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Stair Railing Installed, Ready for Final Inspection

With my father in town for Thanksgiving I was able to have him help me install the last element stopping the scheduling of final Building Permit inspection for my occupancy permit; the stair railing leading to upstairs.  The railing I got from Hyde Park Lumber 20191022_195914because I wanted to have the curved ends that meet the wall.  I didn’t know code required this anyway, but I was at the historic General Denver Hotel in Wilmington, OH and I took a picture of their stair rail in hopes I could find something similar.

It came in three parts, the rail and two end pieces.  It would take some precise measuring and drilling to get the ends to align perfectly once attached.  I figured my father would be up for that task.  One end fit perfectly, the other I had to sand a bit, all in all it was a fairly easy project.

Installing window trim allowed me to find the pieces of trim that ran on top of the stair string and also under the bead board short wall surrounding the stairs, so I tackled putting them in place also.  I knew I would have two issues I’d need to work around.  The first was I knew the pieces would run short.  Originally there was a door that closed off upstair and the trim stopped at the jamb.  I had about a 5-6″ shortfall on both sides to contend with.  The style/design of that trim was unlike any other trim in the house.  I didn’t want to risk breaking it by taking it to Hyde Park Lumber to see if they had anything to match, so instead I used a piece of original trim not used on the Master Bath windows.  I put the splice at the top of stairs since my Master oasis is not public space.  Close enough in my opinion.

The second issue was dealing with larger gaps around the bead board and floor moulding created because the drywall was thinner than the plaster in some areas.  On the top of the left side of stairs there was an obvious gap that bothered me every time I went up the stairs.  Thanks to watching Tom install the last of the crown moulding I got the perfect idea to conceal the gap; an end cap which I made from a piece of leftover moulding from upstairs.  The piece was small and all I had to work with was my coping saw as I attempted to cut the shape to match the profile of the floor moulding.  A friend found a used scroll saw for me at Habitat ReStore for $15, all it needs is a blade.  Sure wish I had in operating for this.  All in all not a bad remedy.  The right side was not as intricate as the gap was much longer and wider.  More left trim from the bathroom windows took care of that.

The bottom of the stair string posed a different problem due to the removal of the jamb.  Each side had different lengths.  The left ended approx. 3/4″ from wall, so I decided to just fill the gap with a piece of wood that would allow me to run the floor moulding to the end of string.  The right side had about a 3″ gap, so I cleaned up the edge and decided to wrap the floor moulding around the corner.  Since moulding in that area didn’t exist I sanded down a piece left from upstairs and stained it to match the other first floor moulding and stair risers.

With the fixes in place installing the original trim pieces was a piece of cake.  Clean up was just water and Restore-A-Finish.

Before and After.  What a transformation.

 

Kitchen Complete. First Thanksgiving.

I moved into my house on November 17, 2018 without a functioning kitchen or bathroom.  Fast forward one year and the kitchen is finally 100% complete.  Finishing and placing the built-in was the primary reason the kitchen didn’t reach this status sooner.  The crown moulding for the cabinet over the refrigerator could not be installed until it was in place.  My Jack of all trades, Tom Milfeld, was able to make quick work of the final run.  Because the wall ended into the hall he had to create a finished end by boxing around the corner.  He’s fantastic.

Before:

After:

You may notice the window trim is up in the dining room.  With the kitchen done and my desire to host Thanksgiving I felt compelled to make the dining room more complete, so I forged through the piles in my basement and found the window trim for all of the first floor windows, 9 windows.  I got 7 done before Thanksgiving and it made a world of difference in making the house look finished.  The windows are at eye level and without the moulding looked like eye sores.

My regular readers know my process for cleaning up my wood.  These windows were in far worst shape than the upstairs windows.  I had to glue many cracks or broken off pieces and even create filler pieces before I started my regime of denatured alcohol, stain and/or Restore-A-Finish, followed by Howard’s Feed and Wax.

One of the aprons was completely missing it trim (not sure of the proper name), so I found something that was a close match at Lowes.  Once stained the difference was neglible.  That is the top of the apron which is directly under the window seal, barely seen.  A normal person probably wouldn’t bother to replace it.  I’m not normal.

