Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fixing Up the Kitchen

Once we finished off the halfbath/mudroom project, we shifted focus to the kitchen. We are clearly not fully renovating the kitchen, though we really really want to - instead, this is just a sort of patch job to fix up all the holes and glaringly unfinished spots. 

1. Patch the Holes in the Floor
Way back in the day, when there was a wall between the kitchen and dining room, there was a small radiator just inside the kitchen. When the wall came down, the radiator was removed, which left holes in the floor. I covered them with packing tape, which was working pretty well at keeping out the cat food and cheerios that are otherwise dropped down, but we needed a more permanent fix. So, we picked up a couple of wood floor samples, found one that matched the color pretty well, and then just cut it down and glued it into the spaces.  

old floor with holes for the previous radiator...

now patched and nearly invisible! 

2. Paint the trim
Parts of the kitchen have been painted slowly over the last couple years, but there was still some neon yellow trim and a door frame that had been peeling and picked at for a while. So, I grabbed a can of our trim paint and covered everything up.

the last of the yellow trim disappears

3. Patch the Sheetrock
There were several holes left behind from our first contractor when they took down the wall to the dining room and installed pipes for the washer/dryer above. Our second contractor framed those for us - so all we needed to do was install the sheetrock. We picked up the materials, cut them down and screwed them up, quickly mudded a couple times, and then primed and painted them.

second contractor framed in the pipe

and the beam between the kitchen and dining room

so we put up the sheetrock...

and then mudded and painted everything

pipe gone!

4. Backsplash
We used to have one of those stoves with the dials in the back, and a microwave above it - so the painted, textured wallpaper only covered part of the wall behind the stove. When the stove was replaced with a slide-in option and the microwave hood removed - it left a really ugly wall that was partly covered with peeling wallpaper. Thankfully, we could just pick up some peel & stick tile mosaic that was easily cut with scissors to fill the space, and stuck it up quickly.

new tile going over the nasty space above the stove

new backsplash up and definitely making things nicer. 

5. Pantry 
One of our longstanding storage issues has been the lack of a pantry, ever since we originally removed the walk-in pantry to make it into the new half bath. Since then, we've been relying on a set of metal shelves which are really not ideal. Not only are they ugly - but they are completely open and exposed, which means that our kid can easily walk up and pull anything and everything off (which he does all the time). Plus, I have this fear that he'll try to climb them and pull the massive thing over on himself - though he probably doesn't weigh enough to actually do that.  The shelves were originally in the dining room, and then we moved them out to the mudroom where we thought it would be safer - and then once we started working on the mudroom, the shelves got moved back into the dining room again.  After cleaning up an entire box of pasta that was thrown around the dining room one too many times  - we finally decided to come up with a new, more permanent solution by adding more cabinets onto the back side of the kitchen island. Because they are top cabinets, they are only half the depth of a base cabinet, making it easier to see everything inside and not taking up to much more floor space. We grabbed 2 3' wide top cabinets, and then built a quick frame to get them up off the ground and level with the base cabinets. Then we just added a long 1"x12" shelf board to serve as the countertop. This is obviously not ideal or a permanent renovation - but it takes care of the storage issue and lets us try out this floorplan for the eventual full kitchen renovation.

new pantry cabinets added to the kitchen island

old pantry gone - this part of the dining room looking normal again. 

So - this kitchen is definitely still ugly - with two different colors of cabinets and now three different types of countertops. But - it no longer looks unfinished and hazardous - and that's a huge improvement for us. All this time in the kitchen has made both of us eager to actually gut it and fix it all the way up - but for now, this is good enough. Now - shifting gears once more to the sleeping porch - our only remaining unfinished space.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Travelling with a Toddler: 3 Days in Chicago

We actually have a huge amount of progress on the house to talk about - but first let me fill you in on our recent trip to Chicago.

So, last year for Christmas we decided to give the gift of a short vacation to my mother in law for a couple reasons. 1) I had some frequent flyer miles that were about to expire, but wouldn't get us very far. 2) We hadn't yet taken our son on a plane and felt like we should, but were pretty nervous about it and thought an extra pair of hands would be helpful. 3)  She is one of those ridiculously hard to shop for people, so we thought the gift of time together would be something she would appreciate. 4) We wanted to try out the idea of traveling with family so that we got to both see family and new places, and thought this would be a good first try.

Once we settled on the idea of travelling to a city for a short vacation, we pretty quickly settled on the idea of Chicago because it was on a short list of cities we could get to on a nonstop flight under 2 hours that looked like it had a bunch of interesting things to do. We originally planned to go in May, which would've been a nice time to be there - but had a couple conflicts so we rescheduled for October hoping it would be better time and the weather would still be ok. Then, after stressing about this for over 10 months - the trip finally occurred.

Airports & Baggage
The thing I was most stressed out about was the actual travelling part - having everything we needed, but not too much so that we could get through security and on the plane. We decided to check a couple bags so that we wouldn't have to worry about getting them through the airport and finding overhead space - which was good - but it didn't solve the problem of getting the bags to and from the airport itself. So with a travel crib, 2 big checked bags, plus the stroller and a couple carry on bags -  we had way too much stuff. Getting out of the airport, onto the subway, and into the hotel was a seriously unpleasant endeavor.  Getting through the airport wasn't actually bad since most things were checked and we only had one larger bag that needed overhead space. We opted not to bring a car seat, which was super helpful, but meant that we couldn't use any cars on the trip and were reliant on the subway or our feet to get around.  Lesson learned - get everyone into one checked bag and have adults pack as lightly as possible.

Once we were actually on the plane - things went surprisingly well. The kid was super fascinated by everything and not at all interested in napping, despite the fact that the plane was planned for exactly his nap time - so he spent the flight staring out the window, looking at books, eating small snacks when landing and taking off, and putting stickers all over his dad. On the flight back, he fell asleep at the gate and stayed asleep for most of the flight without noticing. For this part - I'm glad we brought a lot of stuff - from snacks to books, blankets, the whole shebang was in his diaper bag. We also got lucky and had an empty seat between us on the way there, but not on the way back - obviously, having an empty seat is helpful but turned out not to be critical, since he wanted to sit in my lap and watch the window most of the time anyway, or stood on the floor between our legs.

tip: bring stickers. buy a beer. 

The Hotel
One of my worries was where to stay - since the kid wakes up early and goes to sleep early, which is not super convenient on a vacation. Since my MIL was travelling with us, we debated getting 2 hotel rooms, but decided to book an entire apartment through AirBnB for about the same price. It was our first experience with AirBnb, but it worked out great. Having an entire apartment with two bedrooms meant that there was a living room for him to play in the morning without waking everyone up, and at the end of the day - a place for us to hang out and watch tv without keeping up him. The kitchen was perfect for making him breakfast or having dessert and wine at night.  I think having our own apartment/house was a huge success and definitely a strong recommendation for anyone traveling with small kids. There was even an indoor swimming pool that was great when the weather was crappy, and we were stuck inside.

his favorite corner of the apartment - floor to ceiling windows all around.

So the reason we wanted to go to a city was to test out our ability to sightsee with a kid; we know we could take a vacation to the beach and it would work out - the question was how to make city travelling work. So we lined up a couple touristy things to do with a rough plan to do something every day in the morning before his nap. We tried to strike a balance between things we would enjoy and things he would enjoy - and spent as much time as possible outside. One day, we walked around Millennium Park and saw the huge Buckingham Fountain (he's a huge fan of fountains and people watching). The next day, we walked along the river and out to Navy Pier. The last day we took a boat cruise of the lake and Chicago River, which he was also super excited about. In general, all of those outdoor, sightseeing activities worked out great - as long as he got a few opportunities to run around and stretch out his legs. We watched the weather forecasts closely, and when the weather turned rainy and cold, we spent some time in our indoor swimming pool. Definitely critical to have a couple options for each day that we could pick between based on the weather and everyone's interests.

trying hard to get into the Buckingham Fountain

very excited to touch the big reflective bean at Millennium Park

excited but getting tired on the boat tour of Lake Michigan

We only tried one museum while we were there - the Field Museum, which is a natural history museum. I wanted to go to the Art Institute, but was afraid that he would be too loud. He would have liked to go to the Children's museum or aquarium, but we weren't super excited about those options - so this was our compromise. I think it was a bit of a mistake - it ended up being a place that none of us really were excited about. We would try to read the exhibits, but get pulled away by him too quickly. He would see an occasional button and get really excited to press it - only to have a crusty old archaeologist start explaining history to him. Maybe in the future we would either skip museums altogether, or split up and let an adult go to the museum of their preference while the other adult watches the kid or something.

We ate out a lot. For lunch we generally picked up something on the way back from our excursion to eat in the apartment, but for dinner we went to a different restaurant every night. We used yelp to find good ones that were on the casual to loud side and went at about 6 pm each night. My MIL said that we should have high expectations, but be flexible and prepared - and that was exactly what worked. As soon as we sat down, we ordered food for him and brought additional snacks to keep him occupied. Once he was done eating, he would sit in one of our laps to play with a toy or book or watch a video on our phone. If he got loud, one of us would take him outside for a quick walk around the block. Having back up plans allowed us to eat mostly relaxing (although quicker than normal) meals, in a couple really nice restaurants.  It made me think that we've been too cautious about taking him out and should try more.

one of many lovely sunrises I got to see

So - this was definitely not a relaxing vacation, but I'm glad we did it. I feel like we learned a lot about travelling with him, and are ready now to go for a slightly longer trip somewhere. I can see how travelling, like going to restaurants, is something a lot of families with small kids would just avoid - but it feels like an important thing to do, so I'm glad we gave it a try.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Finishing Up the Halfbath and Mudroom

Once the trim was finally done, we got to add a couple small things to make the rooms feel pretty close to finished.

1. Towel Ring and TP holder
When we ordered the sink faucet, I just grabbed the TP holder and towel ring to match. They finally went up with a nice new turkish fouta towel.

new towel ring with fancy towel

with matching thing

2. Shelves
I've noticed recently that I seem to put up shelves often- kinda my go-to thing for making a space more organized. So, not surprisingly when I realized that there was no place to store extra TP rolls, I ended up getting a new board, staining it, and hanging it with some drywall anchors. I pilfered some random stuff from around the house to make it look a little more blogy.

new shelves

3. Secret Door
One more important issue that needed to be addressed was the access panel to the pipes. It needed to be accessible, but otherwise basically invisible most of the time. So we cut an extra wall panel, used some magnets and a little little claspy thing to hold it in place.

now you see them...

now you don't! 

4. Bench
In the mudroom, since it is a mud-room, I wanted a place to stop and take off shoes and store a pair or two - so I pulled together some scrap wood and built a little bench. Then I used some leftover cushion and padding to upholster it.

new little bench

I know. you're shocked that I posted a picture of my little cat.

5. Wall Art
In the name of functionality and organization, I ordered a fun new guy to hold keys by the back door. Then I grabbed an old poster that was framed and a good size and just hanging out. It's not the long term artwork, but it works for now and makes the room look a little more personal. 

our new cast iron octopus

poster gets hung

So - these rooms are like 97% done now. There are a couple little things we need to finish up here and there - but for now, we're shifting gears to finish up the kitchen and sleeping porch.

a functional and glamorous mudroom

half bath is so much better than the toilet sitting on  plywood that it used to be. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Finishing the Trim in the Halfbath and Mudroom

So, once the pocket door was finished, we could finally finish up the remaining trim.

Step 1 - Baseboards
With the door casings up, we could add baseboards around the mudroom and remaining halfbath walls.  We went with the tallest baseboards we could find to match the rest of the house.

baseboards go up in the mudroom

Wally demonstrates all the new baseboards

Step 2 - Beadboard Panels 
With the baseboards in place, we could cut down the remaining beadboard panels for the halfbath. We had already put up a couple of them, and just had a few small panels left on either side of the door.

Step 3 - Chair Rail
Once the  bead board panels were all up, we cut chair rail using 45 degree angles in the corners, and then nailed it up.

Chair rail and panels are up

Step 4 - Caulk and Paint
Once it was all attached, I came back with my paintable caulk to fill in all the holes and gaps. Then it all got a coat or two of paint.

everything gets caulked and painted

So, on the list of major upgrades to a room under renovation: 1) putting up sheetrock makes a huge difference over exposed framing and insulation, 2) putting down tile/flooring makes a space look and feel a lot more finished and clean because it covers up the subfloor, but 3) putting in trim really makes a huge difference by covering up the last of the holes and building materials and making a room feel fancy and finished.

These spaces have come a long way, and feel so much infinitely nicer and more finished than when we started. This project is like 92% done, which is always the hardest part for me, because I'm already starting to mentally move on to the next project. We are gathering our strength for a final push to the finish-  we just have a few small things to fix up and little accessories to add, and then these spaces are really really done.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Time for Fall

So - summer has officially ended and fall has begun. I just finished my half marathon and its epic training plan. We are almost done with the half bath and mudroom projects. With lots of things finished or wrapping up, I am really ready shift gears and change things up. A couple thoughts:

1. Running the Navy Air Force Half Marathon 
I signed up for this race a couple months ago, in hopes that it would get me back in shape. Of course, as is always true for me, I had a hard time fitting in all the required runs and didn't end up training as well as I wanted. The more the mileage crept up, the hungrier I got - really throwing off my plans to eat well during this period. Old running injuries flared up, no doubt because I was adding miles too quickly while missing important strength training exercises - so I spent a good chunk of time on the couch, icing my knees with frozen vegetables (butternut squash is my new favorite). So - when the race day finally came, I finished it (which was my only real goal), and I did it much faster than I was expecting, but still slower than the last time I ran this distance 6 years ago. I was a little disappointed that I hadn't worked harder or run faster, but mostly I was just really happy to be done.

running into the finish line

in prior years - we went out to celebrate after a race. This year, I got a nap! 

2. New Exercise Plans
Whenever I finish a long race, I always feel torn between wanting to never move again, but not wanting to lose all my hard-earned progress. I'm thinking about making a mileage goal for the month of October - just enough to require me to run short distances pretty often so that I get into a more regular routine. I also know that all the running without additional strength training probably resulted in my leg muscles getting unbalanced and causing a couple typical running knee injuries, so I should spend more time building strength through other forms of exercise. (My brother would point out that another way to not get running injuries is to just not run). I'm also just so tired of running and anxious to try other things - so I'm thinking about making a goal to try new exercises and strength training classes, like boot camp or crossfit, or relaxing things like hiking or swimming. In short - I want to continue to get in better shape, but I would like it to hurt less. I want to exercise more often, but with more variety.

3. New Food Plans
I forgot that long runs make me super hungry so that I absolutely must eat everything in sight. Plus, when I was running into work and couldn't carry extra food with me - or just working through the weekend without time to prep food - I fell way off the bandwagon on home cooking, and ended up buying lots of crappy food for breakfast, lunch and so many afternoon snacks. I am really excited to get back in the kitchen. Making breakfast and lunch for myself is both healthier and cheaper than buying food at work, so I'm digging out my old favorite recipes to make in advance. But dinner has gotten interesting lately- not only does food need to be healthy and relatively cheap as always, but now we eat dinner with our son so food needs to be something he will eat (not super spicy or messy, fingerfoods are useful), as well as done before his bedtime - giving me roughly 15 minutes to get in the door before food is on the table. All of these constraints make things more challenging - so I'm kind of excited to figure out new options that will work. I think I'm finally going to tentatively embrace the slow cooker, in addition to lots of weekend prep. I have visions of roasting root vegetables and hearty soups and general scrumptiousness.

