Bathroom Progress

I kind of didn’t realize I hadn’t shared the progress. Not a lot of words right now besides the floor joists were leveled, new subfloor went in, new tub in, all the existing wall joints taped, spaces filled in near the chimney, and the toilet flange being replaced. It’s coming together little by little. The toilet and sink pictured are the old ones as this is our only bathroom and it needs to stay functional throughout the renovation. All stuff besides the shower tile has been purchased and I’m starting to get some miles in on my bicycles too. Bring on spring!



The old fiberglass BS coming out.


The bathroom window provided a great junk exit. 


Exposed joists with 2×4’s being sistered to level out the settling house. The worst point was down about 1 1/2″.


All level. 


3/4″ OSB held in place with 3″ deck screws and construction adhesive. It’s bomber.


Tight working quarters. 


New tub in place.


Harvey exploring. He prefers between the floors, but it’s tough to get a picture of him in there. 


Temp shower arrangements. 


New tape over existing joints that were cracking. Additional screws were added as well.


Filling in spots next to the chimney where there was once wall.


Lots of work needed in the closet. I ran into this before. I suspect the builders knew the closet would never see much action so not as much attention to detail was put into it. 


Amy and I came up with an idea to keep the shower opened up some so framing was removed. It’ll all come down for new stuff but this allowed me to patch up the ceiling. 


New tile and hardware.


Concrete board and drywall ready for install. 


Out and about on my All City Macho Man. I’ve been loving this bike.

Bathroom Underway

Bathroom work continues to be underway. I’ve noticed in past projects I get tons of work done and then do not touch it for weeks at a time. This time around I’m not doing those crazy days, but rather trying to just do a bit everyday. So far so good but it’s tough to see much progress taking place. It’s just a lot of stuff getting dusty really.



The maple coming out.



Subfloor. No surprises which was nice. 



Old drywall layer and plaster coming down to make way for new drywall. The trim will match up again. 



Luxury cardboard floor until the tile goes in.



Here is the drywall roughed in. It always looks like junk until it’s finished. 



Light switches moved to the other side of the doorway. The opening on top was an older box that only had disconnected wires in. Reusing that top spot would have placed the switches too tall.



A new light in the closet. Since 1906 this space had ever seen direct light. It’s glorious. 



Kiyah is ready for more drywall to go in. 

Vacation Goals Achieved

Amy and I are lucky enough to work at a manufacturing company that maintains a lengthy two week shutdown over the holiday season. We did a whole lot of relaxing, were able to see some great friends, hosted a family dinner, threw a party to watch the best christmas movie ever made (Die Hard), did NOT burn down the house deep frying a turkey, I rode some miles on the fat bike (brought my milage total to a hair over 2,700 miles for 2015), and Amy started off the new year doing 108 sun salutations which I think was fairly amazing. In addition to all of that I told myself I would be very happy if I could finish up the back hallway trim and start on our final major project, the bathroom. On the last day of this break, I started off on the bathroom, which was a serious milestone. I hope everyone else had a great holiday as well! Here come the pictures…


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Kiyah was on point with the fire extinguisher. Safety first she said.



This window and drywall had been waiting to be finished for about two years now. Feels real good to have it in.



All this work was made so much easier by finally owning the correct tools. The table saw was great for ripping, the miter saw made angles and 90 degree cuts fantastically easy, and the router mounted to a table had me making round over edges like a champ.



Stairs painted, trim installed, and the first coat of paint went on. It needs one more coat of paint and edge work but it’s 99% done so you get the idea and I’m calling it done for the purposes of this blog.



This was underneath the drywall the previous owners had put up. There was some faux tile looking vinyl on the lower darker blue.



Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high. Take a look, it’s in a book.



Wall down, lathe removed, and all the debris cleaned up. I’ll sort out either relocating the electrics or putting some some cool looking conduit. I also need to do some research on the best way to clean up the brick. In a perfect world I’d re-tuck point the mortar but I think it’s good enough. I’ll likely use a chemical treatment as I’ve heard sandblasting will destroy the top layer. Up last I’ll find a matte clear coat to spray over it to seal it. I’m really excited to show off the chimney in this old house. I’ve been talking about this for a very long time.



A beautiful holiday ride down on the shore of western Lake Michigan. Cheers everyone!

Plant Window Tile

There was also very sketchy tile in the base of the planter window in the kitchen. It was fine at first, but like all things in this house, it degraded quickly. The grout all cracked out and mushrooms started growing around the perimeter of it. Seriously. That happened. I finally pulled up the tile to find that the tile had been applied directly to the plywood underneath and that the plywood was completely rotten. During the holiday break I finally removed the old plywood. This was no easy task as the section had been screwed in from the outside prior to install meaning there was no way to access any of the fasteners. After making a mess with a circular saw and jigsaw and finally a pneumatic cutoff wheel to grind off the screws, I finally was able to get it out. I cut a new section of 3/4″ plywood to slide in, used screws to hold it all in place to the framing in the house, and sealed everything with an absurd amount of caulk. Cement board was put down and the tile over that. Grout came a day later and the trim was reinstalled. There are a couple spots in need of some wood filler but I’ll get to that sooner or later. Amy also painted the ceiling fan. It turns out it wasn’t some off white color but rather was that dirty. Gross. It looks great now. Unrelated I was also able to enjoy this amazing unseasonable weather we’ve been having here in Milwaukee with a 30+ mile ride on my new All-City Macho Man. It was the first ride but I’m very excited to have a cross bike which can double for touring duty next year. Happy holidays everyone!



