Sunday, February 24, 2019

Remodeling/Fixing Our New Home - The Closets

To recap so of the reasons it took so long for us to "officially" move into this place goes back to that leaky pipe and the nasty flooring issues I addressed in previous posts.  Yes, we did find that the floors in the laundry and the kitchen were soppy and warped too, so we had to rip up those floors as well.....yeah, so the saga continues on here.

One of the peculiarities of this house was the closets.  Even though this place was built in 1980, the closet walls (ceilings too) were made of paneling instead of drywall.  Thin, dark paneling.  An added bonus was that the wood had developed a pretty funky smell over the years, too.  Have you ever opened a drawer from an antique dresser and catch that pungent "old wood" smell?  Yeah, that's the smell we had going on here....especially in the master bedroom, the laundry and the pantry.


foyer closet before
Along the way, someone had tried to paint some of the closets, but it looked like they just gave up.   Most of the inside trim had never been painted and it didn't look like it had been varnished either....just stained and rough.
half-painted trim inside closet

half-painted trim inside closet
The doors of the clothes closets are these louvered ones, and only the fronts were painted.  I'm guessing that's because the insides needed some finish-sanding, too, and that was too much trouble for the original builders, sheesh.  All the dust and lint since 1980 was clinging to those unsanded louvers.  Lovely.
Closet door inside being painted finally
However, the previous owners did install new solid bi-fold doors on the laundry closet (below)....but they only painted one of them.  Why?  Besides being hard to open, they scraped the wood trim.  

Laundry Room doors befoe
Laundry Room before
Laundry trim rubbed by door
So, after the bathrooms were finished, Bruce, our handyman, ripped out the old shelves and yellow linoleum flooring in the laundry "room".  He and his son then hung drywall, boxed in the plumbing nicely, and helped me hang up these stock-cabinets that I found and painted white.  Later we cut the old shelves to fit in between the cabinets and voila.  Much more functional.  To finish off, he rehung the doors' track and that fixed the binding problems, and of course I painted.

Working on Laundry redo
Laundry nearly finished

Bruce and his son redid the bedrooms' closets with drywall and new shelving as well.

So, while they were working on the master bathroom (before they had started on the closets), I tore out the grimy, gummy wire racks from the master's closets and started hand-sanding the louvers.  They finally got painted on both sides, and the trim on the inside of the closets got painted, too.  When the guys dry-walled the closets, they hung cleats for wood shelving which, of course, I painted white.  While I was at it, I painted the bedroom's trim and the walls, changing them from a dusty green to Carolina Blue. (If you're wondering, we had moved our bedroom into one of the other (kids') bedrooms temporarily until we got our bedroom finished).

Master Bedroom new paint

Master bedroom inside closet doors unpainted
The two kids' bedrooms were a light brown/dark beige color.  Once all the stuff that we stored in them while working on the rest of the house was moved out, I painted those two rooms a buttery-cream and white.  It surely brightened things greatly.  One of the rooms has this chair railing, but the other doesn't.

Kid bedroom before
Kid bedroom new paint

Speaking of Closets again -- The foyer has a really nice-sized double closet that had been converted into a desk/office area by the previous owners.  They had been using the tiny pantry as a coat-closet. (Three kids and two adults!)  So, we tore out the office and returned the pantry to it's intended use with the addition of new shelving after replacing the paneling with drywall. We added lighting in the foyer and the pantry closets, too.  Ahhh, so nice to have a light in a closet.

Foyer being changed back to a closet
Pantry as a coat-closet, before

The attic access had been located in the pantry ceiling.  It looked like they just sawed a hole in the old paneling on the weird, and CRAMPED.  We closed it off and moved access to the garage area making it a bit larger and finished off with trim. Until then, climbing into the attic was a real pain.
Attic access before in pantry
We were so thrilled when the closets got finished.  One by one, we finally could start to unpack some and get some of the boxes out of the garage and the kids' bedrooms.  The whole redo took the better part of a year to complete with the help of our handymen.  We didn't work continuously on it though, because Bruce had projects to do for other clients, and we needed to take a break, too.  We ended up splitting it up into two major parts; the first phase was the bathrooms and closets, the second was the kitchen and living room. 

Yes, you guessed it...the next installment will be about the 2nd stage...the living room and kitchen.  So, until next time....

                                             ~~ Karen ~~

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Remodel of Our New Home - The Leak

So, the saga began....

First, a little background.  In my last post I spoke of whitewashing the fireplace and painting our living room upon moving into our new home.  When we bought this place, we were thinking we could live with it like it was for the most part. 

Immediate changes would involve some painting and redoing the ceilings in the bathrooms...then maybe in a few years we could remodel the kitchen a little.  We plan, God laughs.
Old Ceiling in bathes
So this is what the ceilings of the bathrooms (and only the bathrooms) looked like.  Yeah, ugh...that yellowish color here and there was slime-mold growing on and in the nooks and crannies.  After testing the ceiling fan in the main bathroom we found it wasn't exhausting at all, and the master bathroom didn't even HAVE an exhaust fan.

Since the rest of the ceilings in this place were "popcorned", we suspected the previous folks messed up the original texture while trying to wash off mildew and mold.  They then re-plastered it like this....OH SOOO much ugly going on up there.  Fixable, though, and I had plans to scrape that plaster off after we finished painting and unpacking.

But after about a month it was becoming more and more difficult to eliminate a growing funky smell that kept coming back, and I was developing a persistent headache.  (I'm sensitive to mold, so of course I blamed those nasty bathroom ceilings thinking there was lingering mold) 

In the meantime, we hired an exterminator to address a cockroach problem.  He emerged from the crawlspace and said to us, "Hey! Do you guys know you have a large puddle under your house?"

After crawling under the house, Hubby and the exterminator concluded the source of the leak was from the tub in the main bath.  Time to call in a plumber.

The plumber suspected it was at the shower diverter, but we needed to cut an access panel in the wall for him to fix it. Luckily, the linen closet abutted the shower's wall and we have a reciprocating saw.  Hubby got busy and....voila.
New plumbing access panel in plywood walls
During the repair work, the plumber discovered the subflooring under the tub was sopping wet and warping.  He said "The damage looks pretty extensive".  Well that wasn't good, so we then had to go in search of a handyman to help us come up with a plan.  Turned out that all the bathroom floor was soaked and flaking apart.  The subflooring was made of chip-board which held the water and the previous owners hid it by just putting ceramic floors in the bathroom instead of repairing it.  Now we started looking at ALL the ceramic floors with increasing suspicion....hmmm.

Kitchen with ceramic floor

Master Bath with ceramic tile
Luckily, the floor trusses were still okay, but if it were left alone those would rot, too. No disputing it, we HAD to rip up the ceramic tile and tear out the bathtub replacing the subfloor in the main bath (and maybe the master bath as well).  We started tearing out the main bath first to see if we could salvage any of the original stuff....Nope. Wall to wall wet.  The damage appeared to go into the adjoining master bath as well as the adjoining kitchen and laundry room. So next we started ripping out the master bath, to see if that subfloor needed to be replaced too....Yep. It would need to be demolished too.

Nothing was salvageable.  The tub needed to be cut up to remove it.  So did the shower in the master.  The cabinets rested on the subfloors and were warping as well.  Out they went.  We couldn't salvage anything except the 40-year old toilets, and we decided to just go hog wild and replace those too.

The handyman and his son started to demolish the master bath back to the walls and took down those bad ceilings as well. We decided to leave the main bath to use while we worked on the master.  While they were doing this, I started working on the closets.....but that's for another post.

Here are pictures of the finished bathrooms with new cabinets, toilets, tile floors and tiled backsplashes, new hardware, and I upgraded to new in-wall medicine cabinets for more storage.  The master now has an exhaust fan, too. WOOT!  One upgrade we decided on was to install 2.5" crown molding.  Many of the rooms (not all) had 1" molding as crown molding which looked pretty puny.  Come to find out, it's purpose was to hold up wall paper that was starting to peal off....yeah....another story for another post.

Main Bath - old vanity

Main Bath - new vanity
Main Bath - new tub and tile
Master Bath - new shower

Master Bath - new vanity
So until the next Saga installment....ciao for now ...

                                                                  ~~ Karen ~~