Electrifying Stucco for the Throne…

…or something like that.

One of the limitations of The Cupola building was its lack of a “public” bathroom.

Perhaps 100 years ago, a bathroom was installed upstairs among the doctor’s offices, but it has long since been abandoned. The offices haven’t been used since the 1940’s, but it appears (based on “recent” plumbing repairs) that the employees of the pharmacy continued to use/maintain the small bathroom (no sink) until, I’m guessing, sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s.

Around that time the sewer-line upstairs (cast iron) cracked and instead of replacing the 100-year old line, they simply installed a toilet on the mezzanine for employee’s use and routed its outlet to a good line. The mezzanine is a half-floor, originally built for storage, covering roughly the back 20′ of the building in between the 1st and 2nd floors. It is accessible from downstairs via a short, steep staircase.

In order to get the sewer line out of the building, they had to install this toilet on a platform so the line could exit through an old window.

throneThe result is a toilet, on a platform, on the mezzanine, with no walls, curtains, sink, etc…and a clear view of the top of the stairs just to keep you entertained whilst you are there.

Everybody that’s ever seen it…has…without prompting…universally and instantly dubbed it, “The Throne”.

You are truly…king of all you survey when sitting on this thing.

We’ve had customers…mostly female…in ’emergency’ situations…use “The Throne” in utter desperation, but it is obviously not an ideal installation.

At least two of them left muttering, “Any port in a storm.” One lady wondered if she needed to sign a release for the Candid Camera episode we were obviously filming.

So…yeah…it’s established that the ‘setters’ don’t like “The Throne”. It is also…significantly more of a challenge than you might expect for us ‘pointers’ because of the very low ceilings. Accuracy and ballistics experience are required…and “instant start” is paramount…as cleanup is difficult due to its rather…unique…design.

Also, the nearest place to wash your hands is downstairs on the retail floor.

As we are currently not open for general business, one of my projects is to replace “The Throne” with a pair of ADA compliant bathrooms on the ground floor. Not an insignificant (or cheap) project, but it meshes in with other work I’m doing in the selected area.

It is a significant challenge…as my floors are concrete in this building (they replaced the wood floors with poured concrete WAY back in the day) and it would cost thousands of $$ to cut through them and get sewer lines sufficient for toilets installed.

Yes, I have a solution. We’ll be documenting that here as we go. That is…of course…assuming I ever get to that part.

serviceentranceSee, as you might know from my other writings, everything’s connected…so step one of replacing “The Throne” is to…do electrical work, of course! (Or perhaps step one of doing electrical work is to replace “The Throne”…I may be unclear on the particulars.)

I am updating and relocating the breaker box to make future plans for the building easier, and in order to do that I need to replace the main service entrance (also on the mezzanine). I would like to do this BEFORE the bathrooms so that all new wiring/lighting is correctly installed and into the new breaker box.

Saves the extra work of redoing things later.

I am also removing some old wiring and service equipment from back in the day when somebody installed about 400,000 watts of electric heat (long defunct).

respiratorHmmm…of course…step one of doing the electrical work…is to re-point and re-stucco the wall…so of course…in my quest to build a new set of bathrooms on the ground floor, I spent most of Monday knocking off and hauling away several hundred pounds of loose stucco and fine sand from the mezzanine.

Note the picture above…ALWAYS wear a good quality dust mask when destructing 150-year old loose stucco.

It’s no wonder the wife thinks I’m nuts…as I come dragging home exhausted and covered in very fine/sandy dust she asks, “Weren’t you supposed to be doing plumbing?”

Score!

stainlesssink1My sister’s SO drives a truck for a scrap yard. Thanks to him I scored a 10-foot stainless steel prep table and food sink…AND a hand-washing sink…complete with faucets and drains…all for $236…it was headed to be scrunched and bailed and sold as raw metal.

New it would cost me 10 times that. Used from an equipment dealer would have been $800-$1000.

stainlesssink2It’s in perfect condition. No dents, no scratches. A few minutes with some BonAmi and a scrubbie and it will look like new.

This has a place in our commercial building. This is how we are trying to equip our upcoming business. Cash, no debt. Good equipment. There will be expensive things needed, but when I can save a couple thousand bucks on a prep table…well, that puts us that much more ahead.

It’s a start.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer