Master Bath Remodel – Fireplace Phase

Master Bath - Fireplace Header

We are pretty lucky to have a double-sided fireplace in the bathroom/bedroom.  However, I am not a big fan of the tile surrounding the fireplace.  As part of the master bathroom remodel, I decided to add wood mantels and stone to both sides of the fireplace.

Because this bathroom remodel project was so big… I decided to post about it in phases.  If you are interested in the other phases, here they are broken down (I will link to the other phases as I post them):

This picture shows the bedroom side of the fireplace (taken before we moved in).  The other side was surrounded by that yucky 4″ white tile that was pretty much standard with all houses built at the time.

Master Bath - Before 1 The fireplace part of this project started with making 2 mantels exactly the same way as I had before (as seen in this blog post) and adding stone (as seen in this blog post)

Master Bath - Fireplace MantelsHere they are installed using some rebar and epoxy.

Master Bath - Fireplace Mantel Inside

Master Bath - Fireplace Mantel OutsideIt took a while to find the time to actually install the stone, but I think it came out pretty well.  It definitely went a lot faster than the other stone jobs I have done in the house (maybe because there was less of it, or maybe I am just getting better at it).  Here is how they came out!  Much better than they were before and the new mantels gives us another place to collect dust in the house 🙂

Master Bath - Fireplace Outside Final

Master Bath - Fireplace Inside FinalNow it is time to get moving on the final phase of this project.  New cabinets, vanity and mirrors are in order!



Master Bath Remodel – Floor Phase

Master Bath - Floor Header

Because this bathroom remodel project was so big… I decided to post about it in phases. If you are interested in the other phases, here they are broken down (I will link to the other phases as I post them):

It pained me a bit to rip out the tile that I had just installed a few years ago (there was originally carpet on the floor!), but we wanted everything to match and it gave me a chance to install some electric in floor heating.  I had thought that installing in floor heating would be expensive, but it really was pretty affordable.  I bought a kit (including the thermostat) from Warming Systems for less than $300 and they even expedited shipping so that I could install the system when I had a good window of time to do it.  It was pretty easy to install as well.  After screwing down some 1/4″ wonder board, it only took me a couple of hours to lay the wire and run the thermostat wire.  The heating wire did not draw as much power as I expected and I was able to tie into an existing circuit and avoid running a new one.

Master Bath - Floor Heating

I also decided to go with the larger 18″ tile for the floors.  My wife was a little worried about mixing tile sizes (we have 2″, 4″, 12″ and 18″ in the bathroom), but I think the mixed tile sizes gave the bathroom a little more “texture” without it looking weird.

Master Bath - Floor TileIn the picture above, you will notice that I did not tile all the way to the cabinets.  I intentionally left that untiled in anticipation of replacing the vanity cabinets.  One nice touch (I think anyway) was to replace the old wood baseboard with tile baseboard.

Master Bath - Floor BaseboardAfter installing the heated floor system, I was not so sure that it actually made much of a difference.  Most mornings and evenings (when the system was turned on) I did not notice that nice warm feeling under my feet… until we got a cold day.  Wow!  As the weather has started to get colder here in Colorado, I am loving the in heated tile floor.

Master Bath - Floor Final


Master Bath Remodel – Shower Phase

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Because this bathroom remodel project was so big… I decided to post about it in phases.  The shower phase is essentially the second phase of the project, but there was some overlap.  If you are interested in the other phases, here they are broken down (I will link to the other phases as I post them):

This is a picture of my starting point that was taken before we moved into the house.  We had actually replaced the shower hardware with oil rubbed bronze hardware… but had not done anything else to the shower.

Master Bath - Before 3The first part of the shower remodel was to build an arch that would give the shower a little bit more of an enclosed feel and add a little more dimension to the bathroom.

Master Bath - Shower Arch Under

Master Bath - Shower Arch FrontAfter getting the arch built, hung and drywalled… it was time to gut the shower.  I was definitely nervous gutting the most used shower in the house and taking it out of commission.  Fortunately, we have a guest bathroom right across the hall that we could use for the time being.  If you really want to test your wife’s patience… take the shower out of commission.  I have to admit, that tiling the shower took longer than I wanted it to, but my wife was pretty patient.

Master Bath - Shower GuttedThe first thing I needed to tackle before I could do anything else was to put in a new shower pan.  There are lots of good videos on YouTube on how to do this and I would suggest you watch several before trying this yourself.  Also, take your time and do your balloon test… you don’t want to mess around with water getting through your shower pan.

Master Bath - Shower LinerMaster Bath - Shower Floor

I also added 2 niches to hold all the shower items.  This is pretty simple.  You just build a box out of 2×4 to hang in between two studs.  The only thing you need to ensure is that the bottom of each box has a slight slope downwards so that the water drains down the wall after a shower.  I started adding niches to all my shower remodels and have really liked not having a hanging shower basket in each shower/bath.  I had actually wanted to add two “banks” of niches to either side of the shower head, but there was just too much plumbing and electrical in the way to do it.  I certainly didn’t want to turn the shower part of the project into a 6 month adventure.

Master Bath - Shower NicheI used small 2″ tile on the shower floor and finished up the cement board on the rest of the walls.  I didn’t get a picture of it, but I also used RedGard on the shower walls for the vapor barrier.  This stuff is not cheap, but it forms a water proof seal if you install it correctly.  I also took extra precaution to seal the shower niches because they are a prime spot for water leakage.  Water proof silicone was used after installing RedGard anywhere there was a change of plane (corners).

Master Bath - Shower Cement BoardHere are some pictures of the finished tile job.  You can see in one of the pictures that I tiled from floor to ceiling and also tiled the ceiling.

Master Bath - Shower Tile Final

Master Bath - Shower Tile Arch

Master Bath - Shower Tile NicheI wasn’t very happy with my work (and the look) of the small tile on the shower floor so I made a quick trip to Lowes to buy some larger tile so I could see what it would look like.

Master Bath - Shower Tile FloorAs you can tell, I decided to rip out the small tiles and replace them with bigger 6″ tile.  You have to be careful when using larger tile on a sloped floor to ensure that there are no tile edges to catch you bare feet on.

Master Bath - Shower Tile Floor BigWe definitely planned on replacing the brass shower door with oil rubbed bronze but wanted to upgrade from a framed shower door to a frameless shower door.  I thought my only option would be to have a custom one made but the best quote was for $1500!  It was very nice, but I didn’t want to spend that much.  After a little research and comparison, I was able to find a pre-fabricated frameless shower at Home Depot for less than half the price.  This DreamLine Unidoor looked almost identical to the custom door.  The only difference as far as I could tell was that the glass for this shower door was not quite as thick as the custom door.  It is still very solid and heavy, so I was fine with it.  The install was a little difficult (pay attention to the instructions where it says you need 2 people!) but it came out looking very nice (and solid).

Master Bath - Shower DoorThe last thing to do before I could call the shower done was to texture the arch.  I don’t do enough texture to warrant owning a professional grade texture sprayer, but I found a Wal-Board sprayer from Home Depot that even works with a pancake compressor.  I can tell you it does a pretty good job, but I wouldn’t want to spray a whole room with it.

Master Bath - Shower Arch TextureA little paint and the shower was done!  After the shower remodel, I started to feel like I could see the end of this project… the operative word being “started”.  I still had a long way to go.

Master Bath Remodel – Bathtub Phase

Master Bath - Tub Header

Somehow every single bathroom in the house had been remodeled before our master bathroom.  I am not sure how that happened, but it was time to fix it.  Because this is such a big job and I seem to have less and less time to work on the house lately… I decided to break this into “phases”.  Here are the main features:

  • New tile everywhere!
  • Create an arch above the shower
  • Add niches in the shower
  • New frameless shower door
  • Add heated floors
  • New vanity cabinets
  • New Granite countertop
  • New sinks (the faucets and shower hardware had been replaced shortly after we moved in)
  • Mantles above the fireplace (both inside and outside the bathroom)
  • Stone surrounding the fireplace (both inside and outside the bathroom)

And here are the phases I chose to break the project into:

This is a very lovely photo of the bath tub in the master bathroom that I took before we moved in.  These pictures were actually taken even before we bought the house.

Master Bath - Before 4
Since moving in, we have done some painting and replaced bathroom hardware.  I couldn’t believe that my wife wanted the beautiful wall paper by the bathtub taken down!  This was my actual starting point.

Master Bath - Tub Starting Point

I chose to start this whole remodel by tiling the bathtub area.  It was the lowest hanging fruit and would have the least impact on our continued use of the bathroom.  The first step was to start tearing out the existing 4″ white tile.  Fortunately/Unfortunately, it was really easy.  The original tile installer used regular drywall as the substrate!  It made it easy to rip out the tile but any water under that tile would have ruined it.

Master Bath - Tub Tile Tearout

I used a combination of wonder board and cement board as the substrate.  The only reason I mixed substrates was because I needed 1/2″ cement board for the wall area (same thickness as the drywall) and wanted to keep the height of the tub deck as low as possible using 1/4″ wonder board.  I then painted all the surfaces with RedGard to keep any moisture from getting underneath.

Master Bath - Tub Cement Board

I wish I had a picture of the bathtub painted in the blazing pink/red of RedGard, but I forgot to take one.  If you are interested… this is what RedGard looks like after it has cured (from one of my other bathroom remodels).

Master Bath - Tub RedGardThe tiling was pretty straight forward.  We chose some tile that we found at Lowes that had a “slate” look to it without the upkeep of actual slate.  For the tub area, we used a 12″ tile along with the matching bullnose.

Master Bath - Tub Final

Master Bath - Tub Final CloseThis part of the entire bathroom remodel was by far the easiest and fastest.  After getting this done, it was time to move on to phase 2… the shower.

DIY Lord Business Costume

LB - Header Horizontal

In mid September, my wife asked the kids what they wanted to be for Halloween and my son was having a hard time coming up with something.  An idea popped into my head and I suggested to him that he could be “Lord Business” from the Lego movie.  His eyes immediately lit up.  A quick search turned up absolutely no results for Lord Business kid costumes.  My son had already set his heart on the idea, so we had no choice but to make the costume ourselves.  Boy… is this a slippery slope!

I had heard the term “cosplay” before, but had NO IDEA how intense and creative this hobby could be.  After doing (far too much) research on costume making, I decided my son and I could take on this project and have a bunch of fun doing it.  I didn’t have a lot of time to order materials, so I had to improvise on a few things.  Luckily, at work we were going through a big cleanup of our facilities so I was able to get most of my materials from stuff that was destined to be thrown out.  Mainly cardboard boxes and foam.

Materials List:

  • Scavenged Foam + Additional Foam Roll from Wal-Mart
  • Cardboard
  • 3M 77 Spray
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sandpaper (various grits)
  • Paintable Caulk
  • Rustoleum FlexiDip Spray Paint
  • Utility Knife
  • Sharpie
  • Electric Carving Knife
  • Scroll Saw (optional, but it helps)


I should mention that I didn’t have any template to work from.  However, I did find some 3D models someone had made of the shoulder pads and helmet.  I downloaded those files and used this website to view them.   This made a huge difference in how accurate I could get with the dimensions of the costume.

I should also mention that the Wal-Mart poly foam (used for seat cushions etc.) was not very dense, which made it much more difficult to cut and sculp.  My scavenged foam was pretty dense and made cutting and sanding a lot easier.

Shoulder Pads

I wanted the shoulder pads to be more rigid, so I decided to use cardboard as a base layer with foam on top of the cardboard to give it dimension.  I used my tape measure to take some quick/rough measurements of my son from the top of his shoulders to the middle of his chest, as well as how wide and deep his head was.  I almost screwed up by making the opening of the shoulder pads too small, which would have meant he couldn’t get it over his head!  Using a straight edge, tape measure and a utility knife…. I laid out my template and made my cuts, including cut outs for the tie.

