Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 10-23-16

I’ll start today with a pretty picture. The flowers are from one of my neighbors (Pauline Anders), and the potted plant is (nominally, though I suspect Pauline was behind it as well) from the neighborhood. I hasten to say that they express gratitude not for this blog (which I suspect few of them read) but for my being “postmaster” for the neighborhood association. It is a sinecure, and I don’t deserve recognition; that should go instead to Pauline, who actually organizes the neighborhood events I just send out email notices about. Anyway, I do appreciate the floral tributes.

252 N. Bayview Street

Today’s photos (none of them very good, I’m afraid) will be much of a muchness, as this week’s progress is primarily in the area of closet shelves. Here’s the downstairs portion of the future elevator shaft.

There are three closets in the “back room.” This is one of the new ones, the larger one, with double doors (built-in bookcase retained on the right side).

This is the smaller new one, now fitted with a salvaged door (built-in bookcase still visible on the right side).

The third one, in the entranceway, previously had an accordion-fold door. That has now been removed, and I suspect that the double doors currently waiting in the living room are intended for this space.

Upstairs, the upper portion of the elevator shaft. For some reason, its door and the doors to the bathroom had been removed from their hinges.

Several views of the walk-in closet in the master suite.

I may be mistaken, but it appeared to me that the floor in the former porch area had been cleared up and possibly sanded down. There is so much sawdust/sanding dust/miscellaneous dust on all the floors all over the house that it’s difficult to tell.

It does seem, however, that efforts are being made toward leveling the floor. Here a strip of something has been inserted in the space between living/dining room and kitchen floors.

Progress is also being made in the HVAC department. A thermostat has been installed.

Air returns in the back hall have filters but no grills.

Cutouts in the floor await floor registers.

In the master bedroom I found rather rumpled plans for the house. These included the “Demolition Plan,” which was quite interesting. Among other revelations was that the new laundry room was the old kitchen, which explains why the cabinets are such a good fit. I was also relieved to see that the plan called for replacing the original front steps; this is reassuring since the existing steps have become more and more dilapidated. The site plan below shows how the new construction fits almost entirely within the footprint of the existing house (and the required setbacks). None of the plans say anything about plans for the basement, which remains virtually untouched.

352 N. Summit Street

Doors! That’s the big event this week. Four of them across the front.

Interestingly, the door from the “sunroom” opens outward.

Inside, French doors flank the fireplace.

The only other outside door is in the back, next to the laundry room, leading out to the garage.

Upstairs, a tub has been installed in the bathroom opening off the middle bedroom. The hall bath (which serves the other two bedrooms), according to the plans, will have only a shower.

351 N. Summit Street

No observable change, but the architect’s website offers a “fly-by” video showing the house (from every conceivable angle) and neighborhood. The video was shot several weeks ago and doesn’t reflect the most recent improvements, but it’s still interesting.

59 N. Summit Street

The view from the front seems pretty much unchanged from last week.

A side view gives an idea of work to come. The back of the house is still under a blue tarp.

Here’s a shot of the house after the tree damage last June. Note the wing on the right.

That wing has been entirely removed, but the concrete block foundation suggests a plan to restore it.

Work on the addition in back (reported on in May of last year) has been at a standstill ever since the tree damage last June.

Elsewhere in the Neighborhood

304 N. Summit was getting a new metal roof yesterday.

As I returned home, walking north on Summit, I spotted what I at first thought was a squirrel standing up. As I approached, it looked more like a miniature dragon.

When I got close enough to see it clearly, I realized it was just a fallen limb caught up in some landscaping fabric!

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Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 10-16-16

The plot thickens. Today the exercise installation has been augmented with items constructed (or about to be constructed) from pool noodles and plastic Folger’s coffee tubs.

252 N. Bayview Street

A shot of the façade showing the trim that has somewhat recently been added.

The material used is MiraTEC by JELD-WEN, treated exterior composite trim, diminishing piles of which have been lying around the site for weeks. This is ironic since the instructions (numerous copies of which I found on the ground with the trim) specify: “Cover when used outside. Keep MiraTEC trim off the ground and dry. Excessive moisture pickup from improper storage may affect the performance of MiraTEC trim.”

