This was actually a very productive weekend. It feels great to start off with those words. Weather-wise, this time of year is a bit of a crapshoot. After being waterlogged for a week straight, it was great to have a rain-free week. I really wanted to use this opportunity to get a lot done. I was able to finish assembling (and staining) the second matching bench. Additionally, I cleared an area by the pool for the new bamboo, leveled / tilled the courtyard planting areas, and finally installed a new toilet which has been sitting in a box in my living room for the past year and a half.
Below are the completed benches. I've very pleased with how they came out. As it stands (or sits), I've got seating for 8. With the lounge chairs completed (coming up!) I'll have room for 10.
Seating for +1
I've had a Toto Carlyle toilet sitting in a box for the past 18 months in my living room -- mainly because I've been a bit intimidated by its non-standard installation process. This toilet is about as nice and you can get without spending obscene money and treading into the territory of rapidly diminishing returns. It's not just pretty, it actually has a number technological improvements over lesser toilets. Among those, is a special installation system that allows the same toilet to be used with 10", 12", and 14" rough-in locations. This is important as my two bathrooms don't share the same rough-in size. And so with great optimism my new toilet journey began.
The optimism quickly faded after removing my old toilet. With the view below spread before me I began to rethink whether I really needed a new toilet at all:
The Toto "UniFit" rough-in system is really quite ingenious. However, it's also very non-standard and requires drilling into the concrete slab. Drilling into concrete is easy and I've done it many times before. Drilling ceramic tile is not, as I discovered. One might think a masonry bit (which works great in concrete) would also with ceramic tile. Nope. And I spent an hour making very little progress, other than turning my drill bit red-hot, until a ventured out out to Home Depot and discovering there was a special bit for drilling through glass and ceramic tile.
Oh, here's some more funness with installing a non-standard toilet. According to Toto, the water supply valve should be at least 8" off from the center line of the toilet. This is not typical and many houses have 5" offset supply valves. I measured mine and got 6.5". Measuring on the toilet, it looked like it should just work for me. On top of that, remember how I mentioned the toilet has interchangeable attachment plates that let it work on 10", 12", and 14" rough-ins? My rough-in measured 11.5". Per the installation diagram, there was a 3/4" gap to the back of the wall. So, I basically figured I have 1/4" to spare. Between that and the supply line I wasn't comfortable drilling into the slab without having certainty it would actually fit.
It ended up fitting. Now that's it in and flushing, I have to see I'm very impressed. It's the best flushing 1.6gallon toilet I've ever seen. It looks great as well. I think the straight sides not only look great, but will be much easier to clean versus the typical toilet.