Tuesday, July 2, 2013

DIY Project #1: Bathroom Remodel

 I've been waiting for weeks to share this project!!!!  I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am to have a BRAND - NEW - BATHROOM, and the accomplishment of not having had to hire anyone to do a single thing!  I guess you could call me a 2nd generation a do-it-your-self-er...I grew up that way.  My dad didn't pay anyone to do anything for him....fix plumbing, change oil, paint, pressure wash....nothing! He did it all himself.  So when I recently decided that I could no longer take the plain wood cabinets and stark white walls of our master bathroom, I knew it was a job for me, myself, and I.  So, without further are the before and after pictures.....drum roll please..............

BEFORE...don't judge.. I know, it's bad.


   So.. now that you've seen the finished product, I'll take you through the steps here so if you wanted to try this, you could.  Honestly, this project was a little bit of a headache at times...but totally doable!!  It just took a lot of patience... and more patience.... and about $350!  But that includes everything....paint, supplies, hardware, lighting, new decor, everything!  That's way cheaper than paying someone to remodel your sho! :)

  Okay, the first step in this project was getting rid of my husband!! (Just kidding babe...I love you!) But, no, seriously, I had to get rid of him for a week to do this.  My husband is my one and only, but he gets a little...shall we say....nervous....when I am in the middle of projects.  When he sees the mess and the "in-between" stage of a project he starts to freak out a little, and so I find it better just to do this kind of thing when he's gone.  Then, all he sees is the BEFORE (Bad...) and the AFTER (Good...).... and not all the kinks and messes and screw-ups and things that didn't go quite as planned - like when I accidentally spilled paint thinner all over the carpet or when I didn't cut the molding right for the mirror so there was a 1 inch gap in between the boards. Whoops! :)  So it worked out well that he had to go on a trip for a week as soon as I got out of school for the summer... project time!

   Anyway, obviously your first step here is to decide what kind of look you want for your new bathroom.  I went back and forth with doing creamy white cabinets with a chocolate glaze for that antique distressed look and of course the dark expresso colored cabinets (which is what I chose) to match our beautiful new dark wood bedroom set.  I finally decided the dark wood would be easier and would have less room for error, so I went with that.  Then I researched another few days and finally came upon something I hadn't seen before.... a new cabinet refinishing kit by Rustoleum.  I was psyched!!  It was exactly what I'd been looking for! I read some reviews on it, and most people had positive things to say, so my decision was made! 

  Here is the kit....

You can buy this kit at Lowes or Home Depot (I got mind at Home Depot) for around $80.  There is a dark kit and light kit.  I obviously chose the dark it. Then you choose what color you want, and they will tint the paint inside the kit to match the color you want.  I chose the color "Expresso."  

 I also picked out the wall color I wanted at Home Depot as well.  I got the Behr Premium Place paint and primer in one. I picked out several colors and got samples of all of them and then went home and painted them on the wall.  I finally decided on the color  "Smokey Slate."  It's a beautiful grey blue that has the appearance of being slightly turquoise.  I love it!!  Oh, and by the way... AFTER I had already painted the test colors on the wall, I found these peel and stick things that you can paint (about a square foot in size) and then put on your wall to see if the color is right.  You just paint the square and then stick it on the wall...and you never have to put paint on your walls.  Why didn't I see this BEFORE?'s always a good idea to buy new roller pads, brushes, etc. so I went to the paint supplies section to get some new things, and I found some awesome new tools, which I totally fell in love with!!!  

 If only I'd had these back when I painted our kitchen, living room, and bedroom, I would have gotten done a lot quicker!!  Love these.....and would TOTALLY recommend them!  I still had to tape door frames and baseboards, but not having brush strokes from a regular paint brush and being able to just zip across in a straight line instead of having to go back and forth with a paint brush was priceless...



