Renewed Motivation

The past few weeks, I’ve been lacking the motivation I needed to finish multiple projects around the house. I’d been blaming it on the fact that we’ve been busy every weekend (which we have) but I also just didn’t really care to finish the things I’d begun. After all, finish work usually sucks.

There are two main projects lingering. (1) The vanity in the bath is still half complete. No counter top, no door on the cupboard and no sink. (2) The drywall outside of the bathroom has been half-finished since December. Seams not taped, screw holes not covered, an ugly white mess in stark contrast to the “mocha” colored walls.

I told myself I’d finish these things before starting another project, but then the door, which I’m pinning the renewed motivation on, came along. It took weeks of staining, sanding, sealing, but the end product is so great.

After installing it last weekend, I’ve been basking in its beauty all week, the light that pours into the entryway through the beveled glass windows. The noticeable difference in our house’s character made me want to finish my other projects, so I could feel just as good about them.

And yesterday, when Helen ASKED if she could go countertop shopping with me for the bathroom vanity – well, that helped a little too. How could I turn an offer like that down? So out we went. I was hoping to find a granite remnant, thinking I’d score the perfect piece for $100, or something crazy cheap like that. But, when we found the remnant we wanted, factored in the polishing of the edges, drilling of a hole for the sink and faucet, we were looking at about $250. Not impressed.

On our way home from the granite “yard” we stopped by Home Depot to pick up some tomato cages for my obese tomato plants. Some travertine tiles caught Helen’s eye. “Why can’t you use that?”

Hmm… why can’t we? So we started looking at other tiles that would fit the countertop a little better (the travertine was only available in 18” squares). We found some cultured marble that was cut 8” x 12” and we both agreed I would go back and pick up a case today and finish off the cabinet.

But when I got home, I noticed a stack of 8 ceramic tiles sitting in the garage. They’ve been here since we moved in. They’re 12” x 12” but could easily be cut, and they’re the same great color as the Travertine.

AH-HA! They’re free, and beautiful, and I don’t even have to go hunting for them in some sketchy warehouse.

So today, I started preparing the vanity for the countertop. I added a piece of ¼” plywood, left over from the sub flooring I replaced in the bathroom…

And topped that with a piece of ¼” Hardie-Backer, also left over.

Added a strip to the front and sides of the vanity so I can create a lip with the tile.

And now it’s ready for tile. (I’m going to have to rent a wet saw to trim the pieces to fit, so will do that another day).

With the top in place, I realized I still needed to add one water shut off inside of the cabinet.  And now it was sealed in. Ugh… Pipe wrenches and tight spaces were not meant for one another.

But I was determined, so I shut off the water, cut off the end of the copper stub out using my midget pipe cuter…

And tightened the compression fitting…

Turned the water back on, and checked for leaks – none!

With that complete, I decided to build the cabinet door to hide the plumbing that will soon be in place.

I started by routing the edges of the hemlock trim. I made ¼” channels on all of the sides. (Add an actual router to the running list of tools I need).

After all of the trim pieces were routed, I mitered the edges at 45 degree angles.

Glued the corners together, being careful not to get any glue on the surface (learned my lesson about glue preventing stain adhesion last time) and nailed all of the corners together using 1” finish brads.

With that done, I trimmed a piece of ¼” birch veneered plywood I’d picked up at Rockler to fit the “channel” I’d created with the router, and glued it in place.

I clamped the plywood to the frame and let it dry.

Once dry and sanded, I applied a pre-stain wood conditioner

And stained the door to match the rest of the cabinet.

With that drying, I closed off the afternoon by ordering the sink we’re going to use:

And somehow, between all of that, I had time to trim all of our hedges and clean up the yard…

P.S. remember my Fiskars hedge shears that broke? After writing to them using their online warranty claim form, they sent me the pin I needed to fix the things. After a long wait for the piece to arrive, we’re finally back in action!

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