DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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18 August 2014

Bathroom renovation DIY

I am often praised for just living the way I want to live: I want to sew, bake, mend, tend the garden and spend time with my family. And that gives me a lot of pleasure as well as structure and purpose to my days. When the praise comes, I appreciate it but I never receive a compliment without knowing that this is a team effort - Hanno is here too, working away and helping both of us live our simple lives. 

Before.

As some of your know, we're slowly preparing ourselves and our home for a time when we can't do as much as we can now. Hanno has good days and bad days with his health and occasionally he can't walk due to the pain of crystal arthritis/gout in his ankles and feet. He has a good GP whom he trusts and between them they work out what is best for his health. What is obvious though is that prolonged heavy work is no longer possible and whatever work he does, is done as it can be done and not to a timetable.  Part of Hanno's treatment is an emergency supply of cortisone tablets prescribed by his specialist. He is to take it only when the other medications don't work. About a month ago, we had one such time and he started taking the cortisone for the first time. Within the first couple of days the pain and swelling went but he had to continue taking the pills according the instructions, and that would take him through the following month. During that month he renovated the bathroom.

After.

Some of the tiles on the bathroom floor had been stained for some time. The original tiler had left traces of glue and who knows what else on the tiles and although it was invisible, over the years it stained and continued getting worse. We also had an old vanity unit in that bathroom that needed replacing. Neither of us want to live in a home that is falling to pieces and if we can repair and replace while we still have the strength and will to do it, that is what we'll do.  We decided to buy a new vanity and taps and when Hanno removed the old unit, we discovered it had already been moved three times - we'd moved it once.  He started off by removing the old vanity, lights and plumbing, then he painted the walls and ceiling and retiled the toilet floor.


Each day Hanno did the work he felt he could do, he took frequent rests and slowly it all started coming together. We realised that to replace the bathroom tiles would cost us about two thousand dollars and we didn't want to spend that much. We got a quote for a few hundred dollars from a local floor tile cleaner, and when they cleaned the tiles we were both amazed at the change. The tiles look new again. We bought the new vanity, taps and mirror and just had the plumber come in to connect it all up again. Kerry helped with some of the heavy lifting and with putting the new mirror up, Hanno did the rest of the work. And now it looks amazing. Sadly, the effects of the cortisone have worn off now so he's got some pain back but he's really happy he did the work and I'm happy and proud of him for doing such a fine job. I cooked him a favourite meal to say thanks.

If you can do your own house maintenance and renovations, it will always be much cheaper. I think we would have spent about four thousand dollars if we'd had someone do all that work for us. In the end it cost us about one thousand; one quarter. It makes sense to keep on top of all these jobs so they don't get too damaged or expensive to fix, and certainly to change what you need to change as you get older so you can live in your own home as you transition from young old to old old.

We're changing our vegetable garden later in the year, and I'll write more about that when it happens. Small slow steps are not always easy or fast, but they get us to where we want to be.

38 comments:

  1. We had a quote of £400 just to paint two rooms. I've done it myself. Jane, Cornwall, UK.

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  2. Wow! It looks wonderful, he's done a great job.

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  3. looks really nice! my hubby also has gout. arthritis runs in his family as well. His joints are always a little stiff. He does what he can when he can. Often over doing it. :)

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  4. Rhonda, the bathroom looks great! What a wonderful husband you have! Having just retired and being the same vintage as yourself I have been checking out what is available in our city for 'seniors' and have been made aware that there are the 'young old' and the 'old old' categories that I had never been aware of before. You and Hanno are very wise to make your home as comfortable as you can now while you are able to so that it will suit you as you get older.

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  5. Well done Hanno!
    Cortisone is an amazing drug but it is a shame about all the side effects.
    I was put on it last week for my hands, the first day I said never mind the hands it has worked marvels on my arthritic knee!! I thought I would have a short course once a year!

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  6. Hanno has done a grand job - it looks neat, light and functional. Good advice for everyone too on slow and steady - I think these makeover shows have led people to think that everything can be and needs to be done in 8 hours or whatever. Have a great day.

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  7. Wow your bathroom looks great! Hanno has done a fantastic job!

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  8. The new bathroom looks wonderful. Lovely and fresh. Well done Hanno.

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  9. The bathroom looks great! We do a ton around the house ourselves - it is fun to learn new skills and it is even more fun to save the $

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  10. It looks so fresh and new and glad Hanno could do some of the work with the help of Kerry. I've booked into the Arana Hills Library talk (I've emailed them) so hopefully will get to hear you talk and say hello. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    1. Please come over and introduce yourself to us, Kathy. I love meeting the people who comment here. Looking forward to it!

