Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Talavera Bath wrap up....better late than never!

We never posted pictures of the guest bath, once it was finished. Of course, as pokey as I can be, it took me forever to get back in there and actually finish the work. In fact, I still need to put in baseboards - I promise to NOT post about the baseboards when those are finally in! I had great ideas to 'cover' the vanity base, almost like doing a veneer - but with 1/4" wood. I didn't do that, as time was running short. We were down to the wire before having our friend, Carolyn, come and visit us for a week. Dean questioned whether we really could get the vanity top and sink finished before Carolyn arrived - so that really gave me some incentive! I guess we work best under pressure!

In reality, this would be a great weekend project. Dean took the old vanity top, with the sink attached, off of the base. We then measured and cut the 3/4" plywood for the vanity top. After that was cut to size, we figured out the placement of the sink as well as the fixtures. Most sinks have the fixture holes in them. That is not the case with handmade Talavera sinks. The fixtures needed to come up through the vanity top. After getting the plywood set to go, we cut and measured the "Easy Backer" (similar to Hardy Backer, but only 1/4" thick and easy to cut and work with). It was easy to transcribe the sink hole onto the Easy Backer, and then make the cuts for them to match. Dean cut the back and side splashes from Hardy Backer, as we wanted something a little thicker for those. With the cutting out of the way I attached the plywood to the vanity top, aligned the Easy Backer (clamping them together), and cut the holes for the fixture (cutting through both layers at once to insure proper alignment of the holes). I attached the Hardy Backer to the walls with Liquid Nails and screws. The splashes actually sit behind the plywood top, giving them a bit more stabilization. The Easy Backer is attached to the plywood with a layer of mastic, the same that is used to 'glue' the tiles down. We gave all of that 24 hours to dry before putting any strains on the bonds that needed to harden.

The next step was to start cutting and laying out the yellow tiles for the vanity top. It was really easy to do, and actually fun to see it all coming together! We started with the edge/overlap pieces, to make sure we wouldn't have to cut those pieces much (full tiles are easier to cut, in my opinion). Dean cut all of the small, straight edge pieces - making sure that each was precisely the size needed. He's good! Before putting in the sink, we needed to do the back and side splash too. Since we had used 'medallions' of larger tiles in the shower, I thought it would be nice to do a similar effect on the splashes. This is the part where I give a big "THANK YOU" to the guys at Sierra Tile, in Tucson! I had coffee with them two mornings in a row, picking out and getting the medallions and tiles to finish the project. They now give us a "volume discount" which translates into about 50% off of the marked price for the tile. They are great to do business with, and if you live in the Tucson area and are planning a project, we highly recommend them for your supplies! Tiling the back splash was easy, and done before we knew it! We found that we can do 45 degree cuts to miter the corners, giving the work a more professional appearance.

Once the tiling was done (and literally, it was done in about 4-5 hours even with me taking breaks!) we had another 24 drying period to wait before moving forward. While we were dying to get that sink in place, it is really necessary to do the grouting first. After the grout, the new fixtures. If you've ever put in new fixtures you know that there is an advantage to doing them without the sink in place. Once the fixtures were in, then we could move forward with placing the sink. Dean dropped the sink in, one evening while I was at work, making sure to use lots of silicone caulk to not only waterproof the gaps, but also to hold the sink in place. Together we finished attaching the drain (not without some glitches, but there are no leaks!) and hooking all of the connections together. To give a nice rim to the sink, we grouted around the sink - between the tiled counter and the sink side. This filled in any gaps (preventing water seepage), and helps to hold everything solid. The grout we used is made for 'wet applications', so no sealing was required. It is the same grout that we used in the tub/shower area. After all was said and done, we had to get busy on painting that room! I chose Kilz Casual Colors (we've had good results with that, in Illinois) in "Sequoia". I did a quick paint job on the ceiling, then moved to the walls. The walls did take two coats, but we were painting over off white walls with a very dark color. At that point, the room was ready for use - and not a day too soon! Carolyn arrived 48 hours later! She and I took a little shopping trip to the store where we had gotten the sink, to find 'artwork' for the walls. I think the Mexican tin art, as well as the patina of the lions head door knocker really add to the style of the tile. We also need to send a "Thanks Erica!" out, as our friend (Erica) gave us the Talavera kitty sitting on the counter as a "Yay! The bathroom is done!" gift! As mentioned before, I still need to get some baseboards for the room - in the mean time, I think we both like the finished result!


Anonymous said...

what a beautiful bathroom! i LOVE the coulourful design of the sink!!

a job very well done!! bravo! brava!

David A. Harvey said...

Nice work! When can you come over and do mine for me?!?

the Brat

Janie said...

Melinda, it's beautiful!