Bathroom Remodel from

03/20/10: Finished!
03/13/10: Almost…
03/06/10: Where's the door?!
02/27/10: Privacy!
02/20/10: Plans change
02/13/10: Third time's the charm!
02/06/10: Here we go again…
01/23/10: Playing with mud
01/16/09: Exhausted
01/09/10: Good news, bad news
01/02/10: Happy New Year!
12/26/09: Merry Christmas!
12/19/09: Paint, Take 2
12/12/09: Paint, Take 1
12/05/09: Downs & Ups
11/28/09: One step closer
11/21/09: Done with tile!
11/14/09: That's a wrap on the tile saw…
11/07/09: So close…
10/31/09: Trick or treat!
10/24/09: Slow progress
10/10/09: One wall down!
10/03/09: Whoops!
09/26/09: So close…
09/19/09: How niche…
09/12/09: Slowly, but slowly…
09/06/09: Tiling begins
Demo/Framing phase

Homeowners Nancy and Paul share their bathroom remodel nightmare...

Back Story
Okay, so we did a whole gut-job remodel on the kitchen, and now it looks beautiful. Then just a few feet away is the main bathroom for the house, and it's a mess! [See the details on the next entry.] So I got the bright idea I could do a minimal remodel of this bathroom. I planned on removing some of the wall tile (leaving it behind the toilet and around the tub), replacing the vanity with a slightly smaller one, removing the shower doors (I hate those things), removing the horrible texture on the walls and re-doing it, tiling the floor, and having the tub and remaining wall tile re-glazed. I also planned to use bamboo flooring as wainscotting to cover the areas where I removed wall tile. Simple, right? Not in this house!

When we removed the vanity, we discovered more issues. The prior owner had cut away all the wall tile where the vanity was going, then filled all that with concrete! And not even a smooth job of it! As Paul and I discussed how best to handle the transition between wall tile and the planned bamboo wainscotting, we talked about how difficult it was going to be replacing some of those cut tiles, then matching up bullnose to finish things off, plus making up the thickness on the removed portions… it was getting more and more real just how difficult all that would be. In the end we dropped the plans for the bamboo, and agreed to take it all down to studs, just leaving the tub.

No!!! I swore after the kitchen there'd be no more gut-jobs! The saving grace is this is a much smaller space. And hey, I won't have to finish removing all that nasty texture with a scraper. So here we go again…TOP

Click thumbnails for a larger view.

Bathroom Before

Saturday's big progress was working out the tile layout for the floor. Paul got frustrated with me moving the slate pieces around!

At least some tiling is done. You can't see it well, but we tiled the interior sides of the window. The wood brace at the top is helping fight gravity.

Would you believe this is a brand new tile saw?! Needless to say, we are not pleased. After only a few tiles were cut, Paul started noticing rust spots appearing on the surface. After just a few hours of use, the entire surface is marked by rust. Why don't they make this from something that won't rust, like aluminum? After all, a wet saw is certainly in a very wet environment. You can bet I'll be complaining to the manufactuer and supplying them with photos.

09/06/09: Tiling begins
September 6, 2009: Yes, the date's correct. Since it's a three day weekend, we put in a second workday and that's a good thing since we've run into more issues. Can you tell we're amateurs?! On Saturday morning, as we were planning out the rest of this project, Paul mentioned he realized we'll have to re-do the door framing. Removing 2" of tile off the western (door) wall meant the framing was now too wide. While I went out to get thin set (we planned on starting the tiling Sunday), Paul worked on removing the door frame. Sadly doing that damaged one of the 18" vinyl tiles we'd put down just outside of the bathroom (from the kitchen project). Thankfully we have some extras. Plus the moulding cracked, so that will have to be replaced, too.

He went on to doing a final coat of joint compound while I worked out the floor tile layout. The only area of clear floor large enough to do this was in the kitchen. The bathroom floor will be a grid pattern of 11.75" porcelain tile that looks like travertine. At every other intersection, I'll be insetting a 4" piece of slate in a diamond pattern. Paul finished before I did, so he helped out. I marked all the porcelain where it will need to be cut for the slate. Then we numbered all the pieces before picking them back up.

On Sunday, I scraped the bathroom floor, removing dropped joint compound and other debris. It still needs to be cleaned, but we didn't get to that. You wouldn't believe how long it took just to do the little we did—the interior sides around the window. Part of the problem was we switched jobs from the kitchen. This time I was calculating how big the pieces needed to be and laying them, and Paul handled the cutting. I made mistakes on the measurements, so we wasted a few cut pieces. Paul was not happy with the saw's fence—it was difficult to adjust and you had to screw it down each time instead of a simple clamp mechanism. On top of that, the thin set wasn't holding as well as we'd like. The bottom sill has a slant and the tiles wanted to slip forward. It took so long to lay all those window tiles that we ended up tossing a good amount of thinset. We've got our fingers crossed that the tiles along the top will stay put (notice the wood brace in the photo). The thin set was barely workable by that point. TOP


The niche… and I never want to do one again!

After that was done, we put up the pencil around the window.

A close-up of the window trim and tile.

We normally lock the kitties up when we’re working, but we didn’t today. This is what happened. This is the ‘old man’ Gizmo.

We couldn’t take the sewer smell any more (our rag just wasn’t cutting it), so we came up with a temporary solution. Hope the red and green colors aren’t an omen about how long this is going to take!

09/12/09: Slowly, but slowly…
September 12, 2009: Yes, that’s what I meant to type. When we were finally cleaning up tonight, I told Paul at least we’re getting there, and that was his reply, “Slowly, but slowly…” This is definitely taking way too long. We got the tile inside the niche up, as well as all the pencil trim around the window. Doing the pencil required some tricky miter cuts. Fun!

For the back of the niche, I cut small (roughly 3" squares) from the field tile. When I was shopping for the tile, I looked for a mosaic tile that would work with this field tile, but we couldn't find anything that went with it. This was the next best option. Not great, but workable.

While the field tile is porcelain, the pencil trim is a type of marble. Their shape made the cutting a bit tricky, especially on those miters. But they provide a much nicer finish around the window and niche. You can see the boards we have up for support on the window. Figuring out the best way to support the upper pencil around the window took some time. Paul settled on a 1x4, with notches cut out for the pencil along the sides. He had to pre-drill holes, then drove in some 10-penny nails to hold it in place. Then he slid the last three pencil pieces in place.

In the photo at right, you’ll see the ledger board up at the bottom of the niche. We didn't get to that pencil yet. As it was, it was just shy of 7:30pm by the time we got out of the shower tonight, and we still needed to eat dinner (take-out pizza, a remodelers delight!). Next weekend we’ll do the niche trim and the floor! TOP


The window without the braces, spacers, and tape in place. The blue you still see is simply holding the plastic over the window.

And finally, the niche! This will all look so much better once it’s grouted.

If you compare this closing shot with the one from last week (the photo to the right of that day’s entry) and besides the changes in the niche and window, one more thing should pop out. See that white band now showing above the blue tape around the tub? That's where we removed the backer board, exposing the short lip around the tub.

