Archive for the ‘Brandon’s House’ Category

Adding Shiplap to the back hall!

THIS is where I left you
with Shiplap closing in the stair & back door wall.

*Walls had issues-
this was an easy repair!

Since then–

the former FRONT door replaced this door for more privacy and security, and the door casing was restored.

Brandon and I hung the new handrails we created from some more of the galvanized pipes, elbows, nubs, and flanges!

And I hung the 
wire hook rack & antique mirror his mother gave him!

the Back Hall/Entry

Brandon loves the whole Industrial vibe, so the galvanized pipes are used playfully in several ways.  The shelf brackets in the kitchen, for the handrails, and also in several light fixtures throughout the house!

But be warnedthe parts are NOT cheap!  We spent a good bit of time comparing the sizes of pipe and the galvanized vs black pipe just to keep the costs down to something reasonable!
*Plus- one store wanted $8 for a flange but another charged $4 for the same thing!  So the numerous parts needed came from numerous stores.  CRAZY.

the Galvanized Pipe handrails the Galvanized Pipe handrails

the Galvanized Pipe handrails

And here’s the fun turn
we created to wrap
the end of the wall!
There’s also a 2ft rail leading up into the kitchen.

Hmmm- maybe we need to wrap
the Shiplap around the corner too!

It’s totally him!

The steps will be dealt with in the basement renovations–
and hopefully we can get that awful textured paint off to expose the cool chimney brick!


the Galvanized Pipe handrails

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cut out for the floating shelves and brackets-Hey

remember those
holes in the
back hallway walls

Well- I added some cleating to both holes and sealed them back up!

And you see I’d already started painting back there- the grays we used elsewhere weren’t doing it for us so we went Chocolate!
–Uh, huh–and then I started CRAVING something chocolate—
a Hershey’s bar, ice cream,
a milkshake–chocolate martini!  Just SOMETHING CHOCOLATE!

Chocolate is ALWAYS a good idea!

So let me back up just a bit and show you what we started with.

An open stairwell.  When the basement eventually gets finished, walls will be erected to define spaces.  From down stairs, looking at the steps- the right side will become the mechanical-storage area.  The left side is laundry AND possibly a future kitchenette COMBO.

an open stairwell--

an open stairwell--

It’s a very cool basement with LOTS of future potential!

the basement layout-
closing in the right side of the satirwell-The initial focus is just to close in that right section.

I framed in and hung plywood to close in the open space- up to the chimney.  THAT we’d like to keep exposed!  And figure out a way to clean back to the raw brick!

Two things here— you can see how the chimney is tipped, so I had to cut the stud to fit.  AND, I added shims where the wall and plywood meet–I’ll explain shortly.

We’re closing THIS wall in with more Shiplap!  We ripped more panel board to 10″ wide.  It will be the fastest, easiest, and LAZiest way to fix wall & holes!

Panel boards were ripped to
10″ × 8ft strips.

No more coved flooring! Baseboard is coming.I did start at the ceiling to lead with a full height board.
I drew lines on/down the wall at 10″ heights, measured every row and wrote each measurement ON the wall for efficiency.
THAT gave the angle for each board to be cut and fit to the sloped ceiling.

I cut out the cove in the flooring since we’ll apply base board to finish.

Adding Shiplap to the back hall!

WHAT wall issues?  Did the wall have issues?


When I got down to the bottom boards (at the floor), I used shims to ease the Shiplap boards over the 2 levels.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the plywood to line up flat WITH the existing wall–but this worked out so the Shiplap boards hung relatively flat.

There were only 3 rows longer than 8ft, so I had to figure out
where the best seam lines would go to not look terribly awkward.

I guess I forgot to mention that I PREsanded & PREpainted each board before hanging–I sure didn’t want to paint and cut in over/in that steep stairwell!

Adding Shiplap to the back hall!

THIS guy could only go SO long without some frisbee-time,
so it took longer than I planned for this “quick” job!

TRYING to work in the back hall-

But he finally tired, and I finally finished!

TRYING to work in the back hall-

Adding Shiplap to the back hall!

I closed in the door wall too,
and we added handrails-

which I’ll share next
with the other finishes!



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dealing with the window-A standard window
in the shower.


We explored several ways to either get rid of it,
minimize it, or alter it.


And now deferred.

But—it still had to be addressed and cleaned up.

We found period-style tile to REframe it.  Then, I scraped the paint & caulking crap from all those edges (big mess), removed the frosted window plastic, and cleaned the windows and frames thoroughly.

Although~ that plastic covering really wasn’t a bad privacy solution.  So I used a Frosted window spray paint from Krylon to etch the glass and restore that privacy idea in a more permanent way.

I also repainted the sashes in a glossy white CABINET PAINT!

finding the RIGHT tile to go around the window

dealing with the bathroom SHOWER window

I used one of the very expensive and “highly rated” painter’s tapes for this tedious window painting task.  I was conscientious to prep those frames really good -and- not paint too heavily at the taped edges, so I painted 3 LIGHTER coats with a 4th in a few areas.  I was relieved when the tape pulled clean and no paint came off with it!

The window had about 40’ish hours to dry before I could “frost” the glass.
I taped off the newly painted sashes, careful not to rub in down too much.  I hung plastic over just about everything around the window to protect things from over-spray.  I sprayed 3 light coats and immediately pulled the tape!

. . . and LOOK WHAT HAPPENED!   ~I hate tape.

I hate painter's tape!

I REpainted -by hand- with a crisp sash brush.

And now, I’ll just finish here-

-with a few broader views of The New Bathroom.
My new phone has a panoramic setting –which I love!–
it just tends to distort things when your subject is too close in range.

But it sure gives a bigger vision of how things look now!


BRANDON's new Bathroom!

BRANDON's new Bathroom!

-a towel rack in the shower!

*All the paint has been touched up–
don’t know what happened to those pics!

BRANDON's new Bathroom!

BRANDON's new Bathroom!

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buying PREcut Butcher blockWe bought the smallest Butcher block
off the rack slab available,

but even that was much bigger
than we needed.

So I made some shelving for the bathroom—extra storage is ALWAYS appreciated, right?

*There was still a big enough piece to make a cutting board for the kitchen!
We got our money’s worth here!

the NOT-SO-FUN wall to work on...

The Floating Shelves

The shelving became an extra so there was unfortunately no advanced preparation for it.  Since the back hall needed work too and shared a common wall with the bathroom—
there was
 actually a simple solution!

A section of wall had been previously cut open exposing the plumbing (no idea why), so it certainly wasn’t going to hurt anyone’s feelings to cut ANOTHER hole for shelving.

BUT- I made sure this hole was clean cut to restore that section afterwards!  The existing hole would need to be closed in by other means.

Yes–we were already playing with paint colors for that area!

cut out for the floating shelves and brackets-
I pre-drilled holes from the bathroom side for the exact placement of the shelves.  Then measured over from both outside walls to land roughly where I needed to make that cut out—does that make sense to you?

The pre-drilled holes were now visible and showed exactly where to install the brackets!  I only had to push them through the holes and screw into place.

rigging the brackets/bracing for the floating shelves-

Back on the bathroom wall side– I measured for the holes I would need to drill into the back of the shelves.  I used a spade paddle bit– it would be more aggressive to make those deep holes.

drilling the holes to hang the shelves-

Then it was as simple as slipping the shelves into the bracketset voilà!

-the floating shelves!

Don’t they make a nice EXTRA in this room?!?

I love that everything is simple and cleancut!


the NEW bathroom!

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installing the sink & faucetI finished the counter,
we deliberated on sink (and faucet) placement-
I cut the hole.

More dialog on faucet placement- and the plumber cut that hole.

It’s a “small” vanity,
it’s a “big” sink.

To maintain 30″ around the toilette, the vanity size was limited.
Which meant the counter
was limited-
and it was better to have a
top-mounted sink with the wood counter.

See the hurdles?

It’s actually a very average sized sink, and it gave him the vessel look without being visually SO high on this limited counter.
–And it was the smallest size offered for this design.

