Monday, November 25, 2013

So many corners!!! (A Painting Story)

With the toilets gone...and carpet mysteriously delayed by 2 weeks, we decided to tackle some painting in the bathroom!

Remember our lovely Master Bath that has his and hers sides?


And Hers!

And a scary double shower!  What you can't see, is that there is a vaulted ceiling right above this shower.  That goes up 13 feet!  And there are a lot of nooks and crannies and corners and odd angles and lots of patching needed!

Remember that every mirror had been ripped out when the previous owners left?  Yup!  Ripped out.

Leaving pretty holes for me to patch.

They also had  sort of painted the plugs and light switches.

And didn't bother taping up last time they painted...paint on the cabinets...

Paint on the light fixtures...

Paint on the counter tops...

Sadly, they also had anger issues.  At some point, a left-handed person had punched a hole through the wall.  There is a matching one in the dining room....both left-handed.

But Sweet Jasmine still loved her daddy.  And made him a personal light switch cover for his bathroom.

(It's really so odd to find the remainders of a family's life and dysfunction.  It's sad to know that they lost house in the end.  And then we bought it.  It makes me feel guilty and sort of creeped out.  I get so frustrated at all the things they did to this house.  Then I remember that we can afford this house because it WAS so messed up!)

We taped up everything....

And started painting!  Every little nook and cranny!

The odd-shaped closets!

The thirteen foot vaulted ceiling!

We patched the punch hole.  A few more times of sanding and filling and it will be smooth enough to paint!

It took two coats to cover that old sponge paint.  But it's starting to look like a bathroom!  I even have a vanity table over there on that wall!  (Wish I had a mirror!  That handheld is my only option right now!)

 Imagine two nice mirrors here, too!  One on either side of the sinks.  I found out my seahorse (from our last master bath) kind of matches those sinks and the funny blue/green tile!  And since the sinks are very nice real porcelain, I'm trying to figure out a way to keep them.  The counter top is yuck.  The faucets are old and broken and the brass finish is rubbed off.  But I might find a way to keep the sinks!  For right now, it's starting to feel more pleasant!  And the white walls make it feel clean!

What do you think?

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Grossest Job in the World: A Tutorial!

WARNING:  This is a really gross job. But someone's got to do it!

Remember this adorable "robin's egg blue" toilet?  (It's really more of a light teal...) With a matching one on the "his" side of the master bath?  Well, they needed a new home.....

If you have toilets that need a new home, I'm happy to provide you with this incredibly gross tutorial.  So that you know you can do it yourself!  And don't have to pay a plumber umptamillion dollars.  ; )

(Notice how we've painted Kilz on all the subfloor?  That's a pet odor remediation trick we think is working!)

Step One:  Get your tools together!

You will need (from left to rightish):  a rag, a cup or container, a chisel or screwdriver, rubber gloves, a bucket, pliers, a crescent wrench, a Dremel tool OR a hack saw blade if you don't have a Dremel.

Step Two:  Turn off the water

Reach back behind the tank and turn off the water at the gross valve.  Make sure you turn it all the way to off as tightly as you can or you will get drips.

Step Three:  Flush the toilet!

Flush the toilet and hold the handle down as long as you still hear water running.  You are trying to empty the tank as much as possible.

Then pour a bucket of water into the bowl to make it flush as much water down as possible---it's the amount of water in the bowl that causes it to overcome the water pressure from the trap and go down---not some magic thing in the tank.  Just pure physics.  So with the tank empty, the bucket of water will flush the bowl even more empty!

Scoop out as much water as you can with your small plastic container.  A little left in the bowl won't matter that much. It's not going to leak out unless you tip the toilet over sideways.  (Yes this toilet is gross.  It has been "cleaned," but those are iron stains from the well water that won't come off.)

Step Four:  Unscrew the water line

Using the crescent wrench, unscrew the line that leads to the toilet tank.  It may help to put your small container under here, as there will be a few drips from the line.  But if it starts spraying water in your face, you haven't turned OFF the water line!  Try again!

Step Five:   Undo the toilet from the floor

 On either side of the toilet bowl, you will find the place where it is screwed to the floor.  If your toilet still has it's plastic caps---count yourself the luckiest person in the world!  This means it is more likely that the nut and bolt are not corroded!  Pry off the cap to get at the hardware.

This toilet had both caps still intact!  Use the crescent wrench to remove the nut from the bolt.

If the nut and bolt were corroded---you would have virtually no luck in unscrewing that nut.  (This happened on the other toilet I removed earlier this week.)  If that is the case, you have to actually cut throught the metal of the bolt underneath the nut.  A  Dremel tool works great for that---but it is still a nasty job with bits of metal flying in your face while you are hunched over a gross toilet.  Your other option, is to use a hack saw blade to cut through that bolt---that is the old way to do things---but still effective.  Just very, very slow and hard!  Or you can try to snap the bolt off with a pliers.  I wasn't strong enough for that.  Or the bolt wasn't corroded enough.

