Friday, February 24, 2012

One week and one day...

Friday: Jennifer Hudson sings the song, “It’s A New Day.” My theme song is going to be “It’s The Last Day!”  One week and one day into the renovation and I am ready to be finished.  I enjoy watching the process of the remodel, even the deconstruction; it’s the constant finding one more thing wrong with a forty plus year old home that was built with love but also with a focus on doing things as cheaply as possible.

The sink and faucet are so old in our bathroom the faucet is rusting out and cannot be removed except to use a saw to cut it off…sort of welded on with age but still rusting through.  The sink was attached probably with marine glue which was also used for the toilets upstairs and that is probably why they didn’t just fall over since they weren’t bolted down.  Our plumber tried chipping the old sink out from the center a little at a time and he did get it out but the tile counter and backsplash were installed sort of attached, sort of floating, and that means a few got broke.  I am online looking for a sink that will cover the hole, and new faucets and drain, because we would rather not renovate the whole bathroom with a new vanity cabinet. 

There was a movie some of you may remember called Money Pit….welcome to our world. 

One of the last things to do yesterday for the plumber was to install the new toilet in our bathroom.  Great plan!  Well almost.  The seal was cracked so he installed the new downstairs toilet upstairs and I went back to the store to return the broken toilet and buy a new one.  A simple process, or so you would think.  The nice gentleman helping me in hardware wanted to inspect the new toilet so I wouldn’t have any problems when I got home and in a split second the lid to the tank slipped, fell, cracked into lots of tiny pieces, and that was the last toilet in stock that we had picked out.  I asked a lot of quick questions of the salesperson and bought another Koehler toilet that had exactly the same specifications but the tank was shaped just a little bit different.

The original plan called for removing the slate tile around the fireplace and running the laminate flooring right up to the base of the fireplace.  We can do this because it is a gas fireplace and not wood.  Of course as I said before that will require a jackhammer to remove the old mortar base and the almost paper thin slate tile.  The worst case scenario would be the jackhammer might damage the brick fireplace and that could be costly have it repaired, so in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep because of worrying over details I decided if Larry agreed we would keep the slate surround…sort of.  I want to retile over the top of the ugly thin, plain, grey tile with a thick multi color (grey, brown, rust, black) slate tile and finish the underneath part that is sticking up above the flooring with either a slate face or trim that matches the new laminate flooring.  Larry liked the idea and that will also save the rental of the jackhammer, the extra labor hours to chisel it out, pour self leveling cement to fill any dips, crevices, holes, or the unexpected. Yea! We’re saving money… 

So now I am planning on shopping for slate today, picking up insulation, maybe a few tiles to patch the tile sink base in our bathroom, trim tile for the downstairs tile, and placing a few more orders online.  Buying local is great if you can find a good price, get exactly what you want or close to it; but with only two big box stores and a handful of specialty stores in our area we don’t have a lot to choose from and why would I want to spend $400.00 for a sink only when I can get the faucet, drain, and sink for half that online. 

Bill just arrived from another job to check on the plumbing and the change in the fireplace.  The slate is going to work out nicely and I will talk with the flooring guy for trim to finish the edges.  The previous owner glued the ceramic tile to the old Formica counter top upstairs in our bathroom, and I think the only thing holding the tiles on was the sink being glued down with marine glue.  Now that the sink is gone the tile is pulling away from the Formica top at the slightest touch.  So now I need to look for a new laminate bath vanity top or spend labor hours installing a plywood base, cement backer board, then the tile, grout, sealing, and so on.  

Our house sits on one acre of a very slight slope to the front of the road.  Behind us is an old farm and at some point in time before we bought our house, the farmer covered over the pond behind us with dirt.  Water runs downhill and since we are the closest to the old buried pond, it runs down one side of the property making its own little pond (that dries up around the end of June) and the runoff moves slightly to the center of our property and meanders to the other side of the property.  We have a French drain between the back deck and the rock wall to the upper garden that we installed when we moved in, literally we were moving in and the drain was being dug.  When you live in Washington State, on the west side, you get a lot of rain.  More rain and grey days and I would like but you tend to get water logged in the fall, the winter, the spring, sometimes like last year, even the summer. 

I tell you all this because the constant rain and having a plumber under the house fixing all the previous installation errors he has discovered we have a small pond under the study, right in the corner of the room where the desk sits and I use the computer.  No wonder I am cold all the time.  It doesn’t need to be done right now, and probably couldn’t because of the water and mud, but in the future we might have to think about installing a sump pump.  To add to the problem the east side of the house drains to the left side and that is where the small pond of water is.

James the carpet/linoleum guy will be here with samples this afternoon and his estimate for the three bathrooms.  He brought out a bid for installation and installation materials and we picked the vinyl for the downstairs bathroom and will make the final decision before James comes back with more carpet samples for the stairs and upstairs landing.  Nice guy, lots of information, and very professional.

This is the remodel that goes on and on and on…..

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