The Original Bathroom Remodel
After living in the house for a couple of years, my mind had moved way beyond  the "seafoam" green bathroom appliances and loose tiles around the tub. But like most folks, I was having trouble getting motivated and just could not commit to the major pain in the ass of I forced the issue. Here is a technique I highly reccommend...just pick up a hammer one afternoon and bash a few large holes in the don't have to have a plan right away...but it does get you "committed" to the project. Before you know it, things are finished up and you are enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Circa 1967 style bathroom - Nasty green appliances, salt & pepper tiles and cold terrazzo flooring.

After $1200 Remodel - Richer colors, marbled tiles and warm vinyl floor tile that looks like expensive black marble.

The Major Addition

After the birth of our second son, the 2 BR/1 BA batchelor pad that had become our family home was simply not going to cut it. It was a tough call, should we just move to a bigger place or add on to our existing house and stay a few years. Our current home is in an optimal geographic location,  the halfway point between Largo & Spring Hill where Jean and I work, and neither of us wanted to add another minute to our drive by moving in any direction. Due to my nocturnal nature and numerous hobbies that could be considered encroachments of the peace, a larger home in one of the numerous deed restricted/gated communities was out of the question. Most of the homes we found with acreage were simply out of our price range. So it was decided, I would play contractor and we would rip the enclosed porch off of our 980 sq ft mansion and add on 800sq ft of  master bedroom/bath/great room. Because of the exceptionally slack nature of construction folk we encountered along the way, I wound up doing most of the work myself with  an occasional hand from my dad. It turned into a yearlong weekend warrior project.
Here are some descriptions & photos of my adventure .

1967 to 2000 - The Before Photo - Nasty old  two bedroom, one bath home with enclosed aluminum porch, you can almost picture the retirees up in there watching Lawerence Welk reruns on a 19 in TV. Decrepit aluminum storage shed has been removed  in preperation for the blessed ground breaking and the new fence is looking good. I am extremely guilt ridden at this point, knowing that I will have to amputate several of  my Oak trees appendages. I beg the tree gods for forgiveness and fire up the chainsaw.

4/22/00 The before photo of the backyard - Property line setbacks are not a problem. Plenty of room for the addition and we'll still have room to play. I take some sketches to a local draftsman, have him draw up the blueprints and get the engineers stamp, then it's off to the countly building to file for permits. Hint: Wait until the last possible minute to fiile the "notice of commencment", thats when the clock starts ticking and you have to get the work completed within some timeframe..usually 12 months.

11/04/00 Busting up existing porch slab - Overhead electrical , cable & telephone service have now been run underground and the water main has been re-routed to come in from the side, it's hooked up to the existing inlet for now. The porch came down quickly, I got the whole thing in the back of my truck and took it to the scrap yard, profit, a whopping 6 bucks. I managed to sub out the slab and block work to a guy who was referred by a friend of mine. Although I had planned save a little money and  pour over the existing slab, the concrete guy recommended  we bust it up so he could get a clean pour and tie it into the slab of the house with rebar. Concrete was cheap in the sixties and that existing slab was a foot thick in some places, fortunately there was no steel in it so it busted up fairly easy.

11/06/00 Our first roll off dumpster...full of concrete - Nothing like working all day then coming home to move a couple thousand pounds of rubble.. and man does the sound of that 16 lb sledge carry at thy neighbor.

12/02/00 Rough Plumbing - Water main running along wet wall has new entry point through garage wall  and directly into the cold side of the water heater. First attempt at rough plumbing inspection was a wash  because the concrete guy's came out and buried all the lines that morning (idiots). New waste line was already tied into the septic tank at time of second inspection attempt so I had to make last minute purchase of a "test ball" to block it off  in order to pass the ten foot water column test. Everything held and we passed inspection

12/02/00 Forms for the concrete slab - The forms are finally up after I was wrangled out of an additional $325 for a few yards of fill. The concrete guys buddy stopped by with a load of dirt and a bobcat to compact it, gotta spread the wealth among your friends I guess. Seems like we wouldn't have needed all that fill if we'd just left the old slab...hmmm. Also at this point,  I take a day off work and head to the local truss fabricator with another sketch of my "ideas". We work up an affordable package of scissor trusses that will give the addition a nice high ceiling while still preserving enough room between ceiling and roof to run the mechanicals. Termite treatment ($70) and forms inspection are scheduled, then we pour.

