"Hey dad, have you ever..."

Oh, my dad. Sweet sweet dad who doesn't want to disappoint his daughter. He didn't have the heart to put the kabosh on my "Hey dad? Have you ever laid tile in herringbone pattern? No? that's ok! It's going to look BEAUTIFUL!"

Seriously, dad did an amazing job. Not only did I have my heart set on a rather tricky pattern, but I had selected split-face natural slate tile, which means there's a natural variation in the thickness of each tile. You see, normally when you install tile, you smear thinset onto your substrate (floor, wall, etc), then use a notched trowel to drag lines back through it, leaving an even layer of thinset so all the tiles are all level with each other. Sounds simple enough, eh?

With my Slatey McSlaterson (it's late, I'm tired from renovating, ok?) dad had to backbutter (real term, stop giggling) EVERY TILE to make them level with each other. Otherwise, every time you ran to the loo you might jab your toe on a high tile...ouch. 

Not one to back down from a challenge, he did an awesome job! Look at this gorgeousness:

I gave dad the greenlight to change up the pattern in the shower pan to make it simpler to tile (in case this is your first rodeo, shower pans are gradually sloped to help water flow towards the drain. The slope adds another layer of challenge to tiling and can dictate tile size, pattern, etc.)

But look at him go! It came out even prettier than I imagined.

They flew through those last few rows and were even able to get the wall tile started for me before leaving on Thursday. This weekend we were on our own again with a new list of tasks ahead of us:

  • finish laying all the wall tile
  • grout the floor
  • grout the walls
  • demo the rest of the kitchen cabinets
  • sand/prime ceiling and new walls


We have walls!!!

Last Saturday had me up bright and early, heading to Wilson to rescue dad from a week of solitude working on this place. I got there about 9am, coffees in hand, ready to get to work! It had been a drizzly morning already with some pockets of heavy rain, but we hopped in Rosie and headed down the road to Lowe's to get our drywall and greenboard (which is actually purple?). Watching dad shop around at Lowes is like watching me at Lululemon...it was so fun to see him in his element! :) We lucked out and managed to get the truck loaded and home right between pockets of heavy rain, so we got all the boards inside the house without any problem. 

First up - the ceiling! We used green(purple)board for the ceiling and walls of the bathroom (save for the Kerdi board that's going in the shower) because of it's moisture resistance... and this stuff is a bit heavier than regular drywall. Normally dad uses a drywall lift to hold the board up in place for fastening, but we went olde school. Dad built a "deadman", basically a T shaped prop of 2x4s that held the ceiling up while we screwed it in place. The deadman, in addition to a little temporary ledge fastened along the edge of the wall, gave us enough support to tag-team holding/securing the boards in place.

After we got the ceiling boards up, we used a Roto Zip to cut perfectly-sized openings for the recessed lights and vent fan. One of us was a natural at this ;)

Once the ceiling was up, the walls were a breeze. Drywall is pretty simple to cut...measure with a T square, score the paper with a utility knife, bend and snap, then cut the back paper.

I'm not sure how much dad thought I'd want to work on Saturday, but after he asked, "ya done or do you wanna keep working?" and I enthusiastically replied "let's keep going!" we worked another few hours and got ALL the drywall hung.

Ah, the purple cave...

It's only a matter of time before we say goodthat hot water heater!

Below you can see the back bedroom...we moved this wall in about 8 inches to make the bathroom bigger. Even though it doesn't sound like a lot of space, trust me - it makes a huge difference!

Here's the biggest investment in the bathroom...our Schluter waterproofing system (ain't she fancy?!). Between the Kerdi board, shower pan, curbs, Kerdi band (not pictured), and drain system, it cost about as much as our vanity + sink put together. It's definitely worth the investment though. The system is WAY easier than a mortar-bed shower system to install, saving dad about 3 days back-breaking work, and that was worth the cost alone. Plus we have the piece of mind that we won't have water issues. And as our Louisianan home inspector Burwell put it, "watah is the cansah of a hauz".

One more glamour shot for good measure.

Here you see my dad killin' it, aka installing Kerdi Band to all the seams and joints with "unmodified thinset mortar" (sorry, geeky inside joke). Hard to believe this is the LESS labor instensive option. Way to go dad!

On Sunday my Uncle Jim flew in to lend dad a hand for his second week of work. When I got back to the house on Tuesday night after work, Uncle Jim had mudded & taped all the new walls while dad started laying the floor tile. Oh, that floor tile! ...more on that later.

Bathroom Progress

I finally got back to the house last night to drop our friend's well-loved & trusty pickup truck "Rosie" off to dad. Oh Rosie, such a gem! She hadn't seen the road in a while so it took a little sweet talk and a looonnnngggg battery jump but we finally got her running. After a little creative use of "natural camo" aka mud (not telling why) she was ready for the road! Dad needed the truck to get drywall home safely without bowing or otherwise damaging the sheets.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I got in the house!

Aside from a few picture texts from dad, I hadn't see the bathroom since Monday and I could hardly believe the progress!  It basically feels like Christmas morning except instead of a new bike you get a new bathroom. #adulting

Giant old linen closet that opened to the hallway.

Giant old linen closet that opened to the hallway.

Can you hear the angels singing?

Can you hear the angels singing?

As you can see in the above photo, we demolished the former linen closet to make more space in the bathroom. See how the old bathroom entry was recessed from the linen closet? We brought that bathroom wall forward to be flush with the old linen closet, gaining more valuable space inside the bathroom. We choose to move the bathroom door to the right so we could accommodate a double vanity. While dad was reframing he made the doorway bigger, and you would NOT BELIEVE how the room feels bigger by having the doorway widened! Before, you were squeezing through a narrow door so in your mind you thought "this is a tinnyyy space" but the new wide door is all like:

I hurried to take photos of the gorgeous new plumbing (#adulting) before the walls get closed up...and I'm really grateful that dad opened up the vanity wall in the first place because he found a floating splice.  I mean, it's no wall pants, but it was definitely unsafe and I'm thankful it's rewired.

I'm no electrician but that ish is not up to code.

I'm no electrician but that ish is not up to code.

Look at this plumbing! His & Hers hot and cold water, that's true love.

New shower lines ready to go. Dad made the great call to make the shower head plenty high enough for us tall folk.


Today's a big day in that Kerdi Board and drywall are going in, so next time I see this place it will be all closed up and feeling like an actual room! We cannot be more grateful for all that dad has done! Without his help we'd be up the creek without a paddle to put it mildly. 

Happy Friday ya'll!