Saturday, April 22, 2017

Paws Awhile - Guest Bath Remodel

We are getting Paws Awhile ready to be a rental condo!  We finished the remodel of the kitchen/dining/living area/master bath last year.  Both bedrooms have been redecorated, the last project to remodel the guest bath is now in the books!

The old bathroom was in need of an update.  The formica vanity had no storage, the fiberglass tub enclosure was old looking and the decor was a bit dated.

I wanted to get this done during the winter when we were less likely to have friends at the beach so I started the demo work when we got back to the beach after Thanksgiving.

Tony helped me rip out the sink, vanity and half-wall. We couldn't find a bit for the proprietary screws that held the vanity/counter in place so a sledge-hammer and crowbar had to do.  We made a bit of a mess of the sheetrock.

When we removed the mirror, behind it we found a bit of artwork folded up behind it.  We're guessing it was left by a past teen-age boy guest of the condo.  I had to black out some areas to make it safe for posting!

Next on the agenda was to remove the old ceramic tile. Using a hammer and a screwdriver, I carefully loosened the grout and then pried up the old tile.  I was hoping to save the subfloor.

After removing a couple of tiles, I realized that the subfloor was probably not going to be salvageable.  I found some water damage around the tub and it looked like the subfloor had been patched a couple of times.  The edge of the plywood under the tub was not even supported by a joist!

The hammer/crowbar method made the work go a lot faster.  I had to be very careful not to break the flange when removing the tile around the toilet.

To get the popcorn ceiling down, I used a garden sprayer to moisten the ceiling and a sheetrock scraper to remove the popcorn.  It was a messy job but kind of fun!

Once the scraping was done, the ceiling would need a skim coat and some sanding.  That wouldn't be nearly as much fun so I decided to save that job for Herb, the handyman!

We used a reciprocating saw to cut up the old fiberglass tub so it could be removed easily. The power tool was such fun that we took turns using it.  We were careful not to cut through any plumbing.  We cut around the tub handle and drain and left them in place until we were ready for the plumbing part of the project.

Using a steamer, I removed the old wallpaper border. It came off easily after a bit of steaming.

I talked Tony into going with me to Home Depot to get the supplies for prepping the floor and walls for the tile.  After we carried the heavy tub, toilet, plywood & cement board up to the condo, I decided that installing it might stretch the limits of my ability so I contacted Herb, the handyman and asked him to put me on his schedule.  His list of tasks included:

  • Install the new subfloor
  • Repair the sheetrock around the vanity
  • Skim & sand the sheetrock on the ceiling
  • Install the durock for the tub surround
  • Install the tub and drain
  • Prep the plumbing for the new faucet/shower head

While Herb and his helper, John were working on their tasks, I opened the box and inspected the new tub.  I discovered that part of the enamel was chipped off. I got John to help me load it into my van and back to Home Depot I went to exchange it.  This time, I opened the box and inspected the tub before I took it up to the register!

Herb and John did a great job getting everything ready for me.  My next task was to paint (my most hated task).  I had to paint the ceiling and the walls.  Thank goodness it is a small room.

After painting, I installed a new light fixture.

I was planning to use the same tile as the rest of the condo but when I got to Floor and Decor, I discovered it had been discontinued. I found enough of it to do the floor at the Kennesaw Floor and Decor location.  Thankfully my friend Nancy was driving down from Smyrna the next week so I ordered the tile and she was kind enough to pick it up and bring it to me.

I found a great deal on a vanity set at Home Depot!  It included the base, top, sink and mirror for $150!  I found a paint chip that matched the top of the vanity so I took it and a floor tile back to Floor and Decor to pick out tile for the walls.  I really wanted porcelain but couldn't find anything I liked so I settled for a 12 inch ceramic tile. It was very cheap so I bought a couple of extra boxes which turned out to be a good thing because many of the tiles were chipped or broken.

Tiling the floor was relatively easy. The only really tricky part was cutting the circle around the toilet drain.  I went to Ace Hardware and bought a diamond dremel blade to cut the circle.  It took a long time to cut through the thick porcelain.  Thankfully my measurements were correct and the tile fit in place perfectly!

Once I finished tiling and grouting the floor, I asked Herb, the handyman, to come back out, seat the toilet and install the vanity and mirror.  I think I could have done this myself, but since it involved plumbing, I decided to leave it to the expert.  With the toilet and sink in place, at least we would have a half-bath until I could get the tub enclosure tiled.  Oh, I had forgotten to have Herb put a cubby-hole in the shower for the shampoo/soap, so I asked him to do that too.

It was finally time to tile the tub enclosure.  The hardest part was deciding where to start.  I wanted to make sure everything was level and square and that my trim line was in the right place. The tub slanted toward the drain so I knew the bottom row would have to be cut to make it level.

Once I got started, it went pretty quickly.

I utilized the same method with the dremel tool and the diamond bit to make the cuts around the plumbing.  Figuring out the cuts for the cubby hole were a bit complex since the tile I chose did not have a matching bullnose tile.

I decided I did not like the tile I had chosen for the accents so I ran to Home Depot to see if they had something I liked better.  Every home project seems to require about 25 trips to the hardware store!  I needed more pre-mixed mortar too.  I found a glass mosaic tile that coordinated beautifully with the tile.

