Bathroom blitz



I had a busy weekend last weekend.

It wasn’t supposed to have been.

But it became as such thanks to this little guy…

Remember our fugly master coffin bathroom?  Well, I had this notion that I’d change out the hardware on the cabinets with some knobs that were gifted to us by Joey’s parents a while back.

So, I did.

And I liked them.

But… The stainless steel finish made the dingy almond paint on the cabinets look WAY yellow.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you know how adamant I was about de-yellowing the guest bath in our last house.


And that was all it took. My previous proclamation that I’d accepted our ugly bathroom as is until we could afford a full gut renovation flew out the bathrooms nonexistent window.

And the whirlwind began.

Before I knew it, I had the side splashes torn off (much like I did here)…

…and I’d busted out a quart of Clark & Kensington paint in Rockaway Beach, that I’d been sitting on since our last house.

I painted swatches on all of the cabinetry (also above the toilet) and decided… Hey, it’s free, I like it.  Let’s do this.

Aaaand here’s where the decision-making turned south.  Or maybe where hindsight was better than, um, presight.    I thought that painting the bathroom cabinets would be a good test run for our kitchen makeover since they were painted exactly the same. And it was.  BUT, I’d originally thought that stripping them of their poorly-applied beige paint was the ticket to the best possible finish.

So, I did that.


Now, I’ve stripped furniture before and it’s always time consuming (like here, here, and here).  But these cabinets were BEASTS.   The process was absolute misery.  Seriously.  Kathy Bates had nothing on these guys.   AND after all that work I didn’t even end up with as smooth of a finish as I’d hoped thanks to some stubborn paint chips that wouldn’t quit.  Once I started, I basically had to go all the way because it ended up looking like this for a while.


And those chips were firmly attached.  And didn’t sand well since they were encased in waxy residue from the stripper.  All said and done, I worked for nearly two full days on stripping four cabinet doors and four drawer fronts… simply to get them back to a point where they’d be acceptable to paint again.  It took 4 applications of stripper, about half a gallon of mineral spirits, insane elbow grease, plus a healthy dose of sanding to get them smooth-ish and residue-free.  Given the final surface I was left with, I would’ve been better off priming and painting over the existing paint.

Thus, it was decided.  Oh.   It.  Was.  DECIDED.  There was no way in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks that I would be stripping the kitchen cabinets when the time came (…have I mentioned that there are FORTY FOUR doors and drawer fronts in there?).

Lesson learned.

I did, however, discover that the paint-riddled hinges were salvageable after a little time with some stripper (fresh! 😉 ) and a rinse in the sink.  That’ll be a nice money-saver for our kitchen reno (66 hinges!!).

The following day, after I finished stripping the cabinets, I primed them with Zinsser’s BIN shellac primer…

… followed by two coats of paint.

I have to say… The Clark & Kensington paint plus primer was pretty awesome.   It covered really well.

Once that was done, I took stock of the space.  And I had this sudden, unexplainable itch to paint the ceiling.    See, the walls were white and the ceilings were beige.  And it always bothered me.  And I was on a roll.  If you read this post, you know that I had a different color of white paint on hand that I’d always wanted to use for this space but hadn’t.  But it was a different shade of white than what was already on the walls. So, if I painted the ceiling, I’d also have to paint the walls again.

So, I did that.

Then, I caulked around the counters and mirror to make everything look more finished.

Did I mention that all of this happened in the span of three days?  Two full days of stripping plus one of painting. By the end, I was so ridiculously tired that as I was cleaning up, I wiped up a rogue drop of paint with a tissue.  Then, threw said tissue into the toilet.   Then, I stared at the toilet deciding how to proceed. Then, I flipped the light switch.   That’s right…. I was so exhausted that I forgot how to flush the toilet.  Once I realized what I’d done, I proceeded to bust out in inappropriate laughter every time I thought about it. (I’m laughing 🙂

So, as a refresher for where we started, here’s our master bath shortly after we moved in (peach walls and all)…


And here’s where we’re at now.



