Project Guy and the master bath remodel

We are on day 9,231 of our master bath remodel, give or take a thousand days or so.

If you ask Nate, he’ll say it’s coming right along.

If you ask me, I’ll say WHAT THE HELL?

If you recall, I am married to Project Guy. Project Guy eats, sleeps, breathes and lives for home renovation projects and the more demolition involved, the better. After surviving the first couple of home remodel projects in our last house, I have learned not to file missing person reports willy nilly involving a 6’2″ man covered in dust, wearing a tool belt, who answers to the name of HEY! WHAT ARE YOU TEARING DOWN NOW? and who was last seen crawling through a hole in our ceiling. I’ve also learned to keep the car gassed up for those occasional trips to the optometrist to check out the tunnel vision he spontaneously develops at the start of any project.

The scope of any such project multiplies exponentially with each visit to Lowes. The budget is theoretical, existing only in Nate’s mind and typically consists of Nate assuring me “we’ll be fine, don’t worry” and me gasping for air and taking my pulse every five minutes.

But inevitably, after the dust settles and the water is back on and there is no threat of shock or full blown electrocution, I’m happy. And that’s because Nate does beautiful work. So, it’s worth the weeks and months of being a single parent and having a film of sawdust over everything and holding in pee and other bodily waste until you get an affirmative response when you holler CAN I FLUSH?

The master bathroom remodel was one I really, really wanted. We moved into this house almost five years ago and I’ve never once used it. And that’s because it is made out of ICK, YUCK and BLECH and looks like something out of Silence of the Lambs and I tell you, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Dr. Lechter crawled out of the toilet and offered me some fava beans and a nice chianti. The corner shower completely skeeves me out. It’s the smallest shower stall I’ve ever seen and there is no way I could wash my hair or shave my legs without an elbow or knee or some other body part touching a wall.

I don’t like my body parts to touch shower walls. It’s one of those quirky idiosyncrasies that Nate loved about me when we first met, but which now causes him an occasional cerebral hemorrhage.

The master bath has been considered Nate’s domain for the past five years and coincidentally, that’s about how long it’s been since it’s been cleaned. I tried scrubbing it a couple of times after we first moved in but soon realized that I could take an industrial strength power washer to it for a week nonstop and spray paint it with ten coats of bleach and it would still look like BACTERIA IS US threw up all over it. I will no longer enter it until I’ve been inoculated against every disease known to man as well as all those that haven’t been discovered yet.

And no, I’m not posting a photo of it here and it’s not because I’m shallow or superficial or embarrassed to post evidence of squalor breeding in my house. Nobody who posts a whopper of an oozing, swollen, out of control cold sore can be called shallow and superficial, right? I’m not posting a photo here because I tried standing in the jacuzzi to get a shot of the shower but no matter my settings, you can’t even tell that it’s a shower because of the angle (there is none) and the lighting (there is none) and really, there’s no point in posting a gross-out photo if it’s not sufficiently gross enough to make you hurl. I’m all about the hurl. Case in point, the aforementioned cold sore.

I use the girls’ bathroom because it has a traditional tub and shower unit. Their bathroom is also in desperate need of a remodel but we’re choosing to do it after the master bath is finished because otherwise, I would be unable to take a shower anywhere in this house for months and I’m just not up to hearing my family, let alone complete strangers, shriek OH MY GOD, WHAT DIED and watch them pass out one by one every time I walk by.

Using the girls bathroom is not without its own set of heath code violations. Instead of dealing with the potential of bubonic plague, I deal with a counter filled with an assortment of crap belonging to a fourteen year old and an equal assortment of crap belonging to an eight year old, together with a sink filled with gobs of toothpaste and a mirror covered with water spots and God knows what else, and a tub filled with hair and a floor filled with more hair and feminine hygiene wrappers strewn about. I’m sure there’s bubonic plague floating around somewhere in there too but beggars can’t be choosers.

