First rule of remodeling an older home

The first rule of remodeling an older home is once you start to replace one thing, you find at least 2 more that need replacing. And so goes the bathroom remodel…

Once we rebuilt the wall behind the shower, we needed to finish the small section of subfloor around the toilet. Given the look of the toilet design we thought it might have been there since the 1930s. Once we started to remove it, the toilet appeared to be welded to its stand. It took an hour to get the thing removed.

Took the toilet outside on the lawn and finished the subfloor. Now time for a new seal and reinstall the toilet. I know you must be asking why are you keeping an 80 year old toilet. Well the design was cool and we wanted to keep something in the new bathroom from the old one. But alas, not to be.

When Steve picked up the toilet to carry it back inside to reinstall, the base literally cracked in two. Now we have no shower, sink or toilet. Yikes.

Off we go to the local plumbing store. Found a new toilet and took the better part of the day installing it. We also ran all new plumbing to the toilet. The rest of the shower wall install had to wait but we do have a lovely new toilet, plumbing and subfloor. 2 more projects than the subfloor so the 1st rule of remodeling applies.

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A simple shower install…

Once we removed the tub and shower surround, we planned on simply installing a new shower pan and putting up hardiboards to tile. Well as most best laid plans this one did not go as planned. Once we opened up the walls we discovered serious water and pest damage. A simple shower install turned into a four day rebuild of the entire side of the house down to the concrete foundation.

We decided to rebuild the beams, sub-floor and full dimension walls. This took considerable time but proved to be a smart move. Now we have a totally new structure to place our shower. We also installed a new window. Surprise find was a 1953 Oregonian under the cabinet behind the shower. Featured article on Oregon State Fair and modern house features-how ironic is that!

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The Bathroom Renovation Gets Real

Well, so far our renovation projects have been challenging but usually went as expected. Not so much with the bathroom renovation/new shower install.

We had been hesitate to take out the old bathtub/shower surround because then we would have no where to shower. July, hot, dirty – you get the picture.

But we knew we could not put in a new shower if we didn’t take out the old so Steve began bashing out the 50 year old cast iron bathtub on the morning of July 5th. What should have been an hour project turned into an 1/2 day one because the thing would not break into small pieces. We ended up hauling the bigger pieces out to the truck ourselves. Literally the heaviest thing I have ever helped carry- must have weighed 250 pounds- and it was just 1/3 of tub!

Thinking this project was going to be a breeze, I decide to have a garage sale to get rid of a few things. Steve gets the bathtub out finally and decides to take the metal tub to the scrap guy down the street to recycle it. He goes by himself and I stay behind to do the garage sale.

We both know how heavy the 1/3 size of the tub was when we loaded it into the back of the truck. I told Steve to tie it down just to be sure. He says “there is no way that thing is moving” and off he goes.

Well you can guess what happened next- Steve goes through an intersection in the middle of our small town, hits a bump and the big piece of the tub goes flying out in the middle of the street. Traffic is stopped and he has no choice but to lift the thing back into the truck by himself. I have no idea how he did it- he is very strong but I think adrenaline must have kicked in. I wish this was the only crazy thing that happened with the shower install, but more to come on that later…

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Friday Furniture DIY

Our first attempt at making furniture began with a repurpose of an antique piece and some salvaged wood. Many years ago I had bought a trundle farm table at an antique shop. The base was very old but someone had replaced the top with some pine boards. Not knowing much about wood, I put verathane on the surface of the unfinished wood. This gave it a nice shine and protected the wood but it yellowed over the years and pine is very soft- not a good combination for a sturdy kitchen table.

I always wanted to repurpose the trundle base because it was old and sturdy. Then last year in one of our many demolitions of the beach cottage, we found several beautiful 100 year old fir boards in a hall closet we tore out to open up the living room. We had 1/2 plank boards that were over 6 feet long in prime condition. My husband suggested we try them on the trundle base to make a new table.

We began by taking off the old base. Then we cut the fir planks to fit the top of the table base. Given these board are 100 years old and had been standing up right for all that time, they fit together amazing well. We next affixed the boards to a piece of plywood for stability and attached all to the base.

Once the boards were in place, we sanded the surface and cleaned it well. Next came multiple coats of clear verathane. The wood took the stain well and I think the results were gorgeous. This project encouraged us to try more furniture DIY projects which I will be highlighting every Friday.

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Our biggest renovation so far…The bathroom

When we bought the beach house we painted white paint everywhere and made some basic repairs to weather proof the house. Major renovations were not considered because we were raising our family and had other priorities. Now that we are empty nesters and want to use the beach house as our permanent home, we decided to start a renovation on the bathroom.

The bathroom looked like a classic 1950’s bathroom when we bought the house. It had a drop down ceiling with a circular heater. The toilet and tub both looked like 1930’s design. We used this functioning bathroom for 10 years.

In the summer of 2013 we decided to open up the ceiling in hopes of making the space larger. We were happily surprised to find a 14 foot ceiling open to the attic. This started our year long journey to remodel the bathroom into a modern spa like bathroom with a nod to the 1915 heritage of the home.

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Smoked Oysters- menu of the week

salvagebythesea

With all the salvaging and remodeling, we like to treat ourselves to some of the wonderful seafood from The Pacific Ocean and nearby Willapa Bay. Our house is situated on the Long Beach peninsula which is a long strip of land surrounded by salt and fresh water similar to Long Island, NY. Last night we made smoked oysters by cooking them on direct heat then popping open the shells with one side placed on the indirect heat for several hours of smoke. The combination of Alder and mesquite wood was fabulous as was the combination of Louisiana hot sauce and melted butter for dip! Great recovery from a long day of DIY.

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Smoked Oysters- menu of the week

With all the salvaging and remodeling, we like to treat ourselves to some of the wonderful seafood from The Pacific Ocean and nearby Willapa Bay. Our house is situated on the Long Beach peninsula which is a long strip of land surrounded by salt and fresh water similar to Long Island, NY. Last night we made smoked oysters by cooking them on direct heat then popping open the shells with one side placed on the indirect heat for several hours of smoke. The combination of Alder and mesquite wood was fabulous as was the combination of Louisiana hot sauce and melted butter for dip! Great recovery from a long day of DIY.

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