First Home, First Home Renovation

I’m going to skip the apologies for lack of content over here at the Frogging It blog. You know, big family, busy stuff, blah blah blah.

So here’s what we’re up to this summer. It has always been a part of our planning to add a bathroom to our one bathroom house. Last summer, you may recall we had to put that job aside for a less exciting but more pressing job of re-roofing the garage (among other things). Therefore, it’s with great excitement that we were able to plunge ourselves into our bathroom addition project.

The layout of our house is pretty simple. Two bedrooms and one bath on the main floor, along with the main living areas. If you head upstairs, it’s pretty clear it was a walk-up attic that later was adjusted a bit to allow for more living space, advertised as an additional bedroom when we were house shopping. It’s actually a pretty big space up there, but the ceilings were low (6.5 ft.) and sloped on the sides. No real closets. Weird partition walls created 3 separated, but not completely private “areas.”


(location of future bathroom)

Since we’ve lived here, we’ve used the areas as follows. The first and least private area was used as a office/school room housing desks, books, craft supplies, and was a general dumping ground whenever we needed to clear things from downstairs out of our way. The other two areas were used as the girls’ room and the toy room.

IMG_4074If we remove all the odd partitions, we can have one wide hall/room/loft that goes all the way to the windows at the front of the house, and divides the rest of the space into two wings. On the left, we’ll place the bathroom (it will go right over the existing bathroom), and a cozy guest bedroom.

IMG_4075On the right, we will put up some proper walls, with a door so the girls have an actual bedroom. Since they’re 6 & (almost) 8, it really hasn’t been an issue that they don’t have a real bedroom, but it will be nice as they get older.

We have gotten pretty used to having only one bathroom. It’s certainly doable. But it can be a bit of a potty dance conga line at times. And with toddlers potty-training, sometimes there’s more than one person doing their business in the bathroom. That’s less than ideal. I hope that my kids have short memories. Ha!

We are three weeks into our summer break. Since hubby is a teacher, summer is project time. Since school has been out, the first week or so consisted of a lot of research, asking advice from more experienced home owners, and even having an architect friend come take a look and make sure we weren’t crazy. While we have lots of details with building code to account for, and our space makes it a bit challenging, turns out we’re not completely crazy.

So the next week consisted of quite a bit of demo and prep work. (From here on out when I say “we” I mostly just mean Michael. I help where I can, but I’m on kitchen and bathroom detail…and kid entertainment.) Michael ripped out the existing ceiling panels, wall paneling. The plan is to run the ceiling up along the rafters and have some of that good ol’ exposed beam look. Even taking out the ceiling panels made the space feel so much bigger! But it brought up some questions about insulation. How will we insulate the space with the new ceiling plan?

After a bunch of research, we still were left with a lot of questions. Seems like there are SO many conflicting opinions out there. But we discovered that the existing insulation was right up against the roof, which is not the best idea. Condensation or something? So Michael pulled all that insulation out and bought something called “baffles” to insert right against the roof (insulation goes over that). As he was working on this project, he questioned what should be done about the insulation in some of the attic space that is going to remain attic space. That’s when he found this odd, fluffy, loose insulation.

What he told me was that he had seen some items back in that part of the attic. An old doll house and some other items. So he climbed back there, dug around, and pulled them out. Then he wondered what the fluff was, so he looked it up. Vermiculite. I guess it’s still something you can buy & use. But depending on when it was installed, it could have asbestos in it, and if you don’t KNOW when it was installed, you’re supposed to just assume it has asbestos. So yeah. The good news is, if you don’t plan to change/use the space, it doesn’t have to be removed. You can just seal it up and leave it alone. Which we promptly did. Otherwise, its a very expensive job for only professionals.

Once Michael had all the other insulation out in the usable attic space, he noticed a hole in the roof. Surprising since the previous owner put a new roof on in 2013. But it makes me SO glad that we discovered it when we did, since there was not any apparent water damage (the hole was concealed under a dormer eave, so I think it was relatively sheltered. But can’t help feeling like we dodged a bullet there.

Finally, this last week, Michael got the required construction permits, and was able to start framing in the space. To my surprise, the framing went really quickly. In fact, in the time it took me to do a little cleaning/straightening in the living room one morning, he got the middle wall (between the bathroom and guest room) up. The other walls took a little longer because there were all the angles and doors to deal with, but still it only took him a day and a half to get it all framed. Not bad for a first-timer!

So here we wait! Tomorrow morning the structural inspection is supposed to take place tomorrow morning. Assuming that goes well, we’re on to plumbing and electrical!


(location of future bathroom)

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