Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Bathroom Makeover: Part Four

Up until now, everything I've written about took place pretty much in one weekend. A weekend in which we even had time to go to the beach!

Then the work week hit and we fell into a weird lull. Every night I would do a little bit of something, but it never amounted to much. I couldn't find the motivation. I suppose that's what happens when you're working in a household with a second bathroom. You're never all that inconvenienced, even if it is oddly unsettling to use a different shower.

But yeah, there was still some progress. First of all, I painted the ceiling. I didn't take pictures of this because there wasn't much to see. Crisp white paint covering up old white paint. I will say that it was my first time ever painting a ceiling. Have you ever painted a ceiling? It's annoying, right? For one thing, you have to lean back at an angle that hurts your neck and shoulders. For another, the paint is super thick, so you have to press extra hard on the roller, thus exaggerating your neck and shoulder pain. But, at the same time, the thick paint isn't thick enough to prevent massive drippage off the roller and into your eyeballs.

As for choosing the paint color, this was the first time I ever actually purchased and utilized paint samples. Typically I just pick something off the color swatch and hope for the best, with about a 50% success rate.

And while I'll ultimately be glad I took the thorough approach and worked with paint samples, in the short term I was kicking myself. You see, while out picking up the samples on our umpteenth trip to The Home Depot, we were also gathering other supplies for the project. After I grabbed our samples from the paint counter, I wandered absentmindedly over to the shelves looking for spackle while carrying Oscar on my hip. I was half aware that he had gotten ahold of one of the sample jars, but I was busy with the task at hand. As I was saying to Devin, "I'm trying to find that spackle that starts out pink then changes color when it dri---" I felt a sudden burst of coolness on my leg. I looked down and spent what felt like ten minutes processing what I was seeing.

The paint was everywhere. Well, not so much on Oscar, which I find a bit suspect, but all over me. And the floor. I shot Devin a panicked look and asked, "What do I do?" Within seconds, a kind and very forgiving employee came over with paper towels and set to work cleaning it up. I kept jumping in to help him, believing his, "It's okay, I got it," was far too generous and maybe insincere. I think actually he really did want me to leave. Eventually I relented and we slinked out of the aisle and, subsequently, out of the store. I wanted to take a picture of the whole grisly scene, but Devin was barely holding it together and I was afraid if he caught me taking out my iPhone to document it, he'd about lose his dang mind.

Anyhoo, there was enough paint left in the jar to paint a swatch on the wall, alongside two other contenders. I also added a splash of the cabinet's paint, which was supposed to help guide our decision, but instead gave a fecal effect to the whole ensemble.

And also, I'm not sure what's the matter with the paint on the left there. We didn't end up picking it, but not because it was drippy. The one in the middle also did not get picked and that was the one involved with The Home Depot fiasco. All that ruined wardrobe for nothing.

That means the winner is, paint #3!

Okay, thanks for hanging in there, folks. Almost done... stick with us for the next thrilling installment.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Bathroom Makeover: Part Three

With paint fumes still lingering in the air, and evening approaching on day one of our project, we turned our attention to the cabinets.

First things first, I removed the paint splatter china pattern handles and set them aside.

Then I wondered why I was setting them aside because, seriously, what plans did I have for them in the future? Then I threw them in the trash.

Next I gave the cabinets a thorough cleaning. I swear, I'm cursed to always live in places with grody old cabinets. Have you ever cleaned out 50 year old cabinets? Like stuck your full torso in to reach the sticky back corners, and collect on your sponge what you hope to be coffee grounds but which you truly know are mostly likely mouse droppings? I really hate it.

Once that was over with and I wanted to barf, it was time to sand down the surfaces. I removed the drawers and took them outside so I could work in fresh air for a little while.
It's becoming a fact of nature in my household I simply cannot look anywhere without a toy car behind in my field of vision.
God these are gross and terrible. Is it possible these ever looked nice and new?

With sanding complete, I began to paint with our chosen high gloss mocha brown.

While waiting for the first coat to dry, we tore off the floral patterned contact paper to reveal... gah!... more contact paper. This second layer came off without trouble in some places. In others, it left a liquidy glue goop. And in others, like in the furthest cabinet to the left, it appeared to have been adhered with some kind of permanent sealant developed by NASA.

After an hour spent peeling away the paper, molecule by molecule, I debated how bad it would really be if I just painted over it. I wondered what would happen next time I wanted to refinish or repaint them.

Then I was like, shut up, inner idiot. The next time anything happens to these cabinets it'll be a contractor ripping them out to make way for my jacuzzi tub.

