This past Saturday’s work on the farmhouse earned me a new notch on my tool belt. I did not work on any window.  I’d officially completed the kitchen windows on Friday by trimming off excess paint from the panes of the last two windows in that room, and touching up here and there.  I had not yet plunged into working on windows in the bedroom – two of which are going to require extensive restorative work. So we, handi-man Jack and I, tackled (and that is a true expression of the experience) putting up the ceiling in the privy.

The bathroom in the old house has been a complete rebuild.  We, Jack along with different family members at different times, have worked on and off on this area of our restoration project since November of 2010, when we first started demolition.  Other than just looking seriously nasty, there were serious rot issues behind all that ugly.  The bath has required a new roof (the reason for all the rot) and a new floor.  Two closets (seriously?! Two closets in one tiny bathroom?!) and all the fixtures were removed.  Ceiling and floor joists, much of the sub-floor and most of the exterior wall were replaced.  We have put up new sheetrock and beadboard. New plumbing and fixtures have been purchased and are soon to be installed.

But, we simply did not know what to do with the ceiling.

The bath was an add-on to the house in the early 1960’s, and was a big improvement over the outhouse that had serviced the old house until then.  The back porch became the new privy and, as a result, nothing was square.  The room was (is) wider at the front end and narrower at the back.  Like the rest of the rest of the house, everything in the bath was sloping, including the ceiling.  Unlike the 10 foot ceilings in the remainder of the house, the height of the ceiling in the bath is 7 foot, at best.  The original ceiling was very thin plywood with lathing between each sheet to cover the seams.  It had, over time begun to sag, was stained and simply looked hideous.

Before - Some kind of Nasty!

The entire house, while being a “restoration”  project, will, when completed, contain many quirky unique expressions of our whimsical style.  Our ambition is to incorporate elements that, were we brave enough to do so, we might use in our “live-in” house.  We want to (and will) utilize certain elements of surprise in our projects, including the bath.  So it was with the different ideas we dreamed up for the new ceiling in the privy.

Plan A was to install corrugated, galvanized tin (such as you might see on a roof or barn) on the ceiling. I liked that idea, but tin is expensive and we are trying to be as economical as possible.  Another, equally expensive idea, was the installation of new or salvaged tin ceiling tiles.  Which led to Plan B.  Plan B was inspired by some pictures on Pinterest where DIYer’s installed embossed, paintable wallpaper, which resembles ceiling tile, on the ceiling. Several reviews on indicate good luck and many compliments with this project.  Plan C was also an inspiration from Pinterest where beadboard was used on the ceiling.  I liked Plan C because it was inexpensive and the material was lightweight, making for easy installation in a small, 7×12 space.  After much discussion, we decided to go with Plan C.

The project required only three 4×8 sheets of beadboard.  We cut the first board to size and without too much grunting and groaning, put up the first piece.  The problem with beadboard is that it is not a lot unlike the very thin plywood that had previously been installed and, when applied to a slopping, uneven ceiling, looked very wavy.  We tried a few tricks to attempt a smooth, even look, but to no avail.  So, down came the beadboard.  After a search of the house for materials and finding two full sheets of ½” sheetrock, we decided to go back to Plan B.


My new experience with sheetrock is that it is very rigid and is very heavy when being held overhead. We could have used another set of hands, but between the two of us, with me on a step-stool using my head and hands to hold up my end of the sheetrock, while Jack held up his end with one hand and anchored it with screws with the other, we finally got the two large pieces up.  And, since all the sheetrock would eventually be covered with wallpaper, we decided to use almost every scrap of sheetrock lying around the house so that we would not have to go buy another sheet.  It looks pretty comical (definitely not professional), but after a little tape and a little mud, and a coat of primer, covered with thick wallpaper and a little trim, no one will know how many little pieces we screwed into that last 4×7 area, except for the pictures you’ll find here.

handi-man surveying our handi-work

I’ll reveal the finished product at some point in the, hopefully, near future.  But for now, there is a ceiling, once again, in the privy.

See more of my inspirations and ideas on Pinterest.