February is Finished

As another month has come to a close, there hasn’t been a lot going on at the MisAdventures project. I’ve been under the weather and a little bit lazy. It’s nice to have frigid days for an excuse.

But a few projects are finally ticked off the list, so let’s get them documented, shall we?


We’ll go back upstairs and pick up on the master bathroom vanity. We left it at this point, with the door panels made and the face frame ready to be fitted to the space.


We then test fitted the vanity face frame to make sure it fits before we continue.


Since I’ve covered making a vanity from left over wood here I thought we would skip the details, as it’s nearly identical the the linked post. I’ve painted the vanity with BM Sterling, the same color as the walls. It’s then finished with several coats of Varathane water-base clear for protection. My wife wanted wider center drawers that turned out to be a problem for the top drawer/sink clearance, but I’ll adjust for that – perhaps in March or April.


On the opposite side of the room I’ve got the sit down vanity shelf and drawer in place between the two closets.


The counters were installed and are now waiting for me to tile the surround. Perhaps in March or April.


This is the second set of sink faucets for the bathroom. My first attempt didn’t allow enough clearance between the counters and the mirrors…you’ll see.


Because of the build up of the floor height and the counter height vanity, I have less clearance and needed the low profile faucets to make it work. Live and learn. Here I’m finishing up the plumbing – actually I’m taking a picture – but I was finishing up the plumbing.


And to make it a little more interesting the sinks are different sizes. I stayed in a hotel that had a large and small sink and thought it would work with this 5 foot wide vanity. You know who gets the little sink – ( I’m raising my hand). It works pretty well, with more room for my wife’s nightly doo-dad skin cream washing the face – and other aesthetic gymnastics. Me I just brush my teeth.


Still more to do up here, like tiling the mirror area. Something perhaps I’ll do in March or April..do you see a pattern here? The counters are quartz instead of natural stone that I have in the kitchen. The new quartz looks like natural stone and is low maintenance.


The other item checked off the list is the staircase to the second floor. The antique railings and handrails are finished and in place.


The floors are finished and I just need to get a presentable curtain by the tub. The bed sheet with painters tape is not quite the design statement I’m going for. The windows are tinted and you can’t see inside during the day – but at night I prefer not to show off to the neighbors. Something perhaps I’ll do in March or April..not the showing off part – getting the new window shades.



Final prep and painting of the risers. As I covered earlier, I drilled pocket screws holes in the stringers to fasten the treads from underneath.


The treads were attached with an ample application of PL glue on the stringers and Kreg screws were used the fasten the treads.


I wanted to attach the back of each stair tread to the riser but didn’t want to use a glue that might mar the face of the risers. After a little research I used a 3-M VHB (Very High Bond) tape on the back of each tread. It was then fastened with 6 screws that were pre drilled in the riser and fastened from the back. They use this tape to hold glass windows in skyscrapers, so I thought it would work for my application. It makes for a very solid squeak free staircase. The tape is not only incredibly strong, it isolates the tread from the riser preventing any squeaks.


The first tread was the only one I couldn’t screw to the stringer, so it was PL glued in place and weights applied for a couple of days. VHB tape and screws were used at the back.


The final three treads from the mudroom into the kitchen were also installed. So we finally finished something!

And March is here and hopefully in the next few weeks it will be warm enough to get out the tile saw and get to work. We shall see…yes we will.





May Updates in July

Well, I think I previously noted that my updates would be more current – and I’m certainly trying. But cleaning out our current house and wading through collections of 40 years in the making has been a real time-suck. But we’ll march on. Where were we? Oh, yes updates!

Back in the master bathroom and it’s time to make some more sawdust. I decided on two sizes of sinks here. I just usually brush my teeth and go – my wife on the other hand, likes a big sink to splash around in. I’ll swap these, as I’m left handed and she is right. (A tip for a long marriage – she is always right).

It’s gotta start somewhere – we prop up a couple sticks and start the process.

A face frame is made to fit the space.

A quick double check of the clearances and we’re good to go.

Outside in the garage, we cut some more sticks. I’ll make double doors on each side.

Once cut to size a rail and stile bit on the router makes the pieces.

Doors assembled and fine trimmed to size.This is clear grade poplar, which is a nice fine-grained wood perfect for painting.

The frame fitted again with drawer dividers added in the center. Measurements are taken for the cabinet boxes.

While I’m working on the vanity – these lights keep reminding me of my purchasing mistakes. I’m out to replace the small chandelier wanna-be and the wall sconces that I’ve complained about in previous posts. I just have to find the right ones to take their place.

