Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ofuro and Slab

So there is a Japanese bath in our plan. Basically this means a wet room configuration where a shower and bath are placed next to each other in a tiled area so you can shower before you get in the tub to soak. Japanese bathrooms are super nice. We have nothing like it in North America; the Japanese companies are light years ahead in terms of bathroom products. Here's an example from a Japanese Toto catalogue.

When we went shopping for fixtures, Terry at Boone Plumbing put us onto this system called Maax Modulr. It's a similar idea, basically a shower floor and tub that lock together. Here's a picture of the Modulr wet room layout.

So with this setup you can make something very similar to the Japanese system baths and its pretty affordable. I would have liked a tiled floor with a linear drain but this option just had several advantages. Easy to install, affordable, all in one system with glass doors to match. I may try to make a thin wooden slat "floor" to lay over the shower pan, giving it a more earthy and custom look.

Outside of the bath is a sink area and separate water closet (toilet room).
Again this is a typical Japanese thing. We wanted this area to have a modern yet earthy vibe so one idea we had was to use a live edge wood slab for the countertop in this area. One day while we were browsing a home renovation store in Gatineau my wife pointed out these huge live edge Acacia slabs. Like, a single piece of wood literally the size of a dining room table, completely finished, boxed up, shrink wrapped and ready to take home and mount on legs (which they also had for sale). The whole affair would set you back less than a grand. Considering that tables of this sort go for a couple grand easily, and are almost always laminated from several boards, to get a table size slab from a single solid piece of wood for less than a grand is pretty crazy. We went back once or twice more and kept eyeing these slabs. It turns out they stocked some 24" deep slabs also, with a live edge on one side, perfect for a desk or countertop. I started thinking we had better jump on this soon so we went back today. The big table slabs were all gone but there were a couple of the counter slabs left. We looked at them both and liked the color on this piece so we scooped it up, loaded it in the back of the SUV and drove home with poor Chiyo scrunched in the front passenger seat, which was pushed as far forward as it could go. Not comfortable. But we have our slab! Check out this beauty.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Roughly Going

Bosch RedZone unit. We originally planned and budgeted for in floor radiant heat. However when the final hvac quotes came in from subcontractors  they were two to three times higher than the original budget. This meant we had to forego the radiant heat and use a forced air system. To make matters worse, a regular forced air system could not be used. We had to opt for a medium velocity system with smaller ducts. This was more expensive than the original hvac budget even. 

That said, there are a couple of advantages to the new system. It includes air conditioning (which we originally skipped for cost savings, planning to go with a wall mounted mini split system later) and a HEPA air filter that will improve air quality compared to a radiant system. It also gives us a few more options for flooring and simplifies (and hopefully speeds up) the construction process.

The basement has been mostly cleaned up and frost walls were framed up. Upstairs is mostly unchanged.

Since the beginning of the month, with everyone back from holidays, things have been moving along and we're starting to see things taking shape with the interior mechanical systems: plumbing, hvac and electrical. The rough plumbing (short of installing fixtures) was completed about two weeks ago, and the hvac duct work was roughed in about a week ago. Electrical was to be completed today but due to unexpected calls the electrician was only able to start today. 

The week of delays hurts us a lot because we can't just extend our lease for a week and we will end up paying another months rent in our temporary accommodation. Considering we're already four months behind our original schedule this is a hard pill to swallow but there's a chance we might make up for lost time if the drywall can be completed quickly.

The real hold up at this point is windows. Dalmen Windows and doors is the manufacturer of our custom Windows. They're a local manufacturer, and I like keeping our business in the Ottawa valley. Their product is nice looking, too. Its a hybrid window with aluminum exterior and vinyl interior. This makes for a really nice looking frame and it can be painted any color on both inside and out. The simulated divided lights are used to keep costs low and they look quite good. Unfortunately the manufacturer seems to be having trouble delivering on schedule, as the windows were supposed to be here this week, but are now scheduled to be delivered February 3rd.

Here's Rob the electrician going through to see where to put the wires.

Without windows some snow and ice have gotten in but now plastic is over the window openings to provide a bit of protection from the elements and there are propane heaters inside that have started to dry things out a bit.

The Top of the Slope

After a year-long hiatus I've been wanting to get back to this blog because a lot has happened in the meantime, and a lot of interesting...