A vessel sink (of any height) puts conditions on faucets.  The bigger problem always boils down to REACH.  You don’t want to be shoved into the very corner of the sink washing your hands!  I wish the reach was a little better here, but-  we made it all work.

making it all work by placement-

"Is it okay for me to take the drawers now?"With the plumbing completed,
I could finally modify the drawers!

ALL 3 of them!  I put each in place solo to get measurements for the “tightest” fit.
Why lose any more storage than necessary?

I marked off each drawer and readied them to take to my workshop where I’d have all the tools I needed to complete this project.  HOWEVER–the cat seemed to take issue here.  Typical boy- I distracted him with treats- and left with the drawers!  ; D

I laid out the variety of tools needed for the job.
See—NOT hard, just tedious!

The variety of tools needed to modify the drawers-

Break down/disassemble the drawers with a mallet & pry bar.
Pull nails–OR Grind them off for MY safety! (old, thick, & hard)
Run the drawers through the table saw to cut down the depth.
REcut the drawer BOTTOMS to go around the plumbing.
REcut drawer sides/back and NEW sides to close in new contour.
Glue and REnail the parts back together.
REapply the drawer face, drill new holes for & apply the hardware.
Sand, and REpaint.
Wax guides to glide in & out!

NOT hard—just tedious.  And time-consuming.

Below shows the bottom drawer REcut, then all 3 stacked.
The top drawer still has its longer rails to help it open smoothly w/o tipping.

REcutting the drawers-

REcutting the drawers-

the NEW vanityThe vanity & drawers got repainted to match the Shiplap and simplify-streamline
all the things going on in this small room.

The floating shelves
-that you’re getting a little view of- NEXT!


the NEW vanity

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-time to sand down all the wall repairs- yikes!I should back up here
(from the last post)
long enough to say that,

1st- I installed the shiplap
completely around the room.

So, should he change his mind on THIS vanity, or want a pedestal, or add on to this bathroom with future renovations—he’s covered!
Or more specifically–the WALLS are completely covered behind this vanity.  And there are extra strips leftover–just in case!

AND, 2nd-
 I had to laugh at my own self for the stupidity of forgetting a bonnet to cover my head/hair when it was time to sand down all those wall repairs!

Desperate times~
desperate measures!

When you forget to bring a bonnet to cover your hair-

You can see by my arm just how caked in drywall dust everything was!  Eeewwww.

But all that is long behind me!  Hooray!

TO RECAP– we saved the large drawer bank cabinet from the kitchen, I cut it down from the 24″ kitchen depth to 19″ for the bathroom.  Plus I notched it to fit around the chimney, and added feet!

Then I needed to cut down the drawers.  Problem.  I can’t really do that until the plumbing is dealt with.  Hmmmm. . . ?

BRANDON's -vanity and drawers

So I got busy on the counter top and sink placement to get the plumber back.

We bought a large butcher block slab.  I measured, cut, notched, double checked the fit, and got busy sanding.  And sanding and sanding and sanding, till it was silky smooth!
I conditioned the wood first–then stained–then marine varnished, 3 coats—
it’s going to be subjected to water!

I thought it was funny to hear someone ask why I would “…put WOOD in a bathroom?”
Hmmm- YOU have wood floors throughout your 1st flr, including kitchen & half bath…?

buying PREcut Butcher block

Did you know the big box stores sell PREcut butcher block?

cutting the butcher block-

cutting the butcher block-

To stain or not to stain?


So we liked the stain.  It looked better with, and connected back to the floor.  And as I already stated–I conditioned the wood before staining, and then gave the counter top 3 really good coats of Marine Varnish.  It looks wonderful, truly!

the counter top!

The butcher block counter top-

So, 3 things to highlight here.
Since I added the feet to look more like a piece of furniture, I also decided to hold the cabinet off the wall for the same effect.
The vanity is still the pale gray of the wall color–but got changed to the Shiplap white to simplify.
The butcher block slab was big enough to let me create shelving for the bathroom. . .

. . . Floating Shelving!

I’ll show you that next,
and how I reconfigured those drawers!


SHELVING, to go with the counter top!

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Brandon LUVs shiplap!
And was all in for some to be used somewhere!

