Monday, May 31, 2010

the boy's bathroom

I mentioned in a previous post that I like to show the entire storyline of a project. I give the good, the bad and the ugly. Be prepared for a whole lot of ugly. I consider it all part of the journey in buying and renovating an old home.

You have to have very realistic expectations with older homes. We were lucky with our home in that the stonework on the outside was drop-dead gorgeous. We also had the original woddwork throughout. But that is about where the fairytale ended. Inside, everything was ugly, ugly, ugly. The new home people have an easier job with before and afters. A little bit of paint, and they are good to go.

Old homes? We require months of plaster, electrical, painting, staining, screaming, praying, etc. But the finished product is hopefully worth the work. And we get a bigger sense of pride in a job well done, right?

(This is what we tell ourselves so we don't give up, curl into a little ball and cry.)

Like I said before, get ready for a whole lot of ugly...

The upstairs bathroom is shared by the three oldest boys. The youngest is still taking baths in our bathroom, but the rest like showers. For awhile, we ignored the ugliness of the bathroom. As long as it was functioning, it was not a high priority project.


Houston... we have a problem...

The bathroom is having some plumbing issues. Somewhere, water was leaking down into the kitchen ceiling. (The previous owners, instead of fixing the issue, drywalled over the damaged plaster in the kitchen). The water was coming through the ceiling and down our cabinets. Not good. We had to act now before we were facing un-repairable damage.

Let's take a short tour...

Behind this door lurks something scary...

Opening the door...

A rusty medicine cabinet. Burgundy-mauve sink.

A matching tub...

Floor to ceiling tile, complete with roses! Just what boys really like!
And a poorly constructed linen closet.

The only part I like is the old-school shower rod that hangs from the ceiling.

This room has officially been tore out. Gutted. Steven began work on the plumbing this week and has found some very serious issues. Of course, the project is not as simple as we hoped it would be. He has to remove a great deal of old corroded plumbing.
And I should add that I underestimated how fun it would be to share my bathroom with 4 little boys. Yuck.
The boys, however, are excited about their new bathroom project. Everything has been purchased and is awaiting installation... once Daddy gets all that plumbing figured out. We are prepared to hear a lot of colorful language over the next week. Yikes!

fireplace re-do part six: the problem with the sconces

I am happy to report that the work is closing on the fireplace re-do. Steven has finished painting the wood. He is getting ready to clean up the bricks & mortar, which entails a lot of quality time with a grinder and flap wheel. Once that is all smoothed out, he can prime and paint to match the wood. After that, just staining remains.

He finished the wiring, added outlets for electrical, cable and HDMI, as well as installing the sconces.

The sconces... ugh. Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE the sconces. They look rather lovely here:

The troubles don't start until we light them up... Don't see the problem?

How about a close up? Right one:

Left one:

Apparently, some of the sconces have flowers etched into the globe, and some don't. I didn't realize this when I bought them. The problem is, I got them from IKEA when I was on a project in Sacramento. My assignment now is no where near an IKEA. The closest one to my house is in Chicago. (I live in Kansas).
Yeah. We are kind of hosed. If anyone is going to IKEA and could pick up another sconce (with the floral etched shade), I would be happy to Paypal you!!!
Until then, we have mismatched sconces, which is sort of a bummer.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

fireplace re-do part five: TV cubby and cabinet doors

The construction phase of the living room is complete! Now we have a ton of sanding, painting, staining and wiring. (With just a smidge of plaster and trim repair).

We put the TV in for a test fit, and I couldn't resist snapping a picture... Sorry the lamp is blocking the right-hand side. It is chaos now, trying to keep the new furniture from being covered in sawdust and paint. The TV fits snug as a bug:

We used a tilting mount bracket for the flat panel TV, so we can fine-tune the viewing angle later on. It really is a big fireplace -- look how it dwarfs that step ladder!

Also, the doors were built and installed on the cabinets. (Note that the ice box latches have not been installed yet. We were just fitting everything up. We have to take them off anyway to paint).
Since the doors don't have a solid center to keep them sturdy, we will need to work a bit harder to keep our doors square. Even just the added weight of the paint can send them crooked. We will be installed some magnets to help, but we expect that we might need to make minor adjustments in the future. We are willing to accept the trade-off since we want remotes to work for the components we will store inside.

About that screen material... I have gotten a few questions about the metal material on the doors. The pieces are flat aluminum panels -- they are sold in varying sizes but plan to cut them down dor a custom look. I bought them at Home Depot, they are sold at a few places online. (Google: Steelmaster aluminum sheets.) We picked the pattern called "Lincane" since it looks like old speaker grill. They have a few other really nice patterns as well. We chose black, but it also comes in brass and nickel.

Here is an inside shot of a door. The doors are simply mitered 1 x 2s.

I picked up a sample of the new wall color today. It's one of the new Martha Stewart colors at Home Depot. I can't wait to check out the quality of the paint. Added bonus: it's low-VOC paint!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

fireplace re-do part four: the chunky mantel

I couldn't help myself... I just had to see what the shelves and fireplace would look like with some paint. So, after taping the shelves (they will be stained), we slapped a coat of Kilz primer and two coats of Benjamin Moore's "Collection's Item" on the record shelves. The color is a bit more creamy than the picture shows. More like the back of the cabinet color. I really like the color and am eager to see the project done!

In the last post, you saw the framing go up. Next the OSB went up:

And then tongue-and-groove pine planks. With the custom cabinets and shelves, the tongue-and-groove is a bit dressier than sheets of beadboard paneling. I can't afford to do a whole room in it, but just a fireplace is within the budget:

For a finishing touch, we chose 1x2s to cover the seams all the way around:

The mantel is much more chunky now! More layers of molding were added until we got the beefcake look that we wanted:

And here is where we are at now:

Next up, cabinet doors, finishing the TV built-in, pointing the grout and paint-a-rama.