For an evening break, I finished up the wall details and paint in the under eave storage areas.

Finishing up the baseboards. The white oil finish on oak floors will probably never be seen in these areas – but you never know when I’m in the dog house, I might just hang out in here.

These two storage areas are accessed from the main pointy closet with the little doors I cut from full sized 6 panel wood doors. Each has power and lights, so I’m ready if I’m banished from the living space.

Meanwhile, I added some old furniture temporarily so I could act like I live here. The floors will need one more coat of finish after the kitchen goes in, so everything has to come out one more time.

But that didn’t stop my wife from dragging Hercules out of storage and putting another orchid on top. He’s an old Victorian carved wood stand purchased many years ago. Now I have to find his round marble top…it’s in here somewhere…[ rustling, clanging, and crunching sounds ]

And in the meantime I’ve dragged this Japanese Butterfly Maple home. It’s a really old one and not too pretty, but it has potential…something else to keep me busy.

See you soon. enjoy the summer!

Cast Iron Tub Wrestling

Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing. I’m all about the design – and that is my main focus. Trivial matters like gravity are of little importance. I did have a little forethought to have the tub put through the window when I was replacing all the windows. Notice this is pre two room additions.2 tub through window

Of course, that was several years ago and the tub has been sitting upstairs for four – that’s right, four years waiting for a place to call home.

1 tub on trolly

So there’s the tub. I’ve cleaned up 4 years of dust and dirt and cut and installed the drain and over flow pipes. I had built a rolling cradle for the tub so that I could move it around upstairs while I ran new HVAC pipes and other structural projects.

2 tub target

And here’s the target. All I have to do is get the tub off the cradle and over here. Simple enough, except the thing weighs 324 pounds and sits about a foot off the floor. I could have opted for a light and nimble acrylic tub, but no, the design thing called for something, well – heavier. My wife knowing I was scheming to somehow get the thing in there by myself, called a moving company and yesterday morning 3 guys showed up to help. And it took all 4 of us to maneuver this awkward object into place.

3 thread sealant

Once we got close I wrapped the drain tailpiece with heavy duty Teflon tape and added a little pipe dope for good measure. I don’t want to do this part again.

4 tub in place

And finally it’s in place – hopefully for a very long time. It’s one of those French Skirted Bateau (Boat) bathtubs. I got this from Signature Hardware – actually I got two of them. The first one had a dent in the skirt, so they sent a replacement – no problem. I even took my wife to their showroom near Cincinnati so she could sit in the tub and make sure it wasn’t too big or uncomfortable. I say I’m obsessive – my wife thinks I’m crazy.

5 tub plumbing

The plumbing shows more than I imagined, so I’m glad my motorcycle parts are shiny to look at when I’m sitting on the toilet.

6 faucet

The faucet is a traditional one with a knob for a hand shower – it’s the same one I have in the first floor bathroom. I’m not sure about the style – but it works.

7 tub interior

The tub drain is a toe tap, so it makes the plumbing pretty simple.

8 bath ceiling

Now I have to find a rustic chandelier and put on the air vents and move on for now. The vanity cabinets won’t be built until the kitchen goes in. So we’ll pop down to the basement and make some stairs. Looks like more sawdust.

Grab your dust mask and tag along.

Using Motorcycle Parts in the Bathroom

OK, the internet is generally a good thing – search is a good thing – sometimes.

I’ll explain later

1 wall painted

We left off here with the wall painted and the sconce electric now finished by adding a mud ring to bring the wall boxes out to the wall surface.

2 toilet flange

Now it’s toilet time. I plumbed the floor closet flange with a stainless steel doodad – use this type if you can instead of the all PVC or stamped steel versions.

4 toto toilet

Here’s the toilet – it’s a Toto Soirée one piece toilet.I chose this because my wife wanted a one piece unit – and because I made the paneled wall go to the back of the toilet, it reduced the drain center to 11″. A standard toilet needs 12″ from the center of the drain flange to the finished wall – I only had 11″. Oops, another design faux pas.

3 toto toilet rough

 Toto to the rescue. This toilet uses a doodad that lets you adjust the distance the toilet sits next to the wall. The one that comes with the toilet is for a standard 12″ – but you can buy (for another 65.00) one that makes a 10″ or 14″ rough. So here I’m installing the 10″ rough. I’ve also installed the supply valve and stainless hose.

5 Bristro wall sconce

Then we get up off the floor to install the sconces. These are Restoration Hardware Bistro Sconces. I like these because the arms are adjustable.

6 sconces and toilet installed

Here the sconces, marble window sill, toilet and water supplies for the tub are in.