09/19/09: How niche…
September 19, 2009: We had to make another run to Lowe’s yesterday for another tool. Ooh yeah, just what we needed! This time a RotoZip. During the week Paul was reading the latest Family Handyman magazine and saw that we should have stopped the concrete backer board about a 1/4" inch above the tub. Now we learn this! Paul used a special bit for backer board in the RotoZip and, after a bit of trial and error trying to figure out where the tub lip ended, cut away the backer. I followed holding the vacuum catching the majority of the dust. Once that was done, we could get to the niche. (We’ll use this tool again when we have to cut circles out of the porcelain tile (for the toilet and plumbing.)

We had to do more tricky miter cuts, but at least the perimeter of the niche is a whole lot smaller than the window. And this time we used a better system for bracing the upper pieces of pencil trim. It made placing those last three pieces a lot easier. Now the only pencil we’ll need to place will be to finish off the edges of the wall tile, and that’s weeks away. And only one more miter joint! While the tile saw was still set up, Paul did a trial cut-and-fit of a section of floor tile. He wanted to check how the slate would fit once the corners were cut. Doing that, we realized we’re going to have fun in some cases—some pieces of slate are thicker than the porcelain. To keep the floor level, we’ll have to go a bit easier with the thin set under those.

From there we scraped and cleaned the floor. We used a special product for terrazo that removes dirt as well as any wax or finish. For now, it's covered with rosin paper to keep it clean. Next week, we tile the floor! TOP


You can see most of the floor here, including the space by the door still needing tile. You'll also see one field tile and two pieces of slate marked by blue painter's tape. Those still need to be adhered to the floor. We couldn't cut the hole for the toilet, so they're not adhered yet.

Here's a closer look at the floor. The slate doesn't look as nice in the photo as it does in real life. Of course, it doesn't help that it was already dark outside by the time we stopped and this is lit by my flash.

09/26/09: So close…
September 26, 2009: I really wanted to complete the floor today, and we got close, but no cigar. We got a good start, pre-cutting all the diagonals needed for insetting the slate pieces. Things were going along pretty smoothly until we got to the piece that goes over the drain for the toilet. That falls right in the middle of a field tile. We'd bought a special bit for the RotoZip to make that cut. Paul got the tile all marked with a 6.5" diameter circle, went to start cutting and… no dice! The bit the fellow at Lowe's told us would work could barely make a dent in the porcelain. Hoping if we got a hole started (as the RotoZip works best from the side), Paul pulled out his drill with a masonry bit. Nope. So he opened a brand new masonry bit and tried again. Well, that went through the tile… sort of… well, if you count breaking the tile in two. He cut a new one (cutting the necessary corners for the slate) and we just set it in place for spacing purposes for now. During the week we'll have to go back to Lowe's for a differnent bit. There was a more expensive, diamond bit we can use. All of that set us back on time, and the thin set didn't last long enough to place the last few tiles. We'll have to do them at the end of the first day on the walls. Yes, I said 'first day' there. Seeing how long it took to do the floor, I'm guessing two to three work days on the wall. There will be less cutting, but it's a lot more area to cover. I really hope this is all done by Thanksgiving!! TOP


Hey, as much work as it was to get this piece cut, and as expensive as it ended up being, it deserves its own photo. I figured you didn't want to see a photo looking down into the sewer line, so here it is on the hallway floor.

Ooh, look, wall tile! Okay, so it's not a whole wall of tile, but… it is wall tile!

And look at that lovely floor. Actually, I really do like the floor. I think it turned out very nice. It's a shame a good portion will be hidden from view.

10/03/09: Whoops!
October 3, 2009: A fairly productive day, but we didn't get as far as I'd like. Paul wanted to see if the new RotoZip bit would work first. It did, but it's not fast. As you may recall from last week's post, we needed to cut a 6.5" diameter hole out of a floor tile for the toilet and the bit we'd originally purchased wasn't up to the job. Friday afternoon we made a Lowe's run and picked up a $40 diamond-encrusted bit. It took awhile, Paul wanted to let the bit cool off every few inches, but success! Once that was done, we turned our attention to the wall. I had to re-do the plastic around the tub—the tape would now be in the way. As I finished cleaning up the tub edge, Paul put up the ledger boards.

I started out setting the tile, but we quickly switched places. Paul was better at getting the thin set up on the wall and I like cutting tile, so that worked out well. There weren't any terribly tricky cuts, but a couple did have to be cut at a slight angle. You may notice in the final shot of the day that it looks like we didn't properly center the tile. No, that's not the "Whoops!" moment. The tile is right—the window is slightly off center. The "Whoops" happened as we were setting those last floor tiles right at the entrance. I looked up at the wall and realized we'd made a big mistake. Can you see it? It may not jump out at you right away, but we were supposed to do a running bond (brick) pattern with the field tile. Yep, the rows of field tiles above and below the slate should have been offset. In other words, there should have been two smaller pieces on either side of the window instead of a single big one. Whoops! Hey, it's a feature wall! Yeah, that's the ticket. We meant to do that. We decided it wouldn't be that bad. It will just end up being a mirror image on either side of the slate. We'll pick the pattern back up where it should be and go from there. On the other two walls, where there's not a big interruption (the window), we'll stick to a straight running bond pattern.

We had one other issue come up. Turns out painter's tape removes sealant from slate! When we cut slate for the kitchen backsplash, we learned putting tape around it first made it easier to mark and kept it from falling apart. But we sealed that slate after it went up. This time I'd pre-sealed it and when I removed the tape from the far right piece (it had to be cut), it removed sealant, too. If you look closely, you can see the right side of the tile is duller than the left. I'll have to re-seal that piece. Sigh…TOP


It's looking pretty good, for a couple of amateurs. After cutting so much porcelain, I must say I prefer cutting natural stone! When I cut the travertine for the kitchen backsplash, I had to worry about 'fault lines' where the tile was weak. But at least I didn't feel like I had shards of glass all over my arms! That's what the little chips of glaze are like. You can bet I never cut this stuff without wearing safety glasses.

10/10/09: One wall done!
October 10, 2009: Ooh, how I wish this was going faster!! But at least one wall is tiled, and it's the wall where nearly every tile had to be cut. In fact, only four of the field tiles didn't have to be cut! Even those large tiles on either side of the window had to have one side trimmed a bit to fit. And many of the rest required two sides to be cut. Sheesh! We removed the ledger and filled in that bottom row of tiles, then finished off the upper part of the wall.

When the batch of thin set was pretty much done, it was fairly late (almost 3:00) and we hadn't even had lunch yet. We decided against mixing up another batch. After a quick late lunch, we got a jump on next week by going ahead and making some of the needed cuts to get going. We had to reconsider the pattern on the south wall (with the bath and shower plumbing). If we'd followed through the with original plan, it would have it a grout line just short of either side of the large opening for the valve. From an aesthetic point of view, we decided it would be better to center a tile over the valve. So on alternating rows, instead of starting with either a 1/2 or full tile, it will be more like 3/4 or 1/4 of a tile. Paul used the RotoZip to cut out the large hole for the valve—slow but ultimately easier. We also went ahead and cut the first tiles that will be needed below the niche on the north wall. The plan for next week is to do the south wall (we're only going 3' wide there), then start on to the north. TOP


We got done as much as we did because we'd pre-cut some of the pieces, including that tricky cut over the plumbing valve. From an aesthetic point of view, we opted to center the tile over the valve, instead of the actual width of tile. That's why you see some short cuts along the sides. If we hadn't, a grout line would have ended up just before the outer edge of the valve control.

We'd pre-cut the lower pieces around the niche, so we got those up, too, plus one more out to the side.