W e l l,  guess what?  The bathroom walls have just enough problems that it’s probably the best solution in there.  But the costs of actual shiplap~yikes!

So I started brain-storming alternatives and some way to CREATE IT!  Or at least, create the LOOK of it on the cheap.  We checked out the prices of sheets of 4×8 wood that LOOKED RIGHT. . . . .

shiplap alternatives-

The Birch and Maple panels we found would look great with a stained or natural finish, but we were painting.  The Sanded Utility Panel had the right look & texture AND what a great price!
4 sheets would more than cover our project!

Here’s an array of the wall problems and issues we needed to address,
and why COVERING OVER IT all seemed like the better/easier solution.

the problems and issues with the walls-

Pam helped me rip the 4×8 sheets down on the table saw.  We sized the strips to match up to the subway tile for a continual “stripe” wrapping the room.  But I added –just a smidge- extra to compensate for the grout lines.

creating our own SHIPLAP-

I started on the biggest, SOLID wall.  But you see I also played a little too!
I gave him a new toilette paper dispenser!

Doesn’t everything line up nicely?  I LUV it!

making our own SHIPLAP to go with the 6x18 subway tile

making our own SHIPLAP to go with the 6x18 subway tile

The “water wall” was slower going, and too bad this part
didn’t happen BEFORE the toilette got installed.  C’est la vie.

the NOT-SO-FUN wall to work on...

I pre-sanded everything before hanging to at least make THAT part easier.  And then I spent a day priming, light sanding, painting, light sanding, and the final painting.  It looks and feels SMOOTH!

And YES, I was over-anxious to “drain the swimming pool!”

NO MORE "swimming pool!"

I’ll just leave you with pictures of
OUR version of 
on the cheap!


BRANDON's -shiplap, medi cab, lights

BRANDON's -shiplap, medi cab, lights

OUR version of SHIPLAP- on the cheap!

Before & During


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The Mirror & Medicine CabinetThe bathroom MIRROR
was in the form of a
RUSTY medicine cabinet.

It had integrated lights and the only outlet for the room was INside the cabinet.
Its condition was pretty disgusting, and nothing you’d catch me using!
Plus, it was SMALL, very inadequate storage.

A few years back I happened to find a nice 3ft tall medicine cabinet at one of the local ReStores, $10.  Unfortunately it was missing its shelf brackets (not an easy find here-?).
We used these in our new construction builds so I knew their quality and what they cost.
THIS was a DEAL!

I bought it and added it to my stashes–you never know when you might need something!

W e l l~
Brandon needed something
and I had a solution!


Tearing out the old medi-cab
 revealed some scary wiring leading to the lights and outlet.  Thank God Brandon is an electrician!  I REframed and added proper blocking for the new medi-cab and new wiring was RErun.  (In the works here….)

a new medicine cabinet

a new medicine cabinet

The new medicine cabinet is a 3ft tall × 1ft wide cabinet–mirror and storage.  It should offer a great balance over the vanity, sink, and to the room.  Plus~ I think TALL people will appreciate the height!

And here are the new RETRO-styled lights!

—apparently a sneak peek of the “shiplap” too.


the new RETRO lights!

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Recycling was on my mind while REworking the kitchen layout.
You knowtight budget, use what you’ve got.

on to the NEW vanity-

The large drawer base wouldn’t make the cut in the kitchen, but happened to be a PERFECT size for a “new” bathroom vanity!
Don’t know about any of you, but I find a Dummy drawer & doors under a sink is efficient tough storage—3 Deep drawers I CAN work with!

We were very careful during the kitchen demo, and stashed the cabinet in the “holding pen” (aka 2nd BR) with other fixtures, supplies, and tools.  But I did prop it in place to check the sizing.

I cut down the kitchen cabinet depth, and notched it to fit against the chimney.
I also decided to boost it up on feet to look like a piece of furniture, and gave Brandon a couple of options.  He liked the more modern~I liked the feet that came off a 1940’s club chair.  HIS HOUSE.
HIS choice was just too high, so I cut the feet down a little in height.

the old kitchen drawer base cabinet

foot options to make the cabinet feel like furniture

BIGGER, taller, and a good fit!notching the cabinet to fit against the chimney












The cabinet aside~
we really had to get on with the tub/shower!

