Home projects for winter, more bright ideas in the mid-at

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Guess what PROJECT Jeff started today? Clue...I am thankful for a two bathroom house. He didn't say a word, but went in and started taking ceiling panels off and baseboards wall panels. I need to get in gear and start planning. I showed him some pics of things I like. I would really appreciate a third party to say pick THIS or THAT. There are too many things that catch my eye.
Whew!!!!!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

if its bathroom, well, having just shopped I've got some opinions.

I read a very long article discussing faucet manufacturers and the current state of the industry. From that, I concluded Kohler was my best choice for quality and at least some US manufacture. I really like it! It has a special aerator that makes the water come out in a solid stream, not a bubbly aerated stream. It just makes me happy.
http://www.lowes.com/pd_65489-20602-R72781-4D-2BZ_0__?productId=4740798&Ntt=kohler+elliston&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dkohler%2Belliston&facetInfo=

The pedestal sink was a bit challenging for Mark but he got er done. I chose pedestal because the room is so small. and I thought I was doing him a favor by not making him work inside a small vanity to plumb a sink. It might not have been a favor after all.
The American Standard toilet seemed to go together easily and works, so far. I got comfort height, and round front due to space, and the two limited my choices. pd about $120??108?? 'Mainstream?"

I went really inexpensive on the light fixture- off the shelf at HD
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Hampton-Bay-Andenne-3-Light-Brushed-Nickel-Bath-Vanity-705075/203857662?MERCH=REC-_-NavPLPHorizontal1_rr-_-NA-_-203857662-_-N

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Cool light fixture, Sally! I'd save the box and receipt if I were you, though. A couple of reviewers said it started rusting in less than 8 weeks. Maybe they had very humid bathrooms, but still....

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I really would like to replace the vanity sinks in all my bathrooms.
My most used bathroom the "family bathroom" has two yellow sinks
In a nice, natural-look marbled vanity top.

Same nice, marbled vanity top in my small "master" BR--but the sink and toilet
are blue. The shower stall there--which I use all the time--has blue ceramic
tiles with very dirty grouting...by now--not cleanable....

Downstairs--in the BR I seldom use, but guests do, I have all yellow surfaces
with an off white tub surround. At least something isn't blue.

You know--in 1969 when we moved into this house--all these colors were IN.
WE chose them! The builder gave us free hand.....
Now they are all passe--but who can dismantle 3 Bathrooms to update anything.
NOT ME! I simply have learned to ignore any colors at all. But thought I would
mention them, since we are ALL talking about this.

BUT I have to be realistic. There is ONE item I will never get rid of, even if it is
all in 70's colors. My hand-made (took 3 months) macrame wall hanging.
"The Eye of Isis".
When I made it--it matched all the orange/beige/browns wall paper---the horrible
golden-beige W-W carpeting and the old. wonderful, 9' sofa--all in same colors,
which now sits downstairs in the club room. I even re-painted the walls down there to match it...

Now--with the new sofa I bought about 5 years ago--(LOVE IT!) it still matches it...
Looks good!.....:o)
Have to remember--that all thing OLD will be "NEW again at some time...

This message was edited Jan 31, 2015 9:33 PM

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Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

That's definitely a keeper, Gita; I can tell you spent a lot of time on it. I don't think of those as 70's colors.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Giita, I love your macrame wall hanging, and I've seen some good ones that Holly did. We still have some of them. She worked with synthetics as well as natural jute. At one time she had a whole booth to set up and did craft shows and fairs. I believe she also taught macrame for the local rec board. I remember some of the fibers started to give her problems and she moved on to other interest.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Ric and Muddy...

I still have all the macrame books....just cannot throw them out. Why?
Mostly--i did plant hangers....some pretty fancy...Loved all the stuff in the books..

The wall hanging is about 7' x 4+'.
The piece of wood it hangs from is Some kind of S. American rosewood...
Very expensive! My EX bought it at a Wood Hobby shop. It cost $80.
He created a lengthwise slit into it from which the wall hanging was made--
hanging directly from this piece of wood.
It is a very special piece of artwork to me...I would hang it elsewhere so I can
:modernize" the LR a bit--but there is no place with an empty space on a wall to do this...
The closest area available would be above my bed as a "headboard'...
It could,, possibly, fit in the hallway--but that would be stupid...

