The Ugly and the Free

There is a reason I have not included pictures of my bathroom, other than a few shots of the artwork, and that’s because I hate, hate, hate it.  When I first viewed one of the apartments and decided to rent here, it was not the apartment I ended up living in, just the only one vacant at that moment.  The tile in that bathroom was pink.  I am not  a pink person but figured the apartment had everything else I wanted.  I was told the apartments all had either pink or green tile. I was hoping for green.

What I got was such a surprise, I got blue.   Turns out this is the only apartment with blue tile.  How fortunate.  :-)  While I don’t mind the tile at all, it brings back a sense of my childhood bathroom which had the same 4 inch tiles on the lower half of the wall, only in pink, the rest of the bathroom makes me want to cry.

So today I am going to share a few pictures of the bathroom. Why?  Because it won’t look like this much longer!!!  I had to request a modification to the bathroom for my safety, which was approved.  Most of the changes will come to the enclosed area which holds the tub and toilet, including the door that separates the vanity area from the rest.

So here are a few pictures highlighting the areas I hate and will address this year to be able to say I love my bathroom.


Nasty door with tape from a previous tenant.  I wanted to paint the door, but it needed sanding on the top due to being improperly hung and the tape residue removed.  My plan was to paint the door white and the trim around it black to match the frames on the walls.  This door will be removed and the opening widened to allow my chair to access the fixtures behind the door.


The baseboard heater.  The metal cover is broken, bent, and sharp.  It is hard to keep clean (yes, the floor has been recently swept and washed), the cover front piece never stays up on the little hooks either.  I have designed a new cover which will be made out of wood with a metal radiator panel to allow the heat to escape better.  Since the tile may remain I will attach it with double sided tape which will allow management to access the area should there be a problem, and for periodic cleaning.

Now we turn to the vanity.


This is clean.  Trust me it is.  The fiberglass piece is so pitted and scratched that it will not let go of a single stain. I have tried everything even considering repainting it but without proper ventilation in this area that is out of the question as the special paint is very toxic, something I don’t want to use. In this case I believe it would be more environmentally sound to replace this with hopefully something salvaged and repurposed, rather than use toxic paints and sealers, but it will ultimately be up to management how far they will let me go with this idea.

The caulking job is just as bad where the vanity meets the tile.


This picture above is the caulking on the left side of the sink.  The right side isn’t much better.  For some reason I couldn’t get decent picture of the right side but you can get the idea.


Since I will assume the wall above the tile will remain untouched in the vanity area, I am tackling the walls now.  The paint color in there was drab, a mixture of a dirty white and a faded yellow.  For some reason this was not painted prior to my moving in.  The paint is  flat paint which is notorious for being hard to wash along with being very dull.  In a room with no natural lighting the overall effect is just plain and drab.

Using a can of paint I’ve had on hand, and free to me to begin with, I started painting the lower portion of the walls above the tile.


The paint is not quite a pure white, and both colors are pretty accurate in the above photo.  The white has a slight tint of blue which works well in here and it feels brighter already with this eggshell finish.  I am using a can of paint that has already been used to paint the kitchen cabinets, all the baseboard trim, and a couple of pieces of furniture.  One can will go a long way in a small home.  :-)

Here is one portion of the wall painted with the artwork rehung.


You can still see the drab original paint color on the back wall to the far right.  As for the art currently on that wall, the tree was painted by me on a stretched canvas a neighbor was tossing out when moving, the bird is a cross stitch I finished a few months ago.  The dragonfly hook is one I’ve had since 2006 and was made by a local crafts-person. Finally, the tiny heart-shaped mirror was a Christmas gift from my oldest granddaughter.  She painted it herself and was pleased as could be to see I was adding it to my wall.

I have a couple more pieces of art waiting to be hung in here when I get the painting completed. I know it’s a small space but it takes me a long time as I can only stand for a few minutes at a time.  I will share updates as I complete more areas and a final look when the construction is finished.

Now that you have seen the ugly in my home I have a freebie for you.

heart for kindle

You may remember I introduced my son to you a couple of months ago.  He is still out of work, there is nothing available it seems.  He turned his attention back to his writing while laid off.

Justin grew up waiting for the day I would agree he was old enough to read my Stephen King books, when he finally read one he couldn’t wait to devour the rest.  I must have warped him because he writes some really twisted things.

