Sunday, June 5, 2011

Master Bath Remodel

I apologize for being MIA for many months. For a couple of retired folks we have been way to busy.   We've racked up 6,000+ miles since February visiting children and grandchildren.

We are home now and have begun remodeling our master bathroom (or as I have come to think of it "OMG, are we trying to kill ourselves?") We did have a small dressing room and an even smaller bathroom. We tore out the wall between the two rooms and made one big bathroom. Since Murphy's Law ALWAYS applies to Massie projects it won't surprise you to learn the wall turned out to be load bearing. The good news was our house is post and beam construction so we only needed to add a new beam. Unfortunately, the beams in our house were custom milled so we had to wait for the lumber mill to cut us a new beam! Once the old wall was removed we also discovered the original contractor must have gotten a really really really good deal on nails since he used at least a million nails to hold the wall in place!

Once the wall was gone Jim cut the old vanity in half and removed it, took down the mirrors, demolished the linen closet (amazing how much junk we had crammed & jammed in there.) Jim and brother Bill sledge hammered the bathtub/shower tile surround into oblivion and unseated the toilet. Friends came over to help pry, chisel and scrape the old floor up and haul all the debris away.

Then came the fun part, getting the really heavy (300 pounds) cast iron bathtub out of the bathroom, down the stairs and out to the curb. Only took four men to drag the thing to the stairs, connect a rope and slide it down the stairs, tip it up on a dolly and wheel it out the front door. Kept expecting Henry to get crushed by the tub careening down the stairs! 

While all the hard work was going on I did my part by shopping for the new bathroom!  The Internet was a wonderful place to get great deals on everything.  My friends thought I was crazy for buying everything sight unseen but I did lots of research first and then price shopped. Saved a bunch by not having to pay California 7.25% sales tax. Plus all the orders shipped for free (hooray.)  Amazing how much stuff you need for a new bathroom. Bathtub and drain, shower pan, sinks and drains, lots of faucets and valves, towel bars, towel rings, robe hooks, TP dispenser, sconces, chandelier, vanity, linen closet, field tile, mosaic tile, chair rail tile pencil tile, tile, tile and more tile! 

It was so much fun getting all the stuff delivered, just like Christmas - only better. And everything was  perfect, no damage, no disappointments. Love the Internet! Here's my pile of bathroom booty.

Once the demolition was done Jim redid the electrical and our good friend Bob did the plumbing. Then the new tub deck and shower were framed in and the green board was hung, taped and the wall textured. I spent several days painting the bathroom. The ceiling is about 15 feet high so it was a real pain to paint.

The new vanity was delivered and it looks great! It took me a few days, but I finished tiling the vanity and back splash. My poor hands will never be the same. The thinset (a type of cement used to adhere tile) has course sand and lime in it and any little scratch gets embedded with the thinset. Since the lime is corrosive it eats away at the tiny scratches until they're painful sores. So remember, if you need to clean up a drip or wipe off a smudge of thinset. use a rag not your fingers! When I planned this bathroom I was so excited about getting wall mount faucets and vessel sinks. Unfortunately I did not consider the level of difficulty required to tile around the faucets! I had to cut the sheets of mosaic tile apart so I could tile one itty bitty piece at a time all around the stubbed out faucets. It was really frustrating and slow work, thank goodness it's done now.

Have I mentioned what's happened to my house?  It looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy went berserk showering the whole house with flour! Yes, that's right - it's construction dust. Our bedroom has become construction central, the new soaking tub is sitting at the foot of  our bed, Jim's power tools are stacked against one wall and all the faucet paraphernalia and shop vacuum are stacked against the other side of the bedroom. It's become a real challenge getting in and out of bed. Our dog Maggie is spending a lot of time upstairs with us and she finds it difficult to find a place to lay down and watch.  And speaking of upstairs, as part of the demo we had to disconnect the toilet, so it's just sitting in the middle of the bathroom right now. The midnight call of nature has become a real challenge as we try to weave our way through the mess to get downstairs.

Next is grouting. The back splash has glass, marble and travertine tile so I'll need to use unsanded grout so I don't scratch the glass. Once I finish this, it's on to the bathtub and shower. This work should go quicker since it's mostly 12 X 12 field tile.

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