Thursday, May 31, 2018

Finishing the half bath - a.k.a "we have completed one room in our house...woohoo"

We have now been living in this house for two years and we have completed one room in our house.  But hey, that's progress...right?

It is probably fitting that the smallest room in the house is the one we finish first.  It also happens to be the least used room but hey, progress is progress.

I'm not sure how you would describe this bathroom when we first saw it.  Weird...ugly...god-awful, all come to mind.  Already a tiny room it was made less usable by having 3 doorways.  One to the kitchen, one to the cellar and one to the front room which was being used as a bedroom.  It had a toilet and a shower but no sink.  There was a sink in the bedroom though.  The wall adjacent to the kitchen was at an angle, at that time we believed that to be a modification to the bathroom. 
looking into bathroom from kitchen

kitchen - bathroom in top left corner

looking from kitchen, through the bathroom into the front room

front room, this is the sink for the bathroom

looking from front room, through bathroom into kitchen

 We began work in the bathroom by tearing the shower out.  We knew that regardless of how we ended up remodeling this room we would rather have a sink than a shower.  We also believed at that time that the slanted wall was a modification to fit the shower in.  We wanted to get the shower out to decide if we would move the kitchen wall back.

 Behind the shower we found the lathe that had been behind the original plaster. We also discovered that the slanted wall was original. the original framing was there, the lathe and behind that the old cast iron plumbing.  This was quite puzzling to us.  We have not been able to find any house plans from this era (1910) that would have had a bathroom layout such as this. 

 Next, we removed the wall separating the shower wall, this was recent construction, not the original design. 

Behind the shower wall we found the rest of the window trim.  Behind the trim we found the window weights from the original windows.
window trim that was covered up by the shower wall

window weights from the original window

another lovely feature...

bathroom with the shower removed
view of bathroom from kitchen, shower removed

As we continued gutting the house the remainder of the bathroom was torn out. Plaster, lathe, floor, toilet, we removed it all. 
bathroom in top left, view from kitchen

looking from kitchen, through bathroom into front room

looking from front room, through bathroom into kitchen

 Since we were spending all of our time working on this house we decided it would be helpful to have a toilet back in this bathroom.  For a semblance of privacy I hung sheets to cover to surround the toilet.  Still no sink, but at least we had hand sanitizer.  Hey, it's a construction site after all. 

 We were now to the stage of putting things back together.  We decided to frame in the doorway leading to the front room, so that would no longer be a doorway.  The slanted wall on the kitchen side we had to rebuild but we decided to keep it in the original location.  Since the wall had been compromised when the installed the shower we had to rebuild the wall. The wall supported the upstairs landing so we used floor jacks to support the landing while we rebuilt the wall.

Was the framing was complete we ran the new electricity and installed lights and an exhaust fan. The drain for the toilet was working, we just had to add a drain for a sink and run new water lines.

Once the plumbing and electrical was complete we installed the insulation.

bathroom, ready for drywall
 Next step was the drywall.

   During the drywall work the toilet was broken, I was not sad to get a new, clean, toilet.
view from kitchen, looking into bathroom
 After the drywall work was completed and the walls were primed, we installed tile on the bathroom floor.
Once that was complete I began painting.  The paint palette I had a chosen was a tannish-mauve color with accents of grey and teal.  I was planning to make our vanity and planned to paint it grey.  This color scheme looked great on the Valspar brochure but I wasn't as keen on it once it was on the wall. However, there was way too much work to do on the house to worry about the paint color for a half bath. 

In our desire to move forward with this room we decided to just buy a vanity so that we could get a sink in the bathroom and move on.  I picked out a vanity that would fit in this space.  Remember the slanted wall?  Well, that means most bathroom vanities do not fit in this space.  Because storage space is so limited in the house I really wanted a vanity rather than a pedestal sink. 

 But...once we got the vanity installed and the light fixture in I was even more convinced that I didn't care for the paint color.  It was just too dull. The grey door didn't compliment the new vanity.  The vanity made the walls look more brown than mauve.  So, much to my husband's annoyance I went back to the paint counter. 
As you may remember from our previous projects, picking out a paint color can be quite challenging for us.   
My husband's method is to find something in the "oops" section and pretend that is the color he always wanted.  
My method is to narrow it down to something fairly specific like "earth tones" then collect about 80 or 90 paint chips, at least 10 paint samples and start from there.

painting 100+ year old trim is always fun!
After numerous false starts I finally found a color scheme I was happy with. Until I got it on the walls...sigh...

Meanwhile, we moved forward with cutting the trim for awkward doors.  It turns out that no matter how long you stare at the wall angle and try to memorize it in your head you still can't cut it correctly without making a template. 