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I love how the darker cabinets help the ugly 1970s purple marble fade away.  And they almost make the coffin-shower blend in more. Sort of.  Almost.


I tried to add some “life” with a fake plant.  I seriously would LOVE to have real plants in here, but until we tackle a full reno of this room (which’ll include adding a solar tube), we have absolutely zero natural light in this space.   So, fake it is, unfortunately.

Anyways, onward…. here’s the “toilet room” just after we moved in…


And now…


Please excuse how yellow the glare is in that pic.   Like I discussed in this post, light bulbs make a huge difference.  I need to trade those babies out for cooler bulbs so that the proper colors are reflected.


I decided to leave the doors off of the cabinetry above the toilet.  They always hit the light fixture anyways.  And, let’s face it… I wanted as few cabinet doors to strip as possible once the process got going. I really love the look of open shelving and this change just makes me jazz-hands happy.  I kept the styling simple with useful things that we’ll actually need…  towels, toilet paper, bars of soap.  Attractive function.  Totally my jam.

Next we’ll be changing out all the light switches from taupe to white.   I traded out the switch plates in the meantime, but we still need to tackle the switches.    I’ll also be deep cleaning the nasty floor grout.  I’ve been reading about how to do it with baking soda and vinegar, and I’m intrigued.  So, I may give that a whirl.   If that fails, there’s always grout paint.    In any case, I’m thrilled with the changes so far.   It actually took the space from the thorn in my side, to a cozier space that feels much more like us.  It’s just so much more in keeping with the other rooms of our home.   All in all, I only spent $31 (on stripper and switch plates) since I already had the hardware, paint and primer.   TOTALLY worth it.

So, what do y’all think?  SO much better right?   Have you ever had a project that started with something teeny, but then snowballed to a full-on makeover?? Spill!  I wanna hear your stories!

TDC Before and After




“Get over it!” – Our Master Bathroom

Sometimes my Type A personality is a tough thing to get past.   I’m a detail person.  Details must mesh with one another, especially when it has to do with a project that I’ve worked on myself.  And when a project feels half-done (or like it doesn’t flow) I can’t think of much else besides fixing it until it’s actually complete.   Which explains why our master bath has been a huge mental pain in my arse for the past 5 months.  My Type-A-Ness has been hitting the crazy-meter.  And no, it’s not because it’s ugly.  That’s a fact that I accepted when we bought the house.  It’s a detail thing.  A paint detail thing to be exact.

Just in case you haven’t seen our master bathroom, allow me to introduce you (prepareyourself)

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This room is decked out with navy blue and purple cultured marble (with swirls of mauve… we must not forget the mauve), 80’s floor tile with stained grout, peach walls, and what I like to refer to as our “coffin-shower”.  I mean, just tell me that doesn’t look like I’m buried alive…

Not to mention the cramped, poorly thought-out layout with zero natural light.   It’s quite the gem, really.

Honestly, nothing short of a full gut is going to save this room.  We know this.  So, the only things that I could think to do to freshen it up as we save for a complete renovation was to give it a good scrubbing and paint those awful peach walls.

And my color of choice was white.  It was really the only option.  I refused to give that terrible marble the satisfaction of trying to match it in any way.

My goal was to match the trim paint but use an eggshell finish (as opposed to the semi-gloss that was on the trim).   Since we didn’t have any trim paint on hand, I basically just held up a bunch of color swatches to the trim and ended up with Behr Ultra Pure White 1750, which according to the swatch I had was a nice true white.  Not too bright and blue, not too yellow.  Just nice.  Or so I thought.

Now, here’s where things got a little hairy.  As I just mentioned, the color I was going for was a soft creamy white.   But the color I was painting appeared to be brighter… more blue.  I figured that it just needed to dry, so I gave it a chance.  But after spending all day painting (it took three coats… yeah, not super impressed with Behr’s coverage in this case), I stepped back and realized that the paint was definitely more blue.  And that blueness was making our trim appear yellow in comparison.   Ugh.  Not good.   And then I held up my color swatch…. Yup.  Wrong.Friggin.Color.  You’d think I was crazy if I showed you the photo I took to demonstrate this.  It just didn’t capture the difference as it was in person.

