Updating Our Master Bathroom

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Crazy thing happened this week … we accepted an offer on the house!!! So exciting and sad at the same time, because although putting the house on the market was a good decision and I’m excited to move on base, I’m getting graduation goggles about selling it given all of the memories our little family has made here so far. That being said as long as nothing falls through on the buyer’s end we will be peacin’ out of this bad boy by the end of June, so I better get all of my house transformation posts up before I’m categorized as creepy if I’m technically posting pictures of somebody else’s home, haha.

In my post on refinishing cabinets I spoke a little about my our master bathroom update but would now like share the whole project in detail! Again, most of our updates were cosmetic as we wanted to create the most change for the least cash. This was our final major house project and we were in a race to get it finished given our very important deadline – the arrival of baby P! Now, I’ve spoken before about how I’m a true believer that with a little paint and the right decor you can create a transformation that is budget friendly but will still rival that which would be made by an actual renovation. We applied that idea here as well as in the guest bathroom where a few small changes resulted in a complete revival of an old dingy space. Since this was our last major project, our vision for the space changed many times between the date we purchased the house and the time that we actually got to the project. Originally we came in guns blazing prepared to paint, rip out the vanity, install a new tub surround, basically change everything until we realized that with limited knowledge on how to do the aforementioned and seriously limited cash preventing us from hiring professionals to do it for us, our vision was going to have to change drastically. We decided to ax the idea of installing a tub surround and simply give the old tiles a real good scrub down instead. Still stuck on the idea of replacing the vanity, we held off because that was going to cost us a pretty penny and with paying as we went along (no credit cards) and other house projects in the works, the master bath remained on the back burner. As P’s due date drew closer, we wrapped up a few  other projects and finally decided to tackle the bathroom, going with plan c if you will, our third and final game plan – replace the toilet, repaint the vanity, replace the vanity top, paint the walls, decorate, DONE. We were super motivated to get this done, especially since we had been showering in the guest bathroom for months given the sorry state of our on-suite bath, my big pregnant self even did all of the painting and decorating while J was at a job school in Norfolk because I was too antsy to wait to get it done, haha. Hope this inspires some DIY in your life, remember say no to renos and difficult transformations, chances are you can fake it with some paint and great decor!

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it is purely coincidental that I am wearing the same shirt in the two pictures taken over 6 months apart haha

 

WHAT WE DID:

  • Replaced the vanity top.
  • Repainted the vanity cabinets. We decided to repaint the vanity given our frustration over having replaced the other two and wishing we had just gone this route in the first place.
  • Removed old mirror and replaced it with a new beveled edge mirror.
  • Replaced the toilet.
  • Painted the walls.
  • Hung a wine rack that we repurposed as a towel rack.
  • Hung a 5-hook rack for hanging towels.
  • Hung a shabby-chic towel ring.
  • Hung two DIY “paintings”.
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me picking up the 5 foot vanity in my Kia Soul haha

SOURCES:

  • Vanity Top // Purchased at Lowes, available through special order (since we were replacing a custom size we needed to order a custom sized top). It cost us in the neighborhood of $500.00, which was a little less than it would have cost us to replace the whole vanity and floor tiling (but a WHOLE LOT less work).
  • Beveled Edge Mirror // Purchased at Lowes, available here for $41.97.
  • Toilet // Purchased at Lowes, available here, for $139.00. Since it is a dual-flush it is supposed to conserve water.
  • Paint // Color is “Montpelier Ashlar Gray” by Valspar.
  • Wine/Towel Rack // Purchased via Amazon for $34.50, available here.
  • Five-Hook Rack // Purchased at Target, available here for $23.79.
  • Towel Ring // Purchased via Etsy from “midwesterntreasures” for $26.50.
  • Shower Curtain // Purchased from Overstock, available here for $24.49.
  • Square Grey/Yellow “Paintings” // DIY project, I simply inserted a piece of fabric into a $4.99 frame from Michael’s (I will write a post about this soon!).

 

Since the bathroom is attached to the master bedroom which has a grey and yellow color scheme we carried that into the bathroom as well. Sorry I only have one set of before pictures but you’ll still get an idea of how awful it was, don’t worry haha.

 BEFORE

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AFTER

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We estimated this project to have cost us around $850.00 when all was said and done. Although it seems pricey it sure beats a remodel and since we did everything over the course of several months and only purchased items as we had the money to do so, this helped a lot. 