G.

This message was edited Feb 1, 2015 7:45 AM

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Very cool piece, Gita. It looks great behind the sofa, but would make a very special headboard, too.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Mike has been working the last two Saturdays, so we haven't made any more progress on the stairwell wainscot project. He is motivated to do some today though before the Super Bowl.

G - that macramé hanging is really nice and I think it looks great as an accent to your white sofa. I actually prefer vintage stuff for décor myself.

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

That is a nice piece, Gita

You are correct, Sally. Hehehehe. Thanks for your tips. Walls will come down and plumbing needs to be replumbed. An adjoining wall to a bedroom will come down and a built-in wall closet unit made. We'll put a dresser there and build around it, so no other storage would be needed in that room.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

So many toilet choices. Jan, we paid $139 for our toilet, american Standard Mainstream rounded, comfort height. It seems to flush well, is very quiet. and only 1.28 gal per flush. Only thing cheap is the lid- the seat is fine but the plastic lid is flimsy and you cannot sit on the closed lid. It flexes and shifts. I don't think I'll care in a powder room, but in a full bath there may be times you sit on the lid.
I think while shopping I considered a better toilet with a nicer lid that covers the entire seat when its closed. Who knew?
There- why add another to the 300 reviews already on Lowes site, when I can just tell you?

annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

Gita,
Home Depot has a product called Grout Renew that says it can make any grout look like new. It's not a cleaner but a colored sealer. Do you think it might work in your bathroom with the old uncleanable grout? Congratulations on the new windows and doors and a good contractor to work with! Lol I'd be tempted to make all my new windows much larger to let in more natural light for all my houseplants! At least coldness near to windows should be greatly reduced and maybe those AVs will bloom. The rosewood sets off your beautiful "Eye" nicely.

Muddy and Sally, good on you for doing those electical fixes before they became mishaps. Does it make you want to do the tug, jiggle, creaky house joint settling test on all your switches?
Is there any reason an electrical wire would come loose at the switch other than a defective switch or not a sufficiently tight installation? Insurance/warrantee is great when you have it and it covers what goes wrong even after the fine print!

In my 60+ yo house replacing any fixture means installing water supply shut off valves to each. So far we haven't figured out a way or place/space in pipes to the tub and shower even with removing part of the wall. Sigh.

Jan, how exciting for you and Jeff and your new 'built in project!

Holly and Ric I say halfway there is almost done! Lol. I'm printing out all the ways Ric has 'assisted' your hallway make over for Wayne.! Sounds like Aspen/Mike and Seg/Darcy have some good teamwork going too.

Hope all of us have enough brains, brawn and funds to get er done as Puxatawny Phil says six more weeks of winter. Go teams!


Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

When installing shutoff valves, I highly recommend spending the extra $1.15 each and utilizing the ball type valve over the usually installed gate type. The ball type (below on the left) requires only a 1/4 turn between fully open and fully closed. It does not leak when opened and closed as it does not rely on a packing around a valve stem. Ever go to service the float in the toilet and have the shutoff valve drip when you close or reopen it? Never with this product, plus it is easier and faster to open and close.

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

ditto the quarter turn valves- Mark's been replacing with those, as at this point all the old ones have probably leaked

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Are the shut-off valves mostly for showers/tubs? Where?

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Thanks for your reviews, sallyg. Comfort height..definitely!

Greenthumb, I'll make sure to tell Jeff about the ball valve. Thanks

Any input about tubs? Jeff would like a soaking tub. Deeper than normal. I need to pin him down on what he would like. To me, a soaking tub does NOT have jets, but he mentioned he wants jets. Then again he mentioned going rustic and putting in a galvanized horse watering trough. I think that would be cool, BUT, how would that go over with future buyers? Let me hear your thoughts, please. Hehehehe. I can hear some of you already spitting your coffee out or laughing so hard you are peeing. Let me have it.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Jan--
I think the old, claw-foot tubs are very "IN" and desirable.
They are deep and long.
Only problem is--where can you find one? They are so vintage....

