Saturday, March 28, 2015

spring is in the air and things are sprouting

Things are moving slowly, so this post is about spring  where I live it's so hot most of the year we forget there are seasons.  Just a few hours north though there are definite signs of spring




This cypress tree that we thought was a goner

Then I found this leaf in the concrete foundation.
This is what it looked like before, yup the one on the left, is the one above.

A contribution from a tree on the property.

Driving 6 hours in rain has me drained so more on the house later ....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Bathroom..... tiles and the fun stuff...

Not eager to jump into another demolition, I'm going to ignore the tiles on the floor and the bath surround. OK I lied, I can't ignore them  the tiles on the floor will clash with the new tiles  since we had to rent the hammer to scrape up the thin set I took advantage and demoed the floor in the bathroom.  My contractor was not pleased. too late all done. ;)

You can't really see the tile floor but trust me ugly  

This was it, ugly right? On its own, not ugly but in combination with the shower enclosure tile, they didn't coordinate.  The floor tiles were grey and pink matte, the shower enclosure has a high gloss textured green and white, with avocado bull nose trim.

This is prettier.... because it's gone.

 Onto planning, the bathroom is huge compared to what I'm used to.  My current bathrooms are 6' x 6.5'.  Just enough space for everything.  I've never even thought of them as small.

The new bathroom is 6' x 10'.  It seems large but once you place the vanity there isn't much space for anything else, weird.  Since the door opens into the room it gobbles up that additional space.  Ah well, at least it will feel larger with the door closed, and now for the first time ever, I have drawers in the vanity, with soft close hardware, and a recessed medicine cabinet, I'm living for the small delights people.

Here's the plan.....

Almost Downton Abbey worthy

On sale!! $329 vs $379

Ballantyne Mocha with Ebony Glaze Traditional Bathroom Vanity (Common: 36-in x 22-in; Actual: 36-in x 21-in)
  • Crafted from all wood with an open back
  • Slow-close doors and full extension drawers with dovetail construction
  • Fits with 37-in x 22-in vanity top (sold separately)
  • Fully assembled and ready to install

I knew I wanted a square sink, but once I priced them out and thought about the budget I went with this.  Here it paid to do a little shopping, there was one at Lowes for twice the price of HD.  To be clear, they were different materials, vitreous china vs cultured marble but this won't get a lot of use, and the look is the same ($397 vs $139 = $258).

$139 bargain!!

The Faucet from

By the way, I've bought a number of plumbing fixtures on Amazon, and they have the best quality for a much better price than the box stores.  This will coordinate with the sink faucet $158 vs $184 from any other source (-$26).

Last but not least, the medicine cabinet.  The wall over the sink already had an opening for the cabinet, it was just a matter of finding a size that would fit without too much alteration to the wall.  After much hunting, I went with this which is functional, and has plenty of space to move the contents of my current three medicine cabinets combined.  I'll have to think about a wood trim of some kind to tie everything together, but that will be later, for now, the mirror will reflect the light coming in from the window, and there will be a place to put everything.

I've come to think of Lowes as being pricier than Home Depot but in this case, the exact same cabinet was $179 vs $218, $39 cheaper at Lowes.

Mercifully, the toilet and bathtub are in great shape, so no changes there, I will be using the towel bars and hooks from my current home.

Bathroom Reno so far $805, savings $379.
Tile TBD. ...

The majority of the savings were in the sink purchase, which is not an apples to apples comparison since the same look was achieved, so I'm counting it.... I hope my budget is as successful with the future projects.

Friday, March 13, 2015

One step forward two steps back.....

Now we are cooking with gas.

After a day with the demolition hammer and chisel, this is what we were left with.

The thin set didn't stick to the underlayment but it did stick to the concrete.
I didn't take a pic, but at this point both of us were covered in sweat and dust after wrestling with the hammer and neither of us wanted to continue.  Just like sewing, that's the time to step away from the project, and do something else.

So I tackled the bathroom.

That was gratifying because they had tiled over vinyl, so no thin set stuck, it came up in chunks.

After a good night's sleep, I decide we need to listen to Roger, (FloorElf), and rent a concrete grinder.
Off we go to Home Depot, and have a conversation with the nice lady behind the counter, and I ask her for a 7" concrete grinder with a a scarifying wheel.  They don't have one, they suggest a demo hammer.


Finally we look at what they have available for rental.
They had a grinder that required a hose to function.


Finally we settled on a 10" concrete grinder with a vacuum attachment. 
We couldn't get it in my suv, we needed a truck.
They gave me a short demonstration and off we go.
Here's the bad boy.

We stared at it for a little while.

It was a miracle, all of the thin set is gone, as well as the patches of backing from the vinyl floor and it took 45 minutes, and hardly any physical abuse.

We are triumphant. 
The following day was about cleaning up all of the dust... very satisfying.

We are closer to actually getting tile down...

To be continued....

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tile underlayment and saving money on delivery....

When we finally got the tiles up, we'll admit that the floor wasn't perfectly smooth. Yes in my infinite wisdom I tore up the tiles in the kitchen   We did what we could to get it smooth but just to make sure we decided to install a product called Ditra.  It's a tile underlayment, attached to the concrete with thin set.  It also addresses hairline cracks in the concrete, so that when the tile is installed, it doesn't end up cracking.  It serves as a buffer between the concrete and the tile.  I learned that your tile floor actually moves over the course of the day, with humidity, heat, it expands and contracts.  Who knew?  This took two days to put down.  The first two strips used the mortar that I purchased at the tile distributor, then we ran out.

So we picked up a bag of Custom unmodified thin set.  You can see the gray color, that's the new mortar. 

