Posts tagged Construction
Last area to get tile

It's been a little more than two months snce my last post on this blog. In the shop we've been crazy busy on a very large project. Two workshops and tho international trips have also taken up my time. Even so we have been workng on the house a few times each week as time permits. Mirrors have been hung and shelving has been installed.The painting through the house is now largely complete as well.

With Christmas now quickly approaching we promised ourselves to put the push on to complete a few of the last areas of the interior. One of these areas is the tile work in the front entry. With the last of the trim in place and the painting done it was time and I had some time. It will take a few days, Today I laid as many of the whole tiles as I could.

front entry tile.png

In the next while I'll cut the edge tiles and fit everything into place, then glue the last of them into place leaving only the grout to finish things off. I'm sure looking forward to that very last tile!

-grampa dan

Two more rooms tiled.

Over the last week I've been busy each evening, cutting the last of what seemed like an endless amount of tile for the mudroom area. The tile had to be fitted around the legs of the bench, around the cabinets and up the walls in the bathroom. I knew we were cutting it close with the light colored tile, but figured there would be plenty. As I fitted the final tiles around the sink I opened the last box of tiles. There would be six tiles left over (out of more than fifity cases).

The last two tile to be cut were tricky however, as I had to cut a three gang switch out of the center of one and a plug out of the other. Surprisingly, I did both cuts on the first attempt - without breaking the tile. But as I laid the tile today I realized I had cut the holes a little low in the tile - too low to fudge. So it was time to cut two more. It took five tries to cut the two tiles, leaving only one spare tile. That was far too close for my liking but we did have enough and that is all that counts. I'll polish off the grouting tomorrow.

tile in mudroom bath.png

Now, there is ony the small bit of tile by the front door to complete and that has to wait until the finish carpenter installs the last of the trim. I can hardly wait!

-grampa dan

Cut, cut, cut, glue

Today I spent at the tile saw measuring and cutting what seemed like endless stacks of tile for the living room floor. Once I was around the entire edge it was time to mix up some morter and glue them into place. After supper, at last, the final tile was in place. 

living room tile done.png

Tomorrow it will be time for the grout. Final paint will also happen this week and pretty soon it will be time to move in the furniture!

-grampa dan

Todays job sucks

It was our goal to completely finish the house, or at least the inside before we moved in. That was a great idea but the realities f life and the failing systems in the old house requred us to modify that plan. Instead we are finishing each room and then moving in. Even so some things inevitably get left unfinished as we move through the house. I have made it my goal to take one item off this list each day. Its a good thing there are many small things unfinished for on some busy days it's all I can manage but as often as I can find the time I also work at the larger things.

Today's task was to finish of installing the built in vacuum. We wanted to wait until the last of the construction dust was gone and the painting of the walls was complete before we started the job. The task required I break out lots of tools that I haven't used in a while. I cut and glued pipe, made plenty of electrical connections and screwed on faceplates. I had to climb up in the attic space to find the ends of pipes and coiled wires long fogotten. Eventually I figured it all out. It's been twenty years since I hooked up the last vacuum but it like riding a bike I suppose - only I remember it being a whole lot easier the last time. :)


It is FINALLY time to retire our NOISY, heavy and DESPISED upright vacuum. It's a good day and one that is well worth the effort!

-grampa dan

Over the hump

Back in the days I did very large historical murals there was a point on every wall where I wondered if I would ever get done. It generally happened about four or five days into a project. I called it hitting the wall. But if I continued to push hard and just trusted myself I would get through those nagging doubts and each time the mural tuned out fine. I know many other talented folks I painted with ran into that same crazy wall.

When I started doing large theme projects I found that very same wall - the point at which I began to doubt myself, wonder what I got myself into and also wondered how I would get out. But like in the mural days if I kept pushing and believing it always worked out in the end.

The house is no different or rather each stage of the house project is like that. We determined we would lay the tile ourselves in the new house. That translates to me being down on my knees for what seemed like forever, laying out, measuring, cutting, gluing and grouting. I've had some great help along the way from time to time but it has gone on for quite some time - which is to be expected for we took delivery of 2,700 tiles for the task.

Some areas go very quick, big areas with no pattern and little cutting. Small areas like closts and hallways are a different story. In the main living area, dining, living room, kitchen and hallways it is all laid diagonally and much of it has a diamond added in for good measure. I quickly found out why tile setters charge more for the complicated and fancy stuff. It simply takes a lot longer!

In the last week as I worked through these more complicated areas I hiot that proverbial wall once more. Doubts snuck in and I wondered if this crazy floor would ever get done. But I've been down that road hundreds of times. I knew exactly what to do... simply press on.

Yesterday I managed to finish cutting and laying the bulk of the tile in the pantry, dining room, and the longest hallway. Today I spent on my knees again trowelling and sponging the grout into all those many joints. When the tools were washed up I went back into the house to look things over. It felt good - REAL GOOD. The stack of unlaid tile is now downright small.

hallway tile.png

Two more rows of tile in the dining room will polish things off here as well.

dining room tiled almost.png

Of that giant original stack of 2,700 tiles there remain less than 600 to go. We are now over the hump at last!

