After all of Dave’s hard work, the blog seemed like a good place for his reflections as well as some answers to questions asked during the process (by ourselves or others). It always a good thing to publish a long forgotten draft.
Q: How critical is that first row?
A: Extremely. Any mistake will be magnified in every following row. It will look terrible and there is the strong likelihood of having to rip a board (uneven and unsightly) or redo all the work. Or, ignore and let the next sap of a homeowner deal with it. Take the time, do it right the first time, starting at the first row.
Q: How did we ensure that all rows following the critical first row were done correctly? How did we keep the boards straight?
A: This is a benefit of manufactured decking. It is uniform coming from the factory. There was some slightly bowing due to transport and storage (the stuff is surprisingly flexible), but using clamps during the process solved that issue.
For where wood was used (such as the framing), Dave took the time to hand select the pieces, eliminating anything that looked like snow skis (badly bowed).
Q: There is rot and structural deficiencies detailed in many photos. Wasn’t this caught on home inspection?
A: Some of it was. Our inspector found the issues with the stair joists and the cantilever. Unfortunately some of the issues were not visible until the decking was removed.
Q: What was holding parts of that deck together?
A: Nails. Luck. Carpenter ants holding hands and singing kumbaya.
And after an eternity between the master bath demo and reassembly posts, pictures of a finished product! Well, let’s call it mostly finished. Curtains would help soften the log wall, but that will be a separate post when decisions are finally made.
The master bath has been functional for a month or two now; but we finally got the vast majority of the dry wall dust cleaned off the log walls, new towels (after determining we had our previous towels for over six years) and shower curtain purchased, and the closet door knob installed.
This is not a large bathroom, but it works well for us.
So glad for
The double vanity. It is really nice having two separate sinks so we don’t have to stagger our night time routines.
The medicine cabinets. Why houses built in the early 90s favored larger mirrors over medicine cabinets is beyond us. So happy to have a space to store our toiletries.
The door to the bathroom. Our rental in Loveland had a master bath that was open to the bedroom; exception being the poopatorium. Ridiculous set up, especially if you have one person rising early for work.
The upper storage. This utilizes the void space above the closet and dramatically increases the storage capabilities of the house. We already have our suitcases, Christmas decorations, and a couple of other miscellaneous storage boxes tucked up in this nook.
What we miss
The separate poopatorium. It was nice having the toilet sequestered off so the rest of the bathroom could be used in tandem.
What the (far) future holds
The current tile in the tube is a standard subway tile. Completely functional, just a little boring. Someday, this will be replaced.
These draperies were custom made by Best Fabric Store, a fantastic operation out of Alabama. We have been using them as a fabric source for a few years now. They also do custom sewing, and with splitting the time between the two houses, working, and commuting, this potential DIY project was contracted out.
We also selected blackout fabric as the lining. The sun can beat through the southern windows and to reduce solar gain (in the summer) and insulate against the chilly night air (winter) a heavier blackout fabric was selected.
A huge thanks to the Best Fabric Store team. We are thrilled with the quality of the workmanship. And a pat on our own backs for our hidden interior design skills (fabric and living room wall color play off of each other very well).
Fabric: Rockin’ Robin with blackout fabric
Color: Driftwood (Coral selected for master bedroom and not shown)
Size: 2 panels providing 1.85X coverage of an opening ~81 inches wide. Each panel was ~83 inches long
It is another demo and rebuild post! There seems to be a lot of demo and rebuilding posts (laundry room, master bath), but no posts showing the finished product. That would be a correct assessment. The answer is simple; because no room is completely done yet. The laundry room and master bath have been pushed to a point of functionality, but we still have a FinishingList. Why not finishing the finishing details? Well, we have a move in date in approximately 3 weeks. We want to get the really messy stuff done when we aren’t living there full time. The fine points can be done after we move in, if necessary.
That being said, what is being torn apart this time? The master bedroom closet and a coat closet on the other side of the wall (weirdest location, no where near a door that could be considered a main entrance of the house). The door to the coat closet will be walled in and the wall between the closets will be taken down. The opening of the closet in the master bedroom will be expanded. What can go wrong? Fun surprises like plumbing or vent pipes in the wall to be torn down. We can only wait and see.
No big surprises! A run of coaxial cable and nothing that would otherwise derail this project was found. Dave proceeded to close up the one opening and proceed with his favorite remodeling task – drywall work. Too bad Alex didn’t get to enjoy the giant running loop created by the removal of the wall.
So the question is, what are we going to do with the unpainted space? Built in cabinets. That is for another post though.
Preparation: Remove trim
Critical Tools: Sawzall, hammer, pry bar, beer
Skill Level: Medium – to reduce drywall repairs to the closet opening, you have to be careful with what you take down.
Tip(s): Measure carefully and be judicious in what you take down. If too much is taken down, more work will be created when you have to put it all back up.
Living in a drywall work environment is unpleasant. Sand when the least amount of people are around.
What comes apart must go back together! After the fun of demo, the master bath needed to be reassembled. We have been enjoying sharing the hall bath with Alex, but it would be nice to have our own bathroom back.
So, what was involved in the reassembly? First, some unplanned work. In the demo post, the recessed medicine cabinet plan was thwarted by the sink vent pipe and forcing the cabinets to become surface mounted. Like a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a hurricane on the other side of the world, the vent pipe location increased the work load. First, the recessed cut out had to be repaired. Then, a box had to be built as a mount for the lights above the medicine cabinet. Why build this box? Without the box, the lights would be shining directly over the medicine cabinet. The box provides the proper clearance for the lights. This would not have been necessary if the cabinets could have been recessed like originally planned.
Second, in addition to drywall repair, was the hanging of new drywall over the newly framed closet and elevated storage area. All the seams needed to be mudded, taped, and mudded. The walls were sanded smooth and were ready for primer and paint.
The toilet was the third stage of the master bath reassembly. A new wax ring and toilet flange extension. The old wax ring is best if used once. A new one cost $6, which is a small price to pay to prevent sewage leaking. The toilet flange extension was required because we increased the depth of the floor. Don’t forget to purchase new bolts as well. Otherwise you might just have to go out to the store. Again.
And finally, the vanity. The vanity is a beast – it was very interesting to carry it up to the main floor from the garage. The quality of the construction was evident when the holes were drilled for the water and sewer lines – no MDF here, but real plywood.
Skill Level: Expert. Why? Drywall. Custom wooden box build. Wiring work (switching out light fixtures). Plumbing work. Drilling a vanity cabinet for plumbing work. Don’t attempt if you can’t put together IKEA furniture. Even if you have, find a friend with construction experience.
Critical tools: All of them. And the kitchen sink for good measure. Select tools: Drywall (spackling knives, drywall saw, screw gun, nail gun); plumbing (PEX crimpers, hole saw, saw to cut pipe); electrical (wire cutters, wire strippers)
Tips: Add your sink hardware before setting the vanity top on base.
Paint before setting toilet and vanity. Reduces cut in work, saves time.
Try and coordinate drywall for all projects and hire it out to the pros.
Next stage of the laundry room remodel is paint and cabinets! Paint is always a challenge. The laundry room original color scheme was mauve and tan, which simply had to go. We decided on a color scheme that had grey undertones, so that at least narrowed down our options from thousands to hundreds.
We settled on Balboa Mist (Benjamin Moore #1549) . A grey with blue/lavender undertones. Light in color because the laundry room is on the north side of the house and does not get a lot of natural light. In hindsight, we could have selected something with a little more color in it, but it works for now and we shall see if we are still liking it the next time our preferred paint comes on sale.
Preparation: Removed the single shelf from the wall and patched holes and the drywall bulge. Use fibrous tape when patching. Much better results and the homeowners that follow you won’t curse your repair nearly as vehemently.
Paint: Benjamin Moore Regal Select Matte Balboa Mist #1549. We have had a great experience with Benjamin Moore Regal Select paint. It is a thicker paint and provides excellent coverage. Durable as well.
Cabinets: All were Arcadia Diamond NOW cabinets available at Lowe’s. One sink cabinet, one 30″ wide base, one 30″W X 18″H wall, and one 36″W X 30″H (wanted 18″H, but that was ‘unavailable’ even to order).
Counter top: Laminate counter top purchased from Lowe’s. Since the picture is rather small on the website and doesn’t really get bigger with zooming, we took a it of a chance. Besides, it was sold in a 6 foot length and we needed just under 6 feet. Turned out fine. Nice combination of browns and golds.
Skill Level: Cabinets – intermediate; counter tops – expert. The counter tops would have been intermediate except for the log wall. That required a specialty cut utilizing a jig saw, planer, and palm sander. Fine details but the difference between wondering if the job was done by a professional or knowing it was done by the local yokel after a few beers. Check out this YouTube video for cutting laminate counter tops.
Tip(s): Buy a good laser level. It makes setting the cabinets so much easier.
Shark bites (or whatever brand you prefer). Spend the money. Hate plumbing work slightly less.
Spend the 40 or so dollars and buy the classic and affinity color fans (or the color fans for whatever line of paint you choose). We used to grab one or two of the color sample strips, take them home, decide we really didn’t like any of the colors, and go back to the store for more options. Having the color fans was SO. MUCH. EASIER.
When you show up at the paint store at 7 am, they assume you are a contractor and have an account.
Easiest way to keep an active toddler from helping? One parent takes the kiddo 2000 or so miles away to visit grandparents. This equates to almost a week of uninterrupted work.