I spent two weekends installing the IKEA Odensvik sink and Godmorgon cabinet in the basement bathroom. It’s super tricky. I researched several postings online before starting the install.
The most difficult part is assembling the sink drain connections. The cabinet has two drawers that do not occupy the full depth of the cabinet in order to provide some space for the plumbing connections. That little amount of space trips up a lot of people. After I saw photos of this hack, I was somewhat hopeful that I can make it work. However, the waste line for my sink is pointing straight out, no 90-degree elbow as shown in those photos. And my guess is that almost everyone else is in the same boat. I read several other postings about cutting into the back of the drawers. I was determined to avoid that trouble. Here’s the end result of my hack:
Plumbing hack: IKEA bathroom sink drain connectionsContinue reading
Several months have gone by since my last post. We are at the stages of finish work and it feels like this will take longer than the rough-in. Partly because this is when decisions have to be made for everything visible. We sampled 6-8 paint colors before deciding on two of them. Other finishes are decided by looking at internet photos which often give me much anxiety. What if I don’t like the items when I finally see them in person? Returning internet orders incurs shipping costs but not so for the ship-to-store option like Home Depot as long as it’s not a special order item. Otherwise, I clicked the button to say “buy” and crossed my fingers that everything will work out.
We have ceilings!
One of such internet adventures was the ceiling grid and tiles for the family room and office space. We had contractors drywalled the ceiling in the bathroom but I want to keep the rest to be accessible for future upgrade of electrical or plumbing repair (a frozen spigot has already given us an important life lesson back in January). Traditional drop ceiling does not work well for the low ceiling height in basements so I did a lot of research on alternatives and decided on CeilingLink. This PVC product comes in a few different shapes to accommodate the room perimeter, stairway openings, and other box-arounds.
Basement renovation – part 5Continue reading
I used to collect quotes and carried them around in a day planner. That habit stopped when day planners went out of style. Recently, I discovered Notegraphy and it quickly became my favorite app for collecting quotes. After attending last Saturday’s TEDxPortland, I decided it’s time to put the app into high gear.
A morning of emotions
TEDxPortland started off with a bang by Aaron Draplin’s talk in light speed. He was spitting out words of wisdom so fast that I could barely get them written down in my notebook. I managed to capture the best one:
Nong Poonsukwattana was the perfect speaker to follow Aaron. Her personality is as big as his and her life story grounded all of us. She left Thailand to get away from her abusive father. She worked 7 days a week at Thai restaurants and then opened her own food cart. Her parting words for all of us are the simplest of the day:
TEDxPortland highlights notegraphiedContinue reading
A lot had happened since the last post. More framing went up, insulation was completed and passed inspection, drywall has also been installed. We are now ready for paint!
The additional framing and drywall was done by a contractor. We did the insulation just in time for a wacky winter. In fact, before drywall went up, the foil-faced foam boards were reflecting so much heat from the recessed lights that it felt like a sauna in the basement! Prior to installing the foil-faced foam, we had to install furring strips over the built-it plastic studs of the InSoFast panels as required by the inspector that approved the initial framing. It was a boat-load of work to install the furring strips but it was a necessary step for installing drywall over the metal brackets from the seismic upgrade.
Basement renovation – part 4Continue reading
The saga of this renovation continues to unfold slowly. Electrical work has taken forever and it almost felt like it would never end. We kept finding scary looking splices that were soldered and covered with electrical tape. Quite a few of them were not even inside junction boxes. Most of them were created from cutting old wires that were original to the house and installed without any slack. We had to add junction boxes and extra wire to bring everything up to modern standard. Besides correcting the splices, we also installed a gazillion electrical devices:
- 22 recessed lights
- 13 power outlets
- 6 switches
- 1 timer
- 1 bathroom exhaust with light and heat
- 1 heating panel
- 1 thermostat
- 1 telephone junction box
- 2 ethernet outlets
- 2 telephone outlets
- 4 speaker outlets
- 2 coaxial outlets
- 1 smoke detector (hard wired)
- 1 CO + smoke detector (hard wired)
- 5 junction boxes
- 25+ electrical boxes
- 300+ feet Romex wire
- ?? feet speaker / ethernet / telephone wires
- countless wire nuts and staples
That’s not all the electrical work. We also hired an electrician to do a few things we were not comfortable doing ourselves. She took care of 1 splice, connected 3 circuits to the electrical panel, installed 3-way light switches, and a bunch of tidying-up around and inside the panel.
Basement renovation – part 3Continue reading