Heating Hard-to-Reach Spaces (and TILE!) — No Plain Jane Powder Room ORC WEEK 2

Well, I thought I may give you some insight into the overall plan for this “No Plain Jane Powder Room” One Room Challenge, but I’ve decided to reveal as I go!


Last week, we discussed the inspiration.

Poltergeist Wallpaper by Root Cellar Designs, customized by Home Glow Design


Today — HEAT and FLOOR TILE!





Adding Heat to Inaccessible Spaces

First, a little “before” pic!

(Of course I forgot to take it before the old plumbing fixtures were torn out.)



I really didn’t mind the previous tile in the bathroom  — it was vintage, it was white and pink, it looked ok with the wallpaper, but there was one big problem —




(I don’t know which decade that rusted out, old little heat register is from.)


And we live in NEW HAMPSHIRE.


It can get to -15 degrees at night (or lower) in the winter.


Nobody, and I mean NO BODY wants to go in this powder room, especially in the dead of winter when we have to trickle the water in the sink to keep the pipes from freezing. If you sat your tush down on the toilet, it just might get stuck to it.


Unfortunately, with our rubble foundation, and various huge granite blocks in between the area under the powder room and the nearest pipe leading to the furnace, hot water heat was absolutely out of the question. So our electrician suggested using an electric heating mat.


(It also comes in a Wi-fi version.)


So, I was resigned to replacing the tile. What I didn’t know, was that, after getting through layers of linoleum, the whole subfloor was rotted out.



There are no “quick” makeovers in a 229 year old house.



Yep, that’s the dirt and rubble beneath our floor. And this is how Brian Knowlton, our GC from Don Knowlton & Sons had to stand to rebuild the sub-floor.



Good balance, Brian!



The above shows how our electrician fished a electrical wire up from the crawl space to eventually be attached to the thermostat controlling the heat mat.



And thar she is!



Just a quick image of the previous window treatments — an ’80s balloon valance and an ill-fitting, not-original shutter.



We’ll be doing a floating sink to show off the tile I chose, so Brian put in blocking in the wall to prepare for that.


Obviously, there wasn’t a bathroom in this space in 1790. It was probably carved out of the entry hall some time in the 1950s. Unfortunately, when those owners did so, they failed to properly vent the plumbing.


In case you didn’t know (and I certainly didn’t),

“vent pipes  are necessary to supply fresh air to each plumbing fixture in the house, which helps the system move water through the drainage pipes each time a toilet is flushed or a sink is drained.

“Plumbing air vents also prevent sewer gases from entering the home and allow wastewater gas and odor to escape.” (American Home Shield)


Of course, venting meant that we would need to cut a hole somewhere in the foyer I decorated in my first one room challenge. Sob!




My amazing plumber, Andy Phillipy of AMP Plumbing, knew that aesthetics are HUGE with me. Before he just cut a big hole in the middle of the wall, we brainstormed where best to do it.



We decided up near the crown molding. I’ll do something decorative later to make it look like one of the many “layers of implied history” in this house.


Next comes the tile! I wanted something really special for this 18 sf space, and I love the variation and home-made-ness of zelige tile. Here’s a little sneak peek.



Wahhhhh! Zelige Tile! Green!!! And my absolute favorite shade of grass/apple green!


Now, I know I promised you some indispensable information about zelige tile you won’t find anywhere else on the web…

But, oy! I have to post this in 10 minutes …


(Week night postings always kill me!)


So my important information may have to come in a Saturday post. Come back! Because you won’t want to miss it!


See you Saturday!





8 thoughts on “Heating Hard-to-Reach Spaces (and TILE!) — No Plain Jane Powder Room ORC WEEK 2”

  1. That is one TINY powder room, Amy! Can’t wait to see the finished product–I LOVE zelig tile, and the green is just wonderful!

    1. Haha. No, they don’t come much smaller! Pictures are already a challenge. Can’t wait to show you the finished tile!

  2. Growing up in NH, I know how cold that toilet can get! We had ice in ours before. You have a big job in a tiny space. They are never as easy it they look, right? Can’t wait to see the process and reveal!

    1. ICE! Oy. That’s why we leave the door open and the water running in this bathroom all winter (Californians can talk about wasting water all they want. They don’t have to deal with frozen pipes and feet of snow melt.) Yes, it’s actually pretty ridiculous how much has to happen to make this 18sf usable. We wouldn’t have tackled it at all, except that we’re renovating the kitchen in the summer, which will cut us off entirely (the kitchen is in the connecting ell) to the 3rd toilet in the house. Living with 1 working toilet through a 3-4 month reno with a family of 4 and lots of visitors was not enticing.

    1. Thanks, Nancy! We’ve hardly touched our exterior like you are — just such a huge project! Kudos to you, and thanks for checking in!

  3. this is the most gorgeous green! I am so in love with this project and now it looks like its going to be the toastiest room! sometimes its the hidden things that make the biggest difference, you are going to enjoy this for years!

    can’t wait til next week-so exciting!

    1. Thanks so much, Meredith! Little by little I’m adding green into my house’s color scheme. It’s my happy color.

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