Sunday, July 8, 2007


Our house was built in 1909 on the arm of a T at an intersection of two streets, each named for a battle.

Since purchasing our home in 2002, we've been fighting a battle of our own - to rehabilitate and make liveable a house corrupted by bad taste and imprudent parsimony.

We are in Echo Park, once known as Red Hill for the community of socialists and progressives that made their home here. Until recently, a socialist bookstore stood nearby. Now, an overpriced clothing boutique has replaced the bookstore, a mocking affront to the storefront's distinctive history.

The year our house was constructed, William Howard Taft was inaugurated as President. Taft was the Vice President of Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was the Vice President of William McKinley. In September of 1901, McKinley was assassinated by the bitter son of impoverished Polish immigrants. So began the 20th century, much like our own, with an act of terror in September.

OK, enough history (for the moment). Here comes the part about remodeling our house. For reasons that don't make sense even to us, we immediately began referring to our second bathroom as The William Howard Taft Memorial Bathroom. But the bathroom is so petite that our grandest president most likely would not have fit in it. Certainly not in the space of 51" allotted to the claw foot tub.

The space allotted for the tub was 51". But the tub was actually 54" long. Just one of the many conundrums of this house.

Old tub forced into the wall:

New wall fitted around the tub:

What else could we do? Moving the entire wall back 3" was not an option as it would have cut into the already cramped kitchen space. So, I guess you could say we've found our niche.

We have been working on this bathroom, the guest bath, for about 17 months now. There have been many delays (family emergencies, work-related travel, unreliable workers). But the clock is ticking on my deadline, June 20, 2008. We've been in the house for almost 5 years. Four rooms are completed (almost) but after this bathroom there will be 5 rooms left to do.

Will we make it? Wagering begins now.