House Update ~ Chronicles of a Nightmare ~ Downstairs Bathroom Part 2

This is the bathroom that began our nightmare. The original story can be seen here. In November 2006 I was taking a shower and noticed some dark blotches on several parts of the freshly painted ceiling and wall. Now I didn’t have my glasses on and wasn’t sure, but I was afraid it might be an issue. The biggest issue for us is that if they had been honest and disclosed the mold as they were supposed to by law, we would NOT have put a bid on this house because of my immune deficiency due Systemic Lupus wjicj I have battled for better than 20 years.

We took a sharp knife and peeled back part of the paint near one of the blotches and discovered our worst nightmare, black mold. Every spot we checked was the same. We took out an entire wall near the toilet and found it encased in mold.

We immediately called the Realtor to no avail so started by hiring another large dumpster (the first dumpster we had to hire to remove all the broken furniture and miscellaneous trash that they left behind in the barn, garage, house and basement (we had called the realtor about this, but were told they only left behind the things we would need for the house so we were on our own – yeah like I needed old wet moldy invoices from THEIR old business or 50 old gallon milk cartons or 4 broken hat racks or a broken vacuum from the early 1900’s or a broken high chair or the 40 cans of oil based paint that I couldn’t even get hazardous waste to take it was so old – I must have spent a small fortune on kitty litter and saved every newspaper in town and spent 2 weeks pouring old paint, letting It dry and than just tossing it as advised by waste management) or the 30 pounds of plastic sheeting cut into small unusaeable pieces or …

We began the arduous task of tearing out the bathroom walls. We found what we believe 3 separate sources of the mold. Source number 1 was behind the shower head wall. Now this is the biggest reason in the world not to use on of those over the shower head hanging caddies for shampoo and such. We found that pipe that goes to the shower head had bent and cracked. They had tied a pair of red stripe cotton capris around the leak and left it. It evidently continued to leak into the wall for an extended amount of time.

Behind the fiberglass shower walls was a thick layer of solid mold. That wall backed up to the kitchen which would need to be removed also, but I’m getting ahead of myself. In this same bathroom they had repaired a corroded sink pipe with electrical tape and just left it to continue rotting, so here is source number 2. Source number 3 was on that same sink where the pipes went through the floor to the basement and here we found the matching top to the capris tied around an old leak.

So before it was over, the only things left standing in this room were the bathtub and structural 2x4s (and even some of these had to be replaced). This room has all new plumbing and fixtures as well as walls, floor, ceiling and paint. This was a blessing in disguise because we also found all the faulty electrical (you know where they just twisted the wires together, cut off the ground and threw them into the wall behind a ‘new’ switch) and hired a reputable electrician to bring the entire house to code.

Since we had to do it anyway we decided to use bead board and old fashioned ceiling tiles to enhance the character of this old house.

It’s a hard room to photograph, but here’s the new bathroom:

Everything is painted in BEHR Innocence White and looks great. We also added a pedestal sink and sliding shower door. We put a hook into a stud to hold the shower caddy on the opposite end which is working out so much better. These awesome oak cabinets we found at a dealer closeout ($22 for all 3 cabinets because of their odd sizes) add a touch of warm color to the room. I have earth tone towels and sunflowers through out the room.

I still want to add a few cabinets to this end of the room, but they aren’t crucial just cosmetic. While we having to do this we were able to increase the storage are and have even added 2 linen closets to the house – 1 upstairs and 1 downstairs just outside each bathroom. As we understand it, this bathroom was a butler’s pantry when the house was built in 1892 and the little room at the end was a cold storage room. We have since insulated it and turned it into the ‘cats’ room for the time being.

We added an additional light in this room an I sealed each and every seam between the ceiling tiles with caulking before we painted and we added an exhaust fan. We wanted an authentic look since we had to do the ceiling anyway, but were not going to spend the money for real tin. For 10% of what the real tin would have cost we were able to use these Armstrong fiberb oards and seal and paint them to look like real tin.

I had painted the sub floor in the interim – what a relief to finally have a finished bathroom with “REAL” floor.

It’s Laura Ashley laminate in oiled teakwood and it is made in the USA!! And on sale is actually less expensive than the made in China stuff. It also a much superior quality.

final blog signature.


Hi Tamy, I like your baking counter top – I like the low windows where you can glance outside at times while kneading bread doughs or preparing for baking. You and the Sgt. work very hard on you new crib. I can’t wait for the virtual tour, love to see the finished product. Don’t work too hard you two – take time for time out.


Oh, Tamy, your old house is so lucky to finally have you as owners to take care of it! The “new old” bathroom looks just lovely.

I’m so sorry that you have had such hassles and outright dishonesty to deal with. Our old house had (and still has) problems too, but at least we knew about them! I’m sending you lots of wishes that “what goes around will come around” and your honesty, patience and care will eventually be rewarded many times over.


O.K. you’ve given me hope that I’m going to see the end of our remodel nightmare. We had to gut our kitchen because of mold. Next is the roof and then the master bathroom, and our home is only 18 years young. So wish they would have not skipped corners when it was built.

Love your new bathroom.


Crikey mate, wish I could get my act into gear and just finish sanding the top of the one remaining wall in my bedroom, so I can paint that wall and move my bed back against it.


That is an amazing story, Tamy.

Your finished work is just beautiful.

I now have a much stronger sense of the phrase, ‘Let the buyer beware.’