The tile when we first moved in. I assure you it no longer looked this somewhat acceptable when I finally tore it out.



After completing the removal struggle. 


Enter New ply waiting to be cut to final length. 



Enter Final cut section installed. I painted the underside with a white primer to seal it as it’s exposed to the elements.


Cement board cut to size.



Tiles I had previously cut when using Mr. Lew Danger’s fantastic wet tile saw. Thanks again Lew. 



Tile in sans grout.



All finished and grouted.



Kiyah is jealous of the luxury the cats enjoy their food in.



The fan with Amy’s freshly painted fan blades. It looks great.



Bike ride in 55 degree weather in late December in Wisconsin? I’ll take it! My new orange bike pops nicely as well.

Paralysis of Analysis

It had been so long since I logged in that I nearly forgot my account password. I blame all the fun which was being had. 2,500+ miles on my bicycle this summer, a couple trips to Utah and Oregon, and so on. As for the house, the kitchen was wrapped up last time this year (floors and tile backsplash), some little things here and there, exterior doors were replaced with the help of my friend Mr. Lew Danger, and at the moment I’m finishing up trim work on the interior of those new doors. I’m going to miss some work here but if I wait any longer the pressure of trying to list every little thing will only grow and grow. I’ll certainly try to stay up on these updates from now on!


Pulling up old kitchen vinyl plank.


Some sort of sub sub floor underneath.


Back stair landing was rough.


Pulling wood from the bathroom to patch in a previous bad repair in the kitchen.


Royal Floors did an amazing job of weaving in “new” planks on a square damaged section.


Weaving complete.


New bullnose and refinished maple in back hall.


Sanded kitchen.


Skipping way ahead, but all done and beautiful!


Found some electrical issues when doing the tile.


It wasn’t quite this easy, but all done again!


The other side.


Old front door. It was ill fitting and leaked air like crazy. The screen door had already been removed prior to this picture.


A little concerning to see a giant hole where the door used to be.


Might as well ride a motorcycle in and out of the house.


New work starting to go in.


Whoa, look at that! It’s done! Lew is that amazing.


Back door explosion.


Resetting some uneven brick.


Sill plate in. I love powder nailers.


Wow, again, more magic and it’s in! A screen door was added later but isn’t pictured installed here.


Adding door jamb extensions to match the new thinner door frame to the existing structure. I also added a new bit of drywall up above the door.


Same thing for the front. Also had to add about an inch of wall all around since the new doors are a standard size to replace and older, and slightly larger size. Texture, paint, and trim going back up yet to come.

The Gift of Painted Walls

My parents went on a vacation. Amy and I took the opportunity to demo and repaint a troublesome wall in their basement. The damage was a result of poor drainage from the driveway. The drainage was corrected a few years back but by then the moisture had already seeped into the plaster over metal lath wall. Luckily the old wall came super easy and the bricks underneath just needed to be washed down. A final coat of paint and it looks pretty tidy.

As for our own house, there’s a lot been done, but we’re waiting on my completion of the final details before putting some new updates up.


The old wall:

Dust control up:

Coming off in sheets:

All down in about 20 minutes:

Not too much to clean up:

Before washing:

After washing and patching some holes:

First coat of paint and Amy the helper:

Some joint compound to smooth out old plaster:

Sanded and fresh paint:

All done:

Rad (But not as Rad as the Movie RAD)

Night falling sooner and trees changing color are definite signs of colder things to come. With this in mind I decided firing up the boiler might be a prudent measure. I had several pipes to nowhere however after removing the previously undersized and improperly fitting (it was designed for a steam system, not hot water like we had) foyer radiator. I spent some (ok, well a lot) of time this past week rerouting plumbing, burning the shit out of my hand with molten solder, dropping a mapp gas canister on my foot, assembling various bushings, and [cringing] while drilling a hole in my brand new floors. All is well however when I filled and heated the system and all my work held without leaks. Heat, huzzah!

Here is a throwback to the old setup (and the 90’s as you may recall):


The new (to me) Kohler radiator in place and plumbed:

photo 1

Amelia is already practicing for how much she is going to love this new radiator:

photo 2

Mapped Up

No real changes. That’s been an unbelievable thing. I put a map up tonight, we’ve been filling up the built in, and the new (to me) radiator is in place and I’m just waiting on some adaptors to show up so I can hook it up.




Finished Coat Rack

Put the freshly arrived hooks on tonight. Looks awesome.




Now That I’m Bored

Tonight marks a milestone of sorts. I had always told myself once I finished up all the vanilla house stuff (like you know, walls that aren’t going to fall down anymore), I’d use my new found skills and combine it with the creativity Amy and I have. Well that finally happened tonight. Using some of the leftover pallet wood from the wall we put up a while back, I used it to make a nice “headboard” if you will for what will become our coat rack. It’s not totally done yet. We’ll be adding 7 hooks for coats on there and I’ll also use my welder to put together an angle iron frame to cover up the edges. So the story goes I first cut some 3/4″ plywood to use as the backbone, stuck that to the wall with some construction adhesive and four 3″ deck screws into the studs. Then I cut the pallet boards to size and also put those in place with construction adhesive and my finish nailer. It turned out super nice for about the 2 hours of work I put into tonight after my “day job”. I’ll be sure and post a picture when the hooks are in and the frame is on.








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