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Friday, 28 September 2012

En-Suite Bathroom Reveal... Part 2

So... here it is.. the last of the en-suite bathroom posts! Enjoy. 
Let me know what you guys think?

Here are a few pics of the tiling after we finished the grouting...
Next we grouted the floor (sorry no pics of just the grouted floor) and then started on installing the shower. It wasn't as difficult as we thought it would be, but it was a little stressful when carrying the glass and placing it because it was only guaranteed against breakage if installed by a registered/qualified plumber. So we took a chance but we won in the end!! 
After it was in and we started using it for the first time, we realised there was a small drainage area on the one side of the frame and the way we had put it in, according to the great Chinese instructions, the drainage was on the outside of the shower so it leaked. We also had one other problem, because our mosaic tiles aren't entirely flat, the seal on the bottom of the door didn't seal tightly against the tiles. So as always my amazing D.I.Y husband made a plan and got a strip of aliminium left over from the edging we used on the shower and window sill and siliconed it so the shower seal would seal against it and after that.. WE HAD NO MORE LEAKS AND A WORKING SHOWER!!!!!! FINALLY!
Next we installed the basin table. We ended up cutting off the back two legs and bolting it against the wall. After that we put in the basin and taps and hooked it all up This wasn't all as easy it sounds and as usual there were a few things that had to be fixed/fiddled with until they worked or stopped leaking. After the basin was in and working, in went the toilet and then all the accessories. And Voila!!!! En-suite bathroom COMPLETE!! (Well except for the curtains I still had to find/buy and put up, which I have done and I am yet to take photos of)

So what do you all think of our labour of love?? Would love to know your comments... Anyone else doing bathroom renovations?

Here's a before, during and after shot just for fun!!
Next on the list... 

Diningroom  - painting, new curtains, new light fitting & ceiling rose, new light and plug switches etc etc.. Here's a before shot just so you know what we are dealing with (sorry for the bad quality). 

It comes in the form of horribly yellowed, dirty walls, a terrible blind that was put up backwards and a huge menacing mirror that we are not sure how we are going to get it off the wall without it breaking...

Until next time...

Monday, 10 September 2012

En-Suite Bathroom Reveal... Part 1

Finally our bathroom is complete... well nearly. There are still a few bits and pieces we need to do but for now its done. We can shower in our own shower... 

After all the hard, messy work and plastering and waterproofing was done, we focussed our attention on the fun stuff. 

First off we started by removing that yucky light in the centre of the room.. We decided to replace this light with four downlights. We bought two 3-packs of downlights from Builders' Warehouse for about R140 per pack. We used a 65mm circle saw that fits onto the drill to make the holes. We made one in each corner of the room. 
It wasn't as easy as just drilling the four holes... After trying to drill the first hole, we hit a wood beam. Luckily it wasn't a structural beam, it was just a thin plywood beam used to strengthen the ceiling boards. After discovering this, we moved all our holes slightly inwards and that seemed to work... 
Until we hit another beam after trying to drill the second hole!!! But because we had already moved them slightly so we wouldn't hit the beams, we just decided to carry on and then go back and deal with the beams afterwards. Eventually we got the beams out of the way and had four lovely holes in our ceiling.
We used one of the circles that came out of the holes to plug the hole from the previous light fitting and then filled in the rest of the gap with crack filler. After this had dried, we gave it a nice sanding and then painted the ceiling with two or three coats of white Dulux Bathroom+ and installed the lights once the paint was dry.
While the ceiling was drying we painted our walls. The paint we used was Plascon's Kitchen and Bathroom Paint and the colour we used was called Ivory Snow. The reason we had the Dulux on the ceiling and the Plascon on the walls was because they couldn't mix the colour we wanted in the Dulux Bathroom+ paint (and the Dulux was almost half the price of the Plascon because it was on special). The Plascon colour we chose was as close as we could get to the lighter colour we used in the stripes on our bedroom wall. (you can read more on our bedroom here).
 After the walls and ceilings had dried completely we put up our cornicing. We used the same cornicing as we used in our bedroom. Before we put it up I gave it a coat of the white Dulux Bathroom+ paint.

Next we started tiling the walls. This was to be our first time tiling. We did some research and then just jumped right in to it. 

