Monday, June 30, 2014

Hallway tiles begone!

Welcome pine wood floors!


The hallway and stairs were the last part of the house that had linoleum.  They had the usual multiple layers, but unlike the rest of the house, the tiles were breaking all over the place.  I finally couldn't take it anymore, and up it came (thanks Kaitlin and R2!).  The downstairs was like the rest of the house - look at it funny, and it came up - but the tiles were glued quite firmly to the stairs, and the upstairs hallway was a layer of tile over pine paneling.  Yes, paneling.  Someone nailed it finish side down to the subfloor, and then tiled on top.  So very odd.


Underneath it all, we found the same subfloor that's in the rest of the house.  The subfloor was in great condition in the living and dining rooms, and it finished up very nicely.  In the hallway, though, it was gappy, battered, and covered with mastic.  Instead of struggling to finish it, we instead decided on new flooring.  After a bunch of research (wow, flooring can be expensive), we went with engineered floors with a reclaimed heart pine surface.  The engineered floor is plywood topped with the pine wood.  It's as hardy if not more so than solid wood, can be refinished when necessary, and comes completely finished (no sanding dust!).  It's a lot sturdier and I think less plastic looking than laminate.  I slowly laid the floor over the past couple weeks, with a push from Mary to get it completed yesterday (thanks Mary!).

So, we went from this (incredibly old pic, can't find a more recent one):

to this:


The staircase will be ugly for a while - it's summer, I don't want to be inside sanding! - but will eventually have the ugly peach paint removed, get sanded, and then get painted.  The floors still need edge molding, but that can wait until after summer as well.

Yay for no linoleum and an entry hallway that looks much less embarrassing!

Monday, October 21, 2013

And now for something completely different

At Jaimee's request, I built an outdoor sink and counter.  In the spirit of the ethos that is the DIY work in the house, it's...scrappy.  The water comes from the hose faucet, although I did spring for the fancy stainless hose so you can drink from it safely.  The drain leads to a watering can so I can reuse the water on the plants, with the overflow going into the backyard (only biodegradable soap allowed!).


The faucet originally came with the sink we bought for the upstairs bathroom, the tile is left over from the upstairs bathroom, the grout left over from the backsplash, and the apron left over from the fence.  Someday I'll build a couple doors so we can store the extra propane tanks under the sink without looking at them, but for now - it works.

For those wanting something not entirely different, the bathroom work continues - it's just that the steps in finishing are so boring until actually completed!  Still working on the ceiling, staining the shelves, etc.  However, I did finish the sink, which was was more work than it sounds.  It meant

  • removing the extra caulk from the larger sink
  • removing the sink to uninstall the faucet that came with it
  • removing the faucet from the downstairs sink and installing it up here
  • reinstalling the sink
  • installing the faucet I bought for this sink on the downstairs faucet


I also hung a couple of towel hooks, which was also more work than it sounds - don't buy Kobalt tile bits.  I killed 3 in drilling 2 holes.

And this is what Loki says to all of that.


Monday, September 23, 2013

I love lamp.

At least this one - because I made it, and it replaced the rather cheap looking partially broken plastic one that you had to climb up the couch arm to turn on.  This one has a cord switch so you can actually easily turn it on while sitting, which I installed on an Ikea cordset, in the process discovering that the hot wire was not for some reason the black one, as it is usually...  Well, Mom was visiting that day and I think she enjoyed the fireworks show I accidentally created.


The bathroom work continues, of course, but right now I'm pretty focused on finishing the ceiling, which means a lot of time putting up joint compound and waiting for it to dry.  Nothing really worth photographing there until it's done, at which point it will hopefully look like...nothing special, just a flat ceiling. 

In order to make me feel like the process is still moving though, I've started trying to work in some smaller wins around the house as well - like making the lamp (the pieces have been hanging around for a couple months waiting for me to get on that), fixing the door to my office so that it actually stays closed, adding a couple shelves in the pantry, doing some tidying in the basement, and fixing the screen on my Nexus tablet.  Little wins can be so satisfying!

Monday, September 9, 2013

This is a really nice shower.

You know, rainhead showers are really nice.  Much nicer than I had predicted they'd be.  How do I know this?  Well, the bathroom is grouted and caulked!  I even hung the door!  It's completely usable!  Yes, that is a lot of exclamation points, but seriously, it's such a relief.  Also, I'm kind of proud of myself for this tricky folding door creation.



Most of the things left to do are actually pretty obvious from the pictures - door trim, clean up the sink, have the radiator installed, close the door holes, hang towel hooks and a mirror.  I also have to finish the ceiling, hang the crown molding, put up cabinet shelves, and fix an outlet.  But finishing the basics of the bathroom feel amazing!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tile done tile done tile done!

