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!!

Project: table to bathroom vanity 2

This is the first time we’ve tried making a bathroom vanity out of a table so I’d like to pass on some things we have learned that I have not seen on the decorating shows…

We had the Italian marble cut at the shop because the job was too small for them to come out to the house and keep the cost reasonable. You will need to know the location of the faucet and the drain hole for the sink – as well as the size. Do bring the sink, the faucet and the drain stopper with you.

The Italian marble was cheaper then the granite option because of how they cut and waste the sheet. It also needs to be stored on it’s end because it cannot support it’s own weight. If you laid it flat it would crack.

The tabletop wasn’t level – after all it was aged, so a wooden rasp was needed to take down the bulges.

It also turned out that the heavy marble was putting way too much pressure on the legs. The legs were re-glued, reinforced and the crack in one leg (from the marble weight) repaired. It was filled with wood putty.

If you are painting (not staining) any good wood filler will work to repair holes and cracks. When staining you need to match the wood product (i.e. fill with oak on oak etc…). For small holes I like to use my finger to press the wood filler in and then smooth it out. Once it dries, I’ll sand lightly with sponge block, repaint and glaze to match the rest of the piece.

We removed the rollers and put in four more supportive legs that are half hidden by the shelf. This should distribute the weight of the marble and basin evenly from top to bottom.

All the legs have new pads on them. I touched up paint and glaze on the repairs before the install.

Plumbing was extended from the wall to match the drop of the drain from the sink. Plumbing isn’t complicated but make sure you turn off the water, plug up sewage when it is open to prevent fumes, and use the products made for plumbing such as special glues and epoxys.

The table is anchored into the wall with a support at the back underside.

Silicone caulking applied in circles on the underside of the marble will afix it to the table. The marble is “rolled” down gently to prevent cracking. The backsplash is applied with silicone caulking to the wall.

The sink is installed first, attaching it with silicone caulking on the bottom, and installing it’s drain plug. The faucet is then installed and it is hooked up to the water lines.

Marble needs to be sealed as it is porous (just like granite). A commercial product is wiped on before we go to bed – and wiped off in the morning.

Thoughts on the project:

Definitely if you plan on using marble or granite, buy a table or dresser which can support such a weight.

Buy and have on hand all the plumbing equipment before you have the marble/granite cut. Don’t go by the sink hole – get the plug; and be aware that faucets do come in different sizes so don’t “guess” the size.

Do a dry run on measurements before you have anything cut.

Put the table in the bathroom, especially if the room is small, and live with it for a few days to make sure the space works for you.

Project: converting table to a bathroom vanity 1

On a recent trip out of the city, we found an antique table ($120) that will be converted for the vanity in the powder room remodel. When we got it home, it looked even better then we thought!

 

In the past I’ve used Handi-Strip and personally have had little luck with it. Lately, I’ve started using NEXT paint stripper as it is biodegradable and actually works! However, it does go on thin and it also needs time. Use a paint thinner to remove the residue the stripper leaves. 

Since we will be using a glaze, it’s important for every groove to be well defined. A variety of tools were used: a metal bristle brush, hand held sanding blocks with a slanted edge, metal scraper, bendable steel brush pads, and the Mouse Sander.

Before sanding we fixed one of the pieces on the decorative trim by recyling off a piece we had taken off the drawer front (we won’t be using the drawer so it was removed). It was attached with glue and finishing nails; put through pre-drilled holes and then gently tapped down.

4th from left to right is damaged
new piece in front ready to be glued

Luckily, all four spindle pieces (one in each corner) were in good condition. If not, we would have moved the two that would be against the wall to the front (the best ones) and not replaced the back spindles.

Next, a coat of latex enamel priming paint, tinted gray, was applied with a bristled brush. A foam brush would have worked but I find they start to split when using it to push into recessed spaces. Spraypaint primer would have also worked, but I just prefer paint. Of course a professional, spray paint application would have been optimum.

All the lovely detail emerges
primed table ready for sanding

Paint brush marks are slightly visible but are not after being hand-sanded with Fine grade sandpaper. Special attention is paid to the grooves, spindles and decorative trim as these areas will highlight the glaze endcoat. The tabletop is unimportant as it will be covered with granite when converted to the bathroom vanity.

