Sunday, April 14, 2013

And what have you accomplished lately?

We're at the stage in several projects where it feels like not much is getting done. The downstairs bathroom is still the priority but each step seems to require down time: lay tile - let it cure; grout - let it dry; seal the grout - let it cure.

To keep on track and not flail around like we're growing in DIY, we created an "April" list. Whenever we have a bit of downtime, we check the list and make sure we're working on one of those things, not something random.

Some things on the list are big: downstairs bathroom; build upstairs storage area. Some are small: hang candelabra over dining table; hang pantry lights; etc. It's working for us (except mud season forced us to add "repair road" to the list).

So the last couple days while the sealant was curing we've:
1. Taped the sink base so that I could spray paint the pipe (have to wait for the weather to get over 50. Heck, at this point I'm hoping it gets over 40 soon).
2. Hung the pantry lights
3. Repaired drywall around switch covers and pipes
4. Unpacked more of the pantry stuff
5. Installed a twin bed in the pantry (that'll make more sense later, trust me)
6. Moved a storage cabinet out of the Nest and into the kitchen
7. Worked on repairing the water-logged road
8. Read a couple books (gotta take some downtime too, ya know)
9. Applied a finish coat of paint to the bathroom walls

Tonight I'm making spaghetti sauce, opening a bottle of red wine, and enjoying the fact that it's finally stopped raining/snowing.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stairs, lights, and rugs - oh my!

While I was out of town on a shopping trip with my sister, Chris got stairs up! They’ve got the construction treads on them still as we don’t have the wood cut for the finished treads, but oh! How awesome to be able to carry boxes up and down stairs instead of a ladder. It’s the little things in life, ya know?

One stringer up and starting the landing

And we have stairs!

Future closet under stairs
The cat loves them by the way. She’s going to be very disappointed when we put the back on them. We won’t leave them open simply because we need the storage space and that’s a very deep closet-to-be. Too bad, as I kind of like the look. But when you build on a slab and give up all that awesome basement storage, you quickly realize that inside storage is at a premium.

Cat staring through stairs - her new favorite activity
Some other stuff that we’ve been up to:

Put shelves in the freezer storage closet off the pantry. So I’m making great progress in unpacking all my cooking gear.

Shelves to left go all the way to floor
Set up a new chrome shelving unit in the kitchen that’s much prettier than the plastic one we had there. Plus it’s bigger – useful and good looking! The other storage units are being set up in the future upstairs bathroom which is going to be a temporary storage space.

Easy assembly

All filled up
Put up a new kitchen light in the middle of the room. Went down to IKEA to buy some functional/pretty stuff like living room rugs and the aforementioned light. Okay, I managed to buy some other stuff too, but since they’re not installed yet, you’ll just have to wait for another post.

A very subtle new light

Not so subtle rugs
 And here's a sneak peak at our bathroom sink design:

Sink parts
 Makes a lot more sense when it's assembled...

Rough assembly
We dry-fitted it to make sure we liked it and to make sure we had all the pieces we needed. Turns out we needed some unions that would allow the last pipes fit together properly. So the test run was a success in that it pointed out we needed to do a bit more work. The sink is white porcelain and will sit in the center; on either side will be a slab of wood that we finish with a marine varnish for durability. I think it's going to look awesome.

We’re also doing road maintenance. Mud season is upon us and we’ve sustained quite a bit of damage from truck traffic. So the road needs to be smoothed and new fill brought in. We’re also going to put down some landscaping fabric (or something similar) to help create a water barrier.

They're even worse than they look here
 So that’s latest. Spring is finally coming and all the outdoor tasks start as well. Looking forward to doing some light gardening and building a stone patio.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Time to tile

The first room that we want to have fully finished is the downstairs bath. We’ve been working on all kinds of temporary rooms – more for function than form if you know what I mean. And we’ve been doing really well with that, but at some point you have to actually start finishing rooms and we figured this would be the best place to start.

We poured the shower pan and let it cure. Then we started laying the mosaic stone tiles for the floor.  That went quickly and we were done with that step in a few hours. The floor tile went down much easier than we feared although it was a bit of a pain to cut the slate simply because the tiles were so small. We used nippers and a tile scorer to do the cuts at first but ultimately found that the tile saw worked best. Just had to be really careful with those itty-bitty tiles.

Love the stone!

Once the floor was down we needed to let it set for 24 hours before walking on it and took the opportunity to visit with friends up at their sugar bush. Maple syrup is awesome and if you knew how much work went into making it you would realize that the price on the bottle is cheap! Wow, what a lot of effort. While there we got a photo of this little guy. A young weasel grabbing a fresh caught meal. Couldn’t believe the luck in capturing this picture!

When we got back we tackled the wall tiles. Took a bit of planning as the floor was uneven due to the varying thickness of the stone. We finally got the first course laid and then it went very quickly. Working with 12-inch squares is really nice (our last tile job was subway tiles and those take forever to lay out). We had planned what the shower would look like: floor, tiles, mosaic border, tiles up to ceiling. But as we worked our way up, we realized that we had some different ideas that might look better than the original plan. This is what’s nice about DIY –you can change your mind mid-stream. Of course that’s also what’s horrible about DIY…

Working up the wall

The large tiles are porcelain while the floor is real stone

May have to keep the stool in there...

Painters tape provided make-shift support

Finished edge inside shower stall

Still like the stool
Anyway, we made some design decisions on the fly and we’re very pleased with the end result. The tile is laid and setting. We’ll tackle grout next and then the finish work around the windows and walls. It’s coming together really well and we’re far enough along now that we can make additional decorating choices about other parts of the room. Cool!