Inside, the first thing that caught my eye was this square decorative panel. I will be curious to see where it ends up.

The panel was leaning against a wall just inside the door—or perhaps I should say doorway, since for some reason the door that was installed several weeks ago has been removed.

Similarly, the door to the back room has been removed. I didn’t see much else of note, though I suppose application of trim has continued throughout the house.

352 N. Summit Street

Today’s great leap forward is windows.

Here are the same windows from inside. This is the kitchen, looking toward what I previously identified as a breakfast room. Now, from the plans (shown below) I see it is a “sunroom” (though I suspect it may still be a sunny breakfast room).

In the living room (or rather “great room”), the fireplace insert has been installed.

HVAC equipment has been installed in one end of the master suite’s walk-in closet, and ductwork (not shown) has been installed throughout the house).

Here are the plans for the first and second floors. The colors indicate various kinds of insulation.

From the upstairs plan we learn that the mystery space at the top of the stairs will evidently be a sort of kitchenette, with sink, undercounter fridge, and microwave oven (“in Overhaed [sic] Cabinet”).

Already the actual construction is diverging from the plans. As can be seen from this detail, Bedroom 3 was slated to have a window seat flanked by two closets.

In actuality, there’s no sign of either. Moreover, it has appropriated the closet originally intended for Bedroom 2.

Similarly, in Bedroom 4, only half of the planned closet has been framed.

351 N. Summit Street

Progress here has been very subtle. If I hadn’t approached the front door close enough to peer in (to see whether work on the flooring had begun), I would not have noticed (by smell alone) that the door has been stained.

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Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 10-9-16

For starters, here’s a photo you can puzzle over as I did the subject, strung out between trees on the bluff. Does anyone know what this is for? I assume some form of exercise. (As I approached it from the street side, seen only in silhouette, it looked more like a series of bells of various shapes!)

252 N. Bayview Street

Outside, the carport posts have been boxed in.

Inside, doors and trim are the news this week. This door propped up against the kitchen wall (probably destined to hang in the opening to the laundry room, next to it) was the only one not installed. A few pocket doors are still missing, but most of the hinged ones appear to be in place.

One of the pairs of double doors is in the opening of the alcove (purpose still unknown) in the entryway from the deck on the north side of the house. To the left is the pocket door opening into the laundry room.

Another pair of double doors opens to the closet in the northeast downstairs bedroom.

Baseboards and window trim have also been added in this room.

In the back room, another pair of double doors, opening to the new closet. The outside door and all the windows had been opened yesterday, presumably to air the room out (they were closed when I returned today).

Double doors lead to the closet in the hallway between the kitchen and downstairs bedrooms. The painted door inside provides access to the downstairs air handler.

Upstairs, its counterpart has a single door. The plans I found last week confirmed my earlier speculation that these corresponding over-and-under closets are designed as a future elevator shaft. To the left of the upstairs closet is the pocket door leading to the His and Hers walk-in closets.

The master bath is also accessed through double doors.

In all the existing bathrooms, some existing fixtures have been retained, presumably to be reused, yet no effort is being made to protect them. A lot of work is going to be needed to clean these up to “like-new” condition!

In the living room, a pile of what may be flooring.

This corner is a dramatic illustration of the effect of the cove molding.

352 N. Summit Street

This week was evidently devoted to electrical work, with wiring strung and electrical outlet and switch boxes installed, along with connections for ceiling fixtures.

In the master bedroom, can lights (red) have been installed at the four corners, with a box for (presumably) a ceiling fan in the center (yellow).

351 N. Summit Street

No discernible change.

59 N. Summit Street

The new roof is now complete with plywood decking covered with Tyvek. The existing dormers have been removed.

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Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 10-2-16

The sudden transition to fallish weather has certainly made it more pleasant to survey houses. It is my favorite season.

252 N. Bayview Street

Outside, the pile of sand and bags of masonry cement suggest that more brick work is planned, probably around the carport since it appears a different treatment is planned for the areas above the front windows on the first floor (notice how the brick is finished neatly in the area highlighted in the photo below).

Since I last noticed, the ceiling of the carport has been completed.

