Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 2 - Problem Solving, Pipe Cutting, and Plumbing Lessons

I will just go ahead and put it out there.  I got further into the DIY world than I had planned today.
My Dad had me cutting pipes in Ms. H's bathroom so we could put in the new ones for the tub/shower faucet.

I learned about soldering pipes (something I never would have the guts to try on my own.  Luckily my Dad has done this before so I watched him and learned.

This pic below is a pipe cutter.  I've never used one before.  It has a circular blade like a can opener and it clamps onto the pipe, and each time you turn the whole thing around the pipe, you turn the knob, tightening the blade, and you keep that up, tightening and turning around until the pipe is cut through.

Then Dad cleaned it with a metal brush, inside and out.
 Next he asked me to brush some of this cream on the parts of the pipes that needed to be soldered.

 And then - the part that really freaked me out.   The blowtorch-thing that heated up the soldering metal and melted it at the spot where we needed them joined.  The soldering metal seeped into the teeny space between the pipes, then once it cooled, if all had been done right, the joint would not leak.

 And onto the next cut.

Dad made me cut the old pipes.  This went against everything in my body!  But cut I did.

Now, about that built-in dilemma?  If you missed it, you can read about the pipe in the wall that surprised us, here.

The bottom line is I wanted to put some recessed, built-in shelves in the wall above the toilet. But a vent pipe was right smack in the middle of the wall.

I'm sure for some amount of time and money we could move it.  But that's not in the cards for us.  So, we have to work around it.

I sketched out what I'm thinking about.  I hope it translates here...Starting from left to right:
The mirror/medicine cabinet would be recessed. Then we would add a piece of drywall or wood trim, flush with the wall, about 4 inches wide.  Then a set of recessed shelves, about 10 inches wide.  Next another piece of drywall or wood flush with the wall, then the last set of recessed shelves.
The whole thing would be the same height and would be trimmed out together so it would look cohesive. You with me?

Basically, I added the first piece of trim, between the mirror/medicine cabinet so that when we put the piece of trim to cover up the pipe, the built-in as a whole would look symmetrical and not like there was a random piece of trim stuck in there.

Kind of like this but without the sconces, and another set of shelves to the right:
Traditional Bathroom by Norwich Architects & Designers Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Besides all that, the toilet got hauled out today.  And yes, they are laughing at me for constantly taking pictures.  :-)

So along with a lot of plumbing work, here's how the day wrapped up.

Til tomorrow,

Bathroom Reno - It's Demo Day!

Bathroom Reno
Day One

There are at least five boxes of pink and beige tile on the curb outside Ms. H's house tonight.  As well as a dismantled vanity, the old sink and faucet, medicine cabinet, and three boxes of ripped out drywall.

We got tons done today.  But as with pretty much any major reno, there were some hiccups.

First, we had planned on adding a new overhead light/vent combo.  Dad and I looked up in the attic, and upon further examination, realized that was going to be quite a bit more complex than we had planned. 

There is a large HVAC duct in the way, and the bathroom vent would need to be run outside.  The roof is quite low near the edge of the house, making the space we'd have to work in pretty small.  
We were bummed.  After deliberation, we reluctantly decided that was probably biting off more than we could chew.  
So on we went with demo.  Here's one last look at it, it all its pink tiled glory. 

Demo went relatively quickly.  But there were only a few fixtures and screws that required me to use my awesome new Ryobi drill.   Don't worry... I'll find more excuses to use you, my little friend. :-)

I was feeling generous and even let my Dad borrow my new toy.

Ms. H got in on the action, too...buh bye wallpaper!

We also ran into a hiccup where we planned to put built-in shelves over the toilet.  

But once we removed the medicine cabinet, we could see behind the drywall, and found that there's a plumbing vent running all the way up the wall right smack in the middle of where we were planning on having a nice big built-in.


It was about lunch time when we found this.  My brain was sorely under-caffeinated at that point.  Time to refuel and re-evaluate.
This is where it would be pretty easy to get frustrated.  But that's par for the course on jobs like this.  You have to be able to adapt.
I have a plan to work around it, I think.  Can you guess what it is?


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bathroom Reno Is Taking Shape - What's Been Bought So Far

In case you missed it, my Dad and I are getting ready to renovate a bathroom for a family friend.  Here's the first post, if you want to get up to speed.  Bottom line is, she really needs a new bathroom on a small budget, and we're going to do it for her!

This is Dad - waiting for her to meet us at the house.  #stepintoouroffice :-)

We all three went and hit the big box stores this week.

Mrs. H got her new sink faucet, and tub/shower faucet.  Moen Caldwell in Oil Rubbed Bronze (sink) and the shower one is here.

Very nice - it'll be a huge upgrade!

