March ~ August 2009

The downstairs bathroom
* Fung Schway my ass. (* see page bottom)

Welcome to our peaceful rest stop. Our first major project.. and we do mean major. We knew it would be a big project and at times it really seemed like it was too big.. but the end resultt is something we're taking a huge amount of pride in. Sure it looks like a cute little bathroom, but that's something we really wanted considering what was there. (story below)

1.6 gpf toilet, money saver vanity, yard sale flooring brackets, and clearance aisle floor tiles saved money during the build up. We knew we wanted a peaceful green, but that took a few tries. It worked out though, and what was once an eyesore we inherited is now a room we're proud to show off.

We still have a couple of things to finish, but those are minor touch ups.

When we bought this house there were 2 areas we knew we'd have to struggle with. The kitchen floor and the downstairs bathroom. We're sure back in 1973, this outhouse styling was probably hip and cool but, 36 years of  neglect by the installer and previous owner led to some smelly discoveries after we moved in. 

After a year of not even entering the room we started tearing it apart. There are ZERO bolts holding the toilet to the floor.

The home made vanity and outhouse seating were burned in the back yard fire pot.

it seems the previous owner was okay with the kitchen sink pipe leaking but the condition of the pipes told me this was beyond my skill level..

So we called in professionals. We were left with the task of removing the floor, as there was no other access to the crawl space.

That plastic hose was the feed to the toilet. .. nice ..

The powder is lime to tame the stench

hot and sweaty.. my do rag

One center joist.. the code in the good old days appears to have been a bit more lenient. 

yahhhhhhh the calvary!

four feet down, they found the main..

I witnessed the removal of the original GALVANIZED STEEL pipes. No tools required... snap.

So, 2 thousand dollars later.. was it worth it?

Oh.. you have no idea... Next time you're looking at buying real estate, ask the inspector if there are galvanized steel pipes.. If there are.. RUN!

next up.. engineering the floor....

I've been trying to figure out how this was engineered back in the day. Best I can determine is this was the first addition to the 1850 house (with cut rock cellar) Luckily, (behind me), there is an 8 x 8" solid oak beam attached to the oak sill (from the camera pov.)

Somewhere in the last 150 years though, the house has settled.. That's a 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 pressure treated beam in the middle on top of a similar beam. And a like beam on top of that oak 8 x 8 plus a pressure treated 2 x 4. So 5" settling prior to the 1973 addition being built on. 

But, we have to straighten out a wall for the shower surround 1st so after 2 layers of 3/4 plywood and then cement backer board.. this is going to be a quaint (small, low ceiling) country style bathroom.

So the inside wall needs to be squared for the shower. Shouldn't be too tough right? JUST remove the sheetrock and add on to the 2x4 studs in the wall to square it up. But, wait... there's not one, but 2 sheets of sheet rock... (nothing really surprises me at this point.)

Sheet rock sheet(s) removed and what do you now... no 16" on center studs here.. time to do some re-engineering planning..

Luckily, we have a ton (literally) of cement waiting in the garage for moments just like this. Before we put the weight of a functioning bathroom in, we think it a good idea to have it solidly connected to the earth. This is "our first concrete project". It will be a place for a house jack, while we mix and pour more cement... 

another day.. another 160 pounds of concrete

Well, I think 7 days is long enough for cement to cure. I hope so.. At any rate, I have a higher comfort level of this floor someday supporting a bathroom.

and whataya know... not only is the inside wall out of square.. so is the wall to the great room. nice.. let me just take it all the way down to bare bones and start over..

all this for this:

2 weeks later... (took a weekend off) the inside wall is 5 inches out of square so thats what the focal point is here. Me in blue jeans (1st time since 1989) is the 1st anniversary weekend of the house purchase. one of the ceilings being removed so the wall studs can be secured to the ceiling beams.

May 10.. making floor from air

by the way... the jeans were $5 on the clearance rack at Wal-mart

We made some chnges to the loist layout when we made a decision to go with a smaller shower.

After long deliberations remembering how we got into this conundrum (the house inspector couldn't reach the crawl space)

So now, there is a small but accessible access hole in the bottom right of the picture.

In case we ever sell the place, or if ever need, a (small) plumber could get into the crawl space

The 2x4 is where the wall for the shower controls will be. The floor is starting to look like a floor ....

and so it continues.. June 28 (someone accidentally shut the date off in the camera). This is the outer beam for the ceiling.. notice the 2 nails holding it to the uh.. ummm...

surprize! gues what has to come down!

I'm lovin' this.. really.. who couldn't love this baby face

not one to be left out, Carol digs in to the hairy plaster.

she's having a blast.... really.

finally on July 4th.. the framing for the shower and ceiling rafters go in

till the next update... Happy Birthday America!

July continues and so does the work... we work slow....

There was a cheap fiber board square ceiling stapled up to strapping.. nothing that would hold sheet rock, so like the floor...

we had to build frame work for a ceiling... for the record, ceiling work sucks

and of course, there wasnt an exhaust fan and just one lowly 75 watt bulb before..

now we have lights and soon, we can have all the tex-mex we want :-)

Carol cuttin' the rock...

no wisecracks about the crooked 2 by 4. We left it for a reason (as a tribute to the squaring off of the shower area)


seriously... this really really sucked.

but we only missed by "this much", so a little custom fill in..

but.. this is finally coming together.. we see light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully.. it's not another on coming train..

tiles soon.. really...

CRAWLS SPACE PICS... shower drain

potty pipe

sink pipe and new feed pipes


final look....

and finally... one step closer to tile time

on the fly solutions...

All this real estate for one pipe... probably should have had the plumber relocate it while he was runnin new copper for the bathroom

but there's sheet rock.. it's looking like a room instead of a shed

and cutting cement board... kinda sucks

but.. we're not putting tile on sheet rock

we're going with the original 1920's solid wood door with original hardware.. but 7 coats of paint need to get stripped

and then the color of fung schway.....

ummmm ... a bad mix apparently... lets go lighter..

ugh... did I mention how much I hate the color green... lets go darker..

now I'm feelin' it

Now... some feng shui jewelry

it sure is easier putting in a faucet when the sink isn't mounted yet

you know the old saying that they all look the same upside down?

a few detail shots.. Brazilian tiles over the shower (oooo fancy.. for $17).

and a last minute idea to surround the shower with matching tiles..

and they may not be the prettiest sweat fittings, but they are the first ones since... 1976 I think... yeah, I screwed up on the hot water trim ring... rookie

online shoe store
online shoe store

I got yer FUNG SCHWAY right here:

Life is Messy. Isn't it Time to Clear Out What Drags You Down?

* Feng Shui originated in China over 4000 years ago and is an age-old practice that embraces the idea of living in harmony and balance with our environment. Feng Shui (pronounced fung schway) literally means 'wind' and 'water' and is the study of energy and how it affects people. Feng Shui teaches you how to harness and control the visible and invisible energies that surround you.

Feng Shui is based upon the belief that everything in your surroundings, down to the smallest detail of furnishing and décor can either further your goals in life or work against you. By understanding the subtle currents of energy that flow through your body and through everything in the universe, you can arrange your living and working environments to help you reach your goals.

The arrangement of your home or office can affect your peace of mind and physical health. By applying the principles of Feng Shui, it is possible to bring balance to your relationships, career, finances, health and more.

Feng Shui is a creative and intuitive science. It can help you understand how your surroundings, the landscapes, style of buildings and their interiors can affect you at a subtle level. When you learn how to properly apply Feng Shui, you can enhance your entire life and minimize obstacles and misfortune.