Now, did the paint color look completely terrible?  Not completely.   Did it look better than the peach?  Most definitely.  Some may be able to look past it, but I’m an undertone person.  Colors either need to intentionally contrast or match exactly.   The almost-matches-but-not-really thing is NOT cool with me.

So, I purchased new paint, this time emphasizing that the color needed to match the swatch exactly.

And time passed.

And nothing happened.

*coughcough*  I probably should mention that the painting of the bathroom happened in OCTOBER.  I even alluded to it in this post back when I painted our bedroom.  I just didn’t want to post about the master bath until I got it repainted again.

But then, the repainting didn’t happen.  And it kept not happening.  For a long time.  And then I realized something….

NOTHING will make this room look good shy of a full gut.  (pause. rinse. and repeat)

I mean, I know this.  I’ve KNOWN this…  So, after this statement bounced around my head for, like, 5 months I finally had a break-through:  If nothing will make this space look good, then why am I stressing over a slightly different shade of white???   Lame, Christina.  Totally lame.  I guess sometimes it just takes time to realize that you need to step back and look at the big picture, ya know??   And I finally did.  I weighed the amount of time and energy I’d spend repainting this hole (and mind you, it’s not a fun hole to paint thanks to all those ridiculous nooks and crannies.  (Heehee! Gross.)) versus the reward (slightly different white paint), and I just.said.NO.   Now, don’t get me wrong… If this were the final space, I’d totally do it.  But really, this bathroom is gonna be ugly no matter what color white it is.  So, we’re gonna rock it as is for a while.

Here’s how it looks now…


Remember how I discussed the difference light bulbs can make on a paint color?  The above picture is a prime example of how a light bulb can make a space seem yellow. That’s a quick switch that I’ll probably make at some point.

You can also see in the pic below that the coffin-shape of the black-shower-of-doom is replicated in our toilet area (…you can even see the shower in the mirror’s reflection!  Nice touch, right? Haha!) …

I’m just imagining someone in the 1970’s wearing bell-bottoms and a a large-collared shirt, planning this bathroom, and thinking how clever and groovy it was to carry the coffin-shape throughout the space.  Heehee!   And ya know what?? I just realized that our bathtub (which is oddly vortex-like)…

Is reminiscent of something else…


Remember that wallpaper that we found behind our wet-bar mirror??  And instead of peach walls (like in the bathroom), they had peach countertops!  Way to tie it all together.  This house must’ve been the place to boogie in its heyday.  😉

So, anyways, that’s the master bathroom.  I have a hard time seeing us doing anything else to it until it’s renovation time (aside from a bit of accessorizing and some hardcore grout-cleaning).  The awkward layout and the fact that both the shower and bath tub plumbing fixtures are set on the weird partition walls rather than exterior walls…

And the fact that the step that leads to the bathtub (??) was tiled around and grouted in (as seen three pics up), mean that only major changes will make a difference in this room.   If the plumbing was placed differently, we could at least take down some of the partition walls to open up the space.  But we can’t.  So, we wait.   I’m excited to someday take a sledge hammer to this joint (given that I can actually LIFT said sledge hammer… I might just kick the walls a lot instead. Heehee!). 🙂

In the meantime, I’m (well WE’RE — Joey’s hatred of this bathroom is as vast as my own) daydreaming of adding a solar tube for natural light, a HUGE glass-enclosed shower with gorgeous tile, maybe a clawfoot tub, and completely reconfiguring the space so that it makes more sense.   It’s actually a pretty large bathroom… The space is just used so inefficiently (and the tub is so massive) that it seems small.  This project will literally be a gut down to the studs once we’re able to do it.   And we wanna do it right, so it may take a bit of time to save enough, but we’ll get ‘er done eventually.

So, tell me…  what’s your favorite part of the space?  The coffin-shower?  The vortex tub?   Any design ideas or suggestions?  Anybody been through a full gut of this magnitude? Any tips or tricks?

TDC Before and After