Keeping up with The Joneses

So, the other day, my dear friend and colleague Tina was driving me home from work – I can’t even call it carpooling because there’s probably no way it would happen the other way, with Tina living in Glendale and my living downtown, and our both working at USC, south of me. But I am always so grateful not only for the lifts, but for the time spent chatting about our work and our  lives outside of our work.

Tina mentioned that her husband had embarked on yet another renovation in their already beautiful home. He was working on the guest bath now, and had managed to acquire both the labor and all the materials in a gnat’s breath of time and money. Well, to a not-s0-recovering member of Renovators Anonymous, all I need to do is get a whiff of someone else’s renovation to get the juices flowing. In fact, a few years ago, after the Jones’ completed a renovation of one of their bathrooms, I saw it, fell in love with their design and basically copied the entire bathroom to our master bath. Tina’s husband Michael hooked me up at the tile store for his 50% discount, saving me hundreds of dollars on the 2″ octagonal marble tile on the floor and I found the vanity of their dreams for only twice the price they paid. It was all-in-all, a ludicrous copycat adventure, but we are all pleased with the results.

We have a second bathroom with 12″ square 1980s pseudo-marble ceramic  floor tiles and a painted white vanity topped with a yellowing plastic countertop that looks like someone rested their cigarette on  it frequently. The tub, designed by a sadist with long legs and little or no expectations for comfort when seated, sports a rickety set of sliding glass shower doors which tremble and quake when you breathe on them. The molding around the base of the walls has swelled from a sprinkler system flooding that occurred sometime before we moved in and was probably the defining moment of the condo’s vacancy status.

I guess you could say we have begun an ad hoc remodel of this bathroom,  when we replaced the toilet with a higher tanked one necessitating  the amputation of the countertop extending behind it. There is a 58″ wide flat mirror affixed to the wall above the vanity and toilet. There is an inset mirror-fronted medicine cabinet on the wall to the right of the sink. It has lost its will to magnetize, and so gapes with it’s mouth slack, revealing the rusty metal shelves full of the detritus left behind by our son when he moved north.

My pathetic efforts to decorate this bathroom consist of some lovely water colors on the wall and a Martha Stewart rattan set of tissue cover, soap pump and toothbrush holder. I can hear you clucking your disapproval already.

All in all, it is rather a desperate situation for one with the renovation DTs. And so, when Tina pronounced that they had found a vanity at Lowe’s, I felt the need for betterment stirring in my loins and found myself yesterday in the bathroom vanity section of Lowe’s looking for 28-29″ wide vanities. I quickly intuited the vanity that they had purchased, and to confirm my style sensors, snapped a picture with my iphone and texted it to Michael.

“Is this the one you bought?”

The Vanity

I continued to wander down the aisle looking at uglier and wider vanities. About 3 minutes later, “Yup” appeared on my phone.

I began typing frantically into my phone -“Do you think I can replace my 28″ vanity with a 31″ one if my toilet is wall mounted?” I mean, really, who texts something like that to a friend’s husband. Seriously, only someone in need of a meeting.

“Not sure, but I think code is 18″ from center of toilet to wall. Does a vanity count as wall? The distance code is about function. You at Lowe’s? Cause I’m on my way there.”

“Probably not the same one -I’m at Pico.”

“Ah. You can probably order the deeper tub there for a modest upgrade. Special order not usually in stock.”

“Just looking. Here’s my one option of 28″ on the vanity.”

28%22 vanity

“Saw this before and really like it. Tight storage so check it out.”

And with my taste confirmed by the expert, so begins my renovation project. I know it will happen. This time I will try not to copy my friends’ designs but can’t make any promises.

Would love to hear what you are thinking!

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