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Bathroom floor going in!

6 Jul

Here it is! Hurray!!!!

I have a crazy mishmash of materials, and a great handyman who’s putting it all together. Give Dave Lane Home Improvement a call if you’re in Western Mass.

To start with, I had a box of 12×12 inch slate tiles, a whole bunch of off-white 4×4 hex tiles, and four boxes of cream 4×4 hex tiles (that were a different height from the off-white ones). I’d gotten the off-white hex tiles at Re-Store about 4 to 5 years ago. I was going to put them in the Butler’s Pantry, but realized I didn’t have enough of them. So I went to a local tile store and special ordered some to match, but they didn’t really match. I also got the slate there because it was really nice and I thought I’d use it as a border in the Butler’s Pantry (still awaiting the Butler, by the way). I wound up installing cork floor tiles in the BP which was a great choice, b/c they’re really soft and nice to walk on. Meanwhile, I stashed the tiles up in my “attic” (spare room) and figured I’d do something with them sometime.

I thought it would work to do about a 3″ border of the slate tiles, then a few rows of the Re-Store tiles, then about a 1/5″ border of slate and the newer cream colored tiles. I thought wrong. The room is so skewed and un-square that in some places, the slate border is about 6″ and in some it’s about 1″. Yikes — but by making the border such that the tiles around it are square, Dave made a great call. The border will fade out of view, and the viewer (that would be me in the tub)’s eye will just notice the nice hex tiles.

Due to the extreme slate usage, there wasn’t enough to do a smaller border with it, but I definitely needed something to mark the transition from one tile to the other (not only b/c of the color difference, but also due to the difference in height. So I popped over to Home Depot and got several sheets of this cute marbley mosaicy pattern that I’d seen there recently.

It took Dave the whole day to get the border area laid out and cut (and it was the hottest day of the year, God bless his soul for doing it in this horrendous weather), b/c there were so many crazy pieces, but here it is — laid out in all its fabulous glory and ready to be installed tomorrow! yay!!!!!

I just stood there admiring it for several minutes — it looks so so good. I can’t wait to see it all in (and then I have to grout it — bleah)!


Tin ceiling and ensuing hair disaster

3 Jul

Lest you think, dear reader, that I have abandoned the renovation of my bathroom and have just been swanning about researching parlor panthers and napping with dog, I have some photographic evidence to disabuse you of any such notion.

I’ve spent the past two days installing a tin ceiling in my bathroom, in anticipation of the return of the handy-fellow who is returning from vacation and going to start to finish the floor on Monday.

So, tin ceiling installation — learning by doing. I got panels that were billed as glue-up panels that could go straight onto plaster (without the costly, difficult, and time-intensive step of installing plywood on firring strips). The info said to use a certain adhesive and secure them in place with a few nails or screws (basically just to hold them until the glue set). So that’s what I did.

Now, my old ceiling is not level, plumb, smooth, or even in any way. So there are some mighty gaps in places and a bit more nailing was needed than might have been the case on a more even surface. Nevertheless, I’ve got all the panels up — hooray! The cornice is not going well — booo!

The surface size of the cornice that touches the wall is miniscule and there’s no way I can hammer and hold it at the same time. So what I’m going to need is some sort of power-nailer to get that sucker up. I’ve done all the rest of the hammering by hand; keeping it real for the ghosts of Victorians past (and I don’t have a power nailer). I repeatedly hammered my thumb, but found that yelling F*******************CK at the top of my lungs was a tremendous and immediate pain reliever.

The real surprise is the hair disaster. I’m doing all this by myself. I need to hold the glued-up panels in place while I get the hammer and bash my thumb and nails. So what do I use? My head, of course. Well, the adhesive oozes out and gets on things, and the next thing you know, I have a matted mess of super-strong water-resistant permanent adhesive in my hair. Huh.

Internet research suggests a bunch of odd-ball solutions. I’m sitting right now with a half a bottle of goat milk moisturizer gooped onto my head and hoping that in 20 minutes, the insoluble adhesive that holds metal to plaster will magically dissolve. I’m overdue for a haircut anyway, but I think this might require shaving and I don’t know that I really want to take that bold fashion step right now. C’mon moisturizer!!!

And “HA!” again.