He recently finished a ghost story called Be Mine and is offering it for a limited time on Amazon for free.  I will warn you, this does have sexual situations and language, if you are not offended by that please grab your copy today.   If you enjoy his writing I would appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon to help him get the word out and earn a bit of income to help support his family.

His other short story ebooks  sell for $.99 so if you enjoy this one you can read his other two.

Here are the covers with links below if you enjoy horror.

Do you  have an area of your home you absolutely hate?

45 thoughts on “The Ugly and the Free

  1. I’ll keep this short since you could spend hours just answering comments you have so many. I like the changes you have made and it makes you feel better to do them. My daughter is still looking for work but it looks like your son has a talent that maybe he’s being guided to use more. I’m not able to read or watch anything scary but so many do. I wish him all the best. This place will charge me for every nail hole and scratch when I move out so I do very little to personalize. Other than that, I’m quite comfy here and feel safe. I’ll keep him in my prayers. .


    • I still have to get the ceiling painted and rehang the art on one wall then finish the mirror but it’s so much brighter and fresher looking in there I am glad I finally did it.

      My son is working on his writing but it’s not easy getting the word out and to get people willing to take a chance on a new author right now. It’s both a positive and a negative that self-publishing is so easy. There is a lot of bad writing you have to sift through to find the good.

      My son has decided to re-enlist in the National Guard to add more income to the household. I’m not exactly thrilled but he’s looking to switch from infantry to mortar which would at least keep him off the front lines should his unit be deployed again. He also has money from the military to go to school and they would pay him extra to cover his living expenses which he’s looking into for September as it takes a while to do all the paperwork for the financing. It’s a shame when this is what he has to resort to. I think of your daughter often and hope something opens up for her soon.


      • Boy do I get that it’s a shame what our kids have to do to make a living. I don’t wish the military on anyone. My dad was a lifer and first husband did his tour. it changed who he was. My daughter has turned down 2 permanent jobs because they were too stressful. I can’t say I blame her but there aren’t that many jobs out there. She is trusting that the right job out there for her. She has more faith than I do. I run on more fear than she appears to.


        • I never wanted my son to enlist,and was thankful when he left. To have him re-enlist isn’t comforting to me but I get why he’s doing it. A monthly check and a signing bonus in this economy will help his family to make ends meet, but you would know all about life in the military.

          Has your daughter considered branching out on her own? I know someone who makes enough to pay all her bills, being frugal, by selling cookies she bakes, and so many are making money on etsy with handcrafted items.


  2. How exciting about your son’s book! I hope he does well, horror is too scary for me though, I get nightmares…

    I can see why your bathroom annoys you and the remodelling you’ve done so far has really freshened it up. I can relate to bathroom hating. We once lived in an old 1920’s house where the tiles kept dropping off the walls and we had a gas water heater that we had to light every time we wanted a shower. It would make a big whoosh sound that made showering quite an ordeal for me…


    • I love horror stories! I have read so many horror books and watched the movies it’s rare for any to catch or spook me. I just recommended a movie to my son as it caused me to jump twice (Woman in Black starring the boy who played Harry Potter) He was shocked and is looking to watch it now.

      As for my bathroom, I have a pile of tiles that keep falling off, I forgot to show those. The majority are coming off under the vanity which is strange. I would expect the ones in the shower or maybe along the doorways to come off instead.

      I can at least say I don’t have a heater I have to light.. :-)


  3. Hi Lois, I know when the bathroom is finished it will be wonderful.. I know when we moved into our first home We spent aged going from room to room when funds would allow us trying to get it how we liked it…
    Even when we moved home again, bathrooms and kitchens are nearly always the first things to be altered as we tweak them to our tastes… I am pleased you are getting it altered for your needs…

    And Good luck to Justin and his writing, He has tremendous talent, I know if he sends out his intent, then who knows how far his talents will go…
    I think I will leave the gory ones alone though LOL… :-)

    Much love and hope you are safe and warm.. xxx Sue


    • Yes, same here, Sue. When I move into a new place, even before the furniture arrives I clean everything, if I have time paint rooms, then hang all my art. :-) Once everything in in place then I go about fixing up things I don’t like in the kitchen and bathroom.

      I know the laws in renting which allow me to make improvements, but hesitated due to all the apartments being similar and not wanting to have tense situation with the management should they not want changes made, as some don’t even though we are permitted by law.