This is the only bathroom in the house, so Pam (his mom) left the SHOWER tile demo till the end so Brandon could still function to some degree!  But its time had come.  Pam demo’d and I started the “clean up” to hang the new concrete board we would tile over.

Oh!  NO!

Carpenter Ants!  O.M.G.  SO gross—and what a mess!  But we seemed to find the nest and eradicate the whole problem ourselves for the price of a couple cans of Raid- as opposed to the couple thousand $$ being quoted!
I tore open a good section of wall under the window to find the nest–
I sprayed the crap out of them as fast as they poured out.  SO gross!
They kept coming–I kept spraying.  For two days.
The tub was caked in dead ants.  Did I mention how gross?  But it’s over.

we found Carpenter Ants in the Bathroom wall-

I hung ¼” concrete backer board for the tile.  This house is DOUBLE sheet rocked throughout –no idea why.
Think about the thickness of these walls now- studs, sheet rock, sheet rock, concrete backer board, thin set mortar, subway tile.  WoW.

I framed in a really large shower niche under the window
and at last- we started tiling!

Pam tiled the niche and I tiled the shower (with my New-Found skills).

prepping for tile and tiling

prepping for tile and tiling

We used the leftover kitchen backsplash tile in the niche.
The surround would be covered in 6×18 subway tiles.

I was pretty far along before I remembered to take pictures, but you can see the prep I kept taking to not mess up—AGAIN.  Like at the tub spout, arrgh.  Looks like the Four Corners.  So focused on (scared) nipping the tile around the plumbing, I forgot about the pattern!

It was also decided to take the tile up ONE MORE ROW to the ceiling, so I cut & installed extra concrete backer-board.

tile PREP

Oh NO! it looks like the Four Corners

Addressing the window became a design challenge.  But then we found tile that looked like it could be authentic and was the perfect solution!
My mitering skills became essential at those corners–WoWza.

finding the RIGHT tile to go around the window

The shower niche was still bothering me so I made revisions there too.

REaddressing the shower niche-

It's taking shape!

And I’ll leave it here before this post
becomes as long as the project itself.

Sorry about that!

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We were moving along at a pretty good pace in the kitchen,

and then. things. stalled.

On hold for the plumber.
And you can only move along SO much.
So we moved on to the bathroom.
Maybe we could get some of THAT finished in time for the plumber too!

Ugh~ that bathroomSee what I mean?

BRANDON's house- the Bathroom

Oh, b o y.
Where do I even start?

the bathroomThe very small vanity is  L  O  W.   -Even for me at 5’6”.
The only outlet is INside the RUSTY medicine cabinet.
The toilette is kid-sized.
The pseudo shower (hand-held screwed to wall) is an issue.
There’s a big hole and missing tile at the tub spout exposing the copper pipes and looking straight through to the back door/hallway~seriously!

The walls and ceiling have issues.
The window IN the tub has deteriorating glazing.
The BLUE tub is an issue all by itself–but don’t you love how they tried to work with it by paint and flooring?!?
A N D- there’s NO realistic storage.

Everything goes!  Except the tub.

It’s cast iron—difficult to demo, and REglazing the porcelain WHITE is too expensive, so we’ll have to work with it.  But I feel confident we can do better than paint the color of a swimming pool!

gutting the bathroom-

Brandon’s dad drew the short straw & had to take out the toilette—yikes!
After that was removed, I ripped out the old vinyl and prepped the floor for more of mom’s leftover Mannington ADURA -that I also laid in his foyer.
I outlined the perimeter and filled the center with a Herringbone pattern!

Demo~and the NEW start!

Brandon and I went toilette shopping.  I pushed hard for an ADA, comfort height toilette.  I had strong arguments FOR it and the extra cost, AND I argued for the “cleanest” style, preferring a 1-piece toilette.
I sighted all my reasons and 
He thought I was going overboard~but humored me.  To a point.
He HATED most of the 1-piece designs and prices, but eventually agreed to the streamlined, clean design you see above from Lowe’s.

Better already, right?


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