Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A New Bathroom for Benny

My daughter has a problem ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚  She’s never met a needy animal she didn’t think she could help, particularly puppies with mobility problems.  Over the years, she’s rescued and fostered countless critters (some are foster failures that still live on the Tucker Farm) and loves every minute of it. 

But her latest foster, Benny, is a special case.  His breeder realized there was a problem at birth and surrendered him.  Beth thought she could start with aqua therapy to strengthen his legs and get him up and going.  But that didn’t seem to make a difference.  She took him to a group of specialists and learned he has a congenital spinal deformation that has paralyzed his back legs.  Here’s a video from that might help explain it better.  The amazing thing about Benny?  Despite all of his challenges, he's the happiest little guy you could ever meet!


Benny (and most of the fosters) spends time in the family bathroom when he isn't being supervised.  But with Benny’s special needs, the slippery floor just isn’t working.  In addition, this house was a really bad flip (we nicknamed it the Little Farm of Horrors for good reason - see just how bad it was here) and the grout is literally falling apart and tiles are cracking.  As you can imagine, with 'accidents', the floor is pretty gross.  Certainly not a good place for Benny or any future puppy to hang out.

So….. they need a new bathroom floor.  They got a quote of $8,000 to redo the tile – which is way beyond their budget.  And I bet you can guess how they can reduce that cost. ๐Ÿ˜ Yup, my tile saw is going on a road trip! 

With material shortages so acute everywhere, I had to do the design from afar and order everything to be there when we arrived.  It's a bit tricky, since I can't be there to look at exact colors and style.  But they gave me full design decision authority, so that made it a bit easier.  Since they live on a farm, farmhouse style made logical sense.  But this is a real farmhouse with 2 kids, 6 dogs and constant foster animals - so sturdy surfaces are a must.   

 Tile - Home Depot 
First choice is a marble look porcelain tile, to make life easier for Benny.  I found this on the Home Depot website - $5.02 a square foot – that’s our kind of price!  It’s a matte, non-slip surface and since they’re large tiles, there won’t be as much grout to maintain.


Next, they need a new vanity - the contractor grade one that came with the house is literally falling apart.  And for this design we wanted a wood vanity.  Sure they like white painted cabinetry (like everyone else), but it tends to chip and show wear and tear.  Benny's wheelchair can do some damage!  A natural wood finish can take an occasional ding and it won’t show.  This one from Wayfair should fit the bill and it’s pretty gorgeous!  I got it during their Memorial Day sale for $1,250, so a bit pricey, but it’s the perfect fit to replace the one that’s there, which minimizes plumbing costs.

Vanity Photo - Wayfair

Time for a new vanity - this one is falling apart

Everything was shipped and miracle of miracles, it all arrived ahead of schedule!!!  Truly amazing in the current environment of shipping delays.  

5 screws in this tile wonder it failed!
So we got to work.  We really wanted to solve a mystery - why did this floor fail?  It's only 6 years old, so should still be in great shape.  Demo Day quickly solved the mystery.  A good tile job requires a good underlayment.  That's typically two layers of wood, with tile backer screwed through both layers.  We found one layer of 1/2" plywood and tile backer with only 4-6 screws in each sheet (the manufacturer recommend 28 screws per sheet - so this was pathetic!).  No wonder this floor failed.

That meant before we could even start putting down the floor, we needed to add another layer of tongue and groove plywood, topped with a layer of 1/4 cement board.  And you guessed it, we screwed it according to the manufacturers directions.

We got the whole family involved with the tile job - all three generations!  Doesn't everyone want to learn to do tile work?

And yet somehow, our daughter started cocktail hour while we were still working!!   

What's wrong with this picture?  Someone started cocktail hour early!

While the floor had to be a bit utilitarian to meet Benny’s needs, we wanted to jazz up the bathroom with the shower tile.  We found this at Floor and Dรฉcor, for a very affordable price.  
The majolica pattern is classic and the blue adds a nice pop of color to the room.  But because it’s so bold, we only used it for an accent wall – the rest of the shower was done it a large format, white subway.


I had big expectations for the blue tile – but it really blew all of us away.  Doesn’t it look AMAZING???  


We painted the back wall a paler shade of the same blue, to draw it out even more and keep the room from being too white and sterile. (Sherwin Williams Favorite Jeans - SW 9147). Doesn't it look great with the oak vanity???

And that shower tile really makes the room!

It took 10-12 hours a day, for 5 days to get the basics in place.  Whew!  With the tile job done and plumbing fixtures reassembled, we’re heading back to Maine.  The kids can complete the finishing touches (we had hoped to reuse the mirror, but it broke in dramatic fashion!!!). 

I promise we’ll have photos of the full Before & After to share soon!  But these will give you an idea how much it has changed!  Benny has a pretty nice room now!
And life is good at the Tucker Farm! 
Foster pony Tango and friends


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  1. Fab've done Benny proud..����

  2. You and your family are a blessing, as well as Benny!

  3. You guys are as awesome as your daughter! I see where she gets her humor, hard work, and love of animals from.

  4. the blue tile finishes it so nicely

  5. This melts my heart!!! You guys rock!!!

  6. Wow! That looks amazing. Love the Tucker Farm. Benny is my favorite. Keep up the good work ��

  7. THANK YOU. I have fallen head over heels in love with Benny and I wish I had the talent to help out as you have. You are an angel on earth.

  8. Thanks so much for all the kind words!!!! Benny is such a sweetheart, we loved making things easier for him!

  9. God bless Benny, God bless your daughter and God bless you for your abilities to transform wrongs into rights.


  10. What an amazing transformation. So glad Benny got his digs updated. We all love him and the other animals and humans at Tucker Farms.

  11. It's gorgeous! What a wonderful giving family! Benny will have so much freedom of movement there. Can't wait to see the whole before and after photos!


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