Monday, 4 January 2016

Bathroom renovations - a work in progress

We now have two loos - just like the Lautrec class of Black Prince hire boats - named for obvious reasons by someone who liked puns ...

We'd decided earlier this year that the bathroom had to be re-done, and over the UK summer and when we got back in NZ in October/November we had thought, discussed, consulted others about how it should be. Decisions were made and we had pretty much all of the bathroom fitments ordered and delivered in the week or so before Xmas, and I had cleared the messy garage (painting gear that hadn't been sorted and put away after Joe had finished the hall, sunroom,  laundry and pantry back in November ...)  so we could have everything ready. There were two toilets, two basins, a shower unit, a shower mixer (it's the coolest looking thing ever!), taps, towel rails, loo roll holders, robe hooks, basin pop-up wastes ...

We were keen to get our favourite builder, Luke, to do the carpentry aspects of the bathroom changes so that meant him doing it during his holidays - the statutory holiday period between Xmas and New Year. We also found Mark, a young English/NZ plumber happy to work then, so it was all on to get a functioning shower, toilet and basin before the grandsons arrived on 30 December!

The provision of Ministry of Food cheese scones each morning,  an ample lunch with plenty of protein and salad as garnish only, cream doughnuts for afternoon tea, and beers at lunch and after work each day were critical factors in having happy workers. The cheese scones were Luke's request and he was keen to have them each day - they must be good then! I have got rather fast at making them ...

It's about to start so we have the boxes to decant stuff into

Shower still intact, but not for long!


So it all kicked off on 27 Dec. That first day, Luke was on his own and worked flat out stripping out the bathroom and our separate toilet - he removed the bath, the shower cubicle, the vanity unit and the toilet, as well as removing wall linings, skirting and scotia in the bathroom and the bottom half of the toilet walls.
Luke has started - the shower doors are off! the piece of glass still in place at the end of the bath is going to be part of Luke's glass house - wish I'd cleaned it more thoroughly before it came out ...


Luke loves this aspect of the job for some reason - destruction is a lot of fun, I gather.

The old toilet is a goner

Prepping the portable toilet for use in the shed for a couple of days - how very familiar to us boaters! We keep it as an earthquake preparedness measure and it came in handy for those two days.

Shower walls are gone and the bath and vanity have done a runner ...
... to the garage

Wall stripping underway - plenty of insulation in the exterior wall cavities

Householders are not allowed to touch.

He prepped one wall so an in-wall toilet cistern could be fitted in the bathroom, and moved the wiring that would be in the wrong place for the new fit out. He started the relining of the bottom half of the walls in our separate toilet - I cannot remember the name of the wall material he used, but it is a Hardies' product with a tongue and groove look, and is actually an exterior wall cladding but fine for inside as well. No point in spending big money on real wood if the t&g is going to be painted, eh? And being an exterior product it will be excellent at withstanding water in the bathroom.

So early on the morning of 28 Dec, Mark the plumber and Luke were both on deck getting the fit-out started - poor b*ggers worked all day in extreme heat as it was one of this summer's hottest days so far, and there were two hard working chaps in a small room! David set up a fan for them in the hallway, but it was of limited use given it couldn't be pointing right at them as they wouldn't have been able to come and go with ease.
Mark on the job of making the chase for the shower - naturally the waste was in a different place from the old shower

The sledge hammer came into play
Did Luke have the right tool to chip at the concrete more effectively? Of course he did!

Mark doesn't need Protective earmuffs or knee-pads - he's 29 and bullet proof!


Mark had also dug down to and exposed the sewer pipe so the outlet for the second toilet could be ducted into it.

Because it was David's mum's 92nd birthday on 29th, we were taking her for afternoon tea in Masterton.
before going to Masterton, we had morning tea with the workers - Mark on the left, Luke on the right, David in the background.


So after making and eating morning tea (more cheese scones ...) with the guys, David and I left them in the tender care of Lynne, our friend who was staying with us - she's a brave woman as with the bathroom and toilet out of action, we were using the portable toilet out in the garden shed  and showering had to take place down at Bruce and Gary's place ...

Lynne's job was to sort out their lunch and make sure there was a cold beer to accompany it. When we came home it was great to see how much progress had been made - one functioning toilet and basin in the separate toilet, the shower base,  walls and mixer were installed, pretty much all of the wall linings in the bathroom were up - that involved gib above the 1 metre line, the T&G stuff below it and a dado rail over the join, plus skirtings at the bottom.
New toilet and handbasin, plus t&g and dado fitted


And most importantly, there was a new doorway between the bathroom and our bedroom - we now have a family/ensuite bathroom; ie no traipsing down the hallway to get to the toilet in the middle of the night!

