The Real Work Started This Weekend

Saturday I took all the aspen (type of wood) boards for the headboard shelves to the WoodShop to have them prepped and ready for Sunday, when the real work on my dining room table would begin.  I am going to work the table and headboard at the same time as when one project is drying from a glue up or epoxy fill I can work on the other.  The board prep was simple; drill my pilot holes and shelve holes.  Drilling the pilot holes was the priority as I knew the WoodShop drill press had a table with fence that would allow me to measure once, set the fence,  and then drill all my boards.  I’m using #6 screws, so needed to drill a 3/32 pilot hole.  From Amazon I ordered a shelf pin drilling jig, so that I can make my side shelves adjustable.  I took it with me and got those holes drilled too.  I intended to stain at least the insides, but didn’t get to it.

I met Kendall at the Manufactory Sunday.  Based on our discussions from last week the goal of the day was to begin the milling process of the boards  and start filling the cracks, holes, divots, with epoxy.  I’m going to love learning from him.  He brought a large piece of cardboard, which he cut at 7 7/8″, the maximum width of the Manufactory joiner.  My desire is to eliminate all the sap edges (white part of slabs), so that me table is all dark brown walnut.  This cardboard template would allow me to mark the boards appropriately and see how much waste I’d have.

While the boards are beautiful they aren’t completely flat and as I’m quickly learning you loose a lot of the thickness in your boards in creating flat surfaces.  The three boards with worst bow or cup or twist we decided it would be best to cut in half with then join them back together after their surfaces were flat.  For cutting we used the band saw.  I was introduced to this piece of equipment in the class I took at the Wood Shop, but haven’t used it much.  I must admit I was nervous.  I used the cardboard to strike a line in the center of each board.  Kendall gave me tips on safety and for working alone.  He held the cardboard when I struck the first line, but showed me the weights to hold the cardboard if I were working by myself.  Now it was time to cut.  He didn’t cut the first one as an example; he lined me up and said go at it.  I was so nervous.

From our very first meeting Kendall has talked about letting the wood acclimate.  Once cut the boards would move and I did not get what he was saying until I made these first cuts.  He was able to show me how the center of a board I had just cut had already moved/retreated.  The ends touched, but a gap had formed in the center.  This is to be expected and shows the importance of not rushing through your projects.  I’ll be able to fix that later, but it was the perfect example to clarify what he had been stating about wood movement.  I was able to stay on the line fairly well on all three boards, except when I hit a knot in the wood.  I should have taken these areas slower.  I could feel the board fighting me and the saw band made a funny noise when I hit those areas.

I’ve got 6 total boards. The one most severely cupped we had already decided would be used for the skirt.  After splitting the three in half I became concerned that after removing the sap (white) wood I may not have enough to reach my target 42″ width.  The two boards we left whole were 10″ wide and had the least amount of sap, but I would loose 3″ to make them fit the joiner, so Kendall stated it’s a shame they didn’t have a wider joiner.  With that statement I called my former neighbor, Dusty (the person that got me started in woodworking) and asked if he knew anyone.  He connected me to Adam Jacobs, owner of Urban Edge Woodworks, who happened to be working in his shop on a Sunday.  We spoke and he allowed me to bring the two boards to him so he could make a flat surface on one side.  Adam is a graduate of the School for Creative and Performing Arts.  He started building sets and woodworking at age 13 and he’s turned his passion into a 20+ year career.  His next commissioned piece will be his largest table to date.  The wood alone to build it cost $20K.  He showed us (Kendall joined me) the design and OMG!  He said he’d have it complete in less than a month.  I can’t wait to see it posted on his website.

As soon as he examined one of the boards, he was able to determine I would loose too much in thickness because it was more severely cupped than we thought.  He asked if I was married to those boards.  Well, yes and no.  Yes because the story of making my own dining room table out of trees that came from my back yard is so cool.  No if it meant I’d have to sacrifice size.  He showed me a slab of walnut he thought would work great with mine.  He said he thought it would be perfect as the center of a table; I agreed and bought it.  He ran the second board through his joiner to create the flat surface I needed and then ran it through his sander just so I could see a somewhat clean surface of my board next to the one I bought.  The character in his board is stunning and it is going to make my table beautiful.

