Monday, July 28, 2008

One more house project?

It's gray outside and muggy, quintessential late July weather in our Nation's Capital. It's a good day to stay inside and that's probably what I will do. I did tackle cleaning the dust in the bathroom yesterday. I discovered minute paint splatters and not-so-small platters of spackle in various places, and will be scraping them up today. No biggie.

As if we aren't doing enough in that bathroom, we might have one more project for it before we are done. When we created that room in the early 1990s, we got custom-colored ceramic tile for the vanity, the surround for the jacuzzi, and various walls. The main color is gray, and the trim was supposed to be a muted, dusty rose. The "rose" came to us a much brighter pink than we wanted--not quite bubblegum, but too close. Since it was a custom job, we were stuck with it, and for all these years we've lived with that color. We've been pretty proud of that room overall, with its walk-in glass block shower, the jacuzzi--the upgrade we created in general. But when we had a house stager come through this winter, the silence was deafening when she entered that fancy bathroom. The clear message was that the pink and gray either had to go or it had to be muted somehow, with attention taken away from it. Ideally, we would hop on the current granite bandwagon (as we did in the kitchen) and replace all the tile with that. But the cost for that would be prohibitive and we decided against it. We were left with creating basically a blank slate for new owners, removing all suggestion of color from the walls and painting them apartment white, and that is what we had settled on.

Then the other day a friend told us she'd just seen a new show on HGTV (that network is quickly becoming the instant reference for all things realty, for better or worse), on which she saw tile in a bathroom being "re-glazed," essentially, painted. You know how people sometimes have antique enamel bathtubs re-glazed to look like new and give them a second life? Turns out the same thing can be done for ceramic tile. Had no idea.

So today, I have a guy coming in to give me an estimate for re-glazing that pink and gray tile to something very sleek, maybe a biscuit or eggshell. If it's feasible, we'll go ahead and do it, and still keep the walls stark white. The floor will remain what it is now, an extremely pale pink, and shades of red can become the color accent in the room--towels, occasional pieces, etc. I think it could be quite a good, clean look and have gotten psyched for it. Wish I could supply some before and after pics, but I never got around to taking any before Steve left, and he has the camera, believing hopefully he may have some time to do sightseeing in Nevada. Anyway, I'll let you know what I learn.

Have you done anything like this? Would love to hear your experience with it.


Anonymous said...

I had restored an old Hoosier cabinet which took all my spare time one summer and had the table slab reglazed by a car company that restored Corvettes. It shines a bright but deep green today and is beautiful. I really admire that piece of furniture. But tile? We decided to put 24" tile down as our counter tops when we built this house. They can take a hot plate at any time, you can cut foods on them, very utility strength and if they crack, replace them one by one.

Ralph said...

Thanks for the input, Z&M. I know the tile itself is strong--I'm curious about how that re-coloring job holds. The estimator just left--he said an occasional wipe with Soft-Scrub is OK but abrasives shouldn't be used regularly. Guess as long as it gets normal wear and tear it'll be OK.

Kat said...

I saw that HG program. With TV filled with reality programming and reruns, I have become an HG junkie of late. I thought the tiles looked great.

Ralph said...

Thanks Kat. Wish we'd seen it! But I did see some b&a photos on a company's website and it's pretty impressive. I'm sure we'll do it--just a matter of finding the right price.

Mim said...

I'm an HGTV junkie too and Food tv also.
Reglazing tile? now you made my day!
This 40 yr old house has three full bathrooms all with ceramic tile.
Two were muted neutrals but the master bathroom has been repatched and what remains is 4 diff colors of greens... ick.
With yellow trim. Think 1968 tile colors...yeah that is right.
I figured unless I want to spend 1000's I am stuck with it.
Don't know if in our "littleish" town we have reglazers but think it's worth looking into.
The tile was 'mud applied' according to none tile man I had look at it last year which is the proper way tiles used to be grouted on walls and tub and shower surrounds.
Once again you are a step ahead of me in your remodeling and I thank you.
Haven't commented for awhile but hope to be around more.

Ralph said...

Mim, I have to say this re-glazing idea came to us like a bolt from the blue, too. We'd never heard of it and it seems such a great solution.

When you go looking, search for tub re-glazers. As I said in my post, bathtubs have been being reglazed for years. It's those craftspeople who have transferred the technique to ceramic tile. I discovered that when I started talking to tile people and quickly saw I was barking up the wrong tree. All they do is install it. Good luck!

Mim said...

Good advice.. I called some reglazers advertised in the phone book.
They have started to do tile as you said.
The co. is another town south of us, but they will come soon to give me an estimate. Hip hip hooray!
Thanks again.

Ralph said...

Mim, I'm so glad I was ab;e to help in such a direct way. Happy re-glazing!