Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Bathroom Project and Inconvenient Circumstances

The bathroom renovations have begun! They actually started two weeks ago, but I left town for Chicago on the second day, so Scott has been living in what can only be called less than convenient circumstances.  We love the house and its many cool original features, and even the original design of the hall bath was thoughtful - pink sinks and fixtures, gray and pink wallpaper, and light and dark gray tile - unfortunately time, mold and dry rot had other plans.

Because of extensive damage both the hall and master bathrooms are a studs-out replacement, presenting the opportunity to reconfigure the back-to-back spaces. Like many homes circa 1964 the original master bath was very small, while the hall bath was larger and configured for kids and guests with two sinks and a full tub and shower combination. We decided to flip things around a bit, while retaining a tub in the hall bath and being sensitive to the period of the house.

Bathroom layouts - Before and Planned
Bathroom layouts - Before and Planned   

During deconstruction our general contractors found extra space between the walls of the two bathrooms, increasing the depth of the hall bath to five feet and allowing for a full-size tub instead of the 4 1/2 foot tub we had originally planned - yay! We saved the great louvered medicine cabinet and original towel bars from the hall bath and the cabinet over the toilet in the master bath for later use, and those pinks sinks and tub and the cabinets went to Re-Store to make someone's day.

Pink sinks

Pink toilet and tub - on their way to Re-Store

Back to Scott's less than convenient circumstances...The Retro Ranch only has two bathrooms and we just had two bathrooms completely removed! We were fully prepared having installed a shower on the patio. Yes, the patio had both hot and cold water spigots. Add a few select purchases from and viola!

Breezy Shower

While I was in Chicago Scott worked out the kinks in the shower system. The biggest problem was the shower curtain - there's nothing like having a damp cold shower curtain blown by the wind and stuck to your backside while you're showering or trying to dry off! Scott devised a system of safety pins, carbiners, twine and weights (logs, small cement bunnies and gophers, and an iron door mat) to keep the offending shower curtain in place. To Scott's credit, it works. I've had two nice showers out there since arriving home and there's something a little freeing about showering outside!

The other inconvenience Scott had to suffer was the lack of "necessary" plumbing. Fortunately, part of the renovation project plan was a porta-john for the crew! Discreetly placed next to the garage, Scott has been using the ports-john for the last two weeks.

For Morning Constitutionals
and Light Reading

Thankfully, the renovation project is far enough along that the plumbers were able to install a working toilet in the master bathroom yesterday - queue heavens opening and angels singing. Having arrived back in Portland just Monday evening I had minimal need for the porta-john.

Working toilet in the master bathroom!

My next post (hopefully this week) will go into the nitty gritty of the deconstruction...stay tuned!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Exterior Makeover Part I or The Painting Extravaganza

So much to tell you, so much going on! It feels like things have been in fast forward mode for about six weeks now with the different projects in various states of completion. The most visible change, from the street, is the exterior painting project. Scott has been busy since the end of May, prepping, priming and painting the exterior surfaces of the retro ranch.

Prep work included scrapping off the old paint, power washing and caulking each surface - fascia, soffit, trim and gutters. And painting, first Kilz primer on unprotected surfaces, then two coats of paint - light gray on the fascia and soffits, dark gray on the trim and gutters. The color change is subtle - before all the surfaces were white, now there is definition and dimension without screaming "Hey, look at me!"

Before - exterior of the Retro Ranch

The Retro Ranch with new paint and color scheme

Old Man Painting Garage - a classic

In order to do all this work, much of the plant life close to the house had to be cut down low. The rhodys in front and other shrubs received a drastic haircut. On the east side of the house, the vine honeysuckle plant (which Scott removed the first day we owned the retro ranch) had grown behind the tongue and groove fascia and into the attic.

Honeysuckle in the attic

Removing the honeysuckle was a chore as it was dry and brittle, having been cut months before. It couldn't be pulled up from the attic and wouldn't easily pull down from outside either. We found a flat edge screwdriver and four hands was the best way to extract the honeysuckle. Once the honeysuckle was gone Scott was able to tackle the east side of the house.

Before - East side of house mid-prep

After - East side of house

The west side of the house gets the hot afternoon sun and heat, and the wood was in pretty rough shape. Much of the paint on the fascia came off when scraped during prep and it needed a lot of caulking and primer. 

Before - West side of house mid-prep

After - West side of house

This weekend Scott tackled the small area that is under one roof and over another. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but it's where the living room roof overlaps the roof over the master bedroom. This is a tight spot requiring Scott to be on his back laying on one hot roof, working under another with the sun beaming down on it. Scott says it's evident that the trim board in this area has definitely been replaced, and therefore is in better shape than the rest of the trim boards.

Before - Tight spaces

Before - Tight spaces mid-prep

After - Tight spaces

Left to paint are the soffit and trim on the back of the house and the patio. However, the patio will have to wait as it is currently serving as Scott's only shower at home...yes, the bathroom construction started last week! Did I mention that I managed to plan a trip for the first two weeks of construction?