Here’s How The Hallway Bathroom Changes Are Going

The other day, I had someone ask me how the changes in the hallway bathroom are going. Well, so far, I’ve managed to change my mind about 15 times, get about half of the fixtures swapped out, and flood the bathroom.

Oh, yeah. I may have buried the lede there. I flooded the bathroom. 😀 It was such a stupid, rookie mistake, and when I think about it, I’m so embarrassed at myself for making that stupid mistake. Fortunately, I don’t think I did any permanent damage. But before I get to that, let me back up a bit and go over some other details.

About a week ago, I had one of those days where I was busy with other things and didn’t really have time (or rather, I didn’t want to take my limited time) to work on the studio. So I decided to spend what time I did have swapping out the fixtures in the hallway bathroom. They had been sitting there in their boxes for a couple of weeks, and I was anxious to swap out all of the silver fixtures for the new Delta Champagne Bronze fixtures.

I figured the things like the robe hook, hand towel ring, and toilet paper holder would be fast and easy since I bought the same brand, similar styles, and same types of products, so I decided to start with those. I expected them to use the same types of brackets, so I thought it would just be a matter of unscrewing the old one from the bracket and screwing the new one to the same bracket.

Well, none of them were fast, nor were they easy. Even though the fixtures were the same brand and looked similar, they had completely different brackets. WHY, DELTA? WHYYYYY???? But, no problem, right? I’ve installed these types of things a hundred times before. It would still be quick and easy…or so I thought.

I was having one of those days where everything was a problem. When I tried to put the new wall anchor in the wall for the screws for the hand towel holder (I use those types of wall anchors that screw in, rather than having to drill a hole and then hammer them in), the anchor literally screwed all the way through the drywall, leaving a big hole behind. I’ve never had that happen before! So I had to install the new towel ring lower than before, and now I have this mess that I have to repair…

And let’s not even talk about the fact that I took off part of the trim and tile because I just can’t help myself. When I get a thought in my head (like completely removing the accent tile and not replacing it with something new), I’m like a dog with a bone, and all self-control goes out the window. So, long before I’m ready to do any of the big projects in here, I’ve already torn up the tile. Now I have to live with it until I’m ready to tackle the walls in here, which may be a while at the rate my studio is going. Like I said, my self-control disappears when I get an idea in my head.

Anyway, the rest of the fixtures (the ones I thought would be fast and easy) went about the same. I stripped several screws trying to get the new bracket on the wall for the new robe hook. I couldn’t get the old wall anchors out of the wall so that I could install the new toilet paper holder, and on and on.

My quick and easy project was quickly turning into one frustration after another. So for now, I have this situation — no toilet paper holder, and the roll of toilet paper sitting on the countertop. I’m sure our guests love walking in to this. 😀

Since the “easy” projects were going sideways, I decided to just dive right in and swap out the shower/tub fixtures. I expected those to be more difficult, and sure enough, they were. But after spending about 30 minutes trying to get the old tub faucet off, I finally wrestled it off and was able to get the new one on. Swapping out the overflow drain was very simple.

And yes, the tub is filthy because I kept stepping in it with my shoes on after being outside. But that story is coming up.

So I got the faucet and the overflow drain swapped, and then swapped out the trim on the other thing. What is that even called? I’m talking about the handle that actually turns the water on and off.

I was just going to swap out the trim package and leave the old valve in place because it seemed to be identical to the new one.

As it turns out, they weren’t quite identical. They were slightly different, making it difficult to tighten the screw for the pretty new handle onto the old valve. I mean, it was on there, and I don’t think it would have come off, but it wasn’t as tight as I thought it should be.

I wanted to leave it and call it good, but y’all know how my mind works. I just couldn’t let it go. About 30 minutes after installing that handle, I decided that I really should go ahead and swap out the valve.

Can you guess what happened? Yes, that’s right. Without going outside and turning the water off first, I started removing the handle and the trim, and then I proceeded to tug and pull on that valve to remove it. WITHOUT TURNING THE WATER OFF FIRST!!!

Oh my gosh, what a stupid, rookie mistake!!! At that point, I was just so frustrated with all of the other things at that point that my mind just wasn’t focused. I tugged and pulled on that valve, and for a few tugs, everything was fine. And then it reached the point where it wasn’t fine anymore.

