Monday, October 24, 2016

Bathroom Reveal!!! Board & Batten Part 2

"Always go to the bathroom when you have a chance." -King George V

A poll of 2,500 people revealed that going to the toilet accounts for the biggest chunk of time spent in the bathroom – an average of one hour and 42 minutes a week, or almost 92 days over a lifetime. Another hour and 25 minutes of each week is then spent in the bath or shower – a total of more than six months of your life. The average Brit then spends just under half an hour each week – or 62 days in a lifetime – drying themselves off and cleaning your teeth takes almost 18 minutes a week. Who knew we spent so much time in the bathroom!

This makes me feel entirely justified for spending so much time and energy remodeling our main bathroom. There was certainly a few times I wanted to throw in the towel. In the end it was certainly worth the troubles.


With a dislocated clavicle and an arthritis flare I was forced to take a pretty long break, but my husband jumped right in and after a quick lesson on tiling he managed to finish tiling our bath surround and did a beautiful job.

I'm not sure what drew me to the Sherwin Williams parakeet green for the walls, but I'm glad I stuck with my guy on that one, because it was just the pop of color I needed.

The tiles were 18"x18" tiles that I cut in half, to get the subway tile look I wanted. It was a lot of extra work, and I even had to have harbor freight replace my cheap tile saw somewhere in the middle of my project, but it all worked out. I decided on contrasting grout color, because it's almost impossible to keep white grout white.

The vanities we picked up at Lowe's. I wanted bigger ones but I didn't have the space for anything bigger than 30 inch. But I love them. We happened to get them when they were on sale and ended up spending less than $300 on the pair. The tub we also got a Lowe's, we wanted the biggest tub we could get for the least amount of money. I'm in love. Next best thing to a claw foot soaker.

There are still a couple of shelves above the toilet I need to install, but other than that it's finally done and I can now concentrate on other projects have yet to finish...on to the kitchen vent hood!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Board and Batten Bathroom Part 1

I discovered windows one afternoon and after that, nothing was ever the same.-Anne Spollen

Well I managed to rest my dislocated clavicle one day shy of two weeks!!! It's still pretty sore, but it hasn't clicked or popped in two days! So what could I do that wouldn't require me to lift anything heavy or overuse my arm? I ultimately decided on Board and Batten. Right! But in my defense, the boards are very light, so is my nail gun and my miter saw takes very little effort to use. Yes, I'm sore tonight and probably won't do anything as strenuous tomorrow.

I blame it on Pinterest! Really! Other than read a book, surf the web, build my Pinterest boards, there really wasn't much else I could do. Almost two weeks of no progress on my side was making me crazy! We still don't have a shower, since tiling is clearly out of the question, but my bathroom walls are trimmed and so is my window.

First I'd like to share my inspiration. I wanted tall Board and Batten so that I can eventually put hooks for the towels, so this is what I found.

Since I was already cutting boards I figured I'd remove the door and window trim and trim them out as well. I really loved the craftsman trim in our previous 1905 home so i decided to recreate that feel here.

This just means I'm now committed to doing the rest of the doors and windows the same way, but it is easy to do and takes very little time.

Next is sanding, caulking and painting. After I rest my arm up for a couple of days I'll try to finish and get you some after pictures of the finished bathroom. I truly hope this happens sooner rather than later.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Reaching Out to All Grandmas

A grandmother is a mother with a second chance -Unknown Author

My name is Silas, I am three years old and I've never met my Omi. I live in Oregon and she lives in Randstat Germany. I've always wanted to go but because of the economy I've never gone. My parents thought we'd have plenty of time to save money to go and meet my grandmother and great grandmother, aunt and cousins, but then late last year my Omi was diagnosed with breast cancer.

My papa and my tante Chela (aunt) left us here and went to Germany to help their mom get the medical care she needed. The doctors then said with chemo and other therapies she could recover and have many more years to get to know me.

The chemo didn't go well, she couldn't tolerate it on account of her white blood cells, then last month they finally removed the tumors and affected lymph nodes, but news came back today. It's metastasized into her spine. Because she can't have anymore chemo she will have a two week course of radiation, but the doctors aren't hopeful. There's not much time left now.

My tante’s boys, my cousin's haven't seen Omi since they were 2 and 4 years old. Omi felt a lot of guilt over the way she raised her children and even though my papa and tante assured her that they weren't concerned with the past and that they never stopped loving her, she still beat herself up and wouldn't allow her children and grandchildren to get too close to her. She has spent years regretting the past only to realize too late that it's the here and now that matters the most.

