You can file this one under “unexciting weekend”… I actually managed to get some painting done! Painting isn’t generally an activity that allows lots of easy stopping and starting (though I did manage it with the fireplace…) but the baby seemed relatively content to hang out in the play pen:
And I had actually managed to clean up a portion of the garage, meaning I knew where a fair amount of our painting supplies were to be found. So I finally (FINALLY!) painted the ceiling in the master bathroom, which had only been primed:
I actually painted the ceiling with the exact same paint we used on the walls. I’ll pretend it’s because I’m keeping up with the latest design trends, but really it’s just way easier to cut in and not worry about wall drips if everything is the same color, and I already had that paint on hand anyway. It’s a taupe-y gray, something you don’t really even notice is not white unless you’re really looking for it, or say the walls are one color and the ceiling is a different color. 😛 So basically the purpose of this paint is to just be not very noticeable. Mission accomplished!
I’m also working on making a storage bench for the foot of our bed, and I actually painted the pieces of plywood before the assembling step, which will hopefully happen this week:
It was super quick to go over everything with a roller, no paint brushing of awkward corners required. I’m planning on trying to do this project with the nail gun, so there will still be holes to cover and paint, but I still think overall the job will be much easier with the pieces pre-painted.
And the above picture is proof that the garage has a floor! Well, there’s a floor under the pieces of plywood anyway. I managed to get all of the paint, plumbing, tiling, and electrical supplies grouped in a logical fashion and stowed away in the cabinets along the far wall. Hopefully it will be easier to get more small projects done now that I know where everything is…
We still have to finish tiling and install trim and a door, but we have a functioning vanity, complete with electricity! Behold:
We really wanted a double sink, but there just wasn’t quiiittteeeee enough space. But then we discovered this hybrid… two faucets, one drain. The actual vanity is screwed into the wall and doesn’t touch the floor, and it has drawers instead of cabinet doors, which I’m seriously loving. Here’s another angle:
We’re hoping to add some glass tile (matching what we’re putting in the shower) as a backsplash and possibly add a frame to the mirror. I love the lights, found them in the outdoor lighting section. (And only later recalled that Young House Love used the same light in one of their bathrooms.) And while we don’t need a functioning shower vent yet, I’m happy with this switch that we got:
The light switch is on the left. On the right is the vent switch… you can preset how long you want it to run and then just hit the button each time you use it. It shuts off automatically after the designated time has passed. Okay, so it’s not really that exciting, but I love steamy showers and hate mold, so shower vents are important to me. 🙂
The jury’s still out on our other “innovation”:
That’s a set of electrical outlets hidden behind the lower drawer of the vanity. My theory is that we can plug in things like razors and electric toothbrushes without electrical cords running all over the bathroom. And we can leave the razors and toothbrushes in the drawers while they’re charging, so there’s less clutter on the sink. There’s enough of a gap between the back of the drawer and the wall for this to work, but I haven’t actually had a chance to set everything up yet. Possibly it will be a miserable failure, but I’m feeling optimistic.
Now if only the shower was done!
I’m not sure at this point when I’ll be back to blogging regularly, I’m taking this “first time mom” overkill very seriously. 🙂 For now I want to at least write a little about the whirlwind that was the last few weeks, and maybe I can go into more detail on certain parts at a later date. This post was mostly typed up on my iPhone, and the pictures are mostly ones I snapped with the phone and loaded to Instagram/Facebook, so I apologize now for any strangeness that results…
Let’s see, in my last post, just over three weeks ago, the drywall was finally going up in the bathroom and closet:
That took pretty much all of Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. Thursday was spent with me moping around very moodily about the looming deadline of 42 weeks pregnant and probably looking at an induction.
Then that evening (right after replying to yet another text asking if the baby had arrived) my water broke. I’ll hopefully write up the birth story in detail at some point, but here’s the quick version… I was expecting a lot of time in early labor, but instead, as best as I can tell, I went straight into active labor. I’m still not quite sure what this “transition” thing is, and apparently I’m not very good at listening to my body when it’s saying, “okay, now PUSH!” But I had a great team of midwives and Dave and Julie stuck it out with me. In the end, my baby was born pretty much exactly as we were hoping: at home, in my own bed, and very very healthy.