10/24/09: Slow progress
October 24, 2009: The date's correct—we didn't work on the bathroom last week. Paul's mother was hospitalized and we had to make a spur-of-the-minute trip to Dallas. This weekend, we attended our granddaughter's eighth birthday party, so we got a late start. But we did get some work done. Knowing we had a limited amount of time, we only mixed up a quarter-bag of the mortar, and even still, it's pot life ended before we used it all all.

On this shot, you can see where we'd put up a tile, then took it down. Why? The top of the niche is a little out of level, but we didn't catch that when I cut the upper left field tile. When we were dry fitting the upper right field tile, we noticed a large gap where they met along the top. What I should have done is made that horizontal cut on a slight angle to compensate. By that time the mortar was acting up—Paul had a hard time getting it up there for that left tile—so I recommended we pull that left tile back off and stop for the night. That turned out to be a good thing because the mortar wasn't adhering to that tile. When Paul pulled it down, it's back side was almost completely free of mortar. Next week we'll re-cut that piece. I have my fingers crossed that we'll finish the south wall (where the plumbing fixtures are) next week, and make some good progress on the north wall. Even still, we're probably looking at three work days to finish the tiling, plus one more day for all the grouting. It's not looking good to finish by Thanksgiving, I'm afraid. TOP


Ooh, look at all that pretty tile! Paul went ahead and made a template for the cuts we'll need to do around the faucet and valve next weekend.

And the north wall. That one tile that's farther out to the left isn't the top course of the remainder. There will be one more, but the tiles won't be full size.

It's such a tiny bathroom, it's hard to get it all in with a single shot.

10/31/09: Trick or treat!
October 31, 2009: How did you spend your Halloween? Get dressed up and go to a party? Guess what we did… Yep, worked on the bathroom and finished up the night eating our favorite remodeling dinner, pizza. But we made good progress today. Last week we'd only mixed up a quarter of a new bag of mortar, so we continued with quarter-bag batches. We did one in the morning, broke for lunch, and then did another. With the exception of what needs to go below the ledger boards, we finished the south wall, and the north wall up to where it will switch to just along the bottom half of the wall.

You'll notice we used popsicle sticks in some places for spacers. Our field tile isn't rectified (not perfectly square and uniform), and of course, the natural slate has irregular dimensions. The popsicle sticks are slightly smaller to help compensate in places.

The hole cut for the shower went pretty easy using the porcelain bit on the RotoZip, but Paul wants to get an appropriate drill bit to create a starter hole before we do the four cuts for plumbing on the north wall. We'll need one anyway to install the shower curtain rod.TOP


The south wall just needed that last row above the tub, and the few pieces along the wall by the side of the tub.

We came close to finishing the north wall, but our thin set ran out. We should easily finish it next weekend.

11/07/09: So close…
November 7, 2009: Well, yesterday was our anniversary—22 years of marriage, the majority of that time spent working together. On top of that, our marriage survived remodeling the kitchen, and now a bathroom. But if I try any other room, Paul's going shoot me!!

We made some good progress today. We've got all the field tile done on the south wall, and almost all of it on the much longer north wall. We've got about 14 more field tile pieces to go on that wall, but one is going to be very tricky—all three plumbing pipes for the sink are there. We worked around it for today as it would take too long to make those holes. We'll cut it before we mix up the thin set next weekend. During the week I'll go in there and remove that final ledger board so we can do that bottom row and the few pieces needed to finish that section off. Then we have the pencil trim to put up on both walls. Then the following weekend, we can grout everything. Then we can finally get the vanity in place and order the countertop. Of course, it won't be done by Thanksgiving, but I'm hoping it will be completed before Christmas!! TOP


Here's the fun tile with three holes for the sink's plumbing.

Whoops! What we tried to avoid happened to an extreme — a tiny piece of pencil trim.

This is a close view of the new pencil finishing off the upper portion of the north wall (at the back of the tub).

Here's the pencil finishing off the tile on the south wall.

And here's the balance of the north wall, taken while standing in the tub. You just got to love a tiny bathroom!

11/14/09: That's a wrap on the tile saw…
November 14, 2009: We're not ready for a wrap party for this whole production, but the tile saw has finished its role (what can I say—we're major movie buffs). Yes!! No more cutting and setting tile! We got the last pieces up today… and there was much rejoicing (hard core Monty Python fans should get that reference).

We started out the day with some prep work to make things go faster. I removed the ledger and made a list of all the necessary cuts for that bottom row of tiles on the north wall. Paul had marked the three holes he needed to cut out of the skipped field tile last week, so that was the first piece we tackled. Once it was ready for placement, we mixed up the thin set. It all went pretty quick. We broke for lunch after all the field tiles were set.

We had one problem when we put up the pencil—that is, after dealing with the miter cuts where the floor-to-ceiling tiles turn into wainscotting on the north wall. We'd both looked at it and determined we needed to start that corner with half-lengths of pencil trim. That way we wouldn't end up with a tiny pieces at the other ends. Well, it worked perfectly along the vertical, but as we approached the far left side of the horizontal row, we realized we ended up with just that—a piece just under an inch! We couldn't easily re-do the whole thing and debated doing two shorter pieces at the end, or that single tiny one. It will be hidden behind a shelving unit, so I opted for the 7/8" piece. Oh well… Next week, we grout! TOP


The niche turned out pretty good after all. Grout certainly helped a lot!

Here's the north wall. If you look very carefully, you may see the four nails sticking out in grout lines around the sink plumbing.

While I was in the bathroom taking photos, Gizmo (our elder cat) had to come in and make sure everything passed his inspection. I was in the tub taking the photo of the north wall, so he got up on the side.

It's starting to look like a bathroom. Of course, things like a vanity, toilet, and fixtures will certainly help!


11/21/09: Done with tile!
November 21, 2009: Yes! We're done with tile!! We ended up needing more grout than we expected—it didn't have a very long pot life and we're not the fastest workers. We'd bought two bags and the guy at the store said to only mix full bags to maintain consistent color. Before we'd finished using the first batch, it was getting pretty unworkable. And we'd only done the walls directly around the tub. While Paul started with the second batch, I made a dash to Floor & Decor for two more bags (just to be safe). We ended up using one of those for the floor.

The day started with drilling a couple of holes first. Earlier in the week we'd gone in the bathroom and marked out where things like towel bars and the shower curtain rod were going to go, as well as where the studs were for attaching the vanity. For one side of the shower rod and the vanity, we'll be going into grout lines, but over on the south wall, the shower rod doesn't land on a grout line. Pencil marks would be wiped away in the grouting process (and hidden by texture on the rest of the walls), so Paul tapped in small nails every where he could, but we planned to drill the two holes we need for the 'south' side of the shower rod first thing. That went pretty well as you can see here.

All in all, I'm pretty proud of how it turned out. We're certainly not experts at tiling, and we were working with non-rectified porcelain tiles (a nightmare!) plus irregularly-sized natural slate and marble. Even the 'homemade' mosaic tiles in the niche turned out pretty good. Over Thanksgiving weekend we're planning on texturing the walls and installing the vanity. Then I can have the template done for the countertop. Is that a glimmer of light at the end of this very long tunnel? I sure hope so! TOP


In today's ending shot, taken from the doorway to the bathroom, shows the horrendous mess on the plastic covering the tiles. When the trigger got stuck on the texture hopper, Paul often pointed it at the plastic until he was ready to use it again. By the time I'd taken these shots, we'd taken down the plastic over the wainscotting so the vanity could be installed. New plastic will have to go back up there before we paint the room.

