Saturday, April 22, 2017

One Setback Leads to Another

It has not been a productive week, construction wise.

Troy and I moved the vanity into the bathroom so he could continue on the plumbing. What should have been a triumphant milestone moment quickly moved to confusion, then continued to disbelief and landed at resignation.

The medicine cabinets, sockets and light boxes that Troy carefully centered over the vanity didn't actually center over the vanity. It was off by only about 3 inches, but that's enough. And adjusting all of it 3 inches is just as much work as adjusting it 12 or 20 inches, but it hurts more.

On top of that, there wasn't enough room for where the toilet was supposed to go. After many minutes, we decided the vanity would moved into the far corner (against the east wall) and the toilet would go on the other side:
At least we have a good solution, but this means Troy will be redoing the entire wall behind the vanity. But that was going to happen as soon as we saw that the vanity wouldn't center. At least we found a solution that will work.
So Troy will need to redo that wall. It took a week the first time so he is figuring on that much time again. But maybe it will go quicker the second time.

And as soon as we moved the vanity, I knew I would have a problem in the floor that I will have to fix. See that big gap behind the toilet?
When I realized that was going to happen (my error), I thought long and hard about fixing it at the time. But it was going to be under the vanity and just how  much of a perfectionist was I going to be? Well, now it's not under the vanity but visible behind the toilet. Not a view I get a lot, but Troy will be looking at it every day. :) So I will be working on ripping out a row or two of flooring and redoing it. Is this what they mean by "misery loves company"?

The box with the vanity top was open so I snapped a picture.
I don't think I've shown it before. It's a dark brown. The undermount sinks are porcelain. It's not my favourite (I think I've mentioned that I wanted square sinks and would have liked a different finish) but even I have to limit how far I can apply my reasoning that if we're doing the work ourselves, we can buy more expensive supplies. In this case the limit was twice the price. (Although, to be honest, if Troy was less reluctant, I probably could have applied my logic to this case too!)

But don't worry...when I'm using those sinks in the bathroom right next to my bedroom, I will not be bemoaning the vanity top. I will be so happy to have plumbing. Upstairs and next to my bedroom!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Bathroom Floor (and other things that are not as exciting as the bathroom floor)

If you're not following my Facebook or Instagram accounts, you may not know that I finished the bathroom floor on Friday night. Let's have some pictures, shall we?

I wanted to go to Chicago on Saturday, so I put my hours in during the evenings. Of course, it's easier to be more motivated when you're on the way to finishing something!

The bathroom flooring had to be done so the vanity and toilet could be put in. So, "tag, you're it" Troy!! :)

Troy has been working on putting in the plumbing for the shower:
 and he put in the tub surround:
Still more work to do on it, but the tub looks more finished and the surround pieces are out of the way where they were being stored. I love getting things out of the way!!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Not Burying the Headline

Let's start with first things first: I started putting flooring down this week:
This is the first flooring we've put down in this house. I am so excited about it.

Part of why I could get to it is because Troy finished the subfloor:
I didn't know he had more plywood in the shop. Much like the person who hides a puzzle piece and gleeful puts in the last piece, Troy filled in the last two gaps in our subfloor. Not that I minded.

He also framed the linen closet:
Can you make that out? Here it is from the back:
Easier to see?

Deciding there was nothing in the way of doing the flooring in the bathroom, I cleared the room and vacuumed on Friday night:

Saturday I rewatched the youtube video about putting down flooring and got to it:
As I told Troy before he left for the day--anything I did wrong couldn't take more than a week to undo!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Floors and Doors

Work continues...

After ripping out the rows of shims that were wrong, I did manage to finish all the shims in the hallway. Then I threw down some plywood:
Last Saturday, the plan was to finish the rest of the subfloor, which included the "seasonal" closet and the small section in front of the linen closet. (Both on the right in the picture above.)

Part of the reason that hadn't been done already is that the drywall for the bathroom was in the closet and I couldn't move it on my own. (I could barely get it from the trailer to upstairs with Troy pulling more than half the weight.) Or could I?

It turns out, when I need to, I can move around a full sheet of 5/8" drywall. Troy and I had planned to do it together, of course, but with me being sick and then Troy not feeling well, we didn't get it done. But I was determined now was the time because that floor was getting done!

So I got them into the bedroom, moving the last sheet of plywood and putting the drywall where it was. (The organization needed for a small work space!) The last sheet of drywall, of course, got cut up to go on the floor.
Most of the time was spent measuring and cutting the larger piece (lighter in the picture because its upside down) to fit around door posts and other irregularities. I was happy to have a scrap long enough and wide enough to install beside it (to the left) and managed to make them line up groove to tongue.

