Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Luck of the DIYer

I wanted to share a quick, fun post with you today about always having "on" the DIY mentality.

We recently spent 4 days in Los Angeles visiting a nephew who was graduating from high school.  We flew back home, jumped on BART to the station nearest our house and decided to take the 10 minute walk instead of the usual $5 cab ride home.

On the way, we see a solid core door with a 'Free' sign on it near the sidewalk.  I needed a solid core door for the access way leading from the basement into the garage.  The door was in great shape and just needed a little painting.  So I scooped it up and carried it the rest of the way home. 

Want proof?

We returned home from Los Angeles with a free door I need!  Andrea stopped laughing long enough to snap these photos.

So the moral of the story is; keep your eyes open and walk often because you just might find what you need! Saved me about $50 and a trip to HD.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Growing a Ghost Orchid

"Not only rare but fascinating, the Ghost Orchid is a plant that was presumed to be extinct for almost 20 years and only recently materialized again. The plant is so rare because it is near-impossible to propagate."

You'd think this post would be about actually growing a Ghost Orchid but it is actually a metaphor for the 4 months it took to finally finish the Master Bathroom.

Building a new bathroom in your home can be a daunting task if you are mostly doing it yourself.  It's surprisingly expensive and more surprisingly time consuming.  There are layers and layers of foundational things that need to be done before you can even add water to the mix.  Anyway, if you follow this blog, you know the history.

Btw, thank you to those of you who contributed to over 50,000 pageviews on our blog. We hope that you either learned something, or got a great laugh at the work we are performing on this 1898 Vic.

So it is the middle of May and we are about 97% finished with the Master Bath. 

So let's get right down to the pics and the specifics:

First a pic of the demo from January,
 And the same angle from today.

We went with a color scheme and tile work that mimics a bygone era of the early 20th century.  Apparently the "subway" look was very popular back then because of all the new subways that were operating in the western countries. The archway makes it feel like you are stepping into a subway to take a shower.  Why?  Why not??

The flooring is a b/w white octangular type of style which is TEN times more brutal to deal with than your 16 x16 tiles.  But it's period accurate and seems fun to look at NOW.

les toilettes - les WC is the latest low-flow, water saving type from Delta.  It has a pretty strong flush and was fairly inexpensive and easy to install.  

 Without a doubt, the biggest battle was with the huge subway tiled shower I affectionately call 'The White Whale', after Moby Dick.  This shower took a huge amount of time to complete and is bigger then YOUR walk-in closet!  (Maybe). lol   I added a high shelf, which at the time seemed like a good idea, but contributed to some headaches later on.  Now it is a great space to put things that won't get too wet. The irony is that we may only get to use it for 3 mins a day because of the drought. lol!  What a world!

I added un petite shower bench and a recessed cove.

So we looked at several vanities and we agreed that this dark stain/ceramic vanity from IKEA was the best choice. Why? Because the depth of it was just right.  Most vanities are about 22" in depth and I had the hardest time finding one that was about 19" in depth and IKEA had one which happened to have a nice vintage style and the kind of back splash that evokes an older time. Plus it has some great storage spaces in both drawers.   I knock IKEA a lot for its cheap products but this one is a good fit for us at a good price.  I really like the built in sink so I don't have to re-caulk around a drop-in sink ever again. 

I am most proud of the electrical work I did in this bathroom.  Shockingly, I didn't electrocute myself and I've developed a greater appreciation for how devices can illuminate and activate various motors and light fixtures.  Someday, I'd love to make a door that swooshes open like the ones on 'Star Trek'. 

Cost?  Well, I originally budgeted $3k for the whole thing but the city inspections and the plumber alone took all that money.  So it took another 3K for the materials we estimate. It's astonishing to find out how the littlest things tend to be the most costly.   But in the end we get a private bathroom in the master bedroom and we are already enjoying having that luxury.   Would I do it again?  Are you effin crazy?