Here's a closer look at the vanity. It can be hard to see in the photo, but there are three drawers up the left hand side. The larger right hand portion has a large drawer at the bottom, with two doors above it. The sink will be positioned over this portion. A tall shelving unit will be over the side with drawers. And there will be brushed nickle long bar handles on the drawers and doors.

11/28/09: One step closer
November 28, 2009: Ooh, what's that you see in today's 'finish' photo? Could it be a vanity? Yes! Finally! It's out of our dining room and in the bathroom where it belongs. And it puts us one step closer to being done with this remodel.

While most people spent the long Thanksgiving weekend relaxing, or decorating for Christmas, or shopping, we spent yesterday and today working on the bathroom. Yesterday we textured the walls and that was a bit of a fiasco. After getting everything but the bare drywall covered in plastic (with rosin paper on the floor) we mixed up a batch of wall texture. Unfortunately, we'd both forgotten the problems we had with the hopper gun when we used it in the kitchen. The trigger kept sticking, we couldn't get even texture out of it, and it liked to throw globs of texture out the top (and onto poor Paul). After several attempts it was just getting worse. We broke for lunch, ran down to Lowes and got more texture along with some paint rollers. Once we got home we scraped off what we'd done (at least the high points), and rolled on texture instead. By the end of all that the place was a disaster.

Today, while I protected the wall with a large piece of plastic, Paul used spray can texture to fill in the small portion of ceiling around the perimeter of the room (from taping the new drywall). Then we turned our attention to the vanity. An out of plumb wall and slightly out of level floor made that barrels of fun. Because we also knew that corner was out of square, the cabinet maker included an extra piece along the west side to compensate, but Paul had to plane down that side to compensate for the 1/4" difference from top to bottom. Shims took care of the floor leveling issues. For some reason, the holes we cut out for the plumbing ended up being slightly off, so the beautiful round holes Paul drilled for them ended up having to be roughly enlarged with a jigsaw. Oh well, it's in there good and secure and that's the main thing. TOP


I've loved Blue Pearl granite for a long time and I'm tickled I get to use it in the bathroom. The stark white of the sink will really stand out against it. Their 3/4" remnant piece was no longer long enough to work, so I have to go up to the 1-1/4" size. This tile shows you how beautiful Blue Pearl is. I picked it up from Floor & Decor so I could decide on a paint color (leaning toward a dusty blue called "Mica"— fitting considering there'a a lot of mica in the granite).

And introducing the latest member of the Foster clan— little three-month-old Neela. She's still getting used to us (and Skeeter), so she spends most of her time in a large dog crate. Hopefully that will only take a week or so.

12/05/09: Downs & ups
December 5, 2009: I know the phrase is usually reversed, but this week started with a very big downer. If you've been following this project, you've met Gizmo, our 16-year-old tabby. On Sunday, he wasn't interested in his morning treat—very unusal. He continued to only barely eat on Monday, so Paul took him to the vet on Tuesday morning. Over the last few years we've lost two kitties to kidney failure (common in kitty old age) and we suspected that was the problem with Gizmo, but we held out some hope. Sadly, the news was worse. Not only were his kidneys not working, one of them had a mass that was at least twice the size of the kidney itself. Gizmo's prognosis was not good—there's no cure for kidney failure and he wasn't a candidate for surgery. His decline was very sudden, like what we saw with our Siamese a few years ago. We didn't want him to continue to suffer and opted to have him put down. Needless to say, I was a basketcase for a few days.

There were some positives this week, though. We got the template done for the countertop and selected Blue Pearl granite. In today's 'end' photo you can see a tile made of Blue Pearl. I picked it up from Floor & Decor, so I could decide on a paint color (something in a light dusty blue). There was one other piece of good news—a new kitty. If I had my way, I would have gotten a new one when we lost Splatties last year, but Paul wanted to keep the feline members of the family limited to two. The loss of Gizmo meant we only had nine-year-old Skeeter left. So filling the void is a new little girl—a three-month-old seal point Siamese officially named Neela (an Indian name that means blue, appropriate considering her eyes). Of course, she'll rarely be called that. Like most of our other kitties, she'll get a nickname that's she's actually called. Paul's leaning towards "Weenie" but I'm still thinking of other options. TOP


It's not that clear, but here's the paint chip (sitting where the medicine cabinet will go) next to the painted wall. They aren't an exact match — the actual paint is a bit darker, and the sheen affects its appearance.

This shot is taken from the hallway outside the bathroom, so you see the paint color continues out here. In the bathroom, you can see a piece of drywall resting on the stepstool. I'll be using it as a sample board for various ratios of grey paint to glaze.

While this blue is okay with the eventual countertop, it's not what we want.

12/12/09: Paint, Take 1
December 12, 2009: When I picked paint for the living room and dining room, I did it the smart way. I got a demo size container of paint and used it on a scrap piece of drywall, then put it in various parts of the room, and various times of day, to be sure it was what I wanted. For the bathroom/hallway, I just wanted to get it done — this has been taking so long — and skipped the demo step. Big mistake! After prepping the two areas, we primed the bathroom walls and ceiling. In all the painting, Paul did the cut-in, and I rolled. After eating lunch, the primer was dry and we gave the ceiling it's final coat of paint, then did the walls in the bathroom and hallway. Before the paint got too dry, I pulled the tape in the hallway and around the vanity (the rest has layers of texture and paint, so we'll score that with a utility knife before we pull it).

Looking at the paint after it dried, it's too blue. We wanted a smokey or dusty blue — one with a noticeable grey component. "Mica" looked like that on the tiny chip, but up on the walls it just looks blue. It would be great in a little boy's room, but it doesn't work here. So this week I'll go back to Lowe's. We're thinking we can salvage it with a thin grey glaze over it, but I'll talk to the folks at the paint counter for advice. I'm leaning towards ragging on the grey glaze, but we'll see what they recommend. Oh well… Next weekend, we'll paint again. TOP


My two sample boards. The upper one was from trying out the four color wash ratios. The bottom one has the follow-up two paint colors. They're leaning against the hallway wall still wearing the initial coat of "Mica".

Hopefully this is the last photo of the vanity without the countertop in place. (Our fingers are crossed — they're supposed to install it Tuesday or Wednesday.) I removed the plastic to see how it looks with the walls painted.

What a mess! Hopefully this is the last time you'll see all this messy plastic draping the shower walls. We'll have to get in there with a utility knife and score all around the edges before we remove it.

This is a view from the hallway outside the bathroom. We painted it the same color. Painting in here was way too much fun! You can't tell from this photo, but there are three doors with molding to paint around (that doesn't include the bathroom because the trim has been removed. Plus we have this very large cabinet we use for linens just pulled away from the walls.