Inside, the first sight to greet my eyes was this pile of lumber. The flat pieces are perhaps destined to become baseboards, but the curved ones are cove molding.

These scraps in the laundry room show the cross-section of the molding.

The molding has been installed in most of the downstairs rooms and in the “attic” room and “den” upstairs (but not the master bedroom or bath).

As this photo shows, some of the doors have also been hung. Looking at my photos from the past few weeks, I was curious about several double doors, since I hadn’t noticed any openings that would seem to require them. Later I found the house plans and saw that the new closet in the back room will have double doors, and the closet in the northeast downstairs bedroom will have double bi-fold doors.

I can’t imagine that these fiberglass tub surround panels would not have been discarded by now if they were not slated to be reused.

Also retained is this shower caddy, which Electic-ware (an online retailer of vintage ceramic bath hardware) calls a “soap and suds” unit, still containing a sliver of soap (the “suds” compartment is for shampoo).

352 N. Summit Street

This is beginning to shape up. These exterior views show the house and the very tall garage.

I’m curious about the placement of this door into the garage from the back of the house. Will there be steps up on the outside and down on the inside?

Returning to the front, we see the entrance to the house.

The same area viewed from inside, with the foyer on the left (background) and living room on the right.

This view shows the front wall of the living room. The openings on either side of the fireplace may be filled with French doors opening onto the porch or perhaps just windows.

To the right (north) of the living room is the kitchen, with a breakfast area opening onto the front porch (far end of this photo).

Stuck on a nail in the kitchen wall was this information about the very fancy GE refrigerator that will be installed. Although it lists for $3,099, you can get it for just $2,789 at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Behind the kitchen is a powder room. Again, literature about the Gerber Logan Square lavatory was stuck to the wall.

Behind the powder room is the laundry room. The door at the end of the hall opens to the back yard and garage.

To the right of the hall is the master suite. This bedroom-sized room is actually the master bath, which is on the south side of the house.

The walk-in closet, which runs between the bedroom and living room, is so large it needs two photos to show both ends, one under the stairs in the center of the house and the other extending to the south wall behind the bathroom.

Throughout the house, notations such as these have been posted on masking tape or written directly on the studs. The strips on the left and right read: “Center of box for wall light 75.5 from floor, 24″ from wall.” The center one says, “Ship lap this wall only floor to ceiling Horizontal.”

Upstairs, there is an assortment of large rooms assumed to be bedrooms and smaller ones assumed to be bathrooms (if they have plumbing) or closets (no plumbing). There is one mystery room at the top of the stairs. It has plumbing for a drain (such as for a lavatory) but clearly is going to be an open area (no door frame).

On the wall in the area outlined in the photo above are these instructions, which refer to a “cabinet,” which is even more intriguing. As for the “vertical ship lap,” this type of wainscoting is specified in numerous locations throughout the house.

351 N. Summit Street

When I visited yesterday, the owner and his wife were there, having cycled over. Vance was watering the palm trees, and, when I asked for a progress report, he noted that the paving of the patio had been completed.

The parking area is also finished now.

The screened porch has not yet been paved, probably because more pavers need to be split.

The brick-splitting process has resulted in a lot of waste!

Vance said that this week he will be making a final decision about the landscaping plan. Also, he has been waiting on the subcontractor who is doing the tile work and hardwood flooring, and he expects that to begin this week, after which all that remains is trim, paint, fixtures, appliances, etc. I asked if they expected to be in by Christmas, and he said probably not, but very close. He has a buyer interested in the house where they’re living now, which generates some urgency, he said.

160 Fels Avenue

Landscaping has been added—as well as Halloween decorations. This was one of half a dozen houses I saw that were already decorated on October 1.


Elsewhere Around the Neighborhood

This landscaping at 202 N. Bayview caught my eye. I can’t swear it is new, but I don’t think it would have jumped out at me if it weren’t. All I can say is that it is new since Google Street View photographed the house in April 2011! (It is also new since I caught it in a photo of 204 N. Bayview on November 27, 2014.) In any case, it is very attractive.

Regular readers will recall that the house at 59 N. Summit was badly damaged by a falling tree back in June 2015. The house has been under a blue roof ever since, the delay in repairs reported due to wrangling between insurance companies over liability. When I passed it Thursday, however, one end had been demolished, and yesterday it was being rebuilt.

