Category Archives: Bathroom

Making Choices in the Conservatory

Now that the conservatory is dry walled it’s time to make the “what’s next” list.

The conservatory is starting to look like a real room.

The conservatory is starting to look like a real room.

1.   Mud the walls.

A team if professionals drywalled and mudded our kitchen and made it look easy.

A team if professionals drywalled and mudded our kitchen and made it look easy.

2.  Wipe down and paint the walls.

What's more mundane than washing walls?

What’s more mundane than washing walls?

3. Pick a paint color.  The trim color is the same as the rest if the house: White Mosaic by Ace Paints.

Hancock Green by Benjamin Moore is the frontrunner.

Hancock Green by Benjamin Moore is the frontrunner.

4.  Choose tile for the bathroom floor, shower and backsplash.

Frosted glass tile are bottle glass green.

Frosted glass tile are bottle glass green.

5.  Have the shower pan installed.

The floor both inside the shower and out will be tiled.

The floor both inside the shower and out will be tiled.

6. Choose and install toilet.

We're looking for and ADA toilet.

We’re looking for and ADA toilet.

7.  Choose and install sink and vanity.

We've moved half of the wallboard upstairs.  We'll decide on the final placement of the loveseats when everything is cleaned up.

We’ve moved half of the wallboard upstairs. We’ll decide on the final placement of the loveseats when everything is cleaned up.

8. Choose and install vanity light.

Some color inspiration for the conservatory.

Some color inspiration for the conservatory.

9.  Have the electricians finish installing lights and smoke detector.

Just a little paint shop magicish.

Just a little paint shop magicish.

10.  Make sure everything is on the list.

What’s on your list?

 

 

Just in Case

While Charlie and I were drywalling the bathroom in the conservatory he said we should mark on the wall where the pipes are just in case one day we wanted pound a nail into the wall to hang something up.

This purple drywall is for damp installations like bathrooms.

This purple drywall is for damp installations like bathrooms.

I thought it was not a bad idea except I know we’ll either paint or tile these walls and any marking we made would be covered.

I guess we won't be putting cabinet recessed between the studs over the sink.

I guess we won’t be putting cabinet recessed between the studs over the sink.

Oh, yeah, but I’m keeping a blog heavy in photographs.  I’ll just take a picture and label each of the water walls in the bathroom before we finish drywalling.

The wall over the toilet has a clothes dryer vent and a drain pipe.

The wall over the toilet has a clothes dryer vent and a drain pipe.

Behind a the shower is a narrow access space which will also become a storage area where we will be careful not to nail into the pipes.

The shower wall gets green board on the back and Hardie cement board on the inside.

The shower wall gets green board on the back and Hardie cement board on the inside.

Please notice our “green board” is actually purple. Hmmmm.

What confusing terminology have you discovered in your DIY experience?

 

Sticking It Under the Sink

The prep sink on my side of the kitchen has finally been hooked up.

Running water.  Yippee!

Running water. Yippee!

So before I put the cleaners and other useful items under there I wanted to protect the brand new cabinet floor.

The cabinet under the new sink is pristine.

The cabinet under the new sink is pristine.

I asked Charlie to cut me a piece of corrugated cardboard to fit in front of the pipes.

A piece of cardboard was cut to fit under the sink.

A piece of cardboard was cut to fit under the sink.

Then I used a box of old stick-on tiles that I found in the cottage.

A few of these tiles had been left over from someone else's floor project.

A few of these tiles had been left over from someone else’s floor project.

I cut the tiles to size by scoring them with a mat knife.

I notched the first tile so it would hug the door stop at the front of the cabinet.

I notched the first tile so it would hug the door stop at the front of the cabinet.

Then I just placed them on the cardboard under the sink.

The tiles sort of match the kitchen even though they will rarely be seen.

The tiles sort of match the kitchen even though they will rarely be seen.

They’re old and have a little bow to them so I placed some heavy items on top to weigh them down since the stickum was still plenty sticky.

The tiles needed encouragement to stick to the cardboard.

The tiles needed encouragement to stick to the cardboard.

Now there’s a nice wipeable surface under the sink.

Just add the cleaning solutions and other bottles we store under the sink.

Just add the cleaning solutions and other bottles we store under the sink.

One more chore knocked off the list.

Have you had any sticky situations recently?

 

 

The Wrap-up List

In order to “finish” (and I use that term loosely) the first wave of renovation improvements to The Glade the contractor still has some unfinished jobs.

  1. Finish installing the kitchen cabinets (We are waiting for replacements of wrong size cabinets.)

    We're waiting for cabinets to finish the upper and lower runs before we install the refrigerator next to the pantry (

    We’re waiting for cabinets to finish the upper and lower runs before we install the refrigerator next to the pantry.

  2. Install kitchen sinks

    The sinks have been unboxed and are ready to be installed.

    The sinks have been unboxed and are ready to be installed.

  3. Make substrate for stainless steel countertop (extra charge)
  4. Install and hook up all appliances

    Our stove, dishwasher and undercounter refrigerator won't be installed until the floor is finished.

    Our stove, dishwasher and undercounter refrigerator won’t be installed until the floor is finished.

  5. Install stainless steel countertop

    Our stainless steel countertop is being made at a local sheet metal fabricator.

    Our stainless steel countertop is being made at a local sheet metal fabricator.

  6. Install island countertop

    We have a piece of  granite to top the island.

    We have a piece of granite to top the island.

  7. Sand and finish floor
  8. Install counter in pantry

    The countertop will go on the white strip above the bottom shelf.

    The countertop will go on the white strip above the bottom shelf.

  9. Porch deck installer repair and clean stone
  10. Finish baseboard

    Our new baseboard is 1 by 4 topped with ogee molding.

    Our new baseboard is 1 by 4 topped with ogee molding.

  11. Finish back steps and landing
  12. Install remaining electric fixtures

    My pantry pendant is being moved to the conservatory due to code.

    My pantry pendant is being moved to the conservatory due to code.

Charlie and I are responsible to:

  • insulate the new spaces (almost finished)

    A few spots still need insulation before the job can be inspected.

    A few spots still need insulation before the job can be inspected.

  • drywall the new spaces
  • paint the exterior shingles and trim

    We have to paint the shingles to tie the old part of the house together with the new.

    We have to paint the shingles to tie the old part of the house together with the new.

  • landscape the yard

I think all the demolition is finished!!!!!

Charlie did all the demolition including our old kitchen.

Charlie did all the demolition including our old kitchen.

After all these things are finished and we’ve saved up some more money we’ll start again getting the unfinished areas completed:

  • conservatory floor and trim
  • conservatory bathroom
  • master closet

    The master closet has been insulated but not yet drywalled.

    The master closet has been insulated but not yet drywalled and needs flooring.

  • master bathroom

Right now I’m not really up for making any more decisions or spending any more serious money.  I need a breather.

How long can you keep up intense work on a project?

How the Plumbing Goes

We’re without a kitchen this Thanksgiving so we’re giving thanks for generous friends and relatives who will help feed us on this holiday.

New kitchen in the foreground; old kitchen in the background.

New kitchen in the foreground; old kitchen in the background.

In the first round of renovations to The Glade the kitchen will be totally finished and so we have already purchased our fixtures.

The 2 kitchen faucets are identical except Charlie's is 2 inches taller than mine.

The 2 kitchen faucets are identical except Charlie’s is 2 inches taller than mine.

The two full bathrooms that are being added, however, will only be roughed-in for the time being.

The shower in the master bathroom is in the upper left hand corner of this plan.

The shower in the master bathroom is in the upper left hand corner of this plan.

On a walk-through with our contractor/plumber we decided that the master bathroom should have a rain-style showerhead from the ceiling and a wand that is accessible from the bench at the front of the shower.

This contraption regulates both the showerhead and wand in the master bathroom.

This contraption regulates both the showerhead and wand in the master bathroom.

In the conservatory bathroom we chose a traditional wall showerhead and wand.

The shower in the conservatory is roughed-in.

The shower in the conservatory is roughed-in.

We have not chosen the actual fixtures yet so our plumber suggested we use Moen since all of their decorative knobs are more or less interchangeable with the rough-in mechanics.

If all these parts are for our house then we should be well-plumbed.

If all these parts are for our house then we should be well-plumbed.

He has run pipes to both bathrooms (and the kitchen) with thought to handy placement of control valves.

The sink and vanity in the conservatory bathroom will fir in this niche created by a shower knee-wall and the front wall of the bathroom.

The sink and vanity in the conservatory bathroom will fir in this niche created by a shower knee-wall and the front wall of the bathroom.

And he added a washing machine hook-up in the conservatory closet next to the bathroom, just in case .  .  .

Washing machine hook-up in the conservatory closet.

Washing machine hook-up in the conservatory closet.

Whew! There’s a lot to think about when renovating a home.

What secret tips and overlooked decisions can you offer? Have you been there done that?

Always Thinking Ahead

Once the major renovation is finished I’d like to update the 2 original bathrooms in the house.