      Justin is seeing some interest in his writing recently and with the free offer has found a couple of his other stories selling. I’m his mother so I am not impartial, but I do think he has a great talent and hope his writing starts to pay off. While finances are tight, he has enjoyed the extra time to be with his family and the children are thrilled to have him home.. While I hate watching them struggle financially I am glad he has this time with his family. Secretly, I am hoping he too takes this time to see a frugal life would be better for them as a family unit.


  4. Hello Lois,

    The wall painted with the artwork rehung looks very nice! I love the paint color, and the artwork looks terrific! I’m sure the total end result will be wonderful.

    Wishing your son all the best! I’m not a big horror fanm but I will certainly tweet something about his work.

    Cheers! Carol


    • Thank you, Carol, I know my son would appreciate any help to get the word out and get noticed.

      Being stuck indoors I all of a sudden want to clean, and with that comes wanting to do little fixes.


    • Thank you. The only connection in the art in my home is that everything in some way represents nature and was handmade by someone I have met, on or offline.

      I will be sure to share the pictures when the bathroom is done.


  5. It’s nice your bathroom is getting an upgrade :) Ours needs one too, isn’t it funny how bathrooms are often the ugliest rooms in our homes.
    Very best of luck to your son Lois, that must be a worry but you never know, he may become a writer and if he loves writing that may well be the ultimate for him!!


  6. I am so pleased your bathroom is being renovated. Our homes reflect us and I can see that you and your bathroom are not the best of friends. It will lift your spirits and become a room you enjoy using. Your wall art is beautiful and it has given me some ideas for replacing some that has been in my bathroom for too long.
    I am looking forward to seeing the after shots.


    • Thank you, Millie’s Mom. You are so right, my bathroom doesn’t reflect who I am and we are not friends. I would say we tolerate each other…barely. :-)

      I am so glad you found yourself inspired to change out some of your wall art to freshen up your bathroom.


  7. Yes good luck with the bathroom. My biggest issue with mone is the caulk where the tub meets the tile in the shower. It is black. I think i just have to scrape it out and redo it. I will definitely download your son’s book! I would love to help support him being an author!


    • Daniela, I don’t mind the blue tiles and with the grandchildren here washing up after playing in the field or at the lake it makes for easy clean up. I’m just glad they are ceramic and not plastic tiles. I bet your bathroom is lovely now, I wouldn’t be happy with pink either.


  8. Lois, your improvements look to make a big difference already, and I am excited to see what follows.

    I don’t have time to read your son’s books right now, but hope to soon.

    what I will say, is the cover art looks amazing and eye catching. The sort of cover art which would/does catch my attention/interest. Can I ask did he do the covers as well?


    • Lynn, can you tell I am excited to get started on the bathroom? The actual demolition is scheduled for February or March but just knowing it is coming I’ve finally tackled the painting.

      I hope you enjoy my son’s story. He does the writing, but I do the covers. They are really easy to do as I use public domain art or photographs (which are approved for commercial uses) and then modify them to match the story’s content. Again that is legal with these pictures. Then I simply resize them to meet the requirements of Amazon.

      I hope you’ll download the story now while it’s free then read it at your leisure.


  9. Reminds me of an old appartment I once was in… It’s not easy when you have a landlord to deal with – especially if he (she) is NOT willing to pay for any upgrades!

    My sister and husband inherited an apartment building in Montreal and since they’ve been the owners, have changed the roof, upgraded various sore spots (my brother-in-law’s brother was in “charge” before and did nothing). The tenants are jumping for joy at seeing what’s going on, even if it means a small increase in rent.

    Hope yours goes well!

    (Oh, and by the way, I like the new look of your blog!)


    • Dale, I am fortunate in that if I want to put my own money into upgrades most would probably be approved but only if I hired and actual contractor for big things. Paint they are okay with us doing but not much else.

      My apartment building has been for sale for a year (they are asking too much money and won’t budge). I some ways I am concerned about losing the gardens and having a new owner that isn’t as easy to deal with, on the other hand I would love to have someone come in here and change and repair things. Your brother-in-law will have tenants who love him.


      • The disadvantages of renting. The advantages to having a handy man as my hubby is – though he’s fed up of fixing up!

        Oh, I so hope you get good new landlords (should they be able to sell!) It would be very sad indeed to lose the gardens – but what kind of people would disagree with a garden?