7 removable tile

I had a tile panel made that is removable for access to the plumbing without having to demo the tile to get access. The water supplies screw into the plumbing below the floor. The wall baseboard is also removable to get the tile panel out. Now we need to plumb the bathtub drain.

10 drain instal

The PVC pipe goes through the floor into the drain trap. The threaded compression fitting had to be close to the floor so the trim ring would sit flat on the floor.

9 marble sill

The window sill is marble and had to be installed before the water supplies. I made a wood template to take to the stone guys and then I installed the sill with silicone. The pipes holding the faucet were pretty stable, but I wanted to make it more secure with some sort of bracket to fasten it to the wall.

That’s where the internet and motorcycle parts come in.

I spent several hours searching for something that might work. Searches for “Pipe Hangers, pipe brackets, tube and/or rod holders and every conceivable search word combination came up with nothing. Nothing in plumbing worked, nothing in electrical, drapery, or closets worked either. So next was marine, auto and then finally motorcycle.

And these popped up.

11 handle bar risers

The criteria was as follows: Chrome and shiny? Check / Split so that they  can be installed without disassembling the water supplies? Check / Fit a 1″ OD pipe? Check / Can be attached to the wall? Check. What the heck are they? Handlebar risers for a Harley Davidson. Sure, that will work.

12 recessed bolts

So we make a poplar bracket and recess the back for the bolts.

13 painted bracket

We paint and finish the bracket to match the wall. Then install the risers.

14 bracket instal

We attached the bracket to the wall. The tub will hide most of this stuff, but I still wanted them to look pretty.

15 bracket closeup

A little hole filling and touch up and these pipes are staying put. So we’re starting to get to the bling – hang in there.

January Recap – Three Stories

The blog post has been pretty quiet around the Misadventures project – not because of lack of activity, but because it’s still not to the pretty stages yet. I have projects in the basement, 1st floor and second floor too – hence the blog title.

First the basement stuff.

1 steam shower framingThe steam shower framing is done. The sloped ceiling is framed and all the plumbing is in. All this has to be finished before the walls get spray foam.

2 structured wiringOf course to make it more complicated and expensive I’ve run Cat5e and coax everywhere. It home-runs back to this structured wire cabinet in the basement.

3 wire laddersI use ladders and bar clamps to hold the wire spools while I pull the wires from one floor to the next. Some are in conduits and some are not. Extra lines are run for stuff I didn’t think about.

4 kitchen cabinet layoutIn the kitchen I’m finally getting around to mocking up some layouts. I need to know where to run lighting and speaker controls as well as gas lines and all the other things that go into the kitchen. It’s a modified galley that allows traffic to avoid the cooking area. More on this in later posts.

5 master bathroom wall layoutUpstairs I’m laying out the bathroom window wall in my traditional freestyle design technique – lay some sticks against the wall. Good enough.

6 window jamb detail1st the window jambs are made and the corners are routed to make a stronger straighter corner.

7 window casing layoutThe side casings are added and the top is measured and cut.

8 window casing pocket screwsThe ‘U’ shaped casing is glued and  pocket screwed together on the back to make a nice tight joint. The bottom will have a marble sill.

9 wall detail startA preliminary fitting is made with 3/4″ pine. I didn’t use poplar here because I want some grain to show through the final finish.

10 wall detail not usedMy original idea was to continue the banding to mimic the doors. One thinner top band and one thicker lower band. But it made the room look too squatty, so I pitched this idea and the lumber I already cut. Another design faux pas.

11 wall panel cutsThe wood panels are cut for the field areas. Sometimes people use the drywall as the field, but I want a finish that shows the wood grain, so I used a 1/4″ birch ply panel.

12 wall finishedThe panel and battens in place. The white tub sits in front of this window so I wanted some contrast in this white room.

13 wall paintedI painted the wall with BM Shaker Gray with a Pearl finish. The paint color matched the grey veining in the porcelain tile border. The paint was thinned 5:1 with water and then hand sanded lightly to show some of the grain and texture. The wall was then roller painted with Verathane waterbase satin diamond clear to get a smooth finish with a little sheen.

So a little progress on the pretty side, not much, but I promise I’ll get to that in the next few months.



Master Tile Tales #2

Just a quick update and then off to another project to finish the outside before winter sets in.

1 before groutThe setters finished up the basket weave floor after several days. Little red spacers are used to keep the pieces aligned. The other red doodads are part of a tile leveling system to keep ‘lippage’ to a minimum.

