I decided a long time ago to finish the sole exposed post in the house with stonework. My column is larger but this was the idea.
I was tired of looking at the 2 x 4 structure for the column. I had started covering the post a year ago and mounted a cabinet for the internet equipment.
I also had a few pieces of 1/4″ cement board already on the column.
I had enough cement board on hand to finish the job. One day last week I tackled this project and finished screwing the board on. I had to take a detour to buy 1″ drywall screws as I could not get the 1 1/4″ cement board screws all the way into the board.
Buying drywall screws was a turning point since I saved and reused all the screws from tearing out our old drywall. I still have longer screws from that project.
The next step was to uncover the faux stone that I purchased a few years ago and was moved around the garage a few times so that it was very buried. To do that I had to rearrange the mower side of the garage.
The shelves on the left were in front of the mower and the stone was behind that. Now the stone is at the front of the garage where it can be easily reached.
As I recall there were about 14 sq. ft. of stone in the purchase, that is not enough to cover the entire pillar. Plus it is a bit limited by how many corners are available. There are 7 lineal feet of those. I have not laid it out yet. I hope I have enough for at least 3 ft. of coverage. Another interesting project.
As time goes on I am involved in fewer projects at my son’s house. One of the last updates in the family bathroom was to change the dual flush unit in the tank. The dual flush button on the toilet was too difficult for a three year old to flush. It was a retrofit dual flush unit that used a two button flush. I just happened to have a bargain Restore dual flush unit that I never installed in our old toilet before I replaced it with a Niagara toilet.
As usual the project was much more difficult than I planned. The old unit had been installed with the overflow tube at an angle instead of parallel to the rear of the toilet. This particular toilet had a narrow tank front to back so the bulky dual flush unit could only be installed parallel to the back.
In order to reorient the flush valve seat and overflow tube I had to take the tank off the toilet. So I purchased a new gasket and bolt set and even a new filler valve.
The gasket and bolt set proved to be my undoing, however. I tried at least three times to use the new gasket and each time the tank leaked badly when I flushed it. The gasket rubber must have been too hard to compress with the bolts or I didn’t have the strength but finally I fished the old gasket out of the trash and used it again and it didn’t leak.
One of the other issues I had was that I had not properly identified that the flush valve had an angled seat.
I assumed it was a flat seal when it was actually angled. Once I figured that out I had to add a section to the bottom of the assembly that adapted to the angled seat. Time consuming. On this unit both flush volumes are adjustable which is a nice feature and setting them to the lowest successful flush for each type was not difficult. Water saving and easy to use is a good combination.
After a few hours of working on the toilet I was able to have my 3 year old grandson test the flush and it worked!
It is going to be hard to get in the swing of finishing projects at my house. I have enjoyed working on theirs so much. But it’s time to get back to work.
The large TV and its stand came from the apartment but the old couch had seen better days so it was donated and they wanted a simple, relatively firm couch in a light color. We found this one on Craigslist and it came with a “free” Ikea coffee table.
The couch was in great condition and also came with two throw pillows, the seller reduced the price but he was also on the third floor of an apartment complex. Luckily there were two of us to heft it out of the apartment and down the exterior staircase into the truck bed.
It was a perfect fit and just what they had in mind at least for the upcoming baby years. It’s a good napping couch. The cushions are firm enough to hold a body so it does not sink uncomfortably into the couch.
My son likes modern, my daughter-in-law a bit more traditional. When he saw this ad for side chairs they were the style he had always wanted. These came well-worn but at a reasonable price for this style even as copies.
There were quite well used with marred leather and some scratches on the plywood but they are very comfortable chairs. They are similar to recliners in comfort but not quite as pedestrian. They are being used in the living room and bedroom but my daughter-in-law is not as fond of them as my son. They may end up in one of his spaces.
They have purchased a couple of inexpensive end tables and have filled the house with beautiful plants which really livens up the bright space. They are making their new house their home.
There were several new pieces needed before the family could move in. The two children had been sleeping in the same room in the apartment and now they have their own rooms!
I missed out on the first crib we arranged to purchase. The seller told me she would be available in a couple of days and I arranged to pick it up at 11:00 AM on the day she specified. I called to say I was on my way when she said she had forgotten me and just sold it to another couple. Does not happen often but it does. She probably thought they needed it and loved it. So I don’t harbor hard feelings.
