Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

October 30, 2013

How to Paint Over Dated Ceramic Tile

The main bathroom in the lakehouse will be the first room to be fully renovated, hopefully this summer.  Other than the size (huge to me) and layout (nothing unusual), I hate everything about its original state. The oak cabinet doors and trim were woodsy and the vanity uncomfortably low, the gold knobs just bugged me, the pink walls were criticized by everyone who came through (and they just weren't "us"), the light fixtures were utilitarian and dated, and don't even get me started on the beige tub, sink, and portal shower.

(Actually, the portal has been great for bathing Szuka, who has become a master escape artist dodging to the left or right and leaping out of the tub with surprising agility.  Unlike the townhouse tub, the space portal blocks her exits, allowing me to wash her without getting kicked in the head by her giant puppy paws). 

Even though we hope to reno soonish, I wanted to spruce up the room a little but spend very little in the process.  Every dime I spend in here takes a dime away from our dream bathroom.

How to refinish ceramic tile

There is such a small amount of tile (just between the mirror and vanity) that I contemplated just picking up some leftovers at Habitat for Humanity and redoing it.  But I've tiled before and, although it's not terribly tricky, it can be time consuming.  I really yearned for something quick and painless as well as thrifty, and thought that this bathroom would be the perfect place to experiment a little with a different kind of DIY solution, so I approached Rustoleum about trying their Tile Transformations Kit.  I opted for the Solid Colour Textured Finish, but they sent me the Natural Stone Finish also, which worked in my favour.

Rust-Oleum Tile Transformations Kit Product Review
Painting dated tile

The first few steps were easy: remove the caulking around the tile and clean it thoroughly with the magic scrubbing powder provided.  Then I taped off the area and protected the surfaces with drop cloths.

How to paint dated tile
    Easy, peasy - no sanding!  Next came mixing the two parts of the paint together.  The instructions warn that this paint dries quickly (it has a 90 minute working time), so not to take your sweet time, but to not just slop it on, either.  It's a two-person job: one paints the coating onto the grout and the other follows with a small roller (the handle isn't included).  The instructions also warn to watch for drips and sags.  Due to my own guffaw (I'll explain in a minute), every time I tried to catch a sag, I removed paint in the process and revealed the naked tile beneath.  I fussed and fussed but couldn't get a smooth finish.  It had some sags and too much texture.  Hubby proposed that the paint might tighten up as it dries, so I left it.

    Painting old tile

    The next morning I arrived at the lakehouse to see the sags had remained.  I contemplated sanding and starting over, or just ripping it out and replacing the tile after all, but I figured I had nothing to lose so I added the step for the Natural Stone finish.  It's basically a transparent, grey-tinted coating with flecks and glittery bits that is layered on top of the Solid Colour Textured Finish.  It is supposed to dry clear, but it tinted the original colour, dulling it a bit, which was a-okay by me but different than what the instructional video suggests.  I rolled that on without any trouble, hoping it would hide my goof.

    Tile transformations step by step photos
    Troubleshooting - painting tile

    Once it dried, it looked better!  The finish hides the sags a little because it has some sparkle and texture, and because it's meant to look like stone, a little irregularity actually helps the rouse along.  Crisis averted!! 

    The ONE mistake to avoid painting tile

    Here's a closer look at the finish:

    Covering tile with faux stone finish

    In real life, the flaws are much less noticeable (I tried really hard to photograph it so you could see the texture I accidentally created).  Also, although it has a textured finish, to the touch the texture is smooth, not rough, so cleaning should be a breeze.  I wouldn't use this finish in a space I'm putting money into because without the grout lines it's obviously not real stone, but at a glance it looks refreshed - it's a perfect cheap and easy, temporary fix.  The tile is now plain and simple - definitely an improvement on the 80s tile design lurking beneath, and all done for only a couple of minutes of work.  Seriously, painting this tile and the half bathroom tile, both steps, took less than half an hour total (over two days), including prep and clean up. 

    Cover dated tile
    Tile makeover

    I am confident that the problem here was a user error.  The instructions indicate the paint must be used within 7 days of tinting and I was just barely passed this timeline but didn't think a few days would make a difference.  Because this paint hardens to an amazingly durable finish (definitely NOT the same as just priming and painting, this special coating acts and feels like real ceramic), I think it started to cure in the can and by the time I applied it, it was a little too firm to use.  Lesson learned: follow the instructions to the letter.  Even with the snag, the bathroom is coming along nicely and I can't wait to show you the (problem-free) makeover of the cabinetry next.  So long yellowy oak!

    I partnered with Rustoleum for this project and although I was provided the product, I was not encouraged to provide a positive review.  Having diagnosed my error, I would happily try this product again because it was straight-forward and is a fabulous quick-fix for dated tile.  If you decide to try this product, be sure to follow the instructions carefully, and check out this video tutorial for more help.

