My finished carpenter, Tom Milfeld, returned today and I finally have all of my cabinet hardware installed. I had a theory on how to create a template out of some scrap wood, but had tremendous fear in trusting my measuring skills and drilling holes. I told Tom I could forgive him if he drilled wrong, but I’m so hard on myself that I wouldn’t quickly forgive myself. He put my plan into action and in about two hours had all my drawer pulls installed. HEAVEN. The knobs and pulls I got from the same company the cabinets came from, Ohio Valley Solid Surface. Emily Womble, my sales rep, was a big help in steering me in the right direction on the hardware. I had the mindset of putting a similar pull as to what is going on the restored built-in, which I’m so glad I did not do. I selected Jeffrey Alexander, Tiffany Collection. They look awesome; perfect complement to my bridge faucet from Signature Hardware. I’m going to start calling myself an interior designer soon.
With that done he got to start on putting up the crown moulding. I’ll have two levels of moulding that will go all the way to the ceiling.
Tom decided to start with the single small cabinet. He got the first layer on with no issues. His measuring skills are always right on point. This is a flat piece that just needed a simple 45 degree angle cut to allow the corners to meet. The actual crown piece poses more of a challenge as it comes off at an angle creating a compound miter cut. He had the perfect tool and made it look super simple. He intentionally cut the length over, so had to make a few trips down to the basement. He decided to glue and pin nail the corner, which needed to dry before it could be hung. He’ll finish up next weekend.
Since the rain held off today, I also got the flood light replaced on the outside, so now I’m ready for my electrical inspection. My electrician recommended a unit from RAB Lighting, which I was able to pick up from Richard’s Electric. I got the STL110HW model and unlike Ring it works from 13 feet off the ground. Piece of cake to install thanks to a hanging hook, so I never felt I was in danger of falling off the ladder. Today was a GOOD DAY!
Another chapter of my past closed today with the selling of my 2005 convertible PT Cruiser. I bought this car the year I turned 40. I called it my mid-life crisis car. I have been fortunate to own two cars over the last couple of decades, so this was my summer ride. It didn’t have 73K miles on it yet as I pretty much only drove it when it was top down weather. It was my feel good car; my take long drives with the sun on my face, wind in my hair, escape car. I posted it for sell as a means to cover the cost of the front door. With the funds for that not needed due to the delivery fiasco, I can apply 100% of the proceeds towards completing the master bath. My only regret is I never took my cross country drive in it.
I should have made post as this project went along, so you may want to get some snacks to get through this one. September 28, 2018 was the first day I started laying tile in the first floor bathroom, with the goal of having one fully functioning bathroom before I moved in. February 9, 2019 was the day it officially became a fully functioning bathroom. I still need to hang the doors, finish the medicine cabinet and touch up paint, but I no longer have to chose between the upstairs or downstairs toilet when I’m on the first floor and I no longer have to use the kitchen sink to wash my hands. Heaven on earth.
With the exception of letting a plumber connect the shower diverter and drain in tub and having tub professionally reglazed everything else you’ll see I did by myself. It truly is the most ambitious tile project I have ever undertaken and it tested my resolve, patience, and stretched my skills to a whole new level. Pinterest can get a DIYer in trouble. The idea to create a rug affect on the bathroom floor came to me via a picture on Pinterest. I started with a very easy step, applying the RedGard to the floor and walls
The original floor was all white 1″ hexagon. It was filthy, but otherwise in great shape. I hated tearing it out, but the floor joist where really compromised from years of water leaks, so I had no choice, but remove. I got the floor tile from the Tile Shop in Oakley. I found a great sales person in Cari Branden. From there I did a dry fit to make sure the black tile was centered and balanced. I didn’t lay out the entire floor, just enough to
to know I had cut the mosaics to the right lengths and widths. It was early in the project, so my confidence was high. I put together my new Ridgid wet saw and got started. I had the first row of white and the upper black down and at that point had planned to do all the outer white and then all the black, so I could grout the black. In hindsight I should have used gray grout for entire floor, but I had my vision set on white on white, black on black. Things weren’t lining up with the thinset as they did with the dry run as I realized the sink wall was not straight. I abandoned the idea of laying all the black and just started laying rows, backing my way out the room.
