Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Last Nice Day...

This weekend was all warm sunshine, crunchy leaves, tile grout, and mirror frames.

Saturday was a nice day and we got to see a little sunshine for a change. That’s especially nice since the current forecast calls for rain every day for the next 7 days. Ugh. Welcome to November in Portland. But, Saturday was nice, probably the last nice day in a long time. I mean, it actually got above 60 degrees. Wow.

Rather than spend all that nice light working on the house, I took a little time to take some pictures. I got a few nice ones of the leaves the recent wind and rain left all over our yard. I have to say, in summer, it’s nice having two large maples to keep us shading and cool, but in fall we get carpet bombed by those two. Fortunately Jenn has volunteered to do the raking while I work on the inside.

Saturday we did take some time to grout the backsplash around the tub in the master bath. The grout we chose is kind of slow to set. In the past, we’ve sponged it off the tile face after 15 min, like the directions say, ended up removing too much, and were left with cracks after it cured. This time we left it for several hours. This made it harder to get it off of the face of the tile, but did leave a lot more grout in between the tiles. Maybe too much grout. There aren’t very clean lines between the tile and I may end up taking the Dremel to it. Did I mention I bought a Dremel? :-)

Sunday I finally got around to building a frame for the bathroom mirror. The idea was to build something simple that has a shaker/Stickley look to it. First, I made some 1"x3" white oak stock. Then, I made a simple butt-joint frame around a stock 24"x36" mirror I got from Hell. I also wanted a little shelf in front of the mirror. With all that, the mirror was a little too tall to fit in between the light fixture and the backsplash tile. So, I cut the mirror down to 24x32 and, with the frame and shelf, it all fits. I’m glad I got a good glass cutter back when Jenn and I were briefly into stained glass... Now that I built one mirror frame, I need to build two more just like it: another one for the master bath and one for the 2nd upstairs bath. Hopefully I can get that done this week. Next up will be the skirting on the jetted tub. I do prefer wood work over tiling!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Jenn and I finished mounting the tile for the various backsplashes last night. We did the vanity in the master bath Sunday. Last night we did the tub in the master bath and the vanity in the 2nd upstairs bath. It was pretty easy. Last night only took us about an hour. You just put the adhesive on the wall, mount the tiles, then wiggle them into place. The hardest part is getting the tiles all even and well spaced. The 3" tile comes with a mesh backing, grouped in a 3x3 grid, so that each group of 9 tiles is about a square foot. This does make it easy to lay out square footage pretty easily. The problem, though, is that the mesh can make it harder, not easier to wiggle the individual tiles around to get everything well space. We spent most of the time just wiggling tiles around and eyeballing against a level. Too bad I lost my laser level. That was useful. May need to buy another...

Here are some pictures:

Master bath vanity (with mirrors and cabinet doors, this might look finished...)

Master tub (yes, the skirting is made of cardboard -- it's on the todo list)

2nd Bath Vanity

Wet saw in the shower

Monday, October 10, 2005

Failed Inspection, Big Time

The city inspector was just here and, surprise surprise, we failed. But, we failed worse than I had thought. There was over 30 code violations! Ugh, 30! I knew it was going to be bad when the first thing he said was that the missing siding on the front porch was not acceptable. I had no idea. I thought the only things I needed to worry about were safety issues like railings, electrical, smoke detectors, etc. But, at least in Portland, you must have all framing and substructure covered. That includes sub siding, which you can clearly see on the front porch where the dining room window used to be. But, this also meant that every doorway upstairs that does not yet have a jam is a code violation. This also means the visible framing under both the main and sunroom stairs is a violation. He found a few others. Below is a complete list with pictures.

However, there is a bright spot. The inspector was very nice about the whole thing. I suppose he could have took one look at the siding, said "YOU FAIL" and walked away. Instead he spent about a half hour walking through the house pointing out everything that he said wouldn’t pass. This helped me make a complete list. He patiently answered every one of my stupid questions like "why?" and "WHY?". Instead of criticizing my work, he was actually very complimentary and seemed genuinely impressed with the work so far. When I explained that the permits expired in 2 days, he looked over the permits and found that the "mechanical" permit (for the furnace extension and the bathroom vents) had not been finalized. By okaying the mechanical permit, we automatically get another 6 months extension. Yippee! Plus, since the electrical also has not been finalized, we could get yet anther 6 months if we really need it. October of 2006?!? I hope not. I’m tired. Jenn is tired too. We’re both looking forward to just living in our house, rather than always working on it. But, looks like we’ll be working on it this winter.

Click here for a complete list of work that needs to be done with pictures.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Stair Railing Are All In Place

Well, I finally finished getting all of the railings in place for both the main stairs and the sunroom. Whew, that was a lot of work. It didn't seem like it would be that bad, but it took hour after hour after hour to get them all measured, cut, and put together. Don't quit your day job, Greg.

This weekend it was all sunroom stairs. I spent about 16 hours getting the railing all put together. Saturday, I got the newel posts, handrails, and baseboards in place. Today was spindles. It took 3 spindle assemblies to get the steps covered, then 6 more for the top of the stairs. While I worked on assembling the spindles, Jenn was busy sanding the 1x1 stock. What a team!

Tomorrow is the a big moment of truth for the house. I've scheduled a 'final' inspection with the city. I don't honestly expect to pass, but I do hope to at least get a list of 'code violations' so that I can start knocking those off. The only problem is that the permits are due to expire on Wednesday (10/12). I believe I'm entitled to one more extension, but I'm not absolutely sure. We'll see. Tomorrow is a big day.

And now, some pictures:

Main Stairs: