Friday, July 26, 2013

Walls that shine and sparkle (The DIY Series, Part 3)

I won't bore you with the dilemma of figuring out what to do about a new tub surround.  I was certain I didn't want to take the time to re-tile the entire wall, and our tub is just one inch shy of the standard tub, so we had to find just the right surround. 

Anyway, I'm glad that decision is over. 

Once the drywall was installed and sanded, I just needed to cut the new bathtub surround to size and glue it on.  That was tedious, but it came along.  (Here's a piece of advice for you:  Do not use Liquid Nails brand glue on tub surrounds; it says it's okay for it, but it doesn't set up quickly enough.  Use Loctite Power Grab made for tub surrounds.  That stuff is great!)
Well, as you can make out in the pictures, there is about 2-5 inches of exposed drywall once the tub surround is installed.  
This is the faucet end of the tub. 

So how do I fix that?  Well, this is my favorite part: 

See that pretty glass tile?  Oh boy, just a bit of that and my bathroom suddenly feels like a million bucks!  I really wish I could afford to put this all over in my bathroom, but I can't.  Still, it makes a nice difference. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I go on a Power Trip (The DIY Series, Part 2)

So after my little breakdown, I took a break for a couple days. 

It took me a couple days to figure out what to do.  I couldn't just cut out the damaged part, because the tiles broke when they fell.  Besides, obviously I didn't have the right drywall around my tub.  Cement board is the only stuff that belongs there.

So I let the momentum build for bit, and then I pulled out my two favorite tools: my California Framer and a nail puller.

 Seriously, ladies, if you ever want to feel like a million bucks, go get yourselves a California Framer and knock down a wall.  It is a fabulous feeling!   My eldest brother bought that hammer for me last year when he built a cupboard for me.  He said, "Everybody needs one of these."  Words of wisdom, I tell you! I know it doesn't look different, but it's twice the size of a normal hammer and it really packs a punch.

Anyway, on to business. Thanks to some help from a wonderful lady named Dani, who played mother to my kids while I played construction worker, I was able to take down the wall in just one afternoon.  I tell you, there is power in knocking down walls.  It was invigorating in a way I've never expected. 
 See, I'm invigorated!

The Captain helped by tearing down the remaining wall you see in that picture.  As you can see, there's a dark spot where the soap dish used to be.  That would be mold.  I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed it with mold killer then let it dry out.  Those first few days were really toxic, but you could tell after a while that we'd gotten all the mold.  Ultimately, I am glad to conquer this project because it would've come up eventually. I also replaced a water-damaged cross bar between the studs. 

After making sure all the nails were out, I started installing cement board.  

Cement board is heavy and not easy to cut.  I surprised myself by lifting it onto the wall alone.  I had both walls installed when I changed my mind and redid them.  They weren't square and plumb enough, and I didn't like the job I'd done cutting the pipe holes.
So I re-did a portion of the pipe wall.  It helped that I found my jigsaw and could cut better holes.  At least the botched wall gave me a good hole template.  When I redid the wall, I made sure to hang the boards so they were just a fraction of an inch above the tub flange, rather than resting on it.  That way they hung more plumb.  I was much happier. 

(Remember how I mentioned that breaking down walls was invigorating?  Well, I discovered putting up walls is also invigorating.  I look down at my hands and I cannot believe they've done what they have.  It's a cool feeling.)

I decided to also tear out the third (back) wall. 
When I had the cement wall hung as I liked, I put up corner striping and mud and tape.

Notice anything missing?
Captain did, and he pointed it out.  He expected me to cry, but it made me laugh.  It was pretty easily fixed.
I made an approximate hole and then cut a more accurate hole.
A little more mud and tape and voila! Now we can have a shower, too.

I'm glad he caught that.

This is me after sanding the drywall.
Two words describe sanding drywall:  white boogers.  (Yes, I had on a mask.)

 I'm glad I thought ahead and put up a curtain to keep the dust from covering all of my bathroom.
To be continued...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"I will do it myself!" (The DIY Series, Part 1)

I feel like the Little Red Hen a lot lately.  Mostly because when people have asked about my project I say to them, "I've done it myself."  I'm really not trying to brag when I say that; mostly I'm just astonished I have been able to do it myself.   With that said. . ..