LB - Shoulder Template

One little trick I used to get the cardboard to bend consistently and straight was to flip over the cardboard and carefully cut out a “V” along the bend line without puncturing all the way through the cardboard.  This made the cardboard bend in a straight line without wrinkling.

LB - Shoulder Cuts

After cutting all my foam pieces and glueing them to the cardboard, I used the black FlexiDip to paint the whole shoulder pad piece.  I also decided to replace the cardboard tie with a foam tie so that I could bevel the edges.  The red FlexiDip covered the tie pretty well because the foam was white.

LB - Shoulder Painted

Finally, I used a hot glue gun to attach the tie pieces to the shoulder pads and then added some elastic (not pictured) to help keep them in place.

LB - Shoulder Finished


I can’t take much credit for the cape.  My wife has developed some sewing skills over the past couple years and volunteered to help.  She found a cheap, red Wal-Mart bed sheet to use.  Because the actual lego cape is stiff, she sewed two pieces together so we could fill it with foam (to keep it stiff) if we wanted.  I had some extra volera foam left over from making a poker table a couple years back, so i decided to cut a triangle shape out of it to stuff into the bottom of the cape.  This kept the bottom spread out without adding too much weight.  To attach the cape to the shoulder pads, I simply hot glued some velcro onto the cape and shoulders pads.

LB - Cape


The helmet was much more difficult to make with all of the odd angles involved and the fact that I was making it out of foam.  Because I didn’t have pieces that were big enough, I used 3M 77 spray to glue pieces together.  I started with the front of the helmet and used my scroll saw to cut the bevel on the outside and my electric carving knife to cut out the zig zags in the middle of the mask.  Don’t worry if your cuts are not exactly perfect…. you can smooth everything out later with your electric knife and sandpaper.  After I had all my pieces cut, I used the 3M 77 to glue all the pieces together for the main part of the helmet.

LB - Helmet Cuts

The red paint did not cover the dark foam very well at all, so I had to improvise.  I had some extra white paintable caulk laying around and decided to cover the entire helmet with caulk using a putty knife.  Just squirt on some caulk and spread it, working it into the little holes in the foam.  Below is a picture of the helmet that has been partially painted, but shows the caulk covering parts of the helmet.  After applying the caulk, the red paint definitely covered much better, but it did add a little more weight to the helmet.

LB - Helmet Caulk Side

LB - Helmet Painted

One little problem…

The helmet is MUCH bigger than my son’s head.  In order to make this helmet actually wearable, I created a little foam ring that goes inside the helmet.  I also added some extra foam blocks for the foam ring to sit on.  After that, I just added some other foam pieces here and there to make the fit a little more snug.

I made the “wings” as a separate piece to be glued on later (after painting).  I glued together several pieces of foam to make them into thicker “blocks”, and used my scroll saw again to cut the bevel on the edges.

LB - Wings Front

After making a few minor adjustments, I painted the wings with black FlexiDip.  This took several coats, but I didn’t have to worry about covering the foam with caulk because the paint covered pretty well.

LB - Wings Painted

To make the little pendant that goes in the middle of the wings, I just cut out several pieces of volera foam, hot glued them together and spray painted them yellow.  Then I hot glued the pendant onto the wings.

LB - Wings Pendant

LB - Wings Finished

I made the little coffee cups (as my son calls them) that sit on top of the wings by cutting up some different sized round foam insulation that is used to insulate pipes.   Then I glued all the little pieces together and spray painted them before hot gluing them onto the wings.

LB - Wings Coffee Cup

I used hot glue to put all the helmet pieces together.  Here is how the helmet came out!

LB - Helmet Final

Finally…. it was time to put it all together! The only thing left to add was some grey clothes to wear under the costume.  What a fun project!  My son and I definitely had way too much fun with this.  He even told me that the whole family should make costumes for next year.

LB - Final

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