Today demolition was beginning on the other side of the roof.

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Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 9-25-16

Baby steps today.

252 N. Bayview Street

Although there were workers present yesterday, it’s hard to see what they might have been doing. The main noticeable change on walking in the front door is that the kitchen has become a secondary door store (weren’t there enough doors in the back room already?).

Upstairs, I noticed for the first time (though of course it’s not new) that the upstairs air handler (last seen in a May 29 photo) has been enclosed (the downstairs one is in a closet).

Outside, new windows have been installed where there was previously a door (for reasons unknown, the back room had two outside entrances).

352 N. Summit Street

During the past week, the house has been “dried in”—roofed and wrapped with Tyvek.

351 N. Summit Street

When I passed yesterday, there was what I took to be a landscaping crew at work. There was a car or truck from Lambco (variously billed as Lambco Site Services and Lambco Landsculpting, both enterprises of Wayne Lambert in Daphne). I took a couple of telephoto shots and deferred inspection till today.

As I was approaching 352 N. Summit today, Vance McCown drove up. He rolled down the window and said, “Go check out the grading.”

I said, “Yeah, I saw them doing it yesterday. I was about to go take pictures.”

He said, “Them! That was me!” If I’d known he was at the controls of the Bobcat (rented from Lambco apparently), I might have gone closer yesterday, but today I was able to inspect the finished work. Vance reiterated that there is a “Continental Divide” in the middle of the property, with drainage to the west on one side and to the east on the other. Before he bought the property, drainage was straight from the street (which is on the south side) to the back of the lot and into the next yard, so he has improved it significantly.

As promised, the garage doors have been installed.

The front walk has also been completed (though currently under a layer of sand).

160 Fels Avenue and Environs

Progress on the addition at 162 Fels continues.

This trellis was added to the carport at 160 Fels several weeks ago, but I’ve been waiting to see whether it would painted or perhaps something would start to climb up it.

Since last week, this stump has replaced a tree at 158 Fels (the Google Street View photo shows how it used to look).

The house at 203 Liberty (with mailbox [blurred in this photo] actually on Fels) used to be surrounded by vegetation.

After it sat on the market for quite some time, it began to undergo renovation, which has included removing the fence and clearing out a lot of the shrubs and even trees.

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Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 9-18-16

It was sprinkling a bit when I went out yesterday and had just finished raining when I went out today, so everything was pretty wet, but progress is being made!

252 N. Bayview Street

Outside, the entrance porch has been bricked (though the floor is still a temporary sheet of plywood).

Inside, an opening has been cut above the fireplace. This seems to have become the de rigueur location for a flatscreen TV (though I don’t understand the vogue, which puts the screen well above eye level for a seated or even standing viewer), so perhaps one is going to be flush-mounted?

Most of the salvaged cabinets have been installed in the laundry room, which I guess will double as a butler’s pantry.

These shots from the laundry room into the kitchen and vice versa show the relationship of the two rooms. The door to the right in the first photo is to the basement stairs.

With the cabinets cleared out, the back room is mostly empty (except for doors), but this sink has joined the dishwasher. It appears to be in pretty good shape (with several puzzling special features, not to mention disposer and Powerade) ; perhaps it will be reused in the laundry room?

The southeast back bedroom is now the repository of fans, light fixtures, lavatories, and other fixtures removed from other rooms.

352 N. Summit Street

I got just one quick snap in the rain yesterday before Vance McCown came over from 351, eager to show me the latest developments there (see below). Looks like I might have gotten some drops of rain on my lens, too!

Although the photo above shows that the house has been roofed (with plywood), it was far from “dried in,” and this morning’s rain had left swirling pools all over the foundation.

The stairs were in place, and I managed to wade over to them and check out the second floor, but as yet I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, except to say that it has several large rooms and smaller areas that I assume will be closets and baths. It is not quite what my husband calls an “intriguing floor plan,” but it was a little puzzling.

351 N. Summit Street

As noted, Vance wanted to show me the progress that had been made in paving, including this parking court. Grass will be planted in the openings (now filled with sand) and eventually will cover the entire area. Paving is incomplete at this point because the masons ran out of bricks.