We headed back to the Manufactory where I only had approximately two hours left before they closed.  We knew we wouldn’t get to epoxy, but we got the six split boards joined on one side to create a flat surface.  Kendall did the first run through to set the example.  He is awesome at not taking over the project.  This is a real student/teacher learning environment.  I haven’t felt my brain pistons firing like this in years. Old dogs can learn new tricks.

With flat surfaces created we headed to the planer.  I fed in and Kendall handled the out take to help me minimize snipping (weight of board causes end still in machine to rub too log in one spot causing a rut) the ends of the boards.

We’ll start filling with epoxy later this week, but in the meantime Kendall provided me with some great articles to read to help be get ready for future steps in the process.  I haven’t had a magazine subscription in years, but I think I’ll be getting this one.

 

The Manufactory – Where My Ideas Will Take Shape

I need projects.  My house is too quiet, too still, too empty without projects to keep my mind from going negative, so I’ve joined The Manufactory, a 17,000 sq. ft. membership makerspace located on Mosteller Road in the northern burbs of Cincinnati.  This place is the Camp Washington WoodShop on steroids that I stumbled across on the Internet when I was searching for a larger planer to use for my headboard project.  I’ve joined for a month, so I’m on the clock to complete my headboard, make my dining room table, office desk, and master suite beverage station.

I spent a few hours there on MLK Day with the goal of just planing all my oak boards for the headboard shelve and trim.  My plan was to use the Manufactory’s larger Kendall Glovercapacity planer, but build it at the WoodShop.  I got the planing done and was comtemplating over using their joiner or waiting to do that at the WoodShop when another member, Kendall Glover asked if I needed any help.  He may regret ever asking.  Kendall has been a woodworker for 20 years and his woodworking business name is Conjure Craft Woodworkers, but woodworking is not his day job.  This picture is a beautiful dresser he made.  Looks like he could go full-time to me.

After about an hour of conversation my whole plan of building at the Woodshop had been nixed.  What I love about the “creative community” is they are willing to share their knowledge when they come across people that are sincerely interested in learning.  He convinced me to leave my oak slabs for the headboard there vs. lugging them back home.  We discussed at length my dining room table, so before they closed I decided to retrieve my walnut slabs from my storage locker.  He agreed to help me prep my walnut for the dining room table, so he suggested that I allow the wood to acclimate to their space.  So, now on top of my membership I am renting two cubbies to store my wood.  Sista Girl w/ Skills is getting ready to elevate to a whole new level.

The beauty of the Manufactory is they are open 7-days a week.  I would be very hard pressed to get my projects done in a timely manner at the WoodShop when their open shop hours are limited to Wed 3-9p and Sat 12-5p.  I often have work conflicts on Wednesday.  The other thing I love is the community atmosphere.  I met Kendall on Thursday night and he introduced me to other avid woodworkers.  All welcomed me and offered assistance if needed.

I brought with me more wood; the wood I needed for the headboard shelf boxes and before he left, Kendall helped me lay out a revised plan (he gave me some great feedback that I will incorporate) for building them out.  We also discussed the game plan for the dining table, which we’ll start working on Sunday afternoon.  I didn’t have much time to work, Serena was playing at 9p, but I got the top, bottom, and side pieces for the two side shelf units cut.  I did bring them home as I want to stain the insides and drill the holes for the adjustable shelves.

If all goes well I should be gifting myself for Valentine’s Day (give to yourself if you have no other sources) a dining table and headboard.

It’s a Wrap

All repairs to the walls/moulding damaged while trying to install the office door were corrected and the final moulding around the inside of the room was installed.  This marks the completion of the final room in my house.

In addition to completing the office, I was able to take extra door trim to dress the basement exterior (not doing anything to the basement side of basement door) and kitchen exterior doors.  All of the closets have been dressed, except for the kitchen pantry and guest bedroom closet  (intentionally left off) with floor and inside door moulding.  This means the inside restoration is a wrap.

I held a Birthday Open House to celebrate the occasion on Saturday and was amazed by the number of people; colleagues, clients, friends, family, that came to see the work that had been accomplished.  Approximately 40 people braved the torrid rainfall and gusty winds.  It was a proud moment.  I absolutely loved showing her off and I was overwhelmed by the 100% positive feedback I received.  It was humbling, but my inner soul was enjoying the praise.  The flow of people was constant throughout the 3-hour event and I was so busy giving tours that the only picture I have as evidence of the wonderful afternoon is the haul of gifts received.  Also overwhelming; I haven’t had that many gifts to open at one time since undergrad graduation.