The first thing we did was find the centre of the section of wall we were tiling. Because we were only tiling halfway up the wall, we just marked that off and then found the centre of that section both vertically and horizontally. We also made sure the lines we drew were level.
Once we had all two lines measured out, we mixed our tile adhesive. The adhesive we used was called ProGrip Superbond Porcelain from CTM. 
Then came the scary part, the actual laying of the tiles. We started from the top down because we knew our flooring wasn't completely level (and I hadn't researched it completely properly). 
This worked reasonably well but in hindsight we should have maybe nailed in a level piece of wood just up from the floor and started from the bottom up. We used 3mm tile spacers between the tiles and just did small sections at a time.
After we laid each section, I went back with a kebab stick and cleaned the excess adhesive out of the tile spaces. We only discovered how much easier it was to tile from the bottom up when we had done a section of the shower area. This section had to have the tiles go higher than our halfway line.
When we got to the taps we wanted to try and cut a circle out around the taps. We didn't want to break the tile down the middle. So we bought a round diamond blade which worked very well (after a few practice attempts) and we ended up with perfect circles cut out of our two tiles.
Once the majority of the tiling was finished, we went back and cut all the smaller, thinner tiles that had to be done for the corners and the edges. This process seemed to take way longer than laying the full tiles. Once this was finally done we started on the floor which we thought would be slightly easier than the walls because the tiles couldn't slide downwards.
It was also a lot easier because we didn't need to use the tile cutter to cut the tiles. They were in square sheets on a backing so we just used scissors to cut them. The only place we really needed to cut half mosaics was in the shower around the drain hole and some of the edges.
We just used the same tile adhesive that we had used for the walls and only later found out that you get a mosaic adhesive which acts kind of like grout so you don't need to go back and grout afterwards. This would have made the process a lot quicker and easier but hey, you live and learn. (I won't miss all those evenings sitting tiling and cleaning out adhesive from 2,5cm square tiles, especially fun after a long day at work)
We used a square aliminuim edging on the shower and on the window sill to finish it off.

Once the floor and walls were tiled, we waited for a week or two for it to dry completely before we sealed the mosaic tiles. We used a sealer specifically for natural stone tiles. It was very easy to apply. We just did one very good/thick coat with an old paintbrush and left it to dry and air for a week. It had a really strong smell that left us both very light headed after applying it. 
They say the sealer lasts for about a year to a year and a half and protects the natural stone tiles from staining and dirt. 

Once the sealer was completely dry it came time for the part I had been waiting for... the grouting. I loved this part (although after a while I was wishing for it to end).

We used Pro Grip Waterproof Grout in white for the walls and we used the light grey for the floors.When I started the grouting I couldn't find the grout squeegee that you use to apply the grout, so I found an old bank card and used that and it worked really well. 

After all the grouting was done it was time to put everything back in... Check back in a few days for the final en-suite bathroom update to see the final pics. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Old Chair, New Look...

Before we carrying on with the next bathroom update, 
check out our chair that we revamped...

Remember all the old things I found under my parents house a little while ago? 
(You can read more about that here). 
Well after staring at this poor chair for a few months, 
I finally decided it was time for a revamp. This and the fact that I had now found material to use for the cushions. BUT before I carry on with how we did it, can i just say that I got such a good deal with this material!! I got it from Biggie Best in La Lucia Mall for an absolute bargain. Most of the material there is in the range of R270 upwards but I got three metres for R105 total!!!! It was on sale for R35/m. So despite being short on cash, I went ahead and bought it anyway. Normally this material would have cost me at least R800 for the same amount. After finding the material, I also got some foam cut for the seat of the chair and wadding/padding for the back of the chair. (actually Karin did this for me... Thanks Karin!!) We just used some brown paper to trace the shapes we needed for the foam for the seat and the back.

After cutting out my material, I started off by ripping out all the old torn canvas you see below. The original backing of this chair used to be cane and there were still little bits of cane stuck around the edges of the chair so we had to pry this out before carrying on. It was quite a time consuming process as we sat with a hammer and screw driver and slowly hammered it all out, being careful not to damage the chair. 
After this was done, I gave the whole chair a light sanding before painting it with two coats of wood primer. The wood primer I used was Plascon Wood Primer UC2. I then left it overnight to dry before bringing out my can of white spray paint. I have found an awesome white spray paint that is really good quality and covers really well. It is called RUST-OLEUM Painter's Touch: Ultra Cover, Gloss White. I only needed two coats before it was looking lovely and white... 
Because I loved this paint so much I went and bought two more cans and I gave our two bed-side tables and some frames we found some new glossy white life. 

Below you can see the chair in all its lovely white glossy-ness. (it looks better in real life)
The other picture shows the backing material on. We just cut it to size, using the brown paper pattern we had made and used a staple gun to attach it to the chair. We had to make sure that we pulled the material quite tight before we stapled it on. We stapled it from the front but the staples won't be visible because of the cushion that goes on the front.

Before we started on trying to upholster the back section of the chair, I attempted to make a cushion for the seat of the chair. Thanks to Karin for lending me her sewing machine and guiding me through making my first cushion cover... 
it even has a zip and piping around the edges...
To make the backing of the chair, we did a bit of recycling and pulled the masonite back off an old cupboard we were going to throw out. Again we used our brown paper pattern to draw out the shape it had to be. Once we had cut it out of the wood we laid some wadding over it and the material on top of that and slowly pulled it over the edges and then stapled it at the back. This process wasn't as quick or simple as I have just explained. Because this was our first attempt at any kind of re-covering/upholstery, it was very trial and error but it turned out well in the end. After the piece of wood was covered and looking pretty, we stapled it on to the back of the chair, this too was not terribly easy but after some time we got it to work. It would have been slightly easier if we had used a thinner wood but we were just using what we had lying around.
After this was done we used some edging/lacey stuff and glued it around the edges with a hot glue gun and finished it off with a some nice tacks, the edging and tacks were also compliments of Karin. While we were attaching the backing Karin sat quietly at her sewing machine and within fifteen minutes had whipped up the lovely little scatter cushion. Thanks for all your help with this Karin.. it turned out lovely. It really was a team effort...

A quick project breakdown

The chair: 
Removed old canvas, removed old cane edging, sanded lightly, 
two coats of wood primer, two coats of white spray paint.

The cushions:
Made a pattern of the seat and backing using brown paper, bought foam and wadding, 
bought material, cut out material, sewed the seat cushion, cut out wood for chair backing, 
upholstered chair backing, attached to chair, finished off with edging, tacks and scatter cushion.

This whole project cost about R380 to do. You could never find such a lovely, real wood chair for that price in the shops. So D.I.Y and finding and re-vamping old things is not only cheaper but we have fun doing it. 
Of course it always takes a whole lot longer than you think it would and is never as easy as you think but the end product is always so satisfying...


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Plumbing, Plastering and Priming

Here is a quick update on what happened after we had the en-suite bathroom stripped...

Firstly, we hired a double blade wall chaser and industrial vacuum cleaner from Coastal Tool Hire in Durban. They were very helpful and we will definitely go back there for any other power tools that we need to hire. You can check out there website here:

The Wall Chaser basically cuts 30mm x 30mm grooves into the wall (in my opinion looks like an angle grinder with two blades instead of one). We used this to cut grooves in the wall so that the pipes for our shower and basin would sit inside the wall. How hard could it be???? (This is going to be our slogan and we are going to print it really big and put it up in our house, it is the story of our D.I.Y journey: HOW HARD COULD IT BE?) The answer is usually: Way harder than we originally thought. :) 

Before we could start cutting the grooves in the wall, we had a plumber help us mark out where the pipes for the shower and basin would be. Then the cutting started and it took a good couple of hours, because it wasn't just cutting with the chasing tool. It didn't cut deep enough into the wall so Stu had to go back with and hammer and chisel and knock out a bit more. Thank goodness we hired the industrial vacuum that attached to the chasing tool - even with the vacuum and a sheet stuck up over the door, there was so much dust. 
After the walls were chased and we were happy with it, we started on the plumbing and building the base for the shower. This process took place over a weekend and then the Wednesday after that was a public holiday so we finished it off then. We kept all the rubble and bits of brick that came out from chasing the plumbing holes and used it when building the base of the shower.