We found another white crib in good shape that is a little more tailored but quite pretty. Then we needed a baby changing table and dresser. The set we found also came with a nightstand.
It has another set of knobs if all white is preferred but the multicolored knobs looked cute. Our grandson also needed a bedroom set and we were looking for a nice color. We didn’t see one we liked so I decided to paint this one.
We chose a rich royal blue for his room. It was quite a bit of work to paint all the drawers, the cabinets and the bed, but it turned out really nice.
The blue hassock was also moved up to the bedside for a parent chair for bedtime stories. Perfect.
The appliances in the house were in decent shape and about 7-9 years old. They were all stainless steel although not high end. When I found a hardly used GE dishwasher at the Restore I thought it was a good chance to update and match the new stove.
Near as I can tell from the serial number and appearance the old dishwasher was made in 2010. It was an operable quiet dishwasher but was a bit dated.
The interior was especially dated and all white plastic. All the appliances were originally Frigidaire but the new stove was GE.
The newer GE dishwasher is probably from 2015. It is a Hybrid Stainless Steel model which means the inner tub is grey plastic but the rest is stainless. There is some evidence that plastic tubs dry dishes faster than stainless.
It was a bit of an extravagance to replace a decent dishwasher but it is nice to have matching brand appliances and we were able to sell the old dishwasher on Craigslist. This new one had more wash features and sanitize and it is Energy Star.
Plus the handles match the new stove. The installation was a bit tricky because the old dishwasher was plumbed into a stand pipe up behind the kitchen sink which was difficult to reach. I ended up cutting the pipe a little lower so I could place the new drain hose in the stand pipe. The arrangement is more similar to a washing machine drain but it appears to work.
They also decided that they needed a cupboard more than a wine fridge so that was removed too. I used it as a dorm fridge for drinks and snacks while I was working in the house. Plus I got a small used microwave for myself while I was there.
The refrigerator was a deep side by side model. It stuck out into the passageway between it and the counter. Again it was in decent shape although there were a few blemishes on the door. My son decided to replace it with a counter depth model.
We had to take the doors off to get the old refrigerator through the front door. It really was wide and bulky. Although we listed it several times on Craigslist and Next Door we were not able to sell it. Eventually someone picked it up for free. I guess for a refrigerator a 2010 model was getting old, or it was too big for most people to move themselves.
It was great to have it out of the way so I could work on installing the cabinet that was removed from the island. I had to replace some tile there as well because the tile was not completely under the front of the wine fridge and the cabinet was a little shallower.
When they were almost ready to move in they bought a nice GE french door bottom freezer counter depth energy star refrigerator from a local scratch and dent vendor. It was perfect for the space.
Every little project takes time. We had a perfect size cabinet to put in place of the wine fridge from reducing the size of the island. I just had to install it.
The wine fridge was built in over a rather dicey floor. I removed most of the oak boards and replaced them with plywood. I removed the walls that surrounded the fridge. The tiled area was not wide enough to cover the floor to the cabinet so I added a couple of rows here. There was a deep hole where the tile had been removed so that was fixed too.
There was an electrical outlet behind the wine fridge and I had to cut a hole in the cabinet so that it was not covered as that is a fire hazard.
I don’t know why the cabinet had all the holes in its back but I screwed it to the wall through a couple of them. The cabinet does not quite reach the side wall and the space still needs trim.
The house had an electric stove and over the stove microwave. As dedicated cooks, the young couple wanted a gas stove and a hood to carry away cooking odors and fumes. This was a relatively large project.
The electric stove had a 220 electrical line but no gas and no 115 volt plug for the electronic ignition. First I extended the microwave power to an outlet behind the stove.
We hired a gas installer who had some concerns about there being too many appliances on the gas line but eventually decided a gas stove could be added.
Even though the gas was not far away downstairs, the installer ran into problems with the cold air returns being in the way. He got the line snaked through but it could not go in the wall behind the stove because of the return. So we cut along the bottom of the drywall to get the line out of the way of the stove.
