I Could Have Been Showering Upstairs Sooner If Not For….

During my plumbing rough-in inspections the City inspector told my father we had installed the fittings for some of the shower fixtures wrong.  He said when I got ready to install after the tiling they’d stick out way too far.  My father studied the installation instructions for my Signature Hardware Exira Shower System in great detail.  After accounting for the tile, cement board, and thinset he felt this elbow would fall about 1/2″ short from the desired location.  We bought extension to make it longer and had that in place.  We took the inspector’s advice, removed the extensions and reinstalled the drop ear elbow fitting by itself per his suggestion.

Move forward a year, tile is in and none of the body spray fixtures can attach because all the fittings were recessed too far back.  My father was right, the inspector wrong.  Now what to do.  Believe it or not I’m not mad at the inspector and he’s not the reason I’m not showering upstairs.  He was very helpful throughout the rough-in process and if not for his suggestion to create a crawl space behind my master shower, so I could access the plumbing if needed, I’d be tearing out drywall and/or tile right now.

The true blame lies with Signature Hardware.  When the connections didn’t meet I called them immediately to see what suggestions they had.  They had none, stating that is why they give specific instructions on where to mount fittings.  I was told my only recourse was to reset the plumbing once I shared I had access to it from behind.  She pointed out that if the body sprays weren’t in the proper location that the diverter probably wasn’t either.  The inspector didn’t have any issue with it’s location, just the body sprays, so as soon as I hung up the phone I raced upstairs to install the diverter.  The face plate fit perfect.  I thought I had dodged a bullet until I placed the last handle.  It stuck out by about a 1/2″.

Once again I had been given another defective part.  Clearly the stem for the top knob and bottom were two different lengths.  I sent these pictures to Signature Hardware and they accepted blame, AGAIN, and provided me with a free replacement cartridge and instructions on how to replace the part.  For those that have not followed this journey this was not the first defective part from them.  This was actually the second diverter.  The first was mis-threaded and leaked during the rough-in testing.  They replaced it.  I got bad aerators in both master bath sink faucets (get to the video at the bottom of Blue Is My Favorite Color post), a defective toilet with missing parts, defective porcelain sink, and mis-threaded tub drain for the 1st floor bath and master sink.  They are super friendly in replacing the defective parts, but enough is enough.  Their stuff cost too much to have such a poor quality control check.

20190929_194105It was a relatively easy fix, although I had to buy a deep socket to remove the defective piece which clearly was too long.  With that repair done I turned my attention to the body sprays.  I crawled into the crawl space and was able to feel with my hand that there was a gap between the cement board and wood that the fitting was screwed to.  I thought, easy, peasy…..free the wood, push the fitting forward, anchor the wood again, done.

With the pex attached the fitting still wouldn’t meet the fixture.  Per my father’s calculation over a year ago it was about 1/2″ short of the their required set back.  I called Ferguson Plumbing (owner of Signature Hardware), went to Keidel Plumbing, and my father scoured the Internet trying to find a pex 1/2″ elbow with a longer head.  It doesn’t exist.  So I put fault back on Signature Hardware.  Why design a fixture with such a short thread length.  They could easily have made the length a 1/2″ longer.  If the industry fitting only extends 5/8″ and cement board is 1/2″ and tile is 3/8″ minimum plus your thinset, clearly there is not enough margin to successfully attach directly to the fixture.

I racked my brain trying to come up with options.  I purchased straight 1/2″ pex fitting, which allowed for the fixture to be attached, but because it couldn’t be anchored I couldn’t acheive a tight fit and the knob moved around.  In the end I resorted to purchasing the same20190925_114454 fittings we installed a year ago (not the piece in center).  It added almost 3″ in length to capture the 1/2″ needed, but also created two new possible leak points due to the added connections.  Unfortunately I didn’t reach this conclusion before the shower glass door was installed.  I didn’t have access to the inside of the shower for two days.

Friday, Oct 11 was the first day I regained access.  I was determined to have all the fixtures connected , but I still had one big obstacle and that was this was a two person job.  I needed someone on the outside to tell me when the fitting was at the right location.  Thankfully my neighbor Paul took a break from his own house project to come over and help.  I got the body sprays set, so he can return home and then spent the rest of the evening reconnecting the pex pipes.  About 10 pm I reached the moment of truth, ready to turn on the water.

The two bottom body sprays leak.  I cry uncle and will call a plumber at this point.  But before doing so I will contact Signature Hardware because even if they didn’t leak, I don’t like the force of the stream they project, it’s weak, nothing like the force of water the body sprays I had at my old house.  The wall shower head is weak too, very disappointing.  Remembering the bad aerators from the sink faucets I decided to to remove the aerator from the shower head and the difference is night and day.  So if the aerator wasn’t bad and a weak stream is their expectation, I will operate mine without the aerator or replace the unit altogether.

