Archive for the 'Bathroom' Category

Photo Tour

We’ve been living in the house for one month and are now mostly unpacked (except for Larry’s office) so I thought it was time to give everyone the 5 cent tour.

Still some work to do: Once the basement is cleared of construction tools and supplies, we’re going to start setting up the root cellar, work tables, homebrew kit & dart board (a.k.a. man cave.) We’re also still debating the best way to hang artwork on the walls. Larry’s hesitant to put nail holes in the exterior walls he worked so hard to air seal. And we still have a lot of stuff in storage that we need to unpack, but for now we’re just taking a few weeks to enjoy the place. We love it!

Last update of 2011

Lot’s of news this week. We got our Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) on Wednesday! We can officially occupy our home this weekend.

We worked like crazy last week and over Christmas to finish all the odds and ends for the final inspections. We finished all the electrical Wednesday, 12/21, and had the final electrical inspection the Friday before Christmas. Our water test results arrived Christmas Eve. We spent the rest of Christmas weekend finishing up the porch railings and temporary stairs for the final inspection on Tuesday, 12/27. Our inspector gave us the thumbs up and faxed us the C.O. on Wednesday.

But wait, there’s more… Our contractor Warren entered the Energy Star program with our house. In order to complete the program and qualify under the 2011 rules, we had to get our final inspection and blower door test before the end of the year. This happened Thursday, two days before the end of the year. Final blower door result was 131 cfm, an improvement of 28 cfm from the shell test we did back in September. We’ll post more information on the Energy Star process next month when things settle down. It’s the only certification we’ve chosen to do for the house.

Our kitchen counter tops also arrived yesterday and were installed. The counters are Cambria Quartz (color: White Cliff.) We chose a manufactured quartz counter because we wanted something durable and low maintenance. And we chose Cambria because it’s the only American company manufacturing quartz counter tops. It looks fantastic.

And we generated our 5th megawatt Thursday. It took us almost 60 days to do it. That’s 5 megawatts for half a year. The system went online June 2nd.

We have a few finish work projects to complete. As we were running short on time, Jill found tile contractor, Chad Greenslet, out of Bennington to finish our shower tile job. He installed the Schluter and tile in 2 days, but ran out of tile. We thought we had ordered extra, but somehow miscalculated. The extra tile arrived today, so that project should get finished up next week. Jill is also working with a local glass supplier to install a frameless shower door.

The site-cut maple intended for our stairs is still drying out in our basement. At some point soon we’re going to have to decide if it will be ready in time, or if we should purchase other material for the stair.

95% of the trim is installed. The holes have to be filled and cracks caulked before it gets painted. Doors have to be painted too. Jill is hoping to get the two bedrooms finished this weekend so we can start moving some stuff into them.

Also, a few pieces of siding trim for the basement entry have been sealed and are awaiting installment.

But that is about it. We’re down to the final punch list. We have to be finished in two weeks for the mortgage appraisal. That is our other task – converting our construction loan over to a mortgage. More on that process soon as well.

Siding, gutters, wood flooring, stone wall and tile grout oh my!

It’s busy time at Uphill House these days. Warren finished the siding yesterday (except for one tiny section where the east entry is going). We started siding back in June, so it was a big milestone for us. The gutters are almost finished too.

The brown maple wood flooring arrived today from Vermont Plank Flooring. It is beautiful. It has to sit for a couple of weeks to acclimate before we start to install it.

Jill was busy grouted the bathroom floor tile today while Warren and I built a small stone retaining wall that will form the parking area next to the house.

Meanwhile Howie is finishing the taping this weekend and we should be able to start priming the first floor Monday night.

Our HVAC guys are scheduled to install the indoor unit of our heat pump on Thursday.

And we’re hoping to take a trip to Ikea to purchase our Kitchen cabinets next weekend.

We’re going to need a vacation very soon.

Bathroom floor tile

It was bathroom floor tile weekend. Our stretch goal was to measure, cut and lay all the floor tile. We were able measure and cut all the tile, but only able to lay about 60% of the tiles. We’ll need another couple of nights to finish laying the floor tile and grouting. Jill described the tile and paint selections last month in her post, Interior Painting.

Interior Painting

Howie finished taping and sanding the drywall on the second floor on Sunday, so while we’re waiting for the first floor to be insulated and sheet rocked, we’ve started priming and painting upstairs.

We’re using Benjamin Moore’s zero-VOC Natura line. I read a few reviews on other brands that complained about needing 3-4 coats to achieve the desired color, and only saw good reviews for Natura’s coverage. We’re using some pretty saturated colors upstairs, so coverage was key and so far the it’s been wonderful to work with. It’s a little pricey at about $50/gallon, but not only does it cover well, it also goes on smoothly, dries in 1-2 hours, and it’s odorless. In fact, it’s so odorless that I could smell our dog over any paint smell when she came into the room. Time to give Bernie a bath!