2a showerHere’s the ‘hiccup’ part I mentioned in the previous post. We selected a darker grout for the shower and floor and made a sample to make sure of the color. But when the grout went in it was way too light.

2 shower insetHere’s the insert in the shower grouted. No basket weave pattern. I liked the grout in the shower, but the main floor looked like this too.  Little black squares on a white floor was not the effect I was looking for. But this looks cool in the shower.

3 grout colorSo before anything went in we had the tile guys out to regrout the floor inset. This was epoxy grout and hard as rocks, but the epoxy stain brought up the contrast to get the pattern to show.

4 vanity wallNow to get the vanity built to go between the cabinets.The bateau tub will go by the window.

5 windowAs well as the sink cabinets and set the toilet. But before that I have an Idea for the window wall – but it’s just an idea right now – subject to change.

6 showerThe good thing about the grout stain is it makes the floors look vintage and more in keeping with an 80 year old house. Most of the projects I do look a little ‘too perfect’ and look new. This floor will allow me to set the tone to add more texture and interest to this space, instead of the plain white pallet my wife prefers.I can now do a little more distressing and visual character building. Can you see the professional design side of me coming out here?

Sometimes mistakes are a good thing.

Master Bath Tile Tales #1

Well my fellow renovators I’ve finished the outside siding and am waiting for the gutters to be made before I do an exterior round up. So in the mean time I thought I’d start on the Master Bath on the second floor. It’s not done yet – but what else is new?

I must say I didn’t do this tile project – even though I bought a fancy tile saw. While I was siding the house two guys worked every day for three weeks to put the shower and floor together.These guys were pros – so if I did this you could add a couple months to the time line.

1 Kirdi Board Shower startThe shower is a 48″ X 72″ space. The walls are Kerdi Board and the floor is a traditional mud bed with Kerdi waterproofing.

2 in floor heat 1I screwed down another layer of 1/2″CDX plywood over the 3/4″ underlayment before adding a WarmWire in floor heat system. This is my 3rd in floor heat install and I used the wire instead of the mat and it went much better. Before the wires go down the plywood had to be primed for the self leveling concrete that goes over this.

3 in floor heat 2The wire heating elements are wrapped around metal cleats that are nailed to the floor. The wires can’t go under cabinets or tub or toilets, so proper spacing away from these is important.

4 ardex floorArdex Liquid Backerboard. is poured over the subfloor and heating wires. This floor was so wonky that it took 19 bags of this stuff. At about 50.00 a bag -it’s the price you pay to make an 80 year old house have a flat and level floor. And it had to be flat for the basket weave tile to lay right.

5 shower detailHere’s a shot of the back of the  shower. It has lots of angles and a basket weave insert in the wall. All the tile edges are bullnosed on site. Notice that they cut the tiles to wrap around the corner and keep the pattern. That’s why the pros are doing this job.

6 shower tileThe basket weave insert in the shower is marble, but all the field tile and floor is porcelain.

7 shower detailThe two Hansgrohe I-Box rough boxes have 3/4″ water supplies. The top one controls the two rain shower heads and the bottom one is for the sliding shower bar. I put in two separate niches because my wife seems to have a dozen bottles of shampoo.

8 shower detailThis niche is next to the door, so you don’t see this from the outside. Can’t have too many niches – I guess.

9 shower floorThe shower floor is the same porcelain tile in a 2″ mosaic. All tile in the shower is done in a matte finish to minimize water spots.

10 greenskinAfter the self leveling concrete a fracture membrane goes on. This is GreenSkin it’s used to minimize any fracturing or grout failure. It’ll add waterproofing too, as this is over the kitchen below.

11 Tile layoutAnd the puzzle begins. The border is a solid porcelain tile and the insert is a carrera marble basket weave. The bathroom is 9′ wide and 18′ long.

12 tile layoutThe tile is Atlas Concord Statuario Select 12″ X 24″ The inset is White and black Carrera marble mosaic basket weave.

13 Tile layoutThis is the vanity wall where my repurposed doors were made into cabinets.

So on we go – so much to do and so little time. Hang in there, we’ll finish something inside someday.




Master Bath Reno #10 time to move to another floor

So we’re stuck with a miss-cut door.Three out of four’s not bad – really?  So after a night of thinking about the problem I came up with a fairly simple fix.

1 door markI’ll need to cut this much off the top of the door – close to 1/2″. I’ll take the hinge plates mounted to the cabinet and move them up the same amount that I cut off the door.

2 glued on bottomThen we’ll take the cut piece from the top and glue and nail to the bottom. Then use a solvent based wood filler for the first coat.

