Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bathroom remodel

So last I left off, I started a post about the bathroom remodel, but then the holidays ensued, Winter classes began, and as usual, one thing led to another, and I never got around to doing the next post.  So as a refresher, the upstairs bathroom was the last room in the house that hadn't been remodeled.

When we first saw this bathroom prior to buying the house, we saw the relaxing brown and the huge jacuzzi tub, and thought, "awesome, we'll have our own spa."  Nope.  The tub was really hard to clean, it took an entire hot water heater to fill it, and was really impractical.  It also didn't have a regular shower, just a hand held one.  So M was really wanting a new bathroom, and she only had to wait 9 years to get it.  

The demolition part went very quickly.  Given our experience with other remodeling projects in the house, we chose to gut the entire bathroom down to the studs, including ripping out the ceiling and the floor.

We didn't want any surprises, wanted everything done right, up to code, new plumbing and wiring.  It was a good thing we did, because the previous homeowner did some wonderful things like cutting into joists, and shoving random pieces of wood in huge gaps where the walls he built didn't meet the ceiling.

M knew the type of walk-in shower she wanted, which would require a bigger bathroom.  So we expanded into the hall closet and took a corner out of B's bedroom.

It wasn't a problem taking the chunk out of the bedroom because it was a weird indent that didn't make sense anyway.  When the previous homeowner put in the jacuzzi tub, he bumped out into the bedroom just where the tub was and left the weird corner in the bedroom.

M wanted a huge walk-in shower with no door, like ones she'd seen in fancy hotels when we traveled. The fancy showers had half walls with glass to the ceiling.

Another feature of the showers that she liked was a rain shower head coming out of the ceiling.

So the destruction part went quickly, then things bogged down while waiting for an electrician to come in, then cutting the knee wall shorter, then the drywall went up quickly.

It was finally looking big and bright.  We had a short wait for the drywall taping and primer to be done, then we did the painting ourselves to save a bit of money.

As you can see, M picked a turquoise blue for the bathroom, very similar to the blue in the kitchen and the outside of the house.  I told her this would be the last turquoise for the house.  Next the orange underlay for the tile went in, then very quickly the gray subway tile and mosaic tile went in.  I got M an early Christmas present, and had them install a towel warmer for her.  She loves that thing.  

So somewhere I have a picture of the finished bathroom with the glass installed.  I'll have to go look for it.  

I found it!   Okay, one other thing about the bathroom, we have been trying to find things to hang towels on and to hold magazines.  We didn't want what we had in there previously, because none of it went with the new style, but none of the new stuff appealed to us either.  

So we found this old rack in a local junk store and thought it would be good to hold magazines, but not like this.

This is just the pop of color we needed against the turquoise and to liven up all the gray.

We're planning on using a wine bottle rack for towels, because they look more interesting than a regular towel rack, but we haven't found one we're completely sold on yet.  Maybe something like this:  

So we have the bathroom remodel out of the way.  It took about a month, and now we're just doing finishing decorative touches.  Now we're moving on to getting a new roof on the garage because it's leaking.  I really wanted to start on the attic, but it will have to wait.  It's always something with old houses.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

We're going to a late dinner with friends, dessert back at our house, then downtown to watch a lit ball drop.  It's below freezing here and my feet hurt from helping my daughter clean out her apartment today.  Let's hope I behave myself and don't get too cranky.  M says I've already snapped at her once tonight.  Tired, hurt, hungry, cold, those are my triggers to being disagreeable.  Wish me luck, and I hope all of you have a great 2015.  

Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Review - Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

We heard a glowing review of this book on our local NPR station.   M decided to buy a hard cover copy of the book to have something interesting to read while on Christmas break.  I'm on break too and wanted to do some pleasure reading as well.  Unfortunately, I know how taking the time to sit still and read usually goes with me, I usually find cleaning, repairing, or remodeling projects to do, and I don't get around to reading.

Still, the premise of the book sounded interesting enough, and maybe I would actually take the time to read it.  The premise is a lethal flu virus wipes out 99% of the human population on Earth.  It's set in the current time.  It follows the story of a famous actor, and people connected to him.  The story jumps around in time from the actor's early life to later in his life, and from before the flu and up to 20 years after the collapse of human civilization.  

Well, I did read the whole book in less than 24 hours.  That right there should tell you a lot.  It was a quick, easy read.  It was interesting enough to reel me in, and keep me turning the pages.  I could easily imagine the characters and the events in the smoothly flowing narrative.  Okay, there's the good part.

Now for what I didn't like.  The author skipped around a lot, in different times, and with various character's lives and histories.  Sometimes the jump was seamless and logical, sometimes it didn't make sense and felt like the author was using the device as a crutch.  

Another thing I didn't like, and I'll try to explain this without being too specific and spoiling the story, was that the author spent a good bit of time building this one character and the character's backstory, creating this key player, powerful, tough to beat, only to snuff the character out very easily, and that was unsatisfying.  It felt like the author was trying to wrap up the story and had to resolve this character's story line, and just did it, without preamble.  It was very unsatisfying.  

The last complaint, there was a major thing that occurred near the end of the book.  It was never investigated, explained, or resolved in the story.  I don't know if the author is planning a sequel to this book, but that would be the only reason I would leave this gaping hole at the end of the story.

Overall it was a quick and enjoyable read, but I don't think the lavish praise the radio gave it was fully justified.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

Highlights from Christmas Dinner

The meal was phenomenal! No, really. M is such a great cook. The standing rib roast was cooked perfectly, very flavorful, and the roasted Brussells Sprouts, nutty and deliciou, however, her Yorkshire Pudding was decadently delicious. Also, a friend brought a ginger and fruit tart. I don't really care for ginger and the first bite didn't win me over, but I kept eating little bits, and then I began appreciating the subtle flavors and the creaminess. It was not sweet like I expected a desert to be, but it was refreshing with the fruit and I'm glad I didn't turn my nose up at it.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sights and Smells of the Holiday

The house smells fantastic, rib roast, veggies, Yorkshire pudding, mmm.  Waiting on friends to arrive for dinner.  Wish you all were here. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I got busy and didn't get back to posting about the bathroom remodel.  I've been busy taking long walks with the dog, decorating for Christmas, and doing a very thorough cleaning of the house before we have people over.  Here are pictures of some of the decorating.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The inspiration

There have been a few luxurious bathrooms in our travels, one in London, another in New York City, another in Estonia, that when we saw them, M said, one day, she wanted a bathroom like that.  The styles were usually open, a walk-in type shower without a door, lots of tile, glass, multiple shower heads, and towel warmers.  I never thought we'd actually ever have one of those bathrooms, it was more just a pleasant fantasy.  Then when M's mom gave us a gift so we could remodel the bathroom, we had to try to get a special bathroom.  This picture above is a basic bathroom walk-in shower that we thought might fit our budget.  We weren't sure if we had space for it.  

M and I had to agree on tile.  She wanted something basic, modern, and clean looking.  I wanted something traditional and classic that would fit the age of the house.  I was thinking a black and white bathroom, M was thinking grays.  We both agreed on subway tile, kind of like this picture above.  

When we went to pick out the gray subway tile, we also picked out this mosaic tile for an insert to break up the solid wall of gray tile.  When we had people come give us estimates to remodel the bathroom, we thought we might need to expand the bathroom to get what we wanted, which is what ended up happening.  We ended up gutting the whole bathroom down to the studs, which was a good thing considering past disasters the previous homeowner left us, and considering what we found when these walls were removed.  Okay, honestly, the next post will be the demolition.