How to Remodel Your Bathroom

How to Remodel Your Bathroom

 After moving into my house, I decided to get started on renovating.  I quickly decided to refinish my kitchen cabinets and then redo my master bathroom.  All that left was the other upstairs bathroom that needed to be updated.  Both of my bathroom upgrades cost about the same amount.  See the breakdown of the expenses here.

wp_20150311_16_09_39_pro v__07ee

Of course, I always forget to take the ‘before’ picture so I’ll try to explain how it was.  There was a tall oak cabinet with only one door and a Formica top.  This left me with no counter space or storage space.  The wall was all the tan that is shown on the top of the wall in the picture below.

Step 1: Remove the Existing Vanity – I forgot to take pictures of this step, but I started by unscrewing the counter from the vanity, unscrewing the PVC pipe, and unscrewing the water lines.  Then, I lifted the sink and counter directly off the cabinet together.  After this, I was able to pull the vanity out.

Step 2: Paint the Walls and Trim – I decided to go for a two-toned look so I started by painting the lower half of my wall the the trim both Aspen White.  When painting a light color over a color that’s darker, it’s best to prime the wall before painting.  I skipped this step and ended up having to paint this part of the wall three times.


Step 2: …continued – Next, I used a gray to paint the top half of the walls.  This only took one really heavy coat.

Step 3: Hang the Light Fixture –  Once the wall was dry, I took the opportunity to hang the new light fixture because there wasn’t a vanity in the way.  I started by removing the old fixture and then installed the new light fixture based on the directions the fixture came with.  One problem I ran into was that I needed an electrical box to mount the new fixture on because my old fixture was mounted directly into a stud.


Step 4: Hang the Mirror – I then hung the mirror level with the medicine cabinet.  Hanging the mirror was the same as hanging any heavy picture.

Step 5: Add the Backsplash – This was my favorite part of both bathrooms.  I had my back-splash pre-cut and was able to lay out my pieces in order on the ground and simply add the adhesive to the wall and then press them in firmly.  Once the adhesive dried, I mixed the grout and applied to the tiles.  After the grout dried, I just rinsed the tiles off with a sponge and water and the grout was complete.  After a month, I went back and added sealant to the grout.


Step 7: Adding a Chair Rail – I had painted my chair rail in the garage at the same time that I painted the white portions of the bathroom.  I also decided before painting the walls that the chair rail would be at the same level as the door knob.  I hung the chair rail by nailing it to the wall.

Step 8: Caulking – Once the chair rail was hung, I caulked around the sink at the base of the back-splash, and at the top of the chair rail and back-splash.

Step 9: Flooring – I chose not to do the flooring on my own because of the added expenses of the equipment I would need.  So, once my bathrooms and kitchen were finished, I selected the flooring I wanted and scheduled installers.

Step 10: Decorating – I then chose a theme for the bathroom and decorated away.

Like what you’ve seen so far?
Join the mailing list to be the first to know when a new post is published!

How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets on a Budget

Refinish Cabinets

Thinking about changing your cabinets?  I was.  I’d researched quite a few ways to refinish the cabinets and decided that refinishing was the way to go.  Refacing would give a whole new look but would cost thousands of dollars.  I also knew that I didn’t want to replace my cabinets because they offered a lot of storage for how small my kitchen is.

So, I took to the internet to see how to refinish the cabinets on my own. I found a lot of options, but here’s what I did.

1 package of 150 grit sandpaper
1 package of 80 grit sandpaper
1 roll of blue painter’s tape
2 drop cloths
2-4 paint brushes
1 gallon of oil based primer
1 gallon of semi-gloss interior paint
Safety goggles
Face mask
Cabinet an drawer hardware

Step 1: Empty everything out of the drawers then remove the drawers.  There is no need to take the drawer face off of the drawer.

Step 2: Remove the cabinet doors and label the back with a piece of tape so you know where each door came from.

Step 3: Remove the hardware from the cabinets.  I used a labeling system with sandwich bags so I would be able to put the hardware back on the spot it came from.  Ex: 1t, 1m, 1b, 2t, 2m, 2b, etc, where t- top, m- middle, b- bottom since each cabinet had three hinges.  Put the hardware aside for safe keeping.  Clean in vinegar if desired.

Step 4: There’s many options from here forward, but since I decided to paint rather than stain the cabinets, here’s what I did.  I sanded the fronts of all of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with course grit sandpaper (80).  You don’t need to remove all of the varnish, just make sure that the varnish is pretty roughed up so the paint will stick.  Be sure to wear your protective gear to avoid getting the sanded varnish in your eyes or mouth.

