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



A laundry room post! 

You excited??

I am. Why?? Because I finally did something to our laundry room.  Woot!

Granted, it’s a little something.  But something just the same.

So, let’s start with a basic floor plan refresher.  Our laundry room is located directly off of our breakfast nook…

Breakfast nook

It’s a decent-sized room that houses a spacious pantry and our teeny pool bath.   I actually think the pantry is larger than the bathroom.  I mean, it doesn’t take much, but still…  it’s kind of a strange distribution of space.

Here’s the room when we got the keys (along with some indicators to show you what’s where) ….


And here it is after we plopped down our stuff after we moved in….

And now….


Granted,. the space hasn’t changed much, and most of what’s in there right now (the rugs, basket, and wood shelf) will be switched out eventually.  I’m not a huge fan of the dark brown sink mat, but we needed something there functionality-wise (Lucas + sink = puddle = slippery), and it’s what we had on hand.   I’m on a use-what-I-got-front for most of the space at the moment.   I did, however, manage to hang a new mirror and towel hook above the sink (which will stay)….


Sometimes the smallest additions can seem like the biggest triumphs in a space that’s been stagnant in decorating.  In case you’re wondering, the mirror was a Tuesday Morning find for $39.99, and the hook (a clearance Young House Love hook) and towel I got from Target.  I wanted to tie in the red and aqua tones from the adjoining pool bath….

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And I love how you can see the bathroom’s reflection in the mirror.  Heart.

I have to say that up to this point, the laundry room has been the most frustrating room in the house for me because I know EXACTLY that I wanna do with it.   We just haven’t gotten there yet.  And in the meantime, aside from housing the washer, dryer and a sink, it has little function.   I cleaned it up for the pictures in this post, but normally there’s coats, shoes, backpacks, hats, and laundry piled everywhere since there’s no storage or system of any kind.

Last year, the previous owners experienced a flood that affected half the house and started in the laundry room.  Apparently, a pipe burst in the attic above it when we had all of those super low temperatures.   They had to almost fully gut the laundry room and pool bath.   So in the process, the space lost all of its original cabinetry and storage.   They just put up drywall when they were putting it all back together again and called it a day.   I can’t say I blame them, but it would have been FANTASTIC to have inherited some storage in the space when we purchased the house.

But, on the flip side, we have a totally blank slate to work with, which is also kind of cool.

So, here’s the plan.   This space over the washer and dryer will sport some stained wood shelves that’ll extend all the way to the ceiling….

Then, this area where I stuck a random shelving unit, will be the “mudroom” space with hooks, shoe storage, etc.

I’ve been tossing around painting the sink cabinet as well, though I’d like to see how the rest of the room comes together first.

Then, comes the biggie.  THE BIGGIE.  The thing that I want to do most (aside from adding function).

That exterior door back there (straight ahead in the photo), which leads to our covered back patio.  I wanna change that out for an exterior door with a full length window.   That right there will be be a game changer.   Natural light will flood the land.   It will be glorious.   And most importantly, it’ll make the space feel like part of our house rather than a dark, cavernous afterthought.

I can’t wait until we get going on this.  We’re currently saving our pennies and planning, though we’ll likely have to wait until the other projects that are in progress right now are finished (our pool refinishing along with a few other outdoor projects and the wet-bar… I’ll post an update once we get to it, of course.).   In the meantime, I’m thrilled to at least have one small project for this space under my belt.   I’m a total proponent for starting small to add personality when you can’t really take on a larger project at the moment.   It’s amazing how just a small mirror and hook are enough to make me smile when I enter the room now.

So, tell me, what little changes have you made that made the biggest differences in your space?

TDC Before and After