WARNING: This post is not your usual tech-management fare. We’ve bought a new house and my life for the last month has been full of DIY, so I’m inflicting this on y’all in turn 😉

This is how the bathroom in our new house started out looking, just under a month ago. That it’s dated, dark, tiny and a big grubby is fairly obvious from the picture — what might not be is the complete mess that the previous owners had made of this room.

We planned to get a plumber in to sort it out, but first we needed to see what was under it all…

Bath full of wood panelling

First of all, I stripped off all the wood panelling. Most of it came off by hand — enough to fill the bath anyway. After that we got a wrecking bar and some tools and did the awkward bits. Underneath the wood-panelling was a load of wood glue and some bright orange 10×10 tiles. These had evidently been painted magnolia at some point. In fact, the entire flat seems to have had successive coatings of magnolia paint over its lifetime and little else!

It then became apparent that on the other side of the room (the white surrounding the bath that can be seen in the picture), 20×15 tiles had been laid OVER these small orange tiles — nightmare! So essentially all around the room, an inch had been lost to crap tiling and covering practices.

Having seen that the previous owners evidently had little or no clue, we decided to investigate further on some other points. The box next to the loo that you can just see in the first picture is to hide pipes. Some genius decided to make it two tiles wide, so that some pretty tiles could be laid there. Unfortunately, in a room this small, the expansion of the box with tiles and wood-panelling meant that you could hardly sit on the toilet without ending up with splinters in your knees. Some quick work with a crowbar revealed that there was absolutely no need for it to be so big, meaning we could free up some space and also get the plumber to move the radiator down a little bit.

Sections of wall with tiles removed, some tiles remaining and a bolster on the bath

And so, I spent every waking evening and weekend moment of the next 2 weeks chipping tiles off the walls. The single layer of tiles came off well — some would shift by just slipping a paint-stripping knife behind them and flicking them off, others needed some hammering. The real pain was the double-tiled area, especially because the tiles were different shapes. My dad lent me a bolster though and after that things went smoother. They came off in massive 2mx4m plates!

The plumber and his tiler & joiner (identical twin) mates arrived this week, so hopefully by tomorrow we’ll have a finished bathroom. I imagine I’ll be able to post some photos by next week 🙂