Thursday, August 23, 2018

Let's Potty! Part I - A Water Closet Renovation

This reflooring project really opened a can of worms! And in this case it's having me open a can of whoop-ass on "the can."

When I made that little collage-thingie back when we first moved here, I forgot to include the cheap-ass, NOT EVEN REMOTELY CENTERED light fixture. Apparently, that's a thing up in here.

We have what amounts to a weird little half-bath in the master bedroom. A half-bath that is comprised of a tinier than usual water closet and then a very vintage, wall-mounted, corner sink right outside of that.

The sink area had been carpeted (ick) so I replaced that floor when I did Phase VI: the closet.  As with the guest closet, it seemed like a good opportunity to complete some other projects in the space while it was emptied... i.e. the toilet was pulled.

Phase A: Remove wallpaper, repair/resurface walls

It already looks bigger, just having most of the paper removed!

I didn't get a photo after I painted, but here are the resurfaced walls with a good coat of primer.

Phase B: Paint/VP walls & ceiling.

Since the room itself is so narrow and vertical, I decided to do a very horizontal application to hopefully help draw the eye side to side. Hopefully not so much side to side that anyone misses the center. If you catch my drift.

Phase C: Replace/refinish light fixture.

I didn't find a light fixture that ticked all the boxes: inexpensive, attractive, appropriate finish, replaceable bulbs - so many LED fixtures have non-replaceable bulbs! So I decided to just paint over the cheap-looking, shiny brass-plated base with not-exactly-un-cheap-looking, faux oil-rubbed bronze spray paint and replace the glass shade with this schoolhouse style. I already had the spray paint and the shade was about $5!

Phase D: Install floors and all that goes with that.

1. Remove base moulding.
2. Remove existing hardwood.
3. Pour self-leveling subfloor with Eric's assistance.
4. Install LVP.
5. Refinish and reinstall base moulding.

Phase E: New TP hardware

Soooooo many toilet paper holders are designed NOT to handle a double roll. I'm not going to buy special packages of TP for one of three toilets. Let me admit right here and now that I have a TP hardware style preference. I like the single-sided kind... you know, because anyone who happens to use the last of the roll has NO REASON not to replace the roll. Particularly, because I store a backup roll right there within arms' reach.  [pretends to make meaningful eye contact with imaginary person]

Photo taken outside, because I won't install it until after the toilet goes in. It's already a tight enough fit in there!

Sadly for me, I also have a penchant for rather expensive TP holders. Well, all house hardware, really, but I am also a really thrifty so-and-so. So, I got a good-enough holder at a home center then added it to a decorative storage crate purchased at a craft store. This way we can store a backup roll and a funny bottle of scented spray right there and should someone be inclined to bring a book in there, there's a place to set it!

Part II:
That new toilet!
The installed TP holder!
Another storage solution!
Handmade and vintage decorations!
... and not much more!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Adventures in DIY Flooring - Cutting the Rug VI

Once I got the master bedroom complete, I decided not to wait to do the walk-in closet and water closet. The water closet (i.e. toilet room) had oak hardwood instead of carpet and thank you past owners for that!

This tiny space is the only part of the master that has base moulding. Further supporting our suspicions that it was added after the initial construction. Also, it's oak, rather than the fir that is in the rest of the house - where there is moulding, that is.

The oak was kind of a b!tch to get out, however, and required me to get past my fear of circular saws. I'm a big fan of power tools and that includes most saws, but circular saws kind of freak me out. Nevertheless, I have one that I inherited from my dad and I knew where it was and hot damn, I used that sumgun to tackle that floor!

You may have noticed that the wallpaper has been removed...

After that new challenge the floor went in pretty much like all the others.

There actually was base moulding in the water closet! Another indicator that this was added later. I had to take it out to replace the flooring of course, but it will go back in, just you wait.

I think that the walk-in might be a good place to indulge my interest in round, novelty rugs. We'll see how that goes. So far, the rug shopping has yielded zero rugs. That is probably for the best as the self-leveling products have increased the budget quite a bit. Ahem.