Can you tell I'm a little excited about this???  We finished all the tiling this weekend, thanks to slave labor from Mary, Autumn, and Jaimee.  I need to grout it, caulk it, and seal it, but if all goes to plan we can shower in there this weekend!



I have no idea why the upper picture looks so blue - the reality is somewhere in between these two colors.  What can I say, it was cloudy this morning.  You can also see the cabinet on the left (it has an outlet built in, and will hold the hair dryer and electric toothbrush), and the doorframe.  The doorframe was SO MUCH FUN to put in - at Dad's suggestion, I used this project to justify a power nailer.  I got a cordless Ryobi 18 gauge, and it's my new favorite tool.  5 minutes to put up the frame (not counting cutting and chiseling), and laughter and enjoyment the whole time.  That thing is awesome.


There are still plenty of things left to do after grouting etc, but this feels like such a huge step towards completion.  In addition to being really close to a truly fully working bathroom, all the boxes of tile and bags of thinset are gone from the living room and hallway, and a lot of tools are actually put away and not piled in my office.  The house is much closer to just being a house and not a construction staging zone!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It works!

Well, the last time the plumbers came to visit we had to go from this:

 to this.


Which was frustrating and exhausting.  But after a full weekend of work plus some late nights, we've managed to end up here:



I actually peed in the upstairs bathroom for the first time since early June!  (Ok, perhaps too much info.  Whatever.)  The bathroom walls are fully closed up.  I built and installed a cabinet for the wall next to the toilet, so the upstairs bathroom will actually have storage!  The tiling is completed on the toilet wall, halfway done on the opposite wall, and 2/3 done on the sink wall.

And speaking of sinks - if you look closely, you might see a lot of white on the wall around the sink.  That's caulk.  This is actually the second sink we installed - the first one was just too big in the space.  We found this one at Build It Green in Gowanus for a whopping $20 which was pretty awesome - except that the new faucet didn't fit in it.  So in addition to cleaning up all the caulking on the wall, I have to put the new faucet on the downstairs sink and bring the downstairs sink faucet up here to install (after I make sure the downstairs faucet is also not too big).  I think that can wait for the tiling to be complete and the door hung, though.

Still left to do - complete the wall tiling and grouting.  Have the plumbers back to fix the radiator pipes they messed up.  Build a small cabinet for the hair dryer outlet.  Finish the floor tiling and grouting, then caulk and seal.  Finish the ceiling drywall taping and paint the ceiling.  Hang the door frame and door.  Build shelves and a door for the big cabinet.  Explain to one of the GFI outlets that it WILL work, thank you.  Hang the stuff (you know, towel holders, tp holder, mirror).  Just keep swimming.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2 steps forward, 1 step back

Remember I said we'd come back from vacation to a working second toilet and sink?  Not so much.  This time it wasn't me biting off more than I can chew - when the plumber came to install the toilet bowl onto the carrier (in wall toilet), he discovered that they had set the carrier too low.  3" too low.  

After some discussion with the head guy, this means I have to take off the tile around the toilet and cut off the cement board there so they can move the carrier up.  Then I get to reinstall the cement board and tiles so they can then come back and install the bowl.

Well, at least I didn't hire someone to do the tiling - and at least I hadn't finished it yet...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tile!

We made it!  Well, I have to grout tonight, but unless the grout gods hate me way more than usual - we made it!  There's enough tile done to install the fixtures - which means we'll return from vacation to a second flushing toilet and sink.  That is so very exciting.  Nothing like creeping down a flight of stairs at 4 am because you really have to pee and you don't want to wake the dog up and get him all excited.


There is absolutely no way I would have finished this much of the tile (the wall to the left is also tiled up 2 levels) without the cheerful sweaty labor of Jaimee and Sabrina, and the clean up crew of Autumn.  Thanks guys.  My sanity appreciates.

And yes, I have tiled rather oddly.  Most people do either the floor or the walls first, not parts of each.  If we're going to go down that path, I suppose most people hang the rest of the ceiling and walls before tiling at all.   But you know what?  Second flushing toilet.  That's all I have to say about that.  Sometimes the little things in life are important enough to make you figure out how work over and around a sink.

I will say the tiling was so much easier than the downstairs bathroom, mostly because this time I know what I'm doing.  I also brought the tile saw upstairs, which made a huge difference for speed - and leg exhaustion.  Grouting tonight and then the beach tomorrow and recovery from a week of late night tiling!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Now we're rolling

Finally got enough of the basics done to start putting up walls and floor!  The walls are about 2/3 up, but enough to get tiled and have the fixtures installed.  The floor is ready for tile.  I need to paint on the waterproofing membrane, and then tile away!  I'd love to finish enough of the tile to have the fixtures installed before vacation, but that might be a little aggressive even for me.  If I miss though, at least I'll be in a great spot for when we get back.

From here:

To here (actually a little further than depicted, that wall is covered and the seams have been taped):