       So, just as a side note. The wall painting and cabinet refinishing parts of this project are kind of intertwined because as one part dried, I would work on another party. So they are all smushed together in this post...just FYI. :)
   But obviously, before you actually start doing a painting/refinishing project, you have to prep your area.  This part sucks really bad is not my most favorite step in the remodeling process.... :)  But, alas, the better you prep, the more smoothly your project goes.  I used the blue painters tape EVERYWHERE for the painting and refinishing, because I had to tape up the cabinets to paint the walls...and then I had to tape up the walls to paint the cabinets.

  I painted the walls first....I think partly because if I screwed up the cabinets royally, I would at least have something noticeable done before my husband got home!  Painting is pretty straight forward, so I'm not going into too much detail on that one.  My only tip is to do 2 coats one right after the do one wall, then do another wall, then go back to the 1st wall for a 2nd coat- and keep doing that until all walls have been done twice.  Even though the paint has primer in it, I still always do two coats. I think it looks smoother and more covered that way.

Onto the cabinets.....

There are 4 steps to the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation Kit...Keep in mind there are hours and sometimes days in between these steps for drying time....

 Step 1 - Deglosser
   -  Deglosser is basically a liquid that takes the finish off the cabinets, so it keeps you from having to sand.  But after I was done, I would have probably been okay with sanding.  Honestly, it was the most annoying step of all, just because it took a while....and made my arms feel like jello from scrubbing so hard.  Maybe I need to start lifting weights..  But anyway, its messy, so I did it outside on the porch. 

Step 2 -Bond Coat
    - This step is where you actually put your color on the cabinets.  So my bond coat was a deep dark brown...the expresso color.  I used a Purdy 2 inch paintbrush to do this.  It was a little pricey, but worked beautifully and much better than a cheaper brush!

Step 3 - Decorative Glaze
   - This step was a little weird.  Basically, the glaze doesn't go on like paint.  It kind of has an "oil and water" effect to it when you paint it on.  So it kind of beads up a little. But the glaze just gives the cabinets some depth and makes the paint not look so flat.  It gives them a more professional look.  If you've ever worked with glaze, you know that you don't leave it on.  After you paint it on, you wipe it off using a cloth so it just leaves a nice finish, but doesn't drastically change the color of your cabinets.  It says "optional" on the kit, but I wouldn't skip this step.  It does make the cabinets look nicer.

Step 4 - Top Coat
    - So...I know I said the deglosser was my most unfavorite part, but I might have to re-nig on that.  I have to say...this step was fast...but tricky.  This top coat dries F-A-S-T!!  So, if you make a mistake or want to go over something again....basically, you can't.  Because if you make a brush stroke across a part that has already started to dry it looks flipping terrible.  I made that mistake only once... :) I found it tricky to not have the top coat pool up in the grooves of the cabinet doors.  It said in the directions to use a dry paintbrush to sweep out excess coating in the grooves, which did work well...but it was still tricky.  And it kind of bubbles up a little, which did leave some white specks on the finished cabinets, but it was in an inconspicuous part and probably only stuck out because they are dark cabinets...not noticeable to the naked eye- I had to point it out to my husband.)

  So, after I had done all 4 steps on the actual cabinets, the cabinet doors, and the cabinet drawers, it was time to work on the mirror.  I had seen several examples of framed mirror DIY tutorials on Pinterest, and I originally was going to go with the one that used 4 pieces of flat molding and 4 corner pieces like this....

I liked this look, and honestly, doing it this way is so much easier, because you don't have to cut the molding at an angle.  You can use straight pieces.  So that definitely cuts out some degree of error. 

  But then I saw this type of framed bathroom mirror and fell in love!!!

  This type with the mitered corners just seemed more "finished" looking and maybe a tad more upscale.  I went to Home Depot again (this was probably trip #35) and bought some molding.  And let me say this... DO NOT buy the real wood kind for this kind of project.  They have this press board kind of molding that is MUCH LIGHTER weight than regular wood and it has a nice finish to it.  So buy that.  Remember, you are going to have to glue this thing onto the mirror (using Liquid Nails) so the lighter it is, the easier it will stay up.   I think each piece was like $14 and I needed 3 pieces.   But anyway....needless to say... since my husband does not own a miter saw, which would be the tool of choice for cutting anything at a 45 degree angle, I googled until I came up with the next best tool for the job... a miter box.  
  This miter box was like $15.  Not a bad price, I didn't think..  So, anyway, you have to put your molding in the box, mark it, and then use the saw to cut the corners.  This was a little time consuming...and contributed more to the jello like feeling my arms were already suffering from.  Thanks to my friend Katie, who had come to visit for a few days, I had some sawing assistance.  