Bathroom Vanity Makeover – Cabinet Painting Tutorial

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The master bathroom was the last major house project we tackled before baby P was born. We had been putting off this particular project because we anticipated that it would be the most expensive of our DIY projects as well as the most work. Well, it took us two other bathroom updates (the guest bathroom and the half bath downstairs) to realize that replacing the entire vanity was a stupid idea. While both of the other bathrooms came out great and our cute little modern vanities look amazing, replacing  the old vanities meant ripping out the cabinets and sinks, having to sand and repaint the walls, install new tiles in the empty space that was left on the floor and replace the floor molding before installing the new vanities – SO much work. We spent hours laying tile, grouting and cutting molding when we very well could have just updated the old cabinets and just purchased a new vanity top. Oh, well, lesson learned and we still got two cute bathrooms out of it so no harm done. Needless to say when it was time to tackle the master bath, I was determined to simply repaint the cabinets and replace only the vanity top. Having already repainted our kitchen cabinets (I will post about this soon!), this was not my first cabinet rodeo, lol. When ordering the new vanity top, we ended up choosing a cultured granite in a light gray because it went with our color scheme but was also neutral enough to compliment really any paint color, should the new owners decide to change the wall color. After purchasing our vanity top, I  got to work on the cabinets. These were a super easy project (all the more reason I wanted to kick myself in the head for not doing this in the other bathrooms as well), especially when compared to the kitchen cabinet process, this one paled in comparison!

Now, I will get to the tutorial, but first some advice. If you buy an older home take a good look at the existing cabinets and fixtures before you look to do a complete overhaul of the place. While some things may be physically damaged beyond repair and need to be replaced for non-cosmetic reasons, if it is just ugly but still functional try to look beyond the hideous 1982 stock cabinetry because chances are you can save a lot of time (and maybe some cash too) with just a quick paint job! In our case the cost of the projects were going to be about the same (the cost of the custom vanity top was comparable to the cost of a new full vanity and replacing the floor tiles) so we didn’t necessarily save a significant amount of money by going the repainting route BUT we sure did save a heck of a lot of time and aggravation! I am a HUGE advocate for making simple cosmetic changes, it is AMAZING what a little paint and DIY decor can do for a room and with little to no effort and cash you can bring an old, dingy space back to life (and more importantly, into the 21st century, lol)!

REPAINTING BATHROOM CABINETS

*NOTE: This can also be applied to kitchen cabinets as well! Basically all of the same principles can be applied to painting wooden furniture, check out my post on re-doing old furniture here.

YOU WILL NEED: 

