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Posts Tagged ‘bathroom’

This is not a test. The photos you see here are REAL. This is our actual bath tub. With tile. Not concrete backerboard. We have been taking showers now for nearly a month and it is blissful. Especially for this 7-months pregnant lady.

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We’re finally getting to the point where cleaning is actually just normal cleaning, not a retroactive major clean-up of leftover construction dust or months-neglected debris from the renovation. The house is really starting to feel sort of finished. There are lots of little projects left to do, like sanding, caulking and painting all the trim, but we’ve taken care of some of the major eyesores.

Nick cleared out the sleep loft–took all the boxes and bins we were storing up there down to the basement storage heap instead. Then he scraped up all the spray-foam insulation that was stuck to the plywood floor of the loft. We plan on laying down the ash wood we never used for Sadie’s room up here to give the loft a finished feel. Our house is so small that hosting guests without a dedicated guest space could be difficult, so we’re hoping guests won’t mind sleeping in the loft. Currently, it can only be reached by a rickety old painter’s ladder. We searched online for a ship’s ladder, which would be perfect, but discovered that they cost several hundred dollars, even when you buy used ones. So we asked our neighbor, carpenter Ben, if he could make us one, but he doesn’t have time since he and his wife started their catering business (helpful plug: Bazkari Catering). Nick’s dad is coming next week for a visit, and we’re going to give him the choice of climbing up to the loft and sleeping on a futon mattress or camping out in the library/sewing room/kids’ room on an air mattress.

The other little job involved finally putting up our bathroom shelves. Slowly but surely, we’re making progress. The latest on the bathroom tile is that contractor Ben won’t get a chance to work with the tile mason until sometime after May 5, when he gets back from visiting his fiance in India. So, we’re still roughing it to a degree, but more and more it’s feeling like home. I think the longer daylight hours definitely help. I can actually see when I get home from work, so I feel motivated to work on projects or clean things up instead of letting things pile up until the weekend.

And finally, our little spell of warm weather got me thinking about plants. My mom and I went to the garden show a couple of weekends ago, and then,  since I don’t know a hydrangea from a watering can, I went to the library to check out books on plants and gardening. I’d like to get a dozen plants for the deck to give it more the feel of a plein air room than a deck, so it’s a place we’ll wander in and out of like any other room in the house. In particular, we want to get a trellis with climbing vines of some sort to park right in front of the wall of the neighboring condo building so we aren’t looking at plain green siding all summer. Some flower boxes for the railings, a few pieces of outdoor furniture, and voila, we’ll have our little piece of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, we’re supposed to wake up to snow tomorrow morning, so I have no idea when any of the planting and landscaping is actually going to happen.

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First, some renovation news: our tile order won’t be coming in until April 12. That means we won’t have a tiled tub surround until probably the middle of April, at the earliest, which means we will have been without a shower for nearly 6 months when all is said and done. Sort of incredible, if you think about it. But we’re just not going to think about it.

And, on another note altogether, we have some much happier, bigger news: Two Cats is gaining a new family member. No, not another cat (or chihuahua). I am pregnant with baby #2! We are expecting our little bundle in early August.

It’s funny, when we first moved in, I remember feeling totally drained and had zero motivation for doing anything around the house. I think I even told a friend that I felt like a mother who had given birth and then shunned her needy baby. Well, turns out I was onto something. We’re pretty sure I conceived about two weeks after we moved in, and shortly after that my motivation and energy levels plummeted. I thought I was just exhausted from the energy expended from packing up the old apartment and moving, which I”m sure contributed to my malaise, but with pregnancy hormones raging, I never quite recovered from the move, and was pretty much catatonic for the last two months of 2009. I’m four months along now and feeling much better–less tired, less nauseous, and feeling like less of a bump on a log.

Our little house might start to feel a lot smaller with two kids running around, but we’re ready. We have enough friends in New York living with children in apartments to know that you can raise happy kids in small spaces. I think it’s going to come down to being super efficient and organized, purging even more of our stuff, and getting really good at creating storage niches and building shelves. And, of course, I still hang on to the dream of buying a piece of the Horseman’s yard. Being able to fling open the door and run outside is a great feeling for a kid, and I hope ours can have that someday.

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We have toilets! And sinks! And running water!

 

When we renovated, we decided to move our tiny, unserviceable bathroom from the middle of the house to the northeast corner. We considered simply enlarging the bathroom in order to minimize the amount of plumbing we’d have to redo, but in the end it made the most sense to reconfigure the entire second floor. (We turned the space that was the bathroom into a closet off our master bedroom.) Moving the bathroom required replumbing the entire house, essentially. So during the last 3 months we haven’t had any running water. To save on costs, we decided to do the final stages of plumbing ourselves by installing toilets in the master and half bath and hooking up sinks.

halfbath

The half bath off the kitchen. The sink isn't entirely plumbed yet (see Kitty Litter bucket under drain).

toilet

Master bathroom toilet. Notice the newly sanded floors!


vanity

We're so vain--our new Ikea vanity.


