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An Old Familiar Friend

My new master bathroom in The Painted Lady is coming together nicely, it’s generous in size at 6′ x 15.’ Every time I frame up one of these tub boxes for the drop in tub I get a sense of Deja Vu, like seeing an old friend. It seems like just yesterday when I was doing a similar configuration on the Target House project only this time I’m just going with a standard 3′ high pony wall separating the tub and the shower instead of the full wall with the window opening, which will also also keep my tile price down. Every bathroom I design is a bit different, this time I’ve got everything in a line down the left hand wall and then the water closet at the end on the right. You kinda just gottta play with the space and do what works best. I’ve also got the whole right hand wall available for towel bars with this design, I’ve learned this the hard way after doing killer bathrooms and then finding out there no place for towel bars. The door swings in and onto the right hand wall, a 60″ dual vanity is first on the left, then the jacuzzi tub in the middle with a 3′ x 4′ shower at the back. I planned on dropping in a regular soaker tub with no jets to keep the budget down but after pricing them I could get the American Standard Plebe model 32″ x 60″ jetted tub for the same price of $399.00 so it’s a no brainer. There’s a window in the center of the back wall but I’ve got it temporarily sealed now.  Natural light is key for bathrooms, ideally I probably would have had another window in the shower and one in the water closet too but I’m trying to stay within budget so I’m forced to pull back in some areas. Code states that if you don’t have an opening window you must have an exhaust fan but I’ll have both.

As you can see we got started roughing in the plumbing this week,  I got a great quote of $4800.00 for the complete new system with gas lines, I supply the fixtures. I was also reminded that black ABS is used here in California and not white PVC as in Texas and on the East Coast for the waste lines.  I think PVC is better and cheaper but the only upside on ABS is that you don’t have to use primer with the glue.  ABS also gets brittle from UV exposure so it’s now common place to paint the roof stacks in California. I still like PVC better, even though it takes more time to install using the primer but I’m sure there’s some tree hugger issue with it so that’s why California uses ABS. After framing I always get the plumber in first before the electrician or hvac sub contractors, it works best because the vent pipes and waste lines are not flexible. I also wait until the plumber is done before putting on the new roof so we don’t have to butcher the new roof for the vent pipe roof jacks.  Your roof job comes out far superior if all jacks are in place before install, this trick came with experience.  After these waste lines are complete we’ll run the new black pipe gas lines and then finally the copper supply side lines. I’m still going back and forth with the San Diego Historical Review Board, they have made me change 13 items on my plans including window type, siding material, roof type & color and they even want to know the exterior paint colors. Furthermore, they are making me re-stack the exterior brick chimneys even though they’ve been eliminated inside the house. It’s really slowing me down because until I get everything approved from them I cant call for any inspections. As frustrating as it is, I’m stoked to learn exactly what needs to be done to pull off a renovation of this caliber in San Diego so I’ll chalk the delay up to contractor school.

Don’t forget the men and women who died while serving in the American military protecting our great country, this holiday weekend is not just all about beer and barbeques in the park. Have a happy and safe Memorial Day and God Bless our troops!

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  1. 5 Comment(s)

  2. By Mds on May 30, 2011 | Reply

    just curious if you are planning to use wood in there last your last house. If not what style of tile will go good in there?

  3. By Tom on May 30, 2011 | Reply

    No I think I’m going to go with the small white hex tiles with black dots. They are really period correct and I used them in the last project too and was happy. I would of considered running the wood in there again but I’d have to change directions from the hall way and I never do that. Wood floors in bathrooms is kinda more high end than this house anyway I think. Check out the other bath pics on the Target House and you can see what I’m talking about. One new idea I’m going to do is on that right hand wall I’m going to do wainscoting for something different. Thanks for the comment!

  4. By Bilgefisher on Jun 2, 2011 | Reply


    I enjoy your solution oriented attitude when dealing the local boards. Many would gripe about it, but you look at it as a way to stand out above the rest in the future. Just an observation.


  5. By Steve Parry on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Tom,

    First off let me say I love your website. I’ve been following it for a while now and it is the most informative, honest flipping blog I can find.

    The reason for the email is I’m a young guy. My dream has always been to flip houses. I went to Columbia university, majored in engineering, minored in business. I work now for a construction management company as a superintendent so I am getting more and more familiar with construction techniques. I have the capital to start but think I need more experience to be anywhere as close to successful as you are.

    My question for you is:

    1) How did you get started?
    2) What would you recommend for a guy like me just starting out trying to get the experience to successfully do what you do? Would you get involved, hands on as a superintendent so that later down the road I can act as my own contractor, or as a project manager so that I know the contracts and estimation side of the job or an engineer so I can pull virtually every permit I need and stamp my own drawings?

    Any other advice you want to shed on me that maybe you would have done differently if you started over now….feel free to school me.

    I know you’re a busy guy so I’ll keep my many questions to just those two.

    Thanks for taking the time.


  6. By Tom on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Steve,

    Thanks for the comment. I’ve been answering some good questions lately privately from guys sending me emails from the contact section on the blog and I think it might be beneficial to let everyone else in on my answers so I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to use your questions for a blog post. I invite anyone else also to provide some feedback for Steve, there are quite a few other rehabbers who visit our site.

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