We Have a Door!

It doesn’t have a wall, yet, but that’s just details.

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Considering how many doors we’ve removed in this house, you’d think adding one back wouldn’t exactly make me jump for joy, but this one’s different. This one, the pocket door we bought last week, is replacing one of the largest eyesores in the house, one we see every day when we walk in the back door.

So, yeah, it’s a big deal.

(Direct link for the feed readers: Gingerbread Diaries 2.4: Downstairs Bath Renovation, Week 2)

When I said that I thought we’d done most of the demo last weekend? Yeah, so not the case. We’d done the impressive part, but the fiddly bits of getting the small sections of the hallway that will become the bathroom took almost as much time and effort to remove as the entire interior wall structure! So, yeah, the devil’s in the details and all that.

Then we had to do something that you can’t even see: install the new joist. That meant cutting away a 10″ or so strip between the old bathroom wall and where the new one will be. And while Todd was getting ready to do that, we found this:

That would be, starting from the upper right corner, the original porch flooring, the old pressboard and vinyl tile that were to be removed during the renovation, and the new concrete board the contractor placed on top of all that mess. Not pictured is the new vinyl flooring they put in (it's folded back).

That would be, starting from the upper right corner, the original porch flooring, the old pressboard and vinyl tile that were to be removed during the renovation, and the new concrete board the contractor placed on top of all that mess. Not pictured is the new vinyl flooring they put in (it’s folded back).

Seriously, folks. What the ever-lovin’ hell was that contractor thinking?! Yes, I told him I would be replacing the floor **covering** in the next two years (so I didn’t want to pay a lot for the material we’d be ripping out) but I didn’t realize that translated to half-assing the whole thing?! No wonder the back door wouldn’t open after they installed the new floor! So aggravating.

It was (and is) irritating, but it’s not the end of the world. Todd was planning to replace the sub-floor anyway, apparently (I thought we’d only have to patch where plumbing had been, though hindsight shows a full new floor is the better route even then). We also had to have a conversation about just how far to build the floor up, then–to be level at it’s current height or to build it up to meet the level of the dining room. The hall is the part in play, since it’s something like 20° off from one side to the other, and I don’t mind a slight step down between the hall and bathroom, but Todd ultimately decided that he’d rather do two layers of plywood subfloor for added strength as well as to bring it up to approximately the right level, and go from there. It’s a small room, the extra materials aren’t going to kill the budget, and it’s probably the best solution in the long run.

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But before we could get the joist in we needed to make a Lowe’s run for longer nails. We were able to borrow a truck from Todd’s office and picked up the dryall for the new wall and plywood for the floor (which are both chilling on the front porch for now) along with the nails, ear protection for me, the 2x2s to (I believe) reset the hall ceiling, etc. that we had to cut into and a shop-vac. We’re now closing in on $700 of the budget spent, including the tools, so that’s not too bad.

Now, I hate vacuums with a passion, but I wanted the shop-vac because sweeping was just not cutting it for the debris we were creating and my ancient vacuum would not have been able to hack it. Not that I’ve actually used Robbie the ShopVac yet (it reminds me of Robbie the Robot and I like to name things; like the puppies on the Puppy Cam on Animal Planet Live we kept checking in on between tasks last weekend; they were ardorable), but Todd has and it definitely does its job. Just like the reciprocating saw, that thing has been put through its paces and is making life so much easier!

Saturday evening felt a lot like when we first bought the house: construction debris in the back hall, a trip to Lowes, and a swing through a drive-thru because we’d skipped lunch. Unlike those early days, though, we couldn’t pack up and head back to a separate house in another state when we were through, but that’s not such a bad thing.

Sunday’s big job was installing the new wall framing. It looks deceptively simple, folks. And I know the saying goes “measure twice, cut once” but it’s really somewhere along the lines of measure half a dozen times, cut it, try to install it and find that it’s still just a hair off, and while we’re at it let’s review the way we were going to install this framing in general. But my incessant question-asking actually helped because we figured out a better way to deal with the studs and the brace along the top and all was well.

Unlike last week we (and by we, I mean Todd) actually made some evening progress during the week. We had to re-position the pocket door studs (which necessitated trip #3 to Lowe’s–it’s officially a project by Todd’s standards, now–for more screws) after placing them at the wrong intervals the first time and then we could finally remove the rest of the wall framing from the old bathroom wall. Last night Todd got in there, even though he got home 2 hours later than he’d planned, and ripped out the old ceiling beams and, folks, we’re talking major transformation here.

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The old ceiling met the wall just above the window (below the 2×4) and extended straight across. We’re regaining only about 4″ on the window wall but on the door wall we’re talking several feet. This room will no longer feel like a hovel and it’ll actually fit in with the rest of the house! It’s a small thing, folks, but this feels super big to us.

Because that last bit was going on right up to 10 o’clock last night, the video won’t be posted to our YouTube channel until this weekend so I can include the full week’s progress. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it!

This week coming up we’ll tackle the floor, place the drywall for the hall-side of the new wall, and work on electrical and plumbing. I hope. That’s the plan, at any rate!

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