3 vanity drywallWhile that’s setting up, we’ll add some drywall in the vanity space between the cabinets.

4 door sandedThen back to sand the the door joint.

5 door primedSome surface filler is applied and then the first primer coat goes on. Now I’m glad my wife wanted painted doors. It will get several more applications until the seam disappears.

6 vanity drywall cut outAnd while that’s getting finished we’ll add the electrical boxes for the sconces and cut the hole for the vanity cabinet. I’m getting to a stand still here – better go downstairs and start on another project.

7 fireplace cabinetsAnd this looks like a good candidate – the cabinets next to the fireplace.

Time to clear out another room and get to work… stick around we’ll finish something sooner or later.


Master Bath Reno #8

Well, it’s been a little while since my last post – lots happening, but short on time to report back to you, my bemused friends. As with every project in the house – I’ll be saying so long to the bathroom for a spell. There’s lots of other things to finish on the outside before winter – like side the house.

But for now, we’ll concentrate on this freestyle master bath design.

1 cabinet mountHere we start fastening the cabinets to the building – Since there is space between the cabinet back and the wall, we’ll use a ‘U’ shaped cleat to tie the two together.

2 vanity wall startThis will also serve as the base for the wall between the cabinets. I think I’ll put a vanity table there.

3 vanity wall finishThe wall is built with a space for a deep medicine cabinet – that will be the home of my wife’s girly lotions, makeup and stuff. If you notice, the cabinet shelf on the left is slightly lower than the one on the right. That’s because I’m taller and that’s supposed to be my cabinet – but whether I get a closet is highly suspect. 4 vanity mock upAs with everything in this project – we have to make some kind of mock-up to see if the design will work.

5 vanity cabinetI popped in one of the medicine cabinets I’m using above the sinks – the real one is called the Alfina Broadway single door 7″ deep cabinet. This one is a standard depth cabinet by the same maker..


6 old doorThen I had these old doors laying around from the Gallery renovation – so I cut them in two and will have to figure a way to make it look right.

7 double doorsI’m not certain how I’ll make these work, but my wife wants me to use them – so I guess we’ll all find out if, how, what and where this little adventure goes – sometime later this year.


Hang in there – we’re going the learn how to put limestone on an old house next.

Master Bath Reno #6 or Cabinets from Hell

1 cabinet startWe’re still in the bathroom – and I’m just about to embark on another freestyle design project – making a couple of closet cabinets. The theory is that these will flank the sit down vanity – so here’s how the design process works. First you need a couple of sticks – see above. This gives me the general space requirements.

2 the mock upThen we tinker with the actual construction details. Each of these pieces was carefully selected to represent some element of the cabinet. Pretty obvious, but I wanted to clarify to any newcomers to the Misadventures project.

OK, we’ve got the design, lets cut some wood!

3 side panelThe cabinets are going into the sloped part of the room, so I cut a cardboard template to get the proper angle and then cut all the sides from 3/4″ birch faced cabinet plywood. Here I’m set up to route the dadoes for the shelf.

4 first cabinetGetting ready for mistake #1 I put this together downstairs in the sunroom. Nice and light filled space – great for building things. But now I gotta drag it up to the second floor. Let’s see –  it’s got a full sheet of 3/4 plywood and add several more pounds for the 1/2″ plywood back. 2X4 base – that equals – something pretty heavy. So I put it on a moving blanket and drug it up the stairs by myself. Yikes!

8 shelved miscutOh, I forgot to mention that I cut the main shelves for both cabinets 1/4″ too short, so I had to add a 1/8″ Masonite ‘cap’ on each end of the shelf. I’m having a bad day at the table saw.

5 first installedHere’s number 1 in place and a lot of work was required to get it to this spot – besides dragging it up the stairs.

6 cabinet problemsBecause when I tried to put it in place – it was too tall. I thought about cutting off that pointy thing, but I might need it later.

7 base cutSo I cut the 2X4 base in two. I put the base on with screws – which I normally do – but for some reason I also glued it, really, really well. So out with the skill saw. Cut the base, slide the cabinet in place and put the cut pieces back together. A real PITA.

10 both in placeThe second one was built upstairs, the unglued base was unscrewed and the cabinet slid in and the base was reattached. Simple.

11 shim holderThe cases need to be spaced away from the wall to allow for the face frames to be added. I use a piece of shim stock attached at a 90 degree angle to hold the shim in place.

12 shim instalSlide the shim in over the guide and start your screws – remove the guide and tighten to the wall.

So the cabinets from hell are in place – let’s hope that’s the worst of it….

We’ll see.