24 March 2009


It feels like we got a lot accomplished on our last major workday in the house. We got the shower framed:

We moved the walls in a bit to accommodate a bigger tub, but it's still a honking huge shower. Putting the door on the diagonal really opened up the room.

We're still not totally happy with the stability of the frame (if you push on the end of it, there's a bit of movement around the top) since it doesn't go all the way to the ceiling, but it should stiffen once we put the backer board up. And if that still doesn't work, we can connect the two walls across the top of the door without any problems.

We also bought two pedestal sinks and a toilet. We tentatively placed the sinks so we could figure out how big the piece of furniture that will go between it can be, and where our plumbing needs to go.

Now that we've got the general idea, I can start pounding the pavement for deals. The toilet is just a toilet, and will be hidden behind a half-wall that will also frame in our 42" wide Jacuzzi bathtub.

A chandelier would've looked better with a clawfoot tub, but I can't complain that Tom wanted a jetted tub instead.

We also hung the chandelier from a screw in the joist to figure out the best place to hang it. I want it centered over the window and bathtub, which is also centered in the overall room. Paul suggested we center it between the sinks, which is the center of the room from the shower to the outside wall. My reasoning is that the light is for the overall room and is not task lighting for the sinks (if anything, it is task lighting for the tub). Also, the walls of the shower do not reach all the way to the ceiling. The chandelier will indeed be closer to the shower than the outside wall, but I think it will help it read as one room (rather than separate shower room, separate sink room). Maybe I'm putting too much thought into it. I found some nice-looking ceiling medallions online for less than $20, so that might be another extra touch around the chandelier.

Tom and I are headed to South Bend this weekend and won't be able to work on the house, but there are a few things I'll do this week in the afternoon. (Sorry, this list is more so I don't forget what I'm supposed to be doing).
1. Build dam for shower threshold.
2. Insulate exterior walls.
3. Frame tub surround.
4. Buy tile (done).
5. Order tub (since local Lowe's doesn't have it in stock. There goes my negotiation option. "Can you order this tub for me? And, by the way, I want to pay you $150 less than list price.") for delivery
6. Order drywall for delivery.
7. Order greenboard (wet location drywall) for delivery.
8. Buy additional cement backer board for shower walls for delivery.

21 March 2009

To the batroom, Robin

We've shifted our focus for a while from the bedroom to the bathroom. The first step was putting down the underlayment for the tile, sheets of concrete board. That step is almost complete:

The 2x8s on the floor are the approximate locations of the shower wall enclosure. It's about a 4'x6' shower. The hole in the floor near the top of the photo is where the toilet goes. The tub goes under the window on the left.

We still have to finish the seams. It's very similar to finishing drywall seams - it just uses thinset mortar instead of drywall mud.

We've already picked out our tile and the pattern in which it will be laid. It's a porcelain tile, which is a form of ceramic, but it has a bit of a texture on the surface to simulate natural stone. Every tile is textured differently and has a little bit of color variation, too, which enhances the effect. Here's a close-up of the slight pitting effect on the surface:

You can also see the tumbled edge, which furthers its resemblance to natural stone.

We decided that we like this windmill pattern, but I can't decide if I like it square or diagonal.


And in case you don't want to tilt your head at a 45 degree angle:


Tom doesn't care one way or the other. Installing it square would make it easier to include a perimeter border, but I'm not entirely confident the walls are perfectly perpendicular. Diagonal installation is often done in that sort of situation. It's easier for the eye to account for a discrepancy in the walls being a little out of square if the floor is laid diagonally. Lord knows I used that trick in my hand-drafted projects for school - I don't think anything I drew was ever perfectly square.

I'm still not entirely convinced I won't wish we'd used 1" square or hexagonal tiles, but I can't see spending $9-11 more per square foot of the stuff. I keep telling myself it's a whole lot fewer grout lines to have to clean with a toothbrush.

Also, before we lay this tile, I need to decide whether or not I'll splurge on the radiant-heat floors. I can get a system to fit in our bathroom for about $150. I really hate cold tile, especially in the bathroom where I'm likely to be barefoot. But, it's $150 I could save and spend on a lifetime supply of warm, fuzzy bathroom slippers. Thoughts?