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. 


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.


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.

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