Before hanging the moulding I caulked every crack and seam of the window frame.  You could feel the air and cold around every window.  I still have the two office windows to install, so I’ll share pics on where I caulked when I post “Windows Complete”.  For now I’m just amazed on how the moulding transformed the look of the rooms.

The rug, Safavieh Evoke Quinn Vintage Boho Medallion Distressed, I ordered it from Overstock.com  I’ve been stepping over the rolled up rug still in its plastic for months.  I’m pretty sure I’ve surpassed the period to return it, so I’m glad I like it.  The different shades of blue pick up the cabinets and wall and the splattering of  grey ties in with the living room.  I can’t wait to start working on my dining room table.

Diner was great.  I cooked my first turkey in a convection oven.  I got a fresh Amish turkey from Country Meat Co. on Findlay Market.  I did a dry brine method with seasoning from Colonel De Gormet Herbs & Spices, also at Findlay.  Sea Salt, Brown Sugar and the Colonels’ Simon and Garfunkel and Turkey/Chicken rub.  It was awesome (no cooked bird pics) and the turkey and noodle soup I’m cooking tomorrow will be even better thanks to all those spices.

A Blessing in Disguise – Final Plumbing Inspection Passed

With the tub installed it was time to schedule my final plumbing inspection.  When I called, my inspector confirmed what Wize Plumbing had told me when they installed the tub, I would need to perform a bowl test.  Knowing that would involve climbing up on the roof to plug my stacks I asked Wize if they could do it.  He recommended that I run the test prior to scheduling the inspector to ensure it would pass.  If it did not I could make the necessary corrections.  He stood me up once.  When I got his assistant to confirm their coming I asked for a price.  He wanted $950 as he assumed it would not pass and he would need to fix the problem.  No way.  I asked my father to do some research on the process and he found a YouTube video with clear instructions, so I decided to run the test myself.

My first attempt at scaling my roof did not go well.  The pitch is steep, much steeper than my old house that I walked whenever I needed to.  I barely got up to the top; thank God for years of fitness classes with Julie Hill (best trainer EVER).  My feet never took traction, so I used all arm strength to push myself up.  I was winded by the time I reached the top.  I have three vents that would need to be plugged.  The first I could reach while perched on top.  The other two would mean lowering myself down the back side of the roof and then back up.  All I could see was myself sliding completely down and crashing to the ground.  I abandoned this attempt.  Not to be deterred I desperately made calls trying to find a person with mountain climbing gear.  When that failed I searched tool supply rental stores for body harnesses and life lines.  I found both at Schuloff Tool Rental.  I could rent the harness, but would need to buy the rope.  About a $100 investment for two-day rental.  I just needed the weather to cooperate for attempt number two.

Attempt number two never had to happen, thank God!  When I came down from the first try I noticed separation in the crown moulding of my box gutters.  Restoring the gutters was the first large chunk of change I spent on my house, so needless to say I was not happy to see the gaps.  Clearly bad cuts had been made, caulk was used to hide them and the caulk failed.  I called Fusion Roofing, who did the work, as I have a 5-year warranty.  The crew leader that did the work, Randy, came out a few days later to see the issue in person.  He apologized, made no excuses, and said they’d be back to correct the work.  It rained the next two days, but they returned yesterday.

Here is the blessing in disguise.  I asked them about the proper technique for scaling 20191125_091431roofs with my pitch, sharing my pending plumbing inspection.  Randy said his guy Joey could put the plugs in place for me.  AWESOME, at least I could do the test run without fear of breaking my neck.  You loose access to your plumbing with the plugs in place, so the plan was to run the test and have Joey remove.  Pass or fail I’d need to scale the roof again for the actual inspection.

I ran the test and the water level held.  Since they got such an early start I was able to reach the plumbing inspector and get the inspection scheduled for the same day.  When I shared that news with Randy and Joey, Joey offered to come back and remove the plugs after the test.  It meant my father would have to resort to the “pee pot” again, but a small inconvenience to get this huge milestone complete.