But then none of my scraps were big enough for the section in front of the linen closet or the last strip that was left at the far end of the seasonal closet. :(

Then I also started having trouble with the drill bits. Apparently I was replacing the worn/broken ones from the "cheap" supply and that's why. But I didn't know that until Troy go home. So I put in enough screws to hold everything in place and quit that for the day.

Let me tell, it is so nice to walk on a sturdy, solid, flat floor!! Even though it will take a while for my feet to learn the new floor. Meanwhile, it is still surprising my feet, which are walking the pattern of the old floor's ups and downs!

I still had time in my day, so I also cut off the bottom of the bedroom door so it would clear the new floor height and rehung it.
It's solid wood so cutting of the bottom didn't affect anything except the length. Even though we're the only ones in the house, it still feels better to have a door on the bedroom. :)

If I am remembering correctly, Troy finished the wiring of the vanity wall (lights, outlets, switches) and added an outlet to the closet side on that same wall. His new drill was a dream to work with.

He also figured a path for the antenna cable to get from the attic to the TV in the living room. It turned out to be simpler than he thought, which is nice for a change!

I have the bathroom area cleared of everything so I hope this week really is the week I start putting down flooring. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mistakes and Lost Causes

No pictures today. It's been a frustrating week with not a lot of progress.

On Wednesday, Troy set to finishing the wiring for the vanity wall. He needed his drill that can make holes at 90° because he couldn't fit the "regular" drill between the studs. While he was using it, it made a bad noise and started smelling like burnt plastic. Never a good thing.

So he took it apart, discovered what was wrong, fixed it and put it back together. And then it did the same thing. So he tried again, and maybe even one more time. And then it still wasn't working. So he was done for the day and now he has a new drill.

It feels like a lot of wasted time, but at least now he can be very sure that getting a new one was necessary.

I, on the other hand, was still working on putting the shims on the hallway floor so the subfloor would be level. Last night I discovered that I used the wrong screw as a reference point not only on the strip that I had just installed, but also the previous strip where the glue was well-dried.

So I spent the evening with a hammer and crowbar removing the incorrect shims, grinding off or pulling out the brads, and cleaning up the surface so I could put shims down again. The glue gave pretty quickly on the old floor boards because they were painted, but there was another section where the shims were glued to some new lumber and that was some work. Troy ended up finishing up the cleaning with a chisel.

Now I should be all set to redo that work today. After thoughts last night of maybe finishing that section in one big push, I now have the same thought today. There's more to do, but I have more time too so we'll see.

It can be frustrating to go backwards but it hasn't happened very often to us so we're going to chalk this up to the cost of doing business.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Building Up and Tearing Down

Since the last time I posted, we enjoyed a week-long visit to Troy's parents in Missouri. Troy got to practise with his new quadcopter that can record video. Here's a little snip of us waving "Hi" from the front deck:
We had a great time and you can read more about my visit to the Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, Missouri here.

After we got home, it took us a while to get back into work on the house. I also spent a few days sick with a cold so that week was a bust for me too. But some progress has been made...

Troy inserted plywood in the wall between the bathroom and closet where there was a big opening to house the medicine cabinets. You can see he also framed the "third wall" of the closet space (on the right).
He has to get those walls framed before I lay the floor.

Troy also started the wiring for the vanity lights and outlets. this picture, you can only see the boxes, but he has some wiring started too.

Once that side of the closet was framed, I could also work on a layout. I could not find a useful online closet planner (that would let me plug in my own stuff) so I resorted to Excel.
I had to give separated areas for hanging clothes so Troy could separate
his nice clothes from his "grubby" clothes.
Troy needs a lot of hanging space since he hates to fold but doesn't mind hanging. (He even hangs his jeans--well he did when he owned jeans--and that is just crazy pants to me.) He has a dresser that we like, so I figured we could just build the rest around it. And that way he wouldn't have to spend the time building himself some drawers. And I filled the rest of the space with shelves.

Troy hasn't actually approved this plan yet but this was my first stab at it. Except for the top one, I expect the shelves will be adjustable so the spacing isn't all that critical at this point.

As for actual work work, I have scraped off the various finishes on the chimney.
We're going to be gluing either drywall or plywood then drywall and as Troy continually says, the glue is only as secure as the stuff you're sticking it to.

Of course, it's always fun to try and find all the layers from over the years.
1. Brick (not pictured)
2. Plaster (far left bottom corner)
3. Floral wallpaper
4. Striped wallpaper (that I hope was discoloured by subsequent layers because that is a very ugly brown.
5. More wallpaper I couldn't make out.
6. Paneling (all you can see that remains is the glue they used to stick it up).