My uncle Dan and tante Chela have spent every penny they owned on the fixer upper we bought in February so that we could all live together under one roof and on tickets for my papa and tante to go to Germany last November, now they are desperately trying to get together enough money for us three grandkids and our parents to go back and say goodbye! In a way we think she wants to die alone because that's what she feels she deserves, but no one deserves that! Please help us to show her how much she is loved and help us get to her in time.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Rolling Pullout Pantry

Know your food, know your farmers, and know your kitchen. -Joel Salatin

Since my last blog we've been up to everything under the sun! We moved out of our temporary mobile home. We've been to Kansas and back. We've been to Washington and back and we've moved into our side of the duplex. No, it's not finished. Things are still in boxes in the garage, the flooring in my kitchen isn't done, our disaster laundry room is gutted down to the crawl space, my kitchen cabinet doors and drawers are in my living room, my stove in the garage... I'm sure you get the picture.

Since living in a construction zone isn't the most wonderful thing ever I've been working a million projects in every room all at once, but my favorite room right now is my kitchen.

This week I've split my built in cabinets, built a bar, painted the cabinets on that side of my galley kitchen, cut and installed butcher block on that side and built a rolling pull out pantry. Then I dislocated my collarbone. Yup. So my pantry isn't 100% complete, but here's what I did so far. The idea I got off Pinterest and I used Erin’s tutorial from her blog post here is hers

..I made some minor changes.

This is my material list:

  • 5 1x8x8 foot boards
  • 2 2x2x8 foot boards
  • 2 1x2x8 foot furring strips
  • 1 1x3x8 foot furring strip
  • 1 4x8 melamine board
  • 2 8 foot long trim pieces
  • 4 110lb rigid rubber casters
  • 16 short #10 metal screws for casters
  • 2" wood screws
  • 1 1/4" dry wall screws (just what i had on hand to fix shelves to support beams)
  • 5/8" long staples and staple gun or nails and hammer or nail gun
  • Drill with drill bit for predrilling
  • Drill with Phillips bit
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Miter saw for trim
  • 5" drawer pull

I wanted my rolling cabinet to reach up to the soffet, not sure how that will look yet sticking out, I guess we'll see when it's all done. So I measured my side boards 78 1/4" long, the top and bottom piece 25" long ( so it will be as deep at my countertops) the shelves measured 23 1/2" inches long.

I cut my 2x2s just shy of the depth of my shelves, but they can be the same as the shelves if you prefer.

I cut enough 1x2s and 1x3 for the fronts of my shelves, I used 1x2s for the shelves that were spaced closer together and 1x3s fit the shelves spaced farther apart, I.e. the large item shelves that will hold juice bottles etc.

I cut the melamine with my 3 1/2" skill saw 25"x78 1/4" to fit the back of the pantry.

I laid all the pieces out in the floor, screwed a board the length of the shelves to the bottom board for stability, leaving room on each side for the side walls.

I then added 2x2s on each side of the bottom piece and then affixed the sides to the 2x2s. Next I did the same for the top board and affixed it to the sides. I then had a large rectangle on my floor.

I measured how high up I wanted the next shelf, added 2x2 on each side wall and then screwed in the shelf to the 2x2s. I repeated that step until i had all 7 shelves secured.

I then secured the front ledge pieces with a nail gun, this can also be done with screws if you don't have a nail gun. I towed them in from the outsides of the cabinet and added a couple of nails from the buttons of each ledge.

I added the casters on the bottom of the cabinet with short metal screws I had in a bin.

I flipped the cabinet over onto its front, laid the melamine panel on the back and stapled it along all four edges.

The side that would face out with a handle got a coat of primer and all the screws and knot holes were bondoed and sanded so that it would look smooth.

I then cut my trim pieces and nailed them in...actually at this point I had already dislocated my collarbone, so my husband cut my trim pieces fit me after work and my oldest son nailed them in place with the nail gun and caulked them nicely so that it can get it's final coat of paint and it's handle.

When I get better I plan on building a cabinet box to go around it and over the fridge, and I will install drawer rails on the sides of the pantry to keep it rolling straight.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Disaster strikes... Bathroom woes!!!

I don't feel 'vibes' when I enter a building - don't feel the previous owners looking down on me. But I do know when a place feels friendly.-Penelope Keith

What a disaster! I feel like those poor people on Love It Or List It! You know they think they're getting that fabulous open kitchen so that they can see their toddler play in the living room while they cook? What they're really getting is all new wiring, or plumbing, or floor joists, because unbeknownst to them their toddler has been living in a death trap all this time. Before you know it, all their money is gone, the house is finally safe, but they have to list it because they still can't see their toddler from the kitchen. That's what my life has turned in to.

Yesterday I was worried because my fireplace hearth had crumbled into oblivion leaving me with a huge hole, a great chasm really, into the underbelly of my home! After today it's not so much on my mind. Not because my husband covered the hole with new subfloor, but because of what I found in my laundry room/bathroom.