12/19/09: Paint, Take 2
December 19, 2009: During the week, I picked up a gallon of glaze and a gallon of "Urban Sunrise", what looked like a nice medium true grey. I did four samples with gradually heavier concentrations of pigment (paint). In the two higher ratios (a 1:1 mix and a 2:1 mix), there was so much pigment you could see overlap marks. The 4:1 ratio was best, while the 8:1 mix made little difference. Unfortunately none were what we wanted. What started out as a nice neutral grey came out with a brownish tint when placed over the blue undercoat. They just looked dirty, not smokey. Sigh…

Paul and I decided to just repaint instead of doing a glaze treatment, so I went back to Lowe's and picked up sample sizes of two colors — "Woodlawn Silver Brook" (a historical color that was fairly light) and "Jack Rabbit" (a much darker grey-blue that was the next one down on the color strip from the original "Mica"). To make the sample boards even more true, I applied texture to it first (I didn't do that on the wash samples), followed by a coat of the original blue, then painted the two samples. The "Silver Brook" has a greenish cast — not at all what we want. I was afraid "Jack Rabbit" would be too dark and while it is dark, it's workable, so that's the winner. Plus it looks better next to the dining room paint color ("Buckskin Pony") — they have a similar value, or tone — and that's good as they are side by side in the hallway.

I finished taping everything off on Friday afternoon, so we only needed to paint and clean up today. It made for a wonderfully short work day! The new tools I picked up for Paul's cutting in were only mildly better than using a brush. For rolling, I picked up some better roller covers, designed for textured walls, but they used up a lot more paint. We came close to polishing off the gallon. After cleaning up the tools, I pulled all the fresh tape and didn't have any peeling of blue paint! Yeah! I'll go over the rooms tomorrow and see if there's any touch up needed.

We hoping to have the countertop installed Tuesday or Wednesday. The fabricators have been slammed with people wanting their kitchens, bathrooms, etc. finished before the holidays and ours is such a little job it's been delayed. Just as well as it gave us time to deal with painting. Assuming all goes as planned, we can finally have the plumber in to finish up with that vital part of this project! Imagine having running water and a toilet in your bathroom. What a concept! For us, we need to frame up the door; install all the moldings; do the electrical finish; install the vanity handles, towel bars, shower rod, and toilet paper holder; create, stain, and install a molding piece to hide the gap along the back side of the shelf unit that will sit on the countertop; seal the grout; install the window film (for privacy)… Sheesh! So close, and yet so far.

I don't think we'll work next weekend, so Merry Christmas! TOP


Ooh, look! There's a countertop!!! The sink and faucet are just sitting in their cutouts. We still need the plumber to complete their install. And see that piece of blue tape on the vanity door? That's to help open them until the hardware's installed.

Let there be light! Paul got all the electrical finish work done, so now there are lights and outlets.

I'm keeping the floor and tub somewhat covered as we still need the plumber in, and to complete our finish work.

12/26/09: Merry Christmas!
December 26, 2009: Well, we ended up doing a little bit of work today. We removed all the plastic from the tiled walls, along with most of the plastic protecting the tub (we just left the grey plastic liner that came with it for now). As you can see, we have the countertop in place! They installed it Wednesday afternoon, including making the cutouts for the faucet and sink. This sink is kind of a hybrid vessel sink — half of it sits above the countertop, while the other half sits below. The faucet and sink are just sitting in their respective holes for now. Hopefully I can get the plumber out this week to finish their install, along with the toilet, and the tub/shower fixtures. Then this will actually be a usable bathroom (if you don't mind no door yet)!

Paul got the electrical finish done, so we now have lights and receptacles functioning in there. That still leaves all the rest of the finish work (as mentioned in last week's post), so I'm guessing we've still got about two more weekends of work to do in here. Once it's fully functional, we've got to take care of some long overdue maintenance in the master bathroom's shower, including removing the shower doors (we're replacing them with a curtain — neither of us likes shower doors). We can't do that, though, until we can use this bathroom for showers for a couple of days. TOP


Look at all that nice finish work. In this shot looking straight into the bathroom, you can see the shower rod in place, the long towel bar on the south wall, with the toilet paper holder down below it. You can also see some of the pulls on the vanity.

On the north wall, you can see the medicine cabinet and the shorter towel bar, along with a better view of the shower curtain. In case you can't tell, we've got higher wattage bulbs in the lights now, too.

I stood in the bathtub for this shot looking northwest. You can see the vanity with all it's hardware in place. It's hard to tell in the photo, but I still need to paint the white caulk the granite installers used along the west side of the countertop.

Here's a closer look at the vanity, taken from the doorway. If you look to the right of the vanity along the floor, you can see a small tub with a grey lid. That's a little bucket of grout that's blocking (sort of) the toilet waste line. I can't wait to get that properly sealed by the toilet that's been sitting in its box out in the dining room!

01/02/10: Happy New Year!
January 2, 2010: Hope you had a wonderful New Year's celebration. We'd originally planned to be gone today— for a belated Christmas celebration with our daughter's family (they were out of town for Christmas) and my younger brother's family. Unfortunately, my brother had a bit of a flood to deal with at his house and that's where we all were going. We'll have to do it next weekend. But that meant we could do some work on bathroom today after all.

We didn't want to make a whole day of it, so we just did some finish work. Paul got the bar pulls on the vanity, put up the medicine cabinet, and installed the two towel bars, shower rod, and toilet paper holder. I was pretty much just the assistant. When we ran out for lunch, we picked up shower curtain hooks, so after lunch, I put up the curtain. I haven't heard back from the plumber yet, so I guess he took off some time for the holidays. (He's a one-man operation.) Hopefully we can get him in this week. I'm really looking forward to having running water!

We still need to frame up and re-hang the door, install the molding around the door (both sides), and install baseboard in the bathroom. Of course, all that trim needs to be painted. Once we have running water, we'll go around and caulk everywhere it's needed. I've read you should have lots of water in the tub before you caulk where it meets the wall. After the plumbing's done, we need to install the shelf unit on the vanity countertop (that way it won't be in his way when he's installing the faucet and sink — they're just sitting there for now). It will be going in the corner, to the left of the sink. That's going to require some woodworking to mask the gap where it doesn't actually touch the north wall. (The pencil trim sticks out back there and I want the shelf to be removable, so we had to carry the pencil all the way down the wall.) We also need to install the window film for privacy.

I made Paul a bit crazy yesterday when I told him I might change the walls in the bathroom. I'm really not thrilled with how the texture turned out (if you've been following this blog, you'll recall the application of texture was a nightmare). It turned out splotchy in places, I can see a couple of seams, etc. My original plan was a troweled-on texture, so I'm keeping my paint sample drywall to test some texture techniques. If I come up with something better, I'll re-do it, then re-paint (just the bathroom). I don't expect Paul will be helping, but thankfully it's a small space. The hardest part is that my shoulders tend to quickly give out on me if I use my arms over my head, so it may take a couple of weekends just to do the texture work. Oh well, this was my bright idea! :) TOP


Yes, this bathroom can at least now be used for the most basic of needs… as long as you don't mind a complete lack of privacy. It will be a while before the door's back up, but the toilet is fully functional.

And after you've used the 'facilities' you can even wash your hands! Look, there's running water in the bathroom. What a concept! Paul was concerned about the stream coming out with too much force and splasing out of the sink, but no worries. All is well, as you can see.

Here's the lovely tub spout and valve control. You can see it matches the sink's faucet, with the same bamboo look. To compensate for the wrong valve, the fellow dropped off a plain 'replacement' tub spout with a diverter, but it would have looked terrible.

And here's the new shower head. It doesn't have the handheld feature I normally prefer, but it matches the rest of the fixtures in here, and we'll rarely use this shower.

