Master Bath Demolition Derby

Rebuilding a Beautiful, Vacant Historic Detroit Home (Episode 14)

“The change that’s needed isn’t and shouldn’t come from the billionaire franchise owners, but rather from the people in the stands…” — LZ Granderson
This week’s bathroom demo timelapse

Tear It All Out!

So after giving Cal and Christian the go-ahead to start our master bath it was quickly all hands on deck for demo. Starting with the shower that caused us this headache, they quickly removed all of the fixtures, walls, and plumbing from the current bathroom and created a large open room that we will then fill with our new plan.

(Left) Chad tearing out tile around the shower (Center) Under the tile floors
(center) The guys trying to figure out what to do with all of our AC tubes (Right) Some terrifying framing and plumbing for a simple medicine cabinet

With a few doors we’ve pulled out of the home with our new layout, we will be using two of them to form french doors for our laundry access on the 2nd floor landing. Christian framed out the opening for our new laundry and measured them to fit two of our home’s 27 in. doors we otherwise no longer had a use for.

(Right) New doorway and header where we’ll have double doors for our laundry
Another week, another dumpster filled

Original 1927 Tile is Removed

Removal of the original tile was particularly difficult as it was laid into concrete that in many places was over 3 inches thick! We had been told by many people that all of the tile in our home was either Flint Faience or Pewabic including this bathroom. But after removing the tile from the floor, markings on the back indicated “AETCO” as the brand, which stands for American Encaustic Tiling Co. which was one of the largest tile makers in America during their time. They produced tile in Zanesville, Ohio until they closed in 1935, a victim of the Great Depression.

While much of our home’s tile is Flint Faience based on my research, we now know that with the two main pink and green bathrooms that is not the case. It is sad to see this tile go, but we will still have the original pink tile in our other bathroom to enjoy.

You can see here just how thick the concrete was below our bathroom tile.

Some of our lovely neighbors have a similar bathroom to ours that is also made of green hexagons, albeit a slightly different shade. They had a hole in their floor next to their toilet that the home’s previous owner had patched with awful teal square tile that completely didn’t match. We offered them our tile from the demo and hopefully it’ll be able to be used to repair their floor so that it can look a little better than it currently does.

Walls In The Bedroom Come Out

With the bathroom almost completely demo’d, our contractors started on demo in the bedroom that we will be converting into our master bath. A couple walls of plaster came out and this week, Christian will begin fresh framing for our walk-in closet, shower, and opening up the door between the current bathroom and this bedroom to form a nicer path through. This opening will also hopefully help the space feel less like a former jack-and-jill bath.

Bedroom demo begins

Designing a Bathroom Vanity

In our bathroom, one of my main requirements in the new design was to have space for a makeup and hair vanity for myself. We have considered foregoing a double sink in favor of a vanity/sink combo and with that requires some furniture designing. It has been hard to find an existing cabinet that would work for this need and so we are looking to maybe have our Amish Kitchen Cabinet builders also build us a bathroom sink and vanity. I began some quick sketching this week in order to start the conversation.

Some quick sketches I worked on to brainstorm what I’d like in the vanity

Problems with Painting the Cast Iron Tub

We thought that after all of the back-breaking work we put into prep of the 3rd floor’s cast iron tub that the process of painting it would go more easily. But after painting it with primer suggested to us by the Sherwin-Williams store, we realized the next day that the primer had caused the cast iron to rust. Millions of rust spots were peeking through the white primer!

We spent this weekend re-sanding the tub down slightly to expose the rust and then purchased some Rustoleum spray primer made for rusted metal. I re-sprayed the tub and now, hopefully, we won’t have rust issues in the future once we paint on our color. One cool discovery we made through the repainting process was on the bottom of the tub we found information on when our tub was manufactured. Aug. 7, 1926.

(Left) Casting detail on the bottom of our tub (Center) Brandon begins re-sanding (Right) After the 2nd coat of Rustoleum Primer

After spraying the tub this time, we are starting research on what it would take to spray our final color coat onto the tub rather than brushing it. The final finish would likely be much better and it would be a useful tool and skill to have in our arsenal for the rest of the house going forward if we could spray for small projects.


Our Journey isn’t over! We’ve been working hard since we purchased the home in November 2016 and are writing updates on our progress roughly every week. Make sure to check out our latest updates on our homepage!

Next Episode Here

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