Laying some tile


With Jess’s help I started laying the tile for the bathroom.  Its a bit of a pain for two reasons, the first is the lack of space to work in, the room is so small there is no space to keep the thinset and tiles close at hand.  Secondly  because of the 12×12 tiles in such a small room, almost all of the tiles need a cut of varying degrees of complexity.   We choose to lay the tiles diagonally which looks alot nicer, but also makes laying out the cuts much more difficult.

Powder room paint


Got the powder room all painted.  One coat on the ceiling, and two coats on the walls.  Turns out I did a pretty good job patching up the walls.  Thats the good news, the bad news is that something, either the roller cover, or the paint, or the walls had a whole bunch of little fibers in it that got all over the walls.    I sanded most of them out and used a different roller cover for the 2nd coat, but it still left a handful in the paint.  The color is a little… orange, but Jess seems happy with it so thats what matters.  You can also see in this picture that I’ve started laying out the tiles too.

Ready for paint


My least favorite part of any project is the spackeling of the drywall.  It takes forever, its messy, and mostly I’m not very good at it.  I’ve got it looking reasonably good right now, but one thing I hate is that you can’t tell how good it is until you paint over it.   So we’ll see how well I actually did.



Sorry for the poor quality picture, I was in a hurry to get to sleep and taking decent pictures in that room is nigh impossible.  I’m using the standard green joint compound this time instead of the blue/gray dust control stuff that I usually use.  The green stuff is supposed to be better at skim coating, which I have to do a bit of, and its been awhile since I’ve used it so I figured I’d give it a shot.

New Sheetrock


The sheetrock in the rest of the room looked in pretty good shape so I decided to just patch it up a bit instead of replacing it.  This piece covers up the plumbing and the hole where the old medicine cabinet was.  The only other piece I needed was to cover up the old toliet paper holder, which was recessed.  Getting the holes for the piping in the right spots was a bit tricky, but it really doesn’t matter since the vanity will go in front of that hole area.



I ripped open the wall so I could do a bit of plumbing, I needed to replace the drain pipe, and wanted to replace the water valves as well.  The chromed brass drain pipe corroded almost completely away on the bottom, so much so that I could push my finger through it.  If the old plumber had done a better job it would have been an easy matter to unscrew the old slip nut, pullout the pipe and replace it, but of course thats not what he did.  It seems that he took the 1 1/4″ copper drain, and splayed it out.  Then he took the chromed brass pipe stuck it inside and put a giant pile of solder around it.  Worked well enough I guess as it never leaked, but I wasn’t about to do that.   The good news is that there was just enough  copper pipe left that I could cut off the splayed part, and solder on a threaded adapter fitting.  That’s a good thing because I really didn’t want to spend $50 on a 8′ piece of pipe when I only needed two inches.

I also pulled off the old water valves and put some logner copper extensions on so that I can cut them off after I get the vanity in, and then solder the new valves on.  I’ve decided I rather like plumbing, soldering up joints is pretty easy and fun, and you know as soon as you turn on the water if it works.  Plus you know, you get to play with fire.

Powder Room Cleanup


Last night, with everything out of the way, I was able to clean up the walls and cut out some old drywall.  The walls cleaned up quite nicely, and I am very appreciative of whoever put up the old wallpaper for first painting the walls, and then usign a nice water soluable paste that is extremely easy to remove.   I first sprayed down the walls with plain water, and then used a 6″ putty knoife to remove the bulk of the paste.  It was a messy job but it was easy to do, and worked well.  After that I gave the walls a wash down with a sponge, and now its just a matter of spackeling over some nail pops, and a few other marks before they are ready to paint.  Since we aren’t putting a medicine cabinet back in, just a mirror, I’m going to cover that whole with a fresh piece of drywall.  The bottom piece needed to be removed to access the plumbing, and I’ll remove the old screw valves for some nice shiny ball valves.

New Corner Garden

corner-gardenWith the hedges gone we’re free to put in nice cute little gardens.   These will msotly be flowers, although I may put a few veggies in the back.  In addition to what you see here (msot of which I don’t know the names of) I also planted some four-o-clock seeds in the back.  Most of the plants are pernnieals and the little plants on the corners are acutaly evergreens so it should look good next year too.

Stump Removal

stumpDespite being in the middle of painting, and a bathroom remodel, I choose to spend the weekend digging out our ball hedges instead.  Mostly because if this doesn’t get done soon, then it will be too late to plant the flowers in the space the hedges leave behind.  Pulling out the stumps was an all day task, involving a chainsaw, axe, shovel, pick, reciprocating saw, 30# digging bar, and many hours of back breaking labor.  Happily my wife helped and so we were able to finish before it got dark.  The stump removal process basicly involves digging around the stump and cutting most of the roots until there are few enough left that I can drag it out with my car.  The problem with these big stumps was that once my car dragged them out,  they were too heavy for me to drag  Thus getting them onto the side of the house (where they will dry out sufficently that I can then cut them up and put them at the curb) was quite a task by itself.

Ball Hedges

ballhedgesThese two big ball hedges are the last of the old landscapign that I’m taking out.  Like the other hedges I took out last month, these guys are way overgrown, and can’t be trimmed back.    They are over growing the driveway, and make backing out difficult.  In addition the 4×4’s that were used to edge them are now rotted and ugly.