Their repair work went well and the gutters look great, again.  Randy said he calls seams that fit that close “sexy”.  Sexy indeed.  Wize Plumbing I’ll never call again, but Fusion Roofing are super-stars in my book.  I’ve said it before, but good customer service can overcome negative situations.  I hope they put forth a competitive bid when I’m ready for my garage project.  Joey refused compensation, but I made him take what I would have spent on the rental equipment.  It was well earned and deserved.  Perfect start to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Road Trip for the Elusive Office Door

20191123_114730Saturday I made a quick trip up to Columbus, OH to pick up the only missing door in my house; the elusive, 2-panel (vertical), approx 32″x 80″ door for my office.  You cannot restore old houses without having an arsenal of salvage stores to shop.  I found Columbus Architectural Salvage‘s website months ago when started searching for doors for my house.  They have always had the 2-panel vertical style I needed, but not until last week did they have one in the size I needed.  I paid for it in advance to ensure it would be there.

What a super cool store and so well organized, I could spend hours.  It was sensory overload.  The budding up-cylcer in me was roaring to come out and buy, buy, buy for project ideas.  I resisted and came home with just a door, a mortice lock to fit it, and a couple of hinges I will need for my master bedroom refreshment center project, stay tuned for that one.

The door will need to be stripped and stained to match the others in the house, but this won’t be my first stripping rodeo.  It will also need to be reversed as it is currently 20191123_151632oriented to swing in the wrong direction.  I’ve already solicited Scotti, from the Wavepool Wood Shop to tackling getting it fitted for the door jamb.  One day I will learn the process of retro-fitting doors and jambs, but at this stage of the project I’m invoking my old time is money adage.  At my current skill set (which is advanced and getting stronger) I would take days to fit the door and that’s not time I have to give at this stage.

Having that door allows me to truly see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The first floor trim, moulding, and setting of five doors is all that is left from calling the inside of the house complete.  I’ve put myself on the clock to have the inside complete by my birthday in mid January, so no holiday trim the tree gathering again this year.

I Told You She’d Be Beautiful

October 2017, armed with 2 PB&Js, Vitamin Water, and Gatorade I freed this hand-crafted, almost 100 year old built-in from the wall it was encased in.  It was one of the many vintage/cool elements that vandals left relatively untouched that made me fall instantly in love with this house.  I knew before the house was mine it would have a relocated home in my kitchen and today marked the day her restoration was complete.

Picking up where I left off with moving her back to the kitchen I completed restoring the doors.  The two smaller doors at the top were a simple clean with Murphy Oil Soap water to remove the dust, followed by denatured alcohol, outside only with alcohol.  Once dried I applied Howard’s Feed and Wax.  Like the bottom door, I decided to sand the glass doors, apply the Zar’s Early American stain, followed by the Howard’s.

Most of the door hinges were rusted, so over a year ago, I cleaned them up by soaking them in vinegar.  I sprayed them liberally with WD40 and placed them in labeled plastic bags waiting for this moment.

The drawers were missing from the beginning.  When I picked up my bathroom vanity from Homestead Furniture I noticed shelves of drawer boxes, so I asked if this was something I could purchase from them.  The answer was yes, so when I returned home I took measurements and ordered them.  I already had the plan for the drawer fronts in my mind.  The original closet shelves in the attic space were in the same stain/patina as the cabinet.  I just had to cut to size four fronts on my table saw.  The sharp edge from the saw I did not think was fitting of a 100-year old cabinet, so I used my palm sander to round over the edges.  I applied the Zar stain to the edges and sides due to the fresh cut and again applied the Howard’s.

To attach the fronts to the drawer boxes I drilled counter-sink #8 holes in each corner of the drawer boxes, applied wood glue, and screwed 1”, #8 screws through the boxes and into the fronts. The bottom drawer is the only drawer I did not glue as I that drawer may get altered in the future. It is also the only drawer to get drawer slides.   I did have to alter the drawer box to accommodate the slide, but my JobMax tool made easy work of that.

The top three drawers I am operating the way they were built, sliding on the wood frame, although I did add Nylo-Tape to make the slide smoother and to stop further deepening the wear groove. To stop the drawers from being pulled completely out I added plastic drawer stops, both found at Rockler Woodworking.

The  bottom drawer got special treatment because it now my hidden dog feeder.  I saw this idea on many of the HGTV/DIY shows.  I thought it was an awesome idea.  I never measured my dogs, assuming the bottom drawer was low enough.  The height of the drawer box I based off their current bowls.  It is almost too high for them, so I bought new shallower bowls and even though I had the scrap piece of plywood, I purchased a 2’x2’ piece of thinner wood to lower it more.  They took to the new meal location with ease and already stand in front of the drawer when they know its time to eat.

The final touch to the drawers were some vintage pulls I found on Ebay.  I searched vintage/antique built-ins on the Internet and all seemed to have cup pulls.  The wear pattern on these I thought was fitting.   They didn’t come with screws, but I found antique copper specialty screws at Lowes.  The Phillips head is the only thing that speaks modern.

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The shelves were covered in red gingham contact paper.  It was filthy and not fully in tack on all the shelves.  The idea popped in my head to look for blue gingham contact paper on Amazon and I found it.  My motto is Ask Google, Shop Amazon.   I will say it was hard to work with, very difficult to separate the peel off paper.  Luckily one roll was enough as I bought it December 2018.  Blue is no longer available.  I applied it to all the shelves and the top of the dog’s pull out tray.  The bottom stationary shelf I didn’t try to remove the remaining old adhesive and the new did not go on smooth.  For the three adjustable shelves I took a damp dish towel and applied heat from my iron.  The old peeled off in relative ease.

With all the doors, drawers, and shelves installed, all that was left was the counter top. The original was just a piece of thin metal covered with contact paper.  I knew when I freed her I wanted to put on a piece of soapstone.  Nicole Curtis used soapstone in one of her renovation and I it was so cool.  Over a year ago I found a remnant piece at Ohio Valley Solid Surface. I paid for it in full, less than $300, and they have stored it in their yard until I was ready for it.

I picked up a scrap piece because I knew I would need to notch the cabinet in order for it to fit.  I wanted to put stain on the cut areas and have the space completely ready, so all they’d need to do was slide the top in place.

The same men that delivered my kitchen and master bath counters brought the soapstone.  Their first task was remeasuring the cabinet.  They determined that more needed to be shaved off before bringing it into the house.  After shaving it off they cleaned it with alcohol.  That was the first time I saw the huge veins, beautiful, I was giddy with joy.

They carried it into the house, but had to remove a bit more wood from my notch before it would completely slide in.  Once in they applied the first of what will be many coats of mineral oil.  From what I’ve read it will take 5-6 coats before it stays dark.  The edge of the stone is beveled.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that as I assumed it would be rounded like the other counter.  However Emily, my sales person, had in her notes that we discussed a beveled edge would be more fitting given the age of the cabinet.  That was a conversation I did not remember, but glad she did.

It’s absolutely beautiful, everything exactly as I envisioned.

 

 

 

A Pile of Shavings from a Perfect Fit

With the master bath complete I turned my energy on the kitchen built-in.  It’s been in my basement awaiting stain ever since Tom added trim to make it look finished on the outside.  Not having it in place is stopping the installation of the last of the crown moulding install and the completion of the kitchen (minus the floors, still an issue that I want to fix, but doesn’t stop the function).

I have so many different combinations I’m using on my wood projects.  For this I first applied a coat of Minwax Prestain.  I can’t say I’d ever buy this product again, but I had it left over from the front door project.  Then I applied a coat of Zar’s Oil Base Stain in Early American.  I needed to get the outside (new and previously unexposed) wood to match the aged patina of the inside of the cabinet.  Until I started my head board project I had planned to put poly acrylic on the outside, but now that I’ve been introduced to Danish Oil I ended the process with two coats of neutral.

 

Now this is where got ambitious.  The crew from Two Men and a Truck took those pieces down to the basement for me.  I needed to get them back upstairs.  This is the downfall of being a solo act in this phase of the project and in life.  I got the dresser from my Pinterest project upstairs by myself.  It was just as heavy as the bottom of the built-in, but not as wide.  I decided to give the bottom a shot.  The width proved to be the obstacle.  I couldn’t get a grip, so I literally somersaulted it up the stairs to the top landing where I then became trapped in basement.  The movers took it through the front door and around to the back door to get it in the basement.  It was not going to make the turn, so I had to climb over it, lean it back down the steps enough so I could open the back door, I got my car, loaded it in the back, drove it to the front door, somersaulted it up the front steps, and got it reloaded on the wheeled dolly.  She suffered some scratches in that ordeal, which I applied Restor-A-Finish to help blend out.  Worked like a charm.

 

Of the four doors (all drawers were missing) of the built-in, the bottom one was in worst shape; faded and dried.  I decided to sand the outside down (inside was fine, just needed cleaning) before applying the stain.  It also got a coat of Danish oil.

 

Now it was time to move the top part.  I assumed I couldn’t do it by myself given its height, so I did solicit help but my neighbor was out of town and Tom (carpenter) 20191101_171410couldn’t help that day.  I decided to try it by myself.  It was actually lighter than the bottom and the top shelve location was at my shoulder, so I treated it like a cane, taking one step at a time.  This time I had the door open and my car ready.  However when I drove to the front, another neighbor was driving by so he stopped in the middle of the street, hopped out and helped me carry it in the house.  No scratches!

Now the moment of truth.  During the framing phase of this project, my father helped me put in a bulkhead that the built-in would rest under, similar to how it was when it was built-in the wall.  With the two pieces combined would it fit.  The answer was a crushing NO, I was about 3/4″ too tall.  Knowing that the floor sloped and thinking that I needed to make the base level before putting the top on, I had purchased adjustable furniture glides.  I ended up removing them and putting on felt pads just to protect my floor.  In the end I ended up removing them too.

 

Ultimately what allowed the cabinet to fit was using my hand planer and shaving off some of the top.  When Tom installed the trim pieces, he extended past the top of the cabinet by about a 1/2″.  The pile of shavings was created by planing down until I was flush with the surface.  With that the piece slid into its space, wedged on the left side as it appears the drywall crew made that side extend down longer than the right side.

 

I put the bottom door on and called it a night.  Almost two years ago I found a piece of remnant soap stone at Ohio Valley Solid Surface.  They’ve been holding it until I reached this point in the project.  They’ve come out and made their template to cut the stone to the opening; I’ll have it next week.  To make it fit the way my mind’s eye envisioned, the cabinet will need to be notched, so check back to see how the finished project turns out.

 

Freakin’ Awesome

I had my mind set on a cast iron tub, given the age of the house.  I had selected several from the Signature Hardware website, when a friend who had bought an acrylic tub from them said I should go to their showroom.  At that point I didn’t even know they were a local company.  I learned of them from watching many HGTV shows that use their products.

Most important for me was getting a tub that would allow me to fully extend my legs, something I could not do in the tubs of my old house.  I was so focused on length, that I did not take into account width and it turned out all the cast iron tubs were narrow, I felt trapped sitting in them.  The showroom person pointed out the acryllic, Renlo model, which comes in various lengths, but the 70″ happened to be on display.  It was perfect, wide and long and its style I thought would fit.  While the house is old my master bath was a new creation in it.  I worked hard to replicate the 1st floor bathroom, but I felt free to “design” this space.  Plus I knew it would be difficult getting a cast iron tub upstairs.  I was swayed.

Signature Hardware, from the showroom, will sell returned merchandise, its been so long I forgot the exact term they used.  Another person had ordered the 67″ version with a chrome overflow and drain, but cancelled the order before delivery.  Since the drain had already been attached it was sold at a discount, 40% off if my memory serves me.  I had not planned to do chrome fixtures, but could live with it for the savings.  I didn’t jump right away because the 70″ fit so good; even leaning back my knees did not need to bend.  I left, called my father, to share my findings.

 

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About an inch gap between tub and linen closet door, so the extra 3″ would have been problematic.

Since he had been studying my plans his first question was are you sure you have room for 70″.  I went to the house (this was pre-drywall, amazing) and measured where I thought the linen closet door would swing.  He was right.  I called the next day and paid for the discounted tub.  They stored it for a month before I had to take delivery.  That tub stayed in its box, which i put on wheels so it could be easily worked around by the drywall crew, until I laid the tile in that area.  18 months after purchase its connected and I enjoyed my first bath.

Lights dimmed, music playing, it was freakin’ awesome.  Exactly as seen in my mind’s eye almost two years ago.

