The big news around the Lockardugan estate these days is a successful mortgage refinance, which (among other things) has consolidated several large bills into one smaller payment at a lower interest rate. We will be seeing additional benefits beyond a smaller monthly outlay, beginning with forward progress on the side porch and atrium.
To recap, the day before Finn was born, we installed a door between the living room and what used to be the exam room in preparation for renovations. Predictably, the 20 months since then have been filled with all-baby-all-the-time, so the exam room sat untouched while we gathered some shekels and got her moving under her own power. Our main stumbling block, even before she was born, was how to organize the space in the atrium above, due to the need for plumbing—the plan has always been to use that space for a master bathroom adjoining the front bedroom. The jigsaw puzzle goes together like this: In order to finish off the downstairs, we need to put piping in for the upstairs bathroom. In order to get piping upstairs, we need to have a plan for how the bathroom up there will be laid out. In order for piping to go in, we need a chunk of cash to pay the plumber.
So, we’ve got the cash. Now, for the plan. On paper it sounds simple, but we have been stumped as to how to fit a sink, toilet, and bathtub into a space surrounded by windows and flanked by a fixed attic staircase. Working with only one interior wall makes planning difficult, because a shower on an outside wall is always going to be chilly.
We enlisted the professional aid of Mr. Scout to help visualize a solution to our problem above, and get the ball rolling on the space below. (The immediate goal is to have a working bathroom on the first floor in place by July 4 for parade-goers, and the long-term goal is to have a functional den completed by, oh, let’s say Thanksgiving.)
The upstairs room is, as mentioned before, completely surrounded by old, creaky windows. The basement steps drop down into the back third, right next to a doorway that was tacked on to the rear of the porch. The staircase is next to a surround which encloses the chimney.
Our checklist for the upstairs bathroom is:
- A shower
- A toilet
- Dual sinks
- A large, usable closet
- An over/under washing machine/dryer (not necessary, but would be nice)
Mr. Scout did some measuring and some thinking, and suggested a radical solution: Make the back bedroom the master. Flip the current “closet”, push it forward to meet the depth of the chimney, and make the back 1/3 of the space a dressing room. Chop the attic stairs and devise some kind of hinged stair solution that can be folded up and hidden. Delete entirely the doorway into the front bedroom. Delete all but a few of the windows on the side of the house and take back that wall space. Put a tub/shower against the back of the closet and some kind of vanity/built in cabinetry against the front wall with the sinks. And put the toilet along the outside wall so it’s not the first thing you see upon entry.
I did another variation on this idea where the tub becomes a stand-up shower in order to fit the washer/dryer alongside; we’ll have to measure that exactly and see if it can go somewhere else instead. I’m not entirely sure I want to delete the doorway to the blue bedroom, but if there’s another way to arrange the room to make things work better, I’m on board.
Downstairs, we’re altering the original plan just a touch to make the new bathroom more usable. Mr. Scout suggested widening the room from 44″ to 50″, turning the toilet and widening the window above to center them visually, and then using a 24″ door against the office wall, opening inward, for entry. We’ll level the floor and tile it. The casement windows I was originally considering for the den will change to a trio of double-hung units like we’ve got throughout the house, and the back door will be enlarged from a miniscule 24″ to a standard 32″ 15-pane glass (although this one will be exterior-grade steel). I’m still on the fence about what to do with the window over the radiator on the back wall; it may come out and it may stay in.
We’re shooting to have a working toilet and possibly a sink in place, surrounded by some roughed-in drywall for our parade guests. After that hubbub dies down we can get to the serious business of new windows, siding, and what to do about the floor (the end cutting pliers and I have a date with the floor sometime very soon), as well as insulating the coal cellar below (more tigerfoam) and doing something with the rickety porch off the back.