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I was asked what is my favorite room in the house.  It is the hallway leading to and including the guest bedroom, all done in tribute to my mother that I so wish were alive to share this moment with me.  She’s been gone almost 20 years and the void her death left is still strong.  I adorned the hallway with pictures of her from childhood through early adult and the guestroom walls are filled with more items in tribute to her.  I am my mother’s only child and because I made the conscious decision to not have children I wanted her pictures and awards to have life.  Once I’m gone I don’t know if anyone else will care.

The furniture was hers, she loved the Victorian style.  I remember her joy when it was delivered.  The quilt on the bed is one she purchased during a trip we made to Gatlinburg, but barely used.  It was on her bed when she came home from the hospital for the last time, but she had me take it off when her meds made her vomit.  She feared ruining it.  I’ve stored it for the last 20 years.  It falls a little short on this modern thick mattress, but I don’t care.  I’ve saved it for this very moment.

The celebration did not end with the Open House.  I had about an hour to clean up for a 6 pm quaint dinner party with five friends that were joining me for the Najee concert at the Ludlow Garage.  Najee was my go to study music in undergraduate school, so when I got the email that he was going to be right up the road I thought that would be a great birthday activity.  His Najee’s Theme LP was one of the first vinyl records I played once I got my sound system set in my master suite, so I took the cover with me to the concert in hopes of getting it signed.  Thanks to Robbie Todd, the promoter that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since the World Choir Games, it was signed, “To Venus.  Thank You Love Najee”.

Reaching this moment is bittersweet.  I’ve been an emotional wreck all week (damn menopause).  My heart is heavy, the tears have flowed.  This project has consumed my life for two years.  Almost every vision I had for the house from my very first walk through with Joe Gorman, Executive Director of Camp Washington Community Board, have come true.  The two areas that are a disappointment, the kitchen floor and spa-like function of the master shower, are correctable.  I should be elated, but this milestone sadly coincided with being confronted with the reality that a person I held in significance and had envisioned enjoying this house with will never be a part of it.  I’ve restored a beautiful house, but now struggle with figuring out how my house will become a home.  She deserves to be filled with sounds of laughter and joy, not hollow solo footsteps and TV noise.  I hope I’ll be able to replicate January 11 many times moving forward.  It was a special day I’ll cherish for a long time.

I was also asked what is next.  I know I can and will fix the kitchen floor.  I hope I’ll be able to add a steam unit to the master shower.  I will finish my master bed headboard, make my dining room table and office desk.  Hopefully by spring a loan from a bank would have come through and I can enjoy watching a contractor paint the exterior and then start Phase Two of the vision, the detached garage.  With a slight tweak of the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage, skill, patience, finances, to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

I was still cleaning up things minutes before the first guest arrived, so I did not have a chance to hang before pictures in each room allowing people to see the transformation.  Enjoy this before and after slideshow.

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At 54 Years of Age I’ve Found My Passion….Woodworking

Sister Girl with Skills has figured out that she loves working with her hands.  As if that isn’t evident given the massive restoration of my home I’ve been doing for the last two years.  Early in the project I had a dozen plus trees cleared out of my yard.  There were a few walnut trees that were picked up by Randy Wipert with Woodwrights Portable Saw Mill.  I gave them to him with the agreement he’d cut enough slabs for me to make my dining room table.  There was also a huge mulberry tree in the back corner of my lot.  When it was cut it revealed a cool yellow hue, so I asked the company cutting down the trees to save me a chuck of it also, which Randy also cut in slabs for me.  I thought I’d make my office desk with them.

Two years ago the idea of making my own dining room table and desk was more of a romantic notion.  I have built a couple things with cheap plywood, but nothing with real wood that would be meant for everyday use.  Fast forward two years, if I had known I’d develop such a passion for working with wood I would have kept all the logs and just paid Randy for cutting and drying.

When I picked up my slabs, after a year of drying in his shop, Randy mentioned that one of the mulberry slabs cupped (curved, bowl like, while drying).  He thought it would make a nice charcuterie tray.  I took his recommendation and decided to take that slab to the Wood Shop as a first project.  I cut into four pieces of almost equal length.  The rough cut surface is hard to see in this picture, but the surface felt fuzzy, roughed up.  Getting itsmooth is where the real work begins.  I started with the piece on the far right.

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I started this project in August.  The Wood Shop was having a show of projects made in the shop and my board was going to be my entry.  I didn’t make the show because I had to travel and return my focus on finishing the master bathroom.