01/09/10: Good news, bad news
January 9, 2010: Well, this past week started out with so much promise. The plumber was back in town and was due to come out Wednesday to check everything out, then Thursday to do the finish work. On Thursday he got the toilet installed (yeah!!!) and hooked up the vanity faucet. He had to take off to handle another job, and came back Friday afternoon to finish things. Next, he installed the sink and drain, then turned his attention to the tub/shower. I had to run out to get window film and look at new paint chips, leaving Paul with the plumber. When I got home I got hit with a big old sledgehammer of a problem.

Turns out the valve we'd been given by the vanity guy was the wrong style. It was for a trim kit that had the diverter on the tub spout, not at the controls. And this line (Danze South Sea collection) doesn't have a trim kit with that configuration. Argh!!! The vanity guy thought he was doing me a favor when he gave me that valve (so I wouldn't have to pay for one from the plumber), but now I've paid for a plumber to install that valve, closed up and tiled the wall, and now must pay the plumber for a new valve and the labor to replace the wrong valve with the new one. And to spare the tile job, we have to demo part of the wall on the other side (thankfully in a closet) so he can do the job. So that free valve has cost us more than twice as much as it would have originally!!! Plus, it's delays things even more.

That's not the only delay. We decided to install an exhaust fan in the bathroom after all. Since some people might want more light than we need, we bought one that incorporated a light. But this bathroom never had any kind of a ceiling fixture, so this coming weekend, while I play with joint compound trying to come up with a new wall texture, Paul will be in and out of the attic, cutting a hole in the ceiling, the wall (to run wire), and the exterior wall (for the vent outlet).

This project has turned into a bit of a dog's breakfast, I'm afraid. I'd say it would cure me from ever doing another project around the house, but we have some other things that do need doing — removing the shower doors in the master bath and re-caulking the shower, finally finishing curtains and valances in the living room and dining room, re-painting the hallway outside the bathroom (to match the dining room, since I'm changing the color of the bathroom), replacing the living room flooring, closing up the old kitchen doorway and window on the family room side (leftover from the kitchen remodel), addressing the ceiling in the kitchen (to mask the transition where we took out a wall), painting the master bedroom, and I'm sure some other things I'm forgetting about right now. TOP


You wouldn't think a little fan would take all day to install, would you? It was a real nightmare for Paul, but he did a terrific job.

Can you believe the only hole he had to put in the wall was just this? Since we used conduit, he just needed to drop it down to me and I connected it to the existing outlet box.

During the week Paul made a larger opening in my office closet to give the plumber access to the problematic valve. It was a shame—Paul had made this nicely hinged door over the original access after the plumber did the initial work. Now he'll make a larger hinged door for the whole area.

These walls have been textured twice (first time scraped off), and painted twice. I had to sand them to prepare them for a third texturing and painting!

01/16/10: Exhausted
January 16, 2010: Today's 'title' sums up both the bathroom and our feeling about it. The bathroom now sports a nice and pretty quiet exhaust fan. We really should have done it before we buttoned up the walls, but it was summer and Paul didn't want to spend hours in the attic. Nor did I want to see him have to go up there again. And with a window in this bathroom, it wasn't required. But seeing the amount of light we could get out of the maximum size bulbs in the sconces, we agreed it was best. Paul did a spectacular job of surgically putting in the fan and a new switch with minimal damage to the finished room.

It meant two difficult trips into the attic. Thankfully it was cool out, keeping the temperature in the attic tolerable—this is Florida after all. But the bathroom sits right at the end of the roof's slope, so there was almost no room to maneuver. Making matters worse, Paul had to navigate over several A/C ducts to get there. During his first trip up there, he verified where he could locate the fan, moving insulation out of the way so it wouldn't fall into the room when he cut away the ceiling. Then he made his way to the exterior wall and made a single pilot hole where the duct would terminate. Then it was back to the bathroom to actually cut the opening in the ceiling as well as widening the opening where we had an outlet, so he could add a switch. After a trip outside to make the hole for the duct outlet and securing it in place, we broke for lunch. Then Paul was back into the attic to install the fan, its duct, drill a hole in the header for the conduit, feed the conduit down so I could connect it to the outlet box, connect the other end of it to the fan, and make everything secure. Once he was back down again, we ran the electrical, installed the switch, then went back outside and caulked the duct outlet. Believe me, it was a very full day of work.

When I wasn't actively helping Paul, I was working on the walls—removing fixtures and face plates, then sanding them. Since I'll be re-texturing the walls, I needed to take down any high points and scuff up the paint. The walls are still blue, but with lots of white dots all over the place. I still need to do my texture sample boards and decide between three paint colors. Some day this bathroom will be finished! TOP


I was afraid we'd have to make this opening larger, but Paul's already started the patching.

Ah, the troublsome valve is finally in place and functional. You can see the diverter at the base of the control that caused all this frustration. And notice how the spigot matches the sink's faucet.

Here's the shower head. Ooh, ahh…

This is my sample board using the fake sea sponge and painted with "Silverware". The knock-down version is at the top of the board.

Next to it is the other sponged texture, this one painted with "Pearl Ash". Again the knock-down is at the top of the board.

This is the hand-slapped texture painted with "Silver Service". Who would think a paint called that would look so blue! I knocked down nearly the entire board as the peaks were much too high.

On this larger board are two techniques. On the left is the slap brush (very subtle) and on the right is the texture roller.

And the winner is… the hand-slapped texture, but "Silverware" paint (in the inset box).


01/23/10: Playing with mud
January 23, 2010: On Friday, the plumber was back to remove the 'bad' valve and install the new one. Those things are expensive!! He felt for our predicament and didn't tack on any mark-up on the valve, but his cost for it was still high, plus we had to pay for his labor. An expensive lesson learned. We also discovered, much to our suprise, that this tub/shower valve doesn't allow you to adjust the pressure. It's full on—you can only control the amount of hot versus cold. I never knew there could be such a thing. The shower head has some adjustments, but if you're filling the tub, it's full on or nothing. Bizarre.

When the plumber arrived, it was determined the opening Paul had made wasn't sufficient. The plumbing is right up next to a stud and the plumber needed to get to the other side as well. Paul had to enlarge a portion over the next bay, but he's already begun that patch. Because he used the RotoZip, he could turn around and put the piece right back.

Saturday began with continuing to seal the grout (I did the first coat earlier in the week). Paul helped so it went pretty fast. After the first coat of the day (the actual second coat of sealer) and a quick lunch, I turned my attention to texture samples. Paul mixed up the joint compound for me and I got busy. I tried out several methods of texturing: using a texture roller, 'slapping' the compound on with a soft bristle brush, using a stiff bristle brush, troweling it on (like stucco), applying it with a fake sea sponge, as well as with grout sponge (for removing haze), and lastly applying a thick coat with my hands, then slapping at it with my fingers to create peaks and valleys. Then I did a knock-down effect on all of those. Paul like the regularity I got with the roller, but we knew it would create a problem in the two inside corners. The 'slap brush' texture was too subtle to create much of a knock-down. Neither of us liked the stiff bristle brush or trowel techniques. The two sponges were okay, but the knock-down hand-slap technique was really best. It's just going to be very messy and will use a lot more compound.

From there I tried out the three new paint colors and the winner looks to be "Silverware". It's a grey with just a hint of bluish-purple in it. "Silver Service" is too blue—we'd be back to looking like a little boy's room. "Pearl Ash" is so light it almost passes for white.