Next was the white grout, trying to be careful not get any in the areas meant for the black grout. It was November 12th when I reached this stage. I had sold my house and was packing for my November 17th move. I turned my focus on the walls (still had not done the black grout) as I had Miracle Method scheduled to refinish the tub on November 15 and they said I needed to have the tile work around the tub finished before they could do their part. I had already rescheduled them twice.
Followers of my blog have read this statement many times. My goal was not to renovate, but restore. The orignal bathroom had 4×4 white tile and tile chair rail on all four walls. Originally it only went up about 4 feet as there was not a shower, just the gorgeous, deep cast iron tub. I’ve never worked with a chair rail or cove base tile and they don’t make now as they did back then. All the wall tile came from Lowe’s, American Olean. Just before I started this project I got to go to a training at French Lick Resort and stay in their West Baden property. I had heard so many wonderful things about that property and it did not disappoint. Highly recommend. The bathroom had the same chair rail and 4 x 4 tile I had purchased. I asked management and they told me it was American Olean. I got geeked (did I just age myself).
I was taught to start in the center and work your way to the sides, so that each corner has the same width tile. With the corner round I had to start on the outer corner. It amazingly was easier to work with the corner pieces than I thought. Even the beveled cuts for the chair rail went off without a hitch. Since I added a shower, my tile went up 7′ around the tub and it seemed like the boxes of tiles were multiplying as I was laying them. After a full 8 hours I hadn’t put a dent in the tub area, but I had done enough to keep the tub refinishing appointment.
Miracle Method reglazed my master tub at my former house. My friend Joan had used them and was happy with the outcome, so I didn’t shop around. They did a good job on Inner Circle, so I became a repeat customer. They started right after I had my bad experience with Roland Hardwoods where I didn’t speak up when I knew the work wasn’t right. For the plumbing rough-in I had to put a drain in for the water test. Since that tub was going to be reglazed I bought a cheap one from Home Depot and it was still in place. The young man doing the work was adamant he was not allowed to remove the drain, even though I told him it was temporary. I knew there was rust under it, but he insisted that area didn’t need to be treated and I could remove it later. I let it go, as I had to leave due to fumes, but when I saw the tub the next day I knew I was
right as could see that once I removed that drain it was going to compromise the edges around the drain. I called their office and raised a fit and he was instructed to remove the drain and treat the area underneath. Instead of buffing and finishing in 2 days he had to retreat the area and I held off the final, buffing, until after my move. SPEAK UP is the important lesson I learned when your gut tells you something is not right.
Several people told me I could have gotten the reglazing done cheaper, they charged $650, but the final product looked awesome and I’m not knowledgeable enough to know if one process is better than another. I would use them again despite lower pricing elsewhere.
Since I’m through about half the pictures, I will make this a two-parter. Stay tuned as you haven’t seen the hard part yet.
This journey of restoring my first house has been an absolute roller coaster ride, but last week when I came home and found this yellow sticker on my door I truly felt overwhelmed for the very first time. I’m a one woman show now and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for me to make big head way. So many labor intensive projects left to do and clearly I’m not getting them done fast enough.
I have not kept living in my house a secret. My permits are still hanging in the window as I have not gotten any final inspections done yet, which are required to get the occupancy permit from the City. I have been in communication with the plumbing and electrical inspectors and knew I needed their final inspections, along with HVAC, before I could get my final building inspection for the occupancy. I just failed to keep the building inspector up to date. Corrected that, so I was allowed to remove the sticker and continue living in my house.