My first task was toning down some of the live edge, the bark.  Food will be placed on these when finished, so I didn’t want deep crevices that it could embed in.  For that I went way old school and used a draw knife.  I’ve got earphones around my neck because someone else was working on a piece of equipment that made a lot of noise.

After that the strenuous work began, scrapping the surface until smooth.  There are a lot of motorized tools I could have used at this stage, but I went old school again and used a cabinet scrapper.  This it what was used before sand paper was invented.

That blade would get hot after several scrapes and my thumbs started to ache as those digits applied the most pressure.  There is an almost erotic sensation in working with wood at this stage.  You are scraping, massaging, and with each stroke the wood is coming to life in your hands.  The smell of the fresh wood is like an endorphin to your system.

Once I got the majority of the machine tool (saw blade) marks out with the scrapper I did use an orbital sander for the final smoothing.  I also used an electric planer on the bottom of all four pieces to flatten them out so they wouldn’t rock.  No pics of those steps.  This piece had a natural gap where a branch was starting to form.  I used 2-part epoxy to fill the gap; taping the underside, so the epoxy wouldn’t run out through.  The epoxy is clear, but once dried it turned black in the crevice, absolutely beautiful.  I wasn’t expecting that.

With the orbital sander I started with 80 grit and stepped it up to 120, 140, 320, and ended with 600.  The surface was a smooth as a baby’s bottom.  I put poly-acrylic, 3 coats on the bottom and sides, but on the top I put Watco’s Butcher Block Oil, which is FDA approved oil for food contact.  I applied two coats with a sanding of 400 grit paper in between.

The handles I found on Ebay.  They are cast iron drawer pulls in the shape of a fist holding a stick.  I found the old school screws on Amazon, Rustic Pyramid Head Wood Screws #6 X 5/8″.  No great woodworker creates a project without leaving a mark, so I designed and purchased a branding iron from Gearheart Industry for the finishing touch.  You only get one shot when working with a branding iron and while my practice burns were good, I did not do as well on this first custom piece from Sista Girl w/ Skills.  The feature image up top is my second try on another board.

One of my favorite DIY shows is Salvage Dawgs.  They make stuff out of salvage materials and sell it from their store in Roanoke, VA (I have got to get there to see it in person).  I surf their site for doors and inspiration for my dining room table and I stumbled across their charcuterie boards.  They had one made out of black walnut with handles they were selling for $279, which must have sold out because that page is now gone from their site.  If they can get almost $300, I wonder what I can get for mine?????

I’ve got the second board almost complete, the largest of the four due to its width.  I could not have imagined the beauty that would emerge. The veins and color variations are amazing.  The last two, which are more rectangle in shape approx 2′ x 8″, I won’t work on until after I’ve completed the inside of my house and built my dining room table, unless there is a buyer interested.  As you can see from the ends of the slabs, I will definitely have more wood available.  If you’re interested in one, let me know.

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.

Needed Something Simple

My negative dealings with Signature Hardware and the disappointment with the functioning of the crown jewel of my master bath, the shower, last week literally made me ill.  I spiraled down to what I think was a new low on this project.  I needed a confidence builder, so I turned my focus on painting the back door and installing the basement railing that the city building inspector told me I needed for my occupancy permit.

I had the paint left over from the front door, so no outlay of money.  Color is Sherwin Williams Harvester.  The door was pre-primed, so two coats of yellow and that was done.  I didn’t bother with taping out the glass as a straight edge razor once the paint dried was faster.

The back entrance was boarded up when I bought the house and I just needed something that could lock.  I hadn’t thought about light fixtures and their color, so the knob I bought was silver.  I decided to replace it with an oil rubbed finish to match the light fixture and was fortunate to find a Weslock knob on Build.com that matches the knob on the front door.

The basement railing was a cheap fix too.  I purchased a 8′ 1×4 and 10′ 1×6, less than $15 in material.  No pics, but I took the 8′ to the Wood Shop and used my router table for the first time (shop didn’t have one and mine was still in the box, so I decided to let them set it up until I was comfortable using it by myself – that tool does scare me).  That piece is the top rail and I wanted the edges to be curved, 1) because the existing rail was that way and 2) it would feel better on your hand.  The 1×6 I ripped in half and it became my middle rail and the base for the top rail.  A scrap 2×4 (my jig for my wall switches) became my bottom post.

