Saturday, October 24, 2009

Floor: After

It took one day to get the granite/marble laid, and the contractors came back the next day to set the base"board" and grout everything. We're pleased with how it turned out, and, if it wasn't before, it's very clear now that this bathroom will indeed be quite different from anything else we've done so far (even though the toilet will be the same and the sink will be very similar to the ones we put in the hall bath).

Now we can hardly wait to start installing all the actual bathroom stuff, most of which has been waiting in boxes in the bedroom for awhile. The toilet will go in soon, but I want to wait until the tub is in place before installing the sink; carrying that tub in there and getting it positioned right (without chipping or scratching the floor) will be quite a chore, and having the sink in the way would make it all the worse. The tub should be finished and returned to us by the end of next week, so if all goes smoothly I expect to have everything installed by next weekend. Also, we ordered a couple square feet of black and white marble mosaic to go right above the sink as a backsplash. Hopefully that will be in by next weekend as well.

I believe the end is in sight.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Floor: Before

The focus now shifts from walls to the floor, about which nothing has heretofore been blogged. Months ago, we saw a picture of a bathroom with a black (or very nearly black) floor and thought it looked very cool. Since "very cool" is kind of what we had in mind for our bathroom, we set our minds on replicating the feel of the bathroom in that picture, especially regarding the floor.

We first thought we might use black marble (with some streaks of white running through it), which is certainly very cool, but turned out to be more expensive than we were comfortable with, even for a bathroom the size of a large closet. So we looked into some black granite tiles, which looked nearly as cool and cost considerably less, and decided to go with that. The floor will be black granite with a two-inch-wide strip of white marble around the room about six inches away from the wall. There will also be a six-inch-high granite "baseboard" all the way around.

I had been prepared to lay this floor myself just as I'd done in the hall bathroom last year, but I was told that granite is much more difficult to work with than ceramic or porcelain tile. For one thing, granite is much harder and my wet saw just wouldn't cut it. Also, the granite tiles would be butted against one another instead of spaced apart like most other tile, greatly magnifying any height variations between tiles resulting from imperfect setting.

So, we decided to have granite tile-setting experts do the job. In fact, they're in there toiling away as I type. We're jittery with anticipation, but the "before" pictures are all I can offer for now:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Paint and Lighting

Jessica spent a large chunk of yesterday (and part of last night) painting. Thus, the walls are all but finished. When we were picking out wall paint a couple weeks ago, I was reminded again that the most difficult and stressful part of home improvement projects, by far, is agonizing over paint color. This bathroom renovation was no exception, but we're both (!) very happy with the color we ended up with, and that's greatly comforting.

There were also advancements in the realm of lighting. With the ceiling painted, Jessica installed the can light trims and I bought the appropriate bulbs on the way home from work, so they're now finished. We agreed that the can lights were the best choice. Good call, Jess! With the wall painted, the sconces could be installed. This was a job well-suited to my level of electrical expertise, and it got done without sparks, deaths, or other drama. We're both pleased with these as well. Three for three so far!

As promised, here are several thousand words worth of pictures:

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Blank Canvas"

We're almost up to date now. Yesterday afternoon, I took a damp sponge to the ceiling and walls to clean off all dirt and dust in preparation for priming/painting. Last night, Jessica put a coat of primer on the ceiling, a coat of primer on the walls and windowsill/frame, then went back to the ceiling with some paint: Behr's ubiquitous "Polar Bear" (what I call "white") color. This left us with a blog post title.

Jessica is a skilled, motivated painter and is on fall break this week, so the walls will be taking on color very soon. This color, approximately:

Sherwin Williams' "Snowfall"

More pictures coming soon. Oh, the suspense!


Originally, the idea was to have wall sconces flanking the mirror and two matching (or at least complementing) pendant lights located roughly where the two old ceiling light fixtures were. It proved difficult to find pendants that fit our taste and our budget, so Jessica called an audible and decided that (recessed) "can" lights would be a better way to go.

It cost an arm and most of a leg to have electricians install five can lights in the kitchen last year; I tackled the bathroom installation myself. It certainly wasn't a trivial job (The tight attic space above the fixture close to the window was extremely restrictive and claustrophobia-inducing.), but it helped that I was able to use existing wiring, and I was done in an afternoon.

Obviously, they're not shown completely finished. Jessica recently installed the trims, and forthcoming pictures will reveal the finished product.

Follow-Up: Floor Register

A month ago, I whined about the floor register being right in the middle of the floor. I pondered getting an HVAC contractor to reposition it, but I first explored the possibility of doing it myself and it turned out to be a relatively easy job. I wanted to move it directly to the right, towards the toilet, and--what good fortune!--the duct ran right under the line along which I'd be moving it, which also happened to be parallel with the floor joists. So I had only to remove the 90-degree elbow that lead straight up to the register, cut off about four feet of the duct, then reattach the elbow piece and (after giving it a 90-degree rotation so it'd line up with the hole I had cut between the wall and where the toilet will be) the piece leading to the register. After using some duct tape on an actual duct for the first time in my life, I was done:

It was one of the rare jobs where everything just seemed to work out.

Walls Finished

(I'm way behind. A lot of blog-worthy stuff has happened since the last post, and I'm going to catch up with a series of incremental updates instead of mashing everything into one huge post.)

I finished mudding and sanding the walls last week. This involved finishing up some patching and prep work where the sink and mirror/cabinet were:

The tall rectangular "hole" is one that I had cut when I was intent on running the water lines for the sink up into the wall. Annoyingly, this turned out not to be feasible, so I was left with more drywall to do. I screwed two small lengths of 2x4 to the nearby stud to support the new piece of sheetrock. The larger piece of 2x4 above is for the pedestal sink top to be anchored to. (Click here for a sneak preview of the sink.)

I had been waiting on patching the hole where the medicine cabinet had been because I thought it would provide helpful access to the places where the wall sconces would be installed. I got around to installing the electrical boxes for the sconces (though with a lack of elegance about which I do not wish to go into detail...what matters is that they're properly positioned and adequately supported, right?), so I finally put in the last piece of drywall:

...And then let loose with the joint compound, nearly emptying the bucket.

After another few days, a little more mud, and lots of sanding, the walls and ceiling were finally ready for painting.