Monday, September 24, 2012

Pink Bathroom Chronicles: DONE

Catch up!

Part ONE: Medicine Cabinet
Part TWO: Cabinet Demolition
Part THREE: Patching and Shelves
Part FOUR: Vanity Light

It's DONE! My mini bathroom makeover is done! Before I get to the before/afters, here are a few odds and ends that needed to be wrapped up.

Remember those pocket holes? I used wooden Kreg plugs to plug up the holes, then smeared some wood filler over them. Once that dried, I sanded the area down flush.

Why plugs instead of all wood-filler? My thinking was that if someone ever wanted to take down these shelves in the future (which would ONLY be acceptable if they were planning a complete bathroom gut, because these shelves are awesome), it would be easier to take out a plug than have to burrow into wood filler to get to the screws. And to make it even easier, I only put plugs on the first two shelves, since only an abnormally tall person would be able to see the pocket holes in the top two.

You're probably wondering what's up with the green painter's tape. Since the walls were a little wavy and generally not straight, there were some gaps between the shelves and the wall. To make it all look seamless, I used a caulking method I learned on Young House Love.

Basically you tape the corners leaving between 1/8"-1/4" on each surface.

Then you apply an even bead of caulk, making sure you get into all the gaps. Then you run your finger along the corner to remove the excess and smooth everything out.

Now the crucial part: IMMEDIATELY remove the tape while the caulk is still wet. If you wait too long, you will end up pulling up some caulk leaving a jaggy edge. And yes, I learned this the hard way.

Also, there's absolutely no good way to say "caulk" without sounding like you're trying really hard not to say "cock". Just the facts of life.

 If all goes well, you will have a lovely clean edge. If not, there's always paint and a razor blade.

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for, the BIG REVEAL OMGOMGOMG. But first, a before:


Another angle for funsies.

And a few more before/afters to bask in. Remember that old ceramic toilet paper holder?

Replaced by a more streamlined model from IKEA.

Painted over the rusty bronze vanity light.

And the medicine cabinet that started it all.

Here's a budget breakdown. Note that this does not include tool purchases, because those maaaay have put me over the $100 budget I was given.

Medicine cabinet: $20
Poplar wood: $38
Kreg screws: $4
Kreg plugs: $7
Toilet paper holder: $9
Drywall mud: $6
Spray paint: $6
Caulk: $6
Spackle: Already had
Wood filler: Already had
Paint: Already had
Frog Tape: Already had
TOTAL: $96

I hope you found this not-so-pink-anymore bathroom series enjoyable/helpful/not-too-boring. Really, I'll take any of those three. Oh and in case you were curious, I presented it to my landlady today and she LOVED it! Success! 

Phew, I think this calls for lots and lots of wine. Excuse me.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pink Bathroom Chronicles: Vanity Light

Catch up!
Part ONE: Medicine Cabinet
Part TWO: Cabinet Demolition
Part THREE: Shelves

I've avoided including the bathroom vanity light in my photos up to this point because, you is disgusting.



Don't have any food or drink in your mouth....
Okay here we go....

Wait, it gets worse...

Don't hate me. I warned you.

As you might have deduced, I wanted to replace those lights immediately. At this point, I had about $18 left of the $100 budget my landlady had given me, so online shopping I went. Craiglist failed to produce anything under $20, and the big box stores were even worse. For something halfway decent-looking, I was expected to spend between $30-70!

Then I started thinking, what about that inexpensive, magical cure-all, holy patron saint of do-it-yourselfers: spray paint? That's when I googled and found this blog where the author has almost the EXACT same light fixture and did exactly what I was thinking about doing to it!

I grabbed a can of metallic Rustoleum (stops rust!) spray paint at the hardware store, but failed to find a good deal on glass lamp shades. The old ones can stay for now.

(By the way, if you spray paint anything ever, you should most definitely have one of these attachable grips. Your hands will thank you.)

I started by taking down the light fixture (cutting power to the bathroom to be safe) and taping off the threads. Then I sanded off all the rust, which was a task I had seriously underestimated because it took about 30 minutes and a lot of elbow grease. Once I got that all smooth, I wiped it clean and got ready for paint. Below is a picture mid-paint because I forgot to take a photo of my freshly sanded surface. You get the idea.

