Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A mechanical engineer and a happy rachet (or two)

We spent the ENTIRE day on Sunday working on bathroom projects and other projects around the house.  In the bathroom we were able to get the tub situated in its final home and Andy got all of the plumbing hooked up.  It was a little strange running water in a bathtub in an otherwise unfinished room, but it was a relief to get the tub in place and know that all of the plumbing is working as planned. 

 Attaching the ratchet and strap.  Andy likes to say that I'm stronger than I look, but this 480 lbs monster was no match for me.  We needed a little extra help to take some of the weight so that we could slowly maneuver the tub into the corner.  Since it's surrounded by three walls it was more of an "engineering marvel" than straight manpower.  Andy gets all of the credit for this idea (even though the ratchet straps live in my car and it was my idea to use both ratchets to make the strap longer).  Especially since I was convinced that he was going to cause the ceiling to collapse.  

 Strap and ratchet assembly.

 Hope this thing holds!

 Tub and drain in place.

 View of the new drain line from below. 

 New trap for the tub from below.

 New PEX supply lines for the sinks.  This is the view from the family room below.

 PEX is great, but it was a tight space to work the the proper PEX tools.

We also cut down a pine tree in the front yard in preparation for a new flower bed.  


 Taking down as many limbs as possible.

 More limbs down.

 Separating usable wood from the brush.

Chainsaw Andy.  He rigged a great winch system to pull the tree back away from the street.  Unfortunately I didn't grab any good pictures.  I must have been too busy worrying about where the tree would land or else Andy was just too efficient with the saw.


 Working on the stump.  The chainsaw decided it didn't want to finish the stump on Sunday.  We'll have to go back with a better blade.

All chopped up.  A sad, but necessary sacrifice for a new improvement. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Detour -- Part 1

Just in case we didn't have enough projects "in the works" we decided to start work on a bathroom at the shore. It's a project we started talking about before we moved and this summer seemed like a good time to get it done.  Plus, our bathroom project at home is more complicated and we just need to feel like we can complete a bathroom project.  Hopefully we get an updated powder room at the shore and a little bit of inspiration to finish our master bathroom at home.

 Unfortunately we didn't take full before shots.  This vanity is going to make a come-back.

 The shore is such an unusual environment that you never know when you're going to encounter a water problem in the form of a leaky window or roof.  In this case it was a leaky toilet.  This was the only surprise and Andy plans to replace the subfloor in this area.

 DEMO Complete. 

 Nothing like a little new drywall to make it feel like a new room.  

 It's a small space and there is only enough room for one person to work.

 It's making a return.  Here is the old vanity sanded down and ready to be stained.

 Applying the stain.

Product that we used to seal the vanity after the stain was dry.  It came highly recommended on my new favorite website www.younghouselove.com (a couple renovating a house in the Richmond, VA area).  The best part is that it is no-VOC, so I was able to use it in the basement without any nasty fumes.

After the first coat.

 Doors drying.

Stay tuned for Detour -- Part 2 in a few weeks to see the finished vanity and the newly renovated powder room.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cool or creepy?

A few weeks ago our garden became infested with aphids.  They aren't the nastiest bugs around and they weren't doing a ton of damage, but they were quickly attacking our tomatoes and lettuce and the tomatoes were just starting to look good.  I didn't want to risk further damage.  After a little google search we determined that lady bugs were the best way to get rid of the aphids.  I had seen a few in the garden but not nearly enough to keep up with our infestation.  Another google search and we realized that you can buy lady bugs on Amazon!  It's pretty cool that you can buy lady bugs online and they will feast on the nasty bugs without damaging the plants.  It's a little creepy that when I opened the container they all started to crawl up my arm.
 Nasty little aphids.

 Aren't they cute?

 Not so cute anymore!  I could barely hold still for the picture.  I don't mind bugs -- but this was a few dozen past my comfort zone. 

 Hanging out on the tomato plant a few days after we released them.

Protecting the lettuce.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Plumbing progress

Andy has been steadily working on the plumbing in the bathroom.  It's a slow and not very rewarding job as the progress is hard to see and measure.  The biggest accomplishment over the past few weeks was re-routing the baseboard heat piping with a new pex pipe system.  Another annoying part of the process is that a lot of the work he is doing now is only temporary (removing plumbing to get the tub in place, re-routing the baseboard heat until the final loop can be installed, etc).  It's all part of the process, but that doesn't make it fun. 

 Before the plumbing work started.  The subfloor is still intact.

 Subfloor removed to expose the drain from the old shower.

 Pex tubing for baseboard heat.

 New drain line extension and supply lines for the shower.

Don't fall!  We had to open the floor/ceiling into the 1st floor powder room to expose the plumbing and also install ductwork for a future fan in the powder room.  That's the toilet and sink.  It makes for some strange noise transfer as you can now hear someone talking in the kitchen upstairs in the bedroom.  It took me a few days to get used to it and not constantly look around to find "where that noise is coming from"!