The following day, Luke did a fair bit of finishing off work and re-concreted the path that Mark had dug up the previous day. Mark had only the shower doors to fit and the second toilet in the bathroom to install and he was planning to be away home at about 1pm.
Preparing the shower doors for installation. You can see the new doorway through to our bedroom by the shower base.

Tim, Marta, Olek and Karol were due to arrive from Scotland, and it was all go getting ready for them - we were on target for having a functioning set of bathroom equipment. Then disaster struck while I was at the supermarket making sure there was enough food for the family's arrival. David phoned to tell me that the toilet Mark was about to fit didn't match the in-wall tank that had already been installed - they had been bought as a set but weren't. Oh botheration and other bad words! When I got home and Mark explained the problem, I quickly decided that the best thing was to buy a new toilet with an external cistern, leave the in-wall tank in the wall  (to remove it, Luke said, would take a fair amount of time and some new materials). As I was still preparing for TMOK's arrival, Mark headed off to buy the new toilet - fortunately, Lynne and I had been to Mitre 10 and photographed a toilet she liked that I also thought was pretty cool. So the choice was easy to make. Mark was back in 30 minutes and the new toilet was rapidly installed.
The shower has a halo head and is just fabulous


Lynne and I liked this toilet as the seat fitted well over the pan's exterior and interior shape - you'd be surprised how many don't! We reckon it's because they are designed by chaps, dare I say it, and the aspect that isn't considered in terms of form is the cleaning requirements - function over form any day, we say! It's squared off but surprisingly comfortable!

The new door - it's where the bath used to be
This is where the new vanity will be - it and the door to our bedroom are in the place where the bath was.

From the bathroom to our bedroom, via the wardrobe

Luke's temporary solution to the wardrobe deconstruction before we get a new system fitted. First talk to the wardrobe consultant, methinks!
Mark finished off as much as he could with warnings not to use the toilet or the shower till the next day to give the glue and silicon a chance to go off properly. And then Luke did a heap of finishing and cleaning - concrete dust and sawdust go everywhere - even if doors are closed, dammit!

So having a functioning set of bathroom equipment was achieved in the nick of time, but it is still very definitely a work in progress - no vanity unit in the bathroom, walls and ceiling unpainted, no vinyl on the floor and no tiling above the small basin for the separate loo. Those tasks have to wait for the exodus of the family. And I still have to order the vanity unit - I struggled before Xmas with choosing one that didn't look like every other vanity in the catalogues. But a conversation with Luke brought the realisation that unless I was keen to spend a couple of thousand dollars on one, I was going to have to choose something that was acceptable, if not sublime!Landmark strikes again!

There is a fair bit of work remaining, and Mark and Luke will complete their bits, the flooring will be fitted by the same people who will fit the carpet. But I am unsure how the painting is going to get done - I found out today that I am going to be starting a project management assignment that will keep me fully occupied till we depart for the boat in May - yikes!! How did that happen?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

And I thought you were going back to NZ to chill out in your Summer sun. Your home improvements are looking very good . Enjoy the Sun ...Wet and muddy towpaths here ...Gary and Carolyn Inca

Marilyn McDonald said...

G&C, good morning from another bright sunny morning in Waikanae!
Don't worry, I was chilled out during the renovation works apart from catering duties, but the guys got rather hot.
Sometimes the sun is so hot though that we need to stay inside - sorry to rub it in, mate! To be honest, we had two days of rainy weather after New Year's Day and it is forecast to be wet again tomorrow or the next day - quite a relief from the sun and it is great for the garden.
Hugs to you both, M&D

Wilfred Andrews said...

The work is looking good boys, keep it up. I am particularly impressed by the new shower. It can be a real pain to upgrade these and to make sure everything is water tight. Last thing you want is to find out that the shower has been leaking behind the wall for a few years. Good luck with the rest of the project!

Wilfred Andrews @ LB Plumbing and Heating

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Lovella Cushman said...

Bathroom renovations always seem to take forever and are such messy jobs. What you've done though is amazing, the new bathroom is so similar to my own. I designed my new bathroom but I contacted my local plumbing company to help install the new walk in shower and tub, as plumbing is not one of my strongest points.

Lovella Cushman @ Perfection Plumbing