Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mini Bathroom Makeover

One of the first projects I tackled when we moved in was to strip this wallpaper and paint our downstairs bathroom.
I thought I could do the job myself in one long weekend, making it the first time I made the mistake of thinking that I was good at estimating how long a project would take.  Three weekends later, it was done, but not to either of our satisfaction.  There was a reason that wallpaper was covering up those walls.  They are bumpy and cracked and should have been repaired before they were painted.  We have added it to our list of projects we'll get to "someday."

In December (six months ago now), I set out on another small project- to replace the faucet and light fixture.  You can pick out the *nice* brass faucet in the old photo, but what you can't see is that the metal is peeling.  I didn't even know that was possible.  So, I ordered a faucet online, and a light fixture to match. 

(This was the old light fixture, which I thought about spray painting oil-rubbed bronze, but I still wanted an updated shape, and shades, so I decided against it.)

Each time we attempted to tackle this project, it grew, mostly due to my unfortunate lack of plumbing knowledge.  The first attempt, we learned that we needed a "rough-in valve" to go with the "trim kit" (faucet) I bought.  It turns out that the plumbing underneath every sink is unique to the faucet above.  Who knew?  I didn't.  So, we went to the plumbing supply store, showed them the faucet and they gave us a rough-in valve. 
But the valve didn't fit.  It went together with our faucet (the plumbing supply people know what they're doing), but I had ordered the wrong faucet.  Our sink was set up for an 8" faucet, and I had bought a 4".  I did mean to buy the 8" (I can measure), but I didn't order right.  I'm usually good at buying things- I honestly don't know what happened. We definitely needed an 8" rough-in valve to match the holes in the sink, but we thought maybe the actual faucet wouldn't matter if the handles and spout are not attached to each other.

Moen CAT6125ORB Bathroom Sink Faucets - 8" Widespread Faucets
8 inch

4 inch
They look the same, right? We ignorantly proceeded, assuming we could use the 4" faucet with an 8" rough-in valve.  I exchanged the rough-in valve for the 8" to fit the sink. 

Sometime in February, we removed the old faucet to find that it left big rings on the porcelain that would not be covered up by the new faucet, so we decided to get a new sink.  And, if we were getting a new sink, we were going to get a new countertop, because ours was wood and splitting anyway.  I ordered a sink online, and brought it to a marble fabricator, where I picked out a piece of crema marfil.  I told him we wanted holes for an 8" faucet, and I showed it to him.  He said, That's a 4" faucet, and I said, We got an 8" rough in valve, and are using the 4" faucet with that.  He said, Yeah, you can do that, giving strength to my ignorant ideas. 

It turns out that a 4" faucet does not fit on an 8" rough-in valve, and we had to order another faucet. It's too late to return the 8" faucet, of course, as it's been 6 months and the product was discontinued. If only we had figured this out before the marble was cut we could have asked for 4" holes.

Alas, it all fits together and here is the finished work:

In summary, I share my story to pass along the lessons I learned so you don't have to:
Faucet parts aren't interchangeable, but they are all sold separately.
Marble fabricators are not plumbers.
Weekend projects take 1-6 months.

1 comment:

Jess said...

I love the finished product!