Mudroom Details – it’s the little things

Greetings and salutations my fellow renovators. Sorry for the late posting, it’s just that the things I’m working on are not so photogenic. I did get around to finishing up most of the mudroom.

These are the three steps that go from the mudroom into the kitchen. You can see the old brick foundation and original floor framing members. I have a toe kick installed for a HVAC vent.

Adding the risers and cut out the vent opening. This is a 2 1/2″ X 14″ toe kick vent.

The door to the right goes to the woman cave. The textured glass lets more light in the stairwell. It matches all the other glass doors.Up the steps to the kitchen you see that pesky shoe storage bench and coat hooks.

I am obsessed with little details. I like everything to be precise and finished. Here I milled small trim pieces to finish off the tile edges. The thin strip under the window ledge is made from of PVC, to make sure there’s no water damage from a wet counter top.

Instead of getting an expensive plugmold power strip. I cut a piece of wood at an angle and used this power strip. At 17.00 it’s a lot cheaper.

The Leland Single Handle faucet works well.  The small soap pump and the electronic garbage disposal switch has an auto turn off after 20 seconds.

I used very simple polished chrome knobs on all of the cabinets. These were 2.80 at Menards.

So there you have it – a nearly finished mud room. Sure I started building it in 2010, but hey, a guy has to take his time.

I promise better posts in the future. We’re just getting started.


OK, Now I’m in the Mudroom

How about this? Two posts in one day? Well,this one will get me updated to real time – as in this morning. I was happily painting cabinet doors at 3:30am today, and got most of the Mudroom projects completed – so why not get this post out of the way.

One item added was a rail and coat hooks above the shoe storage bench.

We left the mudroom like this for the past few years. Looks like we need to make some cabinet doors.

First things first. We have to clean this place up! It’s a little tricky, so I decided to make another half-a**ed scaffold. No issue with falling off and being wheelchair bound this time. It was the only way to get to the tops of the cabinets and window without risking breaking the granite counters.

I used a small scale white subway tile for the back splash.

The left side has an electrical feed for a receptacle. This whole circuit is on a gfci line as required by code.

I used a light silver grout to match the lighter tones of the granite.

I cut an angled block to mount the 4 socket receptacle – the angle makes it easy to plug in appliances or whatever. I didn’t like those exposed screws used to mount the power strip.

So I made a couple of covers that fit over the mounting tabs to make it look more built in.

Now we get out the stile and rail router bits to make the cabinet doors.

The first fitting of the doors. I made them inset, like the rest of the cabinets I’ve made. All of the trim around the tile and windows was fabricated and finished. The cabinet doors are 40″ tall, so they looked a little bland.

So I took some inspiration from the original cabinet doors that flank the living room fireplace. I wanted to avoid glass doors in the mudroom, as I didn’t want to see boxes of laundry detergent every time I walked in the room.

So I made a mock up of the same design to see if it would work as an overlay. OK

While I was at it I made a pair of plain shaker doors for the sink base cabinet.

So I painted the doors and got them back on their hinges by 8:00am this morning.

I need some doorknobs. Hang in there – more to come. But not today.


Still Hanging in the Kitchen – Shoe Storage

My original plans were to breeze through the kitchen area and march right upstairs to get this place done. But sometimes my intentions and my “what if” thought process do battle – and usually the thought process wins.

Like This Time

The main wall is paneled and painted and the clear coats are on – great. But down at the end where the mud room is I have a little alcove area when you come up three steps to enter into the kitchen.Here’s that space a long time ago.The little alcove area is about 12″ deep. My original intention was to put a little table there and call it a day. But then I thought “What will I do with my wife’s gazillion shoes?” I have two pair – my lucky ones you have already seen and one other pair. But my wife on the other hand has ‘countless’ numbers of shoes that all look the same to me and pile up at the back door. We’ve got to find a way to hide some of them.


We’ll think about what we’ll do about the shoe problem, but first I’ll finish this storage area that is 3’X3’X8′. This space is over the basement stairs. I’ll make a pantry or something out of it. First we gotta finish the drywall and paint.

Done – and the casing is added around the opening. I intend to make a pair of doors for this.

After a couple days of research and head scratching, I came up  with this idea. A shoe storage bench. I found the pivoting shoe caddy brackets at Lee Valley Tools. This thing was hard to get right. The sides are 3/4″ plywood and the other pieces are 1/2″ plywood. Stuff I had laying around already. I’ve made up the basic carcass – and my shoes fit. (That’s my other pair).

I then made a front face frame from 3/4″ poplar and an inset of 1/2″ plywood.

