Room: Ta-da the new, powder room (bathroom)!

What surprised me about this remodel is I came into it with a plan – and much of that plan was thrown out! It became important to be flexible and it’s one reason the room took longer then expected. Although the room wasn’t quite what I had originally imagined… it’s far better!

As we progressed, it became clear that some things weren’t going to work out. The cream color for the cabinets just didn’t look good with the bright blue of the walls; the bird paintings were too yellow and square for the vertical height of the wall (and were moved to the hallway outside the bathroom), the first, selected light fixture was going to be too dark for the light feeling of the room, and the dark mirror frame got changed to silver.

See the gallery of the new bathroom!


Thoughts on this room ~

For some time, I’ve felt that the height of the room (9 feet) needed to be featured. We did that with a speciality, pearl paint (Winter Blue Fox from Lowes) in a metallic silver for the ceiling, two patterns of crown moulding and a cabinet that reached all the way to the ceiling. Vertical artwork also draws your eye upwards.

Originally we had picked a stock vanity but I kept looking for a unique table that we could use instead. This became a big headache because the space was so small that most dressers (at 34-36″ were too wide) and end tables were too low. Persistence paid off when we found this table at an antiques mall in another city. Stripped, sanded, and redone in the grey to match the cabinet it is topped with Italian marble and a vessel sink.

For such a small room, it was expensive, time consuming and a pain in the neck. While I think it turned out lovely, I’ll be glad to work on some larger bathroom projects that don’t need as many changes.

Total remodel cost ($1400):

Wall finish– Lowes’ Venetian Plaster Aquamarina #67. Because we started with flat walls, one gallon did the job ($40).

Ceiling – Lowes Pearl paint (Blue Winter Fox) with crown moulding ($80).

Vanity ($120) – with marble top ($250), vessel sink ($125), and a new faucet ($150)

Overjohn cabinetextended height size with molding and wood, repainted, and new door pulls ($150).

Base Moulding – removed and replaced with larger molding ($20). Painted Chef White (from available paint)

Fixtures and extras – lighting fixture ($25), mirror ($60), towels and towel bar, toilet paper hanger, toilet bowl brush, trash can ($60).

ArtArtwork from Bed, Bath and Beyond (bought with $5 off coupons for $20 each small, $40 for the large) $120.

Toilet – The one chosen for the downstairs powder room is a space saver, quiet flush from Jacuzzi ($200).

This bathroom is now finished except for a few extra touches such as a towel bar and a soap dispenser — whew!!

Planning: kitchen updates

Generally, I try to work on one room, one project at a time. However, with the reality of husband moving out of state for work, and the house to go up for sale next summer, there is a lot I need to be juggling. I also want to spend a lot of time planning and replanning the kitchen. For example, from my original plan of a gray, white, chrome kitchen I’ve decided to go with a cream, warm brown kitchen.

Research First and Make a Plan

I did a LOT of kitchen cabinet research before starting. I visited a lot of showrooms and talked to sales people and designers about what was desired in my area, as well as visiting many open houses of homes on the market in my price range.

While national kitchen magazines state that distressed cabinets are out and dark wood cabinets are in, my area of the U.S. is still selling a lot of white or distressed cabinetry. “White Kitchens” are still the no. 1 search in kitchen cabinetry colors on the internet.

The point is that trends can be regional and be determined by the price range your house would sell at also. I can’t stress enough that if you are redoing your home with the thought of re-sale you need to thoroughly do your homework beforehand.

Another thing is that kitchen remodels are generally the most expensive room to remodel (the next is the bathroom) so if you plan on staying a long time in your home, feel free to personalize. However, if you plan on re-selling in the next five years, compromises may need to be made.

This is some of the information I came away with:

For Sale homes in my area, that have not updated their kitchens, stay on the market much longer.

Any sort of wallpaper needs to be removed, especially if it is plaid, floral, “country” etc…

Personally, I see breakfast bars on the way out. Seating at the prep island is in.

Counter surfaces and backsplash tile choices really date a kitchen.  Corian is out, Granite or Quartz  is still very much in. Marble is also making a comeback. Glass, stainless steel or wood countertops are on the edge of acceptable and appeal to less buyers then Granite does.

Pantry storage remains hot.  Open storage is in. Islands large enough for seating with a sink for prepping are hot.

Stainless steel appliances are still hot.

Drop lighting is in, especially over task areas and is generally combined with recessed can lights.

High end kitchens have taller cabinets that go straight to the ceiling with no gap. They have varying profiles of projecting cabinets vs. a flat profile of cabinets with all the same depth. They have crown molding and decorative trim accents. They also have several types of cabinets in one kitchen such as glass front cabinets, open cabinetry, solid wood cabinetry, etc…

Thoughts on the kitchen

changes to the kitchen cabinet doors, counter, backsplash and lighting
areas getting changed

Changes have quickly been made from the first photo to the next with the removal of doors over the fridge, and opening the doors upper left and preparing them for glass inserts. The area above the fridge will become open, a shorter version of this longer display area, with decorative, wood  appliques, curved opening, bead moulding backing and lighting:

display area will be built in over the fridge where closes cabinets are located now

The two series of upper cabinets left of the fridge will become lighted cabinets with glass doors. Here the 4 cabinet doors (left) have been cut to allow glass.

