May 30, 2011

Waterproofing Test

We tested our waterproofing membrane overnight, basically just to make sure there were no leaks before we put down any tile. Definitely better to find out while there's still a chance to fix it! For the test, we placed a filled water balloon into the drain to prevent any water from escaping, and then filled 'er up! We made a note of the water level and checked on it a few times before heading off to bed, just to make sure that there wasn't a massive leak cascading into our entryway below. Here's what it looked like as we got the test going.

Ryan did an excellent job of color coordinating the water balloon to the waterproofing membrane. Very important.

After letting the water sit for about twelve hours, the water level hadn't gone down at all, so we decided that it's very likely that our shower is fully waterproofed. Although the test was technically supposed to go on for 24 hours, we wondered when we'd ever have standing water in the shower for that long. Twelve hours seemed sufficient.

On to tiling!

May 29, 2011

Bathroom and Tile Inspiration

Tiling is off to a slow start. We pre-cut all of our shower floor tiles yesterday, so we thought we'd jump right in this morning. We sort of forgot to factor in drying time for the thinset mortar used to anchor the waterproofing membrane in place, as well as the 24-hour leak test. Hmmm... While we're figuring out how we're going to move forward, I thought I'd share a few photos that I've been using as inspiration for this bathroom project. The first is from the 2010 Pottery Barn catalog and found on DecorPad.

I love the clean lines and brightness of this shower, and how the plants make it feel like a garden oasis. Since we have a large window at one end of the bathroom that gets good afternoon sun, I think we'll be able to do something like this.  

The next two photos give a good idea of what we're planning to with the shower niche and floor tile.

We've seen so many examples of niches that look like an afterthought, but I think this one, done by Susan Jablon Mosaics, is really well done. The frame around the niche sets it apart from the field tile nicely, and it actually looks intentional because the grout lines match up (at least along the top edge - we're aiming to have it match up on the top and bottom, which is seriously testing our math skills!). I love that something whose main function is to hold soap can become the aesthetic focal point - a jewel box amidst all of that white. Hopefully, ours will turn out looking just as nice!

May 28, 2011

Shower Waterproofing

When I first set up All Features Great & Small, I thought I'd start at the very beginning of our house renovation, two and a half years ago. I had grand visions of detailing every project we've done so far. But who has time for that?! I'm renovating a house for goodness' sake! So, in the name of actually posting anything, I'm going show projects and progress in real time. Possibly less exciting to read, sorry!

Our current work is focused on the new bathroom that we're putting in. Over the past few months (ok, years) we've gotten the plumbing extended from the back of the house into the front, put drywall up, painted, installed wainscoting, tiled the floor, installed the fixtures etc. Right now, we're working on the last step - building the shower and tiling it. Here's the blueprint we're working from (it helps to have an architect mother-in law!).

Last weekend, we got about halfway through waterproofing the shower using the Schluter Kerdi system, which is a bright orange fabric-like material.  I also picked up some marble slabs that will sit on top of the two half-walls and threshold. However; we measured for the marble slightly incorrectly (sigh...) so we spent Saturday morning removing portions of our waterproofing, a layer of cement, and the 1/2" thick cement board underneath, and replacing it all with thinner materials. Happily, this step only took us a couple of hours, and we finished the waterproofing in the afternoon. Here are a couple of photos - one from last weekend and one from this weekend.

We're making progress! Now on to the fun part - tiling! This past winter, we did the floors with a Carrara marble two-inch hexagon. The shower walls are going to be white subway tile, and the shower floor and niche are one-inch variegated green glass tiles, all of which we found at The Tile Shop. Very Modern Victorian. We'll be working on that all day Sunday!