Addicted to the Demo - Bathroom Update

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As you can see, we showed up Saturday morning with our scrapers and hammers in hand. We'd watched the demo tutorials on YouTube, fully prepared to go to town on this bathroom. If you saw our bathroom before, you know we had plenty of work to do. 

First order of business, remove the toilet. We did all the necessary steps - drain it, un-screw it, disconnect the water supply. But then it came time for my most dreaded step: removal of the wax ring. Every time i watch a toilet removal tutorial on YouTube I always gag when they get to the part about wax rings. Seeing the sticky, yellow, bacteria riddled ring exposed in person was no exception. If you don't have a disease before removing a wax ring, you definitely do after. We got down there with a scraper, removed the old ring, and plugged the hole with an old rag. It was just as #glamorous as it sounds. With the toilet disconnected and successfully relocated to the living room, we moved on to the tub. 

We attempted to remove the first tile and things were clearly not going to go as they were shown in the tutorials. The videos showed the tiles coming right off the wall after a few taps on the scraper behind the tile. In our case the tiles were holding on to the walls for dear life. Going one tile at a time was going to take us a million years. Since we knew there was a leak behind the wall and we would eventually be removing the cement board to find the leak, we decided to take the nuclear option. 

We used the SawsAll to cut a seam next to the tile edge and then using a crowbar, pried off the entire wall which came crashing into the tub. We don't recommend this method if you plan to keep your bathtub and also for general safety reasons. The other two walls came down in a similar fashion and exposed some very questionable plumbing, water damaged framing, moldy insulation, and more roach poop than a lady should have to see in her lifetime. It was just SO much roach poop. We'll spare you the photos. 

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The tub came out easily with the walls removed and exposed that the floor beneath the tub was rotted as well. We removed the moldy insulation and vacuumed up the mix of roach carcasses and feces to the best of our abilities.

With my dad's guidance we replaced the rotting flooring and framing. EmO spent the morning painstakingly removing all the screws and nails from the 2X4s we removed from the central walls so they could easily be re-purposed as replacement for the rotted framing.

While repairing the rotten framing, we added the framing to install a small window above the tub. Seeing the new window framed in the wall we can already see how it is going to transform the space! 

That weekend we also made a bit of progress on the kitchen. We removed the cabinet to the left of the kitchen sink and started preparing for the dishwasher installation. My dad lent us a hand getting started on updating the electrical outlets to GFCI.

Next on the agenda? With our permit in place our carpenter is getting started on removing the load bearing wall (from which we previously removed the dry wall), adding the support beams, and reinforcing the roof. 

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Tiny Rehab lesson of the day: things will almost never be as simple as the YouTube tutorials make it look. It is great to come prepared with a plan, but in renovation you have to be willing to improvise when things aren't going as you expected. That can mean taking a sledge hammer and crowbar to your bathroom or vacuuming up an unexpected amount of roach excrement. Either way - just gotta keep moving forward :D. 

-EmV 

Tiny Rehab Firsts: Bathroom Demo

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Here is the state of the main bathroom in our fixer-upper. We often like to debate which decision came first -- the brown tile, the lime green walls, or the pee yellow ceiling. There is just something particularly unsettling about that combo that I find deeply triggering. 

To be completely honest, I've been struggling to make solid decisions regarding the bathroom. Part of me wants to go bright and white, which, i'm guessing, is a direct result of my allergic reaction to the dinge and gloom of the current space. The other part of me feels morally obligated to give in to my deep dedication to pattern and color. 

This internal debate is probably the reason the thought of doing a bathroom inspiration post has given me anxiety. If I were to show you my current collection of pictures, it would reveal just how mixed up I truly am.

Anyway, I digress. Here is the list of what we will be changing in the bathroom:

  • New shower tile
  • New shower fixtures
  • New tub
  • New floor tile and possibly subfloor (it is buckled and uneven)
  • New toilet seat
  • drywall repair
  • Wall and ceiling paint
  • New light fixture over mirror
  • New mirror
  • New faucet
  • New door & hardware
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As of right now we plan to keep the current cabinetry. It is unfinished wood that we can easily paint white (or a bold color --who knows!? not me!). The countertop is an issue of greater debate. It is in good shape and we could definitely save money by keeping it, but I'm struggling to design around it. 

We're diving into bathroom demo this weekend and as usual, our research will begin and end with youtube diy videos. Stay tuned to our instagram stories for updates. Wish us luck! 

-Em O

Hot Mess Trash Disaster Foundation (Part I)

Professional foundation inspector reporting for duty! 

Professional foundation inspector reporting for duty! 

Our lil’ bungalow is currently sporting a pier and beam foundation system. We’ve been told by several reputable parties that in Austin, a pier and beam system can be more advantageous than a slab foundation.  This is due to the nature of the soil and it’s tendency to shift between seasons. A slab may just crack while a pier and beam system can go with the flow. That said, most foundations, regardless of type, need a tune up every few decades or so. Ours is in dire need of some TLC. 

After the initial inspection we knew that the foundation would be one of the biggest repairs we would be making on the house. The inspector pointed out some sloppily and cheaply done repair work (you will see this is a continuing theme as we work our way through the house). Many of the 4X6 beams had been replaced with 2X4s resulting in the beams sagging and rolling. He also informed us that the house was a few piers short of a full load. We would need to install additional piers and replace most of the beams. Those factors combined with shifting due to natural ground movement left our house feeling off-kilter. 

You can really see the rolling beam from this angle.

You can really see the rolling beam from this angle.

Before we moved forward with getting quotes from contractors, we brought in a structural engineer who specializes in pier and beam to take a look at the house and write up a scope of work for the repairs. He confirmed most of what we had been told to date and gave us a little physics lesson. I won’t bore you with that here (but also I don’t remember much of it, he was attractive and I was distracted).

The biggest advantage of having an engineer review your project is that you know exactly what to ask for from your contractors. Two contractors might quote you similar prices for repairs but could include completely different scopes. The engineer generally isn't there to "win the business" so they will shoot you straight on what is necessary vs. nice to have and what needs to be done tomorrow vs. what can wait. Especially for first timers, we highly recommend this step (not just for the views, heh heh). 

No crawl space here! 

No crawl space here! 

A good portion of the foundation repair cost is coming from the fact that the addition the previous owners added to the house, which includes the efficiency apartment and the 4th bedroom in the main house (more on this later), is just sitting on piles of cinder blocks. The addition also doesn’t have proper clearance to allow a crew to get underneath it and do the necessary pier installations. Our engineer told us that less accessibility means more $$$.

That brings us to our first tiny rehabber task. This weekend (weather permitting) we’ll be tearing up the floors in the efficiency apartment to allow the foundation crew to access the area and install the piers from above.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Em V.