In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson was President of the United States, the cost of a first-class stamp was 5 cents, a gallon of gas cost ya 32 cents, the Medicare program went into effect, the Grammy for best R&B Recording went to James Brown for “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” (you know you love it!), Truman Capote published In Cold Blood (you saw the movie), the Boston Celtics beat the LA Lakers to win their 8th consecutive NBA Championship (GO GREEN!), I wasn’t even born yet!!, and all around the greater Boston area, ranches and split-level ranches were popping up, and ugly, brownish-pinkish-caca-pukey-sometimes speckledish variations of tile were all the rage. I live in one of those ranches and this was my bathroom.

The before picture

I never thought I’d live in a house like this. In fact, I’m the first to admit that I used to be what I now refer to as a “ranch bigot”. I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but around Northeast Massachusetts I have found folks are either ranch tolerant, or you flat out don’t even like to party on a street NEAR a ranch! I think I partially changed my mind due to perspectives like those of Barbara Rhines who wrote an awesome piece in defense of the ranch home, and partially because I live in one so you kinda have to make peace and be thankful for what you got, ya know?

The reality is, the house is solid as can be, has never flooded, and gives Ruby plenty of room to sleep in his yard or any of his multiple bedrooms. But damn was it ugly in so, So, SO many ways. In the last 5+ years we’ve done renovations here and there like:

  • replaced the roof
  • installed gutters
  • painted the exterior
  • replaced all the windows
  • installed a new furnace with central air
  • replaced the kitchen counter, sink, appliances and floor
  • painted EVERYTHING and then painted again, and sometimes a third time – woodwork, ceilings, walls, and on and on…
  • replaced the carpets
  • updated the electric to 200 amps
  • re-pointed the chimney and installed a new flue
  • fenced in the backyard
  • landscaping, rocks, more rocks, more landscaping, removing gigantic trees that I thought for sure were going to land on top of the house or cars

and so…that brings us to the bathroom. In mid-March 2012, renovation of the main bathroom began, and of course I thought it would be fun to photo-document and blog about it. It was fun, in the beginning, and then it sort of got…complicated, as these things often do. 3 weeks to complete the job turned into 2+ months and for awhile all I could write was a rage journal! But in the end, I did get lots of pictures every step of the way, stuck to a tight budget that was Type-A managed via a Google spreadsheet, learned a LOT, and best of all…I no longer have to deny my guests beverages due to embarrassment that they may need to use the bathroom. So grab a cocktail and I’ll see you back at the ranch, where in part 2 we’re talking money!