I did officially take my first shower Saturday night.  Despite all the issues with the fixtures the space is the sanctuary I thought it would be.  The texture of the tile under my feet is exactly how I hoped it would feel, almost massage-like, and not remotely slippery.  The position of the rain shower head is spot on as I can sit on the bench and have the water hit the back of my neck and cascade down my shoulders feeling the stresses of the day wash down the drain.  Not planned, but I love the halo affect created by the shower light reflecting off the fixture too.  The wall shower, with the stronger force, is at the perfect height.   The original 6″ shower nipple that came with the unit I replaced with a shorter, 3″, nipple to gain more height.   The hand sprayer will be perfect for washing the dogs and I’ll be able to sit comfortably while doing so.

I truly regret not putting in a steam shower unit (cost overruns, so I gave that up), but once the last two pieces of glass are installed by Ryan’s All Glass the shower will be completely enclosed to keep the steam from the water inside.  It got pretty steamy without, so I can’t wait to share the post of their completed work and my shower experience with it fully enclosed. 

Ryan’s has been awesome to work with thus far even giving me stainless still screws and a drill bit I used for mounting the hand held spray rod and eventual heated towel warmer.  When their work is complete I will be able to install the tub and I’m hopeful I will have no issues with the final uninstalled Signature Hardware fixture.  With the tub installed my master suite and an entire floor of my house will be complete.  Let the final inspections commence.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

20190906_004507

 

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.

Ready for Tile

I did a lot of labor over the Labor Day weekend.  With floor and bench in place I needed to finish prepping the walls and install the trim around the windows, so that the tile work could commence.  I started by putting corner angle at the entrance of the shower.  That should have been done by the drywall crew.  John, floor installer, pointed out to me what was needed.  Fortunately I had strips leftover in the basement.

Not sure if it was needed, but I decided to apply a strip of the Kerdi material on top of it.  I also applied a large swatch of it above and on the side of the window that will be inside 20190828_092503the shower (see feature image).  To waterproof the cement board on the 1st floor, I used RedGard and I had about 1/3 of the container left, so after applying mesh tape and thin set  to the seams, I applied two coats of the product.  With the shower walls protected I turned my sites on the window trim.

20170727_150755
Master Bath (Future walk-in shower/free standing tub)

The goal was to replicate the original trim, but with the left window being located inside the shower I knew I couldn’t use the original trim.  I turned to a product called Azek.  It’s 20190831_223713plastic and was available in 1×4 and 1×6, but they also made the decorative edge moulding that was a close match to the original.  The left side of the large window is a piece of quartz, so I only had to trim out the other areas.

The shower window was a piece of cake; two pieces of 1×4 capped with the trim and cut at a 45 degree angle at the corner.  The window seal is also a piece of quartz.

The other two windows were the challenge.  The smaller windows in the bathroom are frameless, unlike in the bedroom.  That made them larger and the method of install was different.  There was a 5 1/2″ gap between the large and small windows.  The 1×6 was perfect for covering it, but the top of the large window in the original trim was 1×4.  That meant I could not do a simple 45 degree cut.  I wasn’t sure how to do it, so I headed to the WavePool Wood Shop with a piece of 1×4 and 1×6 to get help from Scotti.

Two cuts took three hours.  1×4 is really only 3.5″ wide and to get the correct angle I needed 3.75″.  I didn’t have another 1×6 nor time to run to Lowes to buy another piece before the shop closed, so I returned home and grabbed the piece I had already marked up for the window seal.  It was a 1×6 I had ripped down to 4″, the same width as the piece of quartz.  The angle for the 1×6 I was able to cut on the miter saw, but the other I got to cut on the band saw, the first time I used it.  With the cuts complete I returned home for the install.

The window seal had to be set first.  I will NEVER pay a person to create window seals for me again.  This is the only one I did and it was the most complicated due to two different depths of the two windows.  It’s darn near perfect.  Smooth sailing from this point forward.  Two coats of paint and I now consider myself a finish carpenter.

Foundation Restored

The featured picture was taken on my first visit to the house after being given the option to buy it and it is the reason I almost walked away.  The gutters for the house were completely gone above this section of the foundation, so it took a beating for years.  Inside I had literally, weeping walls, and puddles whenever it rained.  I had countless companies come out to provide remedies, all had price tags $10,000 and higher.  I made the decision to move forward with the purchase and had decided to take one engineers suggestion to remove and replace the most decayed sections of the foundation, about 18′.  That would cost about $20,000.

