Tag Archives: construction

Shower Removal 

On Saturday I am going to be tearing out our old shower. It is the last part of the bathroom that has the original tile, the tile is probably over 60 years old. While it is good to use old things, this tile needs to go. Some of the tiles on the floor of the shower are cracked, and it is impossible to keep all the grout clean. 

The bathroom has a shower stall and a separate bathtub. I have already turned the bathtub into a shower reusing the original metal tub. So now it is time to do something else with the shower space. 

I am going to be building shelves in the showers location. The spot is about 38 inches deep which is to big for shelves. So, I am going to build shelves about 19 inches deep in the bathroom. Behind the bathroom is a blank wall in the area we are using as an office. At some point I am going to put a hole in the office wall and build a built in shelf backed up to the bathroom shelf. 

My only dilemma is how to build the shelves. Do I want to do any drywall or just attach plywood to the studs directly? Using only plywood means I will have more space on my shelves. I am trying to figure out if there is a downside to not using the drywall that I am not seeing. 


Our Bathroom Remodel – Part 2 – Partial Materials list

Note: This is basically a reblog of a post over on our old blog at another site. Since I already wrote it, I might as well use it!


Our first major remodeling project is our one bathroom.   We are a family of seven so you can imagine the chaos in this one bathroom in the mornings and at bedtime.  The bathroom is a good size at about 70 square feet but it only has one sink, which makes for a few fights at teeth brushing time!

Josh and I make decisions on the materials for the bathroom together but I am the one who usually finds the options we have and brings those options to him.  We splurge on a few things (like the mosaic tile backsplash) and we go the less expensive route on others.  I thought I would post a few of the materials that we have found along the way.

Our first big purchase was our vanity countertop.  We wanted to expand from one sink to two sinks so that we could have more than two children brushing teeth at a time.  We also wanted vessel sinks, which are surprisingly hard to find at the store.  Even more difficult was finding a vanity or vanity top to fit those vessel sinks!

I think we went to four different places before we were able to figure out how to get the countertop we wanted.  Both Home Depot and Lowe’s were too expensive for the semi-custom vanity top we needed. It would have been over $1000 and probably wouldn’t have worked with the sinks we wanted. The custom order/install department at these places also would not do any jobs that were less than 25 square feet.  We didn’t want a completely new vanity, which probably would have been the easiest way to go.  This also would have cost over $1,000.  Our current vanity is real hardwood and we didn’t want to get rid of it. Josh was planning on refinishing it.

Cost of refinishing the vanity: $50 plus about 25 million hours of labor.  Okay, it’s not that much time but poor Josh has spent a lot of time refinishing the vanity, and he still isn’t totally done with it!

We were able to go to a place on Miramar Road called Stoneville USA that sells granite slabs and tile.  Slab yards are a fun place!  Josh and I kept getting distracted by the pretty granite slabs even though we knew they would be way too expensive and too much material for our little 5′ x 3′ countertop.  At first, we were there to look into using tile for the countertop instead of a slab.  I wasn’t too thrilled about tile for the counter but was willing to consider it. We were able to talk to a sales rep there and he suggested going with a prefabricated countertop and having a fabricator cut it down to the size we needed.  It was either that or calling around to fabricators to see if they had any slab remnants we could buy and use, which would have taken a lot of time.  So he took us to look at the prefabricated countertops and we found one that was probably the closest to what we wanted, a white engineered quartz.

Cost for prefabricated quartz countertop – $345

Cost estimate for fabrication (cut it down to size and drill holes for faucet and sink, also may include installation)- $300


We ended up finding our vessel sinks online at Home Depot.  Shipping was free which was a big plus!  We also were able to bundle our sinks, faucets, and pop-up drains together.  Once Josh told me he wanted vessel sinks, I was pretty adamant that they had to be square.  I guess this was nitpicky but there was something about the rounded squares and rectangles and sloped walls of the others that irked me.  We may end up going with grid drains though for the sinks because the pop-up drains that came with the sinks are monsters!  We would be left with only two usable drawers in the vanity because the pipes for the drains are so long.

Cost for two square 15″x15″ sinks, two single-handle faucets, and two pop-up drains – about $500


Finding the right backsplash took me a while.  Finally, I found this one at the Lowe’s website.  It looked pretty online and looked even prettier in person.  We started out buying 12 of these to start.  We may have to buy more as we find areas to use them.  For sure, we are using them as the entire backplash above the countertop.

Cost for twelve 12″x12″ pieces of mosaic tile – about $180

Note: We ended up not going with this mosaic tile because it didn’t match the paint color we put on the walls.


We also needed to change the lighting in the bathroom.  Before the remodel, there was a ceiling box that made no sense containing a light fixture that was falling apart.  Thanks to my FIL and Josh, the ceiling box and ugly old light fixture are gone and replaced with an open space to the attic and two pendant lights.  The open space will soon be covered by sheetrock.

Josh was also able to replace the very tired old ceiling light with this new one.  It supposedly won’t need to be replaced for 32 years since it uses an LED bulb.  We’ll see!

Cost for new lighting – about $180 

I actually bought a 10 pack of these at Dixieline.  I’m so glad I did and I love them!  I tried out all the ones they had on display to see how they would feel.  Why I picked this one:  Brushed nickel finish, not rounded (kind of sticking with the square shape except for in the lighting), easy to pull open, and easy to clean!

Cost for 10 pack of cabinet pulls – $28

Behr Marquee Semi-gloss paint in Etched Glass – We went with the whitest paint we could find for the walls.  This one might have some gray/blue in it.  We are only to the primer stage in painting the walls so we haven’t been able to see it in a large portion yet.  I always forget how expensive paint is!

Cost for 1 gallon of paint – $40

Note: This paint ended up being closer to lavender/gray, which I loved. Because of the paint color, I was able to get the color mosaic tile I really wanted!





Building a Rock Wall – originally published by Josh 1/26/15

For Christmas in 2014, my grandma gave us all quite a bit of money.  I wasn’t sure what to do for our 4 boys but knew I wanted to do something that would get them outside.  After looking around the internet for ideas I decided to build a rock wall.  Much of what I based my ideas on came from Ben’s Backyard Climbing Wall.  Without that as a starting point, I think I would have been lost.

My dad had already built our boys a fort which gave me a nice starting point to anchor the wall to.  He also came up with the idea to hang a 4×6 from the fort to an A-frame that we built.  That gave us an anchor 8 feet in the air to attach the wall’s posts to.  Like the wall I based mine on I decided to make my wall 12 feet tall.  To make it strong I used three 16-foot-long 6x6s.  Thankfully, the boards we got were already a bit old and had dried out because otherwise they would have been very heavy.  My dad helped me pick up the beams using his trailer.

Originally, I wanted to put 4 feet of the beams into the ground.  However, where I live the ground contains a lot of clay.  About 1 foot into the ground I found clay, 2 feet down I found a white extremely hard clay.  That white clay was almost impossible to dig with a shovel.  I ended up having to dig a 8.5 foot long trench that allowed me to get in the hole and dig my 3 points where I wanted to put the 6x6s.  I was unable to get the holes 4 feet deep, but got them a little over 3 feet.

digging the hole 2 digging the hole 1

Once we got the beams in the holes we used carriage bolts to hold them to the 4×6 cross beam.  I then put 600 pounds of concrete into the holes to hold the beams in place.


beams in air

I wanted to make the wall look like a castle and I learned how to make a nice pattern at https://mrmcgroovys.com/how-do-you-paint-that-cool-brick-pattern-on-the-castle/



I currently have one section of the wall done.  It is 4 feet wide by 12 feet tall and goes straight up.  I had to take a break from the wall to work on my bathroom remodel, but plan to revisit the wall soon.  My next section is going to be 4 feet wide by 12 feet tall, but will have a 20 or 30 degree angle leaning back to make for a more difficult climb.  Later when my boys are a bit more proficient, I plan to make a section with a more difficult angle like the end section of the one I copied.


Turns out I don’t have a photo of the entire 12 foot wall just the 8 feet I did at first.  I guess I will have to get a picture and add it.

Our Bathroom Remodel – a learning experience! Part 1

We kind of started our previous blog because of our bathroom remodel. So I figured we should at least try to move some of that over here to the new blog. Our posts about it were a little bit disjointed so I will try to organize the posts here about it a little better. Also, we started our bathroom remodel in October of 2014 and it still isn’t done! This is mostly because of time and money issues. It is functional right now, though I am hesitant to invite people over because of how the other half of the bathroom looks.

Part 1 of this series will be about how the bathroom looked when we bought it. I am convinced that the state of the bathroom is part of the reason we were able to make an offer on this house that was in our price range.

This was the pic of the bathroom on our housing listing. It doesn't look too bad in the picture but it wasn't very nice in person!

This was the pic of the bathroom on our housing listing. It doesn’t look too bad in the picture but it wasn’t very nice in person! I definitely did not like the unfinished, raw wood planks covering the walls. There just was no way to clean them!

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