Step 5: Sand the whole surface with a fine grit sand paper (150) to smooth the surface.

Step 6: Repeat until all cabinets and drawers are complete.

Step 7: Sweep all of the sanding dust away then wipe all drawers and cabinets done with a wet rag.  Set aside to try.

Step 8: Remove all items from inside your cabinets.  You may want to remove all items from the area surrounding the cabinets as well since sanding dust will fly around the whole level of the house.

Step 9: Sand down all exterior parts of the cabinets using the same method as before then wipe with a wet cloth.  Clean all of the dust from the area before moving to the next inside step.

Step 10: Cover the ground with a drop cloth and lay out your cabinet doors and drawers so they are off of the ground.  I used paint cans to hold up the cabinet doors and painted all of my level then all of my top after I was finished with the bottoms since there wasn’t enough room to do them all at once.

Step 11: Use an oil based primer since there may be some varnish left on the surface.  Use a paint brush to cover the exposed area with the primer and let dry.  Note that the oil based primer is very hard to remove from any surface so be very careful.

Step 12: Leave to dry (approximately 5 hours).  I also left my garage door closed with a slight opening to allow the fumes to vent out but so the dirt and dust from outside wouldn’t blow in.

Step 13: Turn cabinets over and prime the back side.  At this point, you’ll have to move your labels so you don’t paint over them.  I put the labels on the drop cloth by the cabinet so I didn’t lose their placement.

Step 14: Head back inside and tape around all edges of the cabinets that touch the ceiling, walls, or floor.

Step 15: Prime the exterior parts of the cabinets then leave to dry.

Step 16: Choose one side of the cabinet doors to start with.  Paint 3 coats of semi-gloss interior paint making sure to wait about 5 hours or until dry before applying the next coat.   (I used America’s Finest Aspen White to match my trim and doors)

Step 17: Repeat the process for the cabinets, drawers, and back sides of the cabinet doors.

Step 18: Attach hardware if desired then re-attach the cabinet doors.

And there it is!  My kitchen looks so much more clean and even looks bigger and all for under $200! The biggest expense was the hardware.  Without the hardware this project would have been complete under $100.  Although, make sure you have a lot of time on your hands.  This project also took me 50 hours to do by myself.  That 5 hours between each coat is killer but so worth it!

Like what you’ve seen so far?
Join the mailing list to be the first to know when a new post is published!

Master Bathroom Upgrade – On a Budget!

Master Bathroom Update On a Budget

When I bought my house, one of the major downfalls was that the Master bathroom was extremely small!  I quickly looked the other way though as I was delighted to have a walk in closet in two bedrooms and that the laundry is upstairs between all of the bedrooms.
After living with the small bathroom, I knew I had to make a change.  I didn’t have any storage except for a small square on the bottom of the cabinet for cleaning supplies (the first picture is from the previous owner’s listing of the house. I didn’t have a shelf for above the toilet), the sink was extremely high for my 5’2″ stance, and you couldn’t have the cabinet and the door opened at the same time.
So, I took to the books to figure out how I could make my bathroom more functional and on a budget!  The standard cost of remodeling a small bathroom is 5% of a house’s value or approximately $10,000 for my house.  Since I didn’t replace the toilet or shower/tub, one would expect to spend quite a bit less.  Let’s say staying under $3500 would be considered a win.  How much do you think this remodel costs?  Leave a comment before reading further!
Master Bathroom

I completed my bathroom project a few steps at a time and ended up finishing under $500.

Here’s how I did it!
  • To purchase most of the materials for Step 1, I opened a Home Depot credit card to get the discount. They offered 5% off originally but I knew better as I had seen other’s get more off for opening a card.  I ended up getting 25% off.
  • I got out my pink tools and DIY’d my way around having to pay a contractor (Tutorial to come with bathroom #2’s remodel).
  • Paint:  Now here’s the cool part.  I had a ton of leftover paint from other projects, so I mixed some green, blue, white, and gray together and came up with Kari’s Crystal Castle!  My home-made recycled color!  I actually fell in love with this color and had Home Depot match it for me and make a few gallons for other areas of my house.
  • I waited to redo the floors until I was redoing all of the floors in my house.  I’m estimating that the bathroom used 1 box of wood an the underlay an protector. All when in comparison to the rest of the house, should be around $75.  The floor is the only part I hired out.  There is no way I was about to cut around all of those edges!


Like what you’ve seen so far?
Join the mailing list to be the first to know when a new post is published!