I’ve been waiting a really long time to say that! But I’m going to wait one more paragraph because I also want to talk about the washing machine. My stairs are really, really narrow, particularly heading down to the basement because the foundation walls are rubble stone and much thicker than the brick that was used above grade. At this bottleneck, I measured about 22 inches. That’s not a typo. I could widen it to 25 by tearing out the wall separating the stairwell from the living room but it looks like if I want a standard size washer and dryer down there, I will need to either grind out part of the stone wall or cut out part of the living room floor – it sticks out beyond a joist, so I could do this. That doesn’t mean I want to. So, I may have to go with 24 inch European appliances.
On the bright side, my dad is smart. He suggested that since there isn’t much holding the stairs in, we’ll just disconnect them, put them aside, and hoist the washer and dryer down with ropes, so at least I’ll save the cost of having them dismantled in my living room and reassembled in the basement. I also want to see if I can do anything creative with the wall framing to get a teeny bit more width in there. I will never gain the extra 14 inches code requires, but I hope I can pick up something.
Now on to the bathroom! First, a reminder. I moved it about 8 feet toward the front of the house and sacrificed one of the house’s 3 original bedrooms. In exchange, I got 3 usable closets (on top of the one original closet that I kept and will use for linens because it’s shallow), larger (but still small) back bedroom, and a pretty generously sized bathroom with 2 sinks and a large window that is across the room from the tub. Here’s a floor plan and photo of the tile:
I was really excited to find this tile, partly because it’s cheap and partly because I had no idea what I wanted, except that I wanted something that is nice and not overused. The one downside I can think of is that I only have field tile, no bullnosed pieces for edges or corners. Typically I think these are important details. This might be a silly quirk of mine, but I feel very strongly that tile looks better when it’s made to look thick, like mud set tile that’s 60+ years old, with substantial rounded edges on the trim. You could fake this by shimming out the tile backer board so it just beyond the wall surface. This (my parents’ powder room) is what I’m talking about. The symmetrical corner pieces and similar edge trim both. The irregular cracked metallic glaze is awesome, but I wasn’t under any circumstances expecting to have that.
The tile I have is way different than that. It’s 3/8 of an inch thick and the manufacturer intended it to have 3/8 inch grout joints between tiles. I might go a little thinner than that, but it won’t be the thin lines seen in most bathrooms.
My tile is much, much thicker than standard glazed porcelain so I think it’ll still have a thick substantial look. Here it is on edge:
Like I said, all the tile I bought has unfinished edges like these. I could buy bullnose tiles; they’re still made. But I could have never afforded these if they hadn’t been on Craigslist; the edge tiles alone would probably cost a mint. The seller told me that he marked a line next to the tiles with masking tape and then filled in an angled grout joint covering them where they meet the wall. I think that’ll be the plan. Outside corners will be a little bit more work. The grout joint would be way too big, so I’m going to miter the edges of the tile. Meaning, I’m going to cut out some of the clay behind the finished face of the tiles so they can fit tighter together. Here’s a crude illustration. I hope you’re used to my red lines in MS Paint by now.
Then the tiles can slide a little closer together and the joint width will match whatever I end up doing where the tiles are on the same wall. I’ll need these running up the walls on both sides of the bathtub alcove. If you can picture this, there will be tile all around the tub, but I think it should also wrap around this corner and have one row on the wall to the right.
On the left side of the tub, the tub alcove will jut in an inch or so beyond the rest of the wall, so there will be small cut pieces of tile wrapping the corner there, too. Maybe sooner or later I’ll find a slab of marble to use for the vanity top, and the tile grout will be a medium grey. That should tie everything together. Oh and all around the room outside the alcove I plan to install 2 or 3 rows of blue tiles for a baseboard since I have a pretty bold color on the wall and the rest of the room is neutral.
Then inside the bathtub I plan on building a recessed storage alcove. I’ve seen people build several, but considering what I have to do to make corners on these tiles, I’m not interested. Instead I’ll add shelves within it, which could be marble or glass. What do you think would be better? If I do marble, I could cut down and reuse a window sill from the old bathroom. On the other hand, my tiles are dark, so maybe the marble would stick out like a sore thumb and I’m better off with glass.
So what’s everyone think? Sound good? And feel free to say no.