The fitting is pretty finicky, but I got it to work. That’s another pair of pivot hinges- just in case I messed up the first pair. They’re made from ABS plastic – I wanted something more substantial, but couldn’t find anything. I thought if these broke I could use the second pair as a pattern and make a set out of wood.

My idea was to incorporate this into a bench. You can sit and take your shoes off and have a place to put them.

I made this so that it can be removed for the hardwood floor to be installed. You never know, I might want that table back as I originally intended.A little more adjustments and it works as intended. It holds 18 pairs of shoes. I hope she doesn’t need any more than that at the back door.

Now we’ll take a break and work on the chalkboard. Here’s the frame I made from an old 2X4 that was removed during renovation. I looked around for a piece of real slate to use, but couldn’t find any.

So I went out to the garage and cut a piece of cement board and gave it a few coats of chalkboard paint.

I’ll add a little picture light and a chalk ledge for this when we get closer to the finish.

Since I now had a can of chalkboard paint, I thought I might as well make this whole wall a chalkboard as well. At least I can doodle while the bread’s in the oven.

And I added another chalkboard painted area above the bench. We’ll just keep going – and hope the “What if” thoughts stay away until we get upstairs.

Hang in there, we’ll get to the pretty parts one day.




I’m Back! well, sort of…

OK – I’ve had enough of this medically induced vacation from the Misadventures in Remodeling blog. Did you think I would give up? Oh, no I’m too foolish to do a sensible thing like that – nope I’m gonna get this place finished if it kills me. Let me rephrase that (as it almost did kill me) – I will do the best I can as long as the renovation Gods will allow. Five surgeries later I walk like an impaired penguin – and going up a ladder is one half step at a time – I still have one good leg, so why not? It’s been seven months since I have been able to walk into this place – it’s like a time capsule left just the way it was in June of last year.

So let’s get busy!

Let’s start on the ground first, shall we?Mud RoomHere’s the mud room – the washer was pulled out in the middle of the room while I fiddled with getting hoses and other parts for the Floodstop system to prevent water leaks from a failed washing machine hose. Since the shut off valves for the washer and steam dryer are not accessible, I have an additional set of shut off valves in the basement – which is good – but then it’s kind of a pain to go downstairs and shut them off after every use, so I decided to add a Floodstop system.

FloodstopThe system consists of two servo motor valves that close in the event of a water leak.

Servo Valves FloodstopThe motorized valves are connected to the hot & cold supplies. Originally the steam dryer water supply was plumbed under the sink, but that wouldn’t allow leak protection. I had to put a ‘y’ on the cold supply to split the water supply to the dryer.

Floor sensorFloor sensors are placed on the floor under the machines and if they detect water they automatically shut the supply valves.

Floodstop ControlThe control is mounted where you can reset or manually control the valves. Here it’s mounted under my mudroom sink cabinet.

Floodstop sensor wireSince there is a water supply to the steam dryer, I ran a sensor under the dryer too. The cabinet floor will conceal the wires. I thought this would be a pretty safe project, being on the floor – but I ended up hurting my leg and back to the doctor I went.

But a couple of days later it’s ladder time! All with the blessings of my doctors who said “If you can do it – then do it”. OK.

Roll insulationNow back to the sunroom. Ceiling insulation time. I had placed ventilation chutes and one layer of unfaced R19 fiberglass in the rafter bays. I couldn’t  find a thicker r-value insulation in my area so I decided to add another r-13 fiberglass layer – the problem is no one stocks unfaced 23.5″ wide R-13 – so I had to get the faced type.

Removing paper from insullation

Now you have to be very careful not to create a ‘moisture sandwich” (two vapor barriers) within the same space. I had to peel the paper (the vapor barrier) off this second layer because of the foam insulation that will be going over this. Also, I needed to make this layer a little thinner because my rafters are 2X10 and the effective thickness of insulation should be around 8″ thick.

Insullation going upHere you can see the second layer of insulation going in. The straps are used to hold it in place.

Foam board insullationThis is foil-faced 3/4″ foamboard going over the unfaced fiberglass. The foil face goes towards the exterior to act as a radiant barrier. The foamboard acts as the vapor barrier, that’s why the fiberglass paper had to be removed.

That’s it for now – not exciting, nor pretty stuff – but we’ll get there.

Renovation Gods willing.

The Plan – Yep, got a plan

I suppose by now those that follow this little conversation have noticed that this is just a little larger project than a floor covering change out and a new coat of paint. No, this is an epic spruce-up. Actually a complete house rebuild from the inside out. Difficult? Very – expensive – very. But it’s a hobby, what can I say.

I just wanted to finally post what we started with and where we plan to go – so here’s the plan.

