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Topic: Bathroom "Overhaul"  (Read 1694 times)
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« on: January 27, 2014 03:55:40 PM »

Bathroom renovations done and all done by…….myself. If we weren't planning on putting the house on the market in the spring this isn't what I would have done with the bathroom, but I was after "more bang for my buck" renovations and so the results I have are what they are.

Although in these after photos it appears that the room is darker (the before photo is at the end of this post), the room is actually MUCH brighter than it used to be. The wallpaper border is gone (took 3 days to get it down and get all the glue removed), new towel racks (the wooden ones that were there were gross), new door (this one doesn't drag on the floor because it's properly installed), new door lock (the old one only opened if you turned the door knob in a certain direction and caused many guests distress when they got "stuck" in the bathroom…..not a problem now), new toilet (that was an ordeal), all new grout (the old grout was broken and patchy looking and the original dark color just looked dirty) and a new shower curtain (that was the EASY job)…….:

Refinished cabinets with General Finishes Java Gel Stain (See * NOTES at the end of the post).  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pull it off, but it looks good…..it does NOT look streaky in person.  New cabinet hardware, new faucet (also a new faucet in the tub - no photos of it), new medicine cabinet (not my first or even my second choice, but it was what was in the budget), new light/circulation vent and new outlets/switches (one old switch fell apart when I took the face plate off the wall….I'm surprised there wasn't a fire before now!). I kept the sink because other than needing some scrubbing and sealing there wasn't really anything wrong with it:

I thought I'd need to replace the cabinet above the toilet, but it turned out pretty good once I refinished it (the stain isn't this red….in person it looks like a black/brown). When I removed the wallpaper there was some wall repairs I needed to do. They weren't bad, but I noticed other areas were too rough to paint without a LOT of work so despite my HATRED of wallpaper I decided to go ahead and wallpaper that wall in a paintable paper. It's not covering anything structurally wrong as all of that was fixed, but it saved me a LOT of time. This was a bad place to attempt a first wallpaper job because there were LOTS of things to wallpaper around:

Most of the paintable wallpaper patterns were awful. They were either boxy looking stamped tin designs or 80's looking swirls. I finally found one that I thought would fit the decor and I think it looks alright:

If we were staying the entire room would likely have been gutted. There are still minor "issues" with this bathroom, but it's visually pleasing, safe, easier to clean and not leaking.

Unfortunately, I only have one before photo and it doesn't show the awfulness that the dark green "country" wallpaper was on the left wall. It also doesn't show the awful (and not very useful) medicine cabinet with the saggy shelves. However, it does give you an idea of what I started with:

I have carpenters coming tomorrow to finish up some work on the kitchen. They're installing 2 doors, making a narrower pantry doorway (it's currently a 6' double bifold door…..a waste of wallspace in a 9' x 12' kitchen that already has 3 other doors going into that space), widening another door (so I can put the refrigerator there and the door can open all the way) and drywalling a closet. These are all things I'm perfectly capable of doing, but I'm running out of time (and energy). They've been able to accomplish this FAR faster than I could and while they're working I can work on other things. So, when they're done I get to get started on the kitchen (I've already removed the kitchen wallpaper thats shown around the doorway in the "before" bathroom photo so that's a BIG start).

* General Finishes Java Gel Stain - This is pretty amazing stuff. I'd never heard of it until recently, but the comments I'd read about it online were all good. I was skeptical because I'm always skeptical about internet "quick fixes", but a friend tried it and the results were exactly what I was reading online. Do a search for it….there are LOTS of tutorials and before/after photos of it. I liked it so much I'll be doing the same thing with the kitchen cabinets.

The bonus with this stuff is that you don't have to strip down your original cabinets…..only clean them REALLY well and do a light sanding with 120 grit paper to rough up the surface (I made the mistake of using what I had and my sandpaper was too fine….caused some issues I had to resolve later, but it was still manageable), apply the stain and put on a clear coat. If I didn't want a more solid look I could have wiped on one coat (even that first coat made the cabinets look SO much better!). The second coat always looks like crap according to everyone and I honestly thought I'd made a bad decision after putting the 2nd coat on, but the 3rd coat fixes it all. You can still see the grain under the finish so it doesn't look painted.

I put the stain on using a rag (a sock works too) and nitrile gloves). If I'd sanded it properly it would have taken only 3 coats, but I had some repairs to make so a few areas needed a 4th coat. The clear coat I used was Minwax quick dry wipe on polyurethane in satin…..SUPER easy to put on! The amount of staining time was minimal….it was the waiting between coats that stretched it all out, but even then it took about a week.

The tall cabinet and the cabinet over the toilet are cheap, fake wood cabinets. I figured I'd try to refinish them and if it didn't work then I'd consider replacing them, but they look REALLY good once I refinished them. They don't look like high-end cabinets, but they don't look cheap and crappy anymore.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2014 09:48:32 PM by UnRuli » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014 04:35:40 PM »

Great job!  That is the exact color our realtor told us to paint our bathroom before we sold our last home.  It came out really wonderful.  Will you be moving far away?

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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014 07:44:53 PM »

What a wonderful makeover!! Thanks for the tips on the gel satin. I've got cabinets I'm considering finishing....  I do like the style of the wall paper you choose. It does suite the room quite nicely.  Amazing job!

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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014 06:09:53 AM »

I think you did both a cosmetic and a repair job...a happy balance when you are trying to sell a home!

I appreciate the info on the gel stains...I love the color scheme of your new bathroom!

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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014 12:28:38 PM »

I'll be using the gel stain again on the kitchen cabinets.  Not every gel stain works the same…..this particular brand of gel stain works really well for cabinets….there's plenty of blogs and Pinterest posts about it if you're interested.  The kitchen will be in a cooler color (the floor will be a dark gray slate color) so I was worried that the dark brown would look weird, however I talked to someone at General Finishes and I can add some black or blue universal colorant to the Java Gel Stain I have to cool the brown down a bit more and that should fix it. 

I've been worried that I like color too much and it would cause trouble when we put this house on the market so I've been trying to tone my color choices back.  However, I HATE painting off-white rooms so there will still be color in the house (and I have a lot of color paint on hand).  I think the only one that will be a tough sell will be the muted pumpkin orange living room…..it's a big room and I can't afford to buy all new paint for it…..I have a bunch of the same color on hand so I can get the touch-ups done.  I guess buyers who don't like orange will have to overlook it.

MissingWillow - we're moving about an hour and a half away.  We're currently 45+ minutes south of where we work and will be moving about 35 minutes north of where we work.  We came across an AMAZING deal on 30 acres (combination of rolling fields and wooded areas and water access) so we should be breaking ground on the new house in March/April.  We'd already be started if it weren't for this AWFUL Michigan winter that has put our builder behind schedule.

Alwaysinmyroom - oh, there's plenty of both to do in this house.  We've been doing repairs on the house for years, but haven't had time to do much in the way of cosmetic.  Now there's a big rush to get through it all so we can get the house on the market.

Belladune - I did some serious internet searching for paintable wallpaper patterns and kept coming up with stuff I didn't really care for.  Then, I found a brand manufactured in Europe (they have all kinds of "modern" designs).  I thought I was going to have to order from a store in the UK (pricey and would likely take forever to ship), but at the last minute I looked on Amazon and it was there!!  It was cheaper AND had free 2 day shipping!


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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2014 10:58:27 AM »

Your bathroom turned out great!  Thank you for sharing the info about the stain you used, my old oak cabinets totally need a makeover...which I was hesitant to try.  Mostly because this home is overloaded with god awful 80's golden oak trim, oak window,  oak doors, oak cabinets.....which I dislike but have lived with for 10 years.  If major stripping and sanding isn't needed I could see a staining marathon in my future hehe

Congratulations on your upcoming new home and good luck with the rest of your renos!

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