You may have noticed that I haven’t posted much to the blog over the last couple weeks.  Between summertime fun interrupting my usual working weekends and high levels of procrastination I have mostly been tackling smaller projects.  These projects, in themselves, don’t really warrant their own blog posts, however, much like Voltron, when they come together they add up to something much greater.

(For those of you unfamiliar with Voltron, let me both enlighten you and date myself)

Now, as much as I’d love to continue to watch robotic lions form a giant space robot and protect the universe from the evil forces of planet doom, we should really focus on the task at hand.  (NOTE:  this is exactly the type of procrastination I’ve been fighting over the last couple weeks).

Channeling my inner project manager, I decided that rather than bore you with a lot of short posts about small tasks, I’d streamline my approach.   Therefore, I’ve combined a couple of my most recent In Law unit accomplishments into this singular blog post.

The Bathroom Floor:

First, let’s begin with the bathroom floor.  While I know we’ve talked about this floor many times on this blog, the fact remains that despite the jack-hammering, digging, plumbing, and concrete pouring I am still left with a dramatically uneven floor.   Unfortunately, as long as the bathroom floor stays in this uneven state I can’t progress with any of the remaining bathroom renovations.


While I waited patiently for a beautifully level surface to magically grow out of the uneven concrete block that was my bathroom floor, eventually I came to the conclusion that it was up to me to get this floor finished.  This meant that I was going to need to navigate through some of the residual trauma I was holding onto after my last encounter with concrete.

You see, I found that my relationship with concrete was very one-sided.  Not only did it feel like I was the one doing all the work, but every time I’d come home with a new bag of cement it wasn’t enough.  I would estimate 7 bags of concrete and 14 bags later I was still left needing more.  While I wasn’t looking forward to rekindling this relationship, I decided that this time I wasn’t going to settle.  Rather than buying the estimated 3 bags, I bought 6!

“That’s right! Concrete!  Either meet my needs or we’re through!”

With my six bags, my bucket, my hose and my drill, together we set out to try to fix the ugliness that had become the bathroom floor.





pour 3


With a flat and level surface in place, I was able to begin building the subfloor.  Because the bathroom ceiling is lower than the ceiling in the main room, I couldn’t build the subfloor very high.  For this reason, rather than laying the two by fours on end, I instead placed them flat on the ground.  This would allow me to build the subfloor without making the room feel like a cave.


From there I added some additional two by fours between the “floor joists” for some additional support.


With the ‘floor joists’ and additional support pieces in place I was finally able lay the pressure treated plywood on top.



Finally, after all that work the bathroom floor was done!  This last experience with concrete was not nearly as tough as the first experience.  I credit the shift to both my increased familiarity with the product, and also with the fact that I was working with concrete’s much more flexible and attractive sister, self leveling floor resurfacer.

With the bathroom floor completed, it was on to the next task.

The Bathroom Door:

You see, I got into a bit of a pickle when it came to the bathroom door.  It turns out that the standard door height is 80.”  While this may seem like a somewhat insignificant fact, when I raised the In Law unit floor I also shrunk the bathroom door opening to 78.”  Oh well, these things happen.  Now it’s just about figuring out a solution so our future guests can have the private poop they so desire.

While I could cut the door down to 78″ that wouldn’t change the fact that there is a step down when entering the bathroom.  This means the door would only be able to open into the bathroom, making the already small space that much smaller.  Another alternative would be to install a pocket door, but the plumbing on either side of the door opening made this option only possible if I moved the plumbing around.  Since this is not an expense I am eager to accommodate, I had to consider another solution.


After careful consideration of my options I decided to channel my inner equestrian and visualize life in a barn.  Then, like filly winning the Kentucky Derby, it came to me!  Remember these beauties?



That’s right, we’re back to wall mounted sliding doors.   Not only will these doors continue to keep the room feeling spacious, but they will also, most importantly, help facilitate the all important private poop.

With the decision made, it was time to figure out how this door would fit into the space.  You see, the fancy new poop pipe has made it so one side of the door opening protrudes into the room further than the other side of the opening.  This means that there would be nothing for the sliding door to butt up against when it is closed.  To solve this problem I needed to build a small wall near where the kitchenette will be.


With my trusty new framing nailer in hand, putting up that wall was a breeze!



Now with the door framing all figured out and the bathroom floor completed, I just need to finish up the ceiling, put in the bathtub and insulate before I can put up the drywall!  We’re getting closer to a finished rustic retreat!  Stay tuned!


I thought I’d provide a quick update on where things currently stand with “My First Renovation Project” (as it will forever be known).  My schedule lately has been

  • Go to work
  • Run home at lunch to meet a contractor/plumber/structural engineer/(insert professional something here)
  • Run back to work and finish my actual paying job
  • Run home from work and demolish something
  • Run to woodworking class and build furniture
  • Run home from woodworking class
  • Relax.  

Phew…makes me tired just thinking about it.  Now, you might be thinking “why does Beth need to meet a professional when she’s doing a DIY project?”  That’s an excellent question blog reader.  The reason is two-fold.

First, I have never done this before and have acquired an awesome crew of people supporting me through this process.  Second, because I know my limits and some of the work that needs to be done is beyond my expertise.

One of the great things about this whole project, though, is that all of my professionals are fully supportive of my ambitious DIY goal, and are willing to teach me what I need to know and step in when the scope calls for it.  Take today (over lunch) for example.  After looking over a few items in the In Law, my contractor told me she’d be happy to lend me her jack hammer to rip up some concrete.  In some places in the world friends or neighbors might borrow sugar.  In my world. we lend each other jack hammers!  Luckily, I am currently in need of a jack hammer, so this was perfect timing.

That leads us to the update.

Last weekend I was able to rip out the gimp closet!  Not only is this good news because it means that we are no longer obligated to house a gimp, it also means we have a nice and large (feeling) room.  Check it out.





As for what’s next…well, this weekend I will be focusing on two things.  First, opening up the former deck (current ceiling) to find out what secrets are underneath.  Hopefully I will find some pretty ceiling joists holding up the mud room above.


I also plan on taking a jack hammer to the bathroom floor to open up the concrete around the drains.  Then the plumber can come in and see about putting in a vent.  If I can do that demolition, That will save me quite a bit of money.


As usual, I have my work cut out for me.  Overall, this project hasn’t been going nearly as quickly as my ambitious schedule predicted.  With that said, I’m happy with the current pace.  I’m learning something almost every day, and it’s pretty thrilling trying to figure things out.

That’s it for now!