Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This old House project submission goes nothing!  I just submitted our bathroom project to This Old House Projects.  Now we wait and see... wish us luck!  It is too bad you can't vote for us!

---email submission Nov 9th 2011-------------------------------------------------

In September of 2010 we bought a circa 1900 farmhouse.

The house has only one full bathroom which is in dire need of renovation.

The ProjectThe bathroom was carved out of the existing rooms.  The floor plan is awkward.  One wall is slanted (there was a window in the way so they cut the wall around it) and another big chunk is taken out of an adjoining bedroom to recess the toilet.

The bathroom has no window so it is dark.  There is an exhaust fan from the 1970s but it does not work.  The ceiling is a drop ceiling and we can only imagine what is under there.  The plumbing is a disaster.  The pitch is incorrect, the toilet is not properly vented and there is a contamination of hot water lines crossing into cold water lines we think somewhere near the shower or sink.  The tub is undersized with thin plastic on the walls around it and grout caulking that looks like toothpaste (thick and sloppy).

Current HomeownersWe are a family of five - with three children (ages 10, 7 and 4).  We bought the house for its lot and location and knew about the massive project we were undertaking...although maybe we have bitten off more than we can chew?  I love old houses and my husband is very handy.

Budget and Time frameWe would like to stay under $10K. Our time frame is flexible.  The project could be started at any time.  It is our only shower/bathtub so I am not exactly sure how to deal with that.
Please check out my bathroom photos on my blog at
Thank you for reading this and considering us!  I love your magazine and television show.

---automated response Nov 9th 2011---------------------------------------------------

Thank you for your recent e-mail.   We are currently accepting applications for projects in the Boston area for the 2012 season.

TOH will review proposals starting in November, 2011 with hopes of making a final decision by March 1st , 2012.  Please note that the renovations are completely funded by the homeowners and not This Old House, though the show coordinates product discounts and donations where possible. All donated items are considered gifts, on which the homeowners pay taxes.

To be considered please make sure you have submitted all of the following:

Brief description of the house including house style and year built
Architectural plans, if available
Low-res digital pictures of the home's interior and exterior
Brief description of the current  owners
Low-res digital pictures of the homeowners
Scope of the renovation
Project budget
Anticipated schedule

Please send proposals to:


Project Proposals
This  Old House Productions, Inc.
P.O. Box 130
Concord, MA 01742

***PLEASE NOTE:  Select homeowners will be contacted by show producers for interviews. Due to the large volume of submissions and proposals received, This Old House will not be able to respond personally to everyone or return submitted materials. Producers cannot accept or reply to phone calls.

Why the half bath is taking so long...

It's only been a year...well okay we didn't really start working on it until the summer.

Perfection takes time you know.

And I have to wait for Tristan to finish building his gigantic shed.  Sigh!  Oh yeah then I have to wait until he insulates all the walls we ripped down - the heat is on and oil isn't cheap.  And he is getting ready for the electrician to come back and wire up the bathroom fan, light and plug.  Not to mention all the foolish permits and inspections.

I did buy the tile and guess who is going to put it down (yes, me silly) but I have to wait until the sub-floor is all set with backer board and layers of thin set...

Oh yeah and Rory keeps distracting the plumber!  And I keep taking him out to lunch...

[caption id="attachment_535" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The engineers hard at work..."][/caption]

Ode to the one full bath

Oh bathroom, how do I hate thee?  Let me count the ways...

One is for ventilation or lack thereof

[caption id="attachment_523" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="1970s ceiling vent - yup broken!"][/caption]

Two is for the vice grips that fall off every morning

[caption id="attachment_524" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Vice Grips to turn on the water"][/caption]

Three is for the layout (aka where is the toilet?)

[caption id="attachment_526" align="alignnone" width="224" caption="Yes that is a slanted wall (tub to the left and toilet tucked around the corner)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_528" align="alignnone" width="224" caption="Toilet?"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_529" align="alignnone" width="224" caption="Toilet!!!"][/caption]

Four is for the fabulous florescent lighting

[caption id="attachment_530" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Gorgeous florescent lights on sides of mirror"][/caption]

Five is for the undersize tub

Six is for the stellar plumbing

[caption id="attachment_531" align="alignnone" width="224" caption="Gray PVC? What pitch?"][/caption]

Seven is for the lack of a proper vent

[caption id="attachment_532" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Unvented toilets STINK!"][/caption]

Eight is for the cross contamination of hot water into cold...

(can you say lukewarm showers anyone?)

Nine is for the inconvenience of dealing with rigging up a temporary (outdoor?) shower while we renovate.  Hopefully in the WARM months

Ten is for the amount of time a project like this takes...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Disaster House

Okay so most of you who received an email from "Disaster House" might take offense.  Hey?!  Who are you calling a disaster?  Of course I am still giggling, wouldn't that be a hoot.

Check out this blog post comment...

Hi! My name is Mel Aman and I’m a producer for a show called “Disaster House” on the DIY network (link here: I’d love to chat with you about sharing your sinking house story for the show...

That showed up in my inbox today!  Can you imagine?  Tristan would feel vindicated I am sure.  Not sure if we will meet the "disaster" requirements, but they are interested in my basement saga...  I will keep you posted!

Party To Do

I remember when getting ready for a family party entailed decorating, planning the menu, food shopping, cooking and cleaning.  I could enlist the husband to assist, maybe buy a mum for the front steps...

Alas, living in a full-scale renovation (aka war zone) has added a few twists to things.  Here are the top three items from hubby's to-do list...

  1. PULEEZE fix the gaping hole in Jack's closet floor.  I can only envision the fun game of "throw the cousin down the hole" that might ensue...

  2. Two days before the party the kitchen faucet started squirting water out the side when turned on.  While running the dishwasher (drive portable dishwasher over to sink, attach to faucet and turn water on) I managed to soak the kitchen wall.  I suggested duct tape for its asthetic beauty alone, but hubby wanted to replace the faucet so I bought the cheapest one I could find at Grossman's.  Then went back to buy one with a sprayer (who knew they were a unit) and added replace the kitchen faucet to the "list".  This was a two night job as he put the faucet handle on backwards the first time.  That was an interesting look, but seriously impaired functionality so the next night he reversed it.

  3. Insulation, insulation, insulation!  There are full-scale winds blowing through our bedroom wall and we are going to have to resort to stocking caps (or sleeping with our heads under the covers)!  Seriously, I know that the little boards have to be cut and nailed into place to keep that rotten squirrel out and then all the batts have to be cut to size because nothing is the same width...but enough already!

You will be happy to know that item 1 and 2 were completed in time.  Item 3 is still a work in progress.  Oh yeah and a nor'easter dropped about six inches of snow on party day which led to half the family canceling.  You diehards who traveled to and fro in the storm rock!  Jack will never forget his 10th birthday.