Upstairs bathroom

On Monday I finally decided that I had enough of going in to the basement to take showers, so I decided to finish the shower issue in the upstairs bathroom.  When we moved in there was no shower curtain or door and the shower head was terrible.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many before pictures.

The debate with the bathroom was whether to put in sliding glass doors on the shower to to put in a fixed curtain rod.  The choice that we made was a double curved bar fixed curtain rod.  The cool thing about these is that you can hang your towels on the outside of the shower within reach (and once it was installed I realized that it also makes the shower feel WAY bigger).

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So the issues with the shower curtain install.  During the install, I quickly came to realize that my stud finder is about as useful without batteries as it is with.  Three out of the four screws that supposedly were going in to a stud went in to nothing but drywall, and the fourth got stripped.  Two bolts on the rod hangers also stripped, which was fantastic.  I ended up having to cut the head off of the screw that went in to the stud and moving the rod hangers a few inches in. Because all four screws would be going in to drywall I also had to run to Menards (which is a very frequent trip) and get drywall anchors.  It’s important to use drywall anchors because unless you’re screwing through drywall into a stud, chances are whatever you’re hanging is going to come crashing down.

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Along with the shower curtain we also needed to install a new shower head.  I thought that the shower head would be a quick, easy install, but of course it wasn’t.  The shower arm had a sphere on the end of it that couldn’t be removed, so the whole shower arm had to be replaced.  Replacing the shower arm should have also been easy, but it wasn’t.  When it was all said and done the shower arm came out, the new one went in, and we now have TWO functioning showers in the house!

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Even though I didn’t install these myself, I wanted to finish this post with a picture of the tub faucet and handles because I really liked the ones that were already here!

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Next up in the bathroom is updating the vanity, whether it’s a completely new vanity or if it’s sanding and re-varnishing the existing vanity.  I will make sure to take before and after pictures of whatever we decide!

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To Do:

Buying a new house comes with lots of projects and fixes.  Here is a partially completed list of projects that we have in mind.

To be continued…

Family Room

  • Remove curtains hiding furnace
  • Remove angled family room entrance
  • Build wall from garage to family room wall, hide furnace
  • Remove dropped ceiling
  • Sheet rock ceiling
  • Remove current lighting
  • Install recessed lighting
  • Install new electrical outlets
  • Remove carpet
  • Install hardwood floors
  • Remove wood paneling
  • Sheet rock walls/touch up existing sheet rock
  • Trim
  • Paint

Laundry/Work Room

  • Remove walk-through closet
  • Sheetrock back side of new wall
  • New furnace/AC unit
  • Frame remaining walls of laundry room
  • Install new dryer vent tube
  • Decide on/install flooring
  • Fix laundry tub to floor/wall
  • Update electrical box
  • Sheet rock ceiling

Downstairs 3/4 Bath

  • Prime and paint
  • Remove dropped ceiling
  • Sheet rock ceiling
  • Update vanity; sand and refinish
  • Create new shower enclosure; tile
  • Try to adjust layout to allow space for bigger shower
  • Install floorboard heater
  • Steam clean existing tile/grout

Garage

  • Demo and re-finish ceiling
  • Fix water problem
  • Re-finish concrete floor
  • Create workspace in garage once water issue is resolved

Upstairs Full Bath

  • Fixed shower curtain rod
  • Shower storage, built-in?
  • Paint
  • Install vent fan
  • Light in shower
  • New floor
  • New lighting over vanity
  • Update/replace vanity

Kitchen/Dining Room

  • New cabinets
  • New countertops
  • Increase cabinet space (peninsula)
  • Update appliances
  • Install dishwasher
  • New floors
  • Paint
  • Backsplash
  • New lighting

Living Room

  • Paint
  • Mount TV
  • Built-in storage
  • Recessed lighting
  • Update coffee/end tables

Master Bedroom

  • Paint
  • New light/ceiling fan
  • Addition with on-suite

Guest Bedroom

  • Paint

Office/Bedroom 3

  • Paint

Basement Remodel

The basement in the house is about 50% finished.  The issue with the part of the basement that is finished (and many other parts of the house), is that it hasn’t been touched since the house was built in the late-60s.  Walking in to the basement from the garage the first thing you would see to your left was the furnace and the laundry room around the corner.  There was also a door and an angled wall going in to the family room.  The family room had a dropped ceiling that took about 6 inches from the height of the room, and that isn’t mentioning the ceiling fan that makes the height in the middle of the room about six feet.  Here are some pictures of the before:

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The start of this project involved tearing out the angled wall that the door to the family room was on to make it flow better and in my opinion it made a huge difference in the appearance of the room.  Along with tearing out the wall the dropped ceiling was also removed to give more height to the basement.

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The next step that we took was framing the wall that would hide the furnace.  In order to access the furnace and water heater easily and to save space I decided to put in a pocket door that opened from left to right.  The pocket door was a little bit more of a process than I was thinking it would be simply to make sure that everything was level (in order for the door to slide smoothly).  To frame the wall I decided to run it flush with the support beam running the length of the house.  Although the existing wall in the family room isn’t flush with this beam I wanted to encase the steel support post in the wall, so this was the best choice.

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Once the new wall was framed it was time to hang sheet rock.  The sheet rock process was extremely quick since this was such a small wall.  All that we have left to do on the new wall is finishing mudding and sanding and then decide on a color for paint.  Before we completely finish this wall, however, I want to take the wood paneling out of the family room and finish the ceilings so that we can prime all in the same day.

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Another trouble area in the basement is the lighting in the family room.  I’m not sure what the previous owners had in mind, but there are 3..yes 3…different types of lighting in the family room alone.  We have a ceiling fan with a light, a bar with 3 big track lights (not easy on the eyes), and a random light fixed to the wall next to the fire place.  To fix this problem, and since the basement stays so cool anyways, I’m going to remove the existing lighting and install recessed lighting throughout the entry way.  And while we are at it with the basement, the upstairs living room is going to get the same.  Currently the living room has a floor lamp on a switch and a table lamp for lighting.

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The latest update to the basement was the wall running perpendicular to the support beam and air ducts in the laundry room (part of the walk-through closet) was taken down, and shelving was put up next to the furnace for tool storage.  I also put shelving up just inside of the pocket door to give some easily accessible storage.

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Aside

First Entry

With the purchase of my first house and starting a new job there has been a LOT going on the last 3 months or so.  In order to avoid blowing up social media with all of my project pictures and talking about what’s going on at the house I’ve decided that a blog is probably the best route.

The house that I bought is a comfortable 3 bedroom, 1.75 bathroom home with a tuck under garage, a partially finished basement, and a decent sized back yard.  I think my favorite part about the house is the neighborhood.  It’s an extremely quiet neighborhood, but is only a 10 minute drive to downtown St. Paul.  After that brief introduction I will end the first blog post, which will be followed by several posts about what has been done so far!