Micro Update: Instant Bathroom Window Privacy

2 min read Some home improvement projects can wait for the right time, but others really need to be addressed RIGHT AWAY!

This is a change I made to the house almost immediately but forgot to blog.  There have been a lot of existing conditions here that I’ve decided to just live with “for now” because I knew I’d fix them later but the bathroom window just could NOT wait.  That is my neighbor’s kitchen door and window 15 feet away from the main bathroom of my house. Continue reading “Micro Update: Instant Bathroom Window Privacy”

Progress: Bathroom Framed and Roughed In

< 1 min read Putting in the floor plates and wall studs was an exciting first step to building back the rooms I’d spent so much time demolishing. Hooray for new spaces!

We got the walls of the new basement bathroom done and had the plumbers back to do the rough in.  It is really starting to look like a room with the vent and supply lines in and especially with the shower enclosure installed.   Continue reading “Progress: Bathroom Framed and Roughed In”

The Secret to (Warm) Success: Insulating behind new Basement Walls

3 min read Part of the reason I decided to entirely tear out the existing “finished basement” was aesthetic: it was incredibly dated with an unpleasant drop ceiling and an unfortunate layout.  I could have kept some parts of it however, if it hadn’t been totally un-insulated.  I can do SO MUCH BETTER than that.

I did part of this insulation work a couple of weeks ago – to make step one before framing the walls for the new bathroom – and the rest is still on my agenda.  I’ll be insulating the south and east walls next.   Continue reading “The Secret to (Warm) Success: Insulating behind new Basement Walls”

Ack!! Flash Flood: water in the basement

2 min read I had literally not had the full den and bathroom areas covered in subfloor for ONE DAY when intense overnight rains (and some bad drainage) scared the pants off me. Here’s how I IDed the source of the water seepage and fixed it. Thanks rainstorm, I guess.

I came down in the morning to grab a tool and found water on the floor seemingly seeping out from under the sub floor.  HORRORS!  I ran around to check the windows for leaks – nothing – and the walls for cracks – again nothing and the ceiling for drips – nothing again.  What could it be?   Continue reading “Ack!! Flash Flood: water in the basement”

Tap in the SubFloor, One Tile at a Time

3 min read The old basement walls were built from the vinyl tile flooring straight up to the ceiling and attached to 2×2 furring strips that were bolted straight to the painted concrete walls. I want to improve the insulation of the basement and also the air circulation so that no mold will form in dead air cold spaces. First step: install a DriCore sub floor system.

I’m working with a dry basement (generally) but I did notice a little mold on the back of some of the knotty pine and drywall I moved from the original “finished” space.  The walls I took out had been built from the vinyl tile flooring straight up to the ceiling and attached to 2×2 furring strips that were bolted straight to the painted concrete walls.  I want to improve the insulation of the basement and also the air circulation so that no mold will form in dead air cold spaces.   Continue reading “Tap in the SubFloor, One Tile at a Time”

Back to the Basement: Getting up to speed again after some outside work

< 1 min read Having taken a little break, it’s time to get back to work.  I had a little trouble positioning myself on the “what’s next list” so I worked backwards:

Having taken a little break for, first, the MREA, and then successive visits from my BFF and a group of out-of-town family, it’s time to get back to work.  I had a little trouble positioning myself on the “what’s next list” so I worked backwards:  Continue reading “Back to the Basement: Getting up to speed again after some outside work”

How to Choose the Right 2x4s for your DIY Wall Building Project

2 min read Not all 2x4s are created equal and when you are taking on a construction project its important to start with a bunch of good ones.  

Life is hard enough without dealing with bowed, cupped, or twisted studs.  I’m getting ready to start framing the new walls in the basement and I wanted to get the job started well by picking the right lumber for the job.   Continue reading “How to Choose the Right 2x4s for your DIY Wall Building Project”

And now I’m obsessed with concrete and want to use it everywhere

3 min read Because, come on, why wouldn’t you?

I’ve spent the last two weeks struggling through the muggy heat to de-lead and prime the north and south walls of the house and prepping for my upcoming talk at the MREA Energy Fair but when I think about design, I’ve been thinking about concrete and wondering what I can make from it.  Pavers?  Planters? Benches?  The possibilities are endless.   Continue reading “And now I’m obsessed with concrete and want to use it everywhere”

Progress: Pouring the Concrete Slab was Pretty Easy!

4 min read I poured a mother freaking 28 square foot concrete slab in the basement this week … and it really wasn’t that hard. Here’s how I did it (hint: I roped my parents into some of the extra manual labor!)

I admit, this was one of the tasks I’ve been most excited about … and afraid of.  I could, of course, have asked the plumbers to repair the slab they tore up when their work was done but I’ve never worked with concrete before and wanted the chance to try my hand.  When I saw the size of the hole I had a few second thoughts in the end it was a really fun time to fill it back in.

With the right tools (another post) the job was really pretty simple. Continue reading “Progress: Pouring the Concrete Slab was Pretty Easy!”

Progress: Basement Measuring, Mockups and Making Final Checks

2 min read With the plumbers incoming the next day to tear out the concrete slab and old pipes, and lay new ones, time for a good old fashioned mock-up with blue tape lines and visualize it one more time.

Having finally (mostly) cleared the deck in the basement I took a moment to revel in the bare walls, exposed floor joists overhead and swept-clean floor.  Then I got out my laser measure, a pair of tape measures, a sharpie and a roll of blue painters tape and marked the location of the new bathroom walls (and fixtures) on the basement floor. Continue reading “Progress: Basement Measuring, Mockups and Making Final Checks”