Primer is left to dry for 24 hours before the first THIN layer of semi-gloss latex paint (Valspar Waverly Classics – Gull W38006A) is applied with a foam roller. When loading the roller, do not saturate it with paint. Bring it down and get it slightly wet, then roll it in the upper portion of the tray (where the paint does not sit) to get it evenly covered.

The first coat is lightly sanded (Fine) and left to dry for 24 hours. Second coat is also lightly worked with with steel wool. It’s important that all drips, if any were made, are removed.

TIP: When painting a table, I like to put it upside down on sawhorses for the first coat; then I flip the table right side up and work on any missed areas. Working upside down seems to minimize the chance of missing drips vs. if you had started working with the table right side up.

Next, a layer of Valspar’s Antiquing Glaze (ready made black glaze from Lowes) is applied. It has a 15 minute working time so if you need more time, dilute it with the transculent mixing glaze it adds more working time. This paint color and glaze was the same as used on the cabinets in the bathroom.

Finally, two top protective coats are applied in a water-based, varnish. If applying a varnish over latex paint, it must be water-based or you’ll end up with some nasty bubbling and/or yellowing. Varnish also needs to be applied with a nice brush, not a roller. First coat is sanded (Very Fine) before the last coat.

The top of the table isn’t worked with glaze because in the end it will be covered with a marble top once it is fitted into the bathroom as the vanity. Not quite done… still have to select the marble countertop, the vessel sink and the faucet for it to become the downstairs, powder room vanity.

Technique: Liming

Liming dates back to 16th century Europe and though similar to pickling it’s older. Designed originally to prevent wormrot to the wood, it gives a white appearance to the wood that is unique and is great for tables, chairs or even picture frames.

Walnut Chair
Walnut Chair

The best material for a liming project, is a hardwood such as oak, elm, or walnut, because of their open grains. Pine is not a good choice for this technique.

First, use a wire brush to open the grain. You are not looking to clean the piece, but to open the grain of the wood so it more readily accepts the Liming Paste.

Next, rub the Liming Paste onto the wood using a brush or your hands. If your piece has grooves or carved pieces you can use a brush, fingertips or rag to work the Liming Paste into all the crevices.

Then wipe off the Liming Paste with rags, leaving a ghostlike, pale surface behind – how pale will depend on the type of wood you used, how good a job you did with your wire brush and the original color of the piece. If it isn’t quite how you like, go back to your wire brush and apply more Liming Paste – if too much rub off more.

Limed Table TopWhen it’s dry, use a coat of Sanding Sealer and let dry. Sand lightly and if desired, coat with a surface sealer such as Poly, Varnish or wax.

I fell in love with this technique when I did it on an oak table top and a walnut chair. I hope you like it too as it is easy and really provides a unique effect and the wood ends up feeling soft and smooth.

Paint: Liming Paste is made by mixing latex, white paint with Plaster of Paris. The consistency should be that of a paste, about the thickness of cake batter/muffin mix.

Tools: Paintbrush, white paint, wirebrush, Plaster of Paris, and rags.

Surfaces: Your piece needs to be stripped of any varnish, glaze or wax. If it has a light stain you can try the technique but the more stain removed to bare wood the piece is the better. It does not work on painted pieces.

Ability: Easy. I mastered this technique without any practice.

Oak Table with Liming Paste
Oak Table with Liming Paste

Project: round table for breakfast nook

This photo inspired me to change our too big, rectangular breakfast table to a round one, hoping to relieve the traffic flow in the small area.

bistrotable

I knew the next breakfast table had to be exceptionally strong and stable as my 15 year old son leans and rocks away from the table in his chair. Everyone has complained that it’s like eating at sea! It also had to be affordable as I would be needing new chairs.

Luckily, this item (below) came up on Craigslist. When I bought it for $60 I told them they could keep the chairs as I had other plans.

70sbreakfasttable

tablewitholdchairsI wish I had the original picture as this table came with four chairs that were your typical 1970’s / 80’s variety – extremely solid, thick chairs with low backs that really dated the entire table. The original chairs were similar to these in this photo of another table – I’m sure you’ve seen something like them!

Looks can be deceiving so you have to keep focused on the bones of a piece. Some things I immediately liked about it:

Image wise it fitted my inspiration photo pretty well.

Pedestal – I really liked the curves of the pedestal. A central pedastal, as opposed to legs, allowed a lot of leg room.

