In preparation for our exciting reno,
the bathroom has been largely dismantled and we’re down to the studs on
one side. There’s no going back! Before we ripped apart the walls, I
quickly snapped a few photos to show how the budget-friendly spruce held
up. Here’s what the painted vanity, painted tile, painted hardware, and painted light fixture looked like when everything was freshly done:
And here’s that same view, right before demolition commenced (which
is why, if you look closely, it’s not as clean – seemed like a waste of
time to clean in the
weeks days before we started to demo):
As a quick reminder, here’s what the bathroom looked like when we moved in:
I have to say that I really, really liked the makeover.
Of course, aqua cabinets would have been even better, but I wanted to work
with what was there, like the linoleum floors, the mint counters, and
the bisque toilet, sink, and shower, because the goal was to spend as
little as possible. When we bought the lakehouse and started tinkering with floor plans,
sketching out mini makeovers, and spacing out/budgeting for major
renovations, the original plan was to renovate the bathroom last year.
Unfortunately, the delay in selling our townhouse (plus the disappointing sale price), and the resultant delays moving in and tackling the kitchen
meant that we just weren’t prepared to renovate the bathroom last
spring. Having a spruced up space made delaying the renovation by a
year so much easier. Plus, it helped me figure out what I wanted for the bath renovation in the long run, and I’m grateful for that time to ponder.
So, how did everything hold up?
The Painted Bathroom Vanity
It held up beautifully! I am actually very surprised, because the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations kit required no sanding or priming (click here to read my post about it).
It made me so nervous to skip those steps, but it adhered perfectly and
held up to lots of scrubbing and cleaning. In one teeny tiny area,
where we forgot to put a cabinet bumper, the constant opening and
slamming shut of the door rubbed off a tiny fleck of paint. Cabinet
bumpers are a must! I was provided this product by Rustoleum, but would
happily purchase it because it was far less labor intensive and messy
than sanding, priming and painting (which we did for the kitchen cabinets),
but it held up better than primer and paint. I have had to touch up
the kitchen cabinets in a few spots, but I haven’t touched up the
bathroom cabinetry (I ignored the little fleck because it was so wee).
Would I recommend it? Yes! Whole-heartedly – especially to
someone who doesn’t have ready access to a workshop or garage. Sanding
is so messy, but de-glossing can easily be done indoors without making a
mess (as long as there is good ventilation).
Are there drawbacks? The colour options
are limited, but you get it tinted in-store, and I think that an
adventurous person working the paint department could custom tint it.
They did that for me for the tile transformation kit because they didn’t
have the code for the exact white. So custom colours could be a possibility. As for other drawbacks, in can be a bit pricey if you’re only refinishing a small set of cabinets – but there are kits in different sizes (small and large). As I mentioned before,
the only tricky part with application is the clear coat, which can end up streaky and is
difficult to fix so you need to work quickly, in good light, and get an
even application the first time.
The Painted Hardware
I am slightly disappointed with the painted hardware,
but I think my sanding/prep work is to blame. Overall, the hardware
maintained its lovely matte black finish, but on two knobs the gold
peeked through (see photo below). It was such a bummer! I didn’t prime (the Rust-Oleum High Heat Enamel spray paint
I used doesn’t require it), so perhaps that would have helped. I think
that the real problem is that I didn’t wipe off the residue well enough
after sanding. If I painted hardware again, I’d sand really well and then clean with TSP – that stuff works really well. Using metal primer would also be a good idea.
Would I recommend it? Sure! It’s just paint, and if you have
hardware with a nice shape but unwelcome finish, it can be a really cost
effective way to update it – especially if you’re using leftover paint like I did. If I was really bothered, it would have taken me two second to fix the gold patches.
The Painted Light Fixture
That thing bothered me – not the paint makeover, but the fixture itself. It’s just so ugly. I will
admit, though, that it did provide nice light. I always looked good in
this bathroom, sort of airbrushed, which sometimes resulted in a
botched makeup application – something I’d realize in horror when I
looked in the truck vanity mirror, halfway to town. I recently busted
two bulbs cleaning it, so now I’m even less enamored with it. I should
admit that I am a hair spray fanatic, so everything in the
bathroom gets coated in a light dusting of sticky mist. The matte
surface of the paint made it a bit trickier to wipe the spray residue
off, but it also disguised it a bit. I think a glossy finish would be
better for something that requires regular cleaning, but there were no
problems with the paint – no chips or loss of paint.
