Master Bath: Demolition

With the major work in the laundry room completed and those nagging fine details left, we have begun to focus our efforts on the master bath. So what are we doing to this move in ready bathroom? New flooring, paint, single vanity is being replaced with a double. This means the existing linen closet is going to be replaced with a smaller one. Smart moves for a house that is already short on storage. We hope to recoup some of our lost linen closet storage space with some overhead cubbies.

What the master bath looked like before we decided to overhaul it.
What the master bath looked like before we decided to overhaul it.

First step of the process – demolition! First sub-step of demolition – remove the toilet and vanity. The vanity was not installed correctly, so removing it was a simple as dragging it out of the bathroom (once the plumbing connections were disconnected). The vanity will be given a new top a re-used in the hall bath. Until that day, it shall live in the garage. Next sub-step of demolition was the removal of the shelves from the linen closet followed by the drywall. Stripping off the drywall was the moment of truth – and we were lucky. No nasty surprised like a pipe in the wall we wanted to remove. The project can proceed unhindered! The framing was removed and was in such good shape it could be reused.

The floor tiles, vinyl, but not peel and stick, were well adhered to subfloor with mastic. With the exception of a few tiles in the closet that were pulling up, the tiles were not removed. 3/8″ plywood was screwed down on top of the tile to provide a clean surface for the thin-set to adhere to. Check out our first laundry room post for flooring details.

Final part of the demo process was creating the cut-outs for the recessed medicine cabinets. Our first surprise arrived in the form of a vent pipe where the cabinet was supposed to be recessed. Since the cabinets are recess or surface mount, plans were changed and the medicine cabinets will now be mounted on the wall surface.

Preparation: Remove light fixtures, toilet, vanity

Critical Tools: Sawzall, hammer, scraper, wrenches, strong back, beer

Skill Level: Easy

Tip(s): Have more trash bags than you think you are going to need. When in doubt, buy the big box of heavy duty contractor bags. Drywall weighs a lot.

Don’t use your tools of destruction recklessly. Recover and reuse what you can.

Drain the water from the toilet. Wear rubber gloves and have an old towel that you can throw away. You need that towel to stuff in the sewer pipe (the hole in the floor).

Turn off your water valves.

Gallery

Laundry Room: Paint, Cabinets, and Countertops

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.

Critical Tools: Laser level, Dewalt drill/driver, jigsaw, planer, palm sander, pipe cutter, oscillating tool

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.

Gallery

Laundry Room: Flooring

And so the first overhaul begins! The laundry room is a 8′ 2.5″ deep and 5′ 7.5″ wide. The washer and dryer sit side by side (but are stackable) and there are two free standing cabinets in the room which provide limited storage. The floor has vinyl peel and and stick tile that is popping up in areas; what lies beneath remains to be seen.

What do we want to do to this room? First we want to increase storage space (a problem through out the house) by adding base and wall cabinets. We will stack the washer and dryer, which provides the space for a utility sink. A wall mounted drying rack and shelving will also increase the functionality of the room. From a cosmetic stand point, the floor will be replaced with porcelain tile and the walls will get new paint. The light fixture must also go, but it is challenging selecting a style to go with the log cabin. Check out the link laundryroom for the floor plan, just trade the utility sink and washer/dryer positions (Jess loves graph paper, Dave is not fond of her graph paper creations).

To make this all work, we must start at the base. The floors are first! The peel and stick tiles were pulling up from the old linoleum underneath due to water infiltration. This was never cleaned up properly so there was an interesting combination of hair, lint, and biological growth between the peel and stick tile and the linoleum. The smell was wonderful. The linoleum was then scraped away to reveal particle board! A highly useless material that turns to mush when wet, making it a fantastically superb choice for sub-floor material in baths and laundry rooms.

3/8″ plywood was laid down over the particle board to provide a fresh surface to adhere tile to without having to scrape up 20 year old linoleum paper backing. Ditra, a tile underlayment, was adhered to the plywood with latex portland cement (a type of thinset). The plywood was wetted down with a sponge prior to the application of thinset. The Ditra was left to bond with the plywood overnight and 12″ x 12″ porcelain tiles were set the next day with MAPEI porcelain tile mortar. The mortar was mixed thin and in small batches because the low humidity resulted in a fast drying; the tiles were set in an offset pattern with 1/8″ spacers. The mortar was allowed to harden overnight, and the next morning, the tiles were grouted. Viola! New floor in approximately 48 hours (okay, the area was only about 45 square ft, but it’s new flooring).

Tile: Floridatile coastal sand (purchased at Loveland Design Carpet One Floor and Home)

Why use Ditra? This product has been on the market for some time and in general is raved about. It prevents cracks in tile floors and serves as a water proof membrane.

Why not use cement board instead of plywood? Cement board is fine product for shower walls. It is heavy though and is a challenge to work with. It imparts stiffness which was not needed in this instance, so 3/8″ plywood was an excellent choice for providing a fresh surface to bond to.

Critical tools: Tile saw, notched trowels, mixer attachment for drill

Skill level: High intermediate – Easy peasy if you have laid tile before and have all the tools and knee pads. Dry fit your tiles first. Having the first row of tiles placed properly is critical for the success of this project.

Note: The tiles were not centered on the room. Why not? There will be appliances and cabinets along the edges of the room, so having a full tile on one side and a partial on another (non-symmetrical) will be difficult to notice. For a room that would have been more open, we would have centered the tiles for symmetry.

The Money Pit

Almost a year to the day after closing on the sale of our (former) house in Delaware, we closed on the purchase of our new house in Nederland, CO. Nederland, or Ned, is a quirky mountain town west of Boulder. We fell in love with the old-fashioned community spirit and ease of access for outdoor activities.

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Our new abode
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View from the deck.

Our new house is within walking distance to the elementary school and town. On a south facing slope, we get fantastic sun that warms the house up quite nicely

This putting down roots seems a bit counter intuitive to our travel. We have a home base now, and while the house is move in ready, there are some changes we are going to make to improve the living space for our family.

So what does that mean? Poor Abby’s make over has been put on the back burner for a bit. She at least has her new brakes to go up and down the mountain, but her interior is slightly deconstructed as the re-upholstery projects are now in a holding pattern. Another reason for the delay is the neighborhood HOA of our rental in Loveland. Simply put, they are extremely strict and one of our neighbors has the association on speed dial. We can’t risk yet another violation because Abby was parked in the driveway 5 minutes to long.

What about the beer? We are spending weekends up at the Nederland house, and don’t have a brew space up there yet. A brew shed has been promised for sometime in the future . . . but the future is not near at this time. So no brewing blogs either.

However, we will be blogging about home renovations! You can follow along as we tear apart a perfectly serviceable house to improve areas like the laundry room and master bath. If things go well, we hope to undertake a ‘big dig’ next year.

The laundry room - first room to be renovated!
The laundry room – first room to be renovated!

Best thing about following someone else’s renovation – you don’t have to live with the dirt, dust, and general chaos.