Masons had just started work on the front entrance porch.

Today that porch was finished.

Similarly, work was proceeding in the breezeway, which was completed today.

As surmised, the “extra” door has been installed in the garage entrance.

Vance previewed the work to come: as soon as paving is completed, landscaping can proceed. The house will be power washed one more time, and the siding on the first floor will get a second coat of paint. Garage doors will be delivered Wednesday. Inside, work on flooring will begin this week.

Vance took me inside to show off the paneling in the dining room/library. Previous photos had shown different paneling, which was not satisfactory. This new paneling was salvaged from a 200-year old building. Vance says the rings visible at the board ends indicate the wood was harvested from 300-year old trees, so he reckons it is at least 500 years old.

Because the paneling is not tongue-in-groove and there are many knotholes, the wall behind the paneling was painted black so that there would be no white showing between boards and through the holes. The result is quite attractive. He explained that a “pickled” finish will be applied.

One of the interesting features of this room is the secret compartments between the dining room and living room. I commented on these in my July 2 post, with the photo below (showing the old paneling).

Vance said that his wife had requested “hidden doors,” and he had accommodated her with these two shallow cupboards on either side of the doorway. The “doors” are currently just propped in place (in the photo below, the level is leaning against one), not yet hinged, but they will have “push to open” pressure latches.

As can be seen from these photos, there was a lot of standing water from this morning’s rain. As I was completing a circuit of the outside of the house today, Vance showed up, and I commented that the landscapers would have some grading to do to eliminate these puddles. Oh, no, he explained, the drainage of the site has been carefully planned through grading and using French drains. The standing water we saw would drain off quickly, he promised, and would never rise higher than the brick edging.

As can be seen in the photo below, the fence has been painted.

We went inside again today, and Vance showed me the wormy chestnut he plans to use for paneling in the kitchen. He said he had bought a quantity of it years ago for $1 a board foot and had used it in several houses; now it costs $10 a board foot (and unfortunately he will need to buy more to finish this project).

The house will incorporate a number of salvaged items in addition to lumber and used brick. The deadlock on the door through which we entered had been salvaged from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he said—an especially fine lock (in which one of the workers had unfortunately broken off a key). And he showed me this brass doorbell that had been on his parents’ home. The plate is engraved with the name McCown—almost invisible now, so he says he will probably have it reengraved.

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Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report—Special Edition

Today’s report is considerably closer to home than usual, as I am reporting on the renovation of our own master bathroom. This is a project that, although it was years overdue, came up very suddenly. After months of calling contractors who’d left their cards, only to get no return call, we finally got one to get back to us, and, since he had immediate availability, we had less than a week to choose tile, fixtures, etc. If we had had more lead time, we might have made some different choices, and some compromises were required just because ours is an old house, but we are reasonably well satisfied with the results.

I can’t overemphasize how impressed we were with our renovators, Jason Ile and Jonathan Barnhart, partners in J Squared Construction (shown below when they appeared on the first day of work). Although they are both relatively young, both have many years of experience in construction, beginning in childhood (when he was 10, Jason said). They are both perfectionists, so everything was done right. Jason was endlessly patient with our dithering and our unreasonable requests, and the job was finished pretty much within the estimated time despite setbacks that no one could have predicted. They are hard workers, too, working straight through the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) and till 6:30 or 7 many evenings to get to a stopping point. We hired J Squared with no references other than the recommendation of our next-door neighbor, but I would heartily recommend them to anyone for a similar job. I have urged them to put up a Facebook page where they can post photos of their work, but since they seem to be fully employed with only word-of-mouth advertising, perhaps this is unnecessary! [Update: They have put up a Facebook page here.]


In contrast to the master bathrooms in all the houses I usually write about, ours is about as small as a bathroom can be and still contain a tub/shower, toilet, and lavatory. So there was limited scope for grandiosity in our design. As can be seen from the photos below, the spacing is quite compact.

The previous owners did build a “dressing table” in an alcove of the bedroom outside the bathroom. We added the built-in drawers, and this “dressing area” largely compensates for being rather cramped in the bathroom.

