Saturday, February 25, 2012

Old House. Big Secrets.

Or maybe I should say...Old House.  Questionable Renovation Before We Bought It.

Back up.

Our house was built in 1906.  It's part of the original build of the Annex neighborhood; a true structure that was part of the first "suburb" of the original city of Toronto.

This street saw horses.  This house had no phone.  And had dozens of owners before us. 

I love it for all that. 

The owner right before us lived here for 35 years and raised 6 children with her husband under this roof.  Three before the divorce and 3 after. 

It's the Annex.

Fast forward to 2000, when one of the sons bought the house from the estate after she died.  She, by the way, had the same first name as me - Margaret - and put a US flag sticker in the front window.  It was meant to be.

Her son initially turned it into an income property by renting rooms to friends.  After a year, he decided to fix it up as a single-family home and sell it.

His "fixing up" skills have enlightened me over the last 9 years.

Including this week.

I mentioned in a previous post, while painting the kitchen, I found a leak in an upper cabinet below our 2nd floor bathroom.  I finally had a plumber in to investigate the leak.

Before the plumber
After the plumber

Ouch!  That hurt.  But questions were answered.  And we found a secret.

We are the proud owners of a drop ceiling.  The length of my head. 

Who knew!?

But I digress.  Back to the leak.  Weeks ago, while painting the upper cabinets, I heard a "sploosh" and felt a splash.  A drip from the bathroom onto the hood vent, ricocheting onto my face.  Great.


The cut revealed a lovely "unorthodox connection" between a new plastic pipe and very old steel pipe joining the toilet to the main drain.


The goop was added my my plumber.  Only because fixing the connection properly would entail removing the wall and cabinet and....  As much as I would like a new kitchen, now is not the time.

But get this.  Because we've been avoiding the toilet and tub this week due to the drip, an overwhelming perfume has been emanating from the tub. 

Oh. My. God.

We crossed possible reasons off the list...clog (snaked it), no vent (found it), no trap...found that too:

Bathtub trap

So why the smell?  I'm glad I found the right plumber.

Guess what's wrong with this picture?

You'll notice the bathtub connection is BELOW the toilet connection to the main drain.  Get it?  Oh yeah. The vent off the main drain be damned.  That tub will stink until kingdom come.

Unless we install a cheater vent.  One that sits between the main drain connection and the tub itself.  Bingo.

Our plumber returns this week to rip open our bathroom wall and fix our stinky problem.  Along with the continuing leak.  Please tell me this is it.  Or I don't know what I'll do.

As for the drop ceiling...

I was floored.  But I wasn't.  At every turn, I find something new in this house.  A corner cut, prettying our house to sell, but never a long-term solution.

So...why the drop ceiling?

Bathtub plumbing

Because they decided to run new plumbing to the bathtub through the kitchen. 

That's all.



So...I live with my "new" kitchen like this, until I get to practice my drywall patching skills.

But not before I take in the view between my ceilings a few hundred times.  Paparazzi style.

Oh how I love this old house.

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