Water started spraying at full force out of that valve. It was spraying into the tub, onto the floor, up towards the ceiling. EVERYWHERE. I was completely soaked in a matter of seconds. I panicked, and for what seemed like an eternity (but was probably about two seconds), I just froze and didn’t know what the heck to do. Then I snapped out of it and realized I needed to get a towel to cover the valve so that the water would go into the tub instead of spraying all around the room.

But of course, I wasn’t doing any of this quietly. I was yelling, “OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH!” And since I was being very loud and animated, Cooper (my very big, goofy, 100-pound dog) got all excited thinking we were playing, so he was all under foot and wouldn’t get out of my way. I finally managed to get him sidelined for a few seconds, just long enough to get out of the bathroom, my soaked clothes dripping all over the floor, so I could grab a towel and drape it over the valve. That didn’t work quite as well as I had hoped because the valve didn’t stick out very far, so the towel kept slipping off.

I got the towel on there as well as I could, but it wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t keeping all of the water contained inside the tub area. But I didn’t have time to waste. I ran into the sunroom to grab the tool (whatever that thing is called) to turn the water off at the curb outside.

Well, we don’t have lights in our sunroom, and it was getting too dark to see, so I couldn’t find it. I started panicking again, and yelling, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!” All the while, Cooper is hot on my heels, jumping and twirling and getting all excited at this new game we’re playing.

Now keep in mind that all this time, I’m panicking, running through the house, yelling, trying to get Cooper out of my way (because he still thinks we’re playing), leaving a trail of water from my dripping clothes everywhere I go, and poor Matt is lying in bed and has absolutely no clue what’s going on. He’s just hearing the commotion.

So after a few minutes of this chaos (what seemed like an eternity to me, but was probably not long at all), he finally yells to me, “What is going on?” To which I yelled back at him in my most panicked and frantic voice, “I’M FLOODING THE HOUSE!!!!! I’M FLOODING THE HOUSE, AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!” 😀 There’s nothing so helpful as panicking and yelling a great deal of hyperbole in the middle of a stressful situation to a person who has no ability to help, right? 😀

Anyway, I couldn’t find that tool to turn off the water, so I grabbed my big pliers and ran out the door to the front yard to turn the water off. Then I couldn’t get the cover off of the water gauge outside, so I had to run back inside the house, grab a flathead screwdriver, run back out, pry that lid off, and then I could finally turn the water off.

By the time I got the water turned off and headed back inside, there wasn’t a single square inch of that bathroom floor that wasn’t covered in water. But fortunately, none of it found its way outside of the bathroom into the hallway except for what had dripped off of my drenched clothes. I was so relieved to see that. (I wasn’t so lucky the last time we had the crap geyser.) But there was also water all over the vanity, the countertop, the walls, the toilet…just about everything.

So I got all of the water cleaned up, swapped out the valve, put all of the pretty trim back on, turned the water back on (with that tool that I finally did find), and now the new bathtub faucet drips constantly. It won’t stop. Constant. Dripping.

So needless to say, that bathroom and I have been on a break. I go in there when absolutely necessary, but other than that, we’ve just needed to spend some time apart. I haven’t even cleaned up my shoeprints out of the bathtub. I haven’t put away the tools or thrown away the old fixtures (which are still lined up on the side of the bathtub). I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to look at it. I don’t want to even consider swapping that valve out again. And when I have to go in there, I just use my tunnel vision, do what I need to do, and ignore everything else in there. I just want to spend time in my pretty studio for now.

So that’s how the hallway bathroom changes are going. How are your projects going? 😀

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42 Comments

  1. I think your backup plan could be storytelling. I am so sorry to say that I was giggling to myself reading this post just imagining being a fly on the wall watching this all go down. I think a temporary pause on the relationship with the hall bath is warranted. Here’s to the next projects going a bit smoother 🥴

  2. It’s good to know that even someone as skilled and experienced as yourself would still have a project that turns into a rolling snowball of catastrophe. I think we all can relate. Hilarious read!