The first project I tackled after getting the sticker was painting and hanging the attic access panel frame and door. What in the world was I thinking letting that project linger. OMG what a difference a door makes (BTW, front door arrived to Hyde Park Lumber Wednesday). During our arctic cold temps I slept under three quilts, with sweatpants, flannel socks, flannel robe, and a long sleeve t-shirt. That’s how cold my master bedroom was. Well no wonder given the cold air that was plowing in from the roof vents. I’ve turned my thermostat down 4 degrees since installing that door. My upstairs is so comfortable now.
With the first floor bathroom complete (minus doors) I was able to schedule the plumbing inspector this week, Tuesday, but I knew without the master bath tub and shower completed it would only be a partial passing. Sadly I learned that my original inspector has been assigned to another territory and won’t be around to see my journey completed. The new inspector found two things I’ll need to correct, in addition to finishing the master bath before I’ll get his final approval. Both corrections are easy. All tubs and showers must have a hot temperature range between 110 and 120 degrees. My first floor bath is currently 128, I need to turn it down. I also have an improper fitting on my hot water tank. This pipe needs to have metal threads, not plastic.
The electrical inspection I expect to pass and receive the final approval as I was not going to schedule it until everything is complete. My awesome electrician Mr. McGhee came and put the electric panel door on and walked through the house. Everything must have a cover and be in working condition including my LED mirror that mysteriously fell off wall. Fortunately the replacement parts were easy to install. Gravity helped me get it off the wall for repairs and Mr. McGhee helped me re-hang and reconnect.
The one thing still not working is the Ring Cam Flood Light. I’ll need to buy a new light that can work from high distances from the ground. After contacting Ring I learned their unit is not designed to work above 9′. Seems they feel having it at the height a burglar can reach with a baseball bet is more effective. I think Ring products have to be the most under performing product as compared to their commercials I’ve ever dealt with. VERY disappointed and sorry I wasted my money.
With the door now just a couple of weeks away from installation I’ve turned my focus on the window moulding on the first floor. Outside air has not only been pouring in from the front door, but from around the windows too. I got all of them stained, remembering the sanding lesson I learned from my visit to Homestead Furniture.
Before staining I wiped each down with a tack cloth. My former neighbor Bill hooked me on to these. They are a sticky gauze that really captures fine dust. The stain is a custom color mixed for me by Sherwin Williams. The brand is Zar and it’s a gel stain. I took a piece of the original moulding to them to match. I’m anxious to see how close the new and old match once hung. Once they dry I’ll apply a few coats of poly for protection.
I am bound and determined to do a little something every week day now. That yellow sticker was literally sticker shock.
How do you eat an elephant………………….one bite at a time and that is what it’s going to take to get my house finished. One would think now that I’m living here I’d have more time to work on things, but that has not proven to be the case. I had to come to the reality that I have not been growing my consulting business in over a year and I’ve probably jeopardized some of my existing clients by being overly focused on my house. Thanks to those that have shown patience and understanding.
Now that the 1st floor bath is fully functioning (next post) I have been tackling quick small projects in the evenings. In no particular order:
I’ve installed all the cold air vent covers. Only three, but I did need to buy a metal drill bit to get a hole through the metal frames that were behind the drywall. I got the grills from Amazon.
I put the access panel up in the guest bedroom. The City plumbing inspector required me to put a mixing valve on the water lines for the master tub and those lines ran in the ceiling of the guest bedroom along with the connection for the tub. I needed to create access to that area, so hence the need for the panel. I got the access panel from Home Depot.
The kitchen door is lockable, but I knew the knob on the door was not original and it looked terrible. The new knob I found looks like originals I have on other doors and I found it originally on Build.com. It was almost $50, but as I’ve said many times I’m trying to restore, not renovate, so I made the splurge. I realized a couple of weeks had gone by (you just lose track of time working on a house) and the knob hadn’t arrived, so I contacted Build.com. Turns out it was a special order for Baldwin, the manufacturer and it wasn’t scheduled to ship until March. I cancelled the order and found the exact one on Amazon for $20. I had it in FREE two-day shipping with Prime. My price must have been a fluke or special, because now the same knob is on Amazon for $40.