The diameter of the tabletop fitted the space nicely and it comfortably sat four.

Extremely solid and stable. The surface is at least two inches thick.

Price – $60. I mean can you beat that?

Color – I could clean it up, re-stain in a similar color which would limit the amount I would need to sand. Honestly, I am always looking for projects that are easy to sand and prep; if they are close to the original color I want to redo it in that means a lot less prep time. If they have one coat that would be easy to take off that is even better.

Remember, one problem with a stained piece is that you will seldom get it to the exact color that a stain chip offers; you have to factor in the original color that is seldom completely sanded from a piece.

Because I wanted a bit of definition from the original stain, I used the Mouse Sander to bring down the tabletop to almost, but not quite, bare wood.

I started with Cabots’ Black Walnut, mixed with some Valspar Antiquing Glaze (Asphaltum). After two coats of stain it was topped with Valspar Clear Mixing Glaze tinted with Valspar Antiquing Glaze (Asphaltum).

For protection, I went with three coats of matte Wipe-On Poly from Mini-Wax with two coats of glossy Wipe-On Poly for an extremely durable finish.

p1010011-1

breakfasttablepedestalThe bottom section was lightly sanded. This turned out to be a bigger job then I anticipated because the curves made it a slow, by hand, job. Beauty had it’s price!

After sanding, the pedestal was painted a chocolate brown and topped with Valspar Clear Glaze tinted with Asphaltum. The advantage of a glaze is that it has a slow drying time, giving you more time to work it.

The tables’ original chairs had backs the same height as the table. With thes new chairs, the higher backs give more visual interest. They contemporary design also nicely updates the table.

Although, normally, I love chairs with arms this breakfast nook didn’t have the space. Instead these armless chairs snugs into the table, providing more walk around room.  The chairs’ black finish provides a contrast to the brown, brings out some of the black glaze, and isn’t matchey-matchey.

breakfasttableafter

Price: Table ($60), four chairs ($160), stain, sanding papers, glaze, tint etc… were divided between several projects so I’m guesstimating it was about $40 or less. This project was easily less then $300 for the table and four chairs.
And glad to report that husband is also very happy with the result.

Project: Formal Dining Room Table

I didn’t want to spend big bucks on a room and piece of furniture that was seldom used so I was lucky that I received a free dining room table from a relative. It wasn’t a family heirloom but it was free, and you can’t beat free!

I’m guessing it’s from the 1940’s era. The top and sides are veneer and the legs have a nice half circle effect that is appealing as well as some decorative molding (see corners). I had a carpenter make a new, unfinished table leaf ($100) to replace the one that was long missing so now the table can sit from 6 to 8 people.

table surface
table surface

Overall, the table was in pretty poor condition, with an irregular stain, watermarks, and chips to the veneer. We repaired the damaged veneer on the tabletop sides with a X-acto knife cutting out the damaged area to a rectangle. Veneer trim (Red Oak) was cut to fit and then glued and clamped to fit. The repair was lightly sanded to a smooth surface and the area painted black.

veneer repair

We also glued down veener on the edge of the table that had started to peel up.

When using clamps be sure to use a scrap to take the initial pressure from the clamp foot or you might form an unwanted impression into your project.

You can see, left, the sanded tabletop has an unevenly colored surface which I had to deal with.

distressed table legsThe legs and tabletop sides were painted black. They were sanded back for a distressed appearance; remember to sand prominent areas where natural pressure and wear would occur from use.

Cabots Natural Walnut stain was rubbed in and wiped off. This darkened the newly sanded areas making it look more aged.

For the tabletop, I first tried chemically stripping the surface but that wasn’t very effective. I resorted to the Mouse Sander with a fine grit. Anything rougher and I was liable to rip or gouge the veneer.

I went with three rubbed in coats of Cabot’s Natural Walnut stain, fine sanding with a tacky cloth between coats. Finally, I coated with rub on polyuretane, gloss coat, and did three more coats, handsanding lightly and using a tacky cloth in between sessions.

Golden Oak stained tabletop

finished dining room table

Price: Table ($0); extra leaf ($100); leftover black paint, sanding paper, stain, tacky cloths ($25), 6 dining room chairs ($360). Wow! I was really pleased with the finished result and couldn’t be happier!