-grampa dan

Measure twice - cut once.

Laying tile is fun work for me and I enjoy it, although I would not want to do it for a living. In our house we decided to get a little fancy, which means the tile saw is getting a real workout - as is my tape measure. In some areas there are up to seven cut tiles for every whole one. Yesterday I did the main tiling down the center of the hallway and the bulk of the area in the dining room. The key here was to get the lines and diamond pattern to be perfectly straight.

tile in dining room and hallway.png

In the next few days I'll be carefully measuring and cutting each edge tile and then carefulluy gluing them into place. I'm looking forward to the challenge!

-grampa dan

Details take the time but look great!

I decided to lay our own ceramic tile in the house because we desire lots of small details that would simply cost a fortune if we were to hire a professional to do them. Every doorway has a transitional strip of small tiles. Through the main living areas, living room, dining room, kitchen and hallways the tile is laid on the diagonal, with small square inserts to make things interesting. It all takes time nnd as usual in this kind of situation (a common occurance in my life) I sometimes wonder what I got myself into about 3/4 way through the job. But at the end of each day I stand back and look at the day's acomplishments and it makes me smile. When the house is finally finished there will be few regrets for we made few compromises along the way.

Tonight I laid the bulk of the tile in the pantry area, which is adjacent to the kitchen on the west end of the house. The diagonal tiles meant plenty of careful cuts to make things fit around the cupboards. We did the tile after the cupboards (not usual we know) so that the baseboards fit perfectly. 

pantry 1.png

Each area of the house was carefully planned and then executed so everything works together as it should. The double door fridge we purchased for the house was a large one and deeper than normal. To accomodate this we set the wall behind it back six inches so the fridge did not stick out into the kitchen. Its one more small detail that makes a big difference to the finished house. In this area, like under the dish washer, range and upright freezer we put in a transition strip with small cut tiles and then laid the tile in square behind the cupboard line. Each closet got the same treatment as well.

fridge tile.png

This is the transition strip between the front entry and the pantry. I have a eleven more tiles to cut and lay tomorrow in order to finish off the pantry area.

pantry tile 2.png

There are now far more tile laid than still in the stack in the living room and it feels great to be that far! Everyone else is putting the pressure on to be finally done. I don't need much encouragement to get this thing done!

-grampa dan

Plumber's final touches

Richard and Shawn from Richard's Plumbing and Heating were back in the house today for the final bits and pieces. We really appreciate their careful attention to every detail. Today's projects included the third showerhead in the big ensuite shower. This one is a wand on a hose and is adjustable in height.

install third shower head.png

While Shawn did that task Richard was under the mud room sink hooking up the connecions to the ouside tap. We will have both hot and old water in the carport - perfect for washing the car on cool days.

richard under sink.png

Now, save for one toilet in the mud room bathroom the plumbing is done in the new house. That will have to wait until I finish the tile work. Each day one or two more items get crossed off the ever dwindling list of things to finish the house. We are looking forward to the day it is all done!

-grampa dan

Closets with style!

Janis has worked hard to squeeze in every possible square inch of storage into the new house. It's one of the important things that make the new house work so well. We selected the good folks from Turner Closets in Abbotsford, B.C. to build and install the organizing systems into the closets.

turner crew.png

The master bedroom is the main event of course. We have plenty of room for hanging clothes, shelves and drawers for everything else.

closet system.png

Other closets in the house are getting the treatment as well. They are looking looking pretty spiffy!

guest closet.png

The count down is on to move into the new house...

-grampa dan

Another room off the list.

Today was busy from start to finish. The edge tiles in the sewiing room were finished and the full size tile were laid in the guest room. This is the last room to recieve the light colored tile.

guest room tile.png

Tomorrow I'll lay the last of the edge tiles in the guest room and then it is on to the master bedroom. My knees are beginning to feel like I've been on them for a little too long... but it will all be worth it when the job is done.

-grampa dan

It's coming together at last!

The house was a whirlwind of activity today. The finish carpenters are busy wrapping up many parts of the house. Upstairs only a few pieces of baseboard remain to be done. The mud room now only lacks a couple of baseboards to finish the carpenters work in there. The bench and coat rack look fabulous and now are ready for paint after a teeny bit more sanding.

mudroom bench.png

The laundry needs only paint touchup and final cleaning to be ready for service. The new washer and dryer are unwrapped and ready for hookup.

laundry room.png

The stairs are now almost all tiled save for the small bits of tile in the nosings.

stairway with tile.png

The guest room is also now ready for tile.

guest room.png

There is still an enourmous amount to do but the list gets a teeny bit shorter every day.

-grampa dan

Detail with an important function

I was doing a delivery to the WhistlePunk Hollow project for most of the day but while I was gone lots of people were busy in the house. Sarah, Becke and big Matt were busy painting various places. The exciting news was that today the first of the doors got their first coats of paint. Janis is in charge of this part of the project as she gives them the detailed attention they deserve.

first painted doors.png

Downstairs the finish carpenters were busy. Jesse worked on baseboard trim while Brent worked on a new project - the mudroom bench and coatrack. It is going to be a spectacular feature that will serve our family well for years to come. It will feature a ten foot long bench with a built in coatrack on the wall behind. A sturdy shelf above will hold all the accessories. 

start of mudroom bench.png

Underneath the bench there is plenty of room under the bench for our shoes and boots.

bench detail.png

The sturdy brackets for the shelf feature Janis' beloved butterflies of course.

shelf bracket detail.png

By tomorrow night the bench area should be almost complete. I can hardly wait to see it done!

