Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Big Updates for a Little Bathroom


We’ve come a long way since the blessed day that we moved into our first home just over two years ago. Goodbye, oak-colored cabinet. Adios, ghetto mirror. See ya later, outdated and atrociously ugly light fixture.

This is how we look today in our master bathroom. Yippeeeeee! Do you want to see how we did it?

Good answer.


Most recently, our bathroom has looked like this. The cabinet was updated with a dark stain, but that awful barely-held-on mirror literally stared me in the face every time I was in there. It was covered with paint and muck that I simply couldn’t get off.

And the light is $9 at any home improvement store. I am shocked that they still sell it, but I’m sure it is simply for the crazy-cheap price so people can put ugly, affordable things in their bathrooms.

I decided to spend some of my birthday money on some improvements in here. This all started when I found this gorgeous mirror at, where else, TJ Maxx. I knew that a giant (and clean!) mirror would go a long way in this little bathroom in making a nice statement.

And since my plans to blow out the back wall and make this space twice the size were halted before I could even finish saying my plan, I knew that these little changes were all that were going to happen.


But, as you can see when I put the mirror in place to see how it looked, we had some location issues with the old lighting fixture.

Hooray! We’ll just use this as a chance to update that as well when we move it to higher up on the wall to accommodate a massive mirror underneath!


I was a little nervous about removing the old mirror, since it was attached to the wall with who-knows-what substance. After reading lots of advice online, I covered the mirror in duct tape to prevent any shards from flying if when it broke.

IMG_1838  IMG_1839

And then I got some trusty tools to carefully pry the mirror from the wall. I always wear gloves when I work, and then I grabbed a putty knife and some hanging wire to saw behind the mirror and adhesive.


I’m so glad that, yet again, something was done poorly on this house before we moved in! Look at this! They attached this mirror to the wall using lots of those little sticky pads. Which meant that my job just got a lot easier.

It came off in one piece with very little work from me and no flying glass shards. I was elated!


With the mirror down, I next decided to tackle the old lighting fixture. I made certain that the circuit breaker for the bathroom was off before proceeding. I’m a paranoid wimp like that.

Electricity, like mountains and thunderstorms, always wins.


The face plate was soon off, which left the wires and screws exposed to remove the rest. The quality installation by the previous owners meant that this guy had not even been grounded before!


IMG_1848  IMG_1849

So then I had some gaping holes left in my wall where the lighting fixture and mirror had once been. Since we were moving the light up a few feet, the holes needed to be patched.


For the little holes, I used my trusty drywall hole filler gunk. It works like a charm.

IMG_1850  IMG_1851

Put filler over the hole, then flatten with a putty knife. Repeat until the area is nice and smooth without an indentation from the previous hole. I love this step because it instantly makes a huge difference to not have a bunch of holes in my wall.


For the big hole with the old lighting box, I waited for Hubby’s expertise to proceed. When things have potential to catch on fire, I prefer to have a carefully-watching eye. We make a good team in our home improvement efforts!


He sized up and cut the new hole for the junction box. This is mounted to the wall (or studs in new construction), and it went much higher than the old box.


Hubby used a utility knife to cut through the drywall. He stood on the vanity for support. I took pictures.

See? A great team!

Oh no! Just like we feared, the wall directly behind the new hole was block construction! Which meant that the new junction box that we had carefully selected wouldn’t fit deeply enough inside the hole to work.

This problem took a few days to solve until we eventually found a non-standard box that was only 1.25 inches deep. That was just enough room for the box to go into the wall without coming out past the drywall. Phew!

IMG_1869  IMG_1870

Hubby was able to chip and smooth away enough block to bring the wires through to the new hole. He used a rope to latch around the wires, then carefully pulled them through the tight spaces of the block wall. It was tricky, but he did it!


And the new, narrow junction box could go in at last.


Since the originally-planned box was a circle, I had a few more places to patch later on. I was just so relieved that we came up with something to work in our not-very-deep hole so I wouldn’t have to abandon my hopes of these bathroom updates.


I had already done lots of research online trying to find a loveable light with an equally-loveable price tag. I finally found something wonderful at Lowes, which has an impressive lighting selection.


Holy smokes! How to choose! Luckily, I knew exactly which one that I wanted.


And they had it in stock, so I brought it home. I like that it is an updated modern look on an old classic. I didn’t want anything too crazy in here. Being a fan of never-outdated things comes in handy at times.


Hubby got to work with the fun part now…finally seeing the new light being placed!


Oh man. We’re getting closer now, and I am really loving it. I am so glad that Hubby is willing to go along with my little ideas now and then.


My goodness, I love it! But, as you can see, my work is far from done. With the electrical portion complete, the ball came back to my court to finish the patching and painting.

I couldn’t resist putting up the new mirror to see our progress. We are definitely on the right track here! Some of the voices in my head suggested that we just leave the hole open since it will be covered with the giant mirror. But I didn’t want to leave that exposed for the next owners some day.

Because you know that I’m taking my birthday present mirror with me when we go!


And I didn’t want critters crawling through the hole, either. In fact, I had a silly dream that all of my scorpion enemies found this hole instantly and started to come in en mass. It was a lovely dream. Nice enough that I woke up shouting. Which woke up Hubby, too.


So, needless to say, the hole got patched the very next morning. I had lots of “help” here from my Dad and sister, who supervised the entire process. It was nice to have company (and so many opinions!) while working on the fun stuff to get this project complete.

After everything turned from purple to white, I knew that the spackle had sufficiently dried. I will say this…it’s a very good thing that this hole would be covered by the mirror for the rest of its life.

A drywaller I ain’t!


Now it was time for paint so we could finally get that big, beautiful mirror in place underneath the big, beautiful lighting fixture.

And it’s done! And I love it! And it took longer than I though, but that is how it goes with every project that I do!

I’m going to start guesstimating a week for these projects, just so I feel better when it only takes me three days.

As with everything I’ve done on this house, I am very happy that it’s over! But I am also very happy with the results. It was worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears that Hubby shed to make this project a done deal.

According to the before-and-after pictures of the clock, this entire thing only took an hour and a half to complete. I will let you draw your own conclusions.

I have truly been enjoying the look. It makes the entire bathroom look so much more finished by having a giant framed mirror in there. And the new lighting fixture gives off a ton of light! It is wonderful, even though it is much higher from people now.

I am tickled. And glad it’s over!

What have you been working on this week? I just finished staining all of the cabinets in my brother’s new house. It took fifteen hours on Monday, and ten hours yesterday. This Saturday, I get to go back and do a coat of polyurethane to seal it all up. I hope I can get feeling back in my arms before then!

It looks awesome, in case you’re wondering. Pictures of that next week when it’s all done!

1 comment:

  1. Sexy (the mirror, I mean). And I love your blog header!


Make my day. I love comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...