Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day Beadboard - Bathroom Renovation Project 18

I come home from work. Greet the cat, who is predictably annoyed at having been caged up in the living room all day. Greet the husband, who is working in his studio. Greet Dan, who has just put up the first piece of beadboard.

"Beadboard!" I say. "Wow. It looks better than I thought."

"Yeah," he says. "I didn't realize it had these random widths. I didn't know you could get that. It's more interesting than the usual kind with narrow intervals."

"You know why?" I ask, realizing that he is missing a crucial piece of information. He looks at me quizzically. "Come on," I urge him. "Let's take a field trip." I turn to go down the stairs and he traipses after me. We don't have far to go.

At the bottom, I turn again, pull out the piece of drywall that has been hovering in the hall for several days. "There," I say. "They copied this wall."

"They had this wall?" he asked. It had been a long day.

"No, I sent them the measurements."

"Oh," he said, catching up with me. "I didn't know you had this made custom."

"Yeah," I said. My thought process breaks down here too. I don't even know how to explain the thought process. I gesture to the wall and then up the stairs. "It's the house. It's here and then you go up the stairs and now it's there too." There's a thing there, that happened in the design process that I can't explain, exactly, but he gets it.

I still don't know how to explain. It's about finding the element that defines and ties the space to the house. And this is it.

There's this one unique wall in the house. It's actually a true tongue and groove wall, the wall between the first floor hall and the basement stairs. No idea when it was added, or if it is original. But it's beautiful, and when I was casting about for something that would be more in tune with the house than tile, I kept seeing all these photos of bathrooms with beadboard. Now beadboard is actually a late nineteenth century invention, and I liked the look, but I kept thinking that it was out of character with the house, too recent.

Then, one day I was walking through the hall and my mind went, ZING! That's it! That wall.

So I hunted around online and found that the company Nantucket Beadboard will make custom random-width panels, and one of our local lumber spots is a dealer. So, after some back and forth by fax and email with drawings and measurements, some six to eight weeks after my lightbulb moment, it arrived:

And today it went up. Photos here.

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