This next project actually took multiple evenings because of a brain freeze mis-drill. I hung the master bathroom vanity light. I’ve had the light for a few months, but didn’t like it. This was my first and LAST time ordering from Houzz. As soon as it arrived I had buyers remorse and contacted them that day for a return. I got no response. I don’t shop where I can’t return, so done with Houzz. I decided after we ran wires, but before drywall that I wanted the light to come from the ceiling instead of the wall (inspired by some HGTV show). Fortunately I had enough extra wire to make the move.
I went up into the attic access panel and measured the length of wire and the distance of where I wanted the light to cascade. I thought I had enough, but totally snoozed on allowing for the height of the ceiling joist. I cut the first hole and quickly realized the light needed to be on the opposite side of the joist. So, more drywall patching was in my future. I’m getting pretty good at it now.
Unfortunately there was one casualty, the LED mirror. I cleaned it for the first time and it fell off the wall. Fortunately I caught it, so it didn’t fall forward and the glass did not break. The bottom of the metal frame, which houses the IR and on/off switch, landed on the back splash and both broke. The light no longer functions, so I guess it’s a good thing I hung the ceiling light, which I’m learning to like. Build.com carries the same Eglo light. I contacted the miror manufacturer, Innoci-USA, and they said it’s not covered under the warranty. They are willing to send me a new IR and on/off switch if I pay shipping and handling. I’ll get the parts, but may never install them. I don’t miss the neon-like light it cast. If I understood what 6000K lumens provided (basically a blue tone, daylight) I wouldn’t have gotten it. At night you feel like you’re on Time Square. The glow is so neon-like you barely can see yourself in the mirror.
I ordered and hung the dining room chandelier, which means I’m now ready for my final electrical inspection. I wanted something that would compliment the original wall sconces. I was hoping to find something in pewter, like those lights, but couldn’t find anything I liked that was affordable. I started looking at other matt, silver, finishes and found this light originally on LampsPlus.com. They didn’t carry it in brushed nickel, but Build.com did. To get the right size chandelier I followed the guidelines outlined in a video found on LampsPlus.com. I ordered the same satin threaded bulbs, but in E12, from Bulbs.com I put in the wall scones. I’ll post a picture of it lit once they arrive.
I stained the moulding around the stain glass entry foyer window. I really need to put the frame back together, so I can finish that area once and for all. As you can see I managed to get stain on the wall, so some touch-up painting is in my future. The front door is scheduled to arrive the week of February 18, so I may need to spend a few evenings in this area.
The remaining projects were more decor related and helped to clear out some more boxes. I put all my mother’s figurines back in their storage cases and put out some of my framed pictures. I also hung two pictures. Gilbert Young’s “Fleeting Moments” will definitely stay in that location, but my Shackelfords photo picture I will probably end up relocating after my new sofa and over-sized chair arrive. I think it may get blocked by my floor lamp and make it hard for people to see it.
A friend of mine was shopping for bar stools for her house at the Frontgate Outlet Store and sent me some pictures of blue pieces she thought I might like. I liked several and decided to go take a look. I had planned to get two ottomans to use as my coffee table, but one of the only two had a defective leg. I did get the navy leather bench for my master bedroom. It looks awesome at the foot of my bed.
The last project to share was the connecting of my receiver, CD/DVD player, and phono to the Leviton Home System my dad ingeniously researched for my house. I can now listen to the TV, records, radio, DVDs and CDs through the speakers located throughout the house. I must admit, it’s pretty cool.
I found those peach crates on Offer Up. I had similar to store my albums in college, but stupidly got rid of them years ago. I found LP dividers, similar to what record stores use, along with sleeves for 45s, and vinyl record cleaner on Amazon. I felt compelled to get my old-school way of listening to music up and running given I’m living in an old house. My mix of vinyl (most of it was my mom’s) is pretty eclectic. That entertainment system has to be the most coolest feature of the house, at least until my car wash shower is complete.
Hunker down for the next post. It was almost 6 months in the making.