-grampa dan


The work continued late into the evening hours today. Houses don't build themselves. I did the fidly work first, tiling about half the stairs. Then it was on to Janis' large sewing room. I've learned the easiest way for me to tile is to do the big area first, then come back the next day and first cut then lay the edges to fit perfectly. There were 150 full size tiles on this floor. There will be plenty of room for Janis to do her quilting in this room.

sewing room tile.png

Tile by tile we get closer each day to moving in. No firm date yet but it will be soon!

-grampa dan

Upstairs floor done

Today I spent putting down the last of the upstairs floor. Laminate flooring goes down quickly but is exacting work. The room certainly changed in a hurry! Now the Boughen boys can finish the trim and Becke and her crew can finish the blending of the colors. The electricians can also put in the LED lighting to finish things off before Becke moves her things in.

beckes room floor done.png

Photographs don't do this room justice. It just makes everyone who sees it smile.

-grampa dan

Small details

Not every part of the house construction is glamorous but every bit requires thought and attention to detail. Some of the more mudane bits seem to require the most thought and planning. The flooring in the upstairs hallway at the top of the stairs is laminated cork. This has to transition to ceramic tile down the stairs. The stair noses presented a big dilema as we didn't care for the cheap looking standard fare. After some research we located a stair nosing (actually a tile countertop trim) that would work perfectly. The laminate flooring needed to be custom sawn at the edge to make it work and that was today's task. Small square tiles will go into the front of the metal molding when I do the tiling down the stairs. The same molding will be used all down the stairs.

I had previously laid the laminate flooring over the arched bridge some weeks ago and now at last it was time to extend it through the upper hallway and then into the last room upstairs (tomorrow). After doing little for the last four days it felt good to get my hands to the tools once more. In about two hours the job was done.

top of stairs.png

It is the small details throughout the house that make it so special.

-grampa dan

Waterworks details

Today, Shawn from Richard's Plumbing spent the day in the new house hooking up the sinks and taps. He 's a great guy who pays attention to the little details, like how the pipes under the sink are tucked close to the wall in order to not take up valuable storage space. The taps we chose are simple, yet elegant and single handle design for ease of use.

baathroom sink.png

The big sink is in the mudroom bathroom. It's the extra deep sink that will get heavy duty use including washing our small dogs. The spray head also is attached to a hose that pulls out for spraying. I still have to do the tile back splash around this area.

mud room sink.png

The main bathroom features a six foot long tub that is extra deep. It will be a great place to soak. The taps are the same simple, elegant style.

bathtub taps.png

The ensuite shower is a pure delight. It features three separately controlled shower heads. I gave it a spin tonight and this is a shower where one gets wet all over at the same time. Measuring four feet wide by eight feet long and with a nine foot ceiling this shower feels nice and roomy too. :)

shower tap.png

I'm loving this house already!

-grampa dan

Floor progress

Today I mamaged to finish tiling the last of the closets, the stair risers and the floor of the mudroom bathroom. That finishes the small floor areas of the house. This means the pace of tiling will pick up from here.

upstairs bath tile.png
tile stair risers.png

The LED lights under the handrails light up the stairs perfectly by themselves (without shining in our eyes) and will serve as a night light when we have company.

led's on stairs.png

The trim in Phoebe's playroom is now finished and ready for final paint. The adjustable shelves are ready for paint as well. 

phoebe's shelves.png

With the upstairs bathroom tile in place I can now finish the laminated floor in the upstairs area. Once that is done I'll be tiling the large areas of the downstairs. It is all coming together quickly now. Stay tuned for more progress...

-grampa dan

Splish splash.

The new house is a careful balance between practicality and fun. In the bathroom and ensuite we considered many options for the surrounds. Janis isn't fond of the maintenance tile would involve. The high cost of a one piece solid surface defeated that option. In the end we opted for a 100% acrylic splash with as few seams as possible. It's plain but the easiest to maintain. We'll keep the fancy for other parts of the rooms. The bath splash crew was in the house the last few days installing the massive sheets of acrylic. One of the installers will be back tomorrow to finish.

bath surround.png

The ensuite the shower is eight feet long and four feet wide. The floor is sloped gently to the drain in the middle and there will be no shower door. The reason is simple. Like the rest of our house these areas are designed to be wheelchair friendly. I put in plenty of sturdy backing in both the tub and ensuite shower areas in case we need grab bars in the future as well. The truth is that Janis and I aren't getting younger. While we may never have the need for wheelchairs we don't want such a need to force us from our home in future years. It will never be easier than now to plan for such an eventuality.

shower surround.png

On Monday the plumbers arrive for the final install of the toilets and taps. Everything is coming together.


-grampa dan