Above the stove, the cabinet will be given additional height and reach the ceiling. This cabinet will become open, something like this, reaching to the ceiling with crown moulding and with a beadboard backing with lighting:

cabinets over stove will be replaced with an open display cabinet

Lower cabinets on either side of the stove will be pull drawers. They are designed behind the cabinet doors this way but we will remove the cabinet doors and have the drawers themselves face out.

Cabinet door paint: with Anni Sloan Chalk Paint Old White (whitest portion of test board) with Sherwin Williams Van Dyke Brown glaze.

Granite Countertop throughout the kitchen with a stone Backsplash, either brick or piano style. Something modern looking that isn’t too busy. 

Door and Cabinet Hardware (oil rubbed bronze): Cup Pulls (15) ; Knobs (9) 5 for top mounted cabinets along stove wall and four for glass doors. I currently have; Door Pulls (4 pantry fridge wall)

The dishwasher (14 years old) and the fridge (18 years old) definitely need replacing (fridge with a side by side) and most likely I’ll be looking on Craigslist – people are remodeling and moving so these items come up for sale more often then you think. I’m not all that keen on

A beautiful faucet with dark brown sink …

The biggest issue is the island. I’ve hated it for years. It is not decorative or even useful. But it is not tiled underneath so I can’t simply remove it. Working with what I have on hand, we’d decided to keep the three drawers (far too useful) and open the two ends, leaving a center cabinet which I’ll turn into a baking tray storage area, retaining the cabinet door.


We’ve already installed four drop pendants (Lowes), two over the island and two over the sink working counter.


The point is to update the kitchen make it more on par with houses $20,000 above our range, and do it without spending a bundle. Kitchens sell homes and this one could really carry the house to a closing.

Want to see more about cabinets? There’s more on the blog right here….

Project: glazing the bathroom cabinet (black over gray)

The original cabinet in the powder room was standard builder work. Though made of nice oak, it was just a box that hung on the wall. With the high ceiling, I always felt it should be a taller to draw the eye upwards.

Hubby made a box out of Aspen to mount on top of the existing cabinet. The carved work was recycled from an old vanity harp with very decorative moulding which I had bought years ago ($20), thinking I would make a shelf out of it. The edge of one piece of the molding was damaged so we used molding epoxy to shape the end piece.

The new box was attached to the wall, and molding trimwork used at the top and bottom of the old cabinet to make the unit appear as one.

Since the original cabinet had been stained and coated with a protective finish, it had to be sanded down to a point where all the old stain and varnish was completely broken and ready to receive paint. We goofed by not working hard enough at it and the first coat ended up peeling! DON’T SKIP SANDING AND PREPPING!

Danielle Hirsch (formerly of Color Splash) has a video here about cabinet doors. She recommends cleaning, sanding, (and on the show – not this video) priming with an oil-based as the first coat, covered with latex paint.

If you want a protective cover coat, and used latex paint, use a water-based poly (good) or water based varnish (better) – preferably applied with a paint sprayer. If you use an oil based over latex it will yellow the overall look. Oil based varnishes and poly’s also will yellow as they have a natural amber tint.

I apply latex paint with a foam roller designed for cabinet applications along with a 2″ inch bristle paint brush (to push into the crevices). I like the foam because it leaves no marks when you make the last pass.

In this case the undercoat color was Valspar Waverly Classics – Gull W38006A. The gray was lighter then I wanted the end product which was deliberate as I knew the glaze would darken it somewhat.

Thickly apply the Valspar’s Antiquing Glaze, a black glaze over an area you can work in about 15 minutes (dilute with their clear glaze for longer working time if you need more then 15 minutes) .

With a clean rag (cut up t-shirt), work the glaze into the crevices with a circular motion. The crevices is where you will want the glaze to remain so you remove the glaze from flat surfaces.

If you have removed too much glaze, just reapply with your paintbrush, working it back into the crevices.

The end wipe should be in the direction of the wood. For example the long sides were an even stroke all the way across; the short sides an even stroke. Match the wood grain with your strokes and lift off at the end so there is no end mark with your rag or brush (similar to dragging).

click photo for closeup comparison

Once the second door is finished, the two doors are compared to make sure the glaze looks the same on both doors. That’s why it’s best to have one person to do the project, the amount of pressure, amount removed, will be more consistent.

Glazed detail on moulding
Three coats of wipe-on, water based poly with the 2nd coat steel wooled. If this bathroom had a tub/shower, I would have used a different topcoat as the wipe-on poly isn’t extremely durable but will be fine for the light use of this room. 

Want to see more about base moulding and moulding projects? There’s more on the blog right here

Want to see more about cabinets? There’s more on the blog right here….