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Showing posts from 2012

Master Bath - Part 1

I've been away from the blog for a while, but you can be sure that I'm still working on the master bathroom.  The wall between the bedroom and the master bath was an exterior wall until the addition was built about 30 years ago.  The shear bracing is in the way of our door location.   We used a router and chisels to cut a channel for the new brace. The new header was made from our old cellar stairs.  Waste not, want not. I scraped off the glitter popcorn ceiling and screwed in the drywall.  The edge along the exterior wall turned out to be totally unsupported.  I also added a can light over the shower and a bath fan.
The addition was never plumbed so Luke and I had to add drains, a vent stack and supply lines for the new bathroom.  We spent Christmas morning putting in a sewer line and tying it into the existing plumbing.  We're just about done with the plumbing, all we need to do is connect the bath tub drains to the new sewer lines. I removed the foil-faced R-11 from th…

Start of the Master Bathroom

It seems like I just finished building the main bathroom.  Actually I did just finish building the main bathroom yesterday and already I find myself immersed in another bathroom project.  This time I'm working on the master bath.  Why?  Because it is easier to tackle small projects alone and since Luke is still working on his thesis I am unwilling to try something big, like the kitchen.  So let's start with the master bathroom story.
When we bought the house the only bathroom was the main bath on the 1st floor.  It served all four of the bedrooms and was tolerable for six months until we built the basement bathroom.  We then gutted and rebuilt the main bathroom but always planned to add a separate master bath.  In order to carve out some space for the master bath we shifted the bedrooms on the west side of the house and took back some space for the master bath (similar to option 1)
The master bathroom is not huge, it's only 5'x9'6" so I'm trying to make …

Main Bathroom Before and After

Last year my version of improving the bathroom was to go from this  To this: It was July of 2011, five weeks before we would move into our "new" home and I was happy with a new toilet and floor, as long as the bathroom was functional.  Now it's December of 2012 and function is no longer the goal.  Instead I want a nice bathroom that won't have people opting to use our back yard instead.  And after a month of working on the bathroom I think we've reached that point.  I love looking at before and after photos because it reminds me of just how far we have come: Before  After Before:  We had five layers of flooring with mold growing between each layer and a massive hump in the floor. After: A floor I'm not afraid to walk on barefoot

Before: The old vanity was covering in mold, dead mice and candle wax.  I won't even talk about that toilet.  After:New vanity picked up at a yard sale
I was thrilled to realize that the paint color I used in the back bedrooms also wo…

Main Bathroom - Almost Done

The bathroom is really starting to come together.  I'm pretty good at visualizing what the finished product will look like but it's still fun to see it actually start to look like a finished room.  After painting the bathroom and hallway I put down thinset and hardibacker so I've got a sturdy base to tile over. I also prepped all the tile.  I always shuffle my tile so any color variations between boxes are spread across the entire tiled surface.  In this case I had twice as much tile as I needed so I was able to cull the amber-toned tiles and use just the more neutral colors.  Tip - Plastic peanut butter jars are excellent for storing tile spacers. The following evening the floor ready for tile.  I opted for a diamond pattern in the hopes it would visually elongate the small space.  Because the bathroom does not have a single 90 degree corner I arbitrarily decided the edge of the tub was straight and based my pattern off of it.  Five hours later I had a finished floor. I&…

Main Bathroom Progress

The bathroom has been moving at a snail's pace.  I'm starting to really hate working alone but it looks like that is not likely to change any time soon.  When I last posted the tub was in place and I was finally ready to start taping the drywall. I had hoped to finish all the mudding and taping over the weekend but then I was hit with project spiral.  It started with the doorway.  I had to widen the door opening to 36" to get the tub in, then framed it down to 30" for the new 28" door.  So I had to patch around the doorway and fix some damage on the wall. And since I was already working on the hallway, I might as well fix the other end of the L-shaped hallway. But it didn't make sense to fix the wall only to tear it apart again when we put in the linen closet.  So I had to figure out exactly where the new linen closet would be and cut out the doorway. So the drywall ended up taking a lot more time than originally intended.  By Thursday I was finally able to…

My New Project

Ten months ago something wonderful happened.  We finished the basement bathroom.  After six months in the house I could finally take a shower with my eyes open and touch the floors or walls without the urge to spray my skin with Lysol. So for the last nine months our only bathroom has been in the basement.  We are currently living in the guest room which means that we have to walk to the opposite end of the house, go down a flight of stairs then back across to house again to reach the bathroom.  It's not bad as a short term solution but after nearly a year of this arrangement I'm ready to have a bathroom on the main floor of the house again.  After moving some walls this summer the main floor is framed for two bathrooms:
 A 48 sq ft master bath:

And a 38 sq ft main bath

I gutted the main bathroom over memorial day and Luke and I moved the plumbing wall.
 Ever since then it has been used as storage but now I am finally ready to do something with it.  The prep work has not been…

Front of House Before and After

As autumn draws to a close and we prepare to hunker down for another winter I am pleased to look back and see that changes we have made to the exterior of the house.  Until a few months ago we had a drab little 50's house.
But now we get to come home to this charming little place.  (Sorry about the lighting.  It gets dark pretty early here)
I snapped this picture a month before we moved in.  We're still trying to keep that neighbor kid out of the yard and away from the cat.
The updated front looks so much better although the garden needs some attention.

And the view down the driveway has improved considerably since this picture
 The garage now looks like it actually belongs with the house
 The exterior is now officially done for the year.  It's already turned cold here in Montana and it's currently snowing, again.  I'm ready to work on the interior for a while.

No More 50's Front Porch

I am so close to having the front of the house finished, but the porch still needs some attention.  Several weeks ago Luke removed the railing from around the porch.  We don't like how much it sticks out into the sidewalk so we won't be reusing it. My dad is going to rework it into a railing for an egress window at his home so it's not going to waste. The ugly outdoor carpet will not come clean but at least it distracts the eye from the big crack in the concrete. After seriously considering my options I decided to lay cedar decking over the concrete steps. First I put down redwood sleeper strips over the concrete.  This will keep the decking from making direct contact with the concrete and prolong its lifespan.
I wanted cedar decking, but the only boards I could find in stock were rough cut 2x4's.  I had to run each through the table saw to trim them down to the standard 5/4 decking thickness.  Each board them had to be planed and sanded before I could seal it.  I us…

A Million Dollar Makeover for $170

There is no way to hide that we have a plain 50's ranch, but we're doing the best we can to dress it up.  Replacing the windows and front door were a start, and painting the house made a big difference, but we're not there yet.

I wanted it to look a little more custom so Luke and I agreed on a stone veneer under the window. The buffalo board is not structural and the house has a massive beam and bracing to support the front wall.  Since I did not need plywood for shear strength I could attach cement board directly to the house instead of having to deal with lumber, tar paper and lath. The chimney at our last house was such a hit that we decided to use slate again.  I cut full tiles into 3rd's that will be arranged in a brick pattern.  It's been four years since I bought my big tile saw and it's still one of my favorite tools. For anyone considering using this veneer, be prepared to put in a lot of hours.  Our chimney took about 200 hours to cover 200 sq.ft.  …