Yesterday, we ordered a dryer online, to be delivered in 4 weeks. When they deliver the dryer, they will also move our washer upstairs, so this gives us a hard deadline to get the water supply, drain, electrical and gas run to the upstairs. We set out to get as much done as possible, and were able to locate a suitable stud bay, clear from the 2nd floor to the basement. The wall on the 1st floor is actually directly beneath the washer enclosure, so we had to take the 'floor' off and route the lines to the side to get them into the upstairs wall. Once we had access to the wall below, we cut holes into the stud bay from the 2nd floor, then up from the basement, and removed two outlet boxes that were in the wall downstairs. The wiring for these outlet boxes made it very easy to locate the stud bay from the basement. To disconnect the wiring, we had to shut off one breaker, which also turned off the outlets in most of the downstairs, including an often-used outlet in the kitchen. Our tea kettle is in the bathroom for the time being. Once the stud bay was clear and open from top to bottom, we installed a 2 inch PVC pipe and glued up some fittings to route it into the wall next to the enclosure. The stud bay is easily large enough to hold all of the services. The next to go in will be the electrical and water supply, followed by the gas line (for which we'll hire a pro) It'll be a busy few weeks. Tricky items to think about in the month we have to get this project finished:

  • Sewer vent through the roof
  • Dryer vent ducting either through the roof or exterior wall
  • Transition water lines in basement to our new Pex manifolds
  • Run drain line through basement in a rather tricky location

We used to have one of those crummy wooden folding stairs to get into the attic. They require a massive hole in the ceiling, and an equally massive amount of floor space when opened. With the new bathroom closed off with a wall, there is less space than there used to be, and the old stairs were just too big. In addition, the old ladder didn't support much weight - it was old and just felt flimsy. Time for an upgrade! Enter the Werner AA10 Attic Ladder. I knew that SOMEONE had to make these things, as I'd seen one in England, but it was actually somewhat tricky to find one here in the states! After doing extensive research online, we found the Werner brand attic ladders, and because our ceilings are a bit higher than modern homes, we had to get the AA10 instead of the basic AA8 model. It wasn't cheap. We paid $262, but once it came, I found out why. This is a very high quality ladder, and NOTHING like the old wooden folding ladder we had before. The ladder is made of 10 sets of extruded aluminum rail sections that fit together beautifully and slide up into a compact unit. It's solidly built and will support up to 250 pounds. Once the ladder is retracted, it rotates up and out of the hole, allowing you to close the hatch below it. Looking at how well it is built, I can understand the price tag and actually think it's quite a good deal. We don't even have drywall up, so we certainly don't have a hatch built to cover it yet, but the hatch will be insulated, and I'll also be building a box out of thick foam to cover it on the attic side. The ladder we bought can be installed in a hole as small as 22x22 inches (though you'd have trouble fitting through a hole that size!) Our rough opening is 25 inches wide and will probably be around 42 inches long. The old ladder required a massive 54 inch long opening! It was quite a snap to install as well - much easier than I had anticipated. All I needed was a small drill bit, a 7/16 inch socket driver, phillips screwdriver and two wrenches. The ladder is somewhat heavy to lift onto it's mount when installing, but I managed by myself OK. It's good to see the solutions finally coming together on this long project - we've been working on this off and on (mostly off) for more than 2 years now, and we both want to see our new bathroom finished! Until the next project...

The ladder, retracted and ready to install
The rough opening (covered by plywood to stop air leakage into the attic!)  The two corner brackets have been installed
The center bracket installed, and the ladder locked onto it with pivot pins and spring-loaded struts
Using the included pole, you can easily pull the ladder down or push it back up
Once the ladder is rotated to the down position, it slides down smoothly.
Then you disconnect the pole and pull the stairs down
It hits the floor at quite a comfortable angle
Pushing it back up is just as easy - the springs take most of the weight and it retracts very easily.

Well, we were strolling through one of our local home centers last night and came across a faucet for the upstairs bathroom. We had previously purchased an Ikea kitchen faucet for this purpose, but ended up using it (surprise) in the kitchen! It's a Price Pfister 'Bernini'. It's rather square, with some gentle curves, and it seems like it will match our sink quite nicely! Our sink/vanity will be the Magickwoods 'Sonata', and 40 inches wide so we can both brush our teeth at the same time, as we often do.

Price Pfister 'Bernini' faucet
Magickwoods 'Sonata' vanity

It's been a very long time since we last touched anything having to do with our upstairs bathroom. Sometimes, the bathroom seems like a project that has stalled beyond all hope of recovery, but it's still up there, bare studs, plywood floor, open ceiling and all. Once in a while, we tear ourselves away from the other, more exciting projects and bang a few nails in. Today, I measured the washer in the basement, cut a piece of plywood to match, then went upstairs to figure out how we're going to cram the washer and dryer into the hallway outside our new bathroom. I marked out some measurements on the floor and tried to figure out if the space between the finished walls will be wide enough, or if we'll have to knock down yet another wall... After measuring several times, the proposed minimum width of the hallway came out to around 28 inches, which happens to be the width of the new bathroom doorway! That should be just enough. If it were to get any smaller, I'd start to think about stealing a bit of space from the office. Anyway, I sketched up the basic structure of 2x4s we'll need for the washer/dryer closet base. The machines will be elevated approximately 5 inches off the floor, in order to clear some ductwork, and I've made the 'joists' under the closet only about 8-10 inches on center to evenly support the load over the duct. Right now, it's pretty early in the construction of the closet so there's not much to look at, but I'd like to have the whole thing built this weekend if possible. (riiiggghhhht) I just included the washer/dryer in our 'master plan' so we could see how it looks from an architectural standpoint. (see image) Concerned about the lack of storage options in the area, I decided to add a little bumped out cabinet to the side of the closet - this will be built after the closet is up and will hold clothes washing supplies and maybe some extra bathroom goods. More to come... Update January 9th... Well, I was skeptical that we could get the enclosure built in one weekend, but it turns out I was completely wrong. IT IS DONE. Not only in a weekend, but in a SINGLE DAY. It sure does feel good to make real progress on something. Now we just have to run electrical, supply and drain plumbing, and we can move the washing machine upstairs! It's a small step toward moving our bedroom back up there, and then of course completing our new bathroom!

Bathroom/hallway with washer/dryer in bottom left
Obligatory before shot
Added some support beams under the floor and then cut a piece of ply to fit around the ductwork
Nailed down some 2x4s flat against the floor
Then added upright 2x4s so the enclosure clears the duct
Next, we added insulation to deaden the washer/dryer sound a bit
Then nailed down 1/2" ply, and glued/nailed 3/4 ply to that (1 1/4 total!)  I think that'll be enough.
The first two studs are up!
DONE! The last stud in place, plumb and even with the other studs.  It'll be the flattest wall in the house.

Old webcam.  No longer functional.

This will forever show our (late) kitty Muesli.

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