Few things are more satisfying than a nice smooth coat of spray paint.

I chose not to use primer for a couple of reasons. Firstly, my can of primer did not sport the "stops rust!" badge, and I really did not want the rust to come back. Secondly, I like instant gratification and I wanted to see the shiny results right away.

When I went to install it (again, cut that electrical), I decided to flip it upside down because I never liked seeing those spiral florescent bulbs. 

This had an interesting effect on the bathroom, which Boyfriend noticed immediately when he turned on the lights. Pointing the bulbs upwards created more ambient light around the room and brightened up the ceiling, making the room seem bigger and higher. This was a big deal for our tiny bathroom.

So that's how I updated our disgusting vanity light for the cost of a $6 can of spray paint!

I'm ALMOST done with this bathroom. I've been putting the finishing touches on the shelves and accessories, so look forward to the big reveal in the next post!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pink Bathroom Chronicles: Shelves

Catch up!
Part ONE
Part TWO

Time to patch things up. Here we were after ripping out the cabinet.

It took a size-able chunk of drywall with it too.

Using drywall repair (or "mud" as they call it), I smoothed over the rough parts and built up the janky wall corner layer by layer. I also put some tape up to help visualize the shelf heights.

First layer, two more to go

Ripping out the old toilet paper holder revealed a huge concrete mass inside the wall that was impossible to get out. I used Liquid Nails and a scrap piece of drywall to cover the hole.

Then mudded over it. This is what the first layer looks like. I'll let that dry and then put another layer on to be sanded down flush with the wall. 

Once the mud dried completely and everything was patched up, I applied a layer of primer. 

Then I said GOODBYE to the pink walls and painted everything a light warm gray. For some reason I went into this thinking it would be a fast job because it was such a small room. WRONG. Bathrooms are the worst rooms to paint because there are so many things to paint around. Toilets, sinks, piping, tile, doors, windows, towel bars, light switches, UGH it exhausts me just thinking about it. But I got it done and here it is.

Wheee! Now time for the shelves.

I mentioned in the previous post that I wanted to do open white floating shelves. The challenge was constructing them to have at least 1-inch thickness and require no brackets. I originally thought about using this technique by Ana White (she's a total badass furniture-making lady, btw).

As you can see, it's basically a simple wooden frame interior with a hollow wooden shell slipped over it. The only problem with this technique is that it 1) didn't take advantage of the three walls I had and 2) seemed overly complicated for my situation.

So I decided to do something that is uncommon, but not unheard of, and seemed like a simple-yet-sturdy solution. I decided to go with solid wood shelves attached to the studs with pocket holes. You'll see what I mean in a bit.

For this project I would need my most intimidating power tool yet: a circular saw. I almost went for some cheap-but-highly-rated ones on Amazon, and I almost went the Craigslist route, but in the end I decided that dangerous power tools are just one of those things that I absolutely do not want to mess with when it comes to quality and reliability. So Boyfriend was a sweetheart and bought me this beauty :)

It's a Makita 7 1/4" Circular Saw and it cuts like a hot knife through butter (or as my friend Richard once said, "like butter through cheese"... oh those late-night studios). How hardcore do I look wielding this thing? Even the pink gloves look badass.

The wood I'm cutting was a lucky find. I was looking for 2x6 boards, but after a trip to one of the biggest lumberyards in Berkeley, I found out that boards of this thickness only come with rounded edges, and if I wanted sharp edges (which I did), I would have to pay a pretty penny for "finishing wood" (about $8-12 a foot and I needed 12 feet). Just as I was mentally formulating a new plan on my way home using Ana's original design, I passed a specialty hardwood store called MacBeath Hardwood and decided to stop in.

Guys, this place was every wood lovers dream! They had all these beautiful exotic woods like tiger wood, bloodwood, and purpleheart (wood that is NATURALLY purple!). I vow to build something awesome with it in the future.

