Tuesday, 12 May 2009

New Shower!

We'd done a bit of mend-and-make-do with the shower tiles occasionally falling off (and boy, is it painful if they land on a foot), but the last time it was obvious that more a drastic response was required. I set about getting bids for a new shower and shower enclosure around about September- October 2008. My experience with that led me to write to our running club e-group in November for any recommendations they had:

Preferably someone who

a) returns phone calls
b) keeps appointments (not even on time -- at all)
c) gives their estimate in writing
d) doesn't want 80% up front before they set foot in the door
e) doesn't want to put holes in the outside wall
f) doesn't cancel and reschedule because the wife didn't allocate enough time (never mind you have company coming the next week)
g) doesn't substitute blue materials for white at the last minute and then cancel the job because you're too picky
h) doesn't want £2,000 - £10,000 for a basic shower with enclosure (OK, so for £10K you get a remote control...)

One person recommended some Polish contractors, who were lovely but regretted that they were booked up. (If any British builder ever complains to me that the Poles have taken all their business, they will get an ear full from me...)

So, I just used a couple of bin liners and large amounts of duct tape to prevent further leaking and potential damage to the kitchen ceiling and wall downstairs until I could figure out the next step. Bill decided it would be DIY (Do It Yourself). We'd done some initial looking around at options, but the choices were so vast as to be overwhelming. Then came Chris and Jane for a long off-and-on visit, our trip to Prague, Thanksgiving, Christmas followed by illness.

We managed to get to a DIY shop in January (with a much narrower but sufficient range), and order the necessary materials, but it took over a month for them to be delivered to us. Then came Bill's Mom's illness and death, Chris and Jane's 3-week visit, some much needed rest and finally, over the long Easter weekend, Bill set out to replace the shower.

I did nothing to help -- there wasn't room in the bathroom for both of us -- and Bill needed to figure things out as he went. All I could do was supply cups of coffee and suggest an occasional break. I think he did a sterling job. If I'd known he could do such neat work, I'd have been pestering to do lots more around the place!! And he was a very tidy worker, putting everything away and sweeping up when he was done each evening, which really impressed me.

This house was originally built with four bedrooms, a bathroom and a WC (water closet: just a room with a toilet). The previous owners took out the WC and bathroom and turned the 4th bedroom into the bathroom, leaving a large area at the top of the stairs, big enough for a TV viewing area (saves the living room from being dominated by that evil box). I hadn't really appreciated what had been where until Bill pointed out the concrete hearth in the corner.

It made me stop and think what a cozy little (8 x 9.5 feet) room this would have been with it's corner fireplace and to wish they had chosen the other small bedroom (10 x 7.5 feet) to convert, as it has a connecting door into the double bedroom next to it and would have been an 'en suite'. But they didn't...

Anyhow, here is Before:

And here is After:

There is still painting and re-decorating to be done, but hey, having a nice new shower is bliss, people, total bliss. And did I mention it cost a quarter of the lowest bid we ever had?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is great to have a handy may around the house. I think you ought to keep him!!