Breaking Bath

Alright, so maybe that's the title I should have used back on our post-halloween-party bathroom breakdown blog. But I just now thought of it and feel like it's just too cute not to publish, even a little late.

So, how goes the bath battle? Well, in our last episode, Mike had just begun installation of a new subfloor. Last weekend, he finished that subfloor with scrap pieces of wood we already had in stock. Sure that meant making his own tongues and grooves, but it worked out perfectly. (And now we don't have any additional costs and extra pieces that we probably won't use for anything else.)

Sunday, we started our fixture shopping at the local Lowes. Our main reason for picking the Lowes over our usual Home Depot - vanities. In our last bathroom remodel, we were both completely unsatisfied with the DeepHo's selection of vanities. They were expensive. They were ugly. And few came with a sink top. (For that job, we were lucky to find an inexpensive open-box model at the HD that we really loved - sink included on that one!)

Lowes did not disappoint in the vanity department. We found a small vanity, nice modern styled wood cabinet, with sink and mirror included. $200. Awesome.

The trouble came when we went to look at stand-up showers and toilets. In the shower department, we were immediately drawn to the space saving corner units. (And I use the word units lightly.) You had to purchase the bottom separately from each side and separately from a glass door. Add it all together and a full stand up shower would cost about $700. Our tub kit for our basement bathroom from Home Depot only cost about $450. Why wasn't the stand-up shower sold as a kit? Additionally, the signage was confusing and it was difficult to tell which prices went with which models. We were not satisfied and did not make any shower purchase.

It was the same story with the toilet... kind of. They had plenty of those - and all the parts came in one box, thank god. However the Kohlers seemed pricey to me at around $200. (That's the brand we have downstairs and have been thus far satisfied with it.) We did not make a toilet purchase either.

We did select a faucet for the sink... but since we'll be going to the DeepHo to check out showers and toilets there, I may take a comparative look at their faucets and return the Lowes one. (It's a no-name brand too - I would much prefer a Moen or something like that if prices are comparable.)

A somewhat frustrating trip overall, yes. But we're both very happy with the vanity, so I still consider it a success.

Today I did some homework over at the HD during my lunch break. They had a stand-up corner shower kit that I liked - and that seemed well constructed - for $515. Their Kohler toilet was $138. I didn't have time to look at the faucets, but did snap some pics of the shower & toilet info sheets with my iPhone so we could measure.

2nd Annual Christmas bath purchasing comes again! If we keep a similar pace as last year, we should have an upstairs bath by March. (Much less to this one - hence the shorter time estimate.)

Starting the Holiday Season with a Bang

It was the morning after our 10th Anniversary Annual Halloween Party. Mike and I cleaned up, took down all the decor, ate some food, and then set our sights on the dreaded bathroom... that last remnant from the house as we bought it in 2004. Demo day had finally, thankfully, arrived.

The goal of the day was to remove everything - fixtures, walls, flooring... everything. I removed those few items I wanted to keep and Mike started in on the demo with a few choice hammer blows to the shower wall.

And then my camera died. (Too many Halloween party pics.) Mike continued on as I kept on post-halloween cleaning. (Although I did help carry out some large pieces of wall to the truck that wouldn't fit out the bathroom window where we were shoveling and throwing the rest.) In the midst of one of these trips to the truck, a single pink tile fell off the wall piece and hit me on the head. I thought to myself, "I should save one of these tiles," picked it up, and kept it.

Once most of the walls were down, the tub had to be removed. The cast iron tub. Mike's original plan was to bust it up. This proved impossible. Repeated blows with the hammer barely dented the green coating. These things were made to last forever... and ever. By some fit of amazing strength, Mike was able to turn it up on it's side. Then, we used a hand-truck and a couple straps to carefully wheel it out of the house and onto the porch. (Where it still sits.)

The breaking of the green sink and toilet must have been much more dramatic. But, unfortunately, I missed that too. I was picking up the kiddos by that time in the late afternoon. Mike said they both just shattered. I can only imagine!

When I returned home with the kids, the majority of the work was done. Mike was just finishing up demo on the floor. I took some pictures with my camera, now charged.


Back wall and floor


Other wall, window


The old pink and green monstrosity bathroom was no more. With no tub in there, the room actually looked much bigger. I was surprised. We also discovered that the roof was leaking! In not one, but two places! Rain dripped right onto the floor. (Leaky roof, leaky pipes....) Luckily for us, we have enough roofing leftover from doing the main house a few years ago to cover this small area of space. That will be our next order of business, before any drywalling can be done.

In the following days, Mike put down one sheet of plywood that we already had in stock, steadying at least a portion of the floor. As you can see, we have just a bit more to cover.

In the days following that, the chimney guys came back and finished the chimney! To prepare for our inspection, Mike re-organized and moved all the "combustibles" from the wood stove area in the basement and placed them over by the furnace and oil tank... what will be their final resting place. (This area will be a utility room once the basement is fully finished.)

If you focus on the top of this photo, you'll see Mike's genius idea for storing long pieces of wood and trim board... a couple wooden shelves attached to the ceiling. Perfect for keeping all of that stuff out of the way!

The rest of the stuff he managed to condense to three shelving units - carpentry tools, paint, plumbing and electrical supplies, drywall supplies, and misc.

That half of the basement looks pretty amazingly clean, doesn't it?

And the work paid off! We were inspected and approved in about 30 seconds. Trouble came when Mike tried to call the fire department to come and inspect the stove. "You don't have a permit," they said. Mike replied, "Yes we do, a building permit and it was just signed off on." Come to find out, we needed some special stove permit? Which the town never told us about? Yesterday being Veteran's Day, Mike couldn't get it all sorted out. The secretary was out. He'll try to call again on Thursday. It's always something!

Oh, and for those of you who may have missed our basement bathroom closet door install, which happened right before the party, here ya go! Sometime we'll have to stain these bad boys...

Sandy Installations

Hurricane Sandy for us was little more then a wind storm. A wind storm of less then epic proportions, I might add. Nevertheless, media hype closed down just about every school and business in the area, leaving Mike and I with an extra day off.

Hmmm, let's see. How to spend an extra day off? Install some stuff?! Brilliant idea. We started with the new over-the-stove microwave we purchased from some friends of ours. (They purchased an entire set of gently used appliances, but did not need the microwave.) We didn't have the parts yet to be able to install the vent, which will eventually pull air from over the stove and push it outside, but there was no reason not to install the microwave itself and start using the microwave functions.


After a lot of lifting and drilling and figuring with the included template, the thing was in! The last part to complete our new kitchen puzzle. Looks awesome! And unlike our old countertop microwave, this one fits and spins our large plates and everything. (Oooooo!) It even has a preset button specifically for "Chicken Nuggets." (Ahhhhhhh!) *Why chicken nuggets? Who suggested that? I understand the "Popcorn," "Defrost," "Steam Vegetables," etc. But chicken nuggets of all things? I would have put frozen pizza waaaay at the top of my own "microwave present items" list.

I digress.

With the microwave in place, Mike went downstairs and installed the basement bathroom closet doors! Yippee! But they're not stained yet. Ohhh. I had previously made a deal with him that I didn't require the doors stained before our annual halloween party, just installed. So I'm happy!

And with those items complete, we were done. We actually accomplished everything we'd wanted to do over the weekend, plus plus. That never happens. And we weren't about to start any new and huge projects either... that's for after the Halloween Party.

Destruction... here we come!