My son found the exact stove he wanted on Craigslist and luckily was here when it was time to go pick it up. It is a high end GE gas stove with double ovens, one is convection, which was what he wanted. It was a little less than half price for a new one.
He was able to sell the microwave and stove on Craigslist too. We brought the stove into the kitchen to work on setting it up.
At first it was difficult to fit the stove into the space. It was set up to be shorter than our cabinets so I used a 1/2 in piece of plywood for it to sit on. Moving the stove onto the plywood and back into the space was difficult. I kept hitting the gas or electrical pipe that fed the undercounter light in the end cabinet. I was finally able to pull back both pipes against the wall enough to get the stove completely back to the wall.
Then I found a simple GE range hood on Craigslist. Again had to negotiate a lower price. The hood seemed in relatively good condition. But I had to give it a good cleaning as it was greasy from its former home. It came with a new screen so I used that and discarded the old one.
The bathroom contractor was asked to put in the new stove vent that goes outside. With the floor open above it was not as difficult as it might be otherwise.
The vent makes the cabinet above rather useless though as the pipe goes through and the shelf had to be removed.
The vent pipe ends up outside between the kitchen and dining room windows.
I installed the hood myself so I had to pile up boxes to rest it on while I attached it to the screws in the upper cabinet. Once installed the new hood made a rattling sound that seems to have gone away over time. I think it was a loose metal baffle and just running it has pushed the baffle into place. I also replaced the light in the hood with an LED type.
The entry and kitchen had been retiled with a medium gray wood grained tile. But the living/dining room was carpeted with a dark color berber. Although the carpet was not in terrible shape, hardwood was a feature they wanted. The office floor was traditional oak hardwood but it was severely damaged in the middle from an office chair.
The office floor had to be removed to match the rest of the updated flooring. The new flooring was a debate between a darker color wood and lighter. The kids wanted to see the wood grain but wanted a bit of color. From all the samples they liked the lightly stained white oak the best. It had a gray cast without a darker gray stain look.
Then it was difficult to find that style at the vendors that were used by the installer. But our installer agreed to use the flooring from another store and helped estimate the amount needed. I inflated that a bit since the store was known for including many short pieces in the stock. However the installer said they didn’t include more than he was used to seeing.
We opted not to pay the hefty delivery fee and again we were thankful for buying our Ford 250 in 2014. It has been very handy in helping us save money over the years.
The boxes were HEAVY and we old folks carried each of them into the family room for eventual installation. They were stored for a couple of weeks to climatize the wood.
Then the installer came in and removed the carpet and the hardwood from the office. That part was time-consuming and heavy work. We had asked what it might cost to do the tile area as well. He said we would have to find someone else to remove the tile. No wonder!
Once the new floor started going in we were very pleased with how it was going. The installers were meticulous about the joints and matching the lengths to make an attractive floor. We were also pleased that this installer did not insist on gluing the floor down. With the dry climate in Colorado we needed to have a floor that could move with the humidity levels. A glued floor would be more likely to crack.
The installers came across an interesting hidden issue. At some point a hole was cut in the floor, it looked like an access hole to a heating or exhaust vent. I had a piece of plywood in the garage for them to patch this area so the floor would be well supported.
The office area was finished first and it was amazing what a difference this beautiful floor made in the room.
As the floor was being completed I expected there to be more flooring left over than we anticipated. But by the end of the job there was only one full extra box and a partial box still remaining. We opted to keep the extra wood. It is solid oak and we hope to use it for a coffered ceiling in the office.
The new flooring really improved the look of the living/dining room and actually the whole house felt substantially upgraded. We found that even though an installer is hired for the job, there can still be significant time invested in an upgrade like this.
I made an effort to have enough furniture on hand for the family to start their new lives in the house. They had decided not to bring most of their old furniture with them. They only brought their relatively new California king bedroom set and a few of their storage cabinets. After some new furniture shopping they had an idea of the styles that most attracted them. They wanted a modern kitchen table for the breakfast nook and a pop of color there. We found an authentic Herman Miller table and four vinyl parsons chairs in blue. The parsons chairs were part of a dining set that came with a small IKEA dining table. So even though they like the idea of a natural wood table we thought it would work temporarily.
The chairs looked great with the Herman Miller table which has a light gray laminate top.