4. The Fun To-Do List
Because the weekends were spent either running or working on the house  - we didn't get to do many of the fun summery things I would've liked. Now that we're getting that time back - I am super excited to get out of the house, and start crossing fun things off the list.

  • Go apple picking
  • Go wine tasting
  • Cook something on an outdoor fire
  • Take a day hike
  • Go to the zoo 
  • See Mt. Vernon
  • Celebrate Octoberfest 
  • Halloween. 
5. House Maintenance
Ok, I get that no one else would be excited about this but me - but all the focus on finishing up the halfbath has left the rest of the house a bit disheveled and worse for the wear. There are a bunch of regular projects, like weeding the lawn, that have been completely ignored over the past few months. There are a bunch of new projects that were created by the construction - like piles and piles of displaced cookbooks, serving bowls, and pantry items that no longer have a permanent home or construction tools and debris that are strewn about the house and garage. It's time to make the fall capsule wardrobe and put summer clothes in storage. The whole house just needs some attention. I want to sort through all the stuff to empty out things we don't need for donations and trash, and then give everything that remains a good dusting/scrubbing/reorganizing. 

6. Learn and Teach Something New 

So - it's been years since I was a student, but the return of fall still gets me excited about the return to school. I'm anxious to learn something new - maybe I can finally commit to actually practicing the piano and learning a new piece, or even taking lessons again. I have a million podcasts that are accumulating on my phone. There are a bunch of short term classes I would love to sign up for - a weekend woodworking class, an online photography class, a blog-based baking school  - that would be a fun way to get better at something I like to do but sort of suck at. I also started volunteering back in the spring, teaching a course for GED students, which ended for the summer but is starting up again for the fall. I'm excited to get back into teaching, thinking through the material, figuring out how to present it at the right level and speed, incorporating real world examples, while figuring out how to meet standard testing requirements and other constraints. I like the challenge and am looking forward to getting back to it.

Ok- so re-reading through this post makes me sound sort of crazy/overly ambitious. I know that the end of the half marathon will free up a couple hours on Sundays, but not infinite additional hours. Even so - I am excited to do more of all of these things, and look forward to figuring out how to juggle all the competing interests, as always, in order to squeeze just a bit more into the day.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Trim for the Halfbath Window

We're rolling right along on the halfbath and mudroom and are ready to finish up the trim. Next up - finishing up the little window in the half bath. Quick background -  the contractors framed in this wall and installed the window, but left it unfinished. After a bit of googling around, I figured out how to trim it out. (This Old House tutorial here.) (Note: preemptive apology for crappy photos - it's really hard to take a pic of a window when it's light outside).

where the contractors left off

Step 1 - Clean it Up
Using a utility knife, I quickly cut out the excess spray-in insulation and sheetrock so that everything is flush, even and smooth.

cleaned up and ready for trim

getting inspected by our littlest family member

Step 2  - Window Jams
So, first up, we cut the jams for the sides and top of the window. Unfortunately, our window is just slightly too deep to use the standard jams, so I used a couple 1x8 boards. First I cut it down to length, and then put it in place, marked the overage, and then rip-cut the board down to the right width. With our brand new table saw, it was super easy to set up the guard thing to the right size, and then just woosh the boards through. I cut the two side boards first, nailed them on, and then cut the top board and nailed it on.