And Drool

I obviously looked out of place in this store because the manager scoped me out almost immediately. I told him that I wanted something cheap and paint grade (i.e. not purpleheart), so he recommended poplar, which is all of the above AND lightweight. He tossed me a tape measure and took me back to the stockroom where they had 1.25" thick "random cut" lumber. Basically they take one huge board and cut it lengthwise into thinner pieces of random widths, which meant nice sharp edges! I measured and found a piece that was a good width and had them cut it to fit in my car. $38 for 16 feet (they wouldn't let me leave 4 feet of leftover).

So long story short: cheap, paint grade wood with sharp edges FOUND! And I'm obsessed with purpleheart wood.

Now back to the project at hand. I measured out the lengths I would need for each shelf, and since DIY is rarely straightforward and easy, I had to make all sorts of weird angled cuts due to the fact that the bathroom walls are not straight. So yeah, the motto "measure twice, cut once" was definitely applied in this scenario. After some hardcore circular saw action, I had these:

I filled any dents and chips with wood filler and sanded things down so they were nice and smooth and ready for paint. Here's what two coats of primer and three coats of Sherwin Williams ProClassic Enamel in Extra White looks like.

I let those dry for two full days to make sure the paint would be set and durable for the next part, which is the fun part! Enter my other new toy, Mr. Kreg Jig:

Mr. Kreg is a really amazing system for creating pocket holes, which are angled holes that you use to join two pieces of wood together using special screws. This creates a very strong joint without using glue or nails, and, in the case of a 90-degree joint, allows you to have nice clean corners without needing to countersink screws and cover with wood filler.

You can use this technique with side-by-side pieces as well, which is the method I employed with my shelf-to-stud joinery. First I located the a stud on each of the three walls and marked the corresponding location on my shelf. Then I clamped the piece securely to Mr. Kreg and used the special Kreg Jig bit to drill the holes. This whole system makes things pretty fool-proof, which is a relief.

This is someone else using a Kreg Jig because I forgot to take photos.

Then I brought each shelf back inside and had Boyfriend hold it in place (double-triple-quadruple checking the level) while I sunk the special Kreg screws.

I expected a pretty strong connection, but not as strong as I got! After one screw, I could probably have put 50 lbs or more on the shelf, no sweat! But we wanted to make sure the shelf wouldn't see-saw on a single screw, so we went ahead and put in two more. This shelf is ready for some serious business now.

Emboldened by the success of the first, we got two, three and four up pretty quickly. I gotta looks awesome. Especially compared to what was there before.

Now all I have left are some finishing touches, including filling all those pocket holes! We're almost there!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pink Bathroom Chronicles: Cabinet Demolition

Catch up!
Part ONE

After replacing the medicine cabinet, I was faced with the task of repainting the patched area pink...which is the color of the bathroom walls currently. Ever since we moved in, I've been wanting to paint the bathroom a nice light gray, but we never got around to it. Now that I was going to be forced to bust out some paint, I decided it would NOT be pink. I also decided that it was time to take care of some other nastiness.

I hinted in my last post that the cabinet above the toilet would be my next victim. Check it out: this cabinet is really old and has been painted over so many times that the doors don't close completely.

There's just nothing sexy about this cabinet at all. 

It had to come out. Boyfriend bought me a crowbar for the occasion and the proceeded to help me tear it down because it was really stuck in there!

Kids, I highly recommend wearing the proper safety gear when doing demolition. We both get points for wearing safety glasses. I lose points for wearing a fluffy cloud robe and slippers. In my defense, it was almost bedtime. 

Things started to get dicey when the cabinet--glued in from years and layers of paint--decided to take some drywall with it. Oopsie!

Once we finally got the whole cabinet out, we had fun peeling away all those layers of paint that kept wanting to come away easily. It just wouldn't stop! There were at least 7 layers of paint that I could detect. It was like discovering the personalities of each person based on the paint layer. Original Pink fell victim to the trend of the times and made everything the exact same color, Purple was cheap and used shitty paint, White was sloppy, Current Pink was dealt a bad hand and just tried to make it all work, etc, etc.

Here's where we stood post-demolition. Obviously lots of patchwork to do.

While I was at it, I went ahead and ripped out the old ceramic toilet paper holder.

So my plans for this nook are to hang some open white floating shelves. I think having the shelves open will make the room seem more spacious and will be modern, yet classic. Here are a few of my inspirations:

You get the idea. Up soon: how to patch up your f*** ups!