Evolution of the Back of the House

Now that the stucco is done (BAH!!!!!) it's amazing to see what a transformation the back of the house has gone through since we moved in 25 months ago

It's amazing, the back looks like an actual HOUSE now :) The company we used to do the stucco was great - they were fast, professional, and did a great job (Arevalo Plastering if you're local). We are SO happy with the work and I can't wait for trim and painting to happen in a couple months!


Bathroom Tile Detail

Once we decided what a terrible time we would make ourselves have laying another 100+ square feet of subway tile in the back bathroom it was time to lay out the plan.

Because the bathroom is small (a bit less than 7x7) we knew we wanted to have A LOT of the subway tile to reflect light both to make this room feel brighter and to also reflect light through the pocket door and into the bedroom.

I'd seen some pictures online and in some magazines of tile going much higher on the walls than the chair rail and I was intrigued (though this is wainscoting)

(from gardenweb.com)

I really liked the idea of bringing the tile up higher on the walls to give the room some fun detail and also make it a little different. Sure that means we'll be tiling a crap ton more than the original plan, but I think it'll look pretty awesome.

With that in mind, I also didn't want 4 walls of just WHITE everywhere. I thought it might get to be a bit much, so I sought out to find the perfect tile detail and how the hell to use it. I knew I wanted it to be green, but other than that I really didn't know what I was looking for, so I went on a tile hunt to nearly a dozen tile showrooms around the area and of course found myself in love with all the tile from $20-$60 (yes, that's right $60)

(like the tumbled, not the glossy)

(these had a great, shimmery quality to the faint green colors)

(love the delicacy of these)

(like the glass and stone combination of these)

(I liked the irregular shape of these bricks)

(liked the variation both in size and color)

(LOVE the delicacy and color variation, but alas this was the highly expensive tile)

Damn pretty, expensive tile.

The white subway will go up to the ceiling in the shower surround area and go up 5 feet on the walls everywhere else, so with that in mind I tried to figure out how the detail would work. While I contemplated many patterns, ultimately there were 3 I was really thinking about

1) a thin strip about 4 feet up on the wall all around the room that would be about 4 inches thick. I was a little unsure what would happen when it reach the shower though, would it make a right angle and go up towards the ceiling, or continue on its straight path?

2) a rectangular area on both walls in the shower area measuring about 2 feet wide by 4ish feet tall centered on each of the shower walls. But this would take a pretty decent amount of detail tile to do.

3) a strip (not sure the exact size, 6" wide - 12" wide) in the center of each shower wall going from the floor to the ceiling.

After lots of debate and Chris getting annoyed with my constant discussion of detail tile I finally settled on the third option. This seemed the best fit because the shower will be what you see when you first walk into the room so it will really frame and accentuate the space well. And it also requires the least amount of tile bought. Score.

We decided on a strip 9" wide on the center of each wall in the shower area which would mean we needed about 16 sq. ft. of tile. Despite the small amount of tile, that meant even getting the cheapest one I liked from a store was a $300+ purchase. That made my stomach hurt.

So I was left to search online.

I figured out I liked "Ming Green" tile so I just plugged it into the google search bar and came up with LOTS of results. I boiled it down to a couple I really liked and showed them to Chris (all from cooltiles.com)

I loved the first one, but Chris nixed it because there are no grout lines so we were a little unsure of how difficult/annoying/weird it would look. I agreed. So that one was thrown out. After that, Chris said they all looked good to him, so he left it up to me.

The second was a bit TOO green and I didn't really like that the bricks lined up even because I tend to like a staggered look. And the last one just seemed a bit too plain, so number 3 it is! (the small bricks) I LOVE them! And I think they'll play off the 3x6 subway tile really well. We'll also be running them up the wall vertically, so it'll be a nice color, size, and pattern differential without being too crazy.

They were also only $14 and some change per square foot, so after a coupon I found for free shipping the total came out to only $227, MUCH better than $300+. It's only a $185 difference than if we had used the subway tile in this area instead of the detail, so I don't think that's too bad of a price difference for some pretty awesome tile detail that'll give a nice focal point to the room.


Framing in the Casement Window

Our goal last weekend was to frame in the new casement window for the back bathroom because the stucco was set to start today (and it did, the first coat is spectacular!) But it took a little bit of work to get to the stucco-ready point.