12/08/00 Slab poured, blocks delivered - Slab was pumped in from the road, outside temp was 30-40 degrees so the first truck had some additive in the mix, second truck didn't. The concrete guy claims this screwed him up because the first half of the pour had started to set before he could float in the remainder. I'm less than pleased with the irregular surface of the slab, but it's hard now and there's not much I can do about it. Major dip in front of the sliding glass doors requires sandbagging to prevent flooding of the existing dining room and kitchen, as time progresses I will regret not pouring the slab myself, I couldnt have done any worse.

12/10/00 Block work done - The block masons kicked ass, they had the entire room up by mid afternoon. Now I schedule another inspection for the steel inside the blocks and lintles and get the lintels poured.

12/19/01 Trusses going up - With the help of my dad and  the neighbor, we rigged a pully in the Oak tree and hoisted the heavy gable truss atop the back wall. Once that was securely braced, the rest of the trusses (156 lbs each) could easily be carried and raised by 2 people. I ordered sissor trusses so we could have vaulted ceilings throughout the addition, through some miscalulation they arrived about an inch shorter than what was required to get the bottom chord to rest squarely on the supporting walls (they were riding up on the tails) . I solved this problem by consulting with the truss engineer and modifying my installation to include a 2 x10 top plate beveled on the outside edge to let the tails of the trusses come down enough to seat the bottom chord.

1/23/01  Trusses up, tieing the ridge into the existing roofline - Though they usually do everything in one day, the roofer agreed split my job into two parts. On their first visit they ripped the gravel off and dried in the existing roof, this would allow me to get the addition tied in and the sheeting on before they came back out to finish off the entire house with shingles.

1/23/01  Interior view of ridge tie in

2/10/01  New roof on whole house - The roof  is on just in time, rainy weather is forcast.

2/23/01  Interior framing view #1 - Looking North, crawlspace over hallway will tie into main attic of existing house.

2/23/01  Interior framing view #2 - Looking west through hall walls to bathroom on right, bedroom on left, walkin closet center. Sills for bedroom windows had to raised a few inches after I decided to buy different size windows than those specified in the prints the mason's used. The concrete guy agreed to do this for me, but upon arriving home from work I noticed the sill was lower about an inch on one side (just like his crooked slab, hey ..I'm sensing a pattern here). I had to get my sledge, beat out his crooked sill and mixed up some mud to level it out properly.

2/25/01  Anthony James leveling pocket door frame - Daddy's littlest helper wanted to double check my every move.

2/25/01  Anthony checking out the finished crawlspace over the hallway -  I suffered the wrath of wife & in-laws over this picture..."how could you..."

3/19/01  Anthony on the ladder - Though he's only 9 months old, he has no problem getting up a seconds. Notice that I've started dabbling with the AC ductwork and wiring.

4/07/01  Ductwork for heating/AC - Most home centers just don't have all the peices or sizes that you need to do the job right, so after checking with a couple of  AC/Plumbing supply houses, I was finally referred to one who would sell to the general public. I tied the new mixing box into the plenum of the existing AC system and crafted a return air from the hallway ceiling. The old heat pump seems to be doing a fine job even though I have doubled the sq footage of air conditioned space.