Fortunately I flew my father in town to look at the house and he urged me not to do it.  He took a hammer to various sections.  Loose pieces fell to the ground, but in short order he reached sound areas.  One engineer recommended some specific products to use.  My father read up on them and said it was work he/we could do ourselves and it could wait; focus on the house.  I’ve done just that since October of 2017 and then Tom Milfeld was put in my path.  Everybody needs a Tom in their life.  His skills are boundless.  Turns out not only is he a great carpenter and tile man, he really loves working with cement.  He learned the skill from his grandfather.  He told me he could repair the entire outside and about two weeks ago, on one of the hottest days this year he got started.  If you need a handyman and live in Cincinnati email him at melvin7448@hotmail.com.

The BEST part of this project is I did not lift a finger.  I told him I’d help dig around the house and he said that is what I was paying him for, not to worry.  Boyfriend you don’t have to tell me twice.  I can’t believe the transformation, which I turned into a Quik video (I haven’t made one of those in awhile).  

 

 

Windows and Kitchen Floor

There is definitely a sense of community inside Camp Washington. One of my fellow board members, Lacey, is tackling her own fixer upper project and several months ago shared she’d be removing  some pine flooring in her house.  This week she got started on that project and drop by my house to let me know I could come and get it, if I still needed it.  I cringe every time I look at my kitchen floors, so I most definitely do.  Sunday I picked it up and spent the afternoon pulling nails.

Her boards are wider than mine (same width as my upstairs floors), so I’ll need to rip them down to size as I did when I used my boards to patch holes in other areas downstairs.  My former neighbor did this work for me last time, but now that I’m elevating myself out of novice carpenter to advanced, I’ll tackle this myself.  Last year I caught a great deal on a router and router table, but had never taken it out the box.  I’ve had it on loan at the Wave Pool Wood Shop, the perfect place to learn its proper use.  This project will give me my first chance to use it.

I also got two of the first floor windows dressed; rear of guest bedroom and side living room.  If these two are any indication the prepping for installation is going to take much more effort than the upstairs.  The few contractors I did use on this project showed no regard for my piles in the basement.  They slung my organized piles around, stood on top of them, so my fears of damage manifested.  Both of those windows had significant pieces cracked off.  Fortunately, in both cases I found the cracked off piece laying on the ground near by.  Hope that holds true moving forward.

These pieces were more than dusty, so Murphy Oil soap wash down was just the first step.  The house had aluminum windows that must have been pretty drafty as these pieces of wood were riddled with staples and adhesive weather strips.

They also had screws that left large holes, so not only did I have to glue broken pieces back on I had to use wood putty to fill large holes.  All this extra work made what was a day project upstairs, multiple days.

Once I got them cleaned with the denatured alcohol I could see that this wood was also dryer than upstairs and even water damaged (I’m sure sweating occurred around these windows exposing wood to moisture).  Since I knew the putty I used was going be highly visible I decided to try something different.  I have about a half-quart of the custom color Zar Gel Stain used on the front door left, so I decided to rub all the pieces with steel wool dip in the stain.  After a day of letting the stain dry, I rubbed them with the Howard’s Feed and Wax.  Miraculous results.

Two down, nine to go.

 

 

Two Happy Places

After a three year absence, Saturday I returned to my favorite Cincinnati event, the Ohio River Paddlefest  the nation’s largest paddling celebration.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day for kayaking.  I have not kayaked since the 2015 event, so I was hopeful it would be like riding a bike and it was.  Since the last time I participated the route changed and the course made longer, 9-miles.  They were expecting over 2,000 paddlers.  I dropped my kayak at the launch site on Friday, so I didn’t have to get up extra early on Saturday.

20190803_075340.jpgLaunch time was between 7 – 8:30a, so I was definitely towards the end of the pack when I started.  I packed PB&J sandwiches, a 32 oz bottle of Mango Gatorade, and a frozen solid Vitamin Water, Energy flavor to keep myself nourished, since I didn’t have time for breakfast.

I like to paddle to the beat of the music I’m listening to.  I had my Pandora station shuffling between about a dozen artist and I was crossing my fingers there would be a good mix of slow and fast songs.  It balanced out, but I did use each commercial break (about every 4 songs) to take a drink and bite.  Fatigue started kicking in at what I’m guessing was about mile 6 and then the most perfect song came on, Natalie Merchant’s, Where I Go.  It was all about letting your mind go while at/on the river.  I abandoned 20190623_181456paddling to the beat and just enjoyed a leisure pace to the finish line where I was greeted with a giant happy face.  I most certainly was.  After grabbing a combo meal from the Red Sesame food truck, I loaded my kayak and headed home.