Unfortunately Dave really only got one day off because we still had this bathroom thing. See, we were looking at a really great refinance opportunity, but the lender understandably wouldn’t go for it while the master bathroom was completely gutted down to the studs. This was exactly the excuse my dad needed, since he wanted to see baby Dakota, but he didn’t want to fly out here unless he could actually be helpful. So we put him to work.
Dave and Dad spent a full week on very little sleep getting the bathroom to a point where it was no longer a health hazard in the lender’s eyes. I spent the week camped out in the living room with Dakota in my arms. The house would have been a mess regardless, but it was even more of a mess with the random tools and supplies lying around everywhere. But we got our refinance done! Here’s the much more intact bathroom:
I felt pretty useless through it all, but all that sitting around meant that I healed up pretty well and Dakota and I have figured out this whole nursing thing, so I’ll still take a victory lap.
We’re still figuring out the whole baby thing, but Dakota is now three weeks old, and while she doesn’t have a check-up this week, at two weeks she was up 1.75 lbs from her birth weight. So she’s not starving, and hopefully we can figure out the rest as we go. We’ve had the good fortune to stay mostly on top of our sleep so far, which helped my recovery a good deal. I don’t know how long the sleep thing will last, but we’re taking it all in one day at a time for now.
And here’s one more picture of Dakota for funsies:
I’m a little bored of taking pictures of wall studs. But I did want to document this process after all, and the drywaller is here today so this was my last chance to show the work we’ve been putting into this project up to this point.
First up, the doors, all framed! Here is a picture taken from right by our bedroom window. The closet door is on the right, the bathroom door is on the left:
This isn’t a load-bearing wall, so the big header boards (I believe they’re 4×6’s) are total overkill. But we just re-used them since they were in there originally.
Here’s the bathroom, looking in from the doorway:
Sorry for the picture quality… early morning camera work. 🙂 The shower is on the right, the toilet goes under the window on the left, and the sink will be out of the shot on the left. And Dave added insulation to all of the exposed exterior wall shortly after I took this. So at least this one little piece of wall will be warm in the winter, I guess?
And here’s the shower floor: (Oh man, so not exciting)
If you’re feeling really enthusiastic, you can compare it to this picture, which was how it looked before we moved the drain and added the curb and plywood.
Moving along, here you can see a bit of PEX tubing peeping up from underneath the house before it switches over to copper for the shower water supply lines:
And here’s the rest of the plumbing work for the shower:
It’s going to have a rainfall shower head, so the attachment point is extra high. Directly below that we have the diverter for the handheld shower, which will come out of the wall to the right side of the main valve. On a side note, if you get a new valve installed, make sure you install the cartridge and close the valve, otherwise your hot and cold water will mix and you won’t be able to get any hot water ANYWHERE IN THE HOUSE. The plumber came back first thing in the morning and fixed it when we called and said we didn’t have hot water. He was very sheepish and apologetic.
Okay, so turning around back towards to bathroom entrance, here we have the sink! Or at least, where the sink is going to go:
Wooo. Pretty much right after I took that picture Dave crawled up into the attic and ran the electrical wire for the vanity lights and boxes, in case you were wondering. He’s been a busy bee! Here’s a closer shot of the new plumbing:
The new sink has two faucets and only one drain. The plumber was able to tie the new hot and cold lines into the ones that already go to the hallway bathroom sink on the other side of the wall. It looks like a crazy game of Pipe Dream, but hopefully it will all work correctly…
Unfortunately we weren’t able to tie the drain in with the existing drain for the hallway bath, so instead we were able to notch the studs and bring the old drain around the corner. yeah, that took awhile. Adventure! Or something.
It’s a “floating” sink, so we added some extra 2×4’s for blocking so all of our anchoring screws will be going into actual wood and not just drywall.
So that’s the state of things. The drywall is going up as I type this, and everything should get mudded and textured tomorrow. Hopefully we can start painting a day or two after that! We still need to buy a light fixture for the closet, but even without a light, once it’s painted we will have storage space again!!! Meanwhile, Dave will get to start on the final big project: tiling. Well actually first he gets to make a shower pan, so we will still be a single-shower household for a little while yet. Perhaps we could install the sink first?
This is just a little visual aid that I whipped up a while back using Floorplanner.