Would I recommend it? Yes! De-brassifying the light fixture
made me much happier with the bathroom and it helped tide me over until
the reno. It definitely helped me save money because otherwise I might
have been tempted to drop $20-50 on a new light fixture, which would
have been a total waste. I’m probably too worried, but because those bulbs
do give off some heat I felt more comfortable using the Rust-Oleum High Heat Enamel spray paint (which has a really limited colour and finish selection).
The Painted Tile
Remember how I goofed that up? If I’d followed the directions during the application, it would have
been amazing! Despite my rookie mistake, the Rust-Oleum Tile Transformation kit still held up – no damage or chipping, and it was easy to clean. I have seen people cover tile using paint (like Jenny’s bathroom makeover),
but I can’t speak to how well that holds up or cleans. I can say that
the Rustoleum tile paint ends up super smooth, just like ceramic – and not like paint at all. I’m
overly concerned with how well it cleaned, but sometimes I see a
bathroom reno or makeover – with decorative crap littering the toilet tank, for
example, and sigh, “that can’t be easy to clean“. It’s the hairspray thing – it clouds my vision.
Would I recommend it? If you’ve got hideous tile and are in
need of a temporary solution, I can’t think of a better way to simply
and cost-effectively update it. I think of these Rust-Oleum products as
band-aid solutions, though, and wouldn’t recommend doing this and then
investing in expensive new cabinets or something – this is for the
budget-conscious, because once the grout lines are painted, close up
it’s evident that it’s a faux finish.
After its budget-friendly makeover, the bathroom got a lot of love – especially from Apartment Therapy readers,
many of whom deemed further renovation unnecessary. Some even
suggested taking the spruce a bit further and replacing the sink and
counter, for a more permanent change. But there are (were!) many things
to dislike about the bathroom, despite my efforts at gussying it up:
The Portal to Nowhere
The shower portal is probably the #1 reason we want to renovate.
I absolutely hate the shower portal, but I’m happy I lived
with it for a year and a half, first. Had we renovated immediately, I
would have been tempted by a modern version, because the shower doors do
contain the steam better than a shower curtain, which produces a cozier
shower experience – until you step out into the frigid bathroom!
Ultimately, what has bothered me the most is how difficult it is to
clean! Okay, yes, I seem to be a bit preoccupied with how easy it is to
clean things in the bathroom, but cleaning the glass doors was a
nightmare! Even after vigorous scrubbing, they never looked perfectly clean, plus they got covered in soap scum immediately anyway.
This is the day after I scrubbed them:
See that grime? Oh yeah, and the door didn’t properly open and close
anymore. I can’t believe I’m showcasing all of this grossness. I even
left my hand lotion and face wash on the vanity for photos – without
putting them in pretty bottles. They’re going to revoke my blogger
It is also awkward to clean inside the tub,
because the glass panels prevent me from reaching inside easily. I am
SO excited to have a shower curtain again! It will be easier to clean
everything, and it won’t produce such a dramatic temperature difference
between the shower and the rest of the room. Plus, I’m excited for new
faucets because the existing ones have taken a beating and just look so
sad (that’s mostly wear – not all soap scum, but it’s some soap scum,
I’m not going to lie).
The laminate counter, although I grew fond
of the mint, chipped and began to peel (they were totally popping up in
the kitchen when we moved in, but the bathroom was okay at the time).
Covering it with Rust-Oleum’s Counter Top Transformations
would have helped, but I didn’t like any of the colour choices. If we
were living with the bathroom for longer, I would have probably tried
it. The concrete finish everyone is doing looks cute too, but that looks awfully dusty.
This vanity is SO low: only 30″ (including the counter)! I know we were accustomed to the taller, brand new vanity in the townhouse, which made this feel even
shorter, but still – it’s so short. It seems like the silliest thing
to complain about, but after you wash your hands and accidentally soak
the crotch of your pants right before leaving the house – a dozen times –
you start to pine for a taller vanity. I’m very excited for our new
walnut vanity, which will be between 36-37″ tall – plus we’ll have the
bonus of double sinks!
So there you have it, some updates on our budget-friendly spruce
(what held up and what didn’t), and also a little tour of the grossness
to better explain why we’re renovating. If you’re curious about the
makeover process, here are the other posts about making over the space:
Now, forget you ever saw my grimey shower 😉