I was on the lookout for modern dining chairs and found these that matched the table. Simple, modern, cleanable, comfortable and negotiable in price; a good combination.
Next my daughter in law mentioned that she would like a sideboard. I found a matching cabinet for the set. Fortunately the owner also wanted to sell so the price was reduced. Actually it is a media cabinet because the rear has a couple of pre drilled holes for wiring but it is a good size for a buffet as well. The Anthropologie knobs were a great touch though they came with super long screws. I had to trim them with a dremel tool to fit correctly. But I like the mercury glass knobs and used that idea later to find some decor for the set.
I found a matching large black framed mirror at the Restore that pulled the set together and they will probably sell it together when they are ready to replace with the dining set of their dreams.
It’s tradition to remove outdoor shoes in most Asian households. Actually it’s also becoming an indoor clean air practice. Our LEED requirement is to have shoe storage at the door. But not all visitors are aware, and actually I need a reminder sometimes, so they needed a sign. I have a set of stencils that we thought would work well but I didn’t want to make a sign from the pallet boards as I originally intended. Too many other projects.
I decided to try a framed chalkboard and use liquid chalk for the letters. The first board was big and warped, the second a little smaller but too country looking. I kept it for myself. The third was perfect with a white frame but then the stencils didn’t fit. I just did freehand lettering so we could put up the sign. Can redo it at a later date.
I had some “help” from my granddaughter so there were a couple of small smears. But for now it’s a handy reminder.
My daughter-in-law wanted a child’s playroom in the large basement family room. This is a wonderful room because the floor is over a crawlspace so its not cold and it is a heated space. The south side has lots of windows and the french doors exit to a patio area under the deck.
This basement floor is quite large. There is a guest bedroom, a storage room, a large hall closet, a utility room, and a closet under the stairs. Plus a full bathroom, a bar sink and cabinet, a carpeted sitting area and the large family area. All the toys have a home in this area and the family hangs out and plays there.
The old carpet was not in terrible condition but it was worn in some areas and quite dark so they decided it was a good time to install new carpet when the upstairs was carpeted. They chose a textured gray to match the gray laminate wood floors down there. It is a tough weave as it was the carpet they used on the floors in the store! The bedroom and sitting room are carpeted too.
Of course I also changed the basement staircase light fixture from an old barely functional one to a curved glass unit that I found on eBay for $15. But it was wired for a four prong lamp and I decided to rewire it to fit a standard size bulb. I used all LED bulbs in the house.
The first furniture in the area was the storage cabinets from their apartment and a blue and red interlocking rubber floor mat that we originally purchased for a baby birthday party. Then they found a loveseat on a marketplace and a huge bean bag chair stuffed with foam instead of beans. It came with a small footrest too.
There was a choice of several used train tables and we purchased one that was not far away. It also came with extra tracks and train cars. We searched for a wooden play kitchen and child table set but the pickings were few, worn, and expensive. So we bought these items new but reasonably, especially compared to the used asking prices.
Assembly took time and two of us. There are so many parts to sort and put together. The table and chairs were much easier to assemble.
We also really enjoyed getting items for the cabinet dollhouse. The critter family even has a grandma and grandpa with the two children and their parents. It’s so sweet and both kids like playing with it. The cabinet itself was a craigslist purchase.
We were more successful finding a free large table. This table extends if needed for extra room for party seating. We picked up 10 church choir chairs in very decent condition, also for free though a small donation was accepted. One of the techline dressers holds art supplies. Across from this table is an easel for the small fry.
Behind the art area is the small sitting room which will be used for large gaming equipment and musical instruments. My son has a keyboard and my little grandson likes to set up and play rhythms on it. The kids drum set is a family set that belonged to my niece’s son then to my older grandkids, and now to the younger ones.
Another activity area across from the white shelving is a learning center with a magnetic white board, found brand new and still wrapped in plastic on craigslist, and some English/Korean posters. There are other cute additions for children’s learning, the analog wall clock and big measuring chart. The extra bed comes in handy for tired parents just watching the kids play or for extra family guests.
If you look closely at the clock wall, you can see one of the cameras installed that allows the parents to monitor the room from upstairs. The entire room is family friendly for little kids but they expect it to grow with the kids and change as they get older.