  • Semi or High Gloss Kitchen/Bathroom Paint (the label will say “kitchen and bath” these paints are specifically designed to withstand the moisture caused by showering and cooking. If you don’t want to buy a bathroom or kitchen specific paint go with a semi or high gloss regular latex paint, I DO NOT recommend any finish below satin, as eggshell and flat paint don’t hold up to moisture well at all).
  • Sanding Blocks or regular sand paper
  • Foam Brushes or Small Rollers (they make rollers specifically for cabinets, they are good for the large surfaces but I found that I needed to use the smaller foam brushes on the edges anyway so I recommend skipping the rollers altogether, as they won’t really save you too much time).
  • Polyacrylic Top Coat (I suppose this could be optional because you are using a high or semi gloss paint, however, I wanted the extra protection on the cabinetry).
  • Drop Cloth
  • Bonding Primer (optional)
  • Caulk (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Begin by removing all of the drawers and doors, then remove all hardware. If you are planning on reusing the hardware you can let it soak for a few minutes in warm soapy water then clean them with a toothbrush or you can repaint them using a satin spray paint).
  2. Give the surfaces of your doors and drawers a quick sand, no need to go nuts, just about a minute on each surface will do, you are simply trying to remove a good amount of the original sheen or varnish. Once you are done sanding, wipe all surfaces down with a damp cloth to remove any sanding dust. Don’t forget to sand the exterior body of the vanity as well. Once you are finished sanding, vacuum or dust the insides of the drawers and around the vanity itself to ensure that no particles will get on your wet paint once you begin working. NOTE: Some tutorials and cabinet painting kits (such as Rustoleum) suggest using deglosser (aka liquid sandpaper) in place of sanding. I have done both and I now prefer to just sand, it takes about the same amount of time and you won’t have to deal with the greasy disgustingness of the deglosser.
  3. Another optional step is using white paintable caulk to fill in any cracks or holes in the wood, this is a great trick! Just squeeze it in and smooth it out using your finger. This will make your cabinets look even newer as you will be hiding any wear and tear or factory imperfections. Most caulk is paintable after just a half hour. Again, this step is optional but if you are a perfectionist I wouldn’t skip it, as once you paint your cabinets (especially if you are using a light color) imperfections in the wood will be more apparent.
  4. Set up a work area for painting the doors and drawers, since this is usually a few day project, I do not recommend doing it outside. The garage or spare bedroom will probably be best (since I didn’t have any tiny humans crawling around at the time, I simply moved our dining table to the side, laid a giant plastic drop cloth of the tile floor and set up shop there). Lay a drop cloth (I suggest plastic) and you are ready to paint!
  5. If you are using stark white paint as I did you might consider applying a coat of bonding primer or cover stain first, that way you won’t require as many coats of paint to hide the wood color beneath. This is optional, however, and if you are using a darker color paint this is definitely unnecessary. As far as the method for painting the drawers and doors, the drawers can usually prop up on their own, but for the doors I use the same method as I do when cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot (lol), I create a few balls out of tin foil then prop each door up flat so you can easily paint the sides and edges. Now, give all exterior surfaces an even coat of paint, using even strokes in the direction of the original wood grain. I don’t paint the insides or sides of the drawers, when I first tacked my kitchen cabinets I posed this question to the Google gods (haha) and it seems that even professionals don’t paint the insides or sides of cabinets when refinishing them, which worked for me – less work, woo-hoo!!! Once you have applied your first coat of paint to the drawers, doors and exterior body of the vanity or cabinet itself, allow about 12-24 hours of dry time. I know that sounds like a lot of dry time, however, good dry time is key in ensuring that your piece will hold up and it is extra important in the case of cabinets as they will be handled on a daily basis. This is a good nap-time or after work project as you can spend an hour or so each day over the course of a few days.
  6. Repeat the painting process until you have applied the desired amount of coats, for darker colors this may only be two but for stark white you may need up to four if you choose to forgo the cover stain. Once your final coat has dried you can go ahead and apply your first coat of polyacrylic top coat if you are using one. I chose to apply two coats of the clear polyacrylic just to be safe. Once your final coats have tried go ahead and reattach your hardware and you are finished!!!

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I hope that by looking at these before and afters you can see what a difference refinishing your cabinets can make. You would NEVER know that my vanity was originally a piece of crap 80’s builder-grade cabinet! I will be making another post soon on our entire master bathroom re-do and give you some more budget-friendly decor pointers, so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, here is a sneak-peak of the before and afters just to give you an idea.

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Painting Laminate Furniture Using Latex Paint

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Ah good ‘ol laminate furniture. If you don’t own a piece yourself, surely you’ve heard of IKEA (hello particle board wonderland lol), the stuff is everywhere. It’s primarily loved because it is cheap. To put it into perspective, when we were stationed in Pensacola for a hot second before I discovered the wonder of re-doing furniture, we purchased a new wood bedroom set that cost us over $1,200.00 (I kick myself for this now, but whatever ya live, ya learn), meanwhile we were able to furnish an entire condo for less than that when we did so using particle board/laminate furniture. Problems is, the stuff tends not to last and when it does it starts to look even cheaper than it did when it was originally purchased (if that’s even possible lol). If you’re lucky enough to come across a piece that’s in relatively good shape, you MAY be able to save it with a quick re-do (unfortunately I cannot guarantee it will survive your next move, haha). Lucky for us thrifters out there, since particle board or laminate furniture retails cheap, it’s resale value is next to nothing, and for under $100.00 you can probably snatch up quite a few pieces in one shot. Another benefit to redoing super cheap pieces is that it’s a great opportunity to try out funky colors or unique designs, chances are if you mess up or totally hate the item, you’ll only be out a few bucks and a little time 🙂 Check out the before and after pictures of my laminate redos below to get some ideas. Again, I am sorry to say that I do not have step-by-step pictures for this tutorial but I will try my best to explain in detail.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Latex Paint (I use 8oz sample paints available at the paint counter of your local home improvement stores, I talk about them here)
  • Bonding Primer (read my post on favorite products for brand recommendations)
  • Black Foam Brushes
  • Drop Cloth
  • Clear Top Coat (polyacrylic or gel work great)

 

HOW I DO IT:

  1. First wipe your piece down with a damp cloth and a little dish soap (it is important that your piece is extremely clean, any residue with make it harder for paint to adhere to the piece), then wipe down again with just a damp cloth. Then remove any hardware, to include pulls or other metal pieces. Once piece is clean you are ready to prime.
  2. Bonding primer is some heavy stuff, make sure you open the windows because any oil based paint is going to be rough on the senses lol. Make sure you’re wearing a mask, just those little disposable doctor looking ones will do. Start by painting an even coat onto your piece, it is going to go on super thick and it will look awful, full of brush strokes and uneven, this is fine, this primer is just to help the paint adhere to the piece as well as cover any existing imperfections, you will not see it once the paint goes on. After the piece has been covered in a coat of bonding primer allow it to dry for several hours (generally my rule is to wait 12-24 but for the primer you need not wait so long).
  3. Now you are ready to begin painting. Use a foam brush to carefully apply a coat of paint to your piece. After the first coat is complete allow 12-24 hours before applying the next coat. Aside from a good top coat the key to keeping your piece from chipping is lots of dry time! The amount of coats you will need depends on the color paint you are using, for instance when using black you may only need two, but when using a light color you may need up to four. Since the paint you are using is not oil based, feel free to wash the brush in between coats and reuse it!
  4. After the last coat has dried, using a foam brush apply your first layer of top coat, making sure not to leave too many streaks or bubbles behind. To ensure a good protective coating on your piece, I would do three top coats, allowing 12-24 hours dry time in between. If you are using a water based top coat you can wash the brush in between coats and reuse it,, but the brushes are cheap enough that if you feel like using a different one for each coat the whole project will probably only cost you $3.00 in brushes anyway.
  5. Once your piece is finished replace all hardware, either with new pulls or use spray paint to update the old ones. I like to use Rustoleum brand spray paint in a satin finish.
  6. Bask in your cheap-furniture glory! You are finished and are a money-saving, crafty S.O.B :)!!!

 

BEFORE & AFTERS:

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I sought out this piece because I was looking for a small table to act as a sort of entryway table for some dead space in my living room. The piece cost $40.00 and was pretty sturdy, but as you can see was missing some pulls so I purchased new ones from http://www.pullsdirect.com (a great resource for new pulls, just make sure they are the correct size). I used Valspar “Borough” and General Finishes Urethane top coat (also available on Amazon). The piece has held up well, we are constantly bumping into it and placing our keys and other items on it as we walk in the door and it has only gotten maybe a tiny scratch here or there that are not visible. TOTAL COST: ~$55.00

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I had wanted a small desk to go in our “shabby chic” style guest room and this seemed like it would be perfect. I purchased it off of Craigslist for $25.00 (while I was there the guy also tried to sell me his house – weird lol). This piece was pretty strange as it is half real wood and half fiber board, so I did end up doing some sanding on this one. Since it was so cheap and wasn’t going in my main living space I decided to try my hand at distressing this one and it came out pretty good, after painting I simply sanded along the various edges and corners. Good thing I distressed this because this piece did not hold up so well, it has a few chips here and there mostly on the top but you would never notice that it wasn’t part of the distressed look. If you notice, I reused the pulls I removed from the project pictured above so that was a big money saver. The color is Valspar “Hazy Dawn” and the top coat is Minwax Polyacrylic.  COST: ~$28.00

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Our guest bathroom is a double dose of suck since it has no nearby linen closet and no storage lol. When I came across this weird Aladdin-looking thing for $15.00 at a local thrift store I knew it would be perfect for the bathroom. I simply removed the front piece and added baskets (purchased on sale at Michaels for $6.99 each). Since our bathroom is beach themed I went with “Sea Air” by Valspar for the color and gave it a Minwax Polyacrylic top coat. This piece has held up great, although being that it is in the guest bathroom it does not see too much action so this is not a very good measure of my painting methods, haha. COST: ~$29.00

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After my girls threw me the best baby shower in the history of ever, I wound up with TONS of books for my tiny unborn P. I had actually bought this bookcase for $5.00 with the intentions of using it for a different project which didn’t work out, so it had been sitting in the garage for months despite my husbands weekly attempts to let him take it to the dump lol. This thing is flimsy as hell and was pretty gross, but I didn’t care because it was $5.00 lol. For the record, I don’t necessarily expect this to survive our next move, but for now it looks super cute in the nursery and you would never know it was such a piece of junk to begin with. I kind of rushed through this one since I was 8 months pregnant and SUPER excited to get it into the nursery lol, however, it has actually held up pretty well, maybe a scratch here or there but nothing on the exterior that can be seen. I matched the blue in P’s bedding using “Angel Eyes” by Olympic (available at Lowes) for the exterior and to switch it up I used my left over “Borough” by Valspar for the interior. COST: ~$8.00