One would think I’d be too tired to do anything else, but once I got my kayak back in its perch in my basement, I changed into my work clothes and headed to the Wave Pool Wood Shop to continue working on my headboard.  Being at the Wood Shop is as peaceful to me as paddling down the Ohio River in my kayak.  I have truly been bit by the wood shop bug.  This Saturday was particularly busy with, mostly females, working on projects.  Smell of wood filled the air as it seemed everyone had something to sand.

I was bound and determined to get the back portion of the headboard done that day.  Wood Shop open shop is Wednesday and Saturday.  I thought I’d have this portion done in one week (two 20190803_171432.jpgdays).  This Saturday marked the third week, but man was it worth it.  I’m not going to go into too much detail as I’ll do a dedicated post, but I’m so proud of how the back turned out I actually posed with it.  Folks that know me, know I don’t do photos.  I’m torn on leaving it natural, allowing the poly I’ll apply to pull out the colors or staining all or some of the slats.  I’d love to get some feedback from anybody readying this post.

Shopped closed at 5p.  I was showered and in the bed ripping ZZzzzz by 7:30.   I was sore, tired, but oh so happy.  Enjoy the additional photos of Paddlefest and put it on your calendar for next year.  I’ve always done this event by myself (kayaking is a great single person activity), but I’d love to have someone join me next year.

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Master Bedroom Complete

The Magnolia Market sign that was my “sign” to move forward with purchasing my house has finally been removed from its box and hung on the wall of my completed master bedroom.  Yes you can stand and applaud.  Unfortunately the Silos doesn’t carry the sign anymore, so no link if you were interested in purchasing.

After completing my Pinterest dresser project and putting the trim up around the small storage does I became obsessed with putting the trim up around the rest of the room.  Amazingly most of it was on the same two pallets in the basement and as with the door trim it, for the most part, just needed Murphy Oil Soap wipe down and the Howard’s Feed and Wax.  There were a few pieces that I felt needed the Restore-A-Finish product, but I managed to knock the can over and wasted almost all of it.  Not wanting to run to a store, I started using the end of a pint of Minwax, Early American, stain I had bought for the kitchen floor.  I used steel wool, in the same fashion as the Restore-A-Finish.  It worked as well and maybe even better.   Every original piece was numbered, so putting them back in the right place was no problem.

The only challenge to the floor moulding was one section in the front dormer.  All of the electrical outlets in the house were original cut into the moulding.  That is no longer to code, so I knew those sections would be problematic.  Over a year ago, I stumbled across a YouTube segment from This Old House that showed how to patch wood trim.  I had recessed that in the Rolodex in my brain, knowing that I’d need to put that knowledge to use.  Amazingly my Master bedroom only had one outlet in it.  Per today’s code I now have 12.  Using the video as my guide, I did a pretty darn good job with the patch.  Their moulding was painted, so they were able to hide the patch completely.  I didn’t have that luxury, but I still think it’s pretty negligible.

With the floor complete I turned my sites on the windows.  I sent the front dormer window as a tease on the last blog.  It was the easiest of the 5 to restore.  My new window seals are thicker than the originals, so I knew I would need to cut the bottom off every vertical piece throughout the house.  Again, I thought I’d need to hire my finish carpenter, Tom, to do this for me, but my confidence and comfort level for using my miter and table saws has soared since working with him and taking the Wave Pool Wood Shop class.

From the front window, I moved onto the side trio of windows.  The two smaller windows proved to be a challenge because the replacement windows had a gap greater than the window stop trim.  I always felt that these windows were ordered too small.  It’s hard to describe and show in pictures, but I needed to close the gap on the sides of the small windows and to do it I took an old door jamb to give me the “L” shape I needed to lay on top of the existing house framing.  To date this is my finest table saw work.

With that obstacle conquered the rest was easy.  Clean, Wax, trim a little of the bottom and nail in place.

The rear dormer window I intentionally saved for last.  Even my window installer was perplexed with how the trim would go back around this window.  During demo this window completely fell out and apparently we tore out, or it never existed, the framing.  With the drywall install there was no exposed framing to nail into, just the edge of the drywall.  To make matters even more complicated the drywall came about 1/2″ more at the bottom. I basically needed to frame out the window before I could frame it with the original moulding.