The windowsill was in the way of the kitchen faucet handle for the hot water. The handle bumped up against the wood so the water could not be completely turned on. When the new quartz was installed we requested that the sink be placed as far toward the front as possible.
The new placement allowed the faucet handle to work without hitting the windowsill. We had not really expected to replace the hot water dispenser faucet but there was a new shiny black one at the Restore made especially for the Insinkerator hot water dispenser. I used the dispenser to make myself tea during my 3 o’clock work breaks when I was at the house. It is an unnecessary use of electric power but like most of these luxuries nice to have.
I thought the $75 price tag for the new hot water faucet was too expensive until I found that a new one costs over $250. Although it was gloss black we decided to buy it. I used liquid sander to take off some of the glossiness and it matches much better than the old one that was also dented. The two arches even match so it was a great purchase. Installation was easy because the connections matched the existing ones exactly.
But no matter how I shut off the faucet I could see that it needed a new cartridge. It was very likely to drip when shut off. It was a relatively easy project to purchase a new cartridge and follow this Pfister faucet’s online users manual to replace the cartridge.
Now the repaired and cleaned sink and faucets were ready for the family.
The garbage disposal is quite noisy though and should be replaced eventually but for now its good enough.
I found a Craigslist deal for Closet organization shelves. The remodeler had removed the shelving from several closets. This type of shelving can be very expensive when new but the home owner sold all of the sections and parts for $50.
Some of the shelving was put together and some was loose but there were several vertical and horizontal pieces. The load filled the truck.
Originally these were obtained to organize the master closet but there were enough to do three separate areas. First I used a couple of verticals and shelves for the mudroom. Later I cut one of the verticals back a bit and removed some shelves but this section added many open shelves to the layout.
The master closet is large about 8×8 but the steam unit is located in one corner. I intended to install shelves over the unit but they decided to leave the area open. But we used several of the Techline drawer sets that I also found on Craigslist. These are heavy, high quality modular drawers that went well with the shelving. I paid considerably more for six sets of drawers. But $300 worked out to a moderate $50 per set plus I got the matching mirror.
We used three sets of drawers in the master closet. At first they were separated like this but later we rearranged them so the hanging clothes would not interfere with the drawers.
The dressers were secured to the shelves with screws. We found plenty of instructions online using Easy Closets. Including customized layout for the space.
The instruction booklets really helped understand the closet system and I ordered three long metal supports so that these would fit exactly and not have the divisions of the old closets. They were about $100 added to the cost.
They were happy with the customization in the closet. Since we had many sections left over they suggested an install in the children’s area of the basement. That was quickly accomplished with most of the remaining parts. This project allowed me to install the drawers that came with the shelving too.
For all the shelving we installed, top shelves were purchased and cut to fit. That added another $60 to all the sections. An 8’ x 15” white board was about $20 at Home Depot and we used three. The kids shelves were nicely decorated with books and toys. We were even able to fit a dollhouse on one shelf.
My son was very impressed with the beauty of some Moroccan tile in a specialty tile shop in San Francisco. The cost was $250 a square foot. So he did some research to see if there was a shop nearer Denver. Eventually after trying to contact a couple of US distributors with no response he tracked down a manufacturer in Tunisia. They responded immediately and sent a brochure and PDF catalog of styles and colors. There were so many to choose from! Drew designed a gorgeous steam shower with help matching tile styles from the company. The sq ft cost of the tile was less than a tenth of the cost in the specialty stores although shipping and import fees were extra costs. Tile however is not subject to additional tariffs.
The design consisted of three walls and the ceiling in the master bathroom steam room.
The Westgate remodelers made the design come to life
It was exciting watching the tile get installed. Picking up the tile had some interesting obstacles. It seems that imports worth more than $2000 require an import broker. There was a list of possible vendors on the import site but it took several tries and asking for referrals to find a company who did one off customs clearance. Then we hoped for a quick turnaround so that our storage fee from the receiver did not kick in. Luckily Gallagher imports came through for us and we paid them a little over $280 and the warehouse the $60 fee and retrieved the tile.
Then we had to take a while to inspect the tile looking for breakage. We didn’t open it all but what we did open looked ok.