Some came off, some didn't and by the end I had this on the closet side:
On the bedroom side, there was a lot less to remove. It is a mess of plaster and drywall mud though, including textured plaster that is just ick.

Along the one side, the plaster had given way and revealed the original brick:
I doubt it was ever meant to be a finished surface, but while the plaster was coming off, my head was filling with thoughts of tearing off all the plaster to reveal the bricks and how I could sand blast them to remove all the crap and I could maybe have that "mock" mantel or fake fireplace I keep dreaming about....But then, the plaster wasn't coming off anymore and I realized that it wasn't going to happen. And that it wouldn't even work because the chimney is way off to the side between two doors and it would look goofy. Anyway, all that is to say we will fill in the gap before we glue some drywall up and call it good.

Tonight I finished up the last little piece of subfloor in the closet space
so Troy can frame the linen closet. Then I think we will be done adding walls. I think.

You can see Troy crawling around on the floor in the picture--he is working on setting up the hallway so I can lay more shims there and put in the subfloor. It will be so nice to have the floor done! At the same time, Troy can even out the last flight of stairs (four steps) that are so uneven right now. Equal steps will mean less tripping, which is a good thing at the top of the stairs.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

More on Floors

That was a text exchange Troy and I had last Saturday while he was at work and I was working on the bedroom floor.

I had all the subflooring in the bedroom except the last piece that had to fit around the stove pipe:
Hence the text. And I think you can see what I mean about having nailed the shims over the metal plate along two edges. No one told me it was supposed to be free to move and I didn't ask.

But at the time it didn't quite feel right to just put the shims right over the metal, so about half of the edges were actually free and the parts that weren't were just barely trapped under the edge of the wood. So I decided a little careful prying would work. And it did.
I thought I took pictures of the completed bedroom floor, but apparently not. Above is a shot of the subfloor finished around the stovepipe after I moved most of the junk out of the bathroom into the bedroom. (Hence the piles of scrap.)

And why did I clear out the bathroom? Because that is the first room that's getting the finished flooring. Holy cow, I might have an actual finished surface in my house.

Troy got an email that the order was ready much earlier than we expected. So Friday he picked up a bunch of bamboo flooring and even got the bulk of it upstairs:
That should be enough for what we need now. We bought enough for the whole second floor so the rest of it is in the shop still.

Here's a picture of a few boards he "dry fit" together to see what it's like:
The boards are 5" wide but put together from much thinner strips. The weird spots in the grain are typical of bamboo.

We didn't get much work done this week. We had visitors at the beginning of the week and I was gone for the weekend at the end of the week.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Building Walls

We have continued our work and shopping sprees. We made a decision on the flooring - bamboo with a light finish. They didn't have enough in stock so it is on order.

The next week we went in to look at counter tops and ended up ordering one. It came with only one option of sink so there was no decision to be made there. (Very disappointingly, it did not have the option of a square sink, which I adore.)

But miraculously, we did manage to choose lights for above the vanity mirrors. That went a lot easier than I thought it was going to. (And can I say, there are some crazy lights available right now. Like I think they might be too shiny and tacky for a night club. Seriously.)

The counter had to be ordered and they didn't have two lights in stock so we had to order the second one. Those items are scheduled to be in tomorrow. The flooring isn't estimated to be done until the end of the month.

Meanwhile Troy picked up the vanity, linen closet and mirrors and we wrestled them into the house. we unpacked them right away to check for damage and found this:
The front top corner had quite a ding on it. It is going to be under the counter top but it's the corner that you see right when you walk into the room. :(

We decided it wasn't worth packing up the vanity and trying to bring it back so the following day when we were in the store, we showed the pictures to the customer service people and asked if they could give a credit for the damage. They did and we were happy! And of course we turned around and spent it at the store right away!

Troy has been adding the walls which will define the bathroom space. First the third side of the tub/shower:
The green drywall is treated to prevent mildew from developing.
Troy has an additional trick of coating the dry wall with varnish. That will keep the moisture out!

And just this week, he added the main wall dividing the bathroom from the closet. This is the view from the closet side:
and here is a view from the bathroom side:
That is the wall where the plumbing for the sinks will go as the vanity will be up against it.

The big hole in the middle that looks like it's going to be a pass-through window is not. That is the space for the medicine cabinets. Troy will be building the boxes in the wall and then hinging the mirrors on the front.

Meanwhile, I have kept busy in the bedroom. I finished the ribs to level the floor (yay!) and have put in piece 3 and 4 of the subfloor.
I couldn't get piece 5 (on the left) to go in so Troy worked on it and it is now ready to be screwed down. The rest of the pieces will have to be cut to fit so they will take a little more care. Nothing complicated though.