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  11. Rhonda, the bathroom looks great. I'm lucky to have a live-in handyman as well ;). Hanno has done a great job. Such a good idea to do things while you are still able to. We have almost an acre (been here nearly 5 years now) and have just invested part of our tax return in a ride-on mower for Roge as that will cut down the amount of time he has to spend doing the mowing.

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    1. That's the same size as our block, Judy. Hanno resisted a ride on mower, he always had a self-propelled one. However, with his gout getting worse, he bought a ride-on about six months ago, and he loves it. I hope Roge loves his too. He'll get a good go at it with summer coming on soon.

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  12. Rhonda, I am so glad to see you address this topic! My Mister's family has not done any maintenance (beyond the most serious, like a roof) since they bought the house in 1960. They have no water pressure, the paint is peeling inside and out, and bathroom is barely usable. When the Mister's Dad died in March, we discovered how serious the issues are: the foundation is crumbling and one wall is collapsing from termites and water damage. We have already had more than $10,000 in damage repaired to one room where the water ran in behind a pile of boxes and totally destroyed the wall and window -- both had to come out and be replaced and mold remediation was necessary. In short, it has cost them and will cost the family far more than they will be able to deal with easily.

    I have always done maintenance on my house; and, every time I did, my FIL would say, "I bet that cost you!" Ben Franklin was so smart when he said one could be "penny wise and pound foolish." Taking care of the house and doing what one needs in order to continue to live in their home only makes sense. It is the largest purchase we make in life. Why not care for it?

    I love how the bathroom looks! It is bright, cheerful, and very neat looking. It must be easier to clean, too! Well, done, Hanno!

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    1. I agree, Matty. It's simply short-sighted to let obvious problems linger. It costs much less in money, time and effort if you address problems as they arise or, better still, have a maintenance problem that slows down the ageing process of most things. Old Ben Franklin was a wise man.

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  13. Your bathroom looks fantastic! We've always done everything ourselves but I call my husband the 95% man- he almost finishes the job but always leaves one little thing unfinished and it drives me bonkers! We're actually in the beginning stages of a major reno now but this time we've gone with an architect and the work will be done by others. For the type of work we're doing this will actually be cheaper and quite frankly we don't have the skills necessary. I'm so looking forward to the job being 100% completed!

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    1. How exciting! I hope we see some befores and afters on your blog.

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  14. Well done Hanno, great job. We did our bathroom up last year and put in a seperate shower cubicle for us for when we get older. Our shower was originally in the bath but with my partner having two shoulder ops and waiting for two knee ops he realised that he would have trouble getting in and out of the bath later. I tiled the bathroom from floor to ceiling by myself and we did all the work ourselves except for the plumbing and electrical. We had some tiles left over, so now we are doing up the kitchen and have used the leftover tiles in there. We removed a 1 metre wall and it is amazing just how much space we have gained by doing that. It is a work in progress and takes a long time due to my partner being on heavy medication but he does what he can when he can which is fine by me because we are not going anywhere and I know it will eventually get done.

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  15. Hanno you've done a great job. You are so versatile -- sheds, gardens, chooks, tanks, rooves and bathrooms.

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  16. What a beautiful and big bathroom you have, Rhonda! Sorry to hear that Hanno isn't well, I wish him all the best. Obviously it didn't stop him from doing a fantastic job! Tell him 'Hut ab!' :-)
    I just would like to mention that it's always important to get several quotes as they can change significantly. I had my entire bathroom done for $5000 while others would have charged nearly double. I remember trying to get a quote for painting the entire house and it was around $5500, I phoned around and in the end got it done for $1000 incl the paint!
    Unfortunately my significant other is not a handy man and cannot do things himself at home, so either I try or we have to pay someone to do so. It's a good idea to do it know when you still can.

    Have a fantastic week and enjoy your new bathroom!
    Frances

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  17. Wow it looks fabulous Rhonda you must be so pleased. I wish I could do a home renovation like that myself. What a savings

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  18. The bathroom renovations look splendid! Hope Hanno feels better.

    We designed our house with handicapped accessibility in the floor plan and easy conversion for wheelchair accessibility (especially for the bathroom and kitchen) in mind, even though we were still relatively young. We knew that renovation could be expensive on a retirement income and the inconvenience (and mess) could be spared.

    Many raised their eyebrows until someone in their family needed those facilities. Working together, making good memories of our joint efforts and keeping the learning curve going in addition to the financial savings, some of which can be put to higher quality materials, are among the benefits we have derived from our do it yourself projects.

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  19. WELL DONE HANNO!
    & Rhonda too, the bathroom looks amazing now & love the new colour too.

    i have to pay for someone to come & do any house renovations or repairs here as i haven't a clue, not that i mind too much as least it gets done :))
    cheers

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  20. It certainly look lovely. What a great job.
    Blessings Gail.