This is where we started – typical 1930’s home. The previous owners had taken the wall out partially from the kitchen to the dining area and put a peninsula there. The back entrance was typical with a 3′ landing inside the door with a door to the basement and 2 steps up to the kitchen. The central stair area had 4 doors, with a small coat closet. You’ve seen the bathroom renovation on this floor. I removed the coat closet to make a space for the toilet. The porch was poured concrete with lots of wood and foundation problems, as we are posting about now.

Here’s where we’re going. The Mudroom and the Sunroom addition form a ‘U’ shaped area for the patio. I’m sure my wife will use the sunroom and patio most of the time. It allows a path from the kitchen to the outside. The sunroom is open to the kitchen which will allow an expanded area for dining with large groups. The kitchen is a type of open galley style with the central island of 14′ with seating at the end.  Lots of windows in the house.The wall was removed between the living room and kitchen area to improve the sight lines through the whole space.

So now we have the plan, I just have to build it – oh, and don’t forget the upstairs master bedroom and bath.

Boy, I gotta get back to work. Till next time.

6th and Final Mudroom Build…for now.

I know those that follow this little diddy might think that I pooped out on this little renovation project. Au contraire my friends. I’ve been working like a maniac to get some things buttoned up for the winter. You’ll see in some of the following posts. One thing I have yet to do is rent the 24′ box truck to drive up to Shoals Indiana and pick up 10,000 pounds of Indiana limestone to jazz up a couple of walls on this place. I didn’t tell you that? Oh, I’m stripping all of the aluminum siding off the house and putting up cement siding and limestone. Crazy? You bet. Why, here’s a little sneak peak – to let you know I haven’t become a slacker.

Now where were we – oh, the Mudroom.

Here we are ready for the new counters. Everything is finally in place. Last time that sink base comes out.

Here’s the start of the counter install. I chose a white cashmere granite. It picks up the tones in the floor and works well with the wall colors. The wood supports for the counters are screwed to the studs behind and on the sides of the appliances. I used a laser level to get a good straight line for the supports.

Here are the workers from Cutting Edge Granite. Gerald Embry over there is great to work with. These guys fabricated the sink cut out twice. I was not aware that undermount sinks usually leave the lip of the sink exposed under the counter. I didn’t like this, and they cut another smaller opening for the sink for no additional charge.

Here the counters are in place. The sink base front is painted ceiling white – it looks a little peach against the bright white appliances. I’ll paint it white when I finish the doors.

Here’s the Delta Leyland Faucet added. I wanted to drop the sink top down to a normal level of 36″, as the tops of the washer and dryer are 40″ from the floor. This was just too tall for my wife to use and I didn’t want to have to integrate a step drawer in the bottom of the sink cabinet.

Here’s a close up of the sink, faucet, soap dispenser and fiber optic garbage disposal switch. I went with the fiber optic switch because of the simple interface and the fact that one touch lets the disposer run for twenty seconds and then automatically shuts off.

This is a  Kraus 23″ Sink This is a 16 gauge stainless steel sink. Remember the larger the number the thinner the metal, so many sinks are now made 20 gauge, so this dude is very, very sturdy. It’s 10″ deep, so it has some room. I didn’t go with a really deep laundry sink because I think my wife will use this to clean garden vegetables more than she will use it for laundry. Using the 10″ sink allowed me to add the garbage disposal, so when she cuts roots and pre-preps the vegetables the disposal will come in handy.

OK – we’ll leave this mudroom for awhile. We’ll revisit when I have time to make the doors for the upper and sink cabinets.

But we still have that sunroom foundation drama to cover – so that’s up next.Then there’s building the sunroom – adding 250 pound windows, a interior stair tear out and rebuild. A master bath, closet, and bedroom renovation. A full exterior renovation including that limestone previously mentioned.And some other stuff.

Gee, I hope all of you are still alive by the time I finish these posts.

Stay tuned…


Mudroom Build – 5 and counting

Well, fellow renovators and bystanders – sorry for the delay. Seems like the time has been slipping away – so let’s get back and update the old mudroom. It’s still not finished, waiting for me to get the routers out and make some cabinet doors. All in due time.

Speaking of cabinets…

As I was posting the last installment of this blog I realized that the dryer has a steam feature. Ding, ding! Just registered then that I have to have access to be able to use such a feature – as in you have to get a hose connection to the dryer.

So out comes the cabinet again and a new hole was cut so that now I can noodle a hose to that nifty steam feature. Dang that dryer – first a side vent and now this.

So about this time a box arrives from Restoration Hardware.

I got this far…

When I realized that the ceiling electrical box will need to be changed.

Double dang.