Now that the bedroom is empty I have had a chance to get a better look at the drywall. Sadly, it doesn't look like much of the sanding has been done at all--certainly a lot less than I had thought. I am not looking forward to that.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Shopping and Subfloors

I'm on a roll now...posting two weeks in a row!

Let's see what 16 hours can get us. Well, really 15 because I have an hour still to do for this week. Don't look at me like that--I still have time!

First, we did a lot of shopping last week. I told you we were going to look for a faucet for the shower and tub and we found one. No, it didn't knock my socks off but good enough is good enough.
Delta-Dawson model
I did get the "waterfall" tub faucet which I like and didn't think we would ever get. (Don't ask me why. I think I just assumed Troy wouldn't like it or there would be some plumbing reason it wouldn't be as good.) Anyway, one decision down.

Since we were there we thought we should look at the matching sink faucets. They had a couple styles in the same series which we didn't like, but we found another one from the same company. We bought three--two for the master bath which will have a double vanity and one for the bathroom downstairs where the sink faucet's drip had become a solid stream of water.
Delta Porter model
One handle control was a must for me and I think the styles are simple enough that there aren't a lot of ridges or valleys to make it hard to clean. #fingerscrossed

While Troy was picking out plumbing parts to fix the downstairs sink (he knew it was bad enough that the shut off valve was going to break when he started working on it...and it did!), I wandered over to vanities and sinks to amuse myself.

When Troy joined me, I had this one to show him:
Avanity Brentwood collection
We both liked it a lot but we didn't want something with legs (and yes, we did talk about ways we could alter that) and it wasn't in the store to see and touch. That was a big drawback.

Long story short, we ordered this one:
Magick Woods Wallace collection
(We still have to pick out a countertop and sinks.)

We both really liked this linen cabinet:
Magick Woods Bellemont collection
and bought it. It had a very nice matching vanity with the same rounded front but it didn't come in the larger sizes. I know the finish colours of the two pieces don't look like they match in the pictures, but they were right beside each other in the store and Troy and I both thought they looked good together.

Fortunately I liked the mirrors that matched the linen closet:
because I really did not like the ones that matched the vanity.

So that was a bit more than we went in for but what a relief to have those decisions made. (Tomorrow we're going to look at flooring options. Who knows how much stuff we'll end up buying!)

Meanwhile in the rest of the week, Troy installed the first of the plumbing to the tub (the drain and overflow pipe), framed the wall that needs to be installed at the end of the tub and started to plan for how he was going to frame the linen closet.

I continued on the ribs for leveling the floor.
We are making our way to the other side of the room, slowly hemming in the tools and whatnots. Between doing the floor and Troy framing walls inside the bathroom,
it feels like we do a lot of shuffling stuff around!

Today I had the satisfaction of installing the second piece of subfloor in the bedroom.
It is cut, fitted and all screwed down. It is a marvel how much nicer it is to walk on! Level, flat, and solid.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

8 hours. For What?

Oh tell me what I got?

If you're a child of the 80s, you now have a song running through your head. #sorrynotsorry

What does this have to do with our house? Having noticed that we didn't made any progress on the house in the last year, we determined to make lots of progress now. One thing we are doing is making sure we each work 8 hours on the house each week.

What has been done recently?

Troy is working on putting in the tub. Here he is dry fitting the parts.
Tomorrow we are shopping for faucets. I have tried to find one I like and have not been able to. This week I found one online that I liked well enough but it is a little pricey and has to use an expensive valve that doesn't come in an option for PVC pipe. We'll see what we find tomorrow. If I still don't like anything, then I will apply my theory that if we're doing all the work ourselves, we can afford to spend more on materials if that's what it takes or what we like.

Troy has gotten the bedroom set up for leveling the floor and I have been working on installing the ribs.
This afternoon I finished all the ones needed for the first course of plywood and I couldn't resist throwing down the first piece of subflooring. It's not fastened yet (or even cut to shape) but it made me feel like progress was being made and it's so much nicer to walk on than those ribs.
Troy has also hooked up power to all the lights and installed temperary fixtures so we can now see what we're doing in the evenings. That will help keep progress moving too. :)

I added an outlet in the seasonal closet (you can actually see it in the bottom left of the picture above). It was missed in the original plan. Fortunately the walls were open long enough that I realized the oversight. (Silver linings.)

While the bathroom needs a lot of work (all new plumbing, a couple more walls built, etc), it struck me how little there is to finishing the bedroom--finish subfloor, put up a few more bits of drywall and finish mudding/sanding, paint, put in flooring. We could then trim the windows, but that's about it, right? It's amazing to think that I could do all of that while Troy is plumbing and building the bathroom.

Writing blog posts doesn't count for my 8 hours :( but I'll try to keep you updated on how things are going now that I have things to write about.

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