While I was playing with mud, Paul did a variety of things. He patched the second hole he had to make in my closet, replaced the light fixture in our master bathroom, replaced the damaged tile outside the main bathroom, drilled the holes in preparation for installing the threshold, and started cleaning up all the tools and supplies we have out. Once I was finished, we applied the final coat of sealer on the grout.

Next Saturday I'll be attending our daughter's baby shower (Amelia, grandbaby number two, should arrive March 3!), so we won't be getting any major work done. Paul may use that time to caulk the bathroom and remove the remaining fixtures in preparation for texturing. We'll do that the following weekend. Ooh, yeah… TOP


Prep can take so long. I had to plastic off everything, including the doorway, but still be able to get in and out. I have two layers of plastic, each attached on opposite sides. Here you can see them pulled open.

The new texture on the southern wall (if you look carefully, you can see toothpicks keeping the towel bar holes open)…

The northern wall…

And the western wall.

02/06/10: Here we go again…
February 2, 2010: We went out on Friday and got the joint compound we'd need, only to take it back Saturday morning. Why, you ask? Well, we were both dreading the knock-down technique. I hardy slept Friday night because of it. Paul was going to do the application of the mud, and I was going to do the knock-down, but I'm short, this is a tiny bathroom, and getting to the ceiling was going to be very difficult for me in places. Plus I had things like the faucet to work around. And we were both worried it wouldn't turn out very well. It's one thing to do a small sample board, and another thing entirely to do 8' tall walls. Instead we opted to buy a new hopper. This one has a metal 'gun' and a more professional mechanism. We exchanged the joint compound for a package of wall texture mud.

The good news is this hopper works much better than the one we had before. The bad news? We had a serious drip problem in places. We took a break to let that coat dry, then Paul did a second spray. That helped, but there are still some places that need touch up (sparse coverage, drips going horizontally in places, and some drips still in need of repair). I'm going to go in there and hopefully fix all that with spray can texture after work, during the week. This way we can still paint on Saturday. Cross your fingers that it looks okay after we paint. It's so hard to tell on texture until then. TOP


Here's the southern wall wearing its new paint color, Silverware.

And the northwestern corner of the room. This paint color looks very nice beside the blue pearl granite countertop.

ZuZu came to see me while I was taking pictures, but she's obviously camera shy. She'd move every time I clicked the shutter! But at least you can see how pretty the countertop is in this shot.

Taken from the hallway, you can see it's wearing its new paint color, too. We're getting there!!

02/13/10: Third time's the charm!
February 13, 2010: Success! After three different attempts at texture, and three different paint colors, we finally have a winner! You never really know how the texture's going to look until you paint, so I was holding my breath a bit. And I was pleasantly surprised by the paint color. It came out more blue than I expected. I was worried it would be too grey—the paint chip was very grey, but I could see blue in the larger sample board. I was worried that was just because it was in a room with blue walls, casting a bit of a blue tint to it. Thankfully it wasn't just a reflection.

I spent Friday afternoon prepping the hallway outside the bathroom for painting. No reason to leave it blue, but instead of painting it the same color as the bathroom, we painted it the same color as the adjoining foyer/dining room/living room (Buckskin Pony). On Saturday, Paul ended up painting the bathroom himself. It's such a small, cramped space it was just easier that way. Meanwhile I started working in the hallway. There's a lot more wall space there, so when Paul finished in the bathroom, he came and helped me in the hall. It ended up needing two coats, so we did the second one after lunch.

I'm starting to see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. Next week we'll put the finish back up, caulk the tub, touch up some paint on the ceiling (whoops!), and look over our list to see what else we can get done. TOP


Ooh, is that really a tub?! It's finally making its debut. No more ugly grey plastic liner protecting it.

The new stack switch enables the ceiling light and exhaust fan to run separately of each other.

And look at those lights! Yes, all the finish is back up.

It's not much, but now the wastbasket is nicely lined. It sounds simple, but really took some time to get it right. I still need to get some gimp to hot glue over the top edge of the liner, but it functions for now..

02/20/10: Plans change
February 20, 2010: Today was a somewhat frustrating day, but there were some good things. Paul rewired the fan/light combo so either could be turned on by itself. He had to run an additional wire — thank goodness for conduit! — and change out the single switch to a stacked switch and the necessary new cover plate. Voila! Now you can have the ceiling light on without having to run the fan. After that, he turned his attention to caulking everything. The tub and shower can now actually be used! Unfortunately we can't frame the door in yet. It turns out the door jamb kit I bought months ago won't work. The hallway side of the doorway has much thicker than normal walls (as do all the original walls in this house!). The jamb is a half-inch too narrow. Paul will have to go out and buy raw lumber and do it all from scratch.

So what was I doing all this time? For starters, I created a plastic liner for the wastebasket we bought. I wanted something bamboo (it plays off the fixtures), but there are gaps all around. I took some of the heavy duty plastic we had from construction and created the liner. It was a bit of an engineering problem as the basket has flared sides. I did some touch up painting, but the biggie was working on the shelving unit that was to go on the countertop. I attached some black vinyl to the bottom to protect it and the counter, and re-glued a couple of places where the veneer was peeling up. Then I worked on trying to match the stain of the shelving unit on a piece of poplar. I did several alternating coats of ebony and red mahogany, but still couldn't match it. After about the fifth coat of stain, Paul set the shelf on the countertop and that's when we began rethinking the plan altogether. Seeing it there, it really overpowers and darkens the room. Argh! I had the vanity made smaller than what was there before (the original was too big), but that meant I sacrificed some storage. The shelves were to help compensate for that. So now I'm back to the drawing board, researching some glass shelving options. That way it would still be light. Unfortunately I'm very limited on space. I may have to go with buying brackets and having some glass shelves cut locally. Oh well…TOP


Ooh, what's that?! A closed door on the bathroom? Yeah!

With the door open, you can see the window is finally free of taped plastic or newspaper. Since this is a shower, too, we can't hang any kind of window treatment, so film was the next best thing. You can see my new bath mat draped over the side of the tub, too.

And here's my makeshift countertop storage. I went shopping Friday hoping to find corner shelves. No luck, but I got the floor mat mentioned above, along with the bamboo canister (for q-tips) and the blue mosaic glass piece you see in this shot. The glass is actually a votive holder, but if I can find something to act as a top, I'm going to store cotton pads in it.

02/27/10: Privacy
February 27, 2010: Finally some privacy in the privy! Today was a productive day. Paul spent most of the day working on framing the doorway and re-hanging the old door. Earlier in the week I'd painted the 1x6s he'd bought for the door jamb, along with the trim pieces for both sides of the doorway. He had to rip a half inch off the 1x6s, so I'll have to repaint that portion. He had to rout out for the hinges on the jamb. And as he was working with the door, he realized they'd only routed out the door for one of the hinges, so he fixed that. Once the jamb was up, striker plate installed, and door hung, he had to attach the stop. Now the door just needs the threshold and molding installed.

While he was working on that, I busied myself with several other things. I hot glued the gimp around the top of the liner I'd made for the trash can, then turned my attention to the vanity. I started by lining all the drawers and the doored compartment. Then I worked on filling it up. I'm very pleased with how much it holds. I pat myself on the back a bit for designing it for maximum storage. I haven't been able to locate glass corner shelves locally, so for now, I have the two baskets that were going to be in the original shelving unit on their sides, acting as counter top storage. I have a couple more local stores to check, but I'll probably order the brackets online, and have the glass shelves cut locally.