She also picked out an overhead light/vent combo.
There is currently no overhead light or vent in her bathroom.  Again, big upgrade coming.
However, after reading the reviews of the model she bought, we may exchange it.

I think she's also settled on a new vanity.  This one's a combo, sold at Lowe's and it comes with a granite top.

Again, I went and read the reviews and we'll take a look at the piece we get once it's out of the box.  I'm on the fence about it so far.
We did look at Home Depot but she wants a darker cabinet and we only have 27" of width to play with.  I found it hard to get something in the size we needed.

We (ok, I talked my Dad and Ms. H into it) have decided we are going to try and do a built-in to the right of the new vanity mirror, to give Ms. H some badly needed storage.  This is the picture I found that is pretty much exactly her floor plan.  I love it!

There's no closet or anything in this bathroom, and right now she's got a freestanding bathroom shelving unit over her toilet.

It's fine, but in a room this small, that takes up an awful lot of visual space.  I'd love to get that out of there, and recess some shelves for her.  Now, that said, neither Dad nor I have ever done a built-in like this before so it will be a learning process!

That's where we are so far.  I have to admit, my fingers are absolutely itching to get in and start the demo of this room.
Could it be because I now have this (to quote my 8 year-old) WICKED set of new tools from the awesome peeps at Ryobi? (a prize for Tweeting my little brains out about the Ryobi gang who came to this year's Haven Conference.)

Yeah, it could.  #ryobirockshaven

You'll just have to wait til next week to see me learn how to use a reciprocating saw.  I know, I can't wait, either.  Insert schoolgirl-like squeal of happiness here. :-)


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Daughter-Dad Design: A friend's old bathroom

My Dad and I are good pals these days.  He's my go-to guy for many of the projects I do.  Anything that needs fixing, shoring up, or building gets put in Dad's capable hands.

He's been DIYing stuff, big and small, since way before DIYing anything was cool.  He's retired now, so we have loads of fun together when we get to work on projects.  (Here's the link to the post when we built this cool hall bench, for a good cause!)

The next thing we're doing is a complete bathroom reno for a good family friend.

We'll call her Ms. H here - and she's been friends with my parents literally for decades (she's with my little girl in the pic.)  She and my mom are both nurses and have spent their whole lives taking care of other people.
My mom's on the left, and another very good friend is on the right.  Aren't they adorable?

Ms. H has a small home that she shares with her furry companions.  Recently, the house caught fire.  The damage was extensive.  Thankfully, insurance took care of almost eveything.  Almost.  The home's one and only bathroom was left untouched.

It's in need of a top-top-bottom reno.  The "vintage" pink porcelain tile was probably swanky in its heyday but now it's falling off.

The tub and toilet will stay.  Everything else - tile, fixtures, vanity, light, linoleum floor, medicine cabinet, and yes, the shiny wallpaper all must go.

Dad and I took Ms. H to Home Depot last week to look around and try and narrow down some choices and pick a direction for the room to go.  I'm very happy with where we ended up after only one day of work, and as soon as we gather our supplies it's go time.
Ms. H will go stay with a friend while we're doing this, so it will not be a do-it-in-our-spare-time sort of event.  We need to rock and roll!  I'm very excited and a little nervous.

Dad's done bathrooms before - bigger than this one - by himself.  Tile, fixtures, all of it.  He's very skilled.

I am his apprentice.  I'm eager.  And I have designed bathrooms from the studs up in two homes that my husband and I have owned.  They turned out fabulously, and stayed mostly on budget, if I do say so myself, so I feel good about at least being able to contribute that way.

Right now, Ms. H is agreeable to doing a white subway tile with some decorative white accents around the shower.  I love it.  Subway tile can do no wrong in my book.  It goes with everything.  I think it will be a perfect choice for this home's one bath.

 For the floor, we're thinking these 6"x6" tiles will be perfect.  It's a small room, so keeping these tiles proportional will be good, and rather than doing a 12"x12" tile, these will give us more grout lines on the floor, which will help with traction.
Ms. H likes oil rubbed bronze fixtures (great taste, right?) so we'll go with that.

Beyond that, no decisions have been made.  We've got our work cut out for us but we are ready!

And last week, I got in touch with the awesome people at National Builder Supply.  They heard about Ms. H's story and have GENEROUSLY offered an item from their website to put in the bathroom!  A light fixture, maybe? A sink?  It's so good of them.  And I know Ms. H will appreciate it.  I'll let you know what gets chosen, and of course, I'll have pics once we start demo-ing this baby!  My fingers are itching, I will confess.

I spotted this room on Houzz.  Same layout as Ms. H's.  Nice right? (source below)

(source: Creative Eye Design + Build, via Houzz)
Pretty soon, I hope I'll be able to share just a lovely an "after" photo with you here!