News Archive: September 2019

30 September 2019

The shower is almost done; it's down to the floor, now. When I started grouting, I'd estimated I should be able to knock it out in a day, at most two. I hadn't taken into account—

  • floor-to-ceiling tile, whereas the tile for a typical bath just goes up seven feet, with the first two feet being the tub
  • lots of corners and tricky spots, like the accent strip, and especially the shampoo shelf, where I had to grout upside-down
  • I'm super-fussy when it comes to grouting, and I'll spend an inordinate amount of time getting it just right

After the floor is finished tomorrow comes the hardest challenge of all: resisting the urge to take a shower before the grout is fully cured, and waiting the recommended 72 hours. That is going to be rough.

Also... I've been asked how I came up with the color scheme for the bathroom accent stripe. This is how:

29 September 2019

Grouting the shower continues. I've already used up 1.5 gallons of grout, and I'm not quite half done—but at least I've completed the toughest part: the mosaic strip. And I've completed enough that I could install my brand-new four-year-old fixtures (below). The rest should be smooth sailing, although the floor is going to suck up a lot of grout. Time to head for the store and buy more...

Also note how the character of the mosaic strip has changed after grouting it (before, below left; after, below right): it's much less busy and garish, which is exactly what I'd hoped—in fact, ever since installing it, I've felt as though the mosaic strip might be "too much." Not any more! Part of the trick was to skip the final polish step after grouting, and deliberately leave a slight haze on the tile.

28 September 2019

Jeez Louise, grouting the shower is taking seemingly forever. Friday I completed the first course; today I only finished the second and half of the third course (out of seven total). At this rate, it'll be almost a week before the shower is ready to use!

27 September 2019

My first shower will be a little further off than I anticipated: grouting is proving to be a royal pain in the behind. Spent the morning spackling and painting the ceiling, and the afternoon grouting the first row of tiles. Seriously—that's it! Complicating matters is the glorious weather we've been having, which is making it increasingly difficult to justify not installing the last 30 feet of gutters...

26 September 2019

I'm one step closer to a shower: the tiling is done, and now I only have to grout it—and then it's finished! If all goes well, I should be able to take a shower by the weekend. That's almost as exciting as it was to have a flush toilet for the first time in four years...

25 September 2019

I was finally well enough to return to tiling the shower floor, and got it finished. Now I can put in the last row of wall tile and—hopefully someday really soon—I can grout the whole thing and then take a shower!

24 September 2019

I grouted the bathroom sink countertop, installed the sink, and even added the backsplash tile. The backsplash took quite a bit of finagling, including an awkward jog around the switchplates, and it still needs the bullnose pieces (they'll be added after the wall compounding is done).

23 September 2019

Continuing my spastic leaps from one project to the next, today I finished the sides of the kitchen island. With the headboard and the entertainment center providing guidance, I finally settled on how it should look—mind, I've only been struggling with what to do about it since I started designing the house back in 2014. Having roughly the same visual mass as the headboard and entertainment center, the island creates a nicely-balanced trilogy. I even added a dishtowel bar on each end.

But wait, there's more. I also finished tiling the bathroom sink countertop. Wow, talk about a lot of beautiful green!

And there's still more! The County Health Department is now officially on my sh!t list. They've managed to lose all of my paperwork—yes, they're unable to locate any of the forms and reports that I mailed to them exactly one month ago today. Honestly, it's amazing that anything can be accomplished at all given the sheer incompetence with which one must deal.

22 September 2019

I'd wanted to continue tiling the shower floor, but it was just too much for my knees to bear. So I switched to a low-impact project: the bathroom sink countertop. I installed the first of two layers of plywood, then laid out the lime green tile to 1) make sure I had enough, and 2) determine the best way to arrange the tile for a balanced look.

21 September 2019

Continued tiling the shower. I'm down to the last 49 pieces to install (excluding the floor tile)—every one of which must be cut to fit. And I've started on the floor tile, since that must be down before doing the bottom row of wall tile. What a surprise—I thought the floor tile would be easy and fun. Instead, it's among the toughest tiling challenges I've ever faced. Still fun in its own difficult way, but nothing like what I'd expected...

20 September 2019

Returned to tiling the shower, including the new seat. It seemed as though I got a lot done, but there's about as much left still to do. Then there's grouting...

19 September 2019

Today I did something totally unplanned and unexpected: I added a seat to the shower. I'd just gotten back into tiling it when, as I stared at the corner I'd nearly finished, I came to realize it was an ideal spot to sit, while consuming an absolute minimum of the floor space. So I tore out the tiles in the corner, scrounged up a bunch of leftover lumber, and set about building it. Once the spackle has dried, I can get back to tiling. Meanwhile, my helper has been repairing the damage done to the ground around the back of the house by months of rain with no gutters.

18 September 2019

The entertainment center is now finished (save for the trim around the outside, which can't go on until the walls are compounded and painted). I even did the little wiring access door inside the closet/laundry.

17 September 2019

Establishing Emma's Memorial inspired me to go out and get the lumber needed to finish the entertainment center. It's now very close to being done.

16 September 2019

It wasn't planned, but the space at the top of the entertainment center has become Emma's Memorial.

15 September 2019

Went on "vacation" for a week to deal with a surfeit of crap. Now I'm getting myself back into the groove slowly by first cleaning and organizing—the place had become a serious mess.

8 September 2019

Finally got around to installing the two return air vent/filter units. Both openings had to be enlarged just a little, which was a messy challenge given that the framing and rocking were done long before I ordered the vents.

In other news, I've made some changes to my tiling plans. Instead of having a lime green accent stripe in the kitchen, I'm using two shades of grey mosaic tile I found online, with the lighter color running in a band behind all of the outlets. In addition to looking quite sophisticated, it's less costly than traditional mosaic tile because it's made from recycled glass. Meanwhile, the green tiles originally earmarked for the kitchen will instead be used on the bathroom counter, since I discovered by accident that it looks really cool under the glass sink.

7 September 2019

After sanding and staining all of the Kitty Central platforms and shelves, I turned my attention to an admittedly low-priority project: the entertainment center. I just got really sick of staring at that big old ugly slab of weathered plywood, so I finished the upper section using the same woods and techniques as the headboard for visual continuity. (The lower section will have to wait until I get some more lumber.)

6 September 2019

A dreary, rainy day, and I was feeling totally unmotivated. Nevertheless, I forced myself to be productive, and built the platforms, catwalks and shelves for Kitty Central. Below left is the litter box area, with litter storage beneath; below right is the feeding station, on the floor under which will be the water fountain—they'll be splashing water everywhere, so the floor is the safest place for it (hence the outlet there). The bottom photo is of the food storage shelf, which is located above the feeding station. All of the platforms are removable for cleaning.

5 September 2019

While I took a break to work on a special non-house project, my slave labor continued working on the French drain.

In other news, a slight change of plans: recently I'd fetched something from the cabin, and noticed that the siding had acquired a wonderful dark patina. Lucky for me I hadn't started staining the walls of the house, just the fascia and soffits. And, I had some of the cabin stain left over, so I've started to do the exterior walls of the house in Thompson's Teak; hopefully in a couple of years it will also grow dark like aged tree bark.

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