This vanity was a bit of a pain to put together, and until we bolted it to the wall and got it level, I was sort of regretting buying it. It looks good now though, and hopefully will be sturdy and last a while.

And finally, the thing that makes my heart sing:
wd
My first ever washer and dryer. Years and years of laundromats and basement, coin-operated washer/dryers are now finally and forever behind me!

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We’ve gotten so caught up in our stories lately that we’ve forgotten to give you the cold, hard, photographic proof of the progress on the renovation. I was just going through our iPhoto library and discovered dozens of photos we haven’t been keeping you up to date on. Three major phases are complete, and the next three posts will show them all: framing, insulation, and drywall.

First, the framing. According to the date stamp on these photos, this phase was complete as of September 30.

Kitchen with pantry and half bath

Kitchen with pantry and half bath

The framed out kitchen, with the pantry in the foreground and the half-bath behind it.

Stairs and wall

Stairs and wall

The living room, with new stairs and new framing for wall.

Living/dining/kitchen

Living/dining/kitchen

View from bottom of stairs into office and kitchen.

Bathroom

Bathroom

Future site of our full upstairs bathroom.

Our bedroom

Our bedroom

This is the master bedroom. The framing for the wall only goes up to the height of where the ceiling used to be to give the finished room a loft-like, open and airy feel.

Walk-in closet

Walk-in closet

Our bedroom closet will go here, a nice walk-in sized closet where the house’s only, tiny bathroom used to be.

Sleep loft

Sleep loft

Framing for the sleep loft that will be above the bathroom, where the attic used to be.

Found!

Found!

Some old sheet music we found in the basement. When we move the piano in,  I’ll learn how to play it!

Floor grate in hall

Floor grate in hall

Our pretty, original floor grate in the upstairs hall.

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And call this floor my Moby-Dick.  I will conquer this.

Night shot of the bathroom floor

Night shot of the bathroom floor

I finally got to take a second stab at this thing tonight after work while Nick was home with Sadie. When I first tried to pry off this flooring, it was stuck to the 135-year old pine boards underneath it with a viscous glue formed from all the cat pee that had seeped through the carpet and plywood tacked down over the linoleum and mixed into the original adhesive that bound the linoleum sheets to the floor. I was able to lift up a lot of the stinky flooring with a thin crowbar, but vast swaths of it stayed stuck.

But now that some time has passed, and the carpet and plywood has been lifted and discarded, the old linoleum has dried out, becoming more brittle and more vulnerable to my crowbar. While Sadie was at home eating dinner in her high chair, I was able to go to the house unencumbered and alone for the first time in weeks. I plugged in the big chain of construction lights that now hang around the house and went to work with the only tools I could find. Missing from my arsenal was the perfect tool for the job, the small crowbar I used in the first round, so I used a small paint scraper instead. I imagined that the Horseman and his family could see my silhouette through the window, bending and scraping, looking for all the world like a mad Miss Havisham doing a renovation in her attic.

I was surprised to find that even without the torque afforded me by the crowbar, I was able to get up some decent chunks of linoleum with the tip of the paint scraper. This did not happen before. As the pieces came up, the scent of eau de gato wafted upwards, reminding me why we started this whole job in the first place.

Our floor sander claims he can just sand down the last of this linoleum stuck to the floor, but I really don’t want linoleum (or worse, vinyl) dust floating around our house, no matter how well we clean or filter the air afterwards. Nick thinks we should just hire the Horseman to do it, but I think we’ve already spent enough money paying other people to work on this house, and dammit, I want to get my own hands dirty! I know there will be plenty of time for me to do lots and lots (and lots) of work when we move in, but it’s really frustrating to sit by for three months feeling like you aren’t doing  anything. This is one of the few things I can do now.

So this weekend, while Nick is working, I’m going to drop off Sadie at my mom’s, buy myself a new crowbar, and demolish this whale of an eyesore. Mark my words!

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Nick and I both love this kitchen. Simple, pretty, warm and inviting. Kind of how we want our whole house to be.
mag3(Image scanned from an old issue of the dear, departed Domino magazine.)

And I had never even heard of reusing old chalkboards as flooring. green-bath-h159ki2alt_1035.case study previewThese Seattle homeowners found old schoolhouse chalkboards at a salvage yard and pieced them together to make their bathroom floor. Brilliant. Read more about it at Green Building Advisor.

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