Now that 2018 is upon us, it’s time to lay out some goals. Since we don’t stick to timelines too well, I’ll start out by listing some projects we’d like to get completed this spring.
Obviously, bathroom is top of this list. We’re 100% done with the vanity, floor, toilet, and shower so the bathroom is functional as is, but we’re still working on updating the garden tub. The tub was fine, but had the 90’s square white tiles on the tub surround, and with some of our shower tile left over it was hard to turn down the option of tiling the tub to match. In my mind this was simple: chip off the old tile, mortar, and new tile, done. But, as is typical of DIY projects, it turned out to be a bit more complicated.
The little square tiles didn’t chip off nicely at all, so we had to just cut out the drywall they were attached to.
I then made an arrogant post discussing our purchase of a new sheet of drywall, how we cut it to size in the Lowe’s parking lot so it would fit in the car, and gosh we’re so good at this all we have to do is screw it into the wall! You would think I would have learned at this point in time to never sound so full of myself, and indeed, we screwed this up.
We did do a good job measuring the size of the drywall pieces and getting it all cut…the only issue is we bought the wrong thickness drywall! In our defense, drywall is tricky – the edges of a sheet are apparently tapered to allow some thickness for mudding seams, so I measured the drywall we cut out of the wall (in the middle of the sheet) at what seemed to be a little more than 1/2″, so I assumed this was 5/8″ drywall. Then at the store, the 5/8″ drywall is actually about 1/2″ at the edges to allow for mudding so we assumed this must be the right size. And it wasn’t. Luckily, the sheet was only about $11 but the blow to our esteem felt more damaging. So, this past weekend we were back at Lowe’s purchasing another sheet of 1/2″ thick drywall, and we finally got it cut, mounted, and taped, and thus far have gone through two rounds of mudding:
The plans for the tub are now to tile and grout – 1 row of the large 12×24″ tiles, and 1 row of bullnose surrounding it all. We would’ve tackled this over the past couple weekends, but the cold temperatures are still hanging around and with our tile saw already having some issues starting up we didn’t want to push it. Perhaps next weekend some warmer weather will give us a chance to cut the tiles.
After the tiles are in, we’re planning to plank the back wall to give the room a warm, cozy feel. The grey tile everywhere has made the room look nice, but cold, so I think a little bit of wood grain in there will be just what the room needs to make it look more like a bathroom retreat. This was the original picture that inspired this idea:
We don’t have a budget for real planks, but other DIY people have taught us that thin underlayment cut into planks can look great as well. We bought a 4×8′ sheet of thin maple underlayment that was stain grade wood ($24) and cut it into shiplap-sized planks on the table saw:
And then I played around with about 20 different stain combinations. I was originally thinking of just going with minwax classic grey, but the pinkness of the wood made it sort of clash with the grey tile, so we ended up doing one coat of special walnut followed by a coat of classic grey, which made it look like the color of weathered fence wood.
Here’s a picture of me bundled up in the freezing weather Sunday, applying the first coat of walnut, and the comparison of the walnut alone and with the layer of gray over it:
Now the planks are drying in the guest bathroom with the fan on (they’re stinky, but it’s too cold to let the stain dry outside):
I think we’ll probably tile before installing these so we get the height right but we could start with a few rows at the ceiling and work our way down. This will only be on the back wall of the tub. And, if we end up not liking the stain, we can always paint over the planks for a lighter look.
Our tub valve is also one more issue we’re struggling with. Apparently Moen doesn’t even manufacture temperature dials to fit the valve we have on our tub anymore, so we’re thinking we’ll have to use the universal trim kit that we bought a while back, which seems to be compatible. We contemplated changing the plumbing when the wall was open since the universal kit was pricey…but we decided an extra $50 to use that kit was well worth what certainly would’ve been a whole weekend of effort to switch the valve out.
One more bathroom project is the threshold for the door. I wasn’t satisfied with any of the existing threshold options at Lowe’s, so Nik ended up convincing me he could turn a 1×4″ oak board into a threshold using his router and the sander. This is still in progress but I’m curious to see how this will turn out.
And THEN we should be done with the bathroom!
So what’s next? The other main projects that need to happen this spring are caulking/patching the crown molding on the first floor (ugh), and getting our new balusters installed. The balusters need a coat of paint, the railing needs to be stained and sealed, and we need to figure out how the heck to install them. We have some ideas…but I’m not confident this will be an easy task (probably why it’s been put off 2.5 years at this point).
The last project I’d like to see completed in the somewhat near future is a kitchen island. We have a slab of granite cut for it, so it’s a shame that it’s sitting in the garage while we’ve been using a rusty wire shelving rack with cutting boards thrown on top for over 2 years now. In an ideal world, I’ve love an island with some closed cabinetry and some open shelves to have a little more storage for large unsightly things. The dimensions we need (20″x39″) aren’t quite as wide as this disproportionate sketch, but you get the idea:
At this point, I’ll take anything that is done quickly, has some shelves, and doesn’t break the bank since if we move, this would probably be left behind since it will match the kitchen granite. I’d also like something on wheels since the kitchen is small and it would be nice to have the ability to slide it out of the way at times. Maybe a design like these would be feasible:
I think Nik will have fun with this. He likes building furniture, and with the biscuit joiner and kreg jig furniture joinery tools he’s acquired, the things he’s crafted always look professionally built. We’ll see what he comes up with!
These plans should get us at least halfway into 2018 without killing us. Our weekends have been filled with a lot of doggie activities for Gunnar recently, and it is really nice to have days where we’re not DIYing all day, every day we have off. The cold weather hasn’t made working in the garage pleasant, so I think once the spring weather hits we’ll actually be antsy to get back to working more diligently on our projects. Cheers to 2018!