Nightmare No More by Shirlee Abbott

Foreclosure bargain? Yes. Dream home? Not yet.

One bathroom was pure nightmare. The vanity was flimsy, the heater rusted and the toilet caked with yuck. Dirt was piled where a bathtub should have been. It was 42 square feet of disaster.

before nightmareWe moved the washer and dryer to annex extra space. But our tight budget couldn’t relocate the plumbing, chimney, utility closet, shutoff valve and water meter.

cowsThe plan depended on turning the toilet 90 degrees; that proved to be too close to the wall, so the throne sits at an odd angle. The new boiler took more space than the old, pushing the water heater beyond the closet door. Handy Hubby carefully fitted storage around exposed pipes, with a removable shelf above the meter. He couldn’t cover the shutoff valve between the shelving and the vanity.

And the ceiling! Hubby demanded easy access to the plumbing and wiring; I refused to put a 21st century suspended ceiling in our 19th century post and beam barn. It was a stand-off.

We moved in; the bathroom had open shelves with an ugly gap, a skewed toilet, protruding water heater and no ceiling.

Fixes came slowly: Angled shelves above the toilet made it look like a plan instead of a mistake. Double-deep trim provided the extra inch for the closet. Suspended plastic tiles with the look of tin solved our ceiling impasse; “Pricy,” I told the salesman, “but cheaper than our divorce.”

And after a three-year wait, custom cupboard doors! A simple curtain covers the gap.

after nightmareI have my dream bathroom. Its renovation is a lot like my relationship with Christ—a work in progress, moments of inspiration played out in perseverance, the Master Carpenter creatively transforming my flaws into the unique person He had planned all along.

winter 2015

Meet Shirlee!

lee 1Shirlee Abbott is a wife (of a pastor), mother and grandmother. Her day job is in hospital quality and safety. Shirlee’s ministry revolves around prayer, teaching and writing. She and her husband have owned a series of fixer-uppers. Their latest project is a post-and-beam barn from the 1800’s turned into a house in the 1970’s, when every hand-hewn beam was covered with drywall. Their first tool of choice was a crowbar.

Visit Shirlee, and learn more about her renovation, at her website Souls Under Construction.

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