ripping up carpeting and jazzing up a bathroom

bathroom-1432362_1280March and April 2016 were busy months, as wood floors replaced old carpeting and the half bath began its transformation. I found myself looking at the calendar, as April and my mother’s arrival loomed in the not-too-distant future. 

Selection of the floor was a long process that included having about 18 samples of wood spread across the living room. Every day, I would eliminate another one for being too light, too dark, too reddish, too yellowish, too busy, too plain, too wide or too narrow. When I was down to the final three, I laid the 15 rejects out again, just to make sure I had what I wanted. Then it was on to selecting the winner. While it was a little cumbersome (and a little expensive with all the samples), this was a great way to pick the floor – seeing it in my space and at all times of the day and night.

The company installed the floor in a day, but I had to move all of my furniture. Some furniture was stored in the kitchen, closet and bathrooms. The bigger pieces sat in the hallway. I posted signs of explanation for the neighbors – I didn’t want them complaining … or shopping!

Even more than the earlier bathroom renovation, Oscar was traumatized by floor replacement process. He wandered through the empty apartment, mourning the loss of his cozy world through quiet meowing and looking at me with forlorn expressions. We went to a friend’s apartment upstairs while the floor was replaced – he hid under the bed in the guest room while her cat was barricaded in the master bedroom.

I moved the furniture back in before bringing Oscar back down – I wanted everything to be as it was before he came back home. It’s amazing how much stuff fits in an apartment. When I went to pick him up, he was waiting for me at the door. When I brought him home, the mix of excitement and relief were apparent on his face – he made the rounds sniffing everything and then curled up in his window seat and took a nap. I was inexplicably happy to watch him settle in – providing a home for myself has always been a source of pride; providing a home for Oscar is a source of joy.

Renovating the half bath was much less work than redoing the full bathroom, but there was a delay. This meant that it was not ready for use when my mother arrived. She was a good sport and used the opportunity to watch the guys finish the bathroom. This was made easier by the fact that we had removed the old door but the new door was back-ordered.

The only other glitch was that the vanity for the sink was taller than normal. It was the height of a kitchen counter. My mother, on the other hand, has shrunk to about 5-feet tall. My contractor and I considered various options – removing the vanity legs, etc. – but Mom wanted to try it at full height.  So far, it has worked well, as she doesn’t have to bend over as far to get things out of the cabinet. I was going to put pull-out shelving in in the vanity, but it was crowded with the plumbing, so instead we used clear plastic boxes for storage, as they kept everything clean and were easy to access.

Fortunately, Mom didn’t have to wait too long to use her new bathroom. With new floors, sink/vanity, grab bars and decorations, the bathroom was ready to go. I tried to find bright and cheery wall art and towels to offset the charcoal grey floor, white cabinet and walls and black countertop and shelves. We have pink, blue, aqua, red, yellow and purple in there – it all somehow works and, despite not having a window, is one of the brightest spots in the apartment.

Once again, the happiness I felt in providing a nice home for someone bubbled to the surface as my mother’s face lit up at having her own special bathroom. I’m really not sentimental ….

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