    October 28, 2013

    Modern White Ceiling Fan

    Modern white ceiling fan

    With the fireplace painted a deep charcoal grey, and the walls and ceiling a crisp white, the woodsy beam and gold-trimmed ceiling fan were next on the chopping block.  My Mandelbaum Mom upped the ante, challenging her fear of heights and spending hours on the scaffolding, carefully applying wood filler, then sanding, priming and painting the beam in preparation for a shiny new ceiling fan.

    Wood beam in ceiling

    I actually considered leaving the wood (or staining it a different colour), but once the white paint crept up the walls, the wood really stood out and actually made our tall ceiling seem really low.

    Pine wood beam
    Pine wood ceiling beam

    Even once I decided to paint it white, I originally opted to leave the knots, hoping for a fresh textured look.  Disappointingly, the knots pretty much disappeared under the paint except for a few cracks that looked like bugs from a distance. 

    How to paint a wood ceiling beam white

    With sweaty palms, my Mom filled in the cracks with wood filler (essentially undoing her previous priming efforts), then sanded and primed each knot again.  I (so conveniently) aggravated a back injury while this was being done, which is why I wasn't Mandelbauming it myself, but even once it healed she still soldiered on, applying three coats of paint with a mini roller for a perfectly smooth finish.

    With the beam white, the glitzy gold ceiling fan, with it's wobbly light bulbs, also had to go.

    While we still had scaffolding in our hot little hands (making installation a snap), we splurged on a new ceiling fan and I'm happy to report I'm two-for-two finding ceiling fans I actually like.

    Kichler Ferron ceiling fan
    Kichler Ferron ceiling fan
    photo source
    I've always liked the idea of a white ceiling fan, but white can be a tricky finish because sometimes I find it looks really cheap - especially the blades.  When I found the Kichler Ferron ceiling fan, with luminescent blades instead of plain melamine ones, I was sold. 

    Kichler Ferron ceiling fan blade detail

    They catch the light really nicely.  No, dreamily, I want to say dreamily. 

    It also comes in an oil rubbed bronze and brushed nickel - both of which are just as modern and stylish.  

    This model doesn't have a light kit, which is perfect for us.  It works silently and efficiently, and will do wonders to force warm air back down, so we aren't heating the 13 foot tall ceiling.

    Kichler Ferron ceiling fan
    Modern white ceiling fan - no light

    Eventually I want to replace the eyeball pot lights above the fireplace but we're prioritizing the upgrades.  For now, I'm enjoying the new fan!

    Modern white ceiling fan - no light
    Read more »

    October 25, 2013

    Give a Fire Poker Set a New Look with Paint

    How to paint a fire poker set

    In the spray painting frenzy I eluded to, a fire poker set left behind by the former owners of the lakehouse also got a dash of matte black Rustoleum high heat paint.  We actually already have a lovely poker set that my grandpa welded, but the tools hang from a stand that also holds a pile of firewood: 

    Log holder and fire poker set

    We'd like to weld a new stand just for the tools, as we no longer need wood storage (what with the handy firewood cubby beside the fireplace), but in the meantime I thought we might just want to use the small little reject set.  However, the pieces had brass handles and were worn out.

    Gold fire poker set

    First I gave the set a thorough clean with some soapy water and a scrub brush.  I rinsed it with clean water and let everything dry overnight.  Then I brought the whole kit + caboodle outside, taped off the bristles on the brush and used the Rustoleum high heat spray paint I used for the fireplace vents and doors (see the whole makeover of the fireplace here).  A couple of coats on each side, waiting two hours before flipping them over and spraying the other side, did the trick.  This paint has a super quick dry time (1/2 hour, handle in 1-2 hours), which makes for a quick DIY.

    Paint a fire poker set
    Matte black fireplace tools DIY

    I like how the set disappears against the dark grey, newly painted stone because I will have art and accessories that I want to highlight instead.

    Dark grey fireplace, warm wood floors
    You must ignore the disarray
    I partnered with Rustoleum to update the fireplace vents and doors and was so pleased with the quality of the paint (and the smart, matte black finish) that I tackled this as a bonus project with leftover paint.  I was not prompted or encouraged to provide a positive review of Rustoleum high heat enamel paint.
    Read more »

    October 21, 2013

    How to Easily Paint a Stone Fireplace (Charcoal Grey Fireplace Makeover)

    One day, I'd love to renovate the fireplace entirely.  The fire box is tiny and old, the doors are wonky, the vents are awkward and inconveniently placed, the tile has a dated mint green woven into it, I could go on . . . I think a slate fireplace with a spot for the television above would be so beautiful and practical, but for now I needed a budget-friendly way to make over our fireplace.  For less than $100, I painted the gold doors and vents black using high heat paint and painted the pine wood and fireplace stone a rich charcoal grey.

    This was such an inexpensive - and easy! - way to update the fireplace and modernize the entire living room.

