More Bathroom Reno and Teaching the Next Generation

Things on my house came to a bit of a stand still for a while this year thanks to my boys.  I figured since my oldest was working construction now I’d hire him. Problem was, he was took the fact that his brother legally owns my house to ask him what he thought of the work I wanted him to do. My youngest decided that I shouldn’t put my money into the house, and told him the house was fine and I should live with it as it.

Those issues had to work themselves out.  We learn how best to “handle” those we love.  With my youngest that means giving him a few days before broaching the subject.  Should my son have decided to change the arrangement we  had and refused to let me restore the house I already had picked out a house to purchase and start over, but I was sure he was just having a bad day.

My youngest, hates construction in his home. He will live with anything if it means changing something could disrupt his routines.  Of course he works a lot of hours so he can ignore stuff around the house the little bit he’s home. He also thinks that the money I have I should use for entertainment and traveling. Unfortunately, those things aren’t easy for me to do and I end up spending nearly all my time right here on this property.

I live here.  I want my home to be comfortable, plus I want to know that when I move the house will be welcoming to a renter who will treat it with care and want to stay for a long time. I love old homes but they need care to weather the years and this house was my project to restore a bit of the past.

One day my youngest out of the blue tells his brother to do whatever it is I want to the house.  Work could start again.

The bathroom is so close to being done that I wanted to finish it off. The biggest problem I wanted to tackle was the medicine cabinet.  The room is tiny.  I realize this is the only shot that shows even a tiny bit of the medicine cabinet so you will have to take my word for how dysfunctional it was.


This was the bathroom photo from the sale listing.  Since that day we’ve replaced the cracked tub, toilet, flooring. Removed the cabinet over the toilet, started to paint the walls, enlarged the door opening and installed a new door, and refinished the vanity and storage cabinet.

Now we could get rid of the bulky medicine cabinet with a built in light bar.   This was the task my youngest bulked at.  He couldn’t see what the big deal was that I would have to remove the cabinet.

First I have never stored any thing in it and with all the storage in the bathroom there is no need for it for future renters. But most importantly is the fact that I can’t see in the mirror.  Sure I can pull myself up but once standing need to hold on well so as not to lose my balance and fall.  Without my hands free, should my hair need a good combing I don’t have a free hand to do so.  My grandchildren can’t see in the mirror either. Even at eight and a half the oldest two can’t see themselves in the mirror even when on tiptoes.

Very little had to be spent to make this change.  I had a mirror that would work perfectly. It was left in the house by the previous owners.


This was the living room on move in day. The mirror you see against the wall I knew would be perfect in the bathroom even then and put it aside to paint and hang later. Well now is later.

The only item that I would have to purchase would be a  light fixture because the medicine cabinet and light bar were one piece.  I found this light fixture in brushed nickel.


I couldn’t find a used fixture that would work well in this room and finally broke down and purchased this fixture from Home Depot. My son and I thought this would be a quick job.

Sure enough I began to hear him griping from the bathroom and knew we found another problem.

As he had the ladder set up in the bathroom he took a photo on his phone and showed me that the wiring was run from a hole in the wall where the two walls met and was simply stretched across the top of the medicine cabinet and attached with no junction boxes.

While he forgot to send me that photo I did get a picture of the hole left behind to give you a better idea where the wiring was.


The medicine cabinet was hung where you see the brown paint. For those of you who don’t know a light fixture should have what is called a junction box built into the wall where the wires can be joined and hidden inside the cavity of the wall.

How the bathroom was wired was that the electricity was run from another part of the house into the bathroom behind the toilet. Then around the tub, up and over the door frame,  down to the light switch, then up the wall to that corner (hole where arrow points) where they simply pulled the wire out of the wall and drug it over the top of the vanity to wire the light bar.

My son gave me the option of keeping the wire exposed with an industrial look or opening up the back wall to add the necessary junction box.  Don’t get me wrong in the right setting the industrial look is something I would definitely go for. But not in this house.