That's right, no base moulding here either. The only space in the master suite that had it is the water closet.

I have to say that after getting the existing subfloor covered with the self-leveling cement product that slight scent that drove this whole project is now gone from all the spaces we removed the carpet from! YES! Two rooms left! The bathroom (not carpeted) and the craft studio/office/auxiliary guest room (carpeted).

Thanks again to Eric for getting down and sweaty to expedite the self-leveling portion of the project! Still, I believe we'll have saved thousands of dollars by installing it ourselves. Well, mostly myself. [wink]

Unforeseen additional steps:

Speaking of budgets getting blown, since I had to pull the 1977 (April 15) toilet to do the floors in the water closet it seemed like the best time to deal with all the other decorative issues in there: wall paper, toilet paper holder, light fixture, etc. Oh yeah, also a new, more practical toilet with lower water use. But this is a post for another time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Adventures in DIY Flooring - Cutting the Rug V

Annnnnnd then the whole kit & kaboodle done all over again in the master bedroom and one of its closets. Priming, caulking, blocking, leveling, finessing the leveling, laying planks. The only difference was for some reason there has never been base moulding in here, so I didn't have to remove it, re-oil it, reinstall it. I would like to get some up, especially since now that the shag isn't disguising the bottom of the drywall and how it isn't painted. But also kind of want to repaint now, so... no moulding for now.

Note that we still don't have a headboard. Why are the king headboards that I like so expensive? Sigh.

I don't know if people still cut costs by not replacing the floors in closets when they do the rest of the rooms, but I am sure glad we forgot that was even an option and just went ahead and budgeted for the whole deal. Even this little cedar closet in the master bedroom that we forget is even there.

Anyway, we've spent quite a bit more than we were initially expecting to level up the floors, so I don't feel compelled to buy what is mostly likely going to be a special order lumber: 1x3 clear fir. Assuming we want to match the rest of the base moulding, that is.

I'm not excited about the base moulding in general in the rest of the house. I mean, it's fine and all, but nothing I'd ever swoon over. So trying to find 1x3 fir just to match the rest of the house isn't inspiring me. I'm not saying that won't be the way we go, but that I won't be going any way at all right away. 

I think I might take a little break from the floors before I tackle the master walk-in closet & W/C, as well as the hall bath, and office/craft studio/sewing room/auxiliary guest room. There are plenty of other projects around here - some that are more reliant on warm weather, like finally taking apart the oddly placed planting beds that we are letting revert to nature. And the similarly oddly placed wine barrel planters that we've also let go. While I really would like the place to look a little tidier, I really would not like to use our limited, potable water on non-edible plants or the limited hours in the day orchestrating such a feat. We didn't move to the woods on the side of a mountain to have a suburban landscape, after all.

I just want to take this space here to say THANK YOU, ERIC for helping with the self-leveling step on this portion of the project! The directions say it's not a one-person job and by gum they are entirely correct. Not only did it go faster, but it went more smoothly... both the process and the result. And thanks also for always helping with moving the furniture over and over for all of the rooms, too, E.

When still wet, it looks like a lake at dusk when the surface is like glass. A cement lake, but still.


Unforeseen additional steps:

Surprise effects downstairs: the self-leveling subfloor material found it's way downstairs in this one spot in the kitchen. Sigh. Luckily, unless you're pouring it over concrete you need a primer to make it adhere well... and I have more of this paint.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Projectum Interuptus

I'm part way through taking a few weeks off from the big project of replacing alllll the flooring upstairs and here are the reasons why:

1. I went to California to visit some beloveds!

2. We hosted Eric's friend, Tex, who joined him in attending MisCon.

Here is where a photo would've been nice, 
but I mistakenly assumed there would've been some from the event. 

3. I worked on some boring maintenance projects around the place like fussing with the hot tub, constantly wiping pine pollen off stuff, making hummingbird nectar, etc.

4. I made a little throw pillow to help break up the brownliness going on in the guest room since replacing the floor in there.

5. I started working on the refab of the screen doors.
    (post coming soon)

6. I did my first two cross stitch projects ever! They are going to be a part of a much bigger project around the house, so I think I'll save posting photos until I start talking about that.