And no, I’m not posting a photo of it here but that’s because I’m shallow and superficial and embarrassed to post evidence of squalor breeding in my house. Just forget all about the cold sore and hurl stuff I blabbed on about earlier. I talk too much.

My dream is to have my own bathroom with no hint of plague or Kotex wrappers anywhere near it. Is that too much to ask?

Nate started the master bath remodel last March. It’s now almost gobble gobble time and the bathroom is nowhere near complete. Maybe this is not unusual where you live, but where I live, this is tantamount to having my kids clean the house or do the dishes or fold the laundry or not kill each other, without being asked 46 times beforehand. It goes against the natural order of things. It simply doesn’t happen.

Whenever Nate immerses himself in a project, we don’t see him except for those occasions where he walks through the kitchen into the garage and back, allowing us an opportunity to throw some protein into his mouth occasionally, lest he pass out from starvation and leave us with exposed insulation or unsoldered pipes. He is not one to sit and watch TV if there is a wall that needs to come down or a floor that needs to be ripped out. He approaches each task with gusto and doesn’t let up until he’s conquered it and screams I AM THE MASTER OF MY DOMAIN when he thinks no one is around.

Take for instance the basement in our old house. In just a few months of working nights and weekends, he gutted it and transformed it into a gorgeous family room and took only a few seconds to sit on the top steps to admire his handiwork and the freshly painted drywall before moving on to the next project. Who cares that the next project happened to be tearing out a huge chunk of that freshly painted drywall because of the drill he accidentally dropped down the stairs that ultimately smashed through said drywall. My point is, other than lapsing into a stupor for a minute or two, he wasted no time in running down the stairs and ripping that drywall out in a manic frenzy.

Gusto. That’s the kind of man he is.

But this master bath? I think it’s slowly sucking his will to live, not to mention every drop of gusto in his being. If he were racing against molasses in the frozen tundra, I’d be hard pressed to pick a winner.

But the stuff he’s done so far? I absolutely love it.

This is a new jacuzzi/shower combo with slate tile. No grout yet … Nate’s not going to do that step until the entire bathroom floor is tiled, so I’m not expecting to see any grout until our children graduate high school or I figure out 101 different ways to cook chicken for dinner, whichever comes first.

There used to be a bluish grayish … oh, what the hell, let’s just call it HORRID … twenty year old jacuzzi tub here, surrounded by bluish, grayish … oh, what the hell, let’s just call it HORRID … striped ceramic tile. You might have liked it if you like decor known as Butt Ugly.

I, for one, do not like Butt Ugly and try to avoid it, if at all possible.

I also avoid jacuzzis. I just can’t wrap my head around sitting in my own filth. And sitting in someone else’s filth? While they’re sitting right next to you? And jets are pumping and swirling the filth all around you?

*THUD* <—— me, passing out from the sheer grossness of it all.

Nate has no compunction about sitting in his filth so he will be using the jacuzzi quite a bit, I assume. And as much as I love Nate, I get the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. I will be quite content to use the shower.

Here’s a close up of the slate tile we’re using. I love this slate. When this bathroom is done and if I’m not already ensconced in a nursing home courtesy of my kids, I might just move into it so that I can stare at it all day. Just hook me up with Wi-Fi and a fridge and a cell phone and the number for Mark’s Pizzeria and I won’t complain. Somebody clue my kids in to my current whereabouts, OK?

I shudder to think of how close we came to not getting this tile. Nate and I went to Lowes and meandered down the tile aisle, picking out samples and placing them in the center of the aisle to get some ideas.

I chose a colorful reddish splashed brown tile and surrounded it with tumbled marble pieces in a similar tone.

He chose a beige tile.

I heaved a sigh and grabbed a dark chocolate brown tile streaked with sea green and paired it with some sea glass tile running above and below it.

He gagged and seized a beige tile with a hint of cream.

