Saturday, January 21, 2012

Break It Down.

Over the 3-day weekend, we got a lot of work done in the bathroom, and yet there's still much to be done.

After removing the tub, we made some clean cuts to the green board behind it so that it'll be easier to replace.

Darrick also cut the copper pipe that fed to the tub spout, since our new tub is a bit deeper and therefore requires a higher spout. And I don't have pictures of any of this, but I pulled out the toilet and sink faucets (yeah, I felt pretty bad ass doing that by myself) and we removed the remaining tile. Also, Darrick and his step dad built the front of the frame needed to support the tub. You can see there were already horizontal supports nailed into the 2"x4" beams, and fortunately they seem to be the correct height or close enough to stay, which meant that we didn't need to build an entire frame, just the front part. That's been assembled and will be screwed into the walls and subflooring as soon as we're ready.

We briefly considered just leaving our countertops and replacing the faucets, but then I changed my mind. It's 20 years old and, well, it looks 20 years old. Originally we thought we could cut it away from the wall (we did without a problem) and lift it out of place (also not a problem), then slide it out of its resting place and take it downstairs to add to the 'donate' pile. But we quickly realized that it was too snug in its place to slide out without us having to remove at least one medicine cabinet and a piece of bathroom door trim. Darrick was really torn over the idea of breaking it, but I wasn't. So I said to him, "Just give it one swing with the sledgehammer and see what happens. If it doesn't break, we'll try to get it out in one piece."

So, two pieces it was. And honestly? I am pretty confident we would have needed 2 more people to help carry this thing had we tried to get it down in 1 piece.

So there we had it, and it was a perfect place to pause since we don't have many hours in which we can do work in that bathroom during the week. Anything the kids can't be around for has to wait until bedtime, and anything loud can't be done after bedtime...which rules out about 75% of the work to be done at this point.

So, I took it upon myself to start work on the bathroom cabinets. We decided we don't want to go through the hassle and expense of replacing them, since what we have works fine. We decided to try to spruce them up with a stain mostly because they are still held in place by a 1/2" layer of subfloor that would have to come out first if we wanted the cabinets out, and it's just not worth the time, work, and expense right now. These are no high end cabinets, though, and they are 20 years old, so we also decided to try our hand at something neither of us has done before, figuring if it looks horrible we can always change our minds and replace them.

This picture is best considered before-ish, since this is not the bathroom cabinets. This is a shot of the kitchen, which is the same finish as the bathroom, but with better lighting.

And this beauty is best labeled as in-progress, since this is post sanding, cleaning, and 1 coat of stain. I need to let it dry at least 6 hours, buff with steel wool, and do a 2nd coat. And this is only the doors and drawer fronts (which just screwed right off) of one cabinet. I figured I'd start small with this first to test my method, and if it worked I'd know we were good to go to do the other cabinet as well as both bases. So far, so good. I simply sat down with some 60 grit sandpaper (really course) and newspaper under the doors and sanded them by hand. I started with the sides and then did the fronts, keeping with the grain as much as possible until there was no shine left and the doors looked dusty. Then I used a rag with a minimal amount of water to clean them up, borrowing one of the kids' stiff bristled paint brushes to brush the dust out of the grooves and corners. I set them out back on trash bags to dry. I used a brush made for oils and stains to apply the poly, starting with the sides and working with the grain to do a thin coat. There are tons of good tutorials out there on this process, so I'll leave that to the experts, but overall it was really easy and pretty intuitive.

Our new bath fixtures are all a brushed silver finish, so I got some spray paint in the same finish to attempt a cheap re-do of the towel bar and light fixtures. Both are an oil rubbed bronze finish which I know is really popular right now but which I am not 100% in love with none the less. The light looks a lot like this one, but the glass things over the bulbs are not only beige but also have darker brown swirls in them. It looks good with the existing paint, but not with what I've got in mind. So if the spray job works, we'll probably end up with some white or clear light pendant things to replace the brown.

And speaking of 'what I've got in mind', I did a bit of browsing at Home Depot last night, and came home with a sample palette to show Darrick. This floor tile is inexpensive, and so is the mosaic tile (relatively), which is always nice. I would actually prefer a different mosaic tile carried at Home Depot, but the cost is twice as much per square foot, so I'll have to try to convince Darrick of that. Just to see if he likes the overall colors and feel, I bought a sample of the cheaper mosaic and the floor tile, and grabbed some paint chips too.

So there we have it. Darrick's been out of town since yesterday, but he's coming back tonight sometime, so I'd be willing to bet we'll have some more progress in there tomorrow!

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