Here’s the master “suite” plus the hallway and hall bathroom as they looked before we started redoing the master bathroom:
The closet on the top left was a reach-in closet with sliding doors that we immediately removed. (I hate sliding closet doors.) There was a random open area between the closet and the bathroom that was just a waste of space in my mind. The bathroom itself had an itty bitty corner shower and an awkwardly placed linen closet with doors that blocked the main bathroom door when opened.
Here’s our new (well, in progress) layout:
We’ve moved the bathroom door so we can close off the closet and make it a walk-in. We’ve moved the sink to a different wall and are replacing it with a bigger one. We’re stealing a bit of closet space to bump out the shower and make it more spacious. Hopefully the loss of the linen closet will be offset by the additional storage space under the sink. (The original sink was a pedestal without any storage space underneath at all.) The tiling will actually be a bit different than what’s pictured, in the shower the floor tiles will be 1″ square and in the main bathroom area they’ll be 12″. Also the new sink is just one long basin with two faucets but only one drain. But hopefully you get the idea.
There are about half a dozen guys here today efficiently tearing out our old pipes and installing new ones. Unfortunately we goofed and didn’t buy the new rough-in valve that we need for the hallway shower. I foolishly thought we’d find the one we needed at the home improvement store. I’m getting one shipped overnight so hopefully it’ll show up tomorrow in time for them to install it, otherwise we’ll be doing a bit of plumbing work ourselves after all.
For a while there it seemed like we were in some sort of plumber communication black hole. Of course it didn’t help that we waffled indecisively for a long while before even attempting to contact anyone, but even when Dave started leaving voice mails, he wasn’t getting any responses! Perhaps it’s because what we’re looking for is actually a pretty big job…
We knew even before we put an offer on this house that the plumbing was a bit of a mess. First, we knew the hot water heater would need to be replaced fairly soon. (it’s still trucking at the moment, but I’d rather replace it before it fails completely.) Also, at some point some enterprising person had gone through and replaced some of the original galvanized steel piping with copper piping, probably as they did things like update the kitchen and add the shower in the hallway bath. The problem with having both copper and steel in the same plumbing system is that you get an electrolysis effect (think battery electrodes) that corrodes the pipes. It’s not like this issue is a big secret in the plumbing world or anything, and the way you’re SUPPOSED to deal with this is to install a little adapter between the two metals instead of letting them contact each other directly, but no one bothered to do this on our house. Unfortunately, our weird piping has clearly been in place for a while, so the corrosion is pretty far along. Here’s where the copper piping from our water heater connects to the steel pipe leading into the house:
I’m not entirely sure, but I believe the rust stains running down from the connection are a bad thing. And I’m told that the pipes under the house are ten times worse than this. Long story short, almost from day one we were saving up to re-pipe the whole house with PEX tubing. We’ve been a bit enamored with PEX since we started seeing it used in home improvement shows a few years ago. It’s a little funny to me that we’re planning on switching to plastic while living in California (aka the heartland of OMG PLASTIC IS EVIL) but Dave is a polymer scientist/engineer after all, so he did his research and we’ve decided we’re a-okay with it.
The nice thing about the amount of foot-dragging we’ve been doing on this bathroom remodel is that we’ve had a whole extra year to save up for the re-piping, and we can get the plumber to move the fixtures that we need for the bathroom at the same time as he’s doing the re-pipe, which will save us a little money. And all of the bathroom pipes are completely exposed at the moment, which will make his life easier too. The downside to our procrastination is that we didn’t even really get the option of trying to do the plumbing ourselves. (PEX is a bit easier than copper for brave DIYers; check out these awesome people for example.) Actually, considering the potential for massive failure, some might consider being forced to hire a professional to be an upside, not a downside. 🙂
Enough background. So we finally got an estimate that we’re happy with for replacing the water heater plus the re-pipe plus moving the bathroom fixtures. That last bit will entail putting the sink on a different wall and adding a second faucet, moving the shower drain and fixtures about 2 feet, and replacing the shower valve in our hallway bath. Here’s the existing shower valve for our hallway bath, conveniently accessible since the two bathrooms share a wall:
The plumber says whoever installed this was very flux-happy but couldn’t be bothered to clean up the excess, thus the corroded green areas. We’re actually replacing the valve anyway because the new valve trim we’ve been wanting to add isn’t compatible with this valve. Don’t worry, the new trim is still big enough to hide that weird-shaped hole in the tile. Sigh… Anyway, the main cost for actually moving/replacing bathroom fixtures will be moving the shower drain and the sink drain, since the rest of the fixtures were essentially being replaced with the re-pipe anyway. We’re pretty comfortable with installing toilets, sinks, shower heads and such, so the plumber will only need to do the rough-in portion.
