Work & Play | What Else Michelle - Part 7

Archive of ‘Work & Play’ category

Renovation: From ICK to sleek toilet

It’s been almost two weeks since I have last updated this blog. I’ve got to earn some extra bucks and so I had been awfully busy with work. Ok, I admit, that’s what usually happens when laziness strikes. It’s like losing the momentum and starting again is such a challenge. Anyway, I posted a proposed toilet design earlier this month and now it’s finally finished! Here’s the “before” pictures before I go through the details. I wasn’t able to take the actual “before” picture of the ladies’ toilet because they had already stripped it down when they turned it over to us. This is the men’s toilet actually. The ladies’ toilet was a pink/maroon version of this–pink marbled tiles for the wall, maroon version of the green floor tiles and yes, you guessed it right, pink toilet bowls and lavatory! The wash area looked exactly the same as the image on the left (except it was pink and the mirror had a huge chip on the upper right hand corner and our pail was way smaller than theirs. Hehe)

PROBLEM: Upon entrance, there were three cubicles squeezed in this tiny space. The two on the left were so tiny, they were less than 70 cm in width and less than 1 meter in depth so if you’re taller than average, your knees would probably touch the door when you’re doing your thing. And if there were at least 2 people using the mirror/lavatory, it was quite hard to get into the 3rd cubicle. I hope you can visualize how small this space was.

SOLUTION: We demolished the concrete partitions, moved the cubicles (now just two instead of three) to the left side with toilet bowls facing the right wall instead of the door and opted for wooden partitions to save space.

Here are a few progress shots:

The hanging countertop!

Almost done!

The project is our Kingdom Hall’s toilet (I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses) so the funds were donations only. Here’s what we did to maximize the budget (P30,000 + donated water closet and lavatory + labor of love):

For the walls, I wanted a lot of horizontal lines to make the space look wider and since plank tiles are too expensive (around P160/pc), 60x60cm tiles (P152/pc-Arte Ceramic Tiles) were cut into 4 making them 15x60cm. We also used 60×60 tiles for the floor and cut them in half. (30X60 tiles are about P90-110/pc). White grout was used to emphasize the lines. Since this is a just a toilet and not a bathroom, tiling the entire wall would be unnecessary. Only 1.05m of the wall was tiled, just a little above the water closet. 2″x1″ painted wood were placed where the tiles end for coverage and accent. Instead of using granite slab for the countertop, we used granite tiles which we got from Floor Center on sale for about P135/pc. The sleek water closets were also on sale in Wilcon (about P3,800/pc. Similar types are priced P7,000 up) Overall, we spent about P8,000 for the tiles. Most of the budget went to our fabricated wooden partition which totaled to more than P15,000, including marine plywood, formica, fittings and accessories. But still, it’s way cheaper than buying from a supplier/installer. The cheapest they can give us was P17,000 for just a PVC partition. No way!

That floral ceramic tissue holder and soap dispenser were just P29 and P19. The white vase was P199, all from Uniwide Warehouse in Novaliches.

And yes, knowing me, I would never, ever type the toilet rules in Word, print it out, laminate it and just tape it on the wall. Gotta do it with style! Here is the “after” shot again: 

We installed four pin lights instead of just one round light in the middle. See how warm white light can easily make a space exude an elegant, hotel-like vibe? When using daylight bulbs, you can see every visible flaw, making the space look so ordinarily blah. Plus, everyone seems to look prettier in warm light considering that really huge mirror. Hehe!

Again, everyone who worked for the completion of this renovation were all volunteer brothers and sisters, pure labor of love. Noone was paid, but still, everyone was more than willing to devote his/her skills, knowledge, energy and time for the improvement of Jehovah’s house. This is just a small toilet, but the brothers and sisters in Joplin, Missouri worked on a bigger scale project–an entire Kingdom Hall finished in just two weeks.

The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses already built one in Joplin following last year’s deadly EF-5 tornado.  A brand new church on Highway N north of Republic is built with Insulated Concrete Forms — basically giant Styrofoam-type Lego blocks that can withstand winds up to 250 miles per hour. The blocks are a foot thick with a six-inch reinforced concrete center. Once the foundation is poured, more than 500 volunteers built the new church in about two weekends — all without accepting paychecks. read more


A week of highs and lows

Sorry for being MIA for almost a week. Like I said a week before, I’m going to be working on a project starting Monday. Well, it actually started Saturday so we had quite a good head start despite the unfortunate events that occurred prior to the commencement of the project. I’m not going to talk about it anymore because I’d rather forget. Hehe!

Anyway, the project is ladies’ toilet renovation. I will give details later but here’s a quick sneak peek.

Upper left image: Proposed design. Other images: References

That’s mainly what was keeping me occupied during the week aside from a couple of days hibernation. I’ve been feeling awfully out of condition lately, probably because I couldn’t seem to get a good night’s sleep. So this week is generally a low week for me. And when I say low, that means I cannot multitask. That should explain why I wasn’t able to do any of my DIY decors and write a blog post. Speaking of decors, our walls have finally been resurrected! Will update you on that soon too. So excited for next week when my major projects are done!

Are you daring enough?

We’ve been blogging and taking photos of our DIY projects for quite some time now and we’ve been using the same photography style for quite some time too. I haven’t been in the blogging industry for that long (just almost 3 months actually) and I haven’t taken as much photographs as you guys have already. But being me, I easily get bored.

Like I mentioned in my previous posts, here and here, our house lacks sources of natural light so it’s kinda hard to photograph furniture and interiors without the aid of external flash. I wanted to photograph my revamped computer chair again, this time adding a little drama instead of just placing it against our battered main door. I wanted it to look like it’s ready for a catalog so that it’s beauty can be more appreciated.

This is quite a long post so read on to see how you your camera can surprise you with amazing unexpected images.

Since, we have this wall with peeled paint (you can read about it here), I thought it would be nice to use the texture for background before we have it repaired. I also wanted to try B-setting (bulb setting) again. The last time I used it was 10 years ago, waaaaay back in college.

Using just my Ikea Lersta Lamp, a blue and pink singlet, a tripod and my very entry-level Canon EOS 1100D, I started my experiment with light.

I started setting up my camera at around 9:45pm after I made sure that Bryce was already asleep. This is important because I had to be certain that no one would insist on turn the lights on or accidentally move the objects that were supposed to be static and I just didn’t want any distractions at all.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I set up my camera on a tripod then arranged the subject.
  2. My camera was in Tv (shutter-priority) setting, with shutter speed at its maximum, 30 seconds. Don’t worry about the aperture as the camera will automatically set it for you.
  3. I turned off all the lights.
  4. You need a light source in order for you to release the shutter so I had the lamp turned on.
  5. Once I was satisfied with my setup, I clicked the shutter button and ran quickly towards the subject, grabbing the lamp first, covering it with either of the singlets.
  6. I only had 30 seconds and I just had to keep moving the lamp and changing the cover. Sometimes, I let the light sit in a spot for about 3 seconds.

I edited this photoshop by using Auto Tone, adjusting the curves and brightness/contrast manually and erasing the outlets using clone stamp tool.

The unedited version

I really can’t tell you how exactly I got this image because that’s the thing about “painting with light.” You never really know what to expect. I just kept moving and changing the cover of the lamp so it would reflect different light colors. I guess, I held the lamp with pink cover a little longer on this one so there was a pink aurora borealis-like light around the vase. You can see a hint of blue light too. To achieve the transparent, ghost-like look of the vase, do not let it sit in place for the entire 30 seconds the aperture is open. I think I removed it after 10-15 seconds. Otherwise, it would look sold like the chair. Oh, and if you look closely on the lower left hand corner of the image, you could see my foot. I guess I didn’t move quickly enough.

Here’s another fave shot I picked from about 20 frames I did using this subject.

This time I didn’t edit the outlets and the cord. I like the dark, grunge effect of this image. Click here for the unedited version.

I pointed the light directly under the chair for a few seconds. The rest, I had no idea what I did. Click here for the unedited version.

*** Learn how you can make-over your old, boring computer chair.***

This is another DIY project I did–painted bottles using Decorfin Glass Paint.

This was just one flower that I let stay for 5 seconds before moving it to another position. Click here for the unedited version.

Back in college, we only use SLR camera. Take note, there is no “D” so it’s not digital but film! And being a student with a budget, I had to make sure that all 36 shots in my film was shot well-spent. Now that I have a DSLR, I can do 100 shots if I wanted to. Yey!!! Last night I was able to do only 47 shots in an hour and felt like I finished  a workout out too. I was sweaty from all those running back and forth, moving the lamp around, changing cloth covers and removing the vase. Hmm, this could be my new fat-burner workout…

Here’s another one that I like.

Here are some of the mistakes that I did. Well, these aren’t technically mistakes because you can actually do this if that’s the look you’re after to.

This was one of my earlier shots. I keep dropping the singlets on that spot, forgetting that it was within my frame shot.

I didn’t cover the lamp with cloth. I was probably waving the lamp directly to the camera, thus the harsh light.

That was me, not moving myself at all. I was moving just the lamp.

So tonight, I dare you to turn off your lights, bring out your flashlights or lamps and explore painting with light. This is so much fun because you never know what to expect from your pictures.


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