The only full bathroom in the house is tiny.

The only full bathroom in the house is tiny.

The first is a pink-tiled (from the 40s) full bathroom with (thankfully) white fixtures.

Pink Bathroom

Pink Bathroom

It’s so tiny that getting a reasonable photo is difficult.  Above the pink tile is a tiny pink and white Laura Ashley floral called Campion Rose.

Rose Campion wallpaper from Laura Ashley matches our fleshy pink tile.

Campion Rose wallpaper from Laura Ashley matches our fleshy pink tile.

I’d like to change the wallpaper to something a little more adventurous so I ordered samples of the swatches below from Hygge and West and Anthropologie.

Pink birds on blue background seemed perfect. (Sample piece for $5, that's how sure I was.)

Pink birds on blue background seemed perfect. (Sample piece for $5, that’s how sure I was.)

Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space. Free sample.

Anthropologie wallpaper would lighten the space. Free sample.

Since the laundry room near the pink bathroom is blue and white I thought tying  the color palette together with some blue in the bathroom might be fun.

Unfortunately the bird was not pink enough, a little too peachy for this pink bathroom.

Unfortunately the bird was not pink enough, a little too peachy for this pink bathroom.

I also considered the Anthropologie swatch for the pink bathroom.

This Anthropologie wallpaper in a pink room may just be toooooo sweet.

This Anthropologie wallpaper in a pink room may just be toooooo sweet.

Ultimately I decided it was whimsical, interesting and light  and would look great in the powder room (Bibliotheque)  which up until now has been decorated with book wallpaper.  It’s kind of dark and could use some brightening up.

The library wall paper in the powder room makes it seem larger than its tiny self but is a bit gloomy.

The library wall paper in the powder room makes it seem larger than its tiny self but is a bit gloomy.

I like to give this teeny weeny powder room something interesting on the wall.

I like to give this teeny weeny powder room something interesting on the wall.

This quick tour of Europe might be the answer.

Do you have a preference?

The Master Shower Stall

At The Glade we have two full bathrooms:  one in the house and one in the Cottage. Both of these bathrooms have a bathtub.

The only tub in the house is in our tiny pink-tiled bathroom.

The only tub in the house is in our tiny pink-tiled bathroom.

We are adding two new full bathrooms in the renovation of The Glade which will only have shower stalls even though there is more than enough room for a tub.

The shower in the master bathroom is in the upper left hand corner of this plan.

The shower in the master bathroom is in the upper left hand corner of this plan.

The master bathroom shower will be 4 feet by 7 feet- 6 inches with a round window on the long wall. No shower curtain is planned; we would like a glass enclosure on the front of the shower something like this except I’m thinking of marble tile.

The translucent wall in the photo is the water wall for the shower since the plumbing must run on an interior wall.

The translucent wall in the photo is the water wall for the shower since the plumbing must run on an interior wall.

We wanted a permanent bench in the shower which we decided would be too far away (6 and a half feet) from the showerhead if it were placed at the rear of the shower (like we did in the conservatory’s smaller shower).

With the bench at the far end of the shower we wouldn't get wet even if we tried.

With the bench at the far end of the shower we wouldn’t get wet even if we tried.

Our contractor suggested that he could put it on the window wall but I was concerned that the lovely wide shower would become too narrow.

The bench along the outside wall would reduce the width of the shower to less than 3 feet, the reason we amended the first plan.

The bench along the outside wall would reduce the width of the shower to less than 3 feet, the reason we amended the first plan.

Independently both the contractor and I came up with the same solution: put it under the showerhead on the faucet side.

If we put the bench on the water wall we could choose to sit and use the spray wand or not.

If we put the bench on the water wall we could choose to sit and use the spray wand or not.

Since I’m planning to have a wand as well as a traditional showerhead the wand could easily be mounted in a handy spot for this bench.

The shower bench has been built into the wall that will also hold the showerhead.

The shower bench has been built into the wall that will also hold the showerhead.

The other issue I always have with a shower that is enclosed in glass is reaching the faucet lever without actually sticking my head in the shower and getting my hair wet.

This glass shower at our suite in Charleston, SC, was lovely but I had to reach around the glass partition to turn on the shower.

This glass shower at our suite in Charleston, SC, was lovely but I had to reach around the glass partition to turn on the shower.

Our contractor suggested that we add a knee-wall at the end of the bench so he could install the faucet just inside the shower stall.  Genius. OK, knee-wall it is.

The shower faucet will be mounted on the knee wall just inside the shower to the left of the bench.

