We've both built little things in the past, and with Hanmi's expertise in industrial engineering (shes a powerhouse of skills) and my common-sense about tools ("Oh! thats sharp! do you have a bandage?") we were determined to try this ourselves. We figure if we messed up, it'd only be more money. Money is a silly thing to try and take a bath with (I think you end up dirtier), so it was obvious, we'd trade some money for a better bathroom.
So we made a long list of the things we'd have to to. They included:
- Remove everything.
- Remove everything the above was sitting on.
- Remove the walls and ceiling
- Remove the floor
- Cut out all things electric, wires, plumbing, gas lines (isn't your house lit with gas lights?)
- Kills bugs, mold, remove rot, repair all structural elements
- Make a new electric load plan and map
- Add breakers in basement, run wires to attic, drop to rooms
- Add skylight (hired out)
- Frame in alcove for open ceiling, including soffit for lights (hired out)
- Install wiring, fan, lights, switches, outlets, test electric.
- Run plumbing (hired out)
- -you are here-
- Install new subfloor, floor, heating elements, tile. Cover with plywood
- Install toilet
- Install insulation
- Install all drywall. Finish drywall.
- Install surround, tub.
- Install mirror, vanity light, vanity
- Paint walls
- Install finish trim, paint.
- Install plates, etc.
Anyway, this is the short list. Each step has lots of details, a few special tools and a clean up afterwards. We've filled the dumpster, taken extra loads to the dump ourselves, taken from and given to the rebuilding center, bought tons of tools and met quite a few good and handy friends.
It's been great, and we're about halfway on the list, but certainly through the slowest portion of it. Our biggest roadblock is our own time and perseverance. However - when you have to go down the street to the tavern to poo you realize that one cannot live like a barfly forever.
So, after work, we slip into the itchy dirtbag clothes and don helmets, eyewear, earplugs and headlamps. Then we proceed to stare at stuff and finally dig through our bag of stuff and nail it to the walls. Overall, it kinda works out. Occasionally we pull it back off and move it, or bang a thumb but there's been no tragedies yet.
Here's a few more shots:
(just kidding mom)
Then we sprayed them in the face
Crazy fun facts:
- 100 years ago, when our house was built, trees were made of iron and things were built by incredibly strong people who had no plastic, rubber or (i'm guessing) levels.
- For a while people didn't "trust" electricity (don't give it money, kids). So, they lighted their houses here partially with gas lamps and partially with electric lamps. The wires were wrapped in cloth. (oh, and they smoked in the house under all this). Coincidentally, these were the days when folks believed in spontaneous human combustion.
- What you don't know doesn't scare you. If you don't look down in that slot where razorblades used to go, you won't find the monsters. Do not remove your toilet until after lunch. Concrete backer board does not originally come in blue-green.
- If you give up doing something because you're confused and tired, just go to bed. You will have more time this weekend to be confused and tired.
- If you install something, always begin your day by playing with it for an hour. It'll give you confidence to install something else. Then you can play with two things, unless you messed up and have to rip one out.
- Putting in earplugs and simultaneously turning up the radio, then trying to sing over the noise of the miter saw does *not* prevent hearing damage. Your neighbors may think there's someone being tortured in the house.
- When moving heavy things up and down stairs, always say "ready?" at least 5 times before doing anything. If something happens before the 5th call, state that you weren't ready and proceed to lift.
- If you have neighbors that don't fill their garbage cans to the brim, run around on trash night and deliver your own construction refuse into their cans like a mad construction-costumed kris kringle.
Stay tuned for more news from the front in the next few weeks. Cheers!