At Home With Melinda Curtis
Author Melinda Curtis gives us a peek into her master bath remodel, DIY-style!
Hey, peeps! Melinda Curtis here. I write sweet romance, and sweet romantic comedies, full-time.
My husband and I have been renovating the house we’ve lived in for 27 years since… February. (Hangs head in shame.) Why has it been taking us so long?
Well, my husband grew up in construction and he wanted to do some of the work himself. And it seems like I’ve been on deadline after deadline all year long. Plus it was nearly a complete gut—not down to the studs, but we did replace windows, window coverings, baseboards, floors, painted the kitchen cabinets, installed new counter tops and a sink, plus remodeled the master bathroom. The master bathroom was the last item on our list and has been going on for three months. Which is what I'm going to focus on here.
First we did the demo, leaving the old cabinetry (real wood!) and the counter tops we installed two years ago. Demo meant taking out the plastic shower, the toilet, and the linoleum. And guess what? We found mold behind the shower. Good thing we saw Mike Holmes advertising a mold spray. Followed directions. Hoped the mold was sealed (bites fingernails).
Note the fish painted on the wall. My mother painted them when we moved in. She’s now 91 and bedridden, and my family (kids, brothers, nieces and nephews) are all protesting doing anything to remove this artistic element. Hmmm... Suggestions on how to honor this artwork welcome.
But I digress on the shower story. The shower pan the tiler ordered wasn’t the right size—this is what directs the water into the drain—so we had to wait three weeks for a different one to come in. Except it didn’t quite fit, so they had to cut out some of the 2x4's and add some new ones. Belatedly they realized some of the 2x4's were in the way of the two shower boxes they promised us. That required more carpentry.
Finally, they were ready to build the features of the shower—the bench for Mr. Curtis and a ledge for me to shave my legs (every woman should have one). The shower panels were installed next.
Everything seemed fine until the plumber came to install the hardware.
See the shower head? He broke the pipe in the wall behind the shower panel trying to install it. My man had to cut through the wall in the bathroom next door so he could replace the pipe. It works, but sadly the big shower head provides little pressure. (Note to self: buy a smaller shower head as soon as you finish your next book).
Then the tilers came to install the pretty mosaic tile we selected. Pretty mosaic tile with just the right amount of neutrals to tie in the shower panel to the existing cabinetry. The tiler suggested a dark grout to compliment the gray on the shower panel.
It stained the tile (because he didn’t seal it first) and turned everything a dark brown, which will cost us to remove but it looks hideous. Except the tiler made a mistake by attaching the fragile mosaic tile with yellow adhesive rather than a concrete mix.
On top of that, he left in a hurry to go to another job and didn't clean between the tiles properly. Which meant, when he returned he had to chip out the adhesive (note: this is a bad thing), which cracked the straight edges of tile or cracked the tile completely. Plus he missed several times with his chipper and scraped the heck out of the glass tile. Ugh.
I think this was the only time during this remodel that I cried. But the tilers did come out a few weeks ago and remove the floor tile.
We did try to put in the mosaic tile again—this time with mastic and an alabaster grout, and I resealed the tiles myself. It looks ten gazillion times better, but is still a shade yellower than before. However, now the tiler is busy and doesn’t want to reschedule a return trip to demo the strip and shampoo boxes.
I’m reminded of all those uplifting sayings, What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; It’s hard to beat a person who doesn’t give up; Fall seven times and get up eight. Because in the end, no one was seriously hurt during this renovation, it doesn’t define me as a person, and experience is always fodder for the next book.
Have I scared you from ever remodeling or doing your own DIY? Have you ever had a remodel or DIY project go horribly wrong? Do you have any suggestions for my mother’s fish? Tell us in the comments or use #AtHomeWith on Social Media to join the #PHS community's discussion.