Monday, August 13, 2012

Laundry Room Makeover Part 1: Toilet

This project should have been finished about a month ago, but nothing ever happens as planned when Dan and I decide to tackle a project. We started stripping the floors in the laundry room back in early June. Dan and I each started pulling back a section of the 70s-tastic "Brady Bunch" linoleum before we realized two things:

The 70s called. They want their floor back.

1) Clearly I have OCD and he does not. Look at the section on the left that I did. It's perfectly rectangular and every little bit of adhesive is gone--stripped to the bare concrete. Dan did the much larger, but very incomplete, section on the right. Obviously. 2) There is probably asbestos in the old floor. Naturally. See above statement about nothing ever happening as planned. We had to stop tearing it out and search online to see which respirators could filter out asbestos. Then, of course, we had to search every home improvement store in the city for them, because no one carried the one we found online. Or at least they said they didn't. Dan found it at Home Depot after the employee told us they didn't carry them. Score!

Also, notice the gray table in the upper left of the picture. I think that's the only "before" picture of it. My PawPaw made me that table years ago at our old house to use in our storage barn for storing garden stuff. I brought it inside when we moved here to use in the laundry room. It will be black by the time this is all finished. 

Meanwhile, we had a plumber come out to give us an estimate on putting in a bathroom downstairs. The original bids were way out of our price range. We considered getting an upflush mascerating toilet like this so that we wouldn't have to cut through the concrete to lay the new pipes. But in the end we really wanted something permanent. The upflush toilets are noisy, the motors tend to wear out and need replacing, and they're just not attractive. Instead, we called my cousin's husband (who has his own construction company) to see what he would recommend. He sent some plumbers out who gave us a great bid (about a fourth of the original) on tearing out the concrete to lay the new pipes, redoing the overhead pipes to get more headroom in the low ceiling, and just generally making the whole thing great. The downside: they were really busy. They were working on a new construction down the street and were snowed under with work. They said they'd try to fit us in soon and "come by maybe some Tuesday evening to take care of us."

Do you hear that?

***Cue the crickets.***

We didn't hear anything from them for weeks. Eight of them, to be exact. For those of you doing the math in your heads, yes. That's my whole summer break. ARGH!

However, we waited for them because their bid was in our price range, and I trusted my cousin's husband to send me good people who could get the job done. I'm glad we did because there's no way we could have done this on our own.

Before they could dig the trench for the potty, we had to rip out the old sink. SuperDan to the rescue. This ends the portion of the toilet installation that we did ourselves. Here's why:
I forgot to take a picture before we took the doors off.
Not a job for us.

They had to cut through the concrete to dig a trench from the exterior wall to the middle of the room. This was extremely loud, messy, and gross. Then they had to dig down into the soil and gravel under the concrete to install the new pipes for the potty--also messy and gross.

This poor fella was covered in mud and filth. He worked so hard.
No more cast iron drain.
 While they were installing the pipes underground, we asked them to also rip out the old 1.5 inch PVC pipes and the cast iron drain-out thingy (Don't you love when I use technical terms?) because our washer used to back up into the sink when it was draining. We were told by another plumber that we needed 2 inch pipes there to handle the drainage. While they were removing the old cast iron thing, they found the real problem: it was totally clogged up with forty years of funk and I-don't-wanna-know-what. They said they were shocked that anything was getting through that pipe. Here's the new pipes, the drain thingy, and the new vent they added. Notice the cabinet above it. That's going to change too.

Here are some shots of the wet concrete patch to fill the trench and the future site of the new toilet. Please also notice the ugly door. Next time you see it, it will be sporting a fresh coat of paint. Too bad you can't see the deep gouges dug into it by an overzealous cat who "winters over" in our garage, but thinks she should be a house cat.

Future home of my new potty.

I resisted the urge to carve my initials into it.

New throne.

The next day, after the concrete had set up, the guys came back to seat the toilet. Here it is, folks. Introducing the newest feature of Casa de Princess--the royal basement throne.

Yes, I got to take her on her maiden voyage. Because, after all, I AM the princess.

Stay tuned for the rest of the laundry room story including: ceiling paint, wall paint, new floors, new sink, storage closet, and decorations.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cross collage

I've been collecting crosses from garage sales for years now. I have several large metal crosses hanging in the carport, and I had a basket full of smaller crosses that I wanted to hang in the hallway upstairs. I saw this tip from Centsational Girl about hanging pictures (on Pinterest), and decided to adapt it for my hallway project.

My faithful helper and I gathered as many of my crosses as we could find (there are probably more, but I can't remember where I stashed them), and arranged them on a piece of plain white paper.

Once we had them arranged, Aaron and I traced around each cross.

Then we measured down from the top of each one and made a mark where each nail needed to go.

After marking each nail spot, we moved all the crosses aside. We used painter's tape to hang the paper on the wall in the hallway. We drove the nails directly into the paper on the spots we marked.

Then we pulled the paper off the wall and used the pattern as a template to remember where each cross was supposed to go. Here's the end result.

I left a little space in the bottom center to add another cross, in case I find one at a garage sale soon (or I'd find more tucked away in a closet somewhere.) Because if I hadn't left room, I'd be sure to fall in love with one at a yard sale and have no place to put it.

So there you have it. In less than half an hour, with a little assistance from a very helpful eleven-year-old (who didn't realize I was sneaking in a math lesson by making him measure and mark the nail spots), I now have all my crosses on display instead of sitting in a box somewhere.