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September 2021
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Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 13 Details

The LSB is down to the bits. Major work is complete.  We are down to the details.
The glass block although only a 6×6” unit adds enough light so you can find it without needing a flashlight.

New Throne with Light and reading rack

New Throne with Light and reading rack

The toilet is an American Standard Cadet model. It is a low flush, comfort height, extended bowl with one of the fastest flushes I have seen.

Pocket Door. Adds much usable space to the room.

Pocket Doors add space

Shower Front
Here we opted for a shower massage shower over the simple head provided by the manufacturer.

Shower head with natural lighting

Also we installed a curved shower curtain rod.
Shower Back
On the left or long wall is a 24” grab bar. On the right side of the window is a 12” grab bar. On the right is a 54” high Jeeves Heated Towel Bar.

Tub and floor details

Early Morning
Since the long wall faces east and gets the morning sun, here is a sample of the glass block display.

Morning Light through Glass Blocks

Morning Light through Glass Blocks

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 7 – Doorways and Bonding

Most of my work is done as a solo act. I work better this way. However there are times where you need someone on the other end. This weekend my daughter gave me a hand moving and installing the doors on this project. She had recently gotten back into town after a few years elsewhere, and was up hanging out with the old man.

Here she is removing the trim  prior to moving it to its new location. This opening will framed in for a bifold door for the utility storage room


Here is that door in its new location looking out.


Here is the door from the flip side. Trim will be a challenge.


So you don’t think that the hinge lobby has gotten to me, no project of mine would be complete without ….. A pocket door! A lot of builders hate pocket doors. Most of them don’t have anybody on their crews who can read a level, or understand that a pocket door is not a shim and trim operation. It takes more time, but is worth it in space gained.


As I mentioned previously, I mostly work solo, which is why you see pictures of the work and none of me. It’s not about me. However this weekend my daughter managed to snap a couple of pics for those of you dying to see the man behind the camera. I am standing on a bucket and am not 7 feet tall.


Here is the flip side. Happy now?


We also ripped out one of those aluminum patio/arcadia doors and replaced it with this number.


And that’s how we spent some of the weekend. We spent the rest pigging out and watching movies.

Master Bath Project Episode 2

Remodeling never takes place in a vacuum. At the same time as the MBP was beginning, painting was going on in the rest of the house. Having completed the Walk In Closet, and having the Master Bedroom between the closet and the Master Bath, getting the maximum value out of the painters required a little change to the ‘normal’ demo schedule.

One of the earliest decisions was to replace the existing bathroom door with a pocket door.
Yet another stake in the heart of the hinge door lobby!
But I digress…

Since the bathroom door was part of the master bedroom wall, and the painters were drumming on their cans, I did a partial demo to get the pocket door in and the wall finished.

As you can see I removed just enough materials to allow me to install the frame. Notice that I used the right hand side of the existing opening as one side of the pocket door opening. On the right side of this wall on the bathroom side is the toilet, which we were not moving, and we were going to need the space on the bathroom side for the switches that are currently in the closet wall.

Once I installed the frame I also installed the door as the bedroom side needed to be drywalled for the painters. ‘Normally’ we would wait until the drywall was up on both sides, the flooring was in, and it was ready for paint. This also would allow us to adjust the bottom of the door to meet the finish flooring. We decided that we would paint the bedroom, so the painters could do the rest of the house while the bathroom project was ongoing.
Yes the ceiling has blown insulation which makes quite a mess and left unchecked would spread all over the rest of the house. This also allows us to continue the demo in the bathroom while the painters were doing their thing.

In this photo you can see the new round ductwork that we had installed during the closet project, because we were eliminating the closet and its soffit. We also demoed the side wall and have the electric hanging in space.

Time to rip out more stuff so we can move the switches.

Pocket Door Retrofit

I am a fan of Pocket Doors. A big Fan. They just make more sense, especially if you have a small house. I have one now and am planning on 4 or 5 more.

Retro fitting a pocket door where there was the other type is not hard.
You need enough space for the door and frame.

