Sunday, 18 November 2012

How [not?]to get a new bathroom

When we had the kitchen redone about 18 months ago, the two men who did the work made such a good job of it that I asked them for a rough quote for the bathroom, ‘when I was ready to have it done.’

About a month ago, I emailed the one whose contact details I had, and 2 or 3 weeks ago, the other one rang me to say that ‘X’ [the first bloke] was now spending most of his time in France - where he’s renovating a ‘ruin’ – but if I was happy for himself, ‘Y’, to do the work, he would come and look and give us a proper quote. So on Tuesday the week before last, he came and measured up, did some sums, and his figure was within budget, so we said, 'Fine, let's go ahead.'

'When were you thinking of having it done?' says he.

'Well we're away all next week,' I said jokingly.

'Well, actually...'

It turned out there was a problem with the job he was supposed to be doing last week, so he could do us then! So we spent the next couple of days choosing bath, taps and shower, either from the catalogue he had with him, or via various internet sites and OK-ing by email various things from emailed pics. Then we zoomed up to Salisbury to look at tiles & flooring, which we successfully purchased and brought home ourselves, together with shade cards for paint.

We then spent the weekend clearing access in the loft for him to sort out the electrics for the shower, and taking down the wall cabinet and towel rails before he arrived on Monday morning, when we were setting off for a week’s folk dancing in Somerset.

The idea was that while we were away, Y would strip the whole room, and re-plaster/skim the walls and ceiling, put down new floor, fit the new sanitary ware & the shower, replace the radiator with a ladder-towel rail, tile round the bath and the window wall and - if we'd chosen the colour by then! - paint the un-tiled wall-and-a-half.

So he arrived as arranged, and we left him chipping off tiles, and the electrician he had organised sorting out the power feed to the new shower. Before we left there was already a slight problem…the plasterer he had booked for Tuesday texted him to say he couldn't come until Wednesday. So he rang another plasterer he had worked with before, who couldn't come Tuesday either, but ‘definitely’ could do Wednesday, so Y texted plasterer A back and cancelled him. And we set off to Somerset with light hearts [and bank balances, having paid him for all the materials and fittings!]

We were 10 minutes up the road when TMH realised he didn't have his mobile with him. We wouldn't normally have worried, as we had mine, but we’d given Y the number on TMH's phone, as he can’t work mine, so we turned round and went back to fetch it. We still arrived at our destination in good time, and became engrossed in the dancing that we scarcely gave what was going on at home a thought. 

Tuesday passed, and Wednesday, and we thought everything must be going to plan. But on Thursday Y rang. Plasterer B had let him down. And by the time he got back to plasterer A, he had arranged another job, so Y was going to keep trying to get someone, but he was afraid we wouldn't have a usable bathroom when we got home on Friday…

I think he was more bothered than we were. We have a downstairs cloakroom; so although it is further to go in the middle of the night, at least we have somewhere to go. And having been brought up in the days when bathing was a weekly occurrence, daily ablutions in a small washbasin is no great hardship either, for a few days at least, so we came home in a far less worried frame of mind than Y was in.

He’d done a lot of preparatory work. The new bath was in situ and plumbed in; the shower was on the wall; the new flooring was down; the largest irregularities of the walls filled. All was ready for a plasterer – and he’d found one who was willing to work on a Sunday, as a special favour. So today Y arrived at 9.30 with plasterer C, who spent the day giving us a lovely smooth ceiling and walls. Meanwhile Y replaced the exterior waste bathwater pipe, and prepared and fitted the new door.

Only one more night, now, of having to go downstairs in the middle of it; tomorrow the first thing he does will be to fit the new loo, then the washbasin, so that on Tuesday the newly skimmed walls should be fit to take the tiles. 

We need to decide fairly urgently on the colour for the un-tiled wall area, as – which we hadn't thought of before – he will need to have that done before the towel rail goes up, as we’ll never get behind it properly once it’s in place.

The before [on the left] and during [on the right] pictures will show you the state of what we came back to on Friday, and what it was like by Sunday afternoon.

The rest of the saga, and the final appearance – to follow...when it happens!

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