Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Small Updates For A 90s Bath

At various times over the years I have succumbed to what I call HGTV syndrome or being HGTV'd, although I probably can't say that now. They have a show by that name. I don't mean it in a good way. Don't get me wrong, I love HGTV. For the most part I feel very content with my house until... I watch too much design television. Then the things that were just minor irritations become major eyesores. My master bath is a prime example of this. I have had a love/hate relationship with my bath for years. When we first saw the house, I couldn't believe the size! I thought we were so lucky to have those fabulous cultured marble counter tops. Don't even get me started on the tub.  A huge jetted tub, big enough to bathe all the kids at once! Now the tub doesn't get used unless the dog needs a bath. This bath was the latest thing in 1990.
It has undergone many transformations over the years. Dark gray wallpaper, red wallpaper, red paint, purple paint, red paint again and now a lovely light gray.  (I have promised myself that I will never paint this bathroom again.) Of course you know I will.
This bathroom has like 7 doors plus the cabinets. You can't do anything without bumping into a door. 
Did I mention that the bath had polished brass fixtures? They were so beautiful 20 years ago. Here is a before shot of part of the shower. (Sorry, taken before I knew I wanted to be a blogger when I grew up.)

About 10 years ago a friend of mine told me that if you spray oven cleaner on the bling it will come off. I lived with it for about 7 more years until I couldn't take it anymore. Most of the time a gallon or so of paint will go a long way to make me feel better about a space. Not this time. I spent about 3 weeks spraying Easy Off Oven Cleaner on this surround. I would spray and let it sit. Clean it off and spray again. I worked on it off and on for a few weeks. It was grueling. It eventually came off, but it was a very slow process. I polished the tough spots with a Dremel. I finally got something I could live with.
The Dremel is a wonderful tool.  It has little bits for sanding, grinding and polishing. I have used it on jewelry too!

Now my surround is brushed chrome. I know you are probably wondering why we just did not buy a new shower door. At the time we had two kids in college and it didn't look like we would have excess cash for such a project. 

The start of this project coincided with an outbreak of lice in the classroom across the hall from me. Anytime I hear about head lice my head immediately starts itching. I am very susceptible to suggestion. I thought one of the kids had spread it to me. I had the school nurse check my head. Thank heavens I didn't have lice. I couldn't figure out why my head itched so bad until I remembered my three weeks with the oven cleaner. Make sure you protect your head. Some of the cleaner may spatter so wear long sleeves and gloves. Shoot, now my head is itching again! The oven cleaner cost about $30.00.

So much oven cleaner got on the faucet during clean up that I went ahead and did that too. A roman tub faucet was also not in the budget. I've hated this faucet forever but I went ahead and embraced the crystal knobs. I took out the little buttons inside the knob and spray painted them silver. I hung a crystal chandelier and brought in some candlesticks that have bobeches on them. 

A bobech is a glass ring that fits around the candle and rests on the rim of the candlestick. They come plain or dripping with crystals. I love the dripping with crystal kind. I got mine at a junk shop, but I have seen them at little boutiques also. 
I tried to get an electrician to hook up the chandelier but he thought I was crazy. I'm sure it is against code to have one so close to water, but I have seen this over and over in magazines. I can convert this to a candelier but I'm afraid I will want it somewhere else in the house and then I would have to rewire it. Instead the chain is hooked on a plant hook in the ceiling. The old wiring is under a cord cover. 

This was so much better but, there were still a few things I hated about this bath. The cultured marble has been turning all sorts of wacky colors after 20 years in the sun. I asked Mr. Bill to make a false front for the tub. He made the one pictured below with beadboard paneling and some trim.

 I painted it and the cabinets white.

White Duck Enamel: Sherwin Williams
I love the cabinets now! I hated the golden oak before. We priced new cabinets last summer but we decided to do this instead. It even improved the appearance of the cultured marble on the sinks and the tub.

Now for the yucky part.
One of the worst jobs in an old bath is the caulk. The caulk was old and had shrunk, something mysterious was also growing. Removing it is a time consuming process but it makes a big difference. Mr. Bill and I found that I do a better job caulking because I have a smaller finger to smooth out the bead. Chip out the old silicone or caulk. Allow it to dry for a few days. (This is the scary part because you have to use another shower in the house and it might be the kid's bath!) Run a smooth line down the tile from corner to corner and then run your finger over it to smooth it out. It takes some getting used to. Don't be afraid to practice. You can always wipe it off and start over.  I always have a pile of rags to clean my finger every so often. New caulk makes a big difference and you don't have to get a handyman to do it. We used Dap Kwik Seal. I don't like the big tubes that go in a caulk gun.

New white faux wood blinds and valances.

We took down the big huge builder mirror. Can you see my husband in the pic? (Again, not thinking blog.) The black lace is a flapper overdress from my Grandmother. It had a pretty vintage flower attached. 

We got these mirrors from Kirklands.They were about $70.00 for both. They are sort of two tone to coordinate with the gold faucets and the refinished brushed nickel surround. We bought the faucets about 10 years ago. We went ahead and got the expensive ones so they would last. (Yippee)  I am sure we got them right before blingy gold went out of style. I would love to replace them at some point but I don't hate those so much. 
When I was 8 or 9 I would go every summer to my aunt's house. Her neighbor across the road had the most beautiful (insert dreamy girl's voice) bathroom with gold plated faucets. I told myself then that someday I would have gold faucets too. 
We got new door knobs, towel bars and a stack of fluffy, white Peacock Alley towels from Tuesday Morning.

Mr. Bill would love to demo this bath and start over, but the tile I love is white subway tile. I can't see spending thousands to change the shape of my tile from squares to rectangles.

I did my daughter's cabinets too. I can't wait to show you. 
I will also have to tell you how I was HGTV'd into removing popcorn from the ceiling. 
Till then,
Sprinkled with elbow grease,

Linking with Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
and  it all started with paint:imagine the possibilities
and Common Ground's Vintage Inspiration Friday

Door Knobs-Home