Just before the very first stitch in to second project. That is a great-great auntie's embroidery hoop!

7. We'll be hosting the VME's most frequent guest, Juan, this weekend.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Adventures in DIY Flooring - Cutting the Rug IV

Me: After what seemed like constant setbacks & extra weeks of research and work, I finally got to start installing the planks!
The Imaginary Crowd: NO WAY!
Me: WAY!

Here are the first few rows... the second time I installed them. Ahem.

Friday afternoon, I did a few courses in both areas and quite when I came to where I'd need to do fancy cutting for door jambs.

On Saturday morning around 9:30, I made those tricky cuts done and kept going. Let me say that this stuff is a breeze to cut with the jigsaw fitted with a metal blade.

By around 4:00 on Saturday afternoon, I'd gotten the hall and over half of the guest room done! My feet, knees, and hips were hurting and I was starting to make cutting mistakes, so I called it a day.

Base moulding not yet reinstalled.

YAHOO! And HOT DAMN! And [celebratory, creative cussing]! As of Sunday, the floors are starting to be in. Like in-in. For reals in. I even got all the baseboards back in and then all the furniture in the guest room. In addition to all the additional construction-related expenses, I followed manufacturer best practice and added felt pads to all the feet. I'm not looking forward to the way lint and dog hair clings to those, but that's better than marring these hard-earned floors.

I am so glad I labeled the back of each piece of base moulding when I took it off, because it went back in pretty quickly. Hand nailing it was kind of a hassle, though.

This view makes the room look less colorful than it is, but we definitely need some more color now that there is all that wood tone- probably through some rugs.

New threshold-adjacent piece! I got a deal on a damaged oak threshold, ripped it down to suit, stained, etc.

It was Tuesday by the time I had the base moulding reinstalled and the furniture put back in the hallway. Due to a wow in one of the walls and a rookie mistake in another place, I added a base shoe to the base moulding in the hallway, so that added time for purchasing, finishing, and installing. Plus I kind of needed a break for sanity, comfort, and to work on some other things. With the staining, varnishing, cutting, and live-in-general this wasn't complete until the next Sunday.

The paint color in the hall is far from great, but man does it look worse in these photos!

When i was working in the hallway, I noticed that the cool bear tile that hangs above the guestroom door was in need of a bit of repair, so I took it down before it fell down. I need to get on that and get it back up!

Since the LVP is thinner than carpet + pad, the base mouldings are lower than they were before all this. And since we haven't yet repainted the hallway, I have no way to disguise the evidence of that on the walls, but giving them a scrub helped quite a bit. Anyway, repainting the hallway has moved up on the to-redo list, but of course that means other* projects associated with that have also moved up the list. However, those are probably winter projects.

I used pretty much exactly 14 boxes of planks to do these two rooms. I would say that there are less than two planks' worth of waste to date. That's quite a bit less than the expected waste of 6-10%! However, I am probably being way more attentive to that and moving much more slowly than professional installers on all counts, so it probably makes sense. Some of that waste is being put to use to temporarily hold things in place where the finished floors meet the as-yet-incomplete floors.

Next up: the master bedroom and closets. This whole self-leveling thing which adds a few hours of work and days of wait to the process is really going to mess with my intended schedule which had us able to sleep in there every night of the process. I guess we will not. So, this means that I am going to wait until I get back from a little trip and after MisCon is done. Eric will be on some panels and will be participating as a Pro in the MisCon Writers' Workshop. Also, his friend Tex will be staying with us so we'll do her the kindness of not having our king bed set up in the living room.

* It turns out that a house is a collections of cans-of-worms and working on the house is a series of opening those cans.