We knew when we bought the duplex that at some point in it's recent history there was a leak in the shower plumbing in this bathroom and at another time there was also a toilet leak there. Well, someone at some point "fixed" it. I use the term fixed very loosely here. New studs went in around the shower and new flooring too. By new flooring I mean they put in 1/4" ply wood and newer vinyl right over top the soaked 1978 orange vinyl and sound board.

The new studs, the inside of the dry wall and the paper backing of the insulation had become it's own eco system teaming with mold. I removed the studs, the dry wall, the insulation and proceeded on ripping up the floor by the toilet. The sound board was so wet it resembled the coconut dirt I used to fill our hermit crabs tank with. It was completely shredded. As I sat there scraping up the loose floor I saw the moisture had seeped into the tongue and groove floor boards underneath all of this, so I began removing it as well. I now have a new hole open to my crawl space.

If you ever feel tempted to just cover over flooded bathroom flooring, I hope these pictures will convince you to just start over. Never trap moisture under new floors or new dry wall. The mold, the wood rot, the agony... Just simply not worth the headache. My one day tear out is going to become a week long project I'm sure.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

50 Shades of...

"Gray skies are just clouds passing over."- Frank Gifford
If I had to pick a favorite color I'd have to say it depends on the application, the surrounding lighting, the space, the texture... I suppose there isn't just one color. I thought I knew exactly what color I wanted for the overall house color. I was wrong.

The color I had just painted my house in Washington was a warm gray, Requisite Gray by +Sherwin-Williams. The ceilings were on the taller side, the rooms were spacious, the lighting was great. The color looked warm and inviting and the white for inch trim popped. Our 1905 historic home looked regal, I thought so anyway.

Our newly acquired duplex is a completely different matter. It was built in 1978, has low ceilings, small windows and giant trees all around. No natural light and low ceilings equals dark cave. My trustworthy light warm gray was immediately discarded.

The quest for a new gray took me to Pinterest and Sherwin Williams Color Snap App of course. I went from Alpaca to Repose to Mindful to Passive, Heron Plume and everything in-between. Sample after sample painted on the walls. If it looked great in the living room it looked awful in the dining room and visa versa.

After a week of my sister in law and I staring at color swatches and samples we trecked to our local Sherwin Williams store and got a printout of the tint formulas of every color we had considered. What a revelation! The color I needed for my space was Crushed Ice. I never considered it even once. It looked too light and too cold on its little paint chip and not likeable in the app. However, it was all in the numbers. I didn't even buy a sample of it. I knew it was just right and went straight for the 5 gallon bucket! Here's to finding the perfect gray!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Finally a Break!

"Because there's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away."-Sarah Kay
After working on the duplex for three weeks straight we finally decided to take a break at the coast. It's the only thing I miss about living in Western Washington, living in earshot of the seals! Now it's an hour and a half drive to the closest beach, but we'll worth the drive.

Fireplace Redo

"To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world.” Charles Dudley Warner
I can clearly remember my grandfather chopping wood in the backyard of their home in Germany! My breath would fog up the window as I watched as he heaved his axe and split each piece with such precision and yet seemingly so little effort. Since then having a fireplace in my home has always been part of my wish list. No home is complete without its cozy, crackling fire...Well, this time I got two!

Each fireplace was ten feet wide and covered in faux rock from floor to ceiling. In a much bigger living room I may have liked them the way they came, however in the small space it currently occupies it sucked out every bit of available light and turned it into a prehistoric cave. Hence the demolition of epic proportions ensued! The amount of dust, rock pieces, cinderblock...I'm not sure how we survived it. Tear down took two days using a hammer drill with a chisel bit. It took another day to clean the cinderblock of the remaining mortar left behind!

During reconstruction of this first fireplace, I had to level the hearth with self leveling cement, cover the top with dry wall and hardibacker for the tile. The tile was on clearance at Lowe's. It was my first time tiling and in retrospect I'd do a couple of things differently. I guess I get my chance in the other unit!!! Right now I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and not sure I even want to open the doors of our other unit. This remodel is definitely much more work than I ever anticipated it would be. Unfortunately all seven of us can't fit in just the one side, so starting the other side will come soon enough!!!

In case you're wondering, the color on the top half of the fireplace is Sherwin Williams Passive Blue, the bottom half is Valspar Dove White and the living room wall color is Sherwin Williams Crushed Ice.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Demo Mode!

"Living in a home renovation is like living in the do whatever it takes to survive."-Unknown Author
As soon as we got keys to the units and the first set of tenants vacated we went into demo mode! The carpets came out first. Probably the most disgusting smell ever, and to think how many times I've lived on rental carpet. That smell stayed in my nose for days! The ugly and very original 1978 vinyl also came up. In a matter of three days we had the floors down to subfloors and the rocks of our enormous fake rock fireplace removed! We were too busy ripping things out to remember to take too many before pictures, but here are some "during" pics that relate the scope of our project so far.