So out comes the box, the trim blocks and other already painted stuff.

No one said this was gonna be easy all the time.

I chose this 14″ Clemson Double Pendant in polished nickel from Restoration Hardware. I like this because it has a Holophane type of shade -allowing my bead board trim to get a little light.

Here I have the lights hung and all the trim painted and back in place, ready to test.

Looks like I’ve got lights! And no one was electrocuted – yes!

The over the sink light is from Rejuvenation. It’s called the Halfway. This one is in Polished Nickel and a frosted ribbed shade.

Next post we’ll get some counters on top and other minor things. Then it’s off to the Sunroom for awhile.

Come keep me company.

The Mudroom Build – Fourth in a Series

So we’re marching right a long – things are pretty much going as planned, but of course we don’t live in a perfect world.

At the conclusion of the last post I noted that there was something that just didn’t go right.

It’s that dang in-floor heat mat.

In the bathroom I poured a floor leveler called Liquid Backer Board. This stuff is great for wood or concrete sub-floors. The bathroom floor was a little less than flat, so it worked like a charm. This mudroom floor, however was flat and level – no need to the Backer Board I thought. The Suntouch mat instructions say you can just tile right over it with your thin-set  – just use a plastic trowel and don’t nick the heating wires. No problem.

But there is a problem.

Not with nicking wires but with the voids left by the thin-set and the mesh. The Backer Board is very liquid and when poured over the heating mats it gets into every void and makes a very strong, monolithic surface for the tile. The thin-set, on the other hand has to have some body to it – you can’t tile with soupy mud, so there will be tiny (or not so tiny) voids with the stiff mesh. Perhaps that’s not a problem for many, but the mud room takes a lot of traffic. Along the wall, there are two tiles with hairline cracks where the electrician’s ladder caused a fracture. Also, the lippage (uneven tile surface) is more than I like. Again, it’s difficult to level because of the mesh wanting to suck the tile down in some places and push it up in others.  I’m no tile expert, but I have tiled several rooms and this mudroom floor is the worst I’ve done. Francia says it looks fine. She is so kind sometimes.

Oh, if I could go back – I’d never, never tile over a heat mat without using a pourable liquid leveler. I may tear the whole thing out and do it again before I’m done.

But moving on…

Tiling was finished up to cover the whole floor. I used porcelain tiles here. They were originally meant for the bathroom, but found better ones.

This is the trim details for the basement door and the return air vent. I used a wood vent instead of one of those stamped metal dudes. It’s screwed in with 4 wood plugs in the corners if I ever need to remove it for cleaning. It is a grille design that will match the refrigerator grille. Both will be visible as you enter towards the kitchen.  Obsessed with pre- visualization, don’t you think?

Here is the start of the wainscoting detail by the back door. I used a Plaspro fiberglass door with a composite and aluminum frame to keep the maintenance low. There’s also a sill pan under to keep it watertight.

This is the wainscoting for the step side. In a small room I like to make the wainscoting asymmetrical to the room – not the same all around. So the step wall is taller. The top trim boards are also wider to keep the taller panel to scale. This way when you ascend the stairs to the kitchen the wall has some mass and detail.

Here is the ironing center door trim detail. This is an Iron Away A42 Ironing Center. It is a good design and folds out and swivels.  It also has a place to plug in the iron and store it as well. The placement works out well, as there is plenty of room to go up the stairs with the board out. I like the unit, but the door is veneered MDF. It has a little warp to it and the piano hinge was poor quality. I used some thin trim stock to create the same shaker door design that will be on the cabinet doors. I’ll make another door at a later time. Maybe one with a black or white  board in the top portion

The Maytag washer & dryer. We have a new set at our house now, but they are top loading. Not practical with the layout in this space – since the counters go over these things. Freestyle design has it’s consequences.

Of course I had to make it more difficult. I wanted a side venting dryer – to keep the dryer closer to the back wall. Two appliance stores said it couldn’t be done. “Well the manual shows it can be” nope – “well why is there a vent punch out on the side?” that’s for the models without the steam feature “The dryer has a steam feature?” yep. Here talk to the appliance service company. They gave me the same story – can’t be done.

So get out the tools.

Short story. It can be done.

But be careful what you wish for.

So the sink cabinet I’m building will have to have some fancy doodling to make servicing the dryer possible – there’s no way to remove the dryer once the granite counters go on top. What was I thinking? I would have rather had the vent in the back and sit out a couple more inches. But I’m not taking the dryer apart again.

So I reworked the cabinet so that the bottom side piece could be removed and the front face frame would come off – allowing the dryer with that pesky side vent to slide right out.