I think they make tubs with jets---kind of a half-and-half compromise.

Horse trough???? UGH!
Wouldn't that be metal and square? Does not sound comfy...sounds cold....


I am trying to work on taxes, but my short attention span brings me to the
computer and then I throw out some replies to whatever--and get nback to work...

G.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

My 2 cents on the soaking tub would be to suggest that whatever one you are considering, you sit in it and see how comfortable it is. Hard to soak for long in something that does not feel right. The visual of the trough in a rustic bathroom seems perfect, but you have a valid point on resale. Also might be a bit uncomfortable.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for mentioning the ball type shut-off valve, GT. We only have the cheaper type, and they're showing their age. How easy is it to replace the gate type?

Coleup, you might have an outside (e.g. maybe in the strip between the sidewalk and street) valve that would shut off the water supply to the entire house. I believe a special tool is required to shut it off, but maybe you could get one. I learned about this when a neighbor's underground sprinkler system burst at the point where it connected to the house hose hook-up (wasn't turned off before freezing weather arrive) and started spewing water all over the place.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

coleup, I forgot to add: any warranties on my house's electrical system are long expired (it was built in 1969), but I do have insurance about which I cannot rave too highly: I pay $3.99 per month for Dominion Power's Electric Line Repair Program. I've paid $80-120 into the program (I don't remember when I signed up) and have probably received $400-500 in services...I say probably because I don't get billed.

That's why I didn't have to pay the electrician who came out last week. It took him a while to pinpoint the problem because he had to check every outlet in the circuit and several were hard to get to because they were blocked by storage shelves.....but it didn't matter!! Whether it took him 15 minutes or hours, I knew I would pay the same amount: Nada! The even better thing is that the electricians know I won't be billed, and they're paid for the amount of work they do, so it's in their and my best interests if they spend the time necessary to do a really thorough job.

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Definitely will sit in it. My preference is a Japanese roundish tub that has a seat in it. About 40" diameter and about 32" deep. I have never been fond of getting into a prone position and then trying to get out of the tub.

Hehehe, yes, Gita it would be metal. Could get a heating pump to keep the water warm. That would be a cheap solution. An even cheaper solution would be to just visit a friend when they have their hot tub running!!

The ritual of bathing in Japan is interesting. You clean yourself before you get in the soaking tub. That's why a whole family can use the same water in the tub. It stays clean.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Muddy, That requires a street valve key as seen in 1st pic. They are easy to fabricate.
David, On all mains I go with a stainless steel ball valve.(pic2) On individual supply lines I use a PVC or CPVC one. (pic3) It's a real batch trying to do a repair on a line full of water, especially solder one., but I have tricks for that too. The valves in the pics are available in most sizes and the nice thing is they don't deteriorate quickly, caused by age or acidic H2O.
I designed the plumbing system for my SIL's new house, drew it right over the prints, and he has told me that the extra money was well spent in building. Such as adding service valves throughout the house

Thumbnail by Ric_of_MAF Thumbnail by Ric_of_MAF Thumbnail by Ric_of_MAF
Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Jan, We cross posted. Dah. When we had people over to hot tub, esp. DD we ask her to shower before. Her creams, lotions, powders, and make-up, could make the hot tub foam. I only changed the water about twice a year. I miss the tub and have to repair it, but with the load of sea salt and Epsom salts I used, I had to be aware of the where I put the discharge. The one thing I did use was a few drops of oil of Lavender, about once a week, sometimes even that would foam a bit, but it smelled great, all part of the experience.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Ric, I remember now how I found out about that street valve key. The homeowners were at work when their pipes burst. Someone called the water company and I called my neighbors and told them to come home; all arrived at the same time. The basement was flooded so they couldn't turn the water off there. The water company guy wasn't allowed to turn off their water supply, but he handed the key to my neighbor and told her how to do it.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Sensible serviceman. He may not be allowed to discontinue service, without an order.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

You probably can obtain a street valve key at a plumbing supply house. I would think every plumbing contractor has one in their truck, and they have to get them somewhere. It has been a while, but I have managed to work street valves without the "official" tool. I would have to look at one to refresh my memory as to how.

