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Blog > What I did in the holidays, part 3

>> What I did in the holidays, part 3

Thu, Jan 4th 8:34pm 2007: DIY

Built a new bathroom (almost)

bathroom in progress

Like all good renovations this one started with a chainsaw.

I started by ripping out the old bathroom, the toilet, and the laundry, including all the adjoining walls, the ceilings, the old windows, and even the floors, leaving us with a passage with half a wall missing and the only thing stopping people stepping off into the void being a piece of plastic tacked in place.

It was only after the old floorboards were gone that I realised what a bad state the old subfloor was in. The joists were more twisted than a basket of Queensland bananas with vertical variations up to about 17mm so I started by triming down the worst of the high points and then laid a second set of joists alongside the old ones to provide a flat top surface. I also layed thicker sheets than are typically used for domestic flooring so the end result is an extremely strong floor: jumping up and down on it shows no give at all, it's like jumping on a concrete slab.

The photo is actually a bit out of date. There's been a lot of progress since then. The center hole you can see is where the old toilet window used to be, but it's now boxed up as a cupboard and the vanity plumbing is in place directly below it. We had a builder install the windows on the left and right, and you can also see just in from the windows the cabling for a power point (left) and switches (right). The ceiling has now been hung and all the walls have been lined with Villaboard and just need to be tanked so we can start tiling.

For tech geeks though the interesting thing in the picture is the cable to the right of the vanity. Yes, that's Cat-5, and it's everywhere in this place. Everything in the new bathroom is going to be computer controlled or sensed, and I mean *everything*. The window winders will be electric, as will the curtains. Sensors will include ambient light, humidity, temperature, motion, door position, toilet flush, water flow, flowing water temperature, bath water temperature, and anything else I can think of. There won't be a single electrical item cabled in the usual way with a manual switch in line with the device: everything other than basic power points is cabled from a central termination point where it can be computer controlled, and switches themselves are replaced with home-made touch sensitive control surfaces that communicate via Cat-5 back to the automation controller.

Which will run Linux, of course.

I'll be doing a talk at linux.conf.au called Making Things Move: Finding Inappropriate Uses for Scripting Languages which covers some of my home-brew automation / hardware hacking insanity, so if you're interested in this sort of stuff please register for LCA and come along!



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