The current color scheme was off-white, and we were very tired of that. We knew we wanted very neutral colors—mostly white with perhaps some black or grey. When we renovated the hall bath in 1991, we got grey-speckled white tile for the floor and walls, paired with dark grey paint and a dark grey Formica countertop. This color scheme has worked well, permitting use of practically any accent color (hot pink until recently).

Our search for tile was confusing and frustrating, but at least the choice was somewhat limited by the fact that the current vogue is for earth tones, and we knew we wanted white/grey. We looked at Hood’s Discount Home Center in Foley, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and ultimately Wade Distributing Co. in Foley. There we saw some porcelain tile that we might have liked (shown below), but the Wade location there is just a showroom; tile has to be ordered and takes a week to come; we didn’t have a week. So we settled on white subway tile for the tub surround and white mosaic tile for the floor, with a mosaic border in the tub.

Jason had emailed us several photos of ideas, and this one was one we kept going back to and saying, “Yeah, do that.” This shows the tile I actually wanted for the floors, though what I got was okay.


Construction began the day after Labor Day, September 6, and was completed on September 15. During that time, Barney and I both took photos obsessively at times and sporadically at others. In the end, I had over 150 photos of the process, not to mention dozens of photos we’d taken in stores. Needless to say, I haven’t included them all, but I did select quite a few, so if you are impatient, just scroll down to “After” to see the end results.

Here is the bathroom cleared for action (except for removing the toilet lid cover). Barney had removed the solid brass toilet paper and toothbrush holders.

The first order of business was to rip everything out. In this photo, the old vanity and toilet have been removed. The vanity had been junk from its inception (homemade—not by us), but we salvaged the toilet, as it was still perfectly good (in some ways better than a new one).

Our tub/shower was a one-piece precast fiberglass unit that had been installed during construction of the master bedroom addition. In order to remove it, Jonathan had to cut it up into pieces.

Ultimately all the walls were stripped back to the studs, but the disheartening first-day discovery was that there were no actual studs in the back (north) wall of the bathroom—just 1×4s to which the wallboard had been tacked.

What is behind these “studs” is what was once the back outside wall of the house, and between this old wall and the new one, a lot of assorted junk had been used as “insulation.”

We knew that a large part of the floor was rotten. That had been one of the reasons for needing the renovation: some years ago, our toilet had threatened to fall into the laundry room below and had been temporarily shored up with a square of OSB (as shown in the first two photos above). Since that time, the bathroom carpet (originally an extension of the white carpet in the bedroom) had been missing its pad, which had been ripped out during the repair. In order to create a smooth and secure surface for the floor tile, part of the floor had to be replaced.

One of the odd conveniences of our house is that our bedroom has a door leading out onto the porch roof. The story we were told was that the previous owners (who built the bedroom addition) had planned to build a deck but hadn’t gotten around to it before the breadwinner was transferred to Tuscaloosa. Since both our front and back staircases are narrow and twisty, it has been very handy to have this alternative access for bringing in large objects (double dresser, box spring), and in this situation the porch roof also doubled as a workbench.

The guys had also brought a trailer (Jason later said he wished he had brought his larger one) to dump their trash in. At the end of the job, this was taken to the dump.

In this photo, Jonathan has constructed one of the needed studs. The absence of others did make it easy for him to install a new exhaust fan from above!

This photo, taken a little before 10 on Wednesday morning, shows the old plumbing.

By 3 in the afternoon, Jason had completely replumbed the bathroom (using PEX tubing), now with Jonathan’s new studs in place, and insulation was being installed. Also, during that period, Jason had been able to replace the faulty shower valve in the hall bathroom (which backs up to this one), giving us a shower that finally, after all these years, actually works!

A major leap forward: the last act of the day is to bring the tub in. This really was an achievement because so much prep work had been required to get the room ready for it.

This photo shows the door previously mentioned. The plastic “path” remained in place during most of the construction, as both Jason and Jon were in and out frequently (also up and down the back stairs to their trailer).

Here’s the new tub in place Thursday morning before beginning of work.

Moisture barrier has been installed, followed by the cement board for the tile.

These clever plastic inserts facilitate creation of “cubbies” in the tile wall.