Muddy - which valves in your house do you want to replace? Toilet and basin shutoff valves like the ones I posted are usually easy. Since it is at the end of a line, one can remove it and replace with a model that employs a compression fitting. Otherwise, use a torch to remove one that is soldered on and solder on the replacement if there is insufficient length of pipe between fitting and wall. Usually there is about a half inch extra pipe and you can cut off the fitting and go the compression route. Either way you will want the main valve shut off.

Valves in-line such as outside faucet shutoffs require more work. Shut off water, drain line, use torch to unsolder one end, separate pipe and fitting, repeat for other end. Properly dress pipe ends and solder on new fitting.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

HD has these---

http://www.homedepot.com/s/street%2520valve%2520key?NCNI-5

annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

We used compression fittings to install shut off valves to original copper supply lines when we replaced kitchen sink, two toilets and bath vanity. We used flexible tubing (comes in multiple lengths) to connect from shutoff valve to new fixture. This let us relocate a sink almost 2 feet from where it was originally! Did spend time at HD trying out various parts and pieces to match up to the PVC drain pipe though. Also had to fold my body into weird positions just to fit in the small spaces to assemble things. Glad Wayne was there so I didn't have to unfold numerous times til done.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I realize now that my pedestal sink has almost no room for the soap dispenser pump that is now standard issue in bathrooms. It's made to have a bar of soap there. oops..one of those odd details that's easy to miss.

Mark was complaining a bit from the folding and unfolding!

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Yes, Ric, that was exactly why he wouldn't turn it off!

Greenthumb, I think the valves in-line for the outside faucet shut-offs probably should be replaced; we have to use a wrench or pliers to tighten one of them enough to keep the front outside faucet from dripping. The outside faucets really should be replaced too. We have to use a cheap hose shut-off valve to keep the one in the back from dripping.

None of the valves for toilets or sinks are leaking right now, but I'd like to have a toilet shut-off valve replaced if it would prevent the loud racket, shuddering sounds and vibrations when it's turned on and off.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Sally, one of my cousins installed a little decorative shelf just above the sink in his guest bath to hold the soap dispenser.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Muddy, if you have to use pliers to stop drips through your outside shutoffs, you need to replace the washers in them. Just like a faucet valve stem, there is a round rubber washer fastened to the end, and it is replaced the same way. Use a wrench to loosen the hex nut the valve handle goes through and once it is disengaged with the valve body, keep turning the handle to the left until in comes free. Replace washer with a flat head screwdriver and reverse the process. Before hand spend the $2 - $3 for a package of valve stem packing and add more if there is leakage around the handle and valve body.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Over the weekend I finished all sanding and spackling. I put my first coat of Kills on all the new wood ledge, trim, and wainscoting. The second coat may go on after work tonight.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

woo hoo Seq the light at the end of the tunnel

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Haha, I suppose but then she wants to go down the hall and into the sewing room....

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Hehehe, of course she does!!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Jeff---

It is KILZ--not Kills.

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Probably an auto correct thing!, I hate when that happens.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Jan, keep this site in mind for accesories- these prices for bath shelves, TP holders and towel bars are some savings over the ones in Lowes/HD that are coordinated by the major faucet makers like Kohler, Moen etc. If I order, I will let you know if the service and quality are good too.
http://www.signaturehardware.com/ceeley-toilet-paper-holder.html

This message was edited Feb 3, 2015 8:47 PM

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Thanks, Sally. We visited some friends this evening to check out their bathroom. Got some good ideas. She has a cleaning business and has some ideas to streamline cleaning. Also got her input as to what they would do differently. Climbed into their tub and was impressed, but theirs is way too big for our space. Maybe I could just go over to their house for a soak. Hehehe.

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