Thought I would come on here and share something that I am excited about since I don't really get to talk about it nearly as much as I would like.
Some of you may know this but my wife and I bought a new construction about a year and a half ago. It came with a partially finished basement. There is a room that was studded out to be a bathroom. It's bear to the studs but you cannot see into it from the outside because the outside wall has drywall and there is also a door. For the better part of a year, nobody ever went in there. The only thing that was in there was a 1 piece fiberglass tub that was just sitting on the floor. We had that put in before the walls were assembled because it's impossible to fit in a room like that after the fact without tearing walls down. This is what it looked like.
With the ever increasing likelihood that my wife would be working from home the rest of the year (from the basement) I thought it would be cool to finish the bathroom as a Christmas gift. But... If that were not a big enough task in itself, I would do it secretly. You see, my wife goes to bed a few hours before me each night. Further, I have recruited friends to help me with the project as well as help get her out of the house to do loud and difficult things without drawing attention.
The first step was lifting the tub to install the drain for the shower. How do I do this? I cannot rotate it. I cannot lift it, there is not enough room to just craw under it. I cant really slide it? Solution: Move the tub to the ceiling!
Next I cut concrete and moved the drain where I needed it! I was able to do this while Lindsey had to go to work one day and I had the day off. I also had to figure out plumbing. I had to make drawings to figure out how it would logistically fit where I needed it to. Lot's of research for something so seemingly simple. It's easy for people who do it everyday but I was confused at first.
I could not drop the tub without help. So I worked on getting water lines brought into the room. I was able to do this quietly at night! Also, had never did this before. Youtube was my friend.
I was also able to sneak to a friends house to help me solder a piece for the control valve for the shower. I had never done it before but it was a cool thing to learn. I then put the control valve pieces together.
Next was dropping the tub. This involved getting my friend to invite my wife out for a crafts activity. EVERYTHING went wrong for them (planned) so I had a full day to do this. But before that, I had to get everything out of the room. It was packed full of stuff. So many things! I also had a friend join me to drop the tub. It was not easy.
After that, a friend came over for a board game night. We knew Lindsey would go to bed early which lead to the real reason they came over. To help me run electrical. We ran the switches to the light fixture and for the vent fan. I forgot to take pictures of this. Was not that exciting.
I also had started picking out a bunch of stuff for the bathroom. Tile, light fixtures, paint, vent fan stuff like that.
Keep in mind, there are two things that I cannot stress enough. 1.) I have no idea what I am fucking doing. Everything I do involves a bunch of youtube and consultation from people to figure stuff out. 2.) Lindsey still has no idea! It's a lot of work keeping all of this secret!
Okay, the most recent thing has been installing drywall with the help of a friend. Once again, someone got Lindsey out of the house and basically held her captive for 8 hours for us to get the drywall installed. Over the next couple days, a friend was sneaking into the house around 10PM after Lindsey went to bed and helping put on coats of mud and leaving around 1am. Today, I just finished sanding the mud, it was unbelievably messy!
It was during the installation of the drywall that Lindsey started to get a little suspicious. She said she thought she knows what I am getting her for christmas. She had noticed that I had left a couple tools out! Dangit! Anyhow, she told me that she thought I was making a blanket ladder for her. For those that don't know, it's basically a small decorative ladder you have in your house to hold and organize blankets. HA! This was perfect! Guess why? I told her that she was right and the only reason I wanted to come clean was that I am about to paint it. When I paint it, she will be able to smell it and the gig will be up so she might as well tell me what color she wants. Genius right? Now, I can paint the bathroom and draw no suspicion. I am having my parents buy her a blanket ladder for christmas :).
In the next week, I need to prime the room (tomorrow), lay the flooring (start tomorrow), paint (Sunday/Monday), install the toilet and sink (Tuesday), install the light fixture, fan vent, towel bar and those small things (Wednesday). Catch up on anything I don't finish on Thursday in time to show the room off for a Christmas surprise! I will still have to go back and finish trim work but there is no way for me to get that in before Christmas. Also, the mirror wont get in until mid January.