I finally came to the conclusion that the door color just wasn't going to work.  No matter how lovely it looked nestled up to the wall color when they were on the paint chip, they just didn't work in real life. So back to the paint department... My husband was so in love with me at this point. 

But finally, it came together. I was happy with everything except the curtain (still looking for something different), and my husband was happy that I had finally made a decision and put down the paint brush. 

Oh, and check out this doorknob!!  We decided our kids really don't need to go to college and so we would just use their college fund for doorknobs!  Sounds reasonable....right?   

'till next time...

Reading in May...

The month started out strong with reading and school work but then we left for a week towards the end of the month and my reading slowed down. Still happy with the books I was able to move out of my "to-read" stack. 

The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times
by Jennifer Worth
I love the PBS series Call the Midwife and loved this book. I'm happy to find that so many stories in the TV series were kept so true to the book.

The Rooster Bar
by John Grisham
Not one of my favorites but still an enjoyable read. 

Seven Stones to Stand or Fall
by Diana Gabaldon
This book is a collection of novellas, some previously published, a couple new. The book includes: "Besieged" (original novella), "A Fugitive Green" (original novella), "Virgins," "The Space Between," "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies," "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" and "The Custom of the Army."

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids
by Sarah Mackenzie
I loved this book.  If you are a follower of the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, website, or forum, most of the information will be familiar to you already.  I have followed Sarah Mackenzie for years and have been encouraged at every step.  Her book, Teaching from Rest, is a constant companion to my homeschooling journey.  I am enjoying the book lists she has included in this book.  I also love having so much info compiled in one place.  While I am sure I will continue to search the forum for specific advice I believe I will pick up this book when I start to doubt that reading really is enough.  When my throat is tired and I think surely there are more important things to be doing...I will reach for this book. 

A Hundred Summers
by Beatriz Williams
This is a great summer/beach read! It also sparked my interest in learning more about the hurricane of 1938.

44 Scotland Street
by Alexander McCall Smith
I have read a couple from this series but decided to finally read them in order.  This series is about the day to day life of the residents at 44 Scotland Street.  It is an easy, enjoyable, comfortable read.

My Man Jeeves (Jeeves, #1)
My Man Jeeves
by P.G. Wodehouse
I love Wooster and Jeeves and decided I need to read the series in order.  This book is not my favorite of the series.  There are some stories about Wooster and Jeeves but there are also stories about Reggie Pepper, who was an early prototype for Wooster. 

22 Britannia Road
by Amanda Hodgkinson
This book was a little sad and depressing. But as it is about people trying to put their lives back together after the war, how could it not be? I enjoyed it because it is a different perspective than a lot of post-WWII books. It is hard to imagine the challenges of starting a life in a new country after surviving the horrors of war.

'til next time...

Monday, April 30, 2018

Reading in April...

I didn't get quite as much reading done this month.  It was a busy school month and just busy in general! 

A Test of Wills
by Charles Todd
Enjoyable but I had a little trouble sticking with it, maybe I just wasn't in the mood for the book. I will probably read another in the series though.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
by Nathan Englander
I read this book for a book-club, otherwise I probably wouldn't have picked it up.  It is a collection of short stories, some I really enjoyed, others not so much. Overall I liked this book but would probably not read it again. 

The Space Between: An Outlander Novella by [Gabaldon, Diana]
The Space Between
by Diana Gabaldon
This is an Outlander Novella that fits in between book 7 and book 8.  It is hard to compare a novella to a regular Outlander book but I did enjoy this.  If you are a fan of the series you will enjoy any story that gives you more info on the characters. 

Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice
by Adam Benforado
I really enjoyed this book though it did take me quite awhile to read. Twice, I set it down and misplaced it only to have it resurface a time later.  The book was fascinating and really makes you think about how our justice system works.  I do believe that the author is correct in saying that years from now we will look back and view our current legal system as antiquated as "justice" in the middle ages.  Science is proving that many of the processes we thought to be fair do not actually work. At times the book gets a little redundant but overall it is a thought provoking book about the American justice system. 

The Woman in the Window
by A. J. Finn
Liked this but didn't love it.  Definitely didn't love it as much as my Goodreads friends. 

Anne of Avonlea
by L. M. Montgomery
I always love Anne and this was no exception.  This is the second Anne book I have read with an online book club so I'm enjoying the slower pace of reading as well as the discussions. 

Twenty-One Days
by Anne Perry
I have been reading the books about the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt for years so I wasn't sure if I was ready for the series to feature their grown up son, Daniel Pitt. But, I shouldn't have worried, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next one!

The Knowledge
by Martha Grimes

I really enjoyed the latest Richard Jury mystery! This book features more of the jack & Hammer crew than we have seen in the last couple books so that made it even more enjoyable.

'til next time...