After demo and ripping down a decent portion of the exterior bathroom wall we saw that we were up against some dry rot on the raised floor (raised to level the space and accommodate plumbing)

We debated a few options for framing this wall properly. Ultimately we decided that because we'd have to deal with the crappy floor at some point, we would just rip it out now and frame the room from the original subfloor. This would allow us to start at square one (easier) and let us take all the dry rot out (safer). So out came the raised floor

And you can see how well it was constructed

(and obviously we mean crappy job and dirty).

After using some muscle we got it all out (well, at least the portion by the window, we only did this part first to ensure we could get the window framed in by weekend's end)

Once the area was cleared out...

...we planned the wall. Again measuring 16" on center for the studs, then figuring out where to place the jack studs and cripple studs

Once the wall was planned out we fixed a string spanning the new wall to ensure that all of our studs we protruding out the same amount so that we can make sure we screw in the drywall and cement board on a flat, even surface

We got all the studs in pretty quick

(don't worry, we did install a header).

Once all the framing was done we slapped the plywood up. A little out of order, but we knew we'd have to cut down some of the original siding to fit in the window, so we figured putting up one piece of plywood and cutting out the square for the window was easier than measuring the cut space

Then we cut out the window opening

Next came the task of actually installing the window. We did a dry run first to make sure all that measuring, cutting and nailing was done correctly (fingers crossed)

Once we determined that the window fit it was time to nail it in. While I held it in place Chris drove in some electro galvanized roofing nails. And pretty soon, we had a lovely, privacy glass window to gaze at

(don't worry, it was flashed when the stucco guys got here this morning)

And because it didn't take us too long, we were able to rip up the rest of the bathroom floor before it got dark. And that stupid piece of plywood had about 60 nails in it which got me working up quite the sweat to try and get it out thanks to our nearly 70 degree weather this weekend

It didn't come without injury. An injury in the form of a nail through my palm. But thank goodness I wear gloves just about ALL the time so the nail in the palm could have been a lot worse

And after prying and sweeping, the space was looking damn good. Well, ready for lots of things to be leveled, insulated, drywalled and pocket doored


Tear the Roof Off the Sucker

Well, tear the ceiling off the sucker.

When we were working on demo in the "addition" we ripped the popcorn ceiling down (popcorn ceiling in the bathroom, really?)

And ripping off those popcorned tiles left a very "pretty" pattern on the old porch ceiling

Those porch boards had to go. We're saving and repairing them in the animal room, but there is pretty much nothing supporting them in the bathroom, we need to raise the ceiling a bit to put in recessed lights, and well, they look like shit. So out the boards go.

Chris broke out the reciprocating saw to cut a line in the transition from drywall in the laundry area to crappy ceiling in the bathroom so we didn't rip down the drywall when we ripped down the bathroom ceiling. Once the cut was made, we tore it all down

And it was messy

We never cleaned up the asphalt shingle turds in this area of the attic when our roof was redone because there's so little clearance over there it would really not be fun. And frankly cleaning up all those asphalt shingle turds wasn't any fun in the first place, so being in cramped and uncomfortable quarters as well was not something either Chris or I had any interest in doing

As a result, every time we hit the ceiling boards with the crowbar and prybar a shower of shingle turds came raining down on us

(yes, I do know how to wear my ear protection, this is just where I "store" them, and sorry I'm not wearing my mask mom :) )

Once we'd knocked down all the ceiling boards the floor was very, very messy

And after lots and lots of sweeping (and lots and lots of coughing and sneezing) the floor appeared again

The ceiling is now completely bare, showcasing the ceiling joists. On the exterior wall side they are resting on the top plate and are hopefully nailed in (although one can only assume with this house...), and on the interior wall side they are nailed in with only one or two nails

Chris took a few trips up there when the ceiling was still intact and crawled around doing electrical work, so we're pretty happy he never fell through the ceiling considering how poorly it was put together. But again, with this house, that's no surprise.

With the ceiling removed we're pretty much starting from scratch, which is actually a lot easier. We'll fasten those ceiling joists in really well with some Simpson ties (ensuring the ceiling never topples on us while we're showering), drywall it up, and install some damp-safe recessed lights. Looking forward to a real ceiling!