4/10/01  New windows - Seeing as the existing wiondows were 33 years old I ordered enough double pane glass for the whole house. Quotes to install everything ran from $2500 (rickety, poor quality)  to  $10,000+ (zillion year guarantee, free video)depending on the glass shop. In the end I wound up at Home Depot ordering aluminum frame, double pane insulated glass and installed them myself for $ was easy, just needed some help lifting  the huge 105" tri-view sliders. In this pic, Anthony and Michael are preparing a rough opening for the sliding glass door. OK, I can hear your brain humming already..."gee, why didn't you get French doors"? Well,  I'm a practical person, even if the weather is cool, this is Florida. I'm not about to leave a set of doors wide open without a screen and there are no decent  screen kits for outward swinging French doors. We did get the cool looking grid between the panes of the sliders though so it looks better than plain glass.

4/17/01  Drywall  & backer board up in bathroom      Anthony & Michael helping - While I tried to line up a drywall crew for the rest of the addition, I went ahead and got the plumbing "top out"  inspection and started the bathroom which I wanted done up right with Wonderboard around the tub and greeen board throughout the rest. Anthony and Michael love this new "play space".

4/24/01  Insulation time - Dad and I finished all the wiring (lighting, electrical, phone, cable, speaker, etc) over the past couple of  weeks and I managed to get all the the insulation done in just two evenings.

4/30/01  Drywall going up - Time is fleeting and no reliable drywall hangers to be found. Had the materials delivered, rented a lift from Home Depot and started hanging it myself.

6/20/01  Mudding the joints - My aching back..., this is one job I tried real hard to hire out. Only one crew even bothered to stop by and give me an estimate... I was willing to pay whatever they wanted. I even offered to let them drink & smoke pot on the job. Like the majority of the slack bastards that I met , they said they would be back to start the job, but just disappeared, never to be heard from again.

6/22/01 Drywall is ready for texturing LR view #1

6/22/01 Drywall is ready for texturing LR view #1

08/05/01  Tile going up in bathroom - After much contemplation, I finally gave in and just purchased a ready-made vanity from Lowes. It'll do but I'll never really be as happy with it as the one I built for the existing bathroom. The tile got kinda washed out in the flash of this picture but it's a glossy grey marble, it went up quickly.

08/26/01 Bathroom is habitable - Vinyl "marble" floor will keep feet warm in the winter. Countertop is a textured laminate, I'm real dissapointed in the contrast with the gray sink, the black isn't going to cut it. I will replace this soon with the "grey pampas" laminate I used on the countertop in the existing bath.

08/26/01 Starting to lay tile in the family room - It's been almost 9 months since the slab was poured and it now looks like a combination of the Grand Canyon and the surface of the moon. Friends and knowledgeble people in "the business" keep telling me "that's normal for Florida". I say "bullshit".. the rest of my house doesn't have a crack in it, I'm saying substandard materials and slack bastards who really don't give a shit result in a slab like mine. I throw another hundred bucks worth of self-leveling concrete in the low spots just to keep from tripping and start laying tile. I'm a glutton for punishment....after looking for weeks we finally found a tile we liked, of course it was only available in 12 x 12. That a lot of tiles to cut.

09/08/01 Tile is done - at least in the addition, of course the flooring in the old section of the house now looks like shit compared to this so I'll eventually have get some more tile and lay it through to the front door. The great room didn't come out too bad, all cracks, hills and valleys in the slab have been successfuly camoflauged. All interior trim work is finished and I'm ready to move in....but I still have to get the stucco on the outside before I can call for the final inspection.

10/07/01 Inspection schmection - I hire my buddy Steve to do the stucco but I can't see letting all this space go to waste over a minor technicality. We start moving  stuff in...the inspector will just have to get over it. Once the stucco is up, I call in the "Final" only to learn that I will have to fork out a couple hundred more for an "as built" survey so the county can make sure that I didn't raise the level of my property so high as to flood the neighbors during heavy rains. The inspector finally shows up and does mention that we really shouldn't have anything in there yet, but he signs off and we're officially through with the job as far as the county is concerned.

12/02/01 I't now looks finished - The outside is painted and the yard has been cleaned of all construction trailings. The babysitter reported that an assistant from the Tax Appraisers office came snooping around while I was at work, Uh Oh! These guy's are on the ball...a quick check of their online database reveals that my property value has more than doubled.