Posts Tagged ‘bathrooms’

So I was browsing through the American Radiator Company’s “Complete” catalog, which is available in full scanned version here, and it looks like our downstairs bathroom radiator may be installed sideways! Note the original ad (with my highlighting) below:


And the view in our bathroom where three large ones are installed one on top of the other:

downstairs bathroom radiators

Never even crossed my mind that they could go in a different way. I suppose it makes sense that the top pipe curves to the left though, since that would be “down” into the floor. Oh my. I had a moment of panic but then realized if they’ve made it okay for 104 years now, they’re probably alright to last a while longer.

You can see a few before and afters of this bathroom, including the mirror glass we put in the old window to cover old wallpaper, here.

Thanks to Anna of the amazing blog Door Sixteen for posting the radiator catalog link in her awesome post about having old radiators powdercoated – my dream to do throughout this house one day!

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Downstairs bathroom before and after

In summer of 2010, we had a 100th-birthday-party for our house. This was our gift to it — a new tile floor.

Before the floor was installed, though, we had a few preliminary steps. We:

  • stripped the wallpaper from the walls and ceiling (using our trusty steamer),
  • scrubbed off the ancient wallpaper glue (using a green dish scrubby and lots and lots of rags post-steamer),
  • primed (Kilz 2 latex),
  • painted (the walls in Behr RoadRunner and trim in Behr Cotton Fluff) and
  • installed mirror glass in the old window that had been plastered over (from the other side, during renovations) years ago.

We hope the house likes its birthday present! If nothing else, we are pretty relieved to have disposed of that old bathroom carpet.

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Had a salesperson from a local flooring place out today to give us some estimates for the downstairs bathroom. He was very very nice and gave us some good news that

  • The floor below the carpet is actually in good enough shape to lay a new floor over. (I thought it was all broken and horrible but it’s not.)
  • Our options are sheet vinyl, ceramic tile, or engineered wood.
  • While my preference is for tile, and Henry likes wood, vinyl is the only thing they could give us a warranty on because of the subfloor being tongue-and-groove wood rather than some modern substance like concrete or whatever it is they make house floors out of since 1910. With tile there is a chance it could crack, because of the “give” of the wood subfloor. I’m not feeling particularly pro-wood since it’s… a bathroom… and I can see water being a problem. But we do have hardwood in the kitchen that’s done okay. And it would look nice… So, maybe.

So we’re going to go in and look at some of our options. The good news is that since the bathroom is so small (only about 30 square feet) it might not be an INCREDIBLY expensive project after all. A lot of it depends on the price of the flooring we pick, of course, but still… overall it sounds doable, which is exciting. 🙂

And the sales guy was really excited about our house and went down in the basement showing us how the subfloor works, etc. and talking about how well our house is built, and how much detail the old builders put in, and how they used much higher quality materials than you see today, which is always nice to hear. Especially after another morning of thanklessly steaming wallpaper off the walls and CEILINGS of the downstairs bath today, kind words about the house are a balm to the amateur-renovator’s soul.

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Meet our new friend:

The wallpaper steamer!

At my cousin’s insistence (and after H saw his dad using one successfully on their new house in England last week) I spent a little time reading reviews and ordered this steam cleaner. I justified it despite my skepticism because in addition to the wallpaper wand attachment (that big square thing), it also features several cleaning attachments which seemed to have useful potential in other ways in case A) it didn’t work for our wallpaper (unlikely) or B) we ever finish removing all the wallpaper from this house (even less likely).


We’ve only spent about 30 quality minutes with it so far (only did a little tank of steam since it was the first run), but it’s already sped things up quite a bit in the downstairs bath.

We did all this (the “white” parts, not the beige) in only about 15 minutes – including that all-important first-timer’s learning curve! (Noted: keep a towel draped over your arm if you’re scraping with your free arm WHILE you steam with the other one. They aren’t kidding when they put all those “HOT WATER DRIPS” labels on the thing.)

So, even though we were both pretty tired from a long day of decluttering/sorting/filing work in the office upstairs, and both feeling a little overwhelmed with house ideas and plans, we decided to give this a whirl since UPS had just brought it at 4pm.

Yes, I have become the person who can jump up saying “Is that UPS? I bet it’s the wallpaper steamer!”

No, this was not in my life plan.

But anyway, despite the small scope of what we actually DID in the room (haha), this was definitely a promising start. Maybe the best part? It really softens the ancient wallpaper glue underneath well — well enough to scrub it off right away with some scrap towels. Definitely better on that nasty goop than anything else we’ve tried.

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