Monday, June 8, 2009

More Deconstruction

I came home from work last Friday and was surprised to find even more work done in the bathroom. Jessica had removed nearly all the tile on the last wall of the shower (the trickiest part, given the presence of pipes and wire inside that wall), and had taken out the medicine cabinet/mirror/light thing above the sink, as well as some small, unidentified wall-mounted accessory under the mirror. Observe:

Jessica seems intent on actually making this renovation proceed smoothly (which is highly uncharacteristic of our house projects); she's obliterating all roadblocks that would hinder progress and, worryingly, is swiftly chipping away at my mental list of excuses to put off laying tile. Perhaps this is how projects are supposed to go when you're not doing 17 other things at the same time, like we were at this time last year...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Shower Demolition

We have begun with removal of the 50-year-old pink shower tile. I got things started earlier this week with a hammer and cold chisel, but Jessica has made the most progress, while I've been at work, by swinging away (like she would, I imagine, a softball bat) with a small sledgehammer.

It's all too evident the shower/bunker was constructed in the mid 50's, when global nuclear war was expected to commence at any moment; the tile was set very solidly in a bed of concrete about eight meters thick (using metric makes the exaggeration sound even more intimidating, no?), underlying which was a sturdy metal mesh which gave the concrete further resilience. Jessica, undaunted, donned gloves, glasses, and a dust mask and brought down two "walls" worth of tile with her mighty hammer.

What you see remaining are the bits of concrete that remain clinging to the metal mesh, which we'll hopefully be able to rip out in big sections once all the tile's taken care of.

After the tile's gone, we'll be pondering the removal of the little section of wall. We presume it's there purely to form the third side of the shower and that taking it out won't cause any problems, but we'd really like to be 100% certain before we start yanking studs out. Does anyone know how we might tell for sure?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Home Improvement '09

Our second summer here has just begun (at least according to the school calendar, which holds far more power over our lives than the sun and moon, orbits and equinoxes and whatnot), and the accompanying list of house tasks is already lengthening.

First, an update...
Since the last post, there has been some significant activity in the realm of landscaping, and not much more. Jessica planted some flowers in the small bed in front of the porch and put some hanging baskets above it. On Memorial Day, we drove to Sale Creek to adopt some baby plants from Keith and Kathy. They very generously gave us some young oak leaf hydrangeas and some dogwood saplings, all of which Jessica planted and is trying to nurse to health (after their traumatic transplantation). Thanks, K&K!

Most significantly, we spent a large chunk of last Saturday digging weeds out of the front/side flower bed and spreading mulch. It was tough work, but we had help from Jessica's brother Sam, and it makes the front of the house look much better.

A lot of work, to be sure, but it's small potatoes, I tell you...for it's during this summer that the feared and shameful master bathroom will undergo its long-awaited overhaul. Currently, it looks like this...

...ripe for renovation. Over the past year, we've gone round and round about what to do with this tiny bathroom, and I've been dreading it all along. We've come to this: instead of trying to enlarge and re-tile the shower, we're going to obliterate it and put in a tub. More specifically, we plan to bust out all the shower tile, take out the little interior shower wall, patch it all up, tile the floor, and put in a claw-foot tub. We'll also replace the vanity/sink (and get rid of that medicine cabinet/mirror), toilet, and all the light fixtures. And, of course, we'll paint.

It's a little on the radical side (is that possible?), and that's kinda the idea. I wanted this bathroom to be a little more edgy and modern-looking than the hall bathroom, and we'll be seeking out tile, paint, and fixtures that will make it happen. It's going to be crazy, what with that little wall being demolished and such, but the adventure should be right on par with much of the rest of what we've done to the house so far. If our experience from 2008 serves us well, I think it will turn out nicely. I started tile removal yesterday, and Jessica plans to continue that today.

You can now expect blog updates to appear at an increased rate. :-)