I choked and stomped down the aisle and flung down a mottled purplish brown tile in two different sizes, interspersed with brass ornamental tiles.

He writhed in pain, ran away and came back waving a beige tile that he placed on the floor. Diagonally.



I stamped my foot.

He shook his head.

Then I saw the slate and held it up to him. He didn’t vomit.

And we lived happily ever after. Tile wise, anyway.

I told Nate that I wanted a shelf running along the side wall in which to store my body wash, special shampoo, conditioner, shaving creme, razor, loofah and anything else required by law to make me look and feel human. He said Negative, that’s an insulated wall. And I said Who cares? And he said I do. And I said, Can we get one of those cantaloupe things? And he said, If you mean a cantilever, no, we can’t. And I said Well, I guess we’ll just have to leave it all on the side of the jacuzzi then. And he gasped, You mean, clutter? And I said, Got any better ideas? And he said, I’ll make you some shelves on the inside wall. And I said, OK.

Isn’t he sweet?

You have just got to love a man who doesn’t complain when he cuts out a couple of shelves for special shampoo that he will never use, only to discover that the shelves are too short to house the special shampoo that he will never use, requiring him to re-cut, re-sand, and re-tile.

See why I love this man?

This is the skylight above the jacuzzi. I’m not thrilled with having a window to the world directly above me when I’m naked and contorting myself into all sorts of interesting positions while I shave my legs. I’m blind as a bat without my glasses so I have to find innovative ways of ensuring that I leave behind no evidence that Sasquatch is hiding in my family tree.

So if anyone has the nerve to spy on me, then I guess they deserve the show they’re going to get. Let that be a warning to any of you potential peepers out there. It won’t be pretty. And don’t be asking for your money back. That would just be rude.

If and when this bathroom remodel is completed, I’ll post photos and we can celebrate together.

I just hope we’ll still have cameras by then.

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37 thoughts on “Project Guy and the master bath remodel”

  1. Avatar

    Wow. That is -gorgeous-. I might just contemplate bringing in one of those little sink tubs, with some warm water, and pretending to shave just so I could look at the tiles.

    I love how you write–you have the best side-story meanderings ever!

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    You are soooo funny! I love to come and read your blog in the morning I get a good chuckle. BTW when hubby is done with your house can you send himn to mine? Best of luck on your bathroom.

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    Gosh it is beautiful though! He does do great work. Be glad he doesn’t do a half a*s@d job and it is never right!!

    You write incredibly well! You should think about submitting this into the “Do It Your Self” section in the paper!

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    I’ll give Nate props for craftsmanship. At LEAST he does good work- even if he is slower than molassas in the arctic tundra.

    When we were remodeling our kids bathroom, one of the twins stuck something down the lone working toilet in our master bath. We couldn’t unplug it and sat there for a few minutes in shock that it was Sunday at 9:00 pm and we didn’t have a single working toilet in the house! Good times.

    I hope you enjoy a REALLY nice, long bath in that jacuzzi tub when the bathroom is finally finished. And that you aren’t too old by that point to crawl in and out of said tub!

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    I’m torn between feeling sorry for you and feeling jealous! I know remodels are supposed to be divorce-inducing nightmares, but neither the bitter half nor I has a tile thumb. You will eventually end up with a beautiful house, whereas ours will turn into sawdust and cease to exist by the end of the decade.

    Fabulous tile!

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    The bathroom is gonna be gorgeous when it’s done! I hope he gets it finished in time for you to enjoy it before you’re shipped off to the old folks home!!

    You are such a great story teller. Thanks for sharing!