The door isn't the only bit of privacy this bathroom now boasts. When Paul some time, he helped me put up the Artscape privacy film on the windows. This isn't an adhesive film, so it was easy to install, adjusting as needed. I also replaced the old 'sticky' film from our masterbath window with the same film.

Hopefully only a couple more weekends left to finish this bathroom. Next weekend we work on all the moldings — door trim, baseboard, and bed (crown) mold. TOP


We had to remove the door to install the lovely trim work. Looking into the bathroom, you can also see the baseboard. There's just a tiny sliver on the south side of the door in the bathroom. It's so little, Paul just use some liquid nails to hold it.

And the other side of the doorway. You can see that tiny sliver down on the bottom left. And through the doorway, past the hall, you can see the wreak of a dining room that's been our construction HQ.

Here's some of the bed molding. This space is so tiny, I thought regular crown molding would overpower it.

Paul's lovely framing work for the access panel.

03/06/10: Where's the door?!
March 6, 2010: So much for that privacy! Well, at least temporarily. Paul removed the door so he could install the trim. And the trim was quite a pain. The hallway walls are original and, sadly, not even top to bottom. It left quite a wave of a gap in places. The solution was every do-it-yourselfer's favorite tool — caulk! Plus it took longer because he nailed it the old fashioned way. There just wasn't that much to do and he hates firing up the compressor. But that meant sometimes pre-drilling, and using a nail setter on every nail to recess it. Once the two sides of the door were up, he moved on to the baseboard, then finished with the bed molding (crown).

When I wasn't helping Paul, I was doing touch-up painting, then going behind him with spackle filling nail holes and gaps in seams. While I was finishing that up, Paul turned his attention to the access door for the tub. He needed to frame up the opening so the door will have something to stop against. He got to finally use his pocket jig on the horizontal braces.

Would you believe all the above took all day? Yes, it ended up being a pretty long one, interrupted by a run to the hardware store at lunch to get another piece of door trim (don't ask!). We were both beat by the time it was done. I still have more spackle coats to do in some places, plus touch-up painting on all the trim, and Paul has to finish up the access door — actually make the door, attach hinges and knob, then trim it out. Then rehang the door. Hopefully it won't be a long day.

I've ordered some shelf brackets and once I get them, I'll have two pieces of glass cut. Once that's done, we'll put the in the corner to the left of the sink. Then it will be done!TOP


I ordered the shelf brackets online, then had the shelves themselves made locally. They'll look so much nicer once the orignal holes are completely repaired.

Here's the newly painted crown. At a glance it doesn't look much different than the shot from last week, but trust me, a lot of work went into it!

Look, Ma, you can't see the plumbing anymore! Paul trimmed out the opening and went with a screwed-on panel. This is inside a closet, so it doesn't need to be fancy.

03/13/10: Almost…
March 13, 2010: Today was supposed to be the last work day on this project. And it almost was… The day started well. I was working on doing second coats of spackle on all the various trim, then touch-up painting. Paul finished work on the access panel. Both of us ran into headaches. For me, I hadn't intended on painting the crown — it's actually a plastic-coated foam type product. But the white of the spackle didn't match the white of the molding. Painting the plastic (two coats) was a big enough pain, but doing it after it was installed was an absolute nightmare. Of course, that also meant having to re-touch up (I'd already done it once) the wall paint below the trim… with a tiny artist's brush.

Paul had originally intended to do a nice hinged access door, but he had to alter his plans. The door is a piece of luan — very thin plywood — and he didn't have any screws short enough to attach the hinges without extending out the back. It didn't matter before with the old door, but since he built this nice interior framework, it was an issue. He gave up and just made it a scewed-on panel like most people usually do. But it's nicely trimmed out with molding. He also painted over the wall patch where the opening was temporarily widened.

We were still on track to be done until we got to the new glass shelves. These are 12" inch shelves, so he put the brackets at the mid-point along each side. He couldn't get them to sit level — the brackets had enough play in them that the shelves dipped forward. And the heavy-duty anchors he'd used couldn't be removed. He had to 'bash' them into the wall and start all over. This time he positioned the brackets a bit higher (to give him more room over the pencil ledge) and spaced farther out, closer to the edge. Bingo! But now the patches need to be finished, re-textured, and painted. Oh well. And the door needs to be re-hung, but I wanted the paint (from touching up the trim) to have a full 24 hours at least before we did that. TOP


Ah, the door is back!

My favorite part of the new bathroom is the floor. I think it turned out quite nice.

This shot was taken from the bathtub. I turned off the sconces so you can see the pretty glass shades.

What's a bathroom without a toilet. This model is skinnier — a must in this small space. You can also see the niche at the back of the tub. It can hold plenty of items.

Because I spec'd a taller vanity, I still got plenty of storage space, despite having to make it six inches shorter than the old one.

Here's a good shot of the tub's matching faucet.

Now for some before and after comparisons. In this image, you see the bathroom from the door and looking from the tub.

In this before, you see the old vanity nearly touched the old toilet.

And the new tub and tile surround is a definite improvement!

03/20/10: Finished!
March 20, 2010: Well, this project took a whole lot longer than I'd expected, but it is done!! For you Monty Python fans, "there was much rejoicing." There wasn't much left to do. We textured over the wall patches during the week and I initially painted them on Friday. So first thing this morning I was actually working in the yard. We should finally be done with freezes and I have some seriously damaged plants. I filled the garden cart three or four times with clippings. Fingers crossed that my plumeria plants survive.

Paul helped out there some, but was focused on working on the master bathroom. Now that we can use the remodeled main bath, he removed the shower doors from our shower, cleaned away all the leftover caulk, filled the holes left by the door frame, and replaced the caulk in the corners of the shower. After removing the doors, he discovered some of the tiles were chipped. I used the penetrating sealer on the exposed areas. Paul then put in a shower curtain rod. It's amazing how much bigger the room feels with those shower doors gone.

When I finished outside, I came in and did final touch-up painting in the main bathroom and hallway. I also finished up the wooden lid for a glass container (actually a decorative votive holder) that now holds cotton make-up pads. You can see it on the lower corner shelf. I had a sample of bamboo flooring and had Paul cut it for me earlier. I sanded it down, re-finished it, attached a knob on the top, and cut some cork for the underside to hold it in place. It works nicely in there — the bamboo top goes well with the bamboo container next to it that holds Q-tips. On the top shelf is a vase made from a section of bamboo. And the trash can is bamboo. Their color picks up on the wall color of the adjoining hall, dining room, and living room. And they play off the bamboo shape of the faucets. I plan on doing some artwork that continues the bamboo theme, but that has to wait. I've got tons of other projects in need of doing.

All total, I'm pleased with how it turned out. I had to drop several things from the original plan and make some compromises, but the finished project looks very nice. If I had to pick a favorite part, I'd have to say the floor. I really love how it turned out. But if we ever decided to remodel the master bath (and it desparately needs it!), we'll hire it out!

We'll spend next weekend trying to restore some order in the house. All the various tools and supplies are just piled up in our Florida room. With no garage, that's our workshop. Plus we need to give the whole house a serious cleaning. Remodeling creates a mess! TOP


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