Anyhow, this is just something I am really excited about. I could go into further detail about the lengths I have gone to cover my trail like disabling wifi so cameras cannot be used, disabling our ring doorbell at specific times to let people in and out of the house, playing movies on the main floor so she cant hear me in the basement. I could also go into much further detail with all the nuisances of things that really screwed me up and slowed me down but this post is already probably long enough. Anyhow, thank you for taking the time to share in my story!
Was almost able to finish 2 coats of primer today but I ran out of primer about 80% of the way through the 2nd coat. I will have to find an excuse to run out and grab some more tomorrow morning and hopefully get it up with plenty of time to dry so I can get the first coat of paint up tonight.
Got more primer to put on a second coat. Bought trim. Painted everything. Installed light, vent and vent light. Started getting ready to lay flooring.
I think I finished the flooring. I’m worried I may of screwed up, it just doesn’t seem right. I found out my vanity won’t work. I did not think it out. It doesn’t have floor access for the drain and has a bottom drawer. This is a critical mistake and I’m not sure if I can fix this before Christmas. I’m very upset and am going to bed sweaty and stressed. If I fall asleep now I’ll get 4 hours of sleep. Sadly, that won’t happen.
Today was likely the most frustrating day of the build. Lack of sleep and complications have really tested my limits. I found a way to make the vanity work by cutting a hole in the shelf and modifying the drawer (not 100% sure on the plan of action yet but I accepted that it will be something I can and will work around - probably shorten the drawer). For installation, I took it out. I connected the water supply, dropped the counter/sink and got everything hooked up, including the faucet. Only thing missing is the drain connection. It was like a puzzle I could not figure out. I am hoping some sleep will bring clarity. I moved on to the toilet. This was very very very difficult. The elbow that supports the drain was actually sitting proud of the concrete which is bad for a variety of reasons. It made cutting the drain to the floor much harder but it also meant I had to modify my toilet flange as well because it would not fit otherwise. They really screwed me on this part of my house. Anyhow, all I ended up getting done here is screwing the toilet flange to the floor and seeing what the toilet looks sitting on top. On the bright side, I did go shopping today and got a shower rod, shower liner, shower curtain, towels, hand towels, rugs, trash bin, and soap dispenser. That should really bring the room together and make it pop. I could not find 3 gang light switches with the right finish. That was a bummer, I might have to order them. Also, my mirror wont be here till late January.
I still have to connect the sink drain, attach the toilet to the floor and set it all up, do all trim work including baseboard, quarter round and door trim. I also have to thoroughly clean the shower from all the mud and paint. I then have to caulk everywhere around the shower and all over the trim work and do touch up paint. I also have to attach the towel rack, hand towel holder, toilet paper holder. I have to install faceplates for the outlet and the switches. I also have to install a carpet to vinyl transition strip in the doorway. I also have to modify the drawer on the vanity so it can close. I also need to install a door stop. If you're wondering why I am now going into such detail, half of this is for my own benefit because I cannot keep track of everything anymore.
i didn’t post yesterday cause I was up till 4am and running on fumes. It’s going on 4 again this night but at least I got some sleep under my belt.
so let’s start with yesterday. I got the plumbing set up for the sink. I modified the rear of the drawer by moving it forward 3 inches so the drawer could shut with the drain behind it. I set the toilet but found I had the wrong water supply line. My friend came over and installed a towel rack, hand towel hold and tp holder. He also swapped out the face plates for the switches. Found out I bought the wrong faceplate for the plug. I also started installing trim.
Today I woke up and ran to the hardware store to get the right water supply line, the right faceplate for the plug, a masonry bit and curtain rings. Then later that night I installed the baseboard and casing for the door. I installed water line for the toilet. I hung up the curtain. My buddy came over again and he moved the tp holder to a better spot and he cleaned the tub. We also caulked the shower and trim. We also gave the room a good cleaning and threw all my towels, soap dish, rugs and stuff in the room. Please enjoy the pictures. I’ll update one last time to share my wife’s reaction to the event.