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    My husband loves to do projects too and my list has a few on them for this time of the year. Painting the lanai flooer we are starting next week. Wash the 8 foot lanai windows and clean out that crappy garage!!!!!!! He hates my lists. But then again, he doesn’t eat until the job is done. hehehe

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    Oh my GOSH the way you make me laugh. I really need to remember not to drink anything when I come across one of your posts in my google reader. I’ll end up frying my keyboard when water comes out my nose.
    The slate is beautiful! We are remodeling BOTH of our bathrooms right now! Our tub is getting re-glazed today. We have not yet selected tile for the downstairs bath because I need color and texture, too! And he likes beige, too! Haha. Slate is a great compromise except the downstairs bath is so small and with no natural light so I’m afraid it would be too dark for it.
    I have to say I love the fact that even though your bathroom walls are patched and unpainted right now (it looks like) – you still have a picture hanging on the wall! That made me smile 🙂

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    You are hysterical and a very patient person! The slate looks great (well look there, I rhymed) and I look forward to seeing the bathroom in its entirety!

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    So, you’ve been working on the bathroom for 25 years, 3 months and 4 days? That is one hell of a project.

    My hubby is similar to Nate when it comes to projects in that he goes overboard, but by no means does he drag things out. Hell no! If he can spend a gazillion dollars and knock the thing out in one weekend, he’s all over it. God forbid we should budget or anything…

    I absolutely LOVE the slate. Oh, and maybe we’re related? I’m also blind as a bat and a descendant of Sasquatch. Small world.

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    wow i’m really liking it! it looks like one of the bathrooms in one of my husbands houses he builds!

    thanks for your nice comment on my slide show

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    beautiful slate tile, its going to be worth it!

    but hope your dh is not like mine, our tile did not get grouted (on a master bath project that took over a year)till we put the house up for sale, so I got only one shower in there before we moved.

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    My Project Guy has run out of mojo. Can I borrow your PG please? It would just be for a few rooms. You and family can visit too. We live in Florida. It is nice and warm. We live near Disney. Please?

    BTW, I gave you an award.

  14. Avatar

    Hi Andrea,
    sorry but this is about(bit late) “70 easy steps”. Been very busy but had to comment. I only cried a few times in my life during laughing, you made me cry(and I’m 47 years old, and been around for some time)!
    I’m German and live in Australia. Davinia(penis Journal) is my best friend. She promised to write very interesting colourful things about me to you. I always follow your blog and I’m very sure all of us(bloggers, readers) would be able to create the most funny and real TV series ever. Think about it! I have to let all of you ladies think about it, cause I suffer of chronic blankness syndrome. I hope you get this comment and maybe write something back. But don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to put pressure on you. Don’t forget that I’m German and the English grammar is so very very difficult for me! Didn’t start writing until I was 26 years old. And there is no spell check in COMMENTS!So please don’t feel obligated but be kind!
    And don’t forget any of your family might one day come and would like to see the “LAND DOWN UNDER” and we might look after you! No pressure.

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    The slate tile is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! If ONLY my hubby were a project man…NOT!! He’d take LONGER than your hubby due to being OCD and a perfectionist…LOL

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    I like it, and it is almost finished, wow. My husband started a room remodel seven years ago and there is no end in sight. He isn’t obsessed he is ignoring the whole thing. sigh! Maybe next year.

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    Oh my word, we have similar slate picked out for our bathroom! I just love the way that looks. So are you about finished with the remodel? You are very patient, and loving, I might add, to live through such a project. I am not so much. My husband has “never ever finish what I start” syndrome, which I have been gradually beating out of him.

  18. Pingback: Master bath remodel photos |

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    This is so funny!!!!! My wife and I are going through the same thing right now and she hates me for it. But hay she’s the one who picked the tile not me. Not for nothing but the slate tile is just a pain in the cheeks and not the ones on my face……hope all is well by now.

  20. Avatar

    I have been searching for a shower soaking tub I can live with and love the look of yours. Can you share the dimensions, brand, etc of the tub you purchased?

  21. Avatar

    Completely enjoyed your blog laced with humor and interesting experiences :). Why don’t you grab hold of Nate and lock him inside bathroom with clear instructions to not to come out until he is done 🙂

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