Friday, June 29, 2012

Building a bathroom

I don't recall if I've chronicled any part of the bathroom saga at our house. It's been a long and winding road to becoming a two-bathroom house, with frenzied bursts of work interspersed with long periods of complete sloth. I could trot out all the usual excuses about being busy, etc., but the truth is that sometimes I was just stymied by the project and needed to not think about it sometimes.

Finally, finally--after almost a year-- the project is complete. Take a look:

(a photomerge... the disjointed lines are not a result of poor carpentry, but slight misalignment in PhotoShop ;-) )

And here's a little video of the project from start (ish) to finish:

I can't tell you how nice it is to have a space of our own... and to be able to bypass the busy first bathroom (which, with seven of us in this house, it very often is) and go to the shiny new one. Sometimes I take two showers a day... just because I can... just to enjoy the space. 

This space was a covered porch when the house was build (or perhaps somewhat after). I met a lady who lived in this house in 1952 (it was built in 1925 or 1928, depending upon which records you believe). She said it was a porch then and they played there on cool summer evenings.

When we bought the house it was a small bedroom, but retained its sloped floor (though why a covered porch would need a sloped floor, I'm not sure). You might be able to see in the video what I did to true up the floor joists.

In completing this project I've learned (or refined  my skill at):

  • demolition (hah!)
  • framing
  • foundation preparation (though I left the actual concrete pour to experts--- thank you again, Colby and friends)
  • duct work
  • glass blocks (the small vertical window used to be a full vinyl window, but the shower stall obviously covers a large part of that space)
  • electrical (I did it twice... once with 14 gauge and then with the required 12 gauge)
  • supply plumbing (pex is easy and awesome, though I also learned a few things NOT to do. Thank you to Sheldon who loaned me the tools and taught me what TO do.)
  • (I left the waste plumbing to an expert... thanks, Dustin)
  • insulation
  • drywall
  • drywall tape and mud
  • texturing
  • paint
  • trim
  • subfloor
  • vinyl flooring
  • light fixtures
  • sewing (I made the curtains, even)
We also have a nice, full closet space in that room. And full-length mirrors. And a window that opens for fresh air (insert your own potty joke here). And a pass-through door to the laundry room. And drawer space we don't have to share with kids. 

And a fine sense of satisfaction. I guess I also know where are the warts are, but I really tried not to cut corners. As much as we could, with the resources we had, we tried to do everything right. The day the certificate of occupancy arrived from the city was a good day. All inspections passed, etc. 

I think I'll go take a shower. Or something...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I gots skills

Two years ago our family spent a week at the Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico. For the occasion, I had to have regulation BSA Scout uniform pants. Just so you know, they don't come hemmed.

So... I learned, painstakingly, how to hem pants by hand. We're talking 2-3 hours for this little project... and I don't think I did it very well anyway.

Jacob, our oldest, is starting his second year on the staff of Camp Bradley and, being the teenager that he is, he's grown several inches since last year. New regulation BSA scout uniform pants are in order for him again this year. Did I mention they don't come hemmed?

Because he needed two pair, I dreaded the whole hemming thing again, so I was on the hunt for a shortcut. I'm sure you'll be stunned to learn that I consulted the internet. I learned how to do a blind hem on our sewing machine. It took a little patience, and overall probably about the same amount of time as hemming them by hand would have, but now I know how to do a machine blind hem. Well worth the time, I'd say, because we have three more scouts coming up the ranks.

So... one productive (ish) day of summer. ;-)