Grouting came next.  I made the grouting mistake I always make and waited too long to clean the excess grout off of the tile, causing it to take much longer than it should.

With the hard work done, all I had to do was install baseboard molding, add a shower curtain and a few towel racks.

The new bathroom is now ready to accept guests!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I'm a little Stuc Up!

I noticed the stucco next to our front door was buckling a bit and starting to fall off of the wall.  I applied duct tape over the cracks until I could get it repaired.


I called four different stucco repair companies and finally got someone to come out to take a look.  A very nice man looked over my problem and promised to email me a quote.  That was the last time I heard from him.  I emailed and called multiple times but was never able to get him to respond. I couldn't get any of the other stucco repair folks to return my call either. I have a handyman who can do almost anything so he came out to see if he could handle the repair.  He said it was too much for him.

So, left with no other options, I started watching YouTube videos on stucco repair.  I went to Home Depot and bought metal lath and powdered stucco mix.  I enlisted Tony's help to apply the lath.  First we broke off all of the loose stucco.

Uh oh!  This was going to be a bigger project than I had anticipated!  We considered making another front door, but decided that would look odd!

I wanted to square up the hole like I had seen on the YouTube videos but thankfully Tony vetoed that idea.  He thought we shouldn't make the hole any bigger than it already was. We attached the metal lath using lath screws, making sure every area was covered with lath.


Then it was time to mix the stucco.  Tony loves his power tools so he hooked up the paint stirrer to the drill to stir the stucco.  We mixed the stucco in the garage and then by the time we carried it to the front porch, it had hardened into a bucket-sized chunk of concrete. We decided that we would only mix a small amount at a time and still, it hardened before we could get it on the wall.

The sun boils down on our porch in the afternoon and that made the stucco harden even faster so I started applying a small bucket of stucco every morning.  It was slow work.

Tony did some Googling and found that adding lime to the stucco mixture would cause it to harden slower.  This helped a lot and I was able to apply 3 small buckets of stucco every morning after that.

I think it took me about 2 weeks to get the entire hole covered with stucco. Of course I had to go on vacation for a few weeks to give the stucco plenty of time to dry. :)  When I got home, I mixed up one more bucket of stucco and put on some final touches.

We had some paint left over from the last time we had the house painted.  We got out the drill and the paint stirrer and mixed it up.  Even painting was slow-going, but I finally got it covered.  The paint didn't exactly match so I had to paint the entire wall.  When it dried, it matched a lot better.

Voila!  Good as new! This was a difficult and time consuming project and I now understand why no one would call me back!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Paws Awhile - From Amish to Anchors!

When we bought Paws Awhile in September 2013, the decor was a bit, ...well..., dated.  The theme was more like an Amish country home than a Beach bungalow.

We obviously needed to redecorate the entire unit but we had bigger fish to fry - we wanted to update the kitchen, living area and master bath before we spent too much time on aesthetics. My sister had surprised us by redecorating the guest bedroom a year before and we loved it, but we just hadn't made time to work on the master. Once the major renovations were done, though, it was time to give the master bedroom some attention.  I wanted to surprise Tony with the new decor so I asked my sister to come to help.

Mary Jane is very experienced with "Shabby Chic" painting.  Following her instructions, I bought paint, plaster of paris, and wax. We mixed the paint, plaster of paris and water and painted two coats on each piece of furniture.

While the paint was drying, we went shopping.  We decided we wanted to have a navy & white nautical theme.  We found a couple of options for quilts and were thrilled when Beals had a great sale on our first choice and a matching throw pillow.

When we got home, we started waxing the furniture to give it the shabby look.  The top drawers and headboard had a lattice work design that didn't really look good with the white paint so we decided to paint them blue to match the new quilt.

With more paint to dry, we had time to do more shopping so we swung by a couple of thrift shops to look for a piece of furniture where we could hide Lola's litter box.  We found a toy chest at the Humane Society store that would be perfect.  It needed a matching cushion so we hurried over to Jo Ann's to get some fabric and foam for the cushion.  I finished covering the cushion at the condo but had to take the cover home to add the anchor embroidery. I was able to keep this hidden from Tony since he rarely visits my sewing dungeon!

The quilt set came with two king sized pillow shams that I didn't want so I decided to take them apart and use the fabric.  The shams were blue and white striped on the front and white with blue anchors on the back.  I used the front of the shams for curtains and the back for a pillow and some accents for the windows.

We used matte blue spray paint to paint the brass lamps and drawer pulls. My seashell knitted afghan perfectly coordinated with the decor! 

Gerry, the manager of our condo complex, saw us going by with the spray paint and when she found out we were decorating with blue and white, donated a seashell picture to match!

I didn't say anything to Tony about the new decor so when we came down last Thursday, I was excited to see what he would say.  At first, he only noticed the new quilt and said, "That looks nice."  We were still unpacking and getting settled so I didn't say anything more.  After a few minutes, he came out of the bedroom and was properly surprised and pleased by all the work we had done!

We are thrilled with the new look!  We really feel like we are at the beach now!