Archives 2020

Winter Flooring Projects + More Library Work

Before leaving for a Christmas vacation in Las Vegas, I’ve taken the past week to make progress on some ongoing projects and get materials ready for several other winter projects I’m planning on starting in January and February. First, I installed two more bookcases in the library:

The end result turned out as well as the first two once the books were put back!

The final five shelves and a new ladder will show up at the end of December, which will keep me busy for a couple of weeks. Aside from the library project, I purchased and hauled a huge amount of flooring for various projects. I’m going to be replacing the linoleum in the guest bathroom with the same tile that I used in the master bathroom remodel, and I’m going to replace the carpet in the library and the guest house with the same lifeproof plank vinyl that I used elsewhere in the lower level. Finally, I picked out new tile to replace the existing tile in the mud room, laundry room, and the kitchen bathroom.

It took multiple truckloads and several days, but all of the flooring is now staged in the guest house and ready to go for January and February.

Now I’m off to Vegas to enjoy some warm weather, and I’ll pick up these new projects in January!

Mary’s Office: Final Touches

A couple of months ago, I built a new office for my wife. Due to pandemic related shipping delays, there were several items that took a long time to arrive. These included her desk, chair, and window treatments. This past week, all of those arrived and the office is complete.

It never ceases to amaze me how well window treatments complete a room. It’s now a truly gorgeous office!

Master Bathroom (Almost) Complete

After two long weeks of work, the master bathroom remodel is almost done. All that’s left is a new door for the shower, which will take several weeks to be fabricated. Now that the tile is done on both the floor and the shower itself, it’s striking how good it looks!

The last touch I added for now was to add some faux plants to add greenery to the countertop and tie the decor back to the master bedroom.

December at the Lake House

I had to drive up to the lake house this morning to check on things and drop off some decor items from Black Friday shopping, and the weather was beautiful! It’s always cool to get a different view of the water with no leaves on the trees.

In addition to the view, it was fun to review all of the work that I put in this summer after not having been there in awhile. It still looks as good as I remembered it!

Master Bathroom Tiling

After the demolition work was completed, we’ve been cruising along with tiling the master bathroom. Before the tiling could start, PermaBase UltraBacker underlayerment had to go in overtop of the old vinyl on the floor.

For the shower, we used the Schluter KERDI-BOARD system to waterproof the shower walls and basin and provide a backing for the shower tile.

After that was done, the tiling could start. The flooring has gone fairly quickly, since the tiles are large (12 x 24 inches) and the room is fairly rectangular.

The more complicated and dramatic tiling work was the shower itself, which involved a shinier version of the same 12 x 24 inch tiles, along with an accent stripe on the back wall and in the back of the KERDI-BOARD alcove shelves.

The tiling work should be done by the end of this week, and then all that will be left will be finishing the plumbing fixture installation, installing the new toilet, and getting the glass door measured, ordered, and installed.

Truck Weather

As winter descends on Wisconsin, it was fun to take the new truck out in the first snow of the season! We’ll all be sick of the snow soon enough, but at least for a day it was nice. As anticipated, the truck handled everything really well and actually performed better than the old truck since it has more traditional tires currently as opposed to the old truck’s mud tires.

Initial Library Progress

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, I was able to get a lot of work done on the new built in bookcases for the library. This first phase was essentially a proof of concept; before I ordered all of the bookcases I wanted to order two to verify fit and also to verify my plan to join the corners and to turn them into true built-ins. They came fully assembled in giant boxes, so thankfully I was able to bribe the delivery guys to carry them down to the lower level right nearby the library.

The first step was to remove the old shelves and their toppers.

After that was done, I unpacked the new bookcases and moved them vaguely into position. After that, I measured where I’d need to cut the baseboard and crown molding on the bookcases so that I could join them at the corner into one unit. I used a jigsaw with a long blade designed for ultra-fine finish carpentry, and it did a good job of making cuts without causing a lot of collateral damage.

I then cut the actual baseboard along the wall, and removed the carpet, carpet pad, and staple strips from the floor so that the bookcases could be flush with the wall. I screwed the bookcases together to form a perfect corner, and then shimmed them level against the walls before anchoring them into the studs. This left me with a really sturdy corner unit, with the ladder rails joining in the corner as well. From there, I used wood filler to fill in tiny gaps in the joined molding, and color matched paint to paint over it.

The result was impressively seamless! The project wasn’t done though, I still had to build the toppers and molding that would connect them to the ceiling. I used oak boards for the topper, along with some understated crown trim for the ceiling line.

Once the final trim was in place and I put everything back on the shelves, it looked incredible and gave me a vision for how the rest of the library will look when the project is done!

The next step is to order the rest of the bookcases, which should arrive in January for me to finish the rest of the project!

Master Bathroom Demolition

This week, the final phase of the master bathroom remodel (new floors and the new shower) has kicked off. It’s going to be a several week process, but the first step has been ripping out the existing tile and ripping apart the old shower. Here was the state of the room before starting demolition:

And here was the state after the first day, including the discovery of some sweet 90’s-tastic vinyl underneath the tile:

There was a ton of junk to haul:

Day two of construction involved less demolition aside from ripping out the remaining tile, but the plumbing and electrical work was able to get started. The old steam unit was removed, along with the old toilet, and almost all of the plumbing for the new control unit is in place. It’s located in place of the old steam unit, so it will be accessible from the powder room on the other side of the wall in case it needs to be serviced.

As the project continues, more updates will follow!

Upcoming Library Remodel

While the master bathroom remodel project is still ongoing, one of my next large projects is going to be a remodel of the library. I’m going to replace the existing bookcases with built-ins, replace the flooring, and improve the overall decor. Here’s what it currently looks like:

As a base for the built-in bookcases, I’m starting with an off the shelf product from Wayfair that is tall enough to almost reach the ceiling, and has the stylistic look that I’m going for.

Initially, I’ve ordered two bookcases so that I can confirm fit and finish, and also to plan some of the modding work that I’ll need to do to make them wrap all the way around the library. It should be a fun project for the winter!

Mary’s Office

One of the last untouched rooms in the house was my wife’s office, which had been more or less in the same state since buying the house in 2013. It looked pretty sad compared to the other remodeled rooms on the top floor of the house and needed a redesign with some more color and light. Additionally, the guest bathroom connected to it needed a similar treatment to the master bathroom.

The first step was to repaint everything:

Once that was done, all of the existing furniture was removed and I brought in a new rug. Here was the initial design board that I worked on with my interior designer:

Things started to take shape with the rug and some of the new furniture in place, especially the large white bookcase.

From there, we replaced the desk and chair (with temporary stand-ins until the real furniture is completed towards the end of the year), brought back the books and added more decor and wall art.

Finally, I brought in a new recliner and lamp for the corner, and the aside from a new window treatment currently being custom made and the real desk, the project was done!

The before and after is a pretty shocking improvement in my opinion: