Introducing Our Horrible Half Bath

We have a very tiny, half bath on the first floor of our new home that I find disturbing in many ways. This could have to do with the fact that I have had issues with plumbing and bathrooms all my life. And I’m not sure why that is. I was joking with Toby Joe recently that I should be hypnotized to try and get to the bottom of my bathroom phobias. Most bathrooms skeeve me out. I know, that’s not saying much. I mean, bathrooms are bathrooms, right? Who likes hanging out in a bathroom? I do! If the bathroom is nice enough. And I have seen some really nice bathrooms over the years. Anything less and you might as well have an outhouse, in my opinion. An outhouse serves one purpose: collecting human waste. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with such a thing. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more than what it is. Plus, it’s often outside!

This bathroom, to me, is worse than an outhouse because it’s pretending to be a modern bathroom and other than being attached to indoor plumbing, it’s so not a nice, modern bathroom. I am so grossed out by it. Granted, this could have something to do with what happened right after we moved in. Elliot (he’s two and a half) told me he didn’t like the bathroom because “it’s dirtee, mommy.”

“What do you mean, baby?” I asked.

“Com ‘ere.” He said, leading me into the bathroom. He lifted the toilet seat and pointed to a row of rust along the bottom rim of the toilet seat.

“Oh, honey!” I said. “That’s nothing! It’s just some rust. See?” I took a washcloth and began wiping it off, thinking it wouldn’t budge. But no! It smeared. It smeared just like dried shit smears. And I gagged. The “rust” wasn’t rust at all. The rust was a build up feces or something horrific that came out of someone else’s asshole, most likely a chorus of foreign assholes.

At that point I realized I had two choices: I could leave and never come back; or, I could scrub the fecal matter off of the bottom of the toilet seat. And since we’d just purchased the home, and moving out wasn’t really an option, I scrubbed the fecal matter from the bottom of the toilet seat. And the toilet turned white again! (At least I think it turned white. I couldn’t really see through all the tears.)

On top of that grossness, whomever built the bathroom made a lot of really stupid decisions. Although, I’m not sure any decisions were actually made because I’m not sure anyone asked any questions or entertained any choices. It’s more like they found some plaster, inherited a few bathroom fixtures, got really drunk (or high) during a power outage and threw something together.

Check out how they mounted the sink to the wall. (If you look really closely, you can see old floral wallpaper below it all.)

The bathroom sink didn’t fit, so they jammed it in, cutting into the door-jam.

The toilet is on an angle because the floor is as well. You can’t really tell in this shot, but the toilet leans away from the window and toward the door. When you sit on it, you’re at an angle.

The plaster walls are wavy from top to bottom so someone slapped on some wallpaper in hopes of concealing their mistakes. You will see from the picture below that I tried to rip it down before realizing there may be lead paint involved (I’m pregnant), and we gave up and just decided to gut it all.

But the biggest problem I have with the bathroom is the fact that no matter how often I clean it, it never actually looks clean. And that drives me nuts. I clean it constantly and it still looks filthy.

So, last week, I met with a contractor who is going to help us make our half bathroom look awesome, or so I hope!

In the meantime, I’ve been taking my home renovation questions to Facebook. You see, I went to college with a bunch of creative people, some of whom happen to be architects and designers. They’re also incredibly helpful and even entertain stupid questions like this one:

(Incidentally, the responses I received to that particular question were helpful, insightful and hilarious.)

But why keep it all on Facebook when I also have a blog?

Just yesterday, I was thinking about this site and all the different topics I’ve written about over the years—all 12 of them (holy shit). I wrote about falling in love with New York City. I wrote about falling in love with a boy. I wrote about marrying him. I wrote moving from one city to another city to another city then back to the first city. I wrote about getting pregnant. I wrote about having that baby and how hard it was for me to transition from “independent human” to “mother”. I wrote about my miscarriage. I wrote about culinary school. I wrote about the birth of my second son. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

So, why not write about this too? Why not admit I have no idea what I’m doing, but I have the determination to stick with it and the humility to admit I need to pay experts to do most of it? Truth be told, I’m equally as afraid of home ownership as I was with becoming a mother. So, I do hope my insecurities and worries might help someone else in the future. And I do hope you’ll feel comfortable making fun of me and/or giving me suggestions. Because I need all the help I can get.


  1. I don’t have any advice specifically pertaining to your bathroom reno. Though I do heartily endorse doing something with it because I am a firm believer that bathrooms should look like someone with severe OCD designed them. An even-slightly askew toilet is wrong.

    When we bought our first house (it was a shit hole by the way and I’m so glad we moved) I read a really useful book called The Virgin Homeowner. It explained a lot of things about house design and mechanics. And while I am still never going to be able to fix most of those things on my own, I do understandwhat the repairman, electricians, building inspectors, contracters, etc. are talking about. It’s a nice feeling.

    About your roof: we use to live in a house that was a one and half story. The pitch of the roof meant much of the top floor’s space was inaccessible or awkward to access unless you were under the age of 10 or enjoyed hitting your head of the angled ceiling/walls. Neighbours in an identical house solved this problem by tearing off the upper floor and roof and rebuilding from the studs so that the house was a full two stories plus an attic.


    1. Thank you, Nan! Gonna pick up that book. And your input helps!


  2. I know nothing about your renovation question, but I LOVE reading about this sort of thing, so I hope you keep posting it here! I really miss your more frequent blogging!


Leave a ReplyCancel reply