More unforeseen additional steps:

Adding felt to the feet of all the furniture.
Learning how to re-install bi-fold closet doors at a different height.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Adventures in DIY Flooring - Cutting the Rug III

It is taking me awhile to get started installing the planks. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I didn't have written directions specifically for this product. I mean, I understand the gist of the whole thing, but once you start you're stuck or you're wasting product. I just happen to like going in confident with the support of documented methods! Eventually I got some PDF directions that the retailer got from their rep and emailed to me. Second, I had to wait on the stair nose piece because they are generally made-to-order or on some kind of schedule and therefore can't just be rush shipped at extra cost. That took 2 weeks after bringing home the planks  Anyway, Eric and I unloaded all the boxes into the living room in a mostly-out-of-the-way place behind some chairs on the Saturday after I brought them home.

After "patiently" waiting 15 days I finally got going on Saturday and once I decided where to start and laid a few rows, it went poorly. Why? Well the floor was out of level just enough that to keep the planks from locking together properly. Sigh. As this happened after the local building supply place closed on Saturday (1:00p), it meant a Sunday trip to Missoula to buy all the things it take to apply/install self-leveling underlayment. I could have gone on Saturday afternoon, but I was crestfallen and cranky just couldn't face it.

The First Planks... The First Time. Sigh.

This did not mean I didn't make progress on Saturday afternoon, because there is an issue with the subfloor at the top of the stairs and I started tackling it. Because the lip on the stair nose piece is shallower than the cobbled together edge that was under the carpet there and wouldn't cover them, I had to remove those pieces (one fir and one plywood) and replace it with some oak to blend with the stair riser. Yeah. What would've been perfect is a 4' length of 1x2 oak that I could make into a 5/8" thick piece. What I could get nearby was a 9' length (yes, even the employees were surprised about the 9' length) of 1x4. All but about half of one side will be covered, so it only has to look "pretty" on that one bit. With some creative cutting with my table saw, I have a good start. I need to knuckle down and tackle some creative "nibbling" with the table saw before it's done.

I have no idea what these stairs are finished with and given some stories I have heard about the last owners and how the floors are wearing since we got here, I would say they are finished with something other than professional-level products. Like maybe something seen on a late night infomercial. Ahem. This bit certainly isn't going to get any wear, but this makes matching quite difficult particularly as wood stain stuff is far from my forte. So the goal was to get close and hope it mostly goes unnoticed. It being the top stair means it's at eye-level at some point, but oh well!


So, here is the guest room floor after the self-leveling process. This process... well it didn't go as expected or wished for. I kind of (actually) did it twice. The whole thing got me quite frustrated and temporarily semi-paralyzed, even though I understand that a 42 year old house is just not going to have totally level floors - especially on the 2nd story and it's not any real indication of some historical half-assery. Anyway... I ended up msixxing 6 bags and the whole thing took about 2.5 "extra" hours to apply.. Then I had to level out the "self-leveling underlayment" with a feathering product. I used 1.25-ish boxes and this added about 6 "extra" hours over the 9 times I applied it. All these steps had to cure for 16 hours - each of the nine times time I did part of it.  I hope this means I'll be laying planks on Friday - the second Friday after this all started. Finally!

Leveled! Or close enough to it.

All my research led me to two different brands of self-leveling material. Both of these brands are designed and promoted as ones you can apply flooring over fairly quickly - as soon as 3 hours for tile. I think this worked against me, as I learned later that these really are not one-person jobs. But I am just one person despite my mightiness. For the rest of the rooms, I am going to look for something less quick-setting which might make for better results with a one-person application. And perhaps ultimately it will mean less time between evacuating a room and laying the planks.

During those 16 hour curing windows, I worked on some other time-sensitive crafting projects, so at least there was that bright spot! Of course that is also when we slept, cooked & ate, shopped for more materials, and wrote blog posts. Oh yeah, and I had to buy a saw so I could cut back all the door jambs and some of the door mouldings. I wanted to avoid anything even remotely like this situation we inherited in the upstairs bathroom. Luckily, that will go away when I redo that floor later this year.


More unforeseen additional steps:

Oiling baseboards, since they were already taken out.
Leveling the floors which exceeded the tolerance of the material.
Fashioning & staining a piece of oak to under the stair nose piece.
Cutting back all the door frames and some of the door moulding.

A cool new saw was required, so at least there's some tool-geekery involved.