The cement board installation is complete, along with PURPLE® XP® drywall. We ended up having new drywall all around. Jonathan had started stripping wallpaper off the remaining walls, but when it got to the point where he was pulling off smaller and smaller pieces, Barney commented that he’d rather pay for more drywall than pay him by the hour to pick off wallpaper!

Jonathan has created the ornamental tile border (using a scrap of the drywall as a temporary guide) and started applying the subway tile.

Jason starts work on the floor tile.

In our back yard, Jonathan cuts tile. He actually cut a lot of it unnecessarily, but that’s a story for another day! We were blessed with perfect weather during almost the entire construction period, which was important because so much of their work was done outside.

The finished tile (before grout), at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. On the right, notice the towel bar. This was one of my “nonnegotiable demands,” and although Jason claimed to be unable to locate this obsolete fixture, I was not willing to take no for an answer. I searched online and found that the Daphne Home Depot had three in stock. He reported that it was very dusty! You can see from the “Before” photos that the cabinet over the toilet had a towel bar where we hung washcloths. We never actually used them, but I figured if they were hanging actually in the tub, perhaps we would. In any case, in losing the cabinet, we were going to lose the towel bar in that location, so some replacement was necessary.

Beadboard paneling and molding have been installed.

The tub enclosure has been grouted—it doesn’t look very promising!

This was something new Jason was trying—and liking. It’s special ceiling paint that is tinted pink so you can see, when you apply it, where you have painted and where you have missed. It dries white. (I thought the name on the can was Sherwin-Williams, but the only thing I can find online like this is Glidden.)

Dark grout on the floor—again, requiring a leap of faith!

Dark grey wall paint makes the finished tiling and painted wainscoting pop.

The light fixture has been installed.

The vanity and countertop/lavatory are in. Although the countertop is marble, the sink is vitreous china. This was another of my requisites. Our previous countertop had been molded cultured marble, and, although it had given us quite a few good years of service (probably at least 25 of the 36 years we’ve been in the house), for quite a few years the sink had been worn down to the underlying chalk in places, making it difficult to clean, not to mention unsightly. We opted for a 31″ countertop and larger vanity to replace the 24″ one. I’m not sure we need the extra storage space we gain in the cabinet, but the extra countertop space will be very welcome.

Jason installs the curtain rod, a curved one, which we’re actually not crazy about but will get used to. After this photo was taken, it had to be relocated because we determined that a standard 72″ ×72″ shower curtain would not reach the tub, and the shortest “extra-long” one (84″) would drag on the floor.


These photos were taken when construction was complete but before the room had been “dressed.”

These were taken after furnishings had been added.

In this photo you can glimpse the new solid panel door (with brushed nickel lever lockset) that replaced a flush hollow door. Jonathan worked hard at getting this squared up (the old one was poorly installed) and perfecting the threshold.


For those who are interested in such things, the paint color (from Home Depot) is Antique Tin (PPU18-03). The vanity (Kountry Wood) and the Carrara marble countertop are from Hood’s. The vanity light (from Lowe’s) is Kichler Oxby. The wall cabinet (also from Lowe’s) is Glacier Bay Lancaster. The lavatory fixture is Delta Everly from Home Depot. We had wanted the widespread model but had to settle for the centerset because that’s the way the marble vanity top was drilled.

The shower fixtures are a combination. The Delta hand shower with slide bar came from Lowe’s; the valve, faucet, shower arm, and flange are Delta Celice from Home Depot (the “rain”-style shower head was not used).

The accessories—26″ × 23″ pivoting wall mirror, 24″ double towel bar, towel ring, toilet paper holder, tank lever, and double robe hook—all in spot-resist brushed nickel, are all Moen Banbury, from Home Depot.

The Better Homes and Gardens waffle stripe pieced-fabric shower curtain is from Walmart; the other furnishings—Antique Pewter soap dispenser, Antique Pewter tumbler, black marble toothbrush holder, brushed nickel shower curtain hooks, Flat Gray 20″ × 34″ rug, Flat Gray contour rug, and Flat Gray toilet lid cover—are from Target. The shower curtain, in addition to being quite attractive, has the bonus feature that it can be hung with the stripes running either horizontally or vertically.

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