Enough plumbing, the title of this post implies that I have something to say about how the framing is going! We’re almost completely done with the shower, which now boasts a pony wall separating it from the toilet:
The toilet will be to the left of the picture above, under the window, while the opening to the shower is on the right.
Dave even managed to cut and cap the old shower pipes, so he could remove those last few studs and we can really visualize how awesome our new shower space is going to be. The main thing left for the shower framing now is to frame out the built-in bench. Oh and Dave’s going to reinforce the pony wall with a sheet of 1/2″ plywood, because it’s going to be tiled on one side and we don’t want that sucker to move AT ALL. Here’s how things are looking right now:
The thing covered in green tape is the old shower drain, the pony wall is to the left, and the beginnings of the built-in bench are at the top. You can see the holes in the floor a foot or so to the right of the drain where the shower pipes used to be. The new shower is about 3′ by 5′, minus the angled doorway. The drain will be centered, so it needs to move about 2 feet to the right in the picture above.
We had a bit of a scare with a cracked hot water pipe when Dave removed the old shower fixtures, so we left the old sink fixtures in place pending the re-pipe, meaning that we still can’t frame out the new bathroom doorway since one of the pipes is in the way. But hopefully our experience framing the new closet door will allow us to get the bathroom door framed pretty quickly once the pipe is out of the way. Here’s the current opening:
I was standing in the shower looking back at the master bedroom to take this picture. The old sink pipes are on the bottom right, with the left-most pipe juuusst in the way of where the king stud needs to go for the new doorway. The new sink will be along the wall out of the picture to the right.
The plumbers will supposedly be completely done by next Tuesday! Next up: Ummm I think laying the plywood subfloor?
We bought this house almost exactly two years ago, and at that time we knew that the biggest change we wanted to make was to redo the master bathroom/closet area. The original setup was a mini-hallway leading from the bedroom with a reach-in closet with sliding doors on the right and a doorway leading to the itty bitty bathroom on the left. After living in the house for a year our feelings on the matter were unchanged, so we started the demo. And then, as is our habit, we got distracted by other things and let the demolished bathroom sit for months… and months… and months. It helps that we have another, fully functional bathroom in the house, but eventually having our clothing piled in baskets all over the bedroom got the best of even clutter-happy people like us. Having a baby on the way may also have motivated us. So we got back to work.
The general plan is to create a new doorway to the bathroom leading directly from the bedroom and close off the “mini-hallway” to instead make a mini walk-in closet. We also plan to steal a bit of closet space for the shower so that we can have a shower bigger than a high school locker. 🙂 Here’s a post about the old shower before we destroyed it. Perhaps someday I’ll get organized and post some before and after floor plans, which will probably make more sense than my descriptions.
Anyway, all of the pictures I’ve taken of our progress are pretty bad, though I tried to improve them as best I could with post-processing. There really is not much lighting to be had and the spaces are all tiny. Ah well.
First up, we needed to frame the new closet doorway. Here’s a picture of the original “mini hallway” opening, taken from roughly the back wall of said hallway. The bedroom is hiding on the other side of the plastic sheet. What used to be the closet is on the left, the bathroom is out of the picture on the right.
Step one involved cutting the hardwood (*gulp*) for the added bit of wall around the door:
And then nailing in the bottom plate with our swanky new nail gun:
And then the top plate:
After that I actually put the camera down and helped Dave put in the verticals. So here’s the finished shot:
We were able to salvage a fair amount of lumber when we first demoed the space, which is why the boards are different colors.