When you get the nut and washer off the bolt, it will look like this.  Usually kind of gross and rusty.  Do this to both sides of the toilet!  Now you are ready for LIFT OFF!

Step Six:  Lifting the toilet up and away!

With your legs braced under you, reach around both sides of the toilet bowl and rock it back and forth to be sure it is loose.  Make sure the water line is completely loose from the wall valve.  When you have summoned all your super powers, lift the whole stinkin' toilet up and off of those bolts and set it on the floor to the side.  If you are trying to save current flooring, it might be a good idea to have some cardboard to set it on right next to you.

Yes, there will be a REALLY GROSS hole in the floor where the toilet was.  Don't despair.  Don't throw up.  Just grab your rag!

Step Seven:  Dealing with the hole in the floor

Shove your rag in the hole.  Not because it is gross to look at---that is a given---but because the real danger is further down the line---sewer gases.  Don't shove it in so far you lose it down the line (that would be disastrous---as you would have to reach down there and retrieve it!)  Just cover up the hole.

Now you must get rid of the old wax ring.  That thing that is so very gross.  Scrape it up and off of the flange (the top of the sewer pipe that goes down into the floor.)  Scrape up, wipe off on the trash can edge.  Repeat.

It doesn't have to be perfectly clean.  Just clean enough for new nuts and bolts to go in and a new wax ring to sit nicely back down on it when the new toilet is installed.  Those slots on either side are where the new bolts will slide in under and stick up to hold the new toilet in place.

This job is DONE!  Now to move on to painting and flooring....

It was kind of fun to see the area behind the toilet tank that hadn't been painted fully.  You could see that at one time the bathroom had been painted a light blue to match all the fixtures and tile!  And later (probably in the 90s) it was extensively sponge painted in two tones.

I taped it up and took it back to boring "parchment paper" white!  Boring, but CLEAN!

Then I laid flooring.  This flooring is a "resilient tile" flooring.

 It is a pretty easy DIY project and feels very nice.  The tiles have an adhesive that sticks them to each other---not the floor.  So it is a floating floor.  And it can go down over virtually any other floor surface.  The only difficult part was cutting out around the heater vent and the toilet hole.  I used a chisel for that.  Otherwise it was just score and snap to break it.

Originally, this toilet alcove was part of the whole master bedroom carpeted floor.  We thought that was too now the alcove is in flooring and will segway to the carpet.   Next I stained and cut quarter round to cover up the area between the flooring and the baseboards.

Ta Da!!!  The finished project!   A new toilet on a new floor with newly painted walls!!!!

 I wish I had a tutorial about how to install the new toilet, but I was busy being "assistant plumber" to my husband who did that part after work.  Didn't have time for the camera.  It's actually pretty easy.  Basically putting it all back together again.  Wax ring sticks on the bottom of the toilet bowl before it goes down.  The hardest part is lining up the new toilet over the new bolts that stick up out of the floor.  (That was my job as assistant, while Hubby held up the toilet.)  Just don't forget to take out the rag!  Then hook up a new water line and flush away!

And there is a matching one on "his" side!  Ahhhhhh!  (That's the heavenly choir singing praises for the new thrones!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Little Excitement Goes a Long Way!

Today is the Big Front Door Reveal! (Oooooh!  Aren't you so excited?!?)


The front door was SO beat up!  Dogs had scratched it.  It had never been stained properly.  The trim had been primed, but never painted.

A piece of trim on the left side had been ripped off half way up!

And for a house that is already suffering from a depressingly heavy roof really needed a pick-me-up!  Some way to liven up the entry....or even let you know it was there!

 It needed a way to say "Welcome!  This is a FUN house!  You should come right in!"

So.....without any more delay.....(drumroll, please).......

The winner is ORANGE!!!

Exciting!  Colorful!  Brick-matching Orange!

We did some test spots first.  Tried orange AND brown on the night we thought we wanted brown the morning, it was obvious that orange was the right color!  We tried painting some of the trim orange---(and look how bright it was when it first went on!  Yikes!)----but in the end, decided the trim should coordinate with the trim of the rest of the house---not be all orange.

Taping everything up inside and out was a REAL chore!!!

And our "warm weekend" turned out to be a cold and rainy one---but we soldiered on!

We had to replace that broken piece of trim.  And wait until Tuesday for another warm day to paint the trim.

The orange on the inside DOES coordinate with our orange entry tile!  And quite nicely....I think we might keep that tile!  (Scott says, "no way!)

We think we will replace the kick plates and get a fancier doorknob sometime soon...hopefully that will add even more oomph!

So here it is again...



Did we make a good choice?  Do you want to come and visit?  We think it says, "Welcome Home!"  And we're glad we did it!