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We're back with another bathroom update. This one isn't gross or a matter of bettering our health. It was just for pure, good, old-fashioned vanity's sake (vanity pun for the win!). Anyways, here's how it went down:
We have a half bath on our first floor. When we moved in, it had pinkish-red walls, a blue toilet with a white seat (affectionately referred to as our Smurf toilet), original slate floors, a medium brown toned vanity cabinet with black painted on the trim of the doors and drawers, a creamy faux marble counter top, a silver framed mirror, brushed nickel light fixture with old school bell globes, and a bath towel sized towel bar in the middle of a wall. Whew! That was a whole lotta mess goin on in one small room.
So sorry the before pictures aren't the greatest. I really have no idea what I was thinking taking a picture with a door in the way...anywhoo...
Besides the smurf toilet and red walls, everything else seemed livable. For a while. Then I started to get irritated about having a bath towel bar in a bathroom with no tub. And exactly why were the walls red? It even seemed like someone once tried to be creative with the vanity and painted some black on the trim for interest, but even that started to bug me. The problem was that this is the bathroom that all of our guests use when we're entertaining. It doesn't matter that it isn't a reflection of us. It matters that it isn't and that we seemed to be OK living with it like that. I was constantly feeling like I had to apologize for it. Poor bathroom. I'm sure it was hip back in its day. It just didn't have the right people caring for it. Until now. I'm determined to make it hip once again!
This post won't address all of the updates, because quite honestly, we have a new toilet ready and waiting to go in and allow old Smurfette to retire to that great toilet yard of yesteryear as well as a few updates with the area above the sink (light, mirror, and towel bar). We hope to have done soon, but life has kind of taken over lately, so we're slowly updating when we can.
OK. Back to the vanity. The first thing I did was take all of the doors and hinges off and pulled the drawers out. Then I took all of the knobs off of them. The knobs have a lot of interesting detail, so I wanted to keep them, but thought that they could definitely benefit from a good cleaning. Here they are before:
Aren't they so unique? I did like the pewter-ish color that they were sporting, but knowing the state of this house, I figured that they probably had years of build up on them that needed to be dealt with. I searched Pinterest for instructions on boiling hardware and found one that called for boiling water, white vinegar, and salt. There were no measurements given, so I tried a ratio of 2 cups water/1 cup vinegar/1 TBS salt. I let them boil while I was working on sanding and painting the cabinet and checked on them every 20 minutes or so until the water was close to boiling down. I did this twice and wasn't completely satisfied with the results. So, I grabbed a container of Bar Keepers Friend and decided to scrub that on each of them. It did help quite a bit, but I ended up using a knife (!) to really get as much as I could scraped out of the grooves. This is how they ended up looking:
Well, the jury's still out as to whether it was an improvement or not. They actually do look better in real life. They kind-of have that whole aged copper vibe going on. I feel better that decades worth of grime has been removed, so I decided to wait until the whole cabinet was painted and put back together to make a final judgement call on them.
The next step was painting the cabinet. I decided to skip priming because the paint color that I was using was dark and a high quality paint, so I knew it would cover well. All I did for prep work was lightly sand over everything, paying special attention to the painted trim areas. I had each door and drawer propped up on styrofoam pieces to keep them from touching the wood floor as well as give me room to paint around the sides of the doors without problem.
The color that I chose was Urbane Bronze. It's part of the HGTV line at Sherwin Williams. The finish is a satin finish and the paint is no VOC. I'll let you in on a little secret: we used this very color on the lower cabinets in the kitchen of our Hip Home in Glencairn. Our painter wasn't sure about the color when I first showed it to him on the job, but was so convinced that it was right after applying the first coat that he said that it gave him goosebumps! I can't say that I was surprised. We knew we were taking a risk using a bronze color when everyone else is going gray, but are so glad we went for it. So, when I needed to choose a color for a cabinet in my own house, it was a no-brainer.
I used a short angled brush to paint three coats on all of the surfaces and allowed them sufficient time to dry. Then, because we have a four year old and often entertain other kids in the same age group, we knew that we wanted some kind of protective sealant on it to prevent it from getting easily nicked and scratched. Originally, I was going to get some sort of polyurethane, but when I went to Home Depot to buy it, the paint guy didn't know what I was talking about. So, I asked about a wax instead since I've heard of people using it on painted furniture to finish it off with. He found me one that he thought would work and back home I went to try it out.
I've got to say that I liked the wax. A lot. It was easy to apply and didn't have a long drying time (I think I waited about 15 - 20 minutes before doing anything with them). The only problem that I ran into with it is that even though I used a clean cloth to apply it with as directed, I still ended up getting some kind of dust or lint in some spots. It's hardly noticeable and I found that I could wipe it off for the most part, so I decided to leave it. Here's a door up close after its wax treatment:
Once the wax was set, I got to work reattaching the doors to the cabinet base in the bathroom. Once they were all screwed back in, I decided to go ahead and see how the knobs looked with the new paint.
Please forgive the graininess of the picture. I'm not sure why the camera wasn't cooperating for this shot. Maybe it was jealous of how good this vanity cabinet now looks. This picture really doesn't do it justice. What it does show well is the contrast between the knobs and paint. I think that if they were left the way they were originally, they would have blended in too much. I also decided to leave all of the old hinges on because they really aren't a distraction from the rest of the cabinet and this isn't a permanent job, so I didn't want to spend money unnecessarily. This really is quite a large cabinet for the room and takes up too much space. Eventually, I'd like to replace it with a pedestal sink. It wouldn't have the storage that this has, but it would give the necessary space that we need. Trust me. If you have to be in the bathroom throughout the day to help a little one in there, you'd want more space too!
Here's one last before and after:
Quite a difference, huh? By the way, you are right! The wall is a different color here. And you might even have a towel spotting if you pay close enough attention. As in a hand towel hanging near the sink! I'll save that for another day though...
Have you been working on any mini updates lately? Do you try to tackle an entire project all at once or do you prefer breaking it down in smaller, more manageable pieces? I think it's so satisfying to have such a big difference made in such a short amount of time and on a tight budget!