Thursday, June 9, 2011

Odds and Ends

Aggghhh…. Whatever happened to the month of May? Oh yeah that’s right… I had a HUGE project to do at work with an INSANE deadline so I tried to be productive with my time and unfortunately that meant no blogging. Some recent highlights to what we’ve been up to throughout May are …
  • Removing the glass shower door on our bathtub and installing a new shower curtain rod. The removal part was pretty satisfying for me – I HATED cleaning the glass doors and it seemed no matter how often I cleaned they perpetually had hard water spots on them making them look pretty hazy and gross up close. After scraping all the adhesive and caulk grossness off of the tub and tile I installed a new “hotel style” shower curtain rod and it’s such a drastic improvement in my eyes.
Unfortunately the first time we installed the new rod the location didn’t seem right and it just jutted out too far into the bathroom, but the second time around we nailed the position. A lil’ patching to cover the screw holes and touch up paint and you’d never know we had to do it twice (except that I’m telling you). Now I just need to find/DIY a shower curtain to replace the clear PVC one we have up temporarily.
  • Replacing shower fixtures. This began because our five decade old shower handle finally decided to bite the dust one evening during Ivan’s bath time. It was well on it’s way out for awhile so I was glad to finally replace it. While replacing the broken plastic handle with a shiny new metal lever I figured I’d update the drain, spout, and tub overflow plate so it would all be shiny and pretty. However, when it comes to plumbing or electrical in our home nothing seems to go as planned.

    The overflow plate was a pretty basic replacement but we ended up returning two spouts that didn’t work before giving up and sticking with the original as well as two different drains. During one such attempt at a drain switch that didn’t work, we ended up with what Jens likes to refer to as “mini-Katrina” in our basement due to inadequate amounts of plumbers putty when putting back in to original drain (I’ll take the blame even though Jens told me to use a nickel size amount).

    Luckily, Jens was in the basement while I was giving Ivan a bath and could hear the water leak so we discovered it right away or it could have been much worse. We ended up with a few acoustic ceiling tiles that need to be replaced and lots of vacuuming up wet carpet (again…that seems to be a theme with us this spring).  Needless to say we couldn’t get the standard size drains to fit and after some googling we discovered that there is a rare third size that was used commonly in the late sixty’s – go figure! So that’s going to require a trip to a specialty plumbing wholesale store to replace … someday we might get around to it but for now we are living with a old, yet functioning tub drain.
  • Patching the hole in our basement drywall from our little foundation repair job. Still needs to be primed and then eventually I’ll get around to painting the whole room since we picked out a paint color. That by the way was a very scientific process which involved slapping a bunch of sample swatches up, deciding that none of them were quite right, and adjusting the one that we liked the best with some white primer to lighten it up a little bit. Once we got the custom tint that we liked I put a swatch on a paint stick that I can take into the paint store and get a color match to. For right now though … that project is pretty low on my priority list.
  • Making cabinet doors for the built-ins! Jens finished our first maple cabinet door for the built-ins early this week. It looks awesome!


    I can’t wait to get all the doors completed and hung bring us one step closer to finishing the project that never ends. We plan on using BLUM concealed hinges which are pretty reputable for their high quality – I plan on ordering them from amazon very soon since that’s the cheapest place I can find them. I like that they are self-closing and offer three-way door adjustment so we can fine tune the reveal all the way around our inset doors as well as make sure they are flush with the face frames. Once we Jens is done with all the construction, I get to start on the tedious job of sanding, staining, and finishing the whole shebang. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m honestly always a little bit nervous about staining wood although I shouldn’t be because I did about a dozen sample pieces to decide which stain/toner/finish combo to use.
  • Restoring our original wood windows. Our exterior trim work needs repainting badly, especially on the southern exposure of the house. The paint is really starting to chip and flake off in some areas. While scraping off some of the flaking paint I also came across some areas in the exterior sill and frame where the wood felt soft and was starting to rot. So I went a little crazy and started chunking out all of the areas of rot to get down to solid wood until my windows look like this.


    Yikes, huh!? I’m glad Jens didn’t freak out when he got home and saw what I had done. Well thankfully there’s a product in existence know as wood epoxy for exactly this type of a situation. The epoxy is now cured and next on my priority list is getting around to sanding and painting it. I’ll be back with some before and after pics as well as more detail on the process.