trim it out, paint the ceiling, hang the towel rack and put in a light switch cover – but there have been many, far more pressing projects for us to work on.  For example, we needed to figure out how to live without a kitchen…check out our next blog post to see what we did to prepare for that!  


Thanks for stopping by,