Friday, May 30, 2008

Just add water...

CrafterKat: So, um, when I turn the water on in our fancy, new bathroom (and to test the fancy new shower head we installed - You're welcome, Critter) - how 'come hot water comes out on the "cold" side and cold water comes out on the "hot" side?

Contractor: Well, (long pause, follwed by back-paddling...) Your water pipes must be all backwards, because we installed the cartridge correctly and...

CrafterKat: So, um, where's the little tool that came with the faucet kit, so I can remove the tub faucet and get the collar off to flip the collar around? I want people to know that hot/cold are reversed.

Contractor: Oh, um, I think that's with my tools here somewhere...

CrafterKat: Well, drop it off tomorrow evening, and I'll rotate the collar.

Contractor: Uh, okay...

So the contractor showed up some time the next day and put the cartridge in correctly so the hot/cold are they way they are supposed to be. I was just beginning to fume because I hadn't seen him yet in the evening, when Critter asked if I had seen his business card/note in the bathroom. I hadn't. It said "Sorry, my mistake." The little tool to remove the faucet was on top of it, too.

And that was it.


We still had to install the shower curtain rod. It's one of those super-cool, hotel-style rods that curves outward to give you more elbow room in the shower. And we found a matching green/blue curtain!

Only trouble was... we had to drill through the porcelain tile to mount the brackets.

Mr.GoGoGo and I labored for almost 4 hours to drill 4 holes. Now, granted, part of that time was running to a hardware store to get carbide-tip drill bits (because the steel ones from Home Depot wore out in like 2 seconds). And part of that time was spent resting, because we were drilling over our heads and applying even pressure to the drill, plus squirting the holes with water so the bits wouldn't overheat...

Oh yeah. The bits overheated. In fact, before we figured out we needed to the add water constantly, Mr.GoGoGo's bit heated up so much, the shaft let loose the tip. Which fell in to the tub. On top of the plastic shower curtain. Which we didn't notice until we hung up the curtain, and found something like 8, triangular-shaped holes, and a metal lump (the drill tip) encased in melted plastic.


It is a very fine bathroom. Now we just need to pry Critter out of it every once in a while, so I can take a bath. :)

And for the grand finale

Finally, the new countertop arrived, and the countractor could finish the bathroom. It was a mad dash to the finish line, with a lot of "little" stuff towards the end:

1) Install the countertop
2) Install the glass tile backsplash around the countertop

3) Install the granite window sill (former backsplash from the countertop), and finish tiling around the window

4) Install the towel bar and grab bar for the shower

5) Put the toilet back in
6) Hang the mirrors (us)
7) Touch-up the paint

Voila! "Instant bathroom"!

Tiles and Tribulations

Our gorgeous glass tiles went in next. You can see the little spacers in this picture that kept everything straight (mostly) and even.

I went to the manufacturer's website and copied the image of each tile color. Then I created the pattern on my computer and printed it out for the contractors. We went through a couple of copies, before I got smart and put it in a plastic sleeve.

It took something like three days to do this much of the tile. Apparently the little glass tiles were a pain in the neck. As it was the contractor's idea in the first place, I didn't feel much sympathy when he complained.

The brownish stripe beside the bathtub tile was an area of fresh plaster. The contractor was trying to feather-out the edge of the porcelain tile, so we wouldn't have to install a trim (which would have looked awful!)

And you'll note that the new white tub is in!

But the countertop is not... Where, oh where is our countertop??

Turns out, we got a GREAT deal on the granite countertop because it was being discontinued. So the last remaining version in our color was shipped to us from Bellingham... And cracked on the way down. Our contractor had his supplier scouring the West Coast for a replacement. Which was found... eventually.

Thank goodness this isn't our only bathroom!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Suzie Q

The contractors listen to KGON, Portland's classic rock station. Lots of The Doors, Pink Floyd, Stones, CCR, U2 (ok, NOT so old), Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pat Benetar... You get the idea. I had to excuse myself and go downstairs one evening when I walked in on the contractors singing Suzie Q to the radio. Too *&$# funny!

On the plus side, they got a lot of the tile work done that day.

All the way up to the window sill. The 12x12 off white porcelain tiles are glossy/smooth, and give a 5-star-hotel feel to the bathroom. The little glass shelf is a nice touch - barely useful, but pretty!

The next couple of days, the contractors focused on getting the rest of the beige tile in, leaving a space for the colorful glass tile we had purchased to use as a "belly band." I swear, do contractors just sit around making these names up??
You'll note the height of the forthcoming colored tile band. I don't want to even think of what the contractors would call this...

Pink Is the New White

Had a shock on about day 4 of the bathroom remodel...

We weren't sure what the contractor had in mind. All of the walls were suddenly pink! This was tragic! Not at all what we asked for.

And odd...

The new tub was in. (Not the drywall, yet. Needed the special backer board for tile work.) Tub is white, like we planned.

And the components for the new bathroom fan were in (and the old, nasty soffit was gone).

So what was with the pink?

Turns out, the contractor uses a tinted mud when he re-textures a room, so he knows where he has been. All of this would be painted (or cleaned off, as in the case with the sink handle and the back of the door.)

Speaking of the door... All of the doors in the house were the 70s dark brown, hollow core. The contractor suggested we could put a new wood veneer over the door to get rid of that nastiness. It was about on day 4 or so that we figured out it would be cheaper to replace the whole door, frame/jam and all. So the contractor wasn't worried about getting stuff on the door at this point - he knew we were going to replace it.

We DID decide to put a new veneer on the little 15-inch-wide pantry door that is next to the bathroom. It was the only door left in the house that was still the nasty dark brown. Now it looks like mahogony. Oooooooh, aaaaaahhh.

Demo Delight

Mmmmm, bathroom demo... Mmmmmm.

So removing the tub and drywall revealed a small problem. No, not rotten wood (although we definitely feared that). Nope, this problem is a hole at the tub drain in the subfloor that goes all the way into the soffit/low ceiling in the garage. We assume it was to provide easy access from underneath. You could go in to the garage, pop off some drywall in the low ceiling, and fix the plumbing. Kinda handy.

But with no insulation, it meant the old cast iron tub was the same temperature as the air in the garage. Brrrrr. We had this fixed.

Speaking of the tub... Here it is in all of its black iron glory. It's resting on the debris from the surrounding wall - all of the tile, mostly. I kept thinking "So glad I didn't have to haul this thing out of there..."

Ah, so nice to have this tile gone.

Up next, "Pink Is the New White".