   After my pieces were cut, I painted them using Steps 2, 3, and 4 of the cabinet kit so the mirror would match the cabinets.  
DISCLAIMER:   YOU HAVE TO PAINT THE BACK OF THE MOLDING TOO!!! Otherwise, you will see the reflection of the wood in the mirror that is a different color and it looks really bad.

   Then the fun began! By the way...this is definitely a two person project.  If I hadn't had my friend Katie with me, I couldn't have done this part.  But basically we used Liquid Nails (make sure not to squirt it too close to the edge of the molding, or it will be visible) and hot glue (to give it that initial bond) to put the bottom piece up, then we connected the two side pieces, and then we set the top piece in the groove of the two side pieces like this.... We taped the pieces up to hold them in place while they dried.

Bottom piece....

Side pieces...
   And here is my favorite part where I got really frustrated!   If you've ever worked with liquid nails, and/or hot glue, you know that once something is stuck, it's stuck.  So when we set the top piece in, it didn't quite bond with the side piece and left a big gap.  Blah!!

    So I had to go back later with wall putty and patch it up.  This was ridiculously not fun and tedious.  Between toothpicks, Q-tips, my Pampered Chef scraper and a whole bunch of other random tools, I patched up the gaps, re-painted over them, and then put another coat of Top Coat on the whole mirror.. and now you seriously can't tell there was ever a gap.  But basically, what I was saying earlier, is that if i had done the first mirror design with the straight cuts of molding and the 4 corner pieces, I wouldn't have had to deal with the angles not meeting. 

  The last step was one I let my husband do when he got home....put the cabinet hardware on. :)  We also got a new bronze light fixture (installed by hubby too!) and a bronze shower curtain rod (which I proudly drilled and installed myself after watching a YouTube video on "how to remove a drill bit" :) ), as well as bronze hardware for the rest of the bathroom (towel hooks, toilet paper holder, etc). We got those items at Hobby Lobby and Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  

    Overall, this project was definitely a long one, but SO WORTH IT!! I love my new bathroom and how great everything looks.  The cool smokey blue color is gorgeous, and the dark express cabinets and framed mirror just add that touch of warmth and class!  I love it!

  Thanks for tuning in for my first DIY project!! More to come! 
            Love, Beth


  1. The BEFORE didn’t look that bad. But the AFTER is much better, especially for a DIY. I wish I was more like you, though I think I’m more like your husband who freaks out with the mess that comes with the remodeling. I want to see the progress and how the place was transformed but I would rather live somewhere while the remodeling is ongoing. Ron @

  2. Where did you get the baskets under the vanity? Is it a whole unit?

    1. It is a 3-drawer unit I bought from Bed Bath and Beyond. It has a metal frame and wicker baskets and just happened to fit perfectly under the counter! :)

  3. Thanks for always being the source that explains things instead of just putting an unjustified answer out there. I loved this post.
    BAthroom Remodeling

  4. Your new bathroom looks fantastic. I'm very impressed that you were able to do all of this work yourself. Well, you and your dad. Truly impressive turnaround from that before picture. I agree that it was very much "blah" with a good amount of "meh" thrown in, but little else! At least it was functional. Like all the little touches too!

    Essie Reed @ Valley Home Improvement

  5. I'm not complaining. But, I will be very glad to have another functioning shower in the house very soon. The bathroom has already been completely torn out and the tub is installed. The tile is in process, the vanity ordered. I'm heading out to look at paint...again, as well as lights.steam sauna shower generator combo