And so I painted right over the paper. By the second coat, you couldn't see the pattern at all, though you could see the slight layer difference at the paper's edge.

By the time I went to bed, two coats were complete.

A few days later, once the paint dried and I did about three rounds of touch ups, I screwed in the new cabinet handles and drawer pulls.

Oh, it's starting to look like a real bathroom. Brings a tear to my eye. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Bathroom Makeover: Part Two

With a gameplan in place and 10% off coupon for Home Depot, it was time to get to work!

And where do you think I began?

Yes! With the mirror of doom that looks like it belongs in a kids' hair salon.

Since I couldn't take out the whole mirror, nor remove the cemented-on tiles, the only choice was to paint over them. I first thought of the obvious white or black, but that didn't seem right. Then I started to think of textured mirror frames in a more general sense, and began envisioning metallics.

Gold paint would probably be too bold, but maybe bronze... 

Off I went to the Home Depot paint department, unsure of exactly what I was attempting to purchase. I came across a collection of Martha Stewart decorative accent paint in small jars and called over a store employee for her advice. After I gave her my entire life story as a preamble to the question, "Will this paint work on plastic tiles?" she redirected my focus to spray paint. Of course. Spray paint. It's so simple...

She walked me over to the locked cage wall of spray paint, and then to the Rust-Oleum products in every metallic shade imaginable. I went for the darkest brown/bronze option, chestnut.

Once home, Devin and I prepped the mirror.

Then,  I got to work. The very first spray across the tiles and I knew I'd made the right choice. By the end of the first coat, I was completely elated, and high as a kite from the fumes, which actually probably had a lot to do with the elation.

After an hour, I applied the second coat, which also went smoothly and without incident. Eagerly, I ripped off all the paper to admire the results.  Here's a sneak preview.

A rich color with just a hint of sparkle. And, yes, it does sort of look like Fiber One 80 calorie chocolate cereal.

But that's okay. I still pretty much want to spray paint my entire life now.

If you're wondering what happened to the bonus tiles...

Devin chipped them off using a hammer and chisel while I was at work one day. I'm really sorry I missed it.

Stay tuned for the big reveal of the complete Bathroom Makeover! Which, at the rate I'm posting, will hit the blog late February.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Bathroom Makeover: Part One

With all of the terribly urgent home repair projects out of the way, we've officially completed Phase 1. Now we're sitting restlessly in Phase 2, which will go on for however long it takes for us to hire a contractor to do something major, thus ushering in Phase 3. Until then, we'll be doing anything we're capable of doing ourselves.

Putting all of my Modern Lodge aspirations aside for the moment, I focused my energy on this hot mess of a bathroom.   

Here's a closer look at what we're working with. 

There's certainly something circus-like about it. I believe it's largely owing to the unique tiles around the mirror.

From what I can deduce, this was, at one point, your average medicine cabinet. Then, someone (presumably our immediate predecessor) decided to slather it in tomato soup colored grout and adorn it with plastic tiles following no descernable color palatte.

The funny thing is, this almost seems like the kind of misguided project I would do myself and then immediately regret. But I'd forgive myself. It's a lot harder to take when it's inherited.

Oh, and then, as a bonus, these 3 tiles glued to the wall to the right of the mirror.

 Adding to this vomitous array of color and design, there are the cabinets.

I've never been completely sure if they're coated in varnish that had aged and oranged, or just a thin coating of orange paint. 

Either way, they have no business being matched with these handles.

So once you get over this initial shock, as I have, you can focus your attention on smaller details. Like this grotty shower curtain rod.

Or this towel hook surrounded by nothingness on a slimy french vanilla wall.

That hook is situated so low on the wall that any robe, towel or clothing item hangs half-rumpled on the floor.

Speaking of the floor, it's the only part I don't hate. Which is good, because I can't change it right now.

To clarify the parameters of this makeover project (and I'm using the term makeover because renovation or remodel implies structural change), here's what's up for grabs:

- Any painted surface - walls, ceiling, cabinets
- Knobs and handles
- Any fixtures - hooks, rods, racks
- Window treatments
- Rugs, accessories, decor

And what has to stay:

- The whole sink, countertop, and cabinetry area
- The shower and its tiles
- The medicine cabinet because I don't trust myself to tear it out and replace it
- The floor

At the start of this project the only work I'd done on the whole room was replacing the toilet seat because the original one was busted and falling off. Incidentally, if you're looking for a project to do that makes you feel accomplished but is really simple, try swapping out your toilet seat. Your friends won't be impressed, but you'll sleep well that night.
Stay tuned for the rest of the series...