Deposing the Throne…part the first…

An issue with the Cupola Art building is (big booming echo)THE THRONE(/end big booming echo).

The Throne is the name that anybody that’s ever seen it immediately and universally dubbed the bathroom in the building. Essentially, due to various alterations and problems over its history, by the time we owned the building the bathroom consisted of a toilet…on a platform, basically overlooking the entire mezzanine, and with a straight-line view of the top of the stairs. No walls. No sink. Not even a curtain. You are, no question, truly the king of all you survey when you sit on this thing.

The Throne

The Throne


I should mention that us male types (pointers vs setters) also have difficulty with the approach here. An understanding of ballistics and diaphragm control of an extraordinary sort are required since we can’t actually stand in front of this thing. Headroom is an issue as well.

Anyway, there is a definite need for a decent bathroom in the place. Since there never was one on the ground floor, some substantial work is required to add one.

Ah well. What’s a little work?

After pondering for some time, I decided that pretty much whatever use the building was put to, a pair of ADA compliant bathrooms would make it a nicer place. This is not actually required due to the age and history of the building, but, I really felt bathrooms on the ground floor are a necessity in any public building, and if I’m installing them, it’s a simple matter to make them complaint.

After lots of measuring, some thoughts about various configurations, and a few anxious glances at the moths flying out of my wallet, I came up with a layout that maximizes space, solves all the problems, and provides a good setup for pretty much whatever use the building gets put to in the future.

This weekend we framed it up. You DO know though…that no project like this can be pondered without several more becoming obviously necessary, right?

The bathrooms are to be framed under the mezzanine, with the doors into them forming a “hall” to the interior door that leads upstairs. After careful measurement, I determined the mezzanine had sagged in the middle. A little poking around immediately showed me why.

The cut/missing support.

The cut/missing support. Note the high-strength 1×4 nailed across the joist joint to do…something…I guess…


There used to be a support beam across the middle. You can see in the pic above that it was cut out. It also acts as a header for the mezzanine stairs. All the joists under the mezzanine are two parters…and the beam supported the joint.

The result of it missing is the sag and bounce. I’m unsure what’s holding the stairs up there at all.

The new bathroom walls will take the load and provide support most of the way across the center of the mez…there is a double wall for the plumbing chase, and I’ll cut that stairway header out and add a new beam from there to cover the rest.

That meant careful jacking of the mezzanine deck, and building walls precisely the right measurement to stand up and sledge into place.

Anyway, framing is done. I’ve two 8×7 bathrooms (one with a shower stall) laid out. 70 2×4’s, and 10 treated (sill plates) to get this done. I still have to add the stairway header.

Nailguns, sledge hammers, jackposts, and a saw with a fricken laser on it. Life is good!

Many thanks to my step-dad and nephew for the assistance this weekend!

The view from the sales floor. That is a 15″ thick I-beam inside that top wall to hold the front of the mezzanine. A 11-foot prep sink will nestle against that side wall and shower enclosure.

The view from the sales floor.

The view from the sales floor.


Looking down the hall…at the doors to the bathrooms. The door at the end of the hall leads to the main stairs (they also have an exterior door for access)
The view down the hall.

The view down the hall.


This view is looking back toward the sales floor from the door to the main stairs.
Looking up the hall toward the sales floor.

Looking up the hall toward the sales floor.


The hall is 4′ wide, and the doors to the bathrooms are 36″. Swing room and fixture type/location will all meet ADA requirements.

Up for next week: Stair header install and the start on wiring/plumbing. A load of green-board (bathroom sheet-rock that is water and mold resistant) is also in the cards.

I touched plumbing…

I touched plumbing…so of course you *know* how it went…it’s all connected ya know…

Missing some of the hardware

Missing some of the hardware

Soo…from THIS post…working on the Mezzanine in prep for installing bathrooms on the 1st floor…I bumped the tank on “The Throne”. It promptly began leaking. A quick glance showed why…whoever installed the tank had no clue what they were doing…they omitted the outside nut on the tank bolts…the ones between the tank and the toilet…the ones that actually create the seal by holding the bolts firmly against the rubber washers IN the tank so they won’t leak…

I turned off the valve at the toilet (at least there was one) and start to remove the tank. As I undo the flexible supply line off the tank…the hard line coming up through the mezzanine deck moves…and far too easily. It’s galvanized iron, so should be quite stiff…and yep…I then hear the tell-tale sound of water leaking. Gah!

*SNAP* says the valve

*SNAP* says the valve

I rushed to the ground floor…there is a valve where the 3/4″ main line comes into the building. I turn it off…it is difficult to turn…and just as I get it all the way off… *SNAP* the entire valve breaks off the main line in my hand. This was somewhat startling…as it is only 50 degrees in the building today and the water was probably colder.

The main line in...

The main line in…

I now have a fully open, 3/4″ 80psi pressurized water line venting into the shop.

Fortunately I know where the meter is and my tools were close at hand. I manage to shut off the water supply without shooting more than a hundred or so gallons of water all over the place.

And, “all over the place” includes bouncing it off the ceiling!

So…that’s it. Enough of this crap. I fire up “Destructor of Worlds” (the Dewalt Sawzall) and I tear out the entire mess. I may still run a PEX line up to The Throne so we can use it until the other bathrooms are in…but there was no sense salvaging anything that was here already and risking (another) flood/shower.

The toilet supply line where it came through the floor

The toilet supply line where it came through the mezzanine floor

How the hell this was NOT leaking before today, I’ll never know.

The toilet supply line

The toilet supply line

This is 1/2″ galvanized line, I’m guessing with 30+ years of corrosion eating it from the outside where it touched the wood mezzanine deck.

Supply line

Supply line

I still can’t figure how this *wasn’t* leaking before today.

For my next trick I’ll probably make old mortar shoot out of the electrical sockets when ya flush “The Throne” or something.

CUAgain,
Daniel (the soaked) Meyer