Tech in the bathroom

Although this blog is associated with the bathroom renovation, it talks about something that I did as a result of convenience rather than anything that was required a for a bathroom.

A side effect of working in the tech sector is that you have a focus on technology in the home that tends to excess. As a result of this, and the fact that poor Wi-Fi coverage is something that drives me nuts, I have an array of Ubiquiti UniFi access points throughout the house. Definitely more commercial than the average home owner needs but, like I said, I’m a techie. Also, in my defense, the double brick construction of our house with 18″ solid wall separating some of the rooms plays havoc with coverage – particular at the extreme ends of our long, skinny layout.

So, as we had the walls open and were pulling wire from the basement for an new electrical circuit anyway, I took the opportunity to bring up an Ethernet cable to the bathroom, a part of the house near the far end of the upstairs. The nice thing about the UniFi AP AC Pro is that it uses standard Power Over Ethernet (POE) so that there is no need to have a separate wall wart plugged in to power it. The result is a nice clean installation with both network connectivity and power provided through the same Ethernet cable. As a side note, these access points do require that you run a separate management server to configure them so are likely not a good option for anyone that doesn’t have a reasonably good grasp of tech (particularly networking).

The end result is an unobtrusive installation on the ceiling that provides excellent Wi-Fi coverage to a part of the house that was under served up to this point.

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.

Upstairs Bathroom Renovation (Part 12)

The bathroom is making forward progress again. Today they came and installed the vanity counter top and the under-mount sinks.

They’re pretty efficient – the whole thing was done in well under an hour. Overall the bathroom is coming together quite nicely. I have to admit that it would have been nice to put in a real marble top as you can definitely tell that this is synthetic from the faux grain (closer look below) but this is one of those times that function has to trump form. Real white marble would have had a tough time living with three teenage girls and their assortment of makeup and such (I’m only assuming, that’s not actually an issue yet at all).  I’ve heard a bunch of horror stories about how easily it stains.

For those interested, the sink basins are Kohler Caxtons in white – pretty standard stuff but work really well for what we needed.

The tile should be finishing up either tomorrow or the day after and then plumber and electrician the following couple of days with a target completion of the end of the week.

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.

Faucet Teaser

While we are waiting for the vanity top to come in, I’ve been poking around the fixtures in anticipation. Here is a picture of the basin faucet parts – should look good when installed and fits with the style of the shower fixtures.

For those that are interested, the faucet is a Grohe Seabury in chrome. We looked at a ton of options for this, including some very expensive DMV (formerly Porcher) selections. This one was the best match for what we wanted – and I always like the little ceramic buttons on the cross handles.

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.

Upstairs Bathroom Renovation (Part 11)

Well, it turns out that we didn’t have to wait as long as expected to see changes in the bathroom.

The tile folks were back again to finish up the tiling in the bathtub alcove including the niche on the back wall of the shower. The two marble shelves are now in place and things are looking great!

Even a good chunk of the final wall been completed now though the final bit – a couple of rows of tile and the chair rail – will have to wait until the counter top is in place. Then there is only the grout to go and the tile will be complete.

On another positive note, we have a date for the counter top as well. The counter folks will be in one week from today to install it. Almost complete!

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.

Chrome Magic

I guess I’m already getting stir crazy waiting for the counter top to be finished and it has only been one day! In any case, it has given me a chance to start peeking into boxes to see the plumbing that will be going in a couple of weeks. The centerpiece of the plumbing is the Sign of the Crab exposed plumbing shower controls.

A complex concoction of solid brass and chrome. Heidi says it has a submarine feel to it and thinks we may have attach a user manual to the side to help people figure out how to use it. To me it represents a wonderful combination of sculpture and function. It’s a lot easier to use than it appears at first glance – actually simpler than traditional taps with diverter valves.

The folks at Sign of the Crab cater to people like us that have a penchant for the Victorian, something very apparent with this particular piece. One of the defining characteristics of the Victorians was the importance placed on beauty and embellishment. Even utilitarian subjects like plumbing were raised to an art form and then exposed to show them off. The same thing can be seen in wood working tools from the era. Who says you can have form and function in the same object!

This definitely gets at the traditional vibe that we are going for in the bathroom. I can’t wait to see what it will look like when its actually installed.

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.

Upstairs Bathroom Renovation (Part 10)

The cabinets are in – and they look very good. Seems like there will be a lot more storage than I was actually expecting there to be. Heidi thinks that they are deeper than she expected. Probably a good thing with three girls in the house, it is likely to be covered with all sorts of stuff shortly.

