By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
“Rick &Bill’s Money Pit” is the name of their blog.
That should tell you something about the ordeal of Everett homeowners Rick Block and Bill Vosburg.
The remodel of their 1926-built home is a work in progress, but the recent chapter about the attic-turned-master-bathroom has a happy ending.
And what a bathroom it is: Double pedestal sinks. Soaking tub. Walk-in glass shower. Subway tile walls. Wood floor. And lots of elbow room.
The bathroom is 11-by-12 feet.
“Almost as big as my first New York apartment,” Block said.
The couple moved from New York in 2010 to work in Seattle. After renting on Capitol Hill, Vosburg, a 51-year-old nurse, and Block, 55, a librarian, were ready for a place away from the city.
They wanted to buy a fixer-upper to add their own touches. They had a few prospects in Snohomish when their home search led to Everett.
“We knew nothing about Everett,” Vosburg said.
While exploring the historic north end, a house for sale on Grand Avenue caught their eye.
“We walked by and said, ‘That’s an ugly little house. What a hideous house,’” Block said.
Added Vosburg: “We walked behind it and were like, ‘Oh, my God. It gets worse.’”
Inside got even more worse, which in this case wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“We spent 10 minutes in here and said, ‘We’ll take it,’” Vosburg said. “It was the worst house on the best block. We could see the potential … once you got past how horrible it was.”
The potential was hidden under noxious carpet, asbestos siding, overgrown yard and four layers of roof. The home had original plumbing, wiring and heating. The last major updates were the carpet and wallpaper, sometime in the ‘70s.
“It had a sea of shag carpeting. Purple in a bedroom. Green shag in the living and dining rooms,” Vosburg said.
In July 2012, it became their house.
“We spent three weeks getting it ready for reno,” Block said. “We hauled 3.2 tons of stuff: 1.1 tons of yard waste, and 2.1 tons of stuff the owners left behind and crap we tore off.”
Not only that, the foundation had to be leveled.
The home has two bedrooms on the main floor and one in the attic, which the couple uses as the master bedroom. The only bathroom was on the main floor, and has about as much space as one on an airplane.
“We thought we’d never have a smaller bathroom than our New York bathroom,” Block said. “That one is smaller.”
The farmhouse attic was never intended to someday be made into a master bathroom. Obstacles included low ceilings and lack of light. Throw in a skinny stairway and existing plumbing of an old house and … well, it gets complicated.
Emerald Design of Everett was up for the challenge.
“This was really fun, because of the space. It is interesting space that’s just different,” Emerald Design co-owner Keith Fugate said.
Two pedestal sinks were placed on opposite sides of the doorway.
“They wanted two sinks and it was the only space for sinks where you could stand,” Fugate said. “You can bend down for the tub and toilet.”
The room’s only window was on the back wall, which also had higher headroom.
“This was the only real space for the shower, so we had to figure out how to make it work,” Fugate said.
The shower head is mounted over the window. The men can look out at the back garden, nearby homes and Providence Regional Medical Center.
So, if they can see the neighbors, doesn’t that mean …
“Bill went outside while I was in the shower, and he said you can tell somebody is there, but you can’t see any bits and bobs,” Block said.
The couple decorated the bathroom with an antique British Victorian fireplace front and a martini table by the tub.
There’s still work to do in the landing area to turn the attic into a grand master suite with sitting area. They haven’t started on the kitchen.
The living and dining rooms are finished, as is the laundry room. The newly finished attic bathroom is the icing on the cake.
“It feels like a home rather than a project,” Vosburg said.
It’s a dream home for the couple, who married last summer after 17 years together.
The neighbors seem to like the house, which has a fresh coat of paint and new windows.
“A little girl walked by and said, ‘Look, Mommy. It looks like a dollhouse,’” Block said. “That was nice.”
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, contact Emerald Design at 425-238-3206 or go to www.GreatRemodels.com.