The shower faucet will be mounted on the knee wall just inside the shower to the left of the bench.

While I’m not a fan of the knee-wall in the bathroom I certainly think the one planned here has a very useful purpose.

How do you compromise?

Oh, Poooh

Remember how delighted we were just last week that the plumber laid new PVC where there once was old terra cotta sewage pipe?

The sewer pipes to the septic tank were upgraded from terra cotta to PVC.

The sewer pipes to the septic tank were upgraded from terra cotta to PVC.

Over the weekend I heard the downstairs toilet bubbling after I flushed the upstairs toilet.  That’s not a good sign.

The downstairs powder room toilet bubbled when we flushed the upstairs toilet.

The downstairs powder room toilet bubbled when we flushed the upstairs toilet.

I called the our contractor who called the plumber who came over to snake the drain. He had a large electric snake that he tried from inside the house, then through the temporary stand pipe. It went just so far then stopped.

The snake kept getting held up somewhere between the house and the septic tank.

The snake kept getting held up somewhere between the house and the septic tank.

Just to make sure the clog wasn’t at the junction where the Cottage pipes flow into the house pipes he checked the flow from the Cottage which seemed OK.

The Cottage water flowed fine.

The Cottage water flowed fine.

At last the plumber took a stab at cutting the PVC pipe apart at the approximate place of the blockage.

A long section of pipe was removed to find the clog in the drain line.

A long section of pipe (in the shaded area in the center of the photo) was removed to find the clog in the drain line.

When he cut apart a piece of sewer pipe the plumber found that the person who had installed it had inadvertently left a 3″ cap inside of a 4″ pipe.  No wonder it was stopped up.  The fl0w water had wedged the cap so  tightly in the pipe that only a trickle was getting through.

This section of pipe with the a cap lodged in it was effectively stopping any water outflow.

This section of pipe with the a cap lodged in it was effectively stopping any water outflow.

Needless to say this was a faulty installation and we’re happy on two counts: 1.) that it’s fixed and 2.) that the contractor is dealing with the billing details.

How do you handle repairing a botched job?

All Washed Up

After clearing up this clog in the bathtub I thought it would be a good idea if we used body wash instead of soap.  In addition to hair getting in the drain I’m pretty sure the soap also helped to gunk everything up.

32 ounces of Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap

32 ounces of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

I looked on-line how to make our own body wash.  Of course I wanted it to be as simple and natural as possible.

Liquid vegetable-based soap

Liquid vegetable-based soap

The answer seemed to be getting a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade Liquid Castile Soap and diluting it 1:1 with water. The ingredients are water, Saponified Organic Coconut*, Organic Palm* and Organic Olive* Oils (w/Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Essential Oils**, Citric Acid, Vitamin E.

Dilute the Bronner's soap 1 to 1 with water.

Dilute the Bronner’s soap 1 to 1 with water.

I bought a quart of the lavender fragrance for $18 at Target and diluted it in an old pump bottle.  It’s thin so I pump it straight onto a wash cloth in the shower.  It smells heavenly.

Undiluted pint remains after mixing up a quart of body wash.

Undiluted pint remains after mixing up a quart of body wash.

Hopefully this will last a long time. The body wash actually costs about $2.25 for 8 ounces. Not a bad deal in the bargain.

What’s your favorite body wash? Soap? Shampoo? Do you make it yourself? Recipe, please.

And Now It Doesn’t Fit

After we finished laying a new floor in the cottage bathroom were ready to replace the bathroom door.

We laid the floor and trimmed it up.

We even rejuvenated the old threshold.

The newly painted threshold links the old floor to the new one.

The door easily dropped back onto its hinges but had 2 minor problems it wouldn’t close all the way nor would it open all the way.

This dark photo shows where the light could seep through and where the door was hung up.

My plan was to get out the Surform and plane it a little.

Charlie planed the top corner of the door and it eventually fit into the jamb with no sticking.

Unfortunately the bottom of the door continued to scrape the NEW floor even after vigorous planing with the Surform.

And I mean VIGOROUS!

Finally Charlie pulled out the circular saw and trimmed a sliver from the bottom of the door.  We marked a line that had been squared in relation to the side of the door so the cut was thick in some places and only a blade’s width in others.

The bottom edge of the door was squared up and sawed off.

Finally, after about 6 false starts, we popped the door on its hinges and it both opened and closed.

Now the door both opens and closes.

Thanks for the privacy.

Do your simple projects go on forever? (Ours do: I still should paint the edge of the door that is now raw wood.)