I’m debating using some sort of geometric allover stencil on an accent wall in the master bedroom to break up the orange a bit. Any thoughts?

In other upstairs news: The tub was installed yesterday and looks great in the marble surround! All of our bathroom tile has now arrived, so as soon as Larry finishes installing the Schluter membrane in the shower we can tackle bath tiling next.

Bathroom color & tile: Walls are B.M. Natura Goldfield, shower walls and tub apron are tiled with Ann Sacks Lucian field tile in Oxygen, Carrara marble tub surround and vanity top, and 12"x24" Anthracite floor tile with matching pebbles on the shower floor.

While there’s nothing particularily “green” about the tile choices, we are using a no-VOC stone and grout sealer.

September Updates

Lot’s going on this month. If you follow us on twitter (@uphillhouse) you’ll know that we now have running water! Gould & Sons came out to install the pump and water pressure tank. They drilled the well a little over a year ago in June. See the post, Drill baby, drill!. They set the pump at 300′ which should give us 12-15 gallons per minute.

Last week also saw the installation of sheetrock on the 2nd floor and basement. Taping should be completed by the end of the week in those two areas so we can start priming and painting. As soon as we get the basement primed, we can move all the tools from the first floor to the basement. Then we can finish insulating and sheetrocking the first floor.

This weekend I was able to install the shower pan mortar base and drain. We’ll be using Kerdi-Drain and Kerdi membrane, a waterproofing material from Schluter, to water seal the shower enclosure. I’m hoping to get started with the membrane this week.

We also received several deliveries last week. Our water heater arrived. It’s a 50 gallon Marathon. It’s a very efficient electric water heater and well insulated. We decided not to go with the Hybrid heat pump approach, which is a great idea but not for our cold climate and dry basement. We decided against tankless hot water approaches because we’re all electric. I haven’t done a huge amount of research but it looks like the electric tankless approach is getting better over time. This may be a good approach in the future.

And our gutters finally arrived. Warren started putting up the front side gutters today. I’m working on a post about how we’re connecting the downspouts to the rain filter and cistern under the porch. It has taken quite a bit of research to figure it all out.

Tomorrow the tub surround will be installed. And hopefully the rain will hold off long enough tomorrow to finish installing the gutters and downspouts.

We’re trying to finish as much as we can for the Green Building Open House / National Solar Tour this Saturday. Many thanks to Paul and Joanne Coons from Clifton Parks for stopping by last weekend and dropping off the open house sign. You can find their house and lots of other amazing houses on the tour at the NESEA Green Buildings or the National Solar Tour sites. Stop by to visit.

Bathroom is sheetrocked

It’s the first full room to be sheetrocked. We had to wait till the exterior wall next to the tub was insulated before installing the last pieces of sheetrock. Now we can start some of the more detailed work, like getting the marble slab for the tub surround measured and fitted, and preparing the shower and floor for tile.

Today is forecasted to be the first clear day in a week. So we’re finishing off the roof over the porch. Then hopefully we can finally finish off the siding on the south and west sides.

Bath Time

Last week the plumber roughed in the waste pipes and venting. Soon he’ll begin the hot and cold water supply lines. He asked what faucets we’re using to make sure he has all the right connections, specs, etc. This prompted a mini bath shopping spree, and an opportunity for me to share our bath plans.

Faucets: We really like the old-fashioned cross handles, and starting looking around for an updated, streamline version. We eventually settled on the Grohe Arden line as they are less expensive than similar models from Kohler and Berclay and got great reviews. We ordered the Watersense versions (low-flow 1.5 GPM) in chrome last Friday. Unfortunately it will take 2 weeks for delivery.

Bathtub: We are doing a separate soaking tub and shower. We bought the 6′ Kohler Archer drop-in tub before we closed in the house. Larry started working on the the framing for the tub surround over Memorial Day weekend, and I put a deposit on a Carrara marble slab for the tub surround yesterday.  Once the framing is done, we will make a trip to the stone yard to pick out our slab and the installers will come to the site and create a template. It will take about two weeks to cut, edge and polish the slab after templating. The tub drain was ordered with the faucets, so all the plumbing should be in place before the slab is ready for install.

Shower: We are looking into using the Schluter-Shower System to waterproof the shower area. It’s cool because you install it over regular drywall and it keeps everything water tight. We will be using a frameless glass door instead of a curtain to allow more light and help make the space feel bigger.

Tile: We were originally planning to tile the walls in the bath, but to save money we are now just tiling the shower enclosure and front of the tub surround. We are considering Lucian glass tiles from Ann Sacks and Optix from Waterworks. We have chosen a light gray porcelain tile for the floor and are looking at a flat pebble for the shower floor in either a blue/green mix or white (similar to Carrara.)

Vanity: Next big sale day, we will be ordering the Hutton washstand in dark espresso with Carrara marble top from Restoration Hardware.

Heat: We will be heating the bathroom (and our towels) with a Runtal Radiator Electric Omnipanel.


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