Monday, February 24, 2020

Remodeling Our Hut Part 35: Upstairs Bathroom WIndow, Balcony Railings

A little less than a week left in February already and we're still slogging along with the remodel.  We're getting closer day by day, but we really don't have a completion date in sight yet.  (It will be a year in July, but let's hope it doesn't go that long.)

For close to nine weeks we have been waiting for stair tread parts to come in for the staircase. Some of the treads had be ordered and other parts had to be custom made, but from what I understand, the order was delayed for over six weeks, and when it finally did come in, the measurements were wrong.  Our contractor asked them to make our staircase project a priority, so we'll see.

But anyway, while we've been waiting for stair parts, we've been busy with other details that needed finishing.  In order to be able to move back in, we have to have a railing in place according to building codes.  But as one thing leads to another, without the stair treads in place, Carl cannot make the staircase railings until he knows what the finished height of the treads are.  He has been making as much of the design parts as he can, but we'll have to wait until the treads are installed.  Soon?  We hope so.

Our friend, Cody, finished the complicated task of installing crown molding throughout the entire downstairs.  He did an amazing job and the end result is beautiful.  
 View from 'Study/dining room' to front porch

The first pieces of furniture to find their way back home were my antique Yawman & Erbe file cabinets.

 One of the most controversial decisions we had to make when it came to the remodel was the placement of a half-bath upstairs.  

The original bathroom was under the steeply slanted roof in the hallway between the two bedrooms.  Measuring less than six feet long by three feet wide, the lack of size did have its perks; if you were very tired you could rest your head on the wall opposite the toilet. However, extreme caution was required to stand up at just the right angle lest you bash your head on the ceiling. 

In the picture below, the remnants of the bathroom floor are still visible during the demolition stage back in July 2019.

After the new gable was added, we decided to put the new bathroom in a different spot upstairs, basically across the hall from the original location.

Very narrow little room, but at least the ceiling isn't slanted.  I was able to buy a tiny sink online that fits quite well.     
 Our contractor asked us if we wanted to put one of our stained glass windows in the opening and we agreed.  He took the measurements of our stained glass piece and made an opening in the wall to fit.

While Carl was working on the balcony railings, Cody installed our stained glass 'Spring' window in the new tiny upstairs bathroom.  Cody carefully reassembled the wooden frame around the window after I had stained it from light blonde to dark.  


Cody installing the bathroom window January 30, 2020.  He is straddling the opening in the floor here.  Yes, we needed railings!
 We built the 'Spring' window over a decade ago, but for years it was only brought out for garden walks and then put back in storage because it was too big for displaying in our house.  I don't know why we built a window with no real place to install it, but it has a home now.

And below is the view when the bathroom light is on.

There's still a mirror to hang in the little bathroom and we'll possibly make a small wall cabinet out of our old waterbed headboard for towel and toiletries. 


 February 1, 2020 and Carl was hard at work on the balcony railings.  He was able to reuse some of the components from the original railings he'd built in 1978.   Below is the old handrail section lying in the shop driveway ready for measuring and layout and drilling for the designs.
The handrail went up first and despite Carl being paranoid, it fit perfectly.  He agonized over the design (my idea) and the exact measurements and placement for weeks, and though they look simple, they were a real source of stress for him.  
Joel stopped in to lend Carl a hand with the installation.

Audrey was assisting by bringing drills when needed.  In between times, she was working on rearranging the spare hardwood for me.

"What an interesting piece of oak, Grandma."

Joel and Carl, installing the balcony railing on north side.   
Carl had been welding for weeks on the designs for the railings.  In the picture above, the designs are laid out on sawhorses.

February 2, and the first designs were added to the balcony.   

 I had to get a rondel and hold it up to see what the glass would look like in the railings when we're done.

There's Carl, looking doubtful about these railings again.
 They are plain, but by the time we add the glass inserts and the copper leaves, they'll be busy enough.

I've been working on the leaves at our house now, I've got 150 made so far.   I'm not sure how many we'll need; it all depends on how they look when they're attached to the railings.  We'll see.

Upper right side is the copper strips cut from scrap from our garden dome project.  Lower right is the leaves after folding them in half and cutting out with aviation snips.  On the left are the finished leaves after hand hammering and annealing.
I've been having a lot of fun making the leaves, but it will be interesting to see what they look like attached to the railing.  I have plans to have some of them cascading down copper 'vines' on the curved laterals at the base of the stairs, but, drat, we're going to have to wait for the stair treads to be in place first.  (I sure hope the treads arrive this week Thursday; that was the date I was promised, anyway. Can you tell I'm getting impatient?)

Below; February 11, and more railing designs in place.  Each design is drilled in place and secured to the floor with set screws.  Carl had to machine each spindle in a lathe for the screws to fit into.

 February 12; more designs in place.

 Carl fabricated a back plate for the railing to attach to the wall that matches the hardware on our new doorknobs, below.
  I have to touch up the screw with some bronze paint.
Every night after work, Carl would put in a few more designs. 

Here's a bunch of views from various angles:


I stuck a rondel in the second design from the wall with tinfoil just for dramatic effect.
February 18, and the balcony railing is finished.  
 It is such a relief to have railings upstairs again, I was always worried someone was going to fall.  
On Valentine's Day, Cody came over to install a piece of stained glass in the window between the study and the mudroom.  When we have time, we'll build a stained glass window for this opening, but for now, the piece of glass will work.


 Though we haven't moved back in yet, I brought over a few of our stained glass lamps.  The 'Allamanda' lamp was the first to return from the Hobbit house.
Joel and Audrey brought over the 'Laburnum' lamp last week Thursday.
 While Audrey was visiting, she took over making some copper leaves for me, too.

With her help, I'll be done in no time.
Cody and Carl worked on installing our new water heater and water softener last Sunday.  They were finally finished at midnight.  It is so nice to have hot water again.
Carl worked on installing the rest of the doorknobs, a coat rack, towel bars, shower curtain rods and some more plumbing this weekend.  Cody stopped in again last night and with Joel's help, put shelves in my pantry, so I can start moving things back in.  

We'll see what this coming week brings.  

Looking back, we're a lot closer to the end than the beginning.


We'll just keep plodding on.