So far the renovation of Mom's bathroom has not gone according to plan; but does anything ever go according to plan? I had no schedule. They only create a lot of tension and often conflict  between the people involved. However, I must say I am somewhat surprised the project I began six months ago remains unfinished. In self defence I am not proof of the theory that guys tend to allow the time line of a project to expand to fill the perceived time available, and I do have the rest of my life.

I was delayed in part because I wanted a bone colored toilet which is not a stock item. Apparently it only required a week to make but it was made in south Mexico and then shipped by jackass so it took over two months to arrive. I installed the toilet about two months ago and even I don't take two months to build a vanity. It has been delayed because I was forced out of retirement by a former brother and a now lost friend.

Although I didn't have a schedule that I needed to maintain, I did have one time related concern. Being aware of the age thing, it didn't matter what Mom's bathroom looked like, I didn't want it to be without a toilet for any  time at all. However, despite my greatest effort not even this tiniest issue of time went according to plan. I needn't have worried though; I was always able to make it to the downstairs bathroom on time. 

When I finally got to the task the toilet installation did not go according to plan either. I had to install it three times. The first time the toilet seemed to settle right to the floor with no resistance from the wax sealing ring. However, I left it and caulked it. Two hours later I discovered a pool of water soluble caulking at the side of the toilet. I figured a thicker ring would solve the problem.The next day I used the thicker ring and two hours later I discovered a pool of water soluble caulking at the side of the toilet again. During the second installation the toilet rocked as I tried to seat it on the thicker wax ring. A rocking toilet is not good. So prior to my third attempt I lowered the flange which was originally set for a thicker floor.

The second new thicker ring resisted a bit and the toilet bottomed on the floor without rocking, both really good signs. Still nervous about a leak though I left a paper towel on the floor where I found the two previous pools of water soluble caulking. When I returned two hours later the towel was gone. My mother thought it looked messy. I put down another towel and threatened my apprentice with dismissal if she moved it again. When I next returned to the toilet the towel was still there and it had a spot of water on it, right under the tap that supplies the water. The toilet never did leak but now  neither does it rock.

It looks good too despite a change of plan. The plan was to place the toilet with its back against the wall but I didn't have the toilet and I needed the toilet to install the venting for the Panfan. So I thought I would go against convention and turn the toilet 90 degrees placing its back against the vanity. The vanity would cover a larger hole in the wall allowing me to determine the height of the venting after I got the toilet. Before making a final decision I checked with Mom. She thought it was a bit weird but assured me she would not get confused.

The more I thought about it the more inspired the change seemed. A 30" toilet comes half way into a 5' wide bathroom. By turning it sideways it would no longer seem like we had to detour around the toilet to get to the shower. It is more efficient as well. To use a conventionally placed toilet you must first make a 90 degree turn in front of the toilet and then back up. Turned as it is you can drive straight in, veer slightly to the left and then back up. If you are in a real hurry you can jump on sideways. Try doing that with a toilet with its back against the wall without hurting yourself. 

As you should expect by now my bathtub/shower construction didn't go according to plan either. Before starting I imagined replacing the tub with a full 60x30 inch custom built shower enclosure. Imagine my panic attack when after removing the tub I found this ugly black pipe jutting into the corner of my space. I shouldn't have been surprised. I could see the pipe in the ceiling of the basement. It was the vent pipe that had to be in the bathroom wall. However, rather than bore through the beam that supported the wall like some might, my plumber offset the pipe just above the floor. This was possible because the offset is hidden under the flange of a standard tub on which you place the soap dish, shampoo and rubber duck. The reason I was surprised is that though I saw the pipe in the basement a hundred times,  on each occasion by the time I got back upstairs I forgot it was there.

After my initial panic attack subsided enough for my brain to function, I decided to simply cut the corner. Then, I didn't even get to the ceiling of my imagined 45 degree block out before planning to cut it off at 16", put a granite top on it and call it a seat. One of the motivations that inspired my design was the memory of having to steady Dad with one hand while holding a hand held shower head with the other. So I wanted to be easily able to accommodate a seat. Had I had this one while he was alive I could have sat Dad in the corner, turned on the shower and let the soothing water fall. He would have loved this built in seat. Mom and I might too. I call it my serendipity seat.

I hesitate to tell you I have begun the final phase of my renovation in case you hold your breath until I write the final report. I didn't want to rush into it so I started with a towel rack. When I finish that I will assemble the parts of the vanity that have been collecting dust for two months. I will keep you posted. In the meantime if you want to see how far I have come click here to go to the bathroom. If this door is locked enter through the photo album.