When dad purchased this building it did not have a restroom on the main floor. He does tell the story of a lavatory under the second floor stairway and the unique plumbing. It seems that the plumber that owned the building was short a piece of pipe for the drain so he used a large valve to make up the missing piece. This is not something we have ever seen before. At any rate Dad hired a plumber sometime in the 1960’s to run a waste line for a toilet and that old lavatory (less the old valve). He framed in a few walls to provide some privacy and called it good. In November of 2006 it was time to upgrade this restroom facility.
The motivation for building a new restroom was in part the knowledge that this backroom was going to be left without heat for the first time since it was built in 1913. The old coal fired boiler, converted to gas somewhere in its history, was reaching a point of being dangerous. It did not have any modern safety valves, and the fact that it was converted from coal meant that it burned natural gas with far less efficiency than one would desire in the 21st century. My plan was to disable the boiler, drain its lines, and then frame in a new bathroom with a small electric cove heater. This would provide a warm environment for the plumbing without needing to heat the entire back room. In this photo above I have removed the east wall of the existing restroom and framed in a wall that will have all the plumbing lines. This allowed me to run all new water lines and get some wiring in place before taking the existing restroom apart.
Thanksgiving weekend of 2006 provided me with a full 4-days to tear down the old restroom and get a new one framed, sheet rocked, and a the toilet and lavatory reset. This was a lot of work but I was able to get it completed so that when dad opened up on Monday morning he still had a restroom, although the door was not hung so it had a curtain to provide privacy. The photo above shows the walls and ceiling framed and the sheet rock going on. Notice that I also installed a new ¾ plywood floor, which was later covered with ¼” plywood underlayment and resilient floor tile.
In the weekends that followed I tiled the floor and walls, papered above the wall tile, and installed the door dad had used on his first restroom enclosure. We painted the trim gray to match the tile and installed the heater, which kept the restroom very comfortable all winter. We plan to install a new furnace and central AC in the spring of 2007 but this room will maintain its temperature with the electric heater.
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