Saturday, August 9, 2014

En Suite Shower / Changing Room with new toilet. Fed by Pressure Pumped Solar heated water (400 litres).

The en suite shower & changing room project took over 4 months + of part-time work by Arnie to complete and more time before that, really thinking about what was desired and planning in every aspect. For me this was a particularly interesting project as there are so many variables. It involved selection of all the best components that are good at doing a job and give a combined aesthetic result, so the job will only have to be completed once. Then it’s a matter of assembly, which on a house as I've come to learn is often much slower than I anticipate at first.

First, here's the finished shower & changing room.(Sorry the pictures are on their sides - I have tried to save them after rotation & before uploading, but BlogSpot insists on placing them on their sides again. *Sigh!*)!

And here are some pictures in reverse chronological order showing some of the stages we went through to get to the final result.

The total floor area is a little less than 2 square metres, but it's amazing how much thought needs to go into making a completely waterproof luxury shower room, then planning all the pieces to match, purchase them (mostly online from the US) and then hope they'll all work together.

These components that were ordered in readiness for the building of the shower room:

(1). 8 head Shower Tower with additional overhead shower and hand held head. Different modes will be selectable.
(2). High Pressure Booster Pump to ensure water pressure is strong enough to give plenty of massage.
(3). 90mm Stainless Steel Drain Tray, to be counter sunk into the floor.
(4). Powerful but quiet Extractor Fan which has a humidity sensor and also a timer, both of which are adjustable.
(5). Recesses to fit either side of the shower Tower, where shampoos, body soaps and other things can be easily placed.
(6). Wall mounted Soap Holder that won't trap water and make the bar of soap mushy!
(7). Folding Aluminium Door with Frosted Glass for the shower room.
(8). Heated Towel Rail in the changing area with integrated cabinet and sink area.
(9). French tiles (White & deep blue) for the walls & ceilings, with dark tan coloured floor tiles or rough texture to avoid being slippery when wet.
(10). Heated Mirror in the changing area.
(11). Raised Rectangular Sink with safety overflow (We have kids!).
(12). Toto Faucet with retractable shower head, so the women of the house can wash their hair in the sink if they ever feel the need to.
(13). Antique Bronze styled wall sconces to illuminate either side of the mirror.
(14). Warm LED Lighting in the shower & changing rooms.
(15). Electrical receptacles with illuminated on/off switches suitably high enough to be safe from splashes of water (For use with hairdryers, hair curlers, etc).
(16). Ceramic Wall Plates for switches & electrical receptacles - to match with the tiles.
(17). A surprisingly large amount of French tiles & corner edging. These included mosaics which were to be laid on the cabinet top and sides, entrance door frame and in the recesses either side of the shower tower.
(18). 5 custom sized aluminium window frames with double glazed glass. Frosted in the shower room.
(19). Solid antique bronze towel & clothes hangers to be fitted to the inner side of the door from the hall.

The area started out as a disused corner of the house with a little link in the corner and the remains of what used to be a men's urinal, next to which is the existing toilet. These were of course not part of the original structure of the house, but something built around 40 years ago. Not really very strongly made as the rest of the house, but it's still solid enough so there was no need to knock it down.
Instead Arnie replaced the exterior cladding first, then came inside to work on the rest.

First he framed the area and put up plywood walls. There were then all covered with 2 layers of FRP matting and plenty of resin to make them and made impermiable to moisture. This rough surface was also ideal for attaching tiles onto. We didn’t want plastic walls and the typical Japanese wet room style, since these are apparently prone to getting mouldy on the trapped air areas behind the plastic. Our solution nas the same functions, but with more facilities. The result will be much more characterful & aesthetically pleasing too.

This is the back-side of the shower mounting wall, which is left open for now so the plumbing can be completed, tested, etc. before an easily openable wall is fitted and an old framed mirror we bought from Bali a long time ago is placed on the face.

We also got a new fancy high-tech Toto toilet with all the funky Japanese washlet stuff – which I don’t like myself, but my wife really does.
She also wanted a wash basin, so I found a tiny little corner one with a nice little antique brass faucet. I also found a matching antique brass toilet roll holder.
The walls and ceiling in the toilet don't need replacement, as I had already wallpapered it (Asian styled print in blue & white - which gives hints of traditional Portuguese ceramic wall tiles).
Here is what the toilet that came with the house originally looks like currently - with the new wallpaper. It won't change much, just a sleeker toilet, new tiled floor & corner sink + fixtures to come.

The 40 year old plywood floor is currently delaminating, so that'll be replaced before it's sealed with FRP, protected from beneath with plastic insulation and tiled bwith the same non-slip floor of the shower room before being fitted with the new toilet & wash basin.

Meanwhile, here's some pictures of the frame Arnie built to support the 400 litres of solar water heaters (2 x 200L). This will feed very hot water (It should be scalding hot even in winter, but if not - we can always have an additional thermostatically controlled propane gas heater added in series should the need arise). Part of the structure alongside is for an enclosed chicken run too.

What we built together in the first day (10cm sq. pillars sunk 70cm into the ground and re-inforced with stones & concrete,

After 2 more day's work:

By the 5th day it was finished and shortly after this picture was taken, Arnie finished applying creosote to the to sections & together we assembled the solar heaters on the roof, which would have been difficult for him to do when working on the house alone.

The long structure carries the water to & from the solar panels and is the beginnings of one perimeter of the intended Chicken Run / Greenhouse, which when combined will be triangular shaped.This is because we need to allow access with a small truck to the forested land behind the house, since the intention is to also build projects there in future, such as woofer accommodation, hidden parking for cars, etc.

There will be some roof space left unused for now (We built it large & wide enough for cars & smaller trucks to be able to drive through the lower structure to have access to the forest behind the house).
The intention is to find some suitably sized electrical solar panels so we can use this sunny area (It's angled due south, for optimal exposure to the sun year-round). These could provide some power to charge a bank of 12V batteries to in turn supply power via an inverter to our intended greenhouse which is to be built next to the chicken run... It could also power a pump to lift water from the intended duck pond below & store in drums placed under the solar panels. Duck water is very nutritious for plants, so would make an ideal way to water them in future. So there are other exciting ideas in store yet!

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