I have a boat load of paint samples, so instead of leaving the new wood I decided to stain the top rail (I have a can of Minwax that is a combination of multiple colors that I combined to empty cans) and painted everything else Sherwin Williams Sea Serpent, which will be the exterior house color.

I do have skills!

Like It Came With The House

My house is transformed.  To know where it started and to see it today is unbelievable.  That is why it may sound strange when I state hanging a salvage door to close off the 7527basement, laying tile on the landing, and refreshing the steps has made the biggest change to date.  It is going to be an extreme pleasure to use the back door as my entrance once the garage is built.

I found the door at Building Value, my favorite stop for reclaimed material.  It was just the door, no knob or jamb.  I paid Scotti from the Wood Shop to build the jamb out of extra jambs I had.  He had to reverse the swing and rip the width of the jamb to just 3″.  He finished it much faster than I needed, so the back entrance became a priority because I didn’t want to add to my pile of projects already in the basement.

Before I could hang the door I needed to put the tile down on the landing.  Timing was perfect as I had just finished the master shower and knocking this out now meant I could retire my wet saw for a long time.  I like laying tile, but my two bathrooms wore me out.  I had a few pieces left from the tub area in the master bath and I thought it would be great in that area, but I didn’t have enough to cover the entire surface.  I most certainly was not going to order more, so I got the idea to border the sides and use the tile in the center.  I found the perfect match at the Tile Shop, Workshop Desert Wood Look Porcelain 4 x 47.  I only needed four pieces.

Before I could lay the tile I had to level out the surface.  No pics to show, but I used Mapei Novoplan Easy Plus self-leveling underlayment from Floor and Decor.  Mixed and poured in the low areas on top of the cement board I had installed.  Amazing how well it worked.  I also decided that a pretty landing would pale next to the worn out steps, so I decided to cover themwith RetroTreads I found at Lowe’s. I did the prep work for those as I knew it would generate a lot of saw dust.  I had to cut the overhang off each step.  I knew the tile would create a need for a reducer going do into the basement.  I bought one before I knew the width I needed to cover and it was way too narrow, so I bought a Stairparts 11.5×48 Stair Tread, which I was able to rip down to the right width.  It was the perfect height, butting up perfectly to the tile.

With a close enough level surface I started with the border tile.  I wanted it to meet on the corners with 45 degree angles and 3 of the 4 angles would be impacted by the door or steps.  This tile project would have been 100% perfection if I had not forgotten to account for the new riser I was putting on the steps.  The most complex corner ended up being off by 1/2″, so I ended with a much thicker grout line in that corner.

I used my triangle square to make show the box was aligned correctly and then I did a dry run with the center tile.  If all went well I would have two pieces to spare.  Key was finding the center as it would allow me to get two spaces from one tile once I got to the perimeter pieces.  I didn’t miss a cut until the last piece of tile, so I ended the project with one piece to spare.

Next day was grouting, followed by cutting the treads to the right width.  With the dry fit of the steps down, I stained them with the Early American stain I had to match the kitchen door and added two coats of Bona Floor sealing.

I’ve never hung a door by myself.  The entrance to the basement wasn’t close to being square.  I knew the door was not as wide as the original, but it was the right height and style.  I’ve been looking for that door (and office) for two years.  I needed to close up the opening, so I got a 2×4 and ran it down the hinge side of door.  I knew it was import to make that side level.  To do so I had to shim out the top while the bottom was flush to the wall.

I also needed to cut off some of the top of the entrance.  I used my 4′ level to strike a line.  To make it level I cut almost 2″ from the left side and only an 1″ from right.  No pics (down fall of working alone) I did a plunge cut with my circular saw and my job max tool to get the corners the circular saw could not reach.  I went old school and used 10d, 3″ finishing nails to set the door.  I drilled a hole for the door knob to catch, but need to find a strike plate to finish it off.  I amazed myself by how well that went in.  The door was in really good shape.  Dusty, like my other trim and doors, so I went back to my Howard’s Restor-A-Finish stand by.  One day when I’m bored because EVERYTHING else is finished I may paint the other side to match the walls.  For now the pale yellow will be just fine.

With the door hung, tonight I turned my sights on the steps, which was a piece of cake to install.  I kept the top step riser original as the nose of the top step feeds into the kitchen flooring.  I put new risers on the bottom two steps (bottom step I actually installed before the tile) and used denatured alcohol to clean up the stair strings.  I was out of the correct tint of Restor-A-Finish for the strings, so I rubbed them with the Early American stain.  I put down Liquid Nail first and then used the 10d nails for added measure.  Just beautiful.