Next up was framing the new shower bump-out. Again this involved cutting some hardwood:
That picture was taken while I was standing in the middle of the bathroom looking out into the closet. The bedroom and the new closet doorway are out of the picture to the right. the studs and plumbing on the left side of the picture will eventually be removed and the empty space directly in front of me will become a wall. Anyway, a whole lot of ceiling drywall had to come down, since this was all we had removed thus far:
And here’s the first wall starting to be built:
The horizontal board is for the top of the built-in shelf that will reside along that wall.
Coming soon… framing the rest of the bathroom! Mostly that will entail closing up the original doorway and framing out the new doorway. We are also planning a pony wall between the toilet and the shower, so there will be a little more building going on there. And then we have to get the plumber in to move the pipes for the shower. After that it’s building the shower pan and then on to tiling the shower!
The baby is due at the end of March… what are the chances that we’ll be even close to done at that point? 🙂
The flush-lever on our toilet broke. It’s the only functional toilet in our house since we’re remodeling the other bathroom. And of course it broke fairly late in the evening, after stores had closed. So we rigged a quick fix to get us through the night:
Here’s what it’s supposed to look like. You know, in case you’ve never seen a toilet before:
Once we got to the hardware store the next morning I was suddenly enamored by the idea of installing a dual-flush handle. That’s one of those doohickeys where you have a less-water option for liquid waste, and the normal flush option for solid waste. It’s a little more involved than just buying a new lever, but the store had an “everything included” kit that wouldn’t break the bank, so we went for it.
Of course when we got home we discovered the kit only worked with certain toilet setups, but the extra conversion kit to get the correct setup was also fairly inexpensive. (Though it did require another trip to the hardware store.) Just to keep things annoying, the original kit had a broken piece in it. So that required yet ANOTHER trip to the store, though Dave didn’t have any issues getting it exchanged. It’s a good thing that we live conveniently close to multiple hardware stores though.
After all that, the installation was pretty easy. Unfortunately I don’t understand these newfangled contraptions as well as I do old-school toilet tanks, so hopefully this will work forever and never break until the end of time. Ha! Here’s how the toilet tank used to look. This at least looks familiar to me:
And here’s how it looks now. Crazy:
Usage is simple enough: pull the lever up for the half flush, push it down for the normal flush. Since it looks pretty much like a normal flush-lever, we won’t have confused visitors yelling for help while doing their business. We hope. The lever isn’t exactly a piece of artwork, but it’s straightforward enough:
Pulling upward for the half-flush is slightly weird because you have to hold it for an extra beat for it to work, but pushing downward works exactly as it did before. All in all it works perfectly so we’re happy for this easy little improvement.
And I’m just going to stop now because there’s only so much I can say about a toilet.
Since we knew we were going to be down to one bathroom for a few months, we figured we should add some storage space to that bathroom to make it a bit more functional. Pedestal sinks look nice, but aren’t terribly practical.I forgot to get a true “before” shot, but here’s the old sink shortly after we started the removal process:
Before installing the new sink we decided to paint the walls and replace the towel-hanging hardware while we were at it. The walls were originally white white, and we decided to paint them with a super pale blue. I think it works pretty well with the dark dark blue floor tiles. You can see it in some of the following pictures, depending on whether I did a good job using the “white balance” function or not. 😀
We wanted the sink to be flush against the wall on two sides, which immediately caused issues since the base trim on the wall was the same type of tile as the floor, with a metal quarter round edging. (I’m probably not using the right terminology, sorry.) We debated a couple different solutions, and had mostly settled on tiling all the way up and around the sink so it would be flush. That still meant pulling up the metal trim piece…
But after some more work we ended up just pulling out the all the wall tiles/trim where the sink was going to go:
My thinking is that I don’t really like carrying the dark floor tiles onto the wall at all, and would like to eventually redo the baseboards with the more traditional white painted beveled wood baseboards like we have in the rest of the house. Boring? Yes.
Here’s the sink and vanity once we were done cleaning up the trim:
We were able to pick up the sink/vanity combo on clearance at the hardware store (there’s a little bit of cosmetic damage on the bottom lip of the sink) and it was exactly the amount of storage space we were looking for, while still having a somewhat interesting sink shape. Of course then we needed a faucet and drain, so I wandered around eBay until I found something I liked. We spent a little more than we could have, because we really like the oil rubbed bronze look and decided it would be fun to try something a little more modern.
