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Yes, I painted my bathroom orange.

Winter Project I: Guest Bathroom Revamp

Like most guest bathrooms, mine is small. There's enough room for a sink, a toilet, a shower/tub, and 1.5 people. It hadn't been changed at all since the house was built (except for a quick slap of paint) - Everything was white except the "oak" cabinet. It was like walking into a dingy coccoon. There are no windows, but if you leave the door open, people coming the steps will have a nice view.

Something had to change.

the legendary before shot

I started out just wanting to change the color of the bathroom to something warm and engaging. I had purchased green floor mats and hung green towels in there when I moved in, and I liked the idea of not painting it a yellow (or orange) color. With a palette of blue or green in mind, I grabbed a bunch of paint chips and taped them around the bathroom while I started prepping the room by cleaning walls, removing face plates, and taking down the mirror.

I regretted not taking down the mirror in my bathroom when I painted it orange. It was too big for one person to remove, but I think the paint job wasn't as good because of it. The vanity/medicine cabinet was no fun to paint around in my bathroom, either, so I decided to take that out in the guest bathroom, too. It had been painted in, so I took a utility knife and scored around the edges, and then opened the cabinet and unscrewed the four screws holding it into the wall. I had never realized the back of the cabinet was plastic, and my dislike of the thing only grew.

As I was placing it outside the bathroom, it occurred to me that I could replace the whole thing with something nicer. Somewhere off in the distance, the cash register at Lowes chimed in joy.

There were two small (thumb diameter-sized) holes from where a towel bar used to be in the guest bathroom (it fell out on Christmas Day), and so my next task was to patch them. My friend C came over and taught me how to patch holes using tape, joint compound, a sander, and primer. She left her supplies with me so I can make rounds 2 and 3 of the patch over the next few days and I took her out for Indian food.

I was putting on the final coat of joint compound when I decided that I should take out the installed towelbars too, and put them back properly affixed to the wall. (The previous owners had just screwed them into the wallboard willy-nilly.

The one my father had installed on Christmas Day had plastic sheathes in them and were pretty sturdy, but I decided to remove them anyway and drill new holes higher in the wall for that rack.

The rack over the toilet, however... the previous owner had shoved a heavy duty sheath with wings into the hole, and screwed into that. But the wall was essentially hollow, so you couldn't just unscrew the screw holding the mounts to the wall. I ended pulling back the mounting element while I unscrewed the screw. The first one took me a total of 2 hours. The second one I knocked out in 1.5 hours. At this point, I floated away on a raging river of grumpiness and bad puns. It was also after midnight, so I went to bed.

Once the screws were out (the sheathes dropped into the wall), I patched the holes, sanded, and primed them. I was ready to paint. I headed off to the Lowes where I picked up a gallon of Greek Sea (a lightish blue-green color), a pint of Seaside (a white tinged with blue), and a gallon of Cadet (a light blue which I was going to use to create wavy stripes on two walls, and then later use in my downstairs bathroom).

I swung back by the medicine cabinets and notice that the ones installed in my bathrooms were indeed the cheapest ones you could get in addition to being superbly ugly. The opening for the cabinet was small, and there were only a few options available that didn't require me to cut a bigger hole and move the braces; I ended up buying an oak-colored medicine cabinet, whose mirror was framed in that material. I intended it to bring out the oakiness of the cabinet below.

That night, I went home and taped off the tiles, door frame and counter. I tested a piece of painter's tape on the ceiling, and as usual, it fell right off. "I'll be careful." I said to myself.

(pause for laughter)

It didn't even occur to me that I could remove the tank of my toilet; I've already been mocked enough about this, so save your remarks for the end.

The next morning, I rose and shone, and painted the bathroom. I did paint every square inch behind the toilet and it took forever. I'm sure there are errant green paint marks on the reverse of the tank. It wasn't 1 coat paint as advertised (more like 1.5 to be satisfactory, 2.5 to be excellent), but it went on pretty well. I've had a lot of experience with acrylic paints in other forms, but I was surprised at how quickly the ceiling soaked up the occasional dab or swish and dried it out.

