Repaired Drywall Painting + Final Floor Prep

After the drywall repair that was done in mid-January, I repainted the walls and put all of the rooms back together, which was one of the last steps before all of my winter flooring work could begin.

After that, I worked to get everything cleared out for the new flooring. Most of this simply involved moving furniture off of the floors, but I to take apart the old bar and donate all of the old shelving. Thankfully, I was able to find good homes for everything. After the floors were cleared, I finished hauling in the rest of the flooring.

The very last step was to have Midwest Billiards come over and take apart the pool table, and move it plus the shuffleboard table to the guest house garage so that they were out of the way.

Drywall Repair

Prior to the next round of flooring installation, I had various parts of the house (and especially the guest house) that needed to have drywall repaired. In the main house, there was a piece of drywall that had been damaged near the bar, and in the sunroom a corner near the ceiling had sustained water damage due to a roof leak.

After repairing and replacing the drywall, it looks good as new (aside from repainting).

The more complicated repair was in the guest house, specifically the guest house bathroom. When I originally built the bathroom, I used the existing drywall from the guest house garage which was not in great shape, and also had to be cut to install new electrical lines.

That drywall needed to be repaired, and then skim-coated to smooth the surface. First, I removed the trim and moved the toilet and vanity + sink out of the bathroom.

After that, the drywall repair and skim coating could take place.

The end result turned out really well, with a nice, even texture and perfectly smooth walls.

Next week, the walls will be painted and I’ll re-install all the plumbing and light fixtures, and the guest house will be ready for new flooring in February!

Final Library Bookcase Installation

After two previous rounds of installing built-in bookcases in the library, I spent the past several weeks installing and building the remaining bookcases. This installation was the most complicated, since it involved 5 bookcases and I’d need to do some framing work to make the wall they were anchoring to a flat surface due to the presence of a closet. First, I had to get the bookcases into the house, which took a $500 bribe to the delivery team due to the weight of the bookcases.

Once they were unpacked, I used a trailer to haul all of the packing materials away. There was so much cardboard and styrofoam it literally filled a 12×6 trailer!

Before I could install the unpacked bookcases, I removed the external trim from the closet door and built a frame that would attach to the studs in the wall of the library, bringing that wall level with the closet. This preserves the closet if there was ever a desire to turn the library back into a true bedroom, while allowing the bookcases to run the entire length of the wall.

Next, I got to work modifying the two bookcases that would go in the corner. I had to use a jigsaw to cut the molding on the top and bottom, as well as angle-grind the ladder rail. Since this was my third corner set for this project, I was able to knock it out pretty quickly.

Next, I installed the other bookcases, anchoring them to the back frame’s studs, as well as anchoring them to each other to insure that they lined up perfectly.

Next, I built the cabinets that connect the bookcases to the ceiling, along with a side cabinet connecting the left-most bookcase to the wall.

The last step was painting all of the cabinetry, and installing the crown molding at the very top, along with some additional trim on the far left side.

After that, I put back all of the books and decor, and it really started to look like a library!

Next up for the library project: painting the walls (scheduled for next week), and installing the new flooring (scheduled for early February).

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.

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!

New Toilets + Upcoming Shower Remodel

The long project to remodel the master bathroom is slowly but surely winding to a close. Now that the cabinets, countertop, and tub are done, I’m moving on to the floors and shower. I recently took delivery of all of the fixtures and tile for the project, and plan on starting demolition and construction shortly after Thanksgiving.

Before that, I’m taking the opportunity to replace four of the six toilets in the house with new ones, since the master toilet was already going to be replaced anyway. For the master bathroom and the bathroom off the kitchen (which are the two most frequently used in the house), I went with a very high end Kohler unibody model, which will be easier to keep sparkling clean. For the other two bathrooms (the guest bathroom and the bathroom in my office), I went with more traditional Kohler models since those are used less frequently.

As I work my way through installing all of them, Mr. Paul the cat has attempted to help despite having no plumbing experience…

Everything should be done by the end of this week and ready for the next phase of construction to start after Thanksgiving!

Lake House Painting, Flooring, and Stairs

Over the course of the summer and fall I painted every wall of the lake house, using a less stark-white color that matches the walls in the Verona house. It took several weeks, but I wrapped it up about a month ago.

Once that was done, it was time to bring in the flooring and let it acclimate. I went with a lifeproof vinyl in the basement, and a light colored bamboo hardwood upstairs.

The basement flooring was installed first. After removing the old red carpet, we made a crazy discovery that there used to be red and white tile underneath it!

In any case, the vinyl went in smoothly and looks awesome. It has a rustic feel that complement the trim and decor in the basement.

Next, the upstairs flooring went in. My goal with this was for it to resemble an antique teak deck on a yacht, while complementing the upstairs trim color and adding brightness to the rooms. I think the wood I picked out did that perfectly!

I also had several custom rugs made which tied everything together even more. I’m especially happy with the huge basket weave patterned rug that runs under all of the couches, it was the biggest rug I’ve ever ordered but fits the space really nicely.

After the floors, I turned my attention to the stairs. Sort of like the surprise red and white tile in the basement, there was a (this time much better) surprise underneath the carpet in the stairs: they were built using old growth pine from the 70’s that was perfect for staining; I didn’t need to replace them with oak given how hard the old pine was.

After sanding and staining the wood once the carpet was removed, the final look was excellent. It tied both the upstairs and basement flooring together, and fit the rustic feel of the house while also providing a link to the original construction.

The very final part of this round of lake house remodeling was dealing with the fireplaces. The house has two wood-burning fireplaces, and while I don’t have any interest in removing the ability to burn wood, I wanted to have an electric option thats gives the feel of a fireplace that can be turned on at the click of a button, since we don’t need to rely on the fires for heat in the winter now that the house has central heat and air. I purchased two electric log sets, that go into the existing fireplaces and provide a really classy look.

With that, the summer 2020 lake house renovations are done, and we’re ready for winter!

Master Bath Remodel

After the master bedroom remodel, one of the next projects on my list was a full master bath remodel. I worked with my interior designer to put together a full plan involving painting both the walls and the cabinets, new counters, sinks, and fixtures, new mirrors, new floors, and a completely new shower. Here is what the renderings look like for the project:

The project is still very much in progress, but certain elements have been completed. The painting is done, which involved taking the cabinet doors off and painting them separately.

After the painting, new counters, sinks, and fixtures went in, and the mirror above the sinks was removed.

Next, I painted the old tub fixtures matte black to match the new fixtures (since I’m keeping the existing whirlpool tub.

Most recently, the tiling around the tub was completed. It was a little bit of an adventure due to an initial bad batch of tile, but it ended up turning out really well.

Next comes the new floor tiles and the shower, which should go in later in 2020!

Updated Main Level Shower

Several years ago, I remodeled the bathroom that was off the kitchen in the main level of the Verona house. For the most part, it turned out well. Removing the wallpaper, painting, replacing the plumbing fixtures and replacing the cabinetry all went as well as I could have hoped. The shower was a slightly different story. Overall it turned out well from a plumbing perspective, but I was overambitious in the my selection of tile, and used an arabesque pattern that was above my skill level. It wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t look as professional as I like my jobs to look.

Given this, I removed the tile walls and installed more traditional fiberglass walls.

I also did a tile border at the top, and re-installed the door that I installed when I first did the shower. The new look is really sharp, and looks vastly more professional.

Master Bedroom Redesign

The most recent in a long line of room redesign and remodels at the Verona house was, at long last, the master bedroom. Here is how the room looked before:


Following a similar pattern to the other rooms in the house, the first step was painting the walls and installing new flooring and rugs.























After that, I got to work on new art on the walls, along with new decor.

















One area that got some special attention was the fireplace; I brought up many antique books from the library to fill its shelves.


There are still a couple of things left to do, including completing the art, replacing the ceiling fan, and replacing the bedding, among others. Once that’s done, the next room up for redesign is the master bathroom, which is going to be a much more substantial undertaking. Here is a sneak peak at some of the materials for the new flooring, shower, and countertops:

More to come on that project soon!