 Then the next weekend we plastered the holes - our first attempt at plastering and it didn't turn out too badly. It was very frustrating at first but once we got the hang of it it went well.
These pictures show the finished product after the plumbing and plastering was done.

The next step was to grind back the wall where we would be painting.

There were lots of lumps and bumps and old adhesive still stuck to the wall. We used the angle grinder with a sanding pad to grind it back and make it nice a smooth to paint on. This process was very dusty and took about two weekends to do. It was one of those exersizes that don't really show much progression but have to be done in order for the next step to take place.

This grinding stage also resulted in a trip to the emergency room. Not wearing gloves when using power tools can have awful outcomes. Somehow the angle grinder slipped and caught Stu's index finger. But long story short, he luckily didn't lose the tip of his finger and after two months it has healed so well you can hardly see the damage.
After the grinding was done we plastered the top sections of the wall with a thin layer of Rhinolite plaster. The below pictures show the end result.
After the Rhinolite had dried properly we primed the section where we were going to paint with a general plaster primer and waterproofed the shower section with Coprox Masonary Waterproofing. The Coprox was really easy to use and apply. All we had to do was mix the powder with the right amount of water and paint it on. While it was drying we had to spray it with a light mist of water just to help the drying process and cure it so that it didn't leave a coat of powdery dust. We did two coats of this and we had some left over so we painted it on the entire floor to just add some extra waterproof protection.
The second coat we did in the evening with the help of our trusty headlight. 
Nothing like a bit of midnight waterproofing...

So thats all the hard/ugly/messy stuff finally done. YAY!! 
Check out the next post when we get to show you the fun stuff like putting in the downlights, cornicing, painting the walls and finally the tiling!!!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Bathroom Demolition

So…. it's been nearly three months since we last posted an update. 
We have been very busy trying to get the en-suite bathroom finished and it is taking way, way longer than we ever imagined (well at least longer than I had imagined, Stu knew in reality it would take a long time, especially since weekends are the only time we can work on it.) We are making great progress though and finally feel like we can see the end!! So here is the first in a series of what i think will be quite a few updates...

Tile stripping and ripping out all the old accessories. Smashing tiles is quite therapeutic. The pic on the right shows the top section and part of the basin pedestal out.

The thing that amazed us both was the amount/thickness of tile adhesive 
(which looks more like cement). Not to mention how the tiling was quite obviously done after installing the toilet, basin and bath. Guess they didn't get the memo about tiling first?

The above four images show the removal of the toilet. Man, were we glad to get that ugly brown toilet and basin out??!!! Another thing that had us flabbergasted was how the toilet and basin pedestals had been cemented in.  It took throwing a 4-Pound mallet at it a good couple of times to pry it loose/smash it up into tiny little pieces...

After we started smashing out the floor tiles we discovered a 
not-so-lovely mustardy-yellow linoleum flooring. 
By this stage we were not even surprised, I mean could we expect any less 
after all our wonderful discoveries already? :)

Some shots of tile demolition… 
The top white/off-white/smokey/creamy/dirty coloured tiles came off really easily and in huge chucks. The brown and white ones however, took a bit more effort and patience...
Then it came to trying to figure out how one person could get a cast iron bath out and down and case of stairs without dying of over exertion… The only tools that were used was a small crowbar/tommy bar and 4-Pound mallet.
The bath wall finally out after a lot of hammering and prying…
Half the bath out… See how badly damaged the wall underneath 
the tiles was due to lack of waterproofing?

After the entire bathroom was completely stripped, I couldn't wait to place the toilet and basin pedestal in to see how they would fit and to see if the space we had allocated for the shower would be enough.
After a lot of thinking we realized our original idea of having a walk-in shower running along the left side wouldn't be that great because although it would be a metre in length, it would only be 650/700mm wide. So we have decided to go with a different layout. 
As it turned out we managed to find a really nice semi-frameless shower that was cheaper than the long one we originally wanted. Below is a picture of what it will look like... We can't we to get it all in and finally start using our long, very long awaited shower!!! 

So next on the list of things to do (which we have done already, I am just really behind in posting) is to sort out the plumbing and build the shower base. This is the thing we are/were most worried about... luckily it all turned out great so stay tuned for a plumbing update :)