 

 

 

 

Tile Work Complete in Master Bath

Not perfect, but good enough.  Other than a need to complete the inspections, my motivation on this project is low as the Fifth Third Equity Line rejection due to “Value or type of collateral not sufficient” is still resonating with me.  I worked 6 straight evenings (6p – 2 or 3a) to get that tile work done and for what if my efforts bring no value.  My entire savings is wrapped up in a house that a major Cincinnati bank sees no value in.

I thought the angled wall and ceiling was going to be a nightmare, but I went to Floor and Decor and they recommended their Mapei Ultraflex LFT.  That thin set was awesome.  It performed exactly as stated in the video.  When Tom was helping me I didn’t have great spacers for him to work with, so I also bought their Professional “T” Spacers, which are meant to be left in, you grout right over them.  Great find, will definitely use again if the tile shape allows for it.

I still need to install shower fixtures and tub, but I’ve got a two week respite as it will take that long to have the shower glass made and installed; week of October 14.  Unfortunately my vision of a solid piece of glass from ledge to ceiling will not happen because a piece of glass that size will not go up the steps nor fit through a window.  The top of the glass will be equal to the top of the door, but there will be a gap.  That will be the first item, I envisioned that won’t come to pass.  To give Ryan’s Glass as much working room as possible I’m not going to connect the tub until after the glass is installed, so more delay in getting the final plumbing and occupancy inspections.

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That Section Looks Good

It’s going to look awesome when complete.  The wall tiles are 4×16 and I purchased them from the Tile Shop, Imperial Bone Gloss Ceramic.  The skirting around the tub also came from Tile Shop.  The grout is Superior Pro-Grout Excel in Dessert Sand.

The floor tile is the mosaic tile that matches the hexagon tile I put in the tub area.  I fell in love with the Isla King Wood tile when I stumbled across it on Pinterest.  It’s an Italian tile and it was a splurge that I justified because I put in the labor.  I was fortunate to find the tub floor tile online at Mission Stone and Tile.  With shipping it was several hundred dollars cheaper than JP Flooring, a local vendor.  I had selected a 2×2 hexagon tile from the Tile Shop that would compliment the tub area, but Mike Tanner’s installer suggested that I go with a square shape tile, less waste and time to install.  The Tile Shop had a 2×2 square mosaic, but it was only a couple of dollars less than the King Wood mosaic, which is what I really wanted.  I only needed 23 sf.  Even though I had to pay for installation, it was less than $100 in material cost increase, so I went for it.  Unfortunately Mission Stone and Tile did not carry the mosaic, so I ordered it from JP Flooring.

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F%*k Fifth Third Bank

When I purchased this house it was 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom with no electric, plumbing, HVAC, kitchen, and boarded up windows and doors.  Completely inhabitable.  They told me then it had no value.  Two years later I have 3 bedrooms, 1 completed bathroom, 1 partially finished bathroom (only tile in the shower stops it from being complete), 200 amp electric service, a plumbing system that amazes everyone that sees the manifold system in the basement, HVAC, a kitchen, and all new windows and doors.  I now live in it and they still see no value.

Unbelievable and yet very believable.  It may take me some time to recover from this one.  This journey has been a roller coaster ride, but this is a new low of lows.  Phase 2, the garage and exterior painting is contingent upon getting access to the equity I thought I had created.  I’ve got a plumbing inspector breathing down my back, so I’ve been loosing sleep trying to get the master bath shower complete not realizing that an unfinished shower would be viewed so negatively by Fifth Third.

My main man Tom Milfeld agreed to work with me on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I was so tied up with client work that I couldn’t lend a hand other than moving the wet saw up from the basement and setting it up in master bath to save him (and me) from two flights of stairs.  He got the cove base tile in around the tub area.  I should not have wasted his talent on that simple task, but he was also able to get all the intricate cuts around all but two of the shower heads (7 total – no value in that).  

This evening I finished that wall.  Not to shabby.  Progress is slower than I expected given the larger sized tile (4×16).  Goal is to have it finished by end of weekend; at least the tile, but hopefully the grout too.  I actually may grout this section tomorrow to break up the grouting into smaller bites.  Love laying tile, grouting, not so much.