Planning for 2012: The Big Bathroom Project

In late November we finally got our permits for the project we've been calling The Big Bathroom Project. The permits let us go back to being a 2 1/2 bath house, which would be really nice after so many years of being a one bath house, but they include much more than that.

1. Build the deck on the back of the house

We're looking forward to having the deck almost more than having an upstairs bathroom. OK, maybe equally. Right now to get into the back yard we go out the side door and around the dining room bay window, and while that is not really anywhere near a problem, it would be nice to just be able to go out the back door without breaking a leg. Also, we like being outside and it would be nice to have a good stable place to put a table and chairs and hang out outside in the summer.

2. Rebuild the side stairs that were removed during foundation replacement

We were reminded this weekend of how good this will be, as a friend slipped on the bad stair and nearly fell. I'm also secretly looking forward to repairing the top of the side porch and getting closer to my planned screened porch.

3. Replace the siding removed from the house during the foundation replacement

This seems like it should be so easy: just hire a dude to mill some siding for us, then nail it in place. Right. Not so easy. But we're ready for it to happen.

4. Add an electrical subpanel upstairs

This is one of those projects that just does not get enough credit. Old wiring burns houses down, and we've been systematically removing it and replacing it with good new wiring that will not burn the house down as we move through the house. We have one weird piece of wiring left: a circuit that goes from the old circuit board in the front bedroom closet, up, down, around and then out to the front porch light.

That circuit's days are numbered. Also, we will soon have a subpanel upstairs for when somebody inevitably trips a breaker with some big piece of equipment. Watch us get fat by avoiding those 1000 steps to the basement to reset the breaker.

5. New plumbing, electrical, and ventilation in the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms

This is a nice one. Easily the most complicated single line item in the whole plan, and it's still just one line item.

Interestingly, the delay we experienced in getting our Japanese robot toilet post-earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster was actually outweighed by the delay we experienced in getting our permit, so the robot toilet is in the hallway waiting to be installed. I like to imaging it singing quietly to itself at night.

6. Finish cleaning and repairing the plaster in the hallway

Mostly we need to do this so the inspectors don't think we are animals (even though technically we are animals). But it is also part of the whole project, because the plumbing from the upstairs bathroom will require us to lower part of the ceiling in the hallway. (Wait, weren't we just here?) Lowering the ceiling will be easier if the ceiling is not half-falling on us to begin with. (Reminder to the Previous Owners of the world: repair water damage before covering it with drywall.)

7. Build a new coat closet in the hallway

The downstairs bathroom will deprive us of our current coat closet/dog food storage area, so we'll be building a small one in the hallway, with a pipe run in the corner to deal with drains and vents without having to undermine the structural integrity of our staircase. I have no idea what we are going to do with the bags of dog food we buy in bulk.


We don't have to do much of those projects to close out the foundation permit at long last, which we really, really want to do this year.

In addition to the Big Bathroom Project, we have a few side projects we're going to try to get done this year.

Side projects:
8. Replace the window over the front door

Noel has an appointment with a window place for Thursday to discuss this window and get a solid estimate. Some things just take a little money to make them happen.

9. Take down collapsing kitchen cabinets and replace with cheap cabinets

Over the last few months it has become apparent that one set of kitchen cabinets is detaching itself from the wall in a slow-mo collapse. We spent some time fiddling with repairing them before it dawned on us that we could just go to IKEA and buy some cheap upper cabinets which would be perfectly useful and would triple our kitchen cabinet space.

10. Finish the top of the arbor in the side yard

I swear, we'll get around to this this year.

posted by ayse on 01/03/12

6 Comments

Wait, you are going to re-lower the ceiling all of us helped you re-raise? :)

Only part of it. I swear. But yes. :)

Oh, is that ALL you're going to tackle? ;) We want to build a deck too--wanna go first so we can learn from you?

As long as the trim isn't pink... :-)

Heather, we will probably start work in February or so, when the ground has softened a little, so feel free to follow along. This should be a very easy deck, though: 30 in off the ground and no weird shapes.

Good luck!

We store our dog food in Vittles Vaults in the broom closet. They're stackable, and two of them hold 70-80 pounds of dog food.

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