15 Jun

Yesterday was spent removing, fixing, and reinstalling beadboard in the area near the toilet (after first removing the toilet). The paneling in this area was originally all mahogany and was badly stained by urine from when the house was a men-only boarding house (why are men so disgusting?). There was also a huge inexplicable hole (the portal to hell) in the wall. So I combined mahogany and poplar, and will stain the poplar to look more mahogany-ish.

There is also a strangely-angled corner covering the vent pipe that goes to the roof. I’ve squared it off below, and am undecided about how to proceed above, but have a good week before I have to think about it.

Today the tub comes out and I finish up the wood work.

In the immortal words of the car talk guys, “Ha!”

14 Jun

I don’t need no stinkin’ handyman.

Since Krisna didn’t show, I’m learning by doing. When my neighbor helped me take out all the beadboard to the door to nowhere, we discovered that there was a second layer of boards behind the first and that both were completely bare wood on their back sides.

So, I had enough wood to install matching beadboard in the corner where the old sink was.

Then I pulled up some matching door trim from the basement (the molding around the doors and windows is basically the same everywhere in the house) and put it in the void.

I even managed to cut a square opening for the electrical outlet that will soon appear near the floor.

It looks like it was always there (my ultimate goal in making the new old), and it took about ten hours total.

Handyman no-show….

8 Jun

This just in: a handyman who I found on Cragislist turned out to be unreliable and didn’t show up to start my bathroom remodel. I couldn’t reach him by phone or email, and I was desperate to get the pre-plumbing prep work done before the plumber and electrician (who are co-workers of a friend) came. So naturally I rechecked CL, but couldn’t find anyone who could come in my 30 minute window.

By the grace of God, I happened upon a neighbor who very generously agreed to help me take out the old sink (I would have probably flooded the house if I’d done it myself) and remove the strange beadboarded doorway. He finished *just* as the plumber arrived and the crisis was averted. I love my neighborhood.

So here are some photos of the absent sink and what was behind the beadboarded doorway (the drywall is behind the bookcase in the library). There’s a big hole in the floor that cats are having great fun exploring.

I managed to remove the small beadboard this morning from one wall where I’m hoping to have an electrical outlet (there has not been one in the bathroom in the past 8 years). I was disappointed to find just plaster behind it (I thought I might discover the wide paneling that’s in the rest of the room), but we did find an extra whole set of the regular beadboard behind the doorway, so I’ll be able to install that in the corner and make the walls seem much more uniform — yay!

More plumber work tonight and the electrician is en route now. I’ve asked the guys doing the sandblasting if they know of a handyman-type and they gave me the name of a relative who’s going to come by later this week to give me a price to do the stuff that the CL guy was going to do. We’ll see….

Paint it black

4 Jun

I’ve just returned from a fabulous vacation to Germany and Switzerland. I’ve dropped my film (yes — film!) off to be developed. I took lots of snaps of houses and buildings, and if they come out (I haven’t used my film camera in many moons, so I’m hoping it actually took the photos), I’ll post them here soon.

While I was gone, the sink legs that I had bought on e-bay for 80 bucks and the radiator that existed in the bathroom were being sandblasted and powder coated by the same folks who did my sink basin and are going to do (fingers crossed) my tub.

Here are some before and after photos of these fellers. Pretty impressive work they do at the old sandblasting place – all sorts of detail is visible on the radiator that I never noticed before.

If all goes well, the bathroom renovation by the pros starts monday… eek!

Demonic possession

26 Apr

So there I was, happily finishing the first round of sanding the beadboard in my bathroom… ready to clean things up, put things away for a bit, and live a life free of power tools and lead-filled dust. And then I thought I’d have a go at the window sill. The paint was so lumpy, I thought to myself, “Self, just take the paint off the sill. It will look so nice without those lumps.” So I did.

Then I looked at the window itself and thought, “Self, that paint is in bad shape. Let’s see what the wood’s like underneath it.” So I did.

Then, as if possessed by a devil — or possibly with my brain function greatly diminished by intense lead paint poisoning — my hand and the heat gun in it made its way over to the window frame. Oh yes, I thought to myself, “Self — don’t bleeepin’ do it! It’s too much work! STOP!” But…. I did it.

So now I’m committed to removing all the paint around the window, which will likely lead to the same around the real door and the door to nowhere. Why didn’t I leave well enough alone? I blame some sort of devil. Blasted devil!

But the wood will look LOVELY once it’s all sanded and repainted. I found detail I never knew existed under all those layers of paint.

Project without end.