Luckily, he had extra junction boxes and I had end cuts of sheet rock from a garage conversion my youngest did on his house. Scraps all around.  Since, I’d already used a piece to repair the wall from removing the improperly set tiles over the vanity might as well make another mess with drywall dust.

The biggest mess is the sanding after.  When my son left he asked if I had a drywall sander. I didn’t. He offered to leave me his if I could loan him my caulking gun. Worked for me.

The moment my grandson spotted the drywall sander he seemed to know what it was supposed to be used for, just not where I wanted it used. I caught him grabbing it and when I went to ask for the sander back had to snap this photo first.


Being a sunny day it was hard to take a photo looking towards the windows. That wall is done, so all I could think to say was “No, not that wall.”  I told him if he gave it back I’d show him where we were going to use it.

As he watched his mother demonstrate where we were using the sander he got all excited and began clapping and saying “I want to do, I want to do.” Before you get upset, let me first explain that while I took this next picture his mother was right there waiting to catch him should he lose his footing. He was never in any danger.


He had so much fun that to get the wall finished so we could paint I had to bribe him with my fine grit sanding block and a paint brush he could play with around the rest of the house.

I thought I would be able to show you this section finished, but due to an illness my son didn’t make it down this weekend to hang the freshly painted mirror. I’ll leave you guessing for now what color I went with on the mirror.




  1. Isn’t that always the way, a simple project is never simple in the end! I really like a large mirror like that in a bathroom and of course it’s much more useful for you. I’d love to do this in my bathroom but storage space is almost non-existent without it so it’s probably not going to happen. I’m glad your sons worked things out so you can get your reno plans going again and put your little helper back to work. It sure looks like he’s having fun!


    • I used to think it was only the older houses that had issues because there were no standards for building but it seems like new homes have their share of problems as well. I guess none of us escape the setbacks when we tackle a home improvement.

      Little guy has a blast any time he can get his hands on tools and I love that I get to share that with him.


  2. I’m so glad your son came around. He seems to know there are no easy projects already. Nothing we have ever taken on goes according to plan either. You have come a long way in your renovations and you deserve to live with the home you want. Better they find out these idiosyncrasies now rather than when he has a renter that isn’t family. Your grandson has obviously been watching a lot of construction going on in his short years. It’s good that you let him give it a try.


    • I’m glad he came around too. He talked me into this house with the proposal that it would be a project to keep me busy knowing I hate to be bored.

      My grandson doesn’t see much construction except the little he sees here. A lot of what I do here I do when he’s not around but there are a few jobs that I need an extra pair of hands for so those tasks he watches. I’ve always embraced a child’s curiosity and always will because I feel it makes them feel they are being acknowledged instead of ignored. My sons helped with our home remodels and car repairs from the youngest of ages too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are a very wise woman, Lois. We weren’t even allowed in the house except to sleep and shower and if we couldn’t go out, we had to sit silently in our rooms. My kids were into pretty much anything they wanted. My son built his loft bed in his room out of cinder blocks and boards. He could do anything as long as it wasn’t destructive to the property we were renting. My kids were both book worms so I had to work to get them outside but the whole neighborhood played in our yard. Inside if they could play quietly. No roughhousing. They could build forts though.


        • Things weren’t quite as bad for us. When the weather was nice we were told to get outside and the door was locked to us until meal or bedtimes. We had a playroom and were supposed to stay in there when we had to be indoors, except for a little television viewing.

          I raised my boys a lot like you did. They used every part of the house and while one was a bookworm like me he preferred to be outside and read in the evenings or when the weather prevented him from being out. I let my boys do what they wanted in their bedrooms, that was their domain. While homeschooling we were remodeling a house and my boys designed and executed the remodel of their bedrooms which we were able to add to their educational plan.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. What a cutie your grandson is! Crazy how nearly any household project takes so much longer than expected due to those hidden problems. When we were fixing up a house many years ago, I discovered this was usually accurate: take the absolute longest time you think this project will take if everything goes wrong and then multiply by three!


    • He keeps us on our toes but like most children he is inquisitive and wants to try everything.

      Multiply remodeling by three, that sounds about right.


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