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Tub half-full, I’m sitting up, knees completely submerged
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Tub about 3/4 full, I’m leaning back, knees out of water.
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I’m leaning back, knees submerged at the sacrifice of my feet

 

Master Bath, Functionally Complete

What a journey. I still need to find towel racks and get them installed, but it is an official 4 piece functioning bathroom and tomorrow I will call the city to get my final plumbing inspection.

The shower has been reworked and refitted. The Signature Hardware knobs, which match the sink and tub filler, and hand held sprayer are the only remaining reminders of what went down. If you look real close you can see where I nicked a few pieces of the surrounding tile, but all and all removing the body sprays completely was fairly simple. My Ridgid JobMax tool with a grout grinder attached made quick time of the work.

I decided to rework the diverter valve. Of the three ports on the top, I caped off the middle (housed the wall shower head) and moved the wall shower head down to the single port location where the body sprays once were. Doing this 1) put the head I’ll use daily on a port by itself, so easy direct access, and 2) I can now have the wall and rain shower heads work simultaneously.

I replaced the Signature Hardware shower heads with Hansgrohe Raindance S models. I didn’t leave it to chance; I actually went into a local showroom and tested several before selecting these units. I saved over $200 by ordering them through Build.com and not purchasing them from showroom retailer.

The wall shower unit is Raindance S Multi Function 2.5 GPM Shower Head. There was nothing wrong with the Signature Hardware wall shower unit, but since I lost the multiple body sprays I wanted a multi-function shower head. The WhirlAir massage setting feels awesome and the RainAir setting has a tingling sensation on my skin. Like taking a shower in club soda. The rain shower head is the Raindance S Rain 2.5 GPM Shower Head. Again, nothing wrong with the Signature Hardware fixture, but I wanted the two heads to match. I washed my hair last night and tried running both heads. Slight reduction in water flow, but still a nice shower experience.

A city licensed plumber installed the tub for me. I’m very glad I did not decide to install it myself. I didn’t have the tools they used, would not have known how to properly cut the pipe, so a very good $300 investment. I need to give the caulk tonight to set up, but I’m taking that puppy for a test ride tomorrow night. It’s been a long time in the making. This was the very first fixture purchase.

BEFORE

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Master Bath (Future walk-in shower/free standing tub)

AFTER

Did reality match the caption of the before picture typed almost two years ago. I think so!

Here They Come To Save The Day…..Maybe

Distraught does not begin to describe my mindset when I accepted the realization that my vision for my shower with the Signature Hardware Shower system would never materialize.  At the start of this project I wanted that shower to be a steam shower, but the cost of the unit was three times the cost of the shower system, so I settled on what my friends coined “the human car wash”. One single function spray does not a car wash make, so I decided to research steam units again.  Fortunately I had already made the decision to completely enclose the shower, to keep the steam from the water in, so I knew one hurdle was down without any additional cost.

Build.com has been my go to website for a lot of the items in my house, so I started there.  They had several brands:  Mr. Steam, SteamSpa, Steamist, ThermoSol, and Kohler.  With that list I started looking for reviews of systems on the Internet and consistently Mr. Steam and ThermoSol were popping up.  Then I stumbled across a ThermoSol company video.  There was a statement in the video “employees are empowered to help the customer” that really jumped out at me.  I decided to go to their website to learn more about their product.  Not really knowing what I would need I clicked on the word “Consultation” on their website.  They provided your choice of 4 phone appointments of various lengths.  I selected Steam Shower, a 30 minute, speak with a ThermaSol Specialist to discuss the features of a ThermaSol steam shower.

I got to select a day, time in step 1; I selected early afternoon the following day.  Step 2 was your contact information and details on the size of your shower, and an opportunity to share any details.  I was fresh off the callous phone call with Signature Hardware where I was told they were severing business ties with me, so my details centered around the disppointment with the performance of their system.  I provided links to some of my post.  Approximately two hours after I hit confirm appointment my phone rang and it was a representative from ThermaSol, but not just any representative.  It was Mitchell Altman, the CEO.  He read my comments and pulled my appointment out of the cue as he wanted to personally handle my situation.  The man brought me to tears, this time of joy.