Typically it is twice the width of the door plus 2”
Example: (36”) x 2 =72” +2” = 74”
The Height from the finished floor is 84″
So your rough opening is 74” wide by 84” high.

Here is a typical location between a bedroom and a bath.
There are a couple of things to watch for. This photo shows an outlet in the wall. Check both sides of your location to see if you are going to have to re-route electricity or plumbing.
Opening before start

The first thing to do is to remove the old door and trim. Here we are using the original stud on the knob side.
Open the wall up, to see how far beyond the width that you need, you find a stud. In this case the line 1/2 way up the wall on the left is where the stud was. You can see the stud post that formed the wing wall that is in the bathroom, that was a closet and part of the Walk In closet project. You can also see the band joist that framed the ceiling in that closet where there was a heat/ac duct.

Draw a line from the top of the door to the ceiling. On the other side draw or snap a plumb line between the floor and the ceiling. Take a utility knife and cut the ceiling wall intersection so when you remove the drywall, it comes away clean and you will not have a large patch to repair.
Drywall removed and wall exposed

Do the same thing on the other side of the wall. At this point, you will need to cut the bottom plate to your rough opening width.

Rough wall opening

By cutting your drywall straight, you can build a wing wall that you you can place between the top and bottom plates, and tuck it 1/2 way behind the drywall, so that you can attach the drywall securely. Then measure and build a header for the top of the rough opening. The squarer you build this part, the less shimming you will need to do.
Assemble the top track to the pocket door frame, slide it into position, shim where it needs it, and fasten it. The bottom of these assemblies have a steel plate with holes in them. Blue screws are just the ticket for concrete floors.
Install the clips on the top of the door.(Remember the ‘handle’ is below center as you are looking at the door) Install and adjust the door so that it rolls smoothly. Plumb and install the jamb piece being sure to get it plumb, so there is no angle gap when the door is closed. Make any final adjustments on the door rollers, and then tighten them down.
Framing and pocket door in place

Drywall and finish.
Pocket door with sheetrock and second coat of tape

Two Notes!!
1. Use screws no longer than (1”) when fastening the drywall to the horizontal pocket frame members. Anything longer, you risk screwing the frame to the door, which will make you feel dumb.
2. Use Painters Blue Tape on the exposed wood, so that clean up and painting is easier.

The Walk In Closet Project - Episode 4

Now that the tin men are done, we installed a new 36” pocket door, sheetrocked the closet side and are ready to finish the drywall on the bedroom side.

The sheetrock hanging is done, and screwed off. (Note: We used 1” screws on the pocket door frame so the screws will not interfere with the operation of the door) I choose to screw the drywall just because it is a better fastening method and in the case of the pocket door frame, nailing would just bounce off the frame.

On the bedroom door side, with the soffit removed and the ducting cut back,they have gained 20 square feet more room in the bedroom.
Taping will use both paper and mesh tape. Paper tape will be used on the seams and inside corners of the new drywall, and mesh tape will be used on the transitions between the new drywall and the existing construction.

I have also used blue painters tape to cover the trim over the bedroom door and the new pocket door frame. This allows me to build up the mud coats to get the walls flat, and not spend extra time having to scrape and chip mud off the trim later.

The pocket door side has its first coat of tape and mud. I used speed set here for mudding as there are some elevation differences and gaps that would take extra time to dry with regular mud, In the case of gaps and elevations, regular mud shrinks back and cracks, requiring much more time to finish.

The bedroom door side is taped and will require using smaller knives to tape as the ductwork protrudes from the wall just a little bit, and using a large knife will just fill up the duct, and smear mud on the trim and floor.

This is one of the areas that we will be remodeling. The closet being finished, so that clothing that is scattered in different closets around the casa can be consolidated, will allow us to work on the master bath which will be getting an extensive makeover. Today we will be going out and looking at different storage solutions.

Some remodeling has plans down to the millimeter, some projects morph as conditions change and are seat of the pants deals. I like these projects as I love the challenge of thinking on my feet and adapting ideas as projects progress. New construction is boring. But that’s just me.