This white tile ended up having some broken pieces and we ran a bit short but the tilers stretched cut off pieces to make it work.
Most of the smaller tiles and pattern tiles were intact.
I really enjoyed a hardback copy of all the types of tile selections shown in the pdf file. It’s a beautiful book. The order included all the field tile pattern and trim tile for the kitchen backsplash too. It will look great when it’s installed. The kitchen pattern is actually inspired by Mexican tile patterns.
I found an ad for “white granite” on Craigslist. For only $60 there were two smaller pieces and one large one.
Luckily my son was visiting when we went to pick up the pieces because the large one especially was very heavy. The man who was selling the pieces was young and strong and so is my son so with a combination of leverage and sheer strength the pieces were loaded in the truck. There was a label on one of the pieces that when researched confirmed that the material was not granite but a luxury version of Corian quartz.
There were only the two of us to unload the pieces but after some preliminary cutting we were able to slide them off the truck onto the rolling carts we have on hand from an earlier Craigslist deal.
I cut the pieces to length and width and started the finish work. One edge of the longer piece was not even so I used a board to grind down the edge. I also used the diamond pads and the dry variable speed polisher on the edges.
After the pieces were cut to length we were able to transport the counters to the kitchen cabinets. I had reinforced the edges of the cabinets with strips of plywood screwed into the corner braces. I purchased the surface clamp used to draw the pieces together when gluing them. It is on the counter in the photo.
My son helped muscle the cut pieces on to the counter and wanted to maintain the 45 degree angled edge now only on an extra piece. Cutting the granite edge was difficult and I feared that getting the 45 degrees straight by hand was impossible. So we asked about professional finishing and installation. The bathroom quartz installers were willing to do the job for $800 but since it was a couple of thousand dollars worth of material he decided to do it. Here the installer are arriving with the bathroom quartz.
The installers set up the pieces outside for last minute fitting.
The counters were edge cut and installed professionally in the kitchen.
Unfortunately I had the 45 degree angle cut piece in the kitchen and when the installers picked up the pieces they took that one too and did not return it. They probably discarded it! I had enough pieces without it but I would have found a use for it.
The white quartz is perfect for the kitchen. So much cleaner looking than the speckled laminate countertops. We still have to install the special tile backsplash.
I found a lovely piece of dark granite for $50 that I thought was large enough for the countertop in the family bathroom.
It required more prep work than most because there were plywood pieces glued to the back of it. I cut them off by scoring with a saw and chipping away with a hammer and pry bar.
I had to cut the counter piece out of a larger polished end of the counter. That meant the whole front edge needed to be shaped and polished. I bought a special edge cutter to shape the front edge. By the time I was finished cutting, it was just barely wide enough for the countertop. But I could make up some depth by overlapping a space at the back with the backsplash.
While I was working with the stone my granite wet saw broke at the bolt that held on the blade. I quickly went to Home Depot to replace it. Then I ordered a variable speed wet grinder and another set of diamond pads to help with the polishing.
I used the new saw to cut the sink holes but it was slightly smaller than the old saw. So I was cutting from two sides.
I had been working on the piece for hours and I was getting tired so naturally when I turned the almost finished piece over one last time it slipped from my fingers only an inch or so but enough for the end to break off.
This is one of those accidents where hours of time and effort are gone in a moment. So there must have been a reason. Turns out my daughter in law likes light colors better. At the time we were investigating having the master bath quartz suppliers finish the kitchen quartz that I was also cutting and polishing. So I asked them to find a remnant for the family bath and cut and install it. I was out of time. They found a white lightly speckled quartz and it cost $600 for the remnant, the cut and install. Oh well.
The professionals also finished and installed the kitchen quartz.
The basement bathroom was quicker and easier that the second floor family bathroom. The same green Formica covered the sink cabinet and the same crystal faucets and metal sinks with the addition of a large chip in the enamel of one. So the countertop came off and the cabinets were painted light gray.
I also found some used fixtures for this bathroom. But some were new too. The sinks were installed in a new home and immediately replaced. They were very expensive Kohler sinks.