Looking good! One more strip but it's time for me to go home, before we left, we were noticing areas that were rippling, and we put heavy things on the seams to ensure that it stuck.

After inspection, the new mortar didn't stick, not at all.  That is bad
I am not pleased.  This means that all that grey mortar needs to be scraped up.  More dust, more blisters.  I posted a question over at Floor Elf, who has a nifty website for DIYers putting down tile, and Roger has been very helpful.

Here we are almost done scrapping up the bad stuff it was such an ordeal, tomorrow we will clean and do nothing else

So onto more pressing issues.  Once I bought the tile, I was quoted $400 to have it shipped to the house.  The tile store that had it closer would have charged me $250, but the tile was $1 more a square foot, what's a girl to do, so $150 cheaper for shipping, $750 more expensive for the tile. 

Hauling the tile in my car
 My car is rated for 1,800 lbs, the tile was 4,378 lbs.  A Ford F150 is rated for 1,600 to 2600 lbs.  The tile came on two pallets, one with 240 pieces = 2,400 lbs. the other with the remainder.  Add 10 bags of mortar 50 lbs each, 2,900 lbs.  Avis rental with unlimited mileage, $125, gas $80 = $205 and the fun of driving a really tall truck.  Once the pallet was securely fastened, and that is really important, you do not want that pallet shifting behind you, it was a race to get the truck rented, loaded, unloaded and back in time to not go over the 24 hour rental.   

This would mean 9 hours driving

8:30 am pick up truck
9:30 am pick up tile and mortar - this took much longer than I anticipated.  We could only get 1 pallet on the truck.
10:30 am start driving really slowly avoiding the brakes at all costs.  I have a new found respect for truck drivers.

3:00 pm arrive & unload
4:30 pm start back
7:00 pm Get pulled over because your tail lights are out. After I explained that it was a rental and didn't know how to turn the lights on. he explained that you essentially have to reboot the car.  He said that the tail lights don't automatically come on if you've been driving from day into night.  It took us 5 minutes to get the lights on.
9:30 pm Return the rental
10:00 pm Home 

The tile store will store the tile for free for two weeks without incurring storage fees, so the rest of the tile will be picked up in two installments. 
I'll have really nice arms after packing the next two 900 lbs hauls.

I dream of a mani pedi and massage.... zzzz

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Barcelona Chair strap project Finally Sewing almost....

Staging a part of any home selling experience, I'm trying to spruce up my place.  Now I have these Barcelona chairs, they aren't the originals but reproductions that were in my parents house and purchased in the 70's.  The cushions have been replaced and recovered a number of times, the original leather straps have long gone by the way side.  They were replaced with nylon strapping and were never terribly good looking.  Once the cushions were covered in black ultra suede, the nylon was discolored in places and starting to look even worse.  

There is an online source for new leather straps and cushions but I'm not sure that I'm keeping them, so I want them to look better but don't want to invest too much money on them.  Enter the English strapping.

After some measuring and 

some assembly line sewing.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

What should the style of the house be?

Downton Abbey season finale and all I can think about is an English kitchen.  I fell in love with this style.... except less basement dungeon like.

More like these....

Dark and light

and not teal cabinets, but I liked the glass front doors on top.

These are all shaker style which are nice and simple.

So what happened?
I tried to buy a floor, I can't tell you how many obstacles there have been.  Mostly my taste, the location of the delivery, the limited stock of inventory and the high prices available locally.

I started out wanting hardwood, a no no over concrete unless there's a lot of prep involved $$

So I considered hardwood porcelain tiles.
I came up with several lovely combinations.

Really pretty and soft, no contrast here, Lovely right?
The nice man at the store gave me an estimate of $7K and complimented me on my selection saying it was the most inspired combination he'd seen that week.  I thanked him and ran.

Lowes had this combination.

$1.6 K

They didn't have enough in stock, then they told me it was critically important that all of my shades / lots be the same because there was wild variation in the tile.

Back to the drawing board.

How about these?

Within my budget, but I had been warned by my contractor to stay away from large tiles.

I loved these, just a touch more expensive but too modern for the space, maybe for the next house.
Looks like I'm getting away from the wood, so I might as well explore all of the other tiles.
Maybe slate or stone.

These had so much variation between the tiles that it was going to look busy.
Then I saw this.

These have a little less contrast, they are light and the space is small, not quite rustic, this will be a very feminine palette. 

On the company's website, they had this photo showing them installed with the different sizes that are available.  I like it, and we'll just have to make it work.  We'll have to be creative to get to a modern Downton look.

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's going to get worse before it gets better...

Tile gone

Baseboards gone

Carpet gone

Reluctant participant

Top Cabinets....are staying

Concrete patch

Clean up

 I'm not going to lie to you this was dusty work, between the hammer we rented to lift the tiles, mixing concrete patch and grinding down the high spots we were covered with fine dust.  I felt a little like pig pen, with every step we took little clouds of dust billowed around  us.

Also expenses I never factored in, hammer rental, dump fees, gas, concrete patch and contractor bags  I'm sure it won't stop there  The really big one was the tile underlayment, who knew? That will be the next post.....

You probably noticed the base cabinets are gone, that was because who ever designed the kitchen didn't make room for a dishwasher.  Who wants one of those? Me.  The other thing that was driving me nuts was the dead cabinet space in the blind corner.  After reading tips for designing kitchen layouts, they recommend avoiding corners.  Not very helpful.

So the base cabinets are another added expense.

Onward and upward, next week, tile underlayment

So far one blister, down 2 lbs, it's the renovation diet.