I hate it when I have to smash through a finished surface in order to deal with a leaky pipe or some other mechanical issue. Whenever it’s in my power to install an access panel in a place where such an occurrence is possible, I do so. In most cases, a manufactured panel, drop ceiling, or simple sheet of plywood fits the bill. But when the affected wall or ceiling happens to be in a highly visible location (and the budget permits), I prefer to disguise the means of access. A recent bathroom remodel on the second story of a Victorian-era home provided just such an opportunity.

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