Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New Shutoff Valves

This is Boyfriend.

So, Boyfriend bought a house a few months ago. It's an adorable late 60s home that seems well constructed and reminds me so strongly of my parents' house, that I felt instantly at home. Boyfriend's new house had had one owner, and elderly woman who had recently passed away.  Which means that the house hadn't been well maintained in about a decade.

So it's got it's quirks and it's problems, and it's overgrown trees, a few of which the home inspection didn't find. And while Boyfriend has helped me put in a laminate floor, a whole kitchen, shelves, tile, trees, paint, etc., Boyfriend is not confident when it comes to home ownership and his own handiness. (He is actually quite handy - though not as much as my fabulous self.)

So when his shutoff valve was leaking for his washing machine, he waited for me to help him fix it. All I really did was sit on the floor and tell him what to do. 

First thing we had to do was turn off the water. You can either get the city to do this, or you can buy a key to do it yourself for about 10 bucks.  
It's called a curb key and it looks like this.
An easy way to test if the water is actually off is to set up a lawn sprinkler you can see from the shutoff, which is generally in the front of your house. You know the water is off when the sprinkler goes off. 

Then you need to remove the old fixtures. Luckily, they were screwed on, not soldered on, or we would have probably called a plumber. (I could have fixed it, but Boyfriend doesn't trust me not to burn down his house yet.)
Righty tighty, lefty loosie.
Boyfriend used the vice grips to hold the pipe still. This is important, so you don't untwist any pluming lower down in the wall, and cause a huge leak that you can't get to, and have to rip out the wall. He then used the adjustable wrench to twist counter clockwise on the shut off valve. 

Then you take the old valves to the hardware store and find new ones that match. This process can be sped up by looking cute and stupid and ditching your boyfriend to ask whatever young male employee can be found near the plumbing section. 

Or, you know, you can know what you're doing. Either way. 
Shiny and not corroded!
We took off the plastic nut, because we didn't need it. Then it's just a matter of screwing the new fixture in, and using the vise grips and the adjustable wrench to make sure it's good and tight.

Does anyone else see an angry robot face in this picture?
And then you hook up the washer and dryer, turn the water back on, and test for leaks.
No leaks! First try! Woohoo!
Boyfriend did really well with this, which was his first real home repair. Apart from instructions, I barely helped at all. I think he's feeling more confident about home ownership now.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kitchen Reno Part Deux

See? I haven't forgotten you! I promised you a photo of my new hard hat, and here it is!

This is my first ever selfie!

Ok, so no, I haven't been without a kitchen sink for months. But my kitchen was far from finished. Now it's finished, and you can see it.

So. First thing I did was cut my butcher block to length, and cut a big ol' hole in it for the sink. I tried free handing this by dropping in a circular saw. That was a mistake. 

I ended up cleaning up the edges by using a fence to guide the edge of my circular saw. My undercounted sink is held in place with some clips and some heavy duty wood screws (since my countertop is wood.) 

I don't have any pictures of this part because... let's just say that emotions were running high that day. 

Next I needed to drill a hole through the counter for the sink. Which I did. Now my faucet was purchased online for a grand total of $38 bucks. Comparable models were about $200. It came from overseas and all the directions were in Chinese. So that was exciting. It's a good thing I'm handy. When we initially attached the faucet, we found that the countertop was so thick, that there wasn't room for the hardware to attach properly.
Does not fit.
Notice how the nut in the front is not fully on the bolt. So the solution was to carve out some space for that little metal flange thingy to sit below the bottom surface of the counter. I drew a circle around the flange and used a forester bit to carve out the surface about an inch down. This would not show from the top side. 

I smoothed the edges with my chisel, another Christmas present. Then we reassembled. And it fit!
Trust me, it's supposed to look like that. 
Now we flip the counter over, tighten everything up, and check for leaks! And we take it off again, and find the nut that the Chinese directions clearly pointed out that we should tighten, that we completely missed, flip it back over, tighten everything up, and check for leaks again! And it works! So I screwed the countertop down from below.

Yay for running water!
Then we cut the rest of the butcher block for the other counters and the window sill. I spread lots and lots of mineral oil onto the wood, and let it soak in, for a beautiful shiny, protected countertop.

Miles of counter space!
Then I attached the backsplash. This was literally as easy as using tin snips to cut the plastic to size, and sticking it to the wall with adhesive. It looks like pressed tin, but it's really just plastic.

After that, it's just a few paint touch ups, a little trim, a few quirky touches, and BOOM! Hello dream kitchen.
This is the same trim as on the cabinet - to cover an ugly place where the wall meets the backsplash.

What's a dream kitchen without an appropriately disturbing knife block?

Total costs ran me about $1200. Not bad. Not bad at all.