  3. OMG! What a day. We’ve all had them. Mine are always when I am tired and should have stopped a hour ago. I’m glad you two are spending some time apart. Good decision.

  4. Well, the good news is that you no longer need to deep clean the bathroom!! I gave up on plumbing several years ago. We call our plumber for anything to do with water. The risk of costlier water damage if we do it wrong, helps keep our “I can do that, let me get my tools” attitude in check. We have spent twice the amt a plumber would cost just buying the tools. Love your storytelling though! I feel your pain!

  5. Kristi I’m sorry you had a day like this but I just have to say that I just love how real you are! In a world of fake and airbrushed and perfectly staged, you are just transparent and REAL. Yes you share the triumphs and your amazingly beautiful work and gorgeous home. But you don’t mind sharing these days with us. Thank you for just being you and reminding me that it’s just fine to be imperfect, real me. Oh and how are my projects going? Right there with you sister…except with less actual progress 😃

    1. What Angie said. Thank you Kristi for being so transparent and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of DIY!

  6. Oh boy! A trial separation is such a good idea. But I agree with one of the earlier comments that you are a terrific storyteller. Thank you, once again, for sharing your life with us.

  7. Hahahahaha….that story made my day! Mainly because A couple of nights ago I forgot that I turned on the tub for my kid to take a bath and then went outside to talk to a neighbor. It was liquid Armageddon when I finally went back inside. Glad to know I’m not the only one with tub issues!

  8. I know this was 100% pain for you and Matt (but not Cooper) but you turned it into a very enjoyable post! Reminds my of two things from my past: We were putting a house on the market in 2007 and wanted to change out bright shiny gold hardward to ORB. Well the shower valve was different where the screw holes were. We were not going to pay a plumber to replace the valve, we just wanted to change the look so my husband glued that new outside housing on the valve with good expoxy, including glueing the ORB screws in the holes. It looked great. Last time it hit the market, it was still in place. We left the valve insides behind in a cabinet. Second thing: the time I came home to find that my Pittie Bella who hates storms had bit through the water line into a toilet in her anxiety as the thunder and lightening raged without a human home to comfort her. She rushed at me as I keyed in, soaking wet. Bathroom was all full of water. I was glad I knew how to go into the crawl and turn off the water there, but I could have done it at the street if I had needed to!

  9. Oh my goodness Kristy what a terrible day for you. I could just picture what a crazy situation you were dealing with. I would have been crying through the whole ordeal.
    I have to say though you have a way of telling a story that made me laugh and almost cry at the same time. Stay out of the bathroom for a while.

  10. You really made me laugh! I know your situation wasn’t funny, but your story telling is so good, I just couldn’t help it. 🙂 I fully understand you needing so time apart from the bathroom. I guess the sound of constant dripping doesn’t carry far. That would drive me nuts. Here’s hoping you can solve it more easily – and permanently – very soon.
    ((Hungs!))

  11. OMG, sorry if I was laughing, what a nightmare. This sounds like pretty much every diy project I do (and I do alot of them).

    The one that comes to mind was about 6 months ago trying to swap out our built-in microwave when the one we had broke. I bought the same exact one because I wanted it to be easy. Of course the newer model uses a different mounting bracket! WHY?? So, swapping out the mounting bracket shouldn’t be a big deal as its only screwed to the wall but ours was mounted with heavy duty anchors that I could not remove without huge holes in the wall. After I finally wrestled those off I realized that my new backsplash had cemented the bottom of the mounting bracket so I had to carefully chip away the mortar. After that I saw that I needed new holes in the upper cabinet because those had moved too—of course!!

    1. I am impressed! What a job. Happily the successful outcome makes a great story for years to come. Who remembers the ones that go to plan? Think of all those skills you could use in short order! At the time I was doing this I was the only woman I knew that even had a hammer. I celebrate you all!

  12. So sorry that all happened to you, but you are HILARIOUS! That’s something that I would do. I have not done that exact thing but only because someone reminded me to turn the water off before I started. I’ve done other stuff though. Like almost burn the house down or electrocute myself. Luckily, neither happened.

