2012 in Review: The Big Bathroom Project

We both got sick this week, which has been lots of fun. A nice way to round out what has not been our greatest Christmas season ever.

This year we got about halfway through the Big Bathroom Project. That's not totally unexpected: we both have full-time jobs and I'm a perfectionist who cannot do things the fast and easy way. But we did make quite a bit of progress. And we have an awesome new deck.

1. Build the deck on the back of the house

Speaking of.

We put in foundations, made concrete posts, then nearly killed ourselves putting in heavy timber beams.

Then we built a raft, then blocked the heck out of it. There was also a landing, and guess what? More blocking.

Then we could start installing boards on the raft, going through a learning process on doing screwed and plugged connections with ipe. Installation went pretty fast all things considered. We had to pause to finish up the framing for the upper stairs.

We struggled with cutting off the ends of the plugs, then Noel went and spent a few hundred bucks on a mighty fine tool that solved the entire problem and has improved our lives in many ways.

We poured a bottom step, we installed a few stringers to make a temporary stair, then a few days later got the rest of the stringers installed

I did some finish tests while we began work on the harder parts of the deck, like the top of the bottom stairs, and heck the lower steps themselves.

Noel cut away the ends of the big beams under the deck. He began installing the wood over the sides of the deck, then on the sides of the stairs.

We ran the deck boards long and then trimmed them to be the same length, which looks really clean.

Then it was time to start sanding the deck surface to prepare for finishing. We sanded. And sanded. And then we were ready to seal it.

Installing the railings seemed to take a lot longer than it should have. After many delays on getting the things, we got the posts in in time for our deck-warming party, then after a brief delay with canine oncology started installing the railing panels. There were even more delays with the wrong panels. Then we had the fiddly fussy work of installing rakes, which has halted with the need to get some welding done.

Another rake installed

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

This one is going to happen this summer, probably along with some repairs to the side porch in general. We've been thinking of reroofing this summer and if that happens we might have to rebuild much of the side porch roof at the same time.

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

We really just need to order the custom-milled siding and get it done. After doing an ipe deck this will seem like child's play. I do want to do some real flashing around the many penetrations in the basement wall (mostly from the irrigation), which will be the fiddly part.

4. Add an electrical subpanel upstairs

Part of rewiring the upstairs to remove the last of the knob-and-tube. After we get this done we can insulate the attic, which will be very pleasant.

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

So far it's been mostly demolition. We need to finish framing before we can start installing things like electrical and plumbing. (I did a longer writeup on this for the Ten Year Plan post, so I won't repeat it here.)

Plastic on the construction

6. Finish cleaning and repairing the plaster in the hallway

I finally got back to working on scrubbing the hallway this year after a very long hiatus. I already went over this on the Ten Year Plan report, but basically it was what seemed like endless days up on scaffolding scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing. And it's not quite done yet.

Looking down

7. Build a new coat closet in the hallway

This is part of the framing of the downstairs bathroom, which we haven't even started yet. But I am looking forward to getting the coat rack out of the parlours.


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

Another horrible experience with a window company. I mean WTF.

Noel took the trim off around the opening of our old window, then the first window was not the right size. Nor was the second. And the window they finally installed? Not right. That's a story for some time when I calm down about it. Anyway, the window is replaced for now.

The window from inside

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

This was a fun, quick project. Of course, when we took the old cabinets down they were concealing a pile of bizarre and insane stuff, but the new cabinets installed nicely. We haven't gotten knobs for the cabinet doors yet (IKEA keeps being out of them when I go there), but they work fine without.

Finished cabinets

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

Yeah. Did not get to this. Maybe this year?

posted by ayse on 01/06/13

3 Comments

I applaud your disciplined approach to all of this work; I think categorizing and summarizing it on an annual basis gives you a perspective on where you have come from, what you have achieved, and what still lies ahead. This is a huge house and you've come a long way already! I hope that you can take a moment to stop and celebrate your accomplishments! Happy New Year to you both (and all the four-legged kids)!!! I wish you another productive and hopefully, satisfying, year of renovations and projects.

Looks like 2012 was a busy and productive year for y'all. Hopefully, 2013 will be equally as good!

I love how you summarized your progress. For first timers like me, it made it easier to navigate your site. I have yet to go over the whole review as there are just a lot of content but I'm sure goingto try and catch up.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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