We completely refurbished the bathroom 14 years ago and have done very little to it since then. Not surprisingly, it’s been looking rather “tired” for a while now. Corners and edges of the textured, white-painted wallpaper were lifting and it wasn’t even all that white any more. The grout and sealant in the shower were even more discoloured, despite much scrubbing with bleach.
Last weekend I decided I couldn’t ignore this state of affairs any longer. It had got to the point where I was embarrassed to let anyone into the bathroom, even family. So I took down and removed everything fixed to the walls (mirrors, window blind, pictures, hooks, rails, etc) and deep-cleaned the room from top to bottom. Then I set about sticking down all the loose edges of wallpaper by sliding glue underneath with an artist’s paintbrush and pressing the paper down with a seam roller. I sent my dear husband off to a DIY store for a tin of kitchen and bathroom emulsion – the type that can withstand a lot of moisture and cleaning – and when he got back we started painting while the enthusiasm was still with us.
The bathroom looked an awful lot better after just this lick of paint, but the evil-looking grout still needed tackling. I tried a diamond-encrusted disk on a vibrating tool and a Dremel-type multitool fitted with a cutting disk before concluding that the manual grout rake we’ve had for donkeys’ years was as good as anything. It was hard work raking out all the old grout from between the tiles, and very tedious cutting out the old silicone sealant where the tiles abut the shower tray and the enclosure. I did it in stages, an hour or so at a time, over a couple of days.
We’ve just finished the re-grouting and re-sealing. The room looks like new and I am no longer too ashamed to let anyone see it. Fortunately, we have a separate bath which is so seldom used that its tiles and grout are still in pristine condition after 13 years, meaning it hasn’t been necessary to shower at friends’ houses while this is going on.
I’ve been sewing this week as well as decorating. I still need new chair covers for the old dining chairs we use in our bedroom for piling clothes on (as you do). I found two remnants of John Lewis fabric in The Shuttle which are a very good match for the carpet and I’m in the process of making the covers. They will have an inverted pleat in the “skirt” at each front leg and another long inverted pleat down the back to allow room to get the covers on and off. I need to decide how to hold this rear pleat closed at seat level; the previous chair covers have a button on each side with cord wrapped round them and tied in a bow, but the new fabric isn’t as strong and I’m afraid the buttons will pull and distort the fabric.