    There were three major steps to this affordable fireplace makeover:
    1. Convince Hubby to let me paint the faux stone dark grey
    2. Paint the metal fireplace doors and vents with Rustoleum high heat enamel spray paint
    3. Paint the fireplace faux stone and sauna wood
    Friday I showed you how I painted the fireplace doors and vents, but didn't show you the rest of the freshly painted fireplace.  Was it cruel to make you wait all weekend?  Well, without further ado . . .

    Budget-Friendly Fireplace Makeover by @danslelakehouse // How to Paint a Fireplace


    Prepping the Fireplace Stone for Paint

    The fireplace "stone" is really just concrete with random bits of stuff thrown in it so it looks a little like stone.  It wouldn't have offended me so much if it didn't have 80s pink hues blended in.  I had read conflicting suggestions on how-to websites about the right kind of paint to use on concrete.  I decided to play it safe and went to the Home Depot in search of masonry paint but a) the colour choices were really limited and b) they were out of the dark bases anyway.  Happily, the woman working the paint department confirmed that I could just to use a plain old paint + primer combo (I used Behr premium plus).

    Before painting, I cleaned the stone.  I had planned to use a shop vac, but I had a little mishap.  My Dad suggested I clean out the fireplace with it as well, so I did that first.  I checked quickly to make sure that what I was cleaning wasn't being pumped back into the room and all was good.  I turned back to the fireplace and, engrossed in my work (and patting myself on the back for the sparkling clean fireplace I was seeing), I didn't turn around until I heard the smoke detector.  When I turned around, the air was so thick with ash debris I could barely see the kitchen.  I had successfully deposited the contents of the fireplace onto our freshly painted white walls.  A million swiffer cloths plus a new coat of paint later and it's now a funny story, but to clean the faux stone I just used a brush because it was much less dangerous.

    How to prep a stone fireplace for painting

    Painting the Fireplace Stone

    Once I had brushed off all the of the dust and loose concrete bits, I started painting.  Using a 2" angled brush I worked in small areas, brushing the paint into the seams and then loading up my brush with paint and squishing it in to every nook and cranny of the faux stone.

    How to easily paint a stone or brick fireplace by @danslelakehouse
    Painted Fireplace // Evening Hush (770F-6), by Behr

    I basically pushed the paint into the stone, using a similar stippling motion as I would use for a stencil.  Then I swept the brush across the stone I was working on to catch any drips.  This way, although I totally trashed a lovely brush by the end, I was able to do the fireplace with one coat.  I just did a few touch ups at the end, adding paint to places I missed.  For the whole wall (including the wood, stone, mantles, and firewood storage cubby to the right), I used almost a gallon of paint. 

    It took me a few afternoons of work, because I would get tired of the task and take a break and work on something else.  If you had a second set of hands, you could easily knock this project out on a weekend - maybe even an afternoon if your fireplace is smaller than mine.

    How to quickly paint a fireplace - tips for making to job go quickly!
    How to paint a stone fireplace by @danslelakehouse

    Where the faux stone met the walls, and also where it met the metal vents, was tricky because the edges are uneven but so close to the wall I couldn't even slide newspaper or tape beside it to protect the wall.  A very small paintbrush from my art supplies box came in handy to apply paint to the edges with more control.

    How to paint around fireplace vents

    It's hard to photograph the fireplace because depending on the lighting, the grey really morphs into different shades.  Please ignore how much disheveled the living room is - we're getting there!

    Fireplace painted dark grey //  Evening Hush (770F-6), by Behr
    Tips for painting a stone fireplace
    Dark grey fireplace
    How to paint a fireplace mantle
    How to update a fireplace for less than $100 // Budget-friendly renovating tips

    Picking a Paint Colour + Finish for the Fireplace

    When I first broached the subject of a painted fireplace, a few readers were worried the faux stone would look "flat," and I took this warning under consideration.  As a result, I wanted a paint finish with a bit of "life," so I went with a satin finish and it's perfect.  The light catches the facets of the faux stone and it kind of has a subtle glimmer throughout the day, keeping it from having that matte "painted" look.  The nicest part is the colour looks different as the light catches it, so sometimes it looks like I used a few variations of the same shade.

    Paint a fireplace dark grey // @danslelakehouse
    Charcoal grey fireplace // @danslelakehouse
    How to paint a concrete fireplace
    What kind of finish to use when painting a fireplace

    At first I had a hard time finding the deep, dark shade of grey I wanted and we pondered so many swatches, but in the end I chose Evening Hush (770F-6), by Behr (Beluga was my second choice, but a smidge too dark we thought).  As a bonus, it was Hubby-approved.  Perfect.

    Picking a shade of grey for the fireplace
    My Mom, pondering some grey swatches
    Charcoal grey painted fireplace // @danslelakehouse

    More living room updates soon, as soon as the living room looks more like a living room.

    UPDATE: See the "finished" (when is a home ever done?) space on The Lakehouse Tour.  Here's a sneak peek:

    How to paint a stone or brick fireplace a deep charcoal grey - plus tutorial for how to paint fireplace doors and vents // @danslelakehouse
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