At noon, I was done with the first coat. When I got home from my evening out that night, I touched up a few big sections, and repainted over portions I wanted to be more evenly applied. (Oddly, most of the work done on this room happened in the evening and wee small hours of the night).

On that Sunday, I took down the tape and was promptly peeved. The painter's tape had not been my friend, and the paint had seeped under to the grout and tile. It scraped off mostly, but who wants to spend their time scraping paint off tile?

I looked around me and realized I wasn't even close to being done: the ceiling-wall line was crunchy at best (I chose to the use term shoddy-looking), the paint still seemed somewhat uneven (but was maturing into a nice deeper teal-like color than I expected. Must be the lack of natural light!), and I hadn't done squat about the door yet.

I immediately took the door off and used it as part of a barrier to keep my cat out of the bathroom, which she was desperate to hang out in, despite the fact she had already gotten herself covered in paint once and was then forcibly washed). I went downstairs and grabed the Shadow White paint the previous owners had left for me from when they touched up the place . As I opened it, a foul smell leapt out, knocked me over, and chortled. The inside of the container was brown and mucky with things floating on the surface.

Never has a container of paint been closed so quickly. Never has it taken me so long to acquire a new can of paint. Stores that sell Duron paint tend to be open only during the week, and often only during normal person working hours. I work abnormal peson working hours, but took advantage of an icestorm one day to stop into one of the few resellers on my way to work. He didn't have the right base, but I sucked it up, and got the closest thing to it.

I had put some primer on top of the most egregious green marks on the ceiling, and taped off the top of the walls. I painted around the edges of the ceiling with the white, feathering it into the existing white (I can still tell a difference, which means I'm going to have to paint that ceiling at some point in the near future). I took off the tape and... seepage.

At this point, I strongly considered charging my sense of bitterness rent and declaring it a legal resident of the house if it was going to be around this much.

Two days later, equipped with some masking paper, very small brushes, and determination, I attacked the problem again. The masking paper stayed on the ceiling, the small brushes cleaned most of it up, and I ended up with a line I could live with, even if it wasn't perfect.

I had decided not to do any faux treatments in the room for two reasons: 1. The color was so great that it didn't need it, and 2. The room was so small, the faux would be overwhelming.

I was glad to declare it done and turn my attention to the door and doorframe. I painted both Seaside, but I left the frame edges in white to set it off. It looked great, was quick and easy and gave me no problems. I was able to attach the door in 9 minutes flat, and exile all of the painting supplies to the garage again.

After that, all that was left was to install the new medicine cabinet (piece of cake - I drilled holes in the cabinet sidewalls and studs, and screwed the cabinet in) and towel bars (I replaced the crappy metal ones with wooden ones with 4 screws to hold them up, as opposed to two screws). You'll be glad to know that I installed the towel bars the right way.

And here it is:

I love how the green (which varies depending on the light) makes the white of the tile and fixtures pop, contrasts nicely with the oak, and gives the shower curtain energy that was lost in a sea of white.

The door looks far duskier than it is in person - it's a crisp clean white tinged with blue that is dimished by the lighting in the room.

I do have a few regrets. The medicine cabinet should be centered, but that'd have required me to cut another hole and move a brace. I'd also like another outlet in the room, and at some point in the future, I'd like to replace the sink and mirror with something a little smaller and more elegant.

I have three new projects that grew out of this one. The first is to paint the ceiling white to really refine the room. The second is to replace the medicine cabinet in my bathroom with the same style of medicine cabinet I installed in this bathroom. The third is to use the Cadet paint downstairs in my half-bath - I'm planning on painting 1 or 2 horizontal stripes to take up 3 feet of wall around the middle of the room.

* 07:45 PM
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