Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One Step at a Time: The Bathroom Redo Edition. Volume 3

Soooo, I started this "one step at at time" thing well over a year ago when I started doing small projects in the downstairs bathroom. Then I hit a really yucky roadblock, got discouraged, and quit. Now that the kitchen is almost done-enough, I am going to try to tackle a couple of the bathroom redecoration project between the exterior and yard projects.

I am one mini-project away from being done-enough with the kitchen. That post should come out w/in a week!

What we had already changed:
TP holder & towel bar, cabinet hardware, window coverings, that spider plant they left here was taken to Eric's office, shower doors removed, wallpaper mostly removed.

1. Remove Wallpaper, Refinish Walls


The yucky roadblock mentioned above was that under the blue and pink floral wallpaper was another layer of primed wallpaper and that wallpaper was attached directly to the drywall... which I didn't know until I'd removed a bit of it and mangled the drywall paper in that area. As luck would have it that area was right beside the toilet. That's not so much a structural issue as it is a non-logical, gross-out issue. It looks like something untoward happened with the toilet. Blech.

Not only did I need to repair that, I had to prime over the original wallpaper, skim coat the walls to cover the seams along with wall repairs , prime that skim coat and then paint. Wall repairs include some big old anchor holes and the classic doorknob-through-the-wall hole that was originally "repaired" with something gummy and flexible. Based on the texture AND the color, I think it's just a giant glob of the wallpaper seam sealer the last owners were so fond of.

I use a "paper tiger", a homeowner-grade steamer, and a painters tool or wide putty knife to get the paper off. Also, creative cursing.

I decided to remove down to the most recent wallpaper's backing paper, because anything further was causing enough damage to just increase my work load later on. It already looks like the ceiling is quite a bit taller!

Post wallpaper removal, pre-oil-based primer.

The next step was to prime with oil-based primer before making repairs. After that, I repaired all the anchor holes and the door knob damage as well as filled nail holes. When those were dry, I skim coated all the walls. One of the bummers of this part of this kind of project is that each of these last three steps leaves the walls looking pretty much the same if you're just glancing around the room. Removing the wallpaper and skim coating are also time-consuming and boring. At least the priming was quick!

Post-oil-based primer and post-skim coat
The result of the skim coat is far from perfect, but will work well-enough as a base for the plaster veneer finish I want to do eventually and is a big improvement over the wallpaper. After that... ANOTHER coat of primer, this time water-based which means less stinky and easy clean up. But it also means another process that doesn't leave the walls looking all that different. Sigh.

Post- water-based primer. You can see how these processes could be a bit challenging morale-wise.

FINALLY some immediately obvious results from my efforts!... a sea glass-inspired wall color! This time it's Benjamin Moore 2049-60 Forget Me Not.

OK, OK! It's a lot more dramatic and noticeable in real life!

Once I pull the tape, do some touching up, and catch my breath, I'll reinstall all the hardware and put in a different mirror! YAHOO!

2. Deal with painted-over popcorn ceiling.

My hope is that in the next autumn or winter I can take care of all this. I have further plans for finishing the walls, but I want to take out or skim coat over the only popcorn ceiling in the house before I do much else to the walls.

The ceiling seems white-ish until you start looking closely and noticing the holidays in the paint which are actually white-ish. Then you notice the ceiling is some kind of light-ish pinky orange. Sigh and "why"? And sigh again.

But the ceiling is a project for a different time.

Downstairs Bathroom Redo Master List
1. Walls
   a. remove floral wallpaper & repair damage
   b. prime original wallpaper & skim coat
   c. prime skim coat and paint
   d. veneer plaster & topcoat
2. Ceiling
   a. skim out or remove popcorn texture
   b. remove some of the plant hooks?
   c. prime
   d. fun faux finish
3. Cabinetry
   a. sand
   b. pickle
   c. replace pulls and knobs
   d. add reclaimed, refinished wall shelves
4. Tub/Shower
   a. remove and replace caulk
   b. add tile "backsplash" above
   c. remove doors
   d. replace shower curtain
5. Move hardware
   a. train rack over toilet
   b. hand towel bar
6. Floor
   Not sure, but must deal with wrecked stuff beneath tub/shower
7. Window covering
   a. tba
8. Decorations
   a. on walls
   b. in shelving unit


  1. OK - I'm officially inspired. I'm making my bathroom list and getting serious!! You Rock!

  2. Excellent (if uninspiring) work. The before and after help to realize the progress but I get why you're not exactly inspired!

    1. Thanks! This is one of those cases where the prep work to get even a decent result can be demoralizing enough as to not even start. That's one reason it took nearly four years to do it. :)

  3. I can tell a difference in every picture. Not really but I like the Sea Glass color.
    I hate popcorn ceilings!!!!!! Lucky you, just one bathroom. It's everywhere in this house - vaulted ceilings too. Bleh.
    You are really so very talented and skilled. Making that house "yours" a little more each day.


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