Step 3 - Window Sill
So, the next thing to go in is the window sill and it is by far the most difficult piece. Home Depot sells special molding boards for this (actually called a window stool), which are rounded over on one side and nice looking. Again, our window was slightly too deep for the board, which put me in a weird spot, so I decided to first cut and install this board, and then cut down a smaller filler board to cover the gap. So, first, you have to decide what kind of casing will go around the window, because the sill will be just a bit bigger than the finished and trimmed window. Since this window is right against the wall, we didn't have room for anything bigger than the standard 2 1/4" window trim. So, first, we cut the window sill down lengthwise, it should be the width of the window + 2x the width of the casing + 1" overhang. Next, we need to notch out the walls, which are the depth of the window by the width of the casing + 1/2". (just see my diagram below- this is hard to explain.) Once I had the sill cut, and a second skinny board of the same depth to fill the gap - I just nailed them down.

jams and sill

Step 4 - Casing
Now we add the casing, using 45 degree angles to frame around the top and sides of the window, resting on the window sill.

Step 5 - Apron
Last, the underside of the sill gets fitted out with more of the casing, turned upside down. I used 30 degree angles for the ends. Then, we didn't like how it looked because it seemed like too much molding for such a small window, and more importantly, the sill didn't overhang enough to cover my apron - so I ripped the apron in half, creating a much smaller little board that was small enough to fit under the sill's overhang.

casing and apron

So, I still need to caulk and paint everything - but I'm waiting until I can do all the trim at once - so hopefully that will happen shortly. The rest of the trim is almost done. Plus, I have an update on the personal shape-up plan - so stay tuned.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Finishing the Pocket Door

As I explained in my last post, after the tile floor went down, we should've installed the pocket door next, because all of the trim builds out from the door, and it's easier to install trim before there are fixtures in the way. However, we knew it was going to be really hard to do, so we just put it off and went ahead with the toilet and sink. Once they were installed, we finally had to bite the bullet and focus on the door. As expected, it was a total PITA, so I am really glad this is finally done.

Step 1: Find a Door
The track was installed in the wall by our original contractors a couple years ago, so all it needed was a door. We could've bought a new one, but didn't want it to look too different from our solid wood, super old doors. It turned out that the door to the closet in our bedroom, which we plan to remove eventually, was just about the right size, so we decided to use it. We removed the hinges from the door fairly easily, and then I took it outside to quickly sand it down and give it a coat of walnut stain to try to reduce the red color just a bit.

door to the closet in the master bedroom

Step 2: Find the Hardware
I know when the track was installed, there was also a bag of hardware to hang the door, but it long ago was lost. (We actually think it might be closed up in the wall behind the sheetrock. Fun surprise for a future owner!). Finding replacement hardware wasn't easy, since we had no idea what brand our track was, and they don't seem to be standard, and they really don't show the sizes for things. So after buying a couple options, one set finally fit in the track. We just screwed the hanging things into the door and put the wheels on the track.

Step 3: Hang the Door
This was the part I was dreading the most - but it wasn't all that horrible actually. Once the wheels were in the track and the hangers were screwed onto the top of the door, we had to lift the door up into the wheels. Of course, maneuvering a massively heavy door into the small little holes without being able to see what you are doing is just as fun as it sounds. Thankfully, this was successfully completed in about a half hour without smashing anyone's fingers.

door is hanging! 

Step 4: Fix the Frame
Once the door was hanging, we gave it a gentle push into the frame, hoping it would silently whizz closed - only to have it come to a grinding halt immediately. Turns out that when the contractors installed the sheetrock on this wall, they pushed the frame together - pinching closed the space where the door should go. So, after quickly debating whether or not it was important for the door to be able to open more than halfway - Spouso got to work trying to pull the frame back open from the outside. His answer was to try to find and remove the screws that attached the sheetrock to the frame, and then reattach them while putting a spare board inside the pocket cavity in place of the door, to push back on the frame and prevent it from being pinched closed. There was a bit of colorful language, but eventually it worked and we rehung the door and were able to gently glide it closed. Unfortunately, the door got rather scratched up as we tried to move it into the pinched pocket, so maybe I'll come back and refinish the door in the future.

Step 5: Install the Jambs
Now that the door works, we got started on making it look nicer. First up was building a door jam using a 1x8 board. Once we cut it down to the right height, we needed to rip it down to the correct width, but didn't have the right tools to do that. So we got a new table saw! It easily cut the board down to size. So, then we got a couple more 1x8s to cut the side and top jambs down to size, and then screwed them down.

door jambs getting attached

Step 6: Install the Casing
Lastly, now that the jambs were in - we could finally put up the casing around the top and sides of the door, inside and out. We picked up some fancy molding from a local mill place to try to match the really old stuff of the rest of the house. It's not exactly the same, but close, and should help the space look a little more consistent with the rest of the house. This was pretty quick, we just used 45 degree cuts to turn the corners. We did the back door at the same time, but had to rip the top board down because the molding was actually too tall for the room.

door casing is up on the pocket door

pocket door peaking out

back door has casing now too

Now that the door is finally, thankfully, done, we can finish up the rest of the trim. The end is very close!!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Fixtures for the Halfbath and Mudroom

So, if you've been following along, you know that we just finished putting down the new tile floor in the half bath and mudroom. The next logical thing to do would be to install the pocket door, because all of the trim will build off of it, and it's easier to install trim before fixtures are in the way. However, we are seriously procrastinating on the pocket door because it's going to be a real PITA to install. Since the toilet has been sitting outside on the back patio all summer, we were anxious to get it inside and hooked up - so, we're skipping ahead and installing the fixtures first. We'll come back to do the door and trim and stuff later.

Step 1 - Partial Wall Trim
I know I just said that we were going to skip the trim - but I couldn't allow the sink and toilet to go in before some trim, because it would frankly be impossible to install after the fact. So, we quickly put up some base molding and a few beadboard panels on just the critical walls.

base boards going in 

beadboard panels going up

Step 2 - Install Toilet
Next, Spouso took the lead on installing the toilet. He had to install a new drain thing, and drill it down to the floor. Then we cleaned up the old toilet which had been sitting outside all summer (tip: rubbing alcohol easily removes wax ring gunk). Then we stuck a new wax ring on, and set it down on the flange. He added cut-offs for the water lines, and poof! Toilet is back!

toilet goes back in

Step 3 - Install Sink
Then, we turned our attention to a new pedestal sink. He hooked up the drain pipe, and then put the sink in place, installed the faucet, and then installed cut-offs and water lines. Everything occurred nearly without incident, with only one occasion in which water was literally shooting out of the wall and pouring into the basement apartment below. Turns out - not only had the contractors sheetrocked over the drain pipe to start, but they also mislabeled the cut-off valves for the pipes.

new pedestal is in

view from above - I'm diggin the faucet. 

Proof that the water works*

Step 4 - Radiator
Oh, and the plumber came back and hooked up the new radiator - which means that this space will no longer be icy cold in the winter. This should've been a super easy project since they installed the valves before the tile floor went down - but it turns out they installed the wrong size valves, so they had to rip up my beautiful floor to replace the valves. Then they had to come back a couple times to try to fix a slow leak. Eventually - they finally got it right, and now the radiator should work and more importantly- we're done with contractors! I'm starting to get really excited about fall coming and the radiators going on again.

I suspect this will be a popular spot in the winter. 

So, these two rooms just came a long way on the functional spectrum, but we still have a lot to do to make them look more finished and attractive. (For the record - I continue to believe that the bathroom is not actually functional until there is a door, but I seem to be the only one). We're trying hard to push to the finish - so stay tuned.

* So, just a quick note - the boy is all about bowls, spoons and cups these days and has been carrying this particular bowl around all weekend. Not surprisingly, when Spouso showed him that the sink worked, he immediately stuck the bowl in the water and then threw the water all around the room. He gets more interesting every day.