Random (but not really)

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day

Thank you, to those who have served, who are currently serving, and to their families.




Ben Klishis WWII



Thank you.

Written by Michelle at 11:11 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays  

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Traveling WV: Harpers Ferry

The eastern panhandle and the southern part of the state are the last areas to lose their leaves. As the eastern panhandle is an easier drive, that’s where we tend to head mid-November.

It was a gray day, and a past peak, although there were still trees that had some leaves.

Harpers Ferry is another place fascinating place to wander around. There is a ton of history there–and not just John Brown’s raid.

There is also some amazing beautify.


Two of my favorite spots there are ruins.

The old water-power ruins.




Wandering around old ruins (and especially finding hidden ruins in the woods) is a reminder of the impermanence of humanity. That of these man-made structures, the only things that are left are the stones our fore-bearers mortared together in an attempt to constrain nature.

And the old church.





Written by Michelle at 7:59 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: National Park / Forest,Photos,West Virginia  

Traveling WV: Berkeley Springs

I managed to forget to share the pictures from last week’s drive to Berkeley Springs. Neither of us wanted a long drive, but we wanted to a chance to see some leaf color, so off we went.

We went first to Cacapon SP, where a recent storm had taken down a lot of trees, so the road going up to the mountain top was closed, which was disappointing, since I’d hoped to see how the entire valley looked.

But it was still pretty.



Some nice color at the lower elevations.

Then we went to Berkeley Springs, which I always find lovely to walk around.





Written by Michelle at 2:22 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Friday, November 8, 2019

Bathroom Remodel: Part the Last

I covered most of the big things about the remodel, but wanted to point out some of the smaller things or bits.

The Tile

As I mentioned, we had issues in that the the tub had been installed after the walls were put up, so once we put the new walls up, they were proud of the rest of the walls. This meant a lot of fussing to make sure everything was tiled and waterproofed. And again, my thanks to the gentleman at Davis Tile who spent so much time helping me figure out what I needed to do.

You can see here how the wall has three levels–the new wall with tile, the old wall with tile, and the wall without tile.

This wall–which showcases the new light that I ADORE– you can see again the steps, and also how I didn’t have enough space to put tile between the proud section of wall and the trim of the shelves we put in.

I suppose we could have gone out and bought tiny rectangles of tile, but it didn’t seem like it was at all worth it for that tiny section of mostly-hidden wall.

This is a pretty ridiculous section of wall.

Door trim, wall trim, old wall, tiled old wall, and tiled new wall.

You can also see the new air vent we put in. So much prettier than the other one AND more useful since it’s not under the sink.

You can also see that I suck at caulking; try not to pay too much attention to that.

I adore the cobalt blue tile I got to accent the white tile.

And here is a little more detail of the two built-in shelves. They could have been deeper, with the amount of space we had, but I chose to get pre-made ones, rather than try and make my own.

The Closet

Here is a little more detail of the closet.

You can see the top shelf–we tested to make sure we could easily get hard bins in and out of that space. You can also see how I made the lower shelves deeper than the top shelf. The reason I didn’t make the vertical board deeper to match the shelves is that I wanted it to be easier to get the brooms and such out of the tall open space. Plus, it allows a little more light in.

Towel Rack

As I mentioned before, putting the inset shelves above the toilet meant I had nowhere to put the towel rack. Once I discovered vertical rotating towel racks I knew this was precisely what I wanted.

I also discovered that some towels are made with loops for hanging on hooks, so this works perfectly for hand towels.

And this is right above the vent, so: warm towels in the winter!

And here’s the whole thing.

And if you stumbled here in the middle, here are the posts on the previous bits.

The Tub and Tiling
Walls and Built-in Shelves
The Closet
The Floor

Written by Michelle at 8:12 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

Bathroom Remodel: Floored (Part the Fifth)

A hotly debated subject during the project was the floor–and what was under the linoleum.
I said there was wood flooring in the closet and the rest of the floor was plywood. Michael disagreed and thought the entire floor was wood flooring.

For four months we debated this, because, well, just because.

One thing we did know was that part of the floor under the toilet was spongy and almost certainly needed replaced.

Which is why it took so long to get to the floor.

I’m not allowed to use power tools that might take off an appendage, and Michal flat-out didn’t want to deal with replacing the floor.

So in September I pulled out the linoleum in the closet, and discovered that there was wood flooring under the linoleum. (Why they put linoleum over hard wood I have no idea.

It was vile and disgusting and messy and awful and ridiculously difficult, even thought I hadn’t put the bottom shelf in the closet to leave myself more room.

But after using pry bars and chisels I uncovered: this

After some googling I found recommendations on how to clean up the adhesive, and after most of a bottle of paint thinner and an entire bag of rags, I uncovered planks that were in decent shape, and certainly good enough for the floor of a closet.

Some sanding and polyurethane later I was ready to put up the trim (I bought new trim because almost all the trim in the bathroom was either destroyed during removal or not worth the effort of cleaning to reuse.

All-in-all, I was quite pleased with the result.

The it was waiting for Michael to be ready to take out the rest of the floor.

One of the things we did early on was take a core sample of the floor to determine how thick everything was. Answer: Not very. This meant we were going to have to put a very thin floor down, because I was not about to shave the bottom of the bathroom door.

We’ve got solid wood doors in the upstairs that I spent several months refinishing soon after we bought the house. They may be beat up and damaged in places (someone repeatedly shut a small dog in the bathroom, which displeased the dog apparently) but they’re solid and quite attractive despite the damage.

So I was not interested in shaving wood off the bottom of one of the better features of the house.

But eventually we looked at options and after copious amounts of nagging, Michel cut out the top layer of the floor, to expose the plywood underneath.

Surprisingly, part of the subfloor remained in decent shape, so he only had to cut out part of the subfloor to replace.

We nailed studs to the existing joists to give the new section of floor more support, and then were ready to go.

One of the things we did was move the vent from under the sink to the opposite wall.

If I’d known how easy this would be for Michael, I might have chosen a different sink, but since we had almost in choice in tiny sink cabinets, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

Back to the floor!

We went with a very thin vinyl floor, and managed to find an even thinner underlayment to go under it.

What surprised me was that the bathroom floor space is so small, a single vinyl board covered the floor from wall to tub. Would it have looked better to have the sheets run from wall to closet rather than wall to tub? Yeah. Would it have been easier to work with two shorter sheets / boards rather than a single one that had to be trimmed precisely.

Oh yes. Much MUCH easier. Lesson learned there.

But the floor was DONE and I could now finish everything up!

The final bits were a little bit of everything: adding the last of the tile, measuring, cutting and painting the trim, caulking (which I suck at), and looking for any little bits that needed finishing.

We got wooden thresholds, which I stained, and then we were done!

To be honest, finishing was underwhelming. This project has taken almost six months–it felt like the last steps should have been more exciting, but they were–considering everything that had gone before–relatively easy, and then it was done.

Written by Michelle at 9:33 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Bathroom Remodel: Diving Into the Closet (Part the Fourth)

This closet was similar to (but slightly smaller than) the closet in the guest bedroom. (There is actually no closet in our bedroom.) Someone had nailed up shelves to make better use of the space, but they also left the door up.

I’ve mentioned how small our bathroom is. I may not have mentioned that there was not initially a fan / vent in the bathroom.


So we took off the door, put in an exhaust fan, but it was still… ugly.

I knew that I wanted a better use of space than we initially had in the closet, and I really wanted something that was not tremendously ugly. But I wasn’t quite sure I had the skills to do this. So after tearing everything apart, I took a brief break and built a bookshelf.

Once I completed that project I had more tools AND a far better comfort with the project.

I didn’t have to replace any drywall in the closet, but I did have a fair amount of patching to do, and slapped on a LOT of primer. I also didn’t remove the interior door trim, so… don’t try to go into the closet and look at the doorway, okay?

First thing I did was determine how much big I needed the top shelf to be, to pull bins easily in and out. Then, I put in the stop shelf. It’s got supports on the side, because initially much of the weight was going to rest upon that top shelf.

Bathroom Closet

Why did I need the extra support? Because I wanted a tall space along the side, for brooms and such.

I decided that I wasn’t sure enough of my skills to trust most of the weight of the lower shelves onto the top shelf, so I ran a stud up the back of the closet, into which I’d the right shelf support.

Bathroom Closet

Ignore the random boards I shoved into the closet, because I had nowhere else to put them. I now had somewhere on both sides to attach the shelves.

I used the pocket jig to put screw holes in the bottom of the shelves at where the studs were (or were supposed to be anyway). The right side was easier, since I was screwing into wood.

Bathroom Closet

Here’s the next shelf! And yes it is, in fact, deeper than the top shelf. I determined that I could put the top shelf up higher if I had more clearance. But the lower shelves could be deeper, since they didn’t have the be maneuvered out.

I measured the crap out of everything, and found some heavy felt bins in dark blue that would work perfectly–I actually spaced the shelves to fit the bins I ordered.

Bathroom Closet

I left the bottom shelf off because I was not going to try to pull the linoleum up with only 12 or so inches of clearance.

I was initially going to leave the shelves natural colored, since I used pine boards, but for a different project I found white stain (Marshmallow!) and a (mostly) clear polyurethane, and decided that would lighten the space up even more, and I ended up being quite pleased with how it turned out.

Bathroom Closet

And that’s how it looks! I was extra delighted with the closet because aside from cutting the boards, I did all the work myself, and it was EXTREMELY SATISFYING.

I actually still have an empty bin, which is AWESOME since as I noted, space is at a premium in this house.

Written by Michelle at 5:48 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays  

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Bathroom Remodel: Rebuild These Walls and a Shelf (Part the Third)

Once the tub was mostly finished, we moved onto the walls around the toilet (the opposite walls were in decent shape and didn’t need demolished).

As I mentioned before, the space between the walls is ridiculously deep, so it seemed ridiculous not to build shelves into that space. The worry was that is the only section of open wall large enough to hold towel racks, so I needed another spot to hang towels. Once I figured that out, we had to figure out how to build the shelf.

Although it probably wasn’t load bearing, there was a stud running up the middle section of where the shelf would go. Thinking back to how we built the bookshelves into the walls in the computer room (Apparently I have no blog posts about any of that work–unsurprisingly, really, since then Grandmom moved in as soon as we finished.) I figured we could just cut out the middle of the stud and brace the edges. This led to so interesting discussions as we tried to figure out how to do this, including the following exchange:

“And just how is that board going to be held in place?”
“Um…. magic?”

We didn’t use magic.

We also put in more outlets, because two outlets did just not cut it, even in a bathroom we rarely used.

Michael built a three-sided box that we slid into the space.

There ended up being an issue, because the box was built with about a quarter inch of extra space on each side, for ease of getting the box into the wall. Then Michael nailed the box to the studs–without remembering that we needed shims to account for that quarter inch. So things were not quite square, but that box is going NOWHERE.

We then put up the rest of the drywall, and taped and mudded.

Painting happened in stages, because we were only going to pull the toilet completely out once. So the upper half of the walls were painted, and we put trim around the shelf.

Initially Michael used L-brackets to put up the shelves. I hated this, so once I got the pocket jig, I ripped out the L-brackets, repainted, and put in new shelves.

Now, we ended up having another issue here that probably won’t be a problem for anyone else ever, unless they also have a teeny bathroom. Because the cement board stood slightly proud of the “regular” wall, we had to order special corner-type tiles, and ended up with a space beside the medicine cabinet that couldn’t have tile–or anything else. If you stand at an angle you can see the unfinished edge behind the medicine cabinet. So…don’t do that if you come over to my house.

The trim was the very last thing to go up, since the floor was the next-to-last thing we did in the bathroom.

Written by Michelle at 4:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  
Next Page »

Powered by WordPress

books main pictures cats e-mail