Thursday, January 18, 2018

Master bedroom finishes

This is a seriously overdue post - I thought that I had put this post up months ago until I went looking for a paint color, couldn't find it, and got irritated at my own blog neglect.  So here it is now, after much searching (and frustration) to find said paint color.  New Year's resolution - document paint colors in a timely fashion before I forget them!

But, before we painted, we decided to trim out one of the walls before we finished it to provide an accent.  We went back to an old trick and ripped floor trim to create the wainscoting on the wall before painting everything.  It turned out really well and, since this post is nearly a year late, I can report that we're still very happy with the detail and the color.

Getting the wainscoting in place, with all the furniture piled in the middle of the room

And setting up to paint

Painting in progress!

First coat on!  The color is Sherwin-Williams Knitting Needles.  KNITTING NEEDLES.  May I never forget.  

And done!  Time to move everything back.  If we remember, we'll update with a current "after" photo at some point!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fireplace finishes

One of our favorite things about this house is that it has two wood-burning fireplaces.  One of our least favorite things, though, is that both fireplaces have (or had) basic red brick surrounds.  So we decided to upgrade them by building and tiling custom surrounds for each (and saved ourselves some design headaches by using the same materials and design for both too).  We went with a matte black hexagon tiles for the hearth, along with a marble edge, and a white marble arabesque tile for the side surround.  As with our last house, we bought reclaimed beams to use for mantels and we're really happy with how it's all turning out!

Floor first - laying the hearth

So pretty!

Now with cement board and ready to start tiling the sides

Laser level is a must with this arabesque tile

All in!  Just awaiting grout (snow white, if you're wondering what color grout)

Moving onto the basement fireplace - the new drywall was already in so we wound up making this a little bigger and wider than we probably would have otherwise

We didn't take many (or any) in progress pictures but it looked like the one above - cement board behind, now tile in front

Continuing to build out the trim

And dry-fitting the mantel

Just about done!
Mantel installed and trim paint completed  
Now we just need to pop in a fireplace insert and this one will be done!  The first floor fireplace still needs the trim to be installed and painted, along with the mantel added, so those pictures will have to wait until later.  And here in the basement, you can see some other progress - we've built it out to have a main room (in the picture), bedroom, full bath, and a theatre room.  We installed some of the same wood flooring in front of the bar nook but the rest of the floor (other than the bathroom, of course) will be carpet so installation will be quick.  While I'm here, I might as well include a picture of the basement bath - since the ceiling height is a little low, at least relative to the other two floors, we went with a beveled 4x10 white subway tile on the walls and a greige hex on the floor.  It's a simple but hopefully inviting look!   

Basement bathroom almost done too!

Small bathroom solutions

As so often happens in construction, we had to figure out how to solve a problem created by our contractor.  Our original plans showed a normal sized half bathroom on the first floor, approximately 55" x 68" - as built, the half bath was far narrower at only about 45" (a situation created because the contractor teed off the side walls and worked inward - and never checked the interior measurements).  You can imagine how annoyed we were when we went to install the toilet and realized that it didn't have enough clearance in front - and as a result, we basically closed the door and ignored the problem room for several months until we felt ready to deal with it again.  After a fair bit of research and plotting, we came up with a solution - one that, happily, has turned out really well.  And we will be checking every measurement for any framing we do not personally do from now until the end of time.

We were somewhat lucky in that the half bath backs up to a full bathroom and the toilet is located on the same wall as the tub.  We were even luckier that we hadn't tiled that tub yet, so it was easy enough to pull off the drywall and see what was in the studs and even better, the only thing there was a vent pipe, which could be easily moved.

Rerouting the vent pipe

Now with more space to work
We decided to install an in-wall tank toilet system with the ME by Starck compact rimless toilet (don't ask me to explain the capitalization in the toilet name).  The toilet is the shallowest depth on the market today at just under 19" in length.  By code, we needed 21" in front of the toilet but that would have felt very cramped so using this toilet gave us a much more comfortable 26" of space.