Following the call and on that same day we must have had a dozen back and forth emails. Some well past his business hours.  As promised he sent me a document with installation instructions.  I’d read some, have a question and email him.  The man responded back in minutes each time.  I sent him pictures behind the wall, in the shower with measuring tapes, so he could see heights and distances of locations where his instructions said equipment should go.  In the end he said his unit could definitely be installed, I had only one major hurdle.  Could I get a 60 amp service line up to the master bathroom.  My God send electrician, Mr. McGhee came over the next day.  He looked at my panel, determined I had space, and he studied routes to pull the line upstairs.  I have two options, but bottom line was yes, he could get a 60 amp line up to the shower.

I shared that news in another email with Mr. Altman who then sent me a package quote. With Fifth Third turning down my equity line application (due to finding no value in the collateral and for the house still being under construction) the ability to paint my house this year was doubtful, but I still have some funds I was going to allocate towards replacing the pillars out front.  I thought that would help improve the curb appeal in the short term.  Well I don’t live outside and I shower every day, so right now I’m strongly leaning towards reallocating those funds and moving forward with the ThermaSol system.  You’ll have to keep checking back for the final outcome.

 

Ryan’s all-glass Gave An All-Star Performance

20190928_210152The shower glass is installed.  Ryan’s All Glass did an awesome job.  It took six visits over the course of almost three weeks.  Visit one was the measurement.  He was able to confirm, what I suspected, one piece of glass to cover the entire back wall was not going to fit up the stairs. 

I was going to need two pieces, but he measured so the break of the wall was in line with the top of the door leading into the shower.  He assured me it would look seamless and would give better eye appeal doing it that way.  It was also going to double the install time as he’d have to come and measure for the top piece and the triangle above the door after the door and bottom pane had been installed.  I had no argument with that rationale.   He told me it would take 7-10 days for the first round of glass to come in.  I got the call within 5 days.

20191007_120122.jpgTrip 2:  I was given a two hour window with a 30-minutes out call time.  They actually had to wait on me to arrive.  My main installer, that was there for every visit was Jerry.  He was accompanied with different younger crew members each time.  It was cool watching a senior tradesman impart his knowledge to the younger crew.  Goal for day one was set the large piece for the back wall and the stationary piece for the entrance.

One piece of tile, that stuck out slightly from the others near the top of the glass, caused them to not be able to set that piece.  It would need to be returned to the shop to be grind down.  With that piece safely back into the van they turned their attention to installing the large piece of the back wall.  Ryan states they are the only company in Cincinnati installing bracketless shower systems.  A bead of silicon is what holds the glass in place.

Trips 3 and 4:  The entry side was the focus, both the stationary piece and swinging door.  They can only silicon one side, so they returned the next day briefly to remove the bracing they had installed, silicon the inside, and take the measurements for the triangle above the door and top piece of wall.  In and out in under an hour.  I loved the efficiency in which they worked.  I was told I could use the shower officially the next day, Saturday Oct. 12.  I was still dealing with installing the body sprays, so that didn’t happen until the 13th.

Trip 5 and 6:  The remaining pieces of glass had arrived and the largest crew, four or five were involved to get it installed.  Jerry would not let me stay and watch this process for safety reasons (in case they dropped the glass), so I only got after pictures.  They returned on the 25th to caulk the inside and with that my shower enclosure was complete.  Definitely one of my best contractor experiences on the project.

It turned out beautiful, exactly as I imagined it would and the gentleman that did the original measurements was absolutely right about matching the break to top of the door.  The pieces of tile you see missing in some of the photos are a result of my decision to remove the Signature Hardware body sprays altogether.  They will never perform to a standard befitting the rest of the shower, so I didn’t even want to look at them.  I started the process while waiting on the remaining pieces of glass to come in.  I’ll go in detail on that decision in another post, but needless to say its a shame Ryan’s great work could not have been the culmination of the shower project.

This was the second time I used Ryan’s.  They installed the small piece of glass I needed to keep water from splashing to the floor when I installed the Grohe body sprays at my old house.  The force from those sprays is what I thought I was going to get, NOT even close.  Clearly not all body sprays are created equal.  The woman that bought my house also used them to install glass railings, removing the old wood spindles I grew up with.  I loved what she did and wish I had thought of it while I lived there.  It really brought a modern vibe to a 70s house.