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  21. A lovely make over, well done Hanno and to you for keeping up his energy! We are doing the same and now have quite a few jobs crossed off, not many more to go. Just on the last bit of decorating, after that, a simple paint job should work wonders. The garden change was our biggest task and some areas still are. We don't grow as many veg as you but due to back problems, had to really raise our beds so I could lean with one arm whilst doing stuff with the other!

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  22. Hanno has done an amazing job! I have a husband who is a carpenter and I know the joy of being able to save so much money when completing projects around the home. We have been slowly renovating our modest red brick home in canberra over the past 10 years. We save the money first and then try to complete under budget so we can add to the pot for our next project. I will admit it has been a little trying at times, it just like they say a carpenters home is never finished!!!

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  23. Beautiful fresh bathroom makeover done by Hanno and you working as a team both using your specific strenghts. Isnt that what team work is about.
    Yes Rhonda it is wise to plan for later years now. My dear hubby has just retired and we are in the very early stages of thinking of selling our two storey home whilst we are young and able enough to down size. The trouble is that we are in a very good position opposite a park and so close to amenities. It will take a bit of searching to find the right place...but slowly does it.
    I'm in the process of beautifying the back garden somewhat with hedging but doing it with thrift and my own muscles....I have a lavender hedge grown nicely and all from cutting of the Mother bush as I call it :)
    All the best in your garden plans....theres always something that keeps us busy isn't it, but so rewarding with the right mindset....and photos to look back on seeing the progress.
    Regards Alexa

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  24. What a wonderful job Hanno made of the bathroom. I love the blue color of the tile work and the newly painted tall cabinet. I had no idea that tile could be cleaned as an alternative to replacing it.

    We are just now doing some work in the upstairs bathroom. Nothing has been done there since shortly after we moved in 30 years ago and although serviceable and not looking too bad it can use some sprucing up. A friend recently retiled his kitchen and had leftover tiles which he gave to us. We only needed to buy a few more to tile the small bathroom floor. My husband is now in the process of ripping out the linoleum a bit at at time----what a messy and laborious job! It will be so lovely when finished. But of course one thing leads to another and the sink cabinet, which he built when we moved in, will need to be repainted but that is easily done and then there is the old wall paper which we may very well replace.

    Looking objectively at your surroundings every few years and repairing and replacing when necessary is a really good idea. You can live with a situation often quite well but if you decide to sell then there won't be a lot of cosmetic changes and cost attendant on putting the house on the market. Aside from that you get the use of the upgrades that you have made and they don't all accrue to the prospective new owners.

    Having a husband who can and will do repairs is a certain blessing. Too bad that often is overlooked when considering a prospective mate. Of course often those skills aren't present to begin with and certainly weren't when we married. He's learned a whole lot in 45 years!

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  25. Love your new bathroom, Rhonda.. The touches of color are so pretty.. It sure helps when your hubby is handy .. I know we have saved so many dollars over the years.. You are so smart to be looking ahead and actually working towards your goal... Take care, dear heart.. xo

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  26. That looks fantastic! It really is wonderful when you can do such a nice job yourself.

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  27. The room looks great! Well done, Hanno! I think it is so wise to do what you can, a bit at a time. As we age we will be able to do less heavy work, and preparing for that a head is a great thing.

    I have a very handy husband too, and have been so thankful over the years for his abilities to fix things or make them. We are a good team, he and I.

    Deanna

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  28. Hanno has done himself proud! That bathroom looks like brand spanking new.
    In my household it needs woman power for all the decorating and easy DIY jobs, as unfortunately I don`t have a DIY savvy partner. Anything that needs doing is done by me. I`ve done copious amounts of painting jobs all around the home over the years, saving us much by doing it myself.
    My DB might not be a handy man when it comes to maintaining the standard of the home, but he knows how to cook some meals, so when I do the DIY jobs its his turn to provide the dinners.

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  29. Your new bathroom is beautiful! I am sorry to hear that Hanno is having so much difficulty though.

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  30. The bathroom looks great much more modern,it`s much more satisfying to do the work yourself fortunately my partner is a heating engineer who can also do plastering,tiling,electrics well everything really so we have never had to pay anyone to do anything.

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  31. I bought extra whole milk from the dairy this week to make cheese. I have been watching videos on how to. I came across a site that said ricotta cheese is made from the whey. You can make cheese and use the whey to make ricotta cheese. I made your cheese today and will go back to the video for the ricotta to make sure I have it right. The only thing I did differently was hang the cheesecloth from a cupboard knob so it will drain the whey off quicker. Otherwise I followed your directions exactly.

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  32. It looks wonderful!!! Fantastic job! :) It's amazing how a few changes can make such a difference! It looks so bright and cheerful in there! :)

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  33. Hanno has done a fantastic job with the bathroom. I hope you are both enjoying the renovation.
    Renee

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