I devised a plan in my mind that involved using the original moulding from the trio of windows in the bathroom that mirrored the trio in the bedroom.  I saved this window for last because I had to make sure the bathroom wood would not be needed to correct a cut mistake in the bedroom.  Since that install went flawlessly, I was ready to put plan into action.  The two vertical pieces that went around the large window of the trio was slightly wider than the moulding.  I created the perfect 1/4-1/2″ reveal and it was thick enough that it gave me something for the window stop trim to nail to. Since the bottom drywall protruded out further than the top, I used shims to build out the top.

With the build out complete I was able to proceed with installing the seal and apron.  The seal had to be in place before I could install the vertical pieces.  I put the top piece on first, but when I went to dry fit the first vertical piece I discovered the piece was too short.  The replacement window was longer than the original.  The first window installer put in the new framing for this window and he must have made the opening larger than the original.

I had plenty of extra door frame moulding left, but I had already cleaned up the original and I was only a couple of inches short on each side, so I decided to splice two pieces together using scrap pieces for the built-in dresser.  I’ve learned to throw nothing away.  The trim around the dresser was slightly lighter than the window around the window, but I didn’t care.  I was impressed with my thought process and splicing technique.  Most people will never see it anyway given it leads to a private area of my home.

With the patched moulding installed, my master was complete.  I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to add a light on the outside of the closet.  In the two weeks of working to the moulding, Mr. McGhee made that happen.  I took the original light fixture from the 1st hall, which matched the ones already in the bedroom, but installed an LED Edison bulb to keep the heat discharge from impacting the paint.  I also bought a rug and for my seating area from Overstock.com.  It fits in perfectly and is made from recycled jeans and jute.  I bought a 9×12, same fabric, different color and design for under my bed, but it’s on back order.

Check out these before and afters, followed by a video tour.  I have truly created an oasis.  I’m writing this blog while listening to vinyl jazz LPs.  LOVING EVERY MOMENT!

 

From Pinterest to Reality – Part 2

With the dresser inserted, I was eager to get the trim around it.  I would use the original trim that went around the door, but it would need to be cut down.

The first task was finding it in the mass of bundles.  There are two other short closet storage doors and of course I found the trim for those before finally finding the bundle for that area.  I had labeled them Master Closets 1, 2, and 3.  Honestly at that point I couldn’t remember which was 1 or 3.  2 was easy because it had graffiti on it and my before pictures showed me where it went.

Outside of the graffiti this trim was in really good shape.  Since I found all three bundles I decided to prep and hang them all.  Literally all they needed was cleaning due to all the dust, which I did with a bucket filled with Murphy’s Oil Soap.  I was prepared to do my denatured alcohol/Restore-a-Finish routine, but I only used the alcohol on the outer edges to remove paint and on the top plate of door 2 to remove the graffiti.  I did use the Restore-A-Finish in these areas, but what really brought these pieces back to life was the Howard’s Feed and Wax.

The obstacle on this project was cutting the trim down to fit the dresser and I was nervous about this.  There are no do-over opportunities.  That trim design isn’t made anymore and aged wood with the patina I had can’t be store bought.  I seriously thought about calling Tom Milfeld, but I put on my big girl pants and decided to do a trial run with some scrap wood first.

Forty-five degree miter cuts is rookie level, piece of cake.  Measuring the right length, especially for the last piece is my struggle.  I cut the left side first, followed by the top, which I intentionally made long.  When my first angle met up perfectly I cut the right side of the top and then the right side.  I failed, falling about a half inch too short.

That one practice run gave me the confidence I needed and I proceeded to cut the actually trim, SUCCESS!!!!  But now what to do with the gap at the bottom????

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I had always planned to cover it, which is why adjusting the front legs was crucial in Part 1.  I think I’ll have extra of the original wall trim because I won’t need to reinstall any in the bathroom area, but I wouldn’t know that for awhile, so I decided to go to my favorite salvage store Building Value to see if I’d get lucky and find some wide, old, trim.  I hit the jackpot by finding an old window apron (part that rest under the sill) in the exact color and with an outer moulding that was almost a dead match for mine.  All I needed to do was rip it down to the right height, 6″; right width, “29”; clean with soap water, and rub with the wax.  It fit and blended in like it was always part of the house.

I forgave myself for the poor paint job when I saw the finished product.  As with my mirror project, what I saw in my mind’s eye became a reality.  I am so stoked to find the rest of the trim and get it installed.  While searching for the door trim I did find the trim for the landing at the top of the stairs, so I cleaned it up too; water and wax.

In installing the top of the stairs I discovered once again the difference between drywall and plaster thickness.  The boards needed to align with the stair rail (I think that’s what that part is called), so I made my own shims from some thin pieces I had to build out the ends that needed it.

If all the trim cleans and hangs as easy as these pieces did I’m going to be one happy camper.  I’m hugely motivated to tackle more of this project.

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