Okay, that picture isn’t all that great, but I refuse to take more hi-res pics of a faucet. Sigh. The water is pretty cool-looking though. Every time I use the sink it makes me smile.
Anyway, I’m leaving out a bunch of steps, since I believe we ended up having to replace a leaky valve and buy an extra adapter for the faucet since it was male instead of female or something like that. Also, we discovered that the faucet was European sized while the sink holes were American (or at least that was the impression Dave got from his Internet research). So we ended up using a ceramic bit on the Dremel tool to widen the faucet hole on the sink a little. And Dave will be sad if I don’t include a picture of his plumbing handiwork:
We’re slowly but surely getting more comfortable with the basic home improvement skills. 🙂 And here’s the closest thing I have to an “after” shot:
I still want to replace the light and the mirror, but they work just fine so it’s not really a priority for now. I should probably at least replace the doorknobs on the vanity…
We did do one other functional thing though, and that was add a ceiling vent. The bathroom has a window, so technically a vent isn’t required, but I’d rather clear out the moisture without shivering on cold mornings. 🙂 We had to fix up the electrical anyway, since the wires were coming in through the wall from the side by way of the master bathroom. (You know… the room that we’re totally renovating.) So we pulled up all of the wires from the two bathrooms and dropped a new wire from the attic down between the walls to that light switch you can see by the door in the picture above.
We were prepared to have to cut a hole in the drywall to make this happen, but by some stroke of luck Dave managed to drop a string with a screw weighting it directly through the wall from the hole he made in the attic to the opening in the light switch box. From there we were able to tie the new electrical wire to the string and pull it through. My Dad, who was overseeing/assisting, assures us that this method NEVER works. Whatever, I’ll take it! Here’s the boring but wonderfully functional ceiling vent:
And here’s the new light switch, now with TWO switches. yes, amazing I know.
That reminds me, I need to paint that stupid door and trim so it’s white instead of beige. Arg. Ah well, this is our only functioning bathroom for the time being, so it’ll have to wait!
We hate, hate, hate our “master” bathroom. It’s only 8 feet by 5 feet, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s laid out in a pretty inefficient manner, with a space-wasting linen closet and cheap little pre-fab corner shower. From day one it’s been our first planned major demo, and we’re saving money hard with the hopes of completely gutting it in the spring.
Unfortunately, first one door and then the other on the corner shower became almost completely non-functional. When little plastic tabs start breaking off you know it’s bad news. Anyway, we finally had to accept that the doors weren’t going to survive the 4-odd extra months that we needed them for. Neither of us really wanted to switch to the hall shower sooner than necessary, (the main issue being the miserable water pressure in there) so we came up with the idea of taking the doors off of the corner shower and rigging a shower curtain instead. I started looking around online for L-shaped curtain rods, but they all seemed to be in the $60 range! That just seemed silly for something that we only need for 4 months, so we decided to make our own out of PVC. Here’s the door removal:
The pieces are going to live out on the patio with our banished screen door for now:
And there was much scraping of excess caulk to clean things up…
And then we rigged the PVC connectors together, reminded me of playing with Pipeworks as a kid:
We didn’t see anything resembling a flange, so we just bought some end caps and screwed them directly into the wall:
And then everything was attached!
since our shower pan isn’t exactly very deep and we’ll be throwing it out in the spring too, we decided to glue one side of the shower curtain down directly to the wall and the pan, to minimize water escaping. Since there’s that vertical ceiling support, the curtain only opens halfway anyway.
While we got the cheapest shower curtain possible, we did make sure it was a 7 foot tall curtain, since we had noticed the 6 foot tall shower doors weren’t stopping some water from spraying over and hitting the bathroom door. (You can actually see a bit of rust around the hinges. boo.)
Anyway, I don’t know if we would have gone this route if we weren’t fairly certain that it’d be a temporary solution. I guess we could have used galvanized pipe and a cool patterned curtain for an “industrial chic” look, but I’m pretty happy with the price for PVC:
- 10′ PVC pipe – $1.68
- PVC connectors – $2.55
- PVC primer/cement- $7.51
- shower curtain – $15
- curtain hooks – $3
- Caulk – $8.49
And we still have leftover PVC and plan to use it and the cement to make some obstacles for Loki since he needs to practice for his agility classes. The caulk will undoubtedly get used again too.