The vanity light was an Amazon Warehouse item and I found out why as it was extremely difficult to install. The screws that held the light together had to be inserted vertically instead of through the front. Between the mirror and the position of the frame there was too little room for the screws. But despite the difficulty I finally got the screws in place.
I also repainted the entire bathroom (Restore recycled paint $10) and removed the inset toilet paper holder which meant fixing the drywall. I replaced the towel holders with dark bronze sets.
And the plumbing fixtures were replaced with dark bronze. First I found Moen faucets at Restore for about $50 each. But I didn’t realize they have rough in valves that are sold separately so I had to order those from Ebay for an additional $92.
The biggest error was that I assumed the Delta rough in valve was outdated and would not accept a new trim kit. I was wrong. But I found out after trying an older style kit and then removing the tile to consider replacing the valve.
I bought a new valve and realized it was the same shape as the old one. So I bought a trim kit. It was much less expensive to purchase the pieces separately. I bought the shower head and hose, the faucet trim, and the tub spout all separately.
Once I realized the new standard trim fit I had to replace the tile
The next tricky replacement was the spout. The old spout connector was jammed on the pipe and I could not remove it. So I had to figure out how to screw on the new spout. I had to try more than one model and I rigged the final connection by cutting the interior nylon shorter but I made it fit.
The kit for the pop up drain and the overflow was inexpensive from Amazon and relatively easy to install. The bronze tub fixtures were about $200. I also replaced the gold hinges on the storage cabinet over the toilet with bronze auto close hinges on clearance at Ace Hardware for $8. But I could not find a bronze push button dual flush. That was a whole other project. We had bronze trim ceiling lights in our back hallway but I replaced them with sconces. I saved the fixtures and they were a good match for the remodeled bathroom.
I was able to install them in this bathroom and the mudroom. Much better than the old mushroom glass and gold fixtures-and free!
We would like to change the slippery green porcelain tile that looks like marble but isn’t. For now it’s still there.
The budget was under $500 so far but then came the sad story of the countertop.
The basement bathroom mirror was damaged at the bottom edges. I read that moisture gets behind the coating on the back of the mirror and eats away the mirroring on the glass. The solution was to coat the back of the mirror with polyurethane to protect it from further damage and then hide the damaged edge.
The mirror was cleaned throughly with glass spray and dried. Then the back of the mirror was sprayed with two coats of polyurethane. The mirror front was protected with cardboard and a margin at the edge was taped for spray painting with metallic chrome.
Blue painters tape was used to define the edge to be painted. After the paint dried the tape was peeled off carefully.
Unfortunately the tape did not reveal a perfect edge all around the mirror even with scoring the edge of tape with a razor knife but it was judged “Good Enough!”
The mirror was re-hung over the new sink and counter in the bathroom. The jagged edges are not that noticeable. Much better than the damaged edge anyway. The painted edge is delicate and could be scratched easily. But it is possible to keep the mirror clean with glass cleaner and a soft cloth.
One of the earliest projects in the new house was a quick remodel of the basement bathroom. All the bathrooms had green Formica countertops, metal sinks and plastic crystal handled faucets. they were functional but builder quality and low end materials. I was able to find good quality inexpensive materials for replacements. I saved the fancier shower head from the master and installed it here too.
I installed the new light from eBay and removed the mirror. The mirror had damaged edges and underneath was an inexplicable hole in the drywall that I patched and painted.
The old shower curtain was left by the owners but it was dated too.
The free granite was cut to size on site and the owner discarded the rest. Then I brought it home to cut out the sink hole. I cut it to line up the sink with the existing drain.
I didn’t have to polish the edge because we used a polished corner of the original counter. I already had some glass tile that was free and it matched nicely for a backsplash.
The granite was glued onto the cabinet with liquid nails and I used tile glue for the backsplash. I had some beige grout left from a former project that finished off the counter.
When it came time to fit the sink I had to grind a bit of the opening down because the sink rocked slightly. I closed the door and ran the fan to minimize the dust. Then the sink was siliconed in, the new faucet installed and the drain reconnected.
I found some clearance accessories at Big Lots. A $4 polyester shower curtain, a new bath mat, soap dispenser and decorations, and I added some amazing matching towels from my late mother. She would have been so happy they matched. I also changed out the old towel bars with a newer style from the Restore.