It is all starting to come together but now things will slow down for a bit. The stone guys will be in tomorrow morning to create a template for the counter top but it is likely a couple of weeks from then before they will be ready to put it in. In the meantime, there is a little bit more tiling that can be finished in the tube alcove but the last wall along the cabinets will have to wait until the counter is in place.

I guess I can take the time to do some painting and get the trim done. Have to wait and see what my motivation level is like 🙂

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.

Upstairs Bathroom Renovation (Part 9)

Things are really starting to move along quickly now. The radiator is back in place. If you want to see some before and after pictures of it, they are here.

The tile is also moving a long nicely.

We got a bit lucky with one aspect of the tile job. There are a couple of ways to deal with outside corners (of which we have a total of 4 in the room) with tile. The first is to miter the edges which is not a bad idea in theory but it relies on the miter coming to a sharp point at the corner to really look good. With tile, that is a challenge because it is hard to cut an edge cleanly that way and the result is a very sharp corner in the room. This leaves opportunity for both the tile corner and anyone who comes in contact with it to be damaged. The other way is to use tiles specifically designed for corners – with rounded edges on one or two side of them. This works well for flat tiles as you can see below.

These tiles aren’t grouted yet so don’t show as well as they could but you get the idea.

For profiled tile, like chair rail for instance, this is not so easy. I’m sure that some tile manufacturers provide versions that include rounded edges but not many, and those that do would need to produce left and right hand versions to cover both possibilities – with a flat tile you only need one as there is no up or down so they can be flipped to address either direction. The alternative is to produce a profiled corner piece that works independent of which way you are coming a the corner. You can see what I mean below.

Its a great solution but for the fact that the tile manufacturer appears to have discontinued this particular tile shape. This is where the luck comes in – turns out that the company we are using for our tile had exactly 4 pieces of old stock in the colour that we needed. If we had more than 4 corners to deal with, we would have been in trouble – luck was on our side I guess.

On the other hand, there was a bit of a mix up on the round edge version of the flat tiles and we are about 35 tiles short at the moment. Its not a huge issue as the supplier has them in stock and we should get the missing pieces in about 2 days. Given the other work that needs to be done, it shouldn’t hold things up badly at all. It will just be a bit before the niche can be completed and the upper part of the opposite wall in the shower alcove.

Today cabinets are going in, I expect the guys to show up in about 45 minutes or so to get started. In the meantime, here is a quick set of pictures where you can see some of the tile work as it progressed along.

The next set of pictures should be significantly different.

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.

Radiator Refinish

The radiator came back from sand blasting and painting today and it looks great! I’ve taken a number of before and after pictures so that you can see the difference that it made.

We are staying with white but now rather than being chipped and rusting, it is a beautiful shiny smooth finish. Can’t wait to see how it looks installed.

We ended up going with wet painting rather than powder coating both on the recommendation of the people that did the work for us as well as a number of radiator restoration sites on the web. It seems that the seals between the various segments of the radiators are paper and the baking process involved in powder coating can damage them if the temperature gets too high.

There are other folks that have had their rads powder coated with no ill effects so I guess that it could just be me being over cautious. That being said, I’m very happy with the results of the painting with the added bonus that it was about one third the cost of powder coating.

The plumbers are coming in tomorrow to hook it up again. I’ll post some pictures once they get it back in place and the bleed valve is re-installed. I cleaned that up as well, polishing up the brass a bit and re-shellacking the knob.

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.

Upstairs Bathroom Renovation (Part 8)

Today the trim went back on the window and the the wall tiles have begun! I actually did some work on the trim to repair some damage from when it was being removed but, again, forgot to take pictures before and after. Suffice to say that QuikWood epoxy putty is great stuff. If you have to do any repair work on painted wood, it can be a life saver.

Assuming it is finished, the radiator will be going back in on Wednesday so the wall in behind it needed to be tiled today so that it can be grouted tomorrow. I’m super happy with how it is turning out, particularly the cove baseboard tiles at the bottom.

I can’t say enough good about the quality of work that Jeff is doing here. There are a lot of crazy corners and angles to deal with and he’s making all of it look easy.

It’ll be nice to see how the grout looks tomorrow – we’re doing the same “Pearl Grey” that we did on the floor – should be great.

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.

Original wall paper

I know the demolition of the bathroom happened a while ago so I should probably have put this in then but here is a piece of the original wall paper from the room. I found it along one of the wall once we pulled the forties false wall out.

It’s a pretty small piece but still has a lot going on with it. I imagine the room must have been pretty busy looking back in the day. For whatever reason, the picture came out quite light – the actual colour is almost a forest green. A little bit of history of the original house.

People interested in seeing the full renovation process as tracked in this blog should start here.

The next entry for the renovation can be found here.