Now with the Geberit Duofix in-wall tank installed - they make these tanks for 2x4 walls (as well as 2x6) so it was relatively easy to install into the existing space

Getting ready in the half bathroom - among other changes, we had to move the toilet drain from the expected installation to the in-wall installation

Toilet fits on the wall!
And now with floor repaired and vanity (also cut down) installed.  Just waiting on trim and countertops to finish!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The last demolition (for now)

Once upon a time (about three years ago), we lived in the basement of the house while the first and second floors were being remodeled/rebuilt.  When we bought the house, it had three finished rooms and a full bathroom that were...serviceable.  That is, we could live in the rooms and we could use the bathroom but neither the layout, the insulation, nor the finishes were what we wanted so we knew we would rip it all out and start over.  And over the fall, that's what we did!  It's nearly complete now so we'll have "after" pictures to post soon (assuming I manage to post them) but for now, here are some from the earlier days when we were tearing it all apart.

Hard to believe but this used to be a living area (with a fireplace!)

View from the other side - we used plastic to seal up the stairwell to the first floor
And on the far side of the long room - we put in an egress window where an exterior door used to be so that this can be a safe and legal bedroom when finished

The construction is a little odd in that the there's a brick/block wall between the main basement and this side part - this used to be two rooms, one of which served as our temporary bedroom for a time.  Now that it's all opened up, it will become a long theatre room (once we move all this stuff out!)

It took a full dumpster to demo and clean out the entire basement!  I didn't think we would fill this up but...we definitely did

Once we had some (temporary) space, this turned into a cut room for a bit
But then we started framing and doing rough-in plumbing for the new bathroom and bar space
 More - much more - on the basement to come.  We hired out much of the basement work so this turned out to be one of the faster projects and should be done in another week or so - stay tuned!

A place for everything

One of my favorite sayings is "a place for everything and everything in its place."  That's not to imply that I actually put things in their place (Brian is laughing right now as I am by far the messier of the two of us), but it is something that I aspire to.  And after living with our mudroom in our last house, I have a deep and abiding appreciation for being able to walk in and put a coat on a hook, shoes under a bench, and gloves in a basket.  We aren't quite there yet on this house, but we're getting a lot closer!

We used similar dimensions for this bench as the last one but made it slightly wider and a little chunkier all around (if I get motivated, I'll come back and update this post with actual dimensions).  We also have five cubbies instead of four...and I'm embarrassed to report that the two of us managed to fill up all five cubbies almost overnight.  Maybe next time we'll build six!

Just a room at the moment

Getting started with the bench

Bench in place, starting the cubbies

And now with top shelves

This is looking more built-in now

Almost done!  Still need crown, plus putty and paint, hooks and baskets, but it's getting there!

New year (and a whole lot of catching up)

If I were one to make resolutions, more frequent blogging would be an obvious candidate particularly because I was just talking to a friend about our paint colors, remembered we had a blog, came over to look up a color and...realized how terrible I've been about putting information up here in the last year or so.  This blog has always functioned mainly as a resource for us to keep track of things but it isn't much help if I don't keep good records!  So, without further ado, here's a whole slew of things we've been doing, hopefully with some information that will someday come in handy (to us, at least).  I'll try to break this into a few posts to keep rooms/projects somewhat together...

First up - an "after" picture of what we call the second-floor living room.  This is the flex space on the second floor that could be an office or kids' playroom but, for now, is simply more living area.  We still need to add barn doors to the exterior but it's essentially complete. 

More living space, yay!
Moving back downstairs, we installed pendant lights over the kitchen island.  The pendants are here.

Getting started with wiring

And up!

Now that's a straight line!
And while we're in the kitchen...we also installed the backsplash.  We used a gray arabesque tile (Pharsalia 2" x 2.25" porcelain mosaic tile in glossy gray, to be exact - and I'll have to go dig up the grout color, which hopefully I'll remember to do at some point).  This was quite a job to install and took a lot of time to keep it straight and level - thank goodness for our laser level and Brian's penchant for detail!

A clean (and protected) slate
Moving along

Still working

Ta-da!  Tile in, grout to go
I honestly can't tell if the tile has grout or not in this picture, but I think it does and the backsplash is, in fact, complete so...we're just going to call this an "after" picture and be done