        Yes, so far, his tenants are happy!


        • Dale, not sure if it’s the landlords or me. I got used to owning my home and making the changes I wanted. I was fortunate in that I loved working on homes and learned from my grandfather how to do my own repairs. As time went on I needed a bit of help in the heavy jobs, but my boys were entering their teens so they helped and learned. So now if I could do what I want here all I would have to do is call my boys and it would be done. :-)

          I too hope we get good landlords when the building sells. The problem with the gardens is that the current owner is trying to sell at the higher price by listing the land we use as an area where another building could be put up to increase their income.


  10. I used to have a bathroom like you and Cat but a few years ago we totally redid it. We took everything out and started over and it’s good that we did. They found the largest nest of carpenter ants under the shower they had ever seen. It was just a matter of time until we fell through to the floor below. Now, I love my bathroom. Even though it small and crowded for two people, I am happy every time I go in.

    Good luck with all of your changes.


    • Live and Learn, how fortunate you found the ants when you did! I don’t have to worry about falling through the floor as my apartment is built on a concrete base, but it will be nice to not have to ignore the things that bother me. My bathroom won’t end up being a showpiece as it has to have grab bars and such in there for my safety, but while I hate that I need those anything will be a huge improvement. I’m looking forward to loving my bathroom the way you do.


  11. Oh… I share your bathroom woes. Mine is a total disaster. Most of it has the original plastic tiles from the 1950’s – and where they were ripped out it’s even worse… a mauve pink tub surround that was really, REALLY poorly installed, so it’s totally falling apart. The shower doesn’t work at all – I’ve tried fixing it twice, but the problem is gonna require ripping all of the plumbing out of the wall and replacing it… so for the moment I just don’t have a shower – which is fine because I prefer baths and there’s a (sort of) functional shower in the basement.

    Then there’s the tub. It looks about like that sink. I’ve gone through the same mental permutations regarding paint & resurfacing. The only thing short of replacing it might be some sort of tub liner, but those have their own problems.

    Then there’s the sink – it’s ancient and stained, but the worst part is the exposed pipes underneath it. They totally corroded somewhere along the line, so I replaced them – but the threads on the drain pipe coming out of the wall broke off, so there’s a rubber clamp-on thing holding it all together.

    But the worst part is the carpet… yes, carpet, in a bathroom! Oh… it disgusts me just to think about it. I thought about just ripping it up, but underneath is rotting linoleum. Oy!

    Anyhow, there are many days when I’d like to just drop a hand grenade in there and get it over with! Maybe someday the stars will align and I’ll have it upgraded. But then I might start to realize how horrible the rest of the house is… :-)

    So congratulations on your soon to be new bathroom… In case I left any room for doubt, I am seething with jealousy!


    • Cat, now I feel guilty for complaining about mine, it sounds like yours needs more work. Too bad you live so far away my son and I have ripped out and redone two bathrooms, although the second time I was only there for my knowledge to be sure he bought the right parts the first time and did everything right.

      The first bathroom we did was in our mobile home. That was a huge undertaking, and I enlisted my brother’s help. The tub had holes which leaked water into the sub-floor which meant it had to come out. Since everything was green I wanted everything to go. I bought a used toilet and vanity (with sink and faucet) in fantastic condition for $50. But changing from a mobile sized tub to a standard house size meant having to move a wall. We did it and it turned out great. I also found a remnant of a name brand vinyl flooring for $8 (brand new it was an off cut from another job). Any way, even having to buy a new tub and surround we were able to finish the bathroom for less than $1,000.

      I feel your pain with carpeting in the bathroom. My grandmother had osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis and convinced my grandfather the lovely oak floors were too cold. She got him to carpet not only the kitchen but the bathroom. My grandfather being the perfectionist he was, was always in the bathroom cleaning up and making sure there was nothing on the carpet. The one thing he complained about the most was the “dust” from the toilet paper she insisted was the only brand she would use. You know you can pain linoleum right? Just apply a primer first and you are good to go. A good primer would keep the linoleum from rotting further too.


  12. I can imagine that it is a good thing that you get a new bathroom, for the way it looks as well as health and safety ;-) Good luck while they are replacing it though!


    • Alynia, I am sooo excited!! Once they are done I can go back in and update any aging caulking and refresh the color the caulk as well. Can’t wait until I no longer cringe when someone asks to use my bathroom.


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