Sometimes I just gotta think these things out before I start building.

I’ll never learn.

Stick around. More to come.

Mudroom build part 3

So we’re now stuck with some blazing yellow green – ‘Lemon Pie’ wall paint as Meghan calls it. I gotta cover some of this stuff up or I’ll be blinded by the sunlight coming through all those windows.

This is the SW Springtime. I’ll be able to tone it down a little – trust me.

The little gizmo just to the left and above the center window is a mechanical vent for the plumbing. I didn’t want to run a vent stack through the roof, or find a way to get it there with the vaulted ceiling. So, I’ll have to make something to hide this little eyesore. It has to be open and accessible in case it needs to be serviced or replaced.

Here you can see the boxes for two cabinets. As usual, I just put something up and see if it sticks works. This is the first step to hide that vent. Also, you may have noticed the new stripe of drywall that’s missing. Well, I decided it would be hard for my tiny wife Francia to lean over the counter (imaginary for now) and turn off the sink light. So I moved it over to the door wall. Another freestyle design faux pas.

I’ve got the ceiling trim details worked out on the bead board ceiling. The center block with the wires is for the pendant lamp that will go there.

Drywall is being patched. You can see the start of the light bridge that joins the two cabinets. I wanted something that made the back wall a cohesive element. And see that the vent is now hidden behind the top molding base flat stock element.

You can see the crown molding being added as well as the center block for the sink light. In the foreground you can see the start of the built in ironing center. My wife didn’t know what that thing was.

Here’s a closeup of the lighting block and molding details. No wires are visible to this light. I built a chase to run the conduit between cabinet panels, so everything is covered. This is one of my favorite details in this room.

This shows the crown molding on the cabinets with the band stock that gives the tops of the cabinets some mass. It’s needed in a tall thin room like this.

Here’s Francia pretending to be very tiny.  Actually she’s standing (squatting) on the 1/4″ cork insulation that is recommended for in floor heat on concrete slab foundations.

The Suntouch in floor heat is going down. Same as used in the bathroom, it’s harder to install but has no emf radiation.

And now you see the start of my biggest mistake on this project so far.

Stay tuned – I’ll tell you why in the next post.

Mudroom Build Part 2

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to update this little story. Things have been, well just a little busy. The sunroom renovation is now under roof, anticipating quite a bit of rain for the next few days. There’s lots to tell about foundations and a 20 foot steel beam – but we’ll leave that for another post.

Now let’s continue the mudroom build.

Here we have the windows installed. I used Marvin Ultimate double hung windows here. This is a traffic area outside – I used the double hung windows instead of casements to keep people (myself included) from running into open windows.

Here are the framing details for the basement door and entrance into the kitchen. The basement door shown is just a stand in – I’ll use the same type of door I used in the bathroom. It will have obscure glass instead of clear.  Above the door is an opening for a cold air return for the HVAC system. Typically you don’t have returns in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms, but due to the volume of this space, it was an option. So of course I built one.

The plumbing is in place. Because I plan on having a counter over the top of the washer and dryer, I added an extra pair of water shut offs in the basement. If (if ever) I went on vacation there would be no way to reach the shut offs in the laundry box once the washer is in place.

The insulation is going in. I used unfaced fiberglass bat insulation with a rating of R-25 and a 3/4″ layer of foil faced foam under that for the ceiling. Side walls are faced fiberglass R-19

Drywall in. I used scaffolding for the ceiling. But I tell you – 5/8″ Firecheck type X drywall is pretty heavy stuff. It’s the last time I hang a ceiling without some help.

Here’s a better view of how the basement and back door are integrated into the space.

I’m trying to figure out the trim for the octagonal window. Since a 4 corner window would have 4 cuts at 45 degrees – an 8 corner window would have a 22.5 degree cut. Pretty simple.

Starting the window trim. I use furniture grade poplar – it’s a little more expensive, but it sure makes trim work much easier.

I decided to make the ceiling details using 3/4″ bead board.  Well, we couldn’t make this project  that easy, could we?

Oh, I can make it even more of a challenge. I want to make the ceiling bead boards seamless. I had to bend the 12 1/2′ foot boards up over the roof collar ties. The notches for the collar ties had to be cut in place because if the notches were cut before bowing them enough to get in place they would just snap in two. You can see the boards laying on top of the ties ready to be notched.

Bead board in place and in the process of wrapping the collar ties to give them a more box beam look.

Time to add a little color. This is SW Springtime. It seemed overwhelming to me at first. I called in Francia who said she loved it. I think you’ll see that it does work when I build the cabinets in and add the wainscoting . I hate second guessing myself. Francia to the rescue again.

More to come.