This small bathroom remodel cost less than $80 but it was a big improvement.
One of the latest projects has been recovering a loveseat to match my granddaughter’s room. We found the perfect loveseat for story time with a parent and two children. Luckily though it was on a third floor the lady helped carry it to our truck. I also purchased a red vinyl side chair which is now in the basement playroom and a mirror which is in the front hall. We hauled the loveseat up to the room and it’s beige color totally clashed with the baby’s white and teal (extra baskets from the mudroom). I was thinking I would sew a slipcover for it but the more I read about slipcovers and how much adjusting they need after each use, the more I thought reupholster was a better idea. Years ago I recovered a very stout second hand sleeper couch for our living room. I knew it was just a matter of removing the old material and cutting out, sewing, and stapling on the new. That new upholstery lasted for years. But between that project and this one I had no experience. We went to Jo-Anne’s to look at fabric and came home with 1/8th yard to check the color and weight. Other than its tendency to unravel, it was perfect. So armed with coupons we returned to the store and purchased $70 worth of notions and fabric. As excessive as I can be I bought the rest of the bolt and got an extra discount on the last 7/8th yard. I also bought Dritz fray check so I would not have to zigzag each cut piece. I have a feeling I will be able to refill the empty bottles with thinned water based polyurethane as that is what the liquid resembled. I started out not knowing what held the loveseat together and disassembled a whole arm before realizing the pieces slid together. The furniture is purchased unassembled but all the new owner has to do is slide the pieces together.
It turned out the back slide was caught on the material which we had to tear to remove the back. We also used a crowbar because the pieces were so tight. But eventually the pieces were disassembled.
There was some double stitching at the edges which I decided to replace with piping. I read that piping gives a more professional look to a reupholster job. Many young sewers cut piping along the grain but I knew it should be cut on the bias or across the grain. A complete cross grain cut wastes a lot of material. I found this compromise solution online and used it.
The directions mark lines on the fabric the width needed to cover the piping cord-I only marked the edges. Then I sewed the fabric in half one section over. The result is a partial cross grain loop of fabric. I cut plenty of piping material with just a half yard of fabric.
I took several photos of how the piece was put together which came in very handy. First task was removing the legs and bottom black cover. All the material was held on with tons of staples which are tedious to remove. I bought staple removers that helped enormously. I also had new sharp seam rippers to take apart the covering.
Disassembling the arm, I took off the foam and thin plywood before I saw the connectors. So I had to put that arm back together.
I took photos of the gathers so I could sew these correctly but my first attempt was bunched along the arm. I left it though maybe someday I’ll take it off and redo it.
Then I removed the fabric from the seat. It was connected to the piece using seams and staples. The long ties held the tufts. It was a bit complicated to reassemble with the new fabric. Although using each piece as a pattern was easy.
Some corner material was sewn and some was stapled. For a job like this one needs a good sewing machine and a great staple gun. I have a nice multi-stitch Singer Machine and I bought a Milwaukee battery powered staple gun for all the stapling.
I finished the arms first and then I covered the bottom. Since the couch was rather firm I added more padding I had saved from some outdoor cushions that deteriorated.
The extra bunched material on the arm is obvious here but I forged ahead. The simple x’s in the seat tufts were replaced with a Dritz covered button kit. I had to buy an extra for the back buttons and bought a different kind that did not work at all. The ones that worked had serrated edges.
Thank goodness Jo-Anne’s sends so many coupons. Of course I followed the photos for sewing and stapling the pieces I had removed. There was another globe trotting trip in between so the photos saved the project. Finally the loveseat was ready. It barely fit through the doors so we waited to slide the back on and of course it would not fit. I had to loosen the slides to give them some wiggle room and we had to push the arms firmly together to slide the back into place. Once it was done though it was as sturdy as the original. In all we spent a little over $120 for a custom loveseat, $40 for the loveseat and about $80 for materials. I don’t count the new tools because I love tools and they are reusable. A similar Wayfair item costs about $300 and of course is not available in teal. I have enough material left for draperies, and/or a cornice for the bedroom with extra for a cushion, backrest and curtain for the mudroom.
The loveseat has kid approval and with a few comfy pillows will be perfect for family bedtime stories.