One of my favorite children's book is The Little Red Hen.  There are many versions, some I like, some I don't, and only one that's perfect (the one I grew up reading, of course; the one so worn out I tore the book apart and put the pages in sheet protectors so my kids could still enjoy it).  In the story, Hen finds a bag of wheat, and through the book, she's asking for help from Pig, Cat, and Dog, but they don't help.  So she does the work herself.  In the end, they don't get the bread she makes from the wheat that she'd planted, tended, harvested, and ground by herself.  It's a simple parable of reaping what you sow.  

Of course, in my application, I'm not refusing to share what I'm sowing with others, I'm simply deciding to take action and just do it.

Before I started all of these projects, I had spent weeks and months dreading them, wondering when they would ever get done and who would do them.  I felt like the Little Red Hen, except I wasn't asking anybody for help, I was just waiting and asking myself:  "Who will install these socket spacers?"  "Who will scrub this bathtub wall?"  "Who will fix this screen?"  "Who will glue the mirror to the wall?"  "Who will cut the chair rail?"  And on and on and on.  

I felt stuck.  My mind was dark and cloudy and I felt depressed.  Finally, after weeks and months of feeling this way, I asked my husband for a blessing.  He didn't pronounce the specific blessing I wanted (that the fog would lift from my mind), but this blessing became key. 

The day the Captain went away to the field for a few days, I felt an energy I hadn't in months.  Rather than waiting for something to just magically happen, I decided, like the Little Red Hen, to just "Do it myself!"  

And I did.
First off, I repaired three window screens and the screened sliding door.  Then I moved on to spruce up the small bathroom.  It needed a new toilet seat and some towel hooks.  The biggest change came with painting the cupboard above the toilet, which used to be a heavy, dark, despairing color of brown.  Now that cupboard is not so gloomy, the room feels much more welcoming.  I also removed the shower door, re-caulked the shower, and installed a curtain rod with a fun curtain. Believe it or not, the curtain keeps water in better than the door did, and it also allows for more room in there.

Now that the small bathroom was usable, I could start the major work on the main bathroom.

 I scrubbed and scrubbed the tiles, both around the shower and on the floor.  I scrubbed until the mold and mildew and grim disappeared.  Then I sealed the tiles.  I was happy to do this.  I removed the caulk around the tub and then started stripping the peeling paint off the tub. (Little did I know, this would all be moot later on.)
This was mind-numbing.  Literally.  The tub trapped the fumes so even through my mask, I still got light headed.  It took me probably eight hours of scrubbing spread three or four days to get the paint off.  Now we have a tub that's a lovely shade of dusty pink.  Nobody likes it, but I'm not going to change it.  I'll just blend it in.  You'll see how later.

Next, I'm going to refinish the counter.  As you can see, the sink was cracked and gross.  I scrubbed and scrubbed and followed the directions with exactness.  Then I painted it and got this result: 
Pretty pretty!  I love it.   (Also, take note of the mirror-- an old one we've had around for our whole marriage.  It now has a permanent home, as you'll see later.)  I replaced those ugly door knobs with nice brushed nickel knobs. You can also see the new color of paint I put on the walls.
The old paint looked quite pink in comparison, when it's really a light taupe.  Notice the wood tp holder and ugly brass towel bar.  Those are gone.

So, I was just about done.  All I needed to do was scrub the residue of paint stripper out of the tub and caulk it and I would be all done diddly DONE!  

And then. . .

Then I got curious about the soap holder in the bathtub wall.  Having installed a new chrome tp holder, I realized that the soap dish was installed much the same way.  I also noticed that there was no caulk around it.  So. . . (forgive me as I wax Seussical)

So, so, so....

I couldn't let it go.  I took out the soap dish and made the mistake of pinching the wall.

 That little pinch made the wall fall.

Now all I could do was sit down and cry. 
I kept asking myself, "Why, oh why?! 
When I have so much else to do this should not come about. 
When I have so much to do!"  And I did scream and shout.

So now you will see how my bathroom turns out,
Just wait and see, I am no lout.

And I promise I won't wax poetic much longer,
But this bathroom remodel makes me grow stronger.

To be continued. . . .