Sunday, March 30, 2014

Powder Room Progress

When I last posted about the powder room back in November we were in the process of finalizing our plan for the renovation and finishing the demo work.  Despite my delay posting all of these updates Andy continued to work diligently on the renovation through December.

Andy wasn't a huge fan of the Ditra mat the first time we used it in the upstairs bathroom. It's a lightweight alternative to cement board and it's supposed to be much easier to work with.  We had enough leftover from the master bathroom renovation that Andy decided to try it again.  This time he has great success  -- so much so that was actually just bought more it for the upstairs hall bathroom.

We decided on a simple thin metal transition between the new tile and old vinyl in the kitchen since we don't know what that floor will be in the future.

You really should work out of the room as you tile but Andy wanted to make sure that the pieces at the transition were perfect so he worked from inside and I handed him the tiles he already had cut.

It was a multi-day process since he had to wait for the first round of tiles to set before he could finish the area under the toilet.

He also managed to paint the walls and grout the new tile (all while I was probably asleep on the couch).


The final portion of the renovation didn't happen until this January so that will be a separate post but it was nice just to have a toilet on the first floor again!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Plumbing Problems (and obligatory bump photos)

We strongly dislike our kitchen but for the most part we have been able to work with what we have until it's time to replace it.  With so many other projects going on around the house it sometimes seems silly to spend money and effort on temporary upgrades for the kitchen since we don't have a final plan for the space.  BUT we couldn't stand another day with this faucet.  We have hard water and between the hard water stains and scale along with some "retrofits" by the previous owner it was GROSS.  For some reason we have been in the faucet isles of Home Depot and Lowe's frequently in the past few months so we decided just to buy a cheap replacement faucet as a temporary fix.

Gross...and don't even get me started about the brick backsplash...


Grossest!  Andy actually had to cut the faucet free from the sink.

Someone once told me that you should never start a plumbing project on a Sunday afternoon because you are guaranteed to have a problem, need more supplies, and then the stores will be closed.  Andy started this project on a Sunday and we almost found ourselves in trouble when he discovered that the trap was leaking.  There was only a tiny crack at first but by the time he got everything removed it had turned into a large hole! Andy took stock of what we needed and quickly went to Home Depot.


A quick job turned complex but we were glad to discover the leak before it got worse and get the plumbing replaced before it caused a problem.

This faucet doesn't look like much but it is clean, works, doesn't leak or spray in odd directions and we even added a sprayer.  Life in our kitchen is slightly more tolerable.

Some of the family has been asking for baby bump photos.  Andy assures me that this isn't a selfie, but regardless I'm not much for posting photos of myself on the blog.  So here is the obligatory baby bump photo taken last weekend (around 24 weeks).

You can pick -- black and white or color?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fire Rated

When we bought the house and completed the walk-though with the inspector he told us that the door in the laundry room that goes out to the garage didn't meet current code.  The hollow door is not fire rated and should be replaced.  It also was very drafty.  We knew we wanted to do some work in the laundry room and also replace other doors in the house so we figured we would do it all at the same time.

After the new front door was installed last year, Andy thought he could replace the garage door himself.  The problem -- as with many things in this house -- the door is not a standard size and a custom made steel or fiberglass fire rated door was extremely expensive.  Andy took the trim down and did some investigative work from the garage to determine that we could enlarge the door opening a bit to make a standard sized door fit. The storage above the door would have to be relocated but that was a minor detail compared to the price difference between and standard and custom door.

After lots of research and discussion with the Township we finally made the decision to order a new steel fire rated (90 min) door and when it got delivered Andy was quick to get started with the demolition.

The header above the old door was non-load bearing, so Andy was able to remove it and raise it to a height that accepted the new door.

He used his handy Kreg Jig to create pocket holes/screws to attach the new header without having to remove the existing drywall.

With the new opening framed out the door went in easily.

Spray foam insulation was added around the door to make it air-tight and even though it still needed paint and trim the new door was a huge upgrade.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Laundry Room Wall Warts

These next few posts aren't too exciting but I want to be able to remember everything we did last year so you'll just have to bear with me. 

As we were planning to start work on the laundry room Andy found an old dryer vent cover that he wanted to patch with drywall and so we decided it was time to start removing the rest of the old intercom system around the house.  Since he was going to be patching and drywalling he wanted to do as many rooms as possible.  He removed the old intercom in the laundry room, guest room, both offices, and upstairs hall bathroom.

Good-bye intercom!

Good-bye painted over dryer vent cover.

This is the old vent outlet in the garage.  New vents must be vented outside so this change was made before we bought the house.

Finding more apple wallpaper.

The work created a temporary hole into the garage.

Which was quickly insulated and ready for new drywall.  We hope that taking the time to do some drywall work and fix some of the existing wall warts helps make the room look more finished in the end.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chimney Work

Remember when it was warm and there were green things growing outside? Neither do I!

We have two chimneys on our house -- one for the working (although we don't use it) fireplace, and another for our boiler.  Both chimneys need some brick and stucco work but that is not on the immediate need list.  The pressing issue was that we wanted actual chimney caps to keep out debris and critters.  

The one chimney had a make-shift wire mesh cover.

And the other was completely bare.

So Andy ordered two new caps online and was happy to jump up on the roof when they arrived.

Now we have two new chimney caps that aren't too exciting but do the job!