Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bedroom and Bathroom Update, Part II: The Bathroom

Last weekend was a long one, where I spent the entirety of three days in stinky paint clothes, cramming peanut-butter sandwiches in my face without washing my hands, standing over the kitchen sink. I didn't comb my hair. The rest of the housework went completely to hell.

Six weeks ago (in this post) I explained the wretchedly ugly state of my upstairs 3/4 bath, and also that I had a very small budget for fixing it. People gave me some awesome ideas in the comments, and while I can't execute any of them yet, I'm still grateful for all of them because it gave me some radically new ways of thinking about some old problems. While what I'm doing today is the "Good Enough For Now" version of fixing up the bathroom, the ideas readers gave me will be the fuel for the "The Real Deal" renovation. So, thank you!

Living in an old house with a small budget, I've discovered that there are two weapons in the arsenal of home renovators that don't get talked about much on home improvement shows. And of course they wouldn't, because it doesn't involve ripping everything out and spending thousands of dollars on products advertised on their programs.

One of them is cleaning thoroughly. I certainly did that in this bathroom, scrubbing walls, vanity, and rehabilitating a toilet that, while not old, certainly needed some serious cleaning attention after years of neglect from the previous owners (please let me pause for a moment so I can shudder. THAT was a gross day. A gross, gross day.)

The other is paint. If you can't replace surfaces, paint them. Paint products have improved to the point you can paint nearly every surface you can think of: cabinets, floors, even tile and countertops. While quality paint is not cheap, it's still a far better per square foot bargain than replacement. Especially if you haven't completely decided what you want to do with a space, need time to save dollars for what you really want, or would rather brighten up worn but quality surfaces rather than replacing them with sub-par builder's grade stuff.

That's the route I went with this bathroom for the "Good Enough For Now" renovation. Cleaning and paint. Lots and lots of paint. In fact, I feel as though I stood at the doorway of this bathroom and threw gallon after gallon in there. And it's such a small room.

While I'm far from finished, here's the so-far progress.  Here's a before shot:

And here's a progress shot:

The vanity went from this:

To this:

The vanity got a top-to-bottom coat of a Valspar color called Cream Delight, made in Sherwin Williams Cashmere low-lustre finish. While I'm not necessarily a huge fan of the trend in white cabinets, in this case the color seemed to tone the sink top way down. It seems far less objectionable on top of a white vanity.

I like that SW's low-lustre hits a sheen somewhere between satin and semi-gloss. Valspar used to make a similar finish called Kitchen & Bath, but they have discontinued it. I am anti-semi-gloss paint. Unless it's sprayed onto new and perfectly joined wood, it doesn't look right to me. In an older house where finishes have seen some love, it seems to highlight every ding and imperfection.

The cabinets got some funky knobs. These were less expensive than the old fashioned glass knobs (which are out in the hallway in the linen built-in) but the geometic shape echoes their facets. Also, shiny. Which makes my inner glitter raccoon happy. And a gap that existed between the wall and the vanity has been properly caulked, making it look more finished than it did before.

The walls got a coat of Valspar's Pale Oak Grove, a very soft pale green, again in SW's Cashmere low-lustre. The attic door is also in Valspar Cream Delight. The floor is not anywhere near as dark as it is showing in this photo, though the wall color is very true.

The floor got sanded, cleaned and primed. I really didn't mind the pattern, square-and quatrefoil, but it was worn and dirt-stained, and the color was not my favorite.

Look how classy I am, using the sink as my temporary tool box!

I painted it with a satin latex paint that I picked up from the mistint shelf at Lowe's for $5. It's a very basic taupe color, and finding it was one way I tried to squeeze a few dollars out of the overall bottom line. I also figured out, from a stack of paint chips I had laying around, that the color is nearly exactly Pantone Oxford Tan, if anyone is interested. I'll be keeping everyone out of there until the paint has had several days to cure, and I can put a coat of clearcoat sealer on it.

Here I've propped up some scraps of basebord trim, to give an idea of a finished space:

I've got more to do, like replacing the faucet, painting the ceiling in the shower stall, installing the trim and priming and painting the door. Sharp eyes may have noticed the wall the vanity is on is not yet painted. I've got some issues I'll cover in the third post, coming soon. Stay tuned!


  1. Issues.....bummer.

    Everything else is looking great.

    1. Aren't there always issues? Sigh.

  2. That's a lot of painting! I'll be interested to see how the floor paint holds up. Always seems like it would just scrape up? Always love seeing an update from you...

    1. Good to hear from you too! I figure if I at least don't have a catastrophic failure, it'll buy me some time. And it if is? Well. What's life without risks? (Painting vinyl floors probably wasn't what they were talking about, but....shrug)

    2. I painted the vinyl floor in my bathroom about three years ago and it's holding up really well. I used porch & floor paint and clearcoat.

    3. Jayne, that's good to know! This particular bathroom is not hugely high traffic, so I'm hoping I get some mileage out of that floor. Most of the bathroom remodel money is going to have to go to the downstairs bathroom.

  3. I think I mentioned before that my downstairs bathroom is practically a clone of this one. Did you do any surface prep of the lovely under the sink cabinets :-) It never occurred to me that I could paint mine.

    1. Karen--I sanded everything down really well with my palm sander and a sanding block to get in the crevices of the trim, wiped everything very clean to make sure the dust was off, and painted it with two coat of BIN 1-2-3 primer. Then it took about three coats of the white paint.

  4. It looks SOOOO good!! Painting that vanity made a huge difference.