Thursday, 31 October 2013

Bathroom Reno Part I

Friends, I have exciting news.  I *think* I may have decided on the final plan for our bathroom reno.  I don't know about you, but I find bathrooms extremely difficult to decorate.  I LOVED picking out our beautiful tub unit, shiny new toilet and sparkling white sink.  I LOVED picking out our marble floor tiles.  I didn't even mind picking out paint colors.  But decorating it?  The stuff on the walls?  I despise shower curtains, I detest towel bars/rods/hooks...anyway they come, I detest them.  I don't like bath mats ~ they just  I don't like clutter, but you need to have soap, towels, etc...  Then you need art of some sort.  Tell me, what kind of art do you put in your bathroom?  It's just a weird thing.  Weird.ness.

This bathroom has gone through several stages and has been tweaked considerably already.  I'm not going to stop until I'm happy with it.  I think I'm on the right road, and that's no small miracle.  Of course, it could all be switched out tomorrow but I doubt it.  I think.

How about we start with it's humble beginnings?  Here we are:

We flooded.  Remember that?  This was the waterproofing being done.  Grossness. Can you believe we still used the shower during this process?!

Yup.  There's the shower curtain ~ good old blue tarps were used everywhere down there.  That hole to the left of the photo is where the toilet sat.  We showered like this for a couple of months.

It gets better.

When we were finally ready to work on setting up our drain for the new tub (which ended up being in the opposite corner of the room), Henry, while working on the pipes, found that our sewer pipes were broken.  They were never installed properly and they had rotted and broke.  

Let me just say, for the record, that I am married to the most amazing man.  I was pretty much a basket case.  By this time, our basement had flooded AGAIN (thanks to a valve being installed wrong by our waterproofers) and now my house positively REEKED.  I wasn't much help, I'll tell you that much.  He worked and worked, was elbows deep in things you don't want to even imagine, and fixed the entire thing himself.  Dad Sluys talked him through some of it over the phone.  He deserves a medal, a prize, SOMETHING AWESOME.  He's a hero.

If you've a squeamish stomach, look away ;)  Here is where the break (clearly visible) was.  No worries...everything in these photos is just mud :)  But as you can imagine, it was pretty awful.  

 The entire thing had to be chiseled out with a jack hammer, so we(he) could see where the break was and how bad it was. 

On the phone with Dad Sluys in Chatham who really wished he could have come and helped Henry but was so helpful in walking him through things.

This was a BEAUTIFUL sight at 11pm that night.  And while it certainly wasn't our favorite experience, we realized what a blessing it was to have this breakage revealed us to BEFORE installing our new floor and new tub unit.  Phew.  We did have a plumber come out the next day to clean out the sewer lines all the way to the road with a special plumbing auger.  Turns out there was a roughly 95% blockage out by the property line that would've caused us big problems down the road.  So very thankful it's cleaned out and that was avoided!!  Moral of the story....have your sewer lines augered out regularly!!!

So, with the tub drain ready to go it was time for the tub :)  I had bought a brand new tub off Kijiji for a steal...$475 instead of $900 plus tax.  Yay for great deals.  Problem was wider than the door opening.  I said to Henry "Well, can we just take the door off?  It needs to be replaced anyways".  Henry said "I suppose you could".  Then do it!  So, after rolling their (Henry and Dad Sluys) eyes (and secretly being thrilled at another "fun" project ;) ) they did.

Henry first removed the landing just inside the side entrance. Photo on the right is looking downstairs from outside.  Photo on the left is looking down from inside the kitchen. 

One of the issues we had to address was support for the new landing.  We've always had a beam that runs to the downstairs and was part of the wall that enclosed the stairs in the basement.  However, we wanted to turn that space into a book nook and didn't want a post sitting there.  Henry is an elevator mechanic and it just so happened that at the shop, was a "sling" they use in their lifts.  It was free for the taking (FREE!  We love free!) and so Henry installed it and it is what our landing sits on.  It's rated for 1200 pounds, so we think it'll be fine ;)  Dad finished by removing all the old door trim and frame.

This was done in mid fall and we were so thankful for the beautiful weather we had for this project!!  Of course, I had bought the wrong sized door (I now carry a tape measure in all my purses!), and so Mom and I headed out to Home Depot that morning to pick up the next size.

Then it came time for the tub.  This was exciting :)  We have some wonderful friends who showed up to help make sure the tub made it downstairs safely.

 And just like that, down she goes.

After the tub was in, over 75 sheets of drywall, bundles of insulation, plastic wrap, drywall compound, screws and tape were heaved down that hole.  Oldershaw's truck was loaded down.

After everything was unloaded and the men had had their coffee, Henry went to work installing the new landing and side entrance door, while Dad set to work building us a new stair case landing.  Previously it had simply gone straight down and there was very little room at the bottom.  He suggested putting a landing at the second step from the bottom and having the stairs "turn".  I'm so glad he did, because we LOVE it.  So, at the end of this very eventful day, we had a new side door...

 a new set of bottom stairs,

a tub sitting in it's rightful place, looking all wonderful,

and a basement family room that looked a little something like this....

Phew.  I think we cleaned up saw dust and debris until midnight that night :)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Thanksgiving.  One of my favorite "holidays".  So very much to be thankful for every day of our lives, but what a blessing that our nation still sets aside a weekend solely for the purpose of reflecting on all the undeserved blessings in our lives.  A chance also to reflect on how we can serve those who are struggling to live without all these blessings we have been gifted with.  During Thanksgiving day service, the pastor encouraged us to make a list of all things we are thankful for, and then challenged us to think about how our lives would be impacted should one, two, three or more of those things be taken from us.  Imagine ~ no food, no clothing, no warmth, no mercy, no grace,no salvation.  I'll tell you, it's a humbling exercise.  One that drives you to your knees in thankfulness pretty quick. 

*(As I was driving a few days later down Ron McNeil line, I was appalled at the amount of *messy* dead animals all over the side of the road.  Have you ever stopped to be thankful for the people whose job it is to clean that up?!  After that sermon, I thought to myself  ~ am I ever thankful there are people who are willing to do this for us ~ I hope they are paid handsomely!).*

One thing we love to enjoy on Thanksgiving weekend is our family.  Thanksgiving 1999 was the first year we hiked through Baxter's Bush (the Baxter family lives across from mom and dad).  It was Henry, myself and Tanner (9 months old).  Since then, every year it has gotten bigger and bigger.  It's a highlight the grandkids LOVE.  It is usually followed by dinner and a campfire (and this year, friends as well as family joined in the campfire ~ fun :) )

This was the first year we played some dodgeball.  It was fun and I'm quite sure it'll happen at a family function again :)

Is this not the most coordinated, eloquent looking dodgeball stance you've seen?  Ha...I do love how Henry looks intent on smashing me with the ball...he shows no mercy ;)

Even a family game of dodgeball needs a team cheer, right?