  13. Oh my gosh… the visual this blog elicited in my brain had me laughing. I’m sorry to be so entertained at your expense but this is hilarious. I agree you and the bathroom need a break from each other and I’m really happy no permanent damage was done. Thanks for the afternoon entertainment and enjoy working in your beautiful girlie studio.

  14. This sounds about like how all of my projects go… LOL! I’m so sorry for all of that, glad there appears to be no real, long term damage, and admit to laughing (to the point of a few tears) in reading the adventure! 🙂

  15. Oh plumbing is the ultimate humbler! My first rehab had me very confident in my second bathroom replumb, until with all satisfaction I tested a copper faucet line and forgot that only one was turned off. The turn offs were behind that wall in another room. As I proudly peered over my most excellent work, I got a face full of water and as it was full on, soaked me and the new bathroom as well. I think it took me an instant to realize what had happened, so it took a bit to scurry, sopping wet, to the next room to turn it off. I am sure I said some bad words, but mostly I laughed at myself.

    Now all of my water lines have turnoffs, and I am surprised that plumbers left them out in the past. How much money did that save them? Here we have indoor whole house water turnoffs, is that not a thing in Waco? I would have been sunk if I had to find the turn off, probably buried in the front yard, if I had been in your shoes! Good for you. You even knew that there was a tool for it, and had one.

    1. An indoor whole house water turn off sounds like a great, common sense thing to have! And yet, I don’t know anyone in Waco who has one. 😀 Maybe they put them on new builds, but I’ve never heard of anyone having that. Now I want it!

  16. I’m renovating my basement condo – one room at a time. I’m working on the master bedroom and it’s taking forever. I installed the drywall at the beginning of August and I’ve spent the past 3 weeks trying to get it taped and finished so I can paint it. I’m so very tired of the mud and dust. I want it to be done so badly but I still need to do a finish coat of mud on all corners of the room – both sides – which means at least 2 more days plus a day of sanding. Then I’ll probably need a 4th day to clean up all the dust (it looks like a snowstorm in there) before I can even get started on priming. I thought I’d be able to knock out the finishing work in a week. I should have known it would take longer. Everything takes three times as long as I think it’s going to take. I wish I had money to hire someone to do the drywall work but I don’t. Oh well, it’s going to look amazing when I’m done with it – IF it gets done. Good luck on finishing your bathroom project!

  17. Well, Lucy, have you considered changing Cooper’s name to Ethel? 😀
    Fun read, thank you for sharing, though I’m sorry for the events!

  18. You don’t have a shutoff at the valve, or closer than in the street? Do you have to shut off all the water to the house when you do any plumbing work? Seems very inconvenient!

      1. Whole house shutoffs in the basement are the norm here. I live in the great white North. I presume it is code for us because I’ve not known a house without it.

        I know where my valve at the street is (next to the steps to my driveway) but I have no idea what kind of tool I’d need to operate it. Fortunately my in house shutoff is at the bottom of my basement stairs on the meter and is just a lever handle. No tools necessary.

        I was both chuckling and cringing at the idea of you standing there dripping wet and saying “I’m flooding the house and I don’t know what to do.” Yikes.

  19. Wow! NIGHTMARE!!!! I must say, though, both you and Matt sound A WHOLE LOT LESS CRAZED than my husband and I would’ve been! I’m also grateful for the timing of this post as I just bought that Delta tub set (in champagne bronze)…but I think I’ll heed my plumbers advice and return it for a Moen. Problem was that I couldn’t find what I wanted in Moen. But I’d hate to go through what you just experienced!

  20. You poor thing!!!! You are so very talented and you will rise above this(or float….sorry, couldn’t help myself). In any case, you will persevere and come back successfully.

  21. Sorry to hear this. You may want to fix the drip. We had a toilet that was dripping & it ran out water bill really up. I hope the repair goes more smoothly.

  22. Not to add to your already long To Do List, but when you are doing your addition, you might consider adding a whole house water shutoff valve just outside one of your rear doors. This is what we have in California as standard, and they are great! They have a built-in lever handle, so no searching for the right tool to shut off the big water valve at the sidewalk.

  23. Geez. I love how you share your adventures, Kristi. It gives me hope.

    I have “why is this so damn complicated” moments all the time. I think “Yeah, I can do X. This will be easy.” Let me just say X is never easy. Two weekends ago I decided to put the tv thingy up on the wall. Where are the studs? I’ll use my lovely new electronic stud finder. Hah. It decided the whole wall was a stud. Aaaaargh.

    At least you can comfort yourself that the hallway survived this time.

  24. OMG, I had a similar situation while tiling my bathroom. I bumped an old pipe to my toilet and water was spraying ALL over. (I also yelled and panicked as initial reaction) Fortunately our house has a whole hose shut off in our basement. If I had to run outside with a tool to shut off the water I would have reacted Exactly like you. Great job handling that almost catastrophe!

  25. Well, Kristi, very similar things happened to me twice!! Like you l do everything alone. It was just this summer when one of the water hoses sprung a leak under my house. I have a concrete pad under my house from previous owners house trailer. So Thankful for that! It was a tiny split but growing bigger by the second. SO, I turned the water off. A friend stopped by at this time and she decided to help. She took the facet fixture off one of the washer pipes in the house. I did not know that. Her reasoning was that since it was a plastic pipe she could pull it out the wall enough to fix. I was outside meantime putting plastic down to crawl under to see what i could do to fix it. Well, after crawling under the house and back out I was hurting. (Psoratic arthritis and I’m 74.)
    So i call a plumber friend to see what was the easiest fix. He told me what i needed. Well, thinking ok i have to go to hardware store get the part, hope it fits, if not iwould have to return for the right part. This was a Saturday and they close a noon. So i call my friend back and ask him to send someone to do it. The young guys were there in a few min. Took them a few min to fix pipe. Then they turn the water on to make sure it doesnt leak. He asked if i had water on in house as meter was spinning. Figured it was water heater filling. They left. When i go inside water is shooting out of washing machine pipe friend had taken apart! So i have to run outside the turn water off. Clean up flooded hall way to launry room, etc.

    The second time was a few weeks later. My guest bathroom sink hoses were leaking. This house is 45 years old. So i decide to chane them. I have two levers one for hot and one for cold. Water turned off at meter. I exchange the cold one. So easy. When l loosen the hot water starts shooting every where. This is inside sink cabinet im lying in. And its boiling hot water! I grab the garbage can which fills instantly and l pour it in the shower. I call friend to come help. I geep emptying can into shower. While waiting for her i remember theres a valve under the house on the outside water faucet. I get her to go turn it off even though she insisted that couldnt be the problem. Well, soon as she shuts it off the water slows down and stops. I have every bath towel on floor soaking up flood and l am soaked. So l thank her and proceed to try to take the old hose off. Another nightmare! It won’t unscrew at the faucet. You know how tiny the space is. So l was going to take the fixture off to do it the easy way but she insisted l let her try. She is a dyl woman also. Very dominate! So l let her try. The hose breaks off at the screw on part! It was bad. So l told her to go home. I would get to it after mopping and changing clothes. So she left and i cleaned up and rested. Took arthritis pain pill. Back under the sink and it went easy.
    Don’t know if you took time to read my story, just thought you would know you are not alone in dly disasters. Almost done with this old house! 14 years!!

  26. Who’s a good boy? You are, Cooper. You are. So good of you to block your mom as she’s trying to stop the bad water from getting your paws dirty. Good boy, Cooper.

  27. My husband even read your blog, both of them! He understands why I read all your blogs when they come out. You made me laugh and then almost cry. Bless your heart.
    Back one blog. I’ve been thinking about your skin. Was it fiberglass? Or something else? I know you will certainly cover up everything when you do those other boards. The countertop looks great after you finished but I’m not sure it was worth all the pain. But by posting about it, you saved many from the pain and torture. So thank you.

    Ok, plumbing Queen, maybe next time call the plumber in the first place and turn off the water!

    You really should write a book that can be turned into a movie. You use such descriptive language that I can see you running back and forth to the water meter. Then running back into your flooded bathroom. Think this way, it could have been worse. Hope you have a relaxing weekend.

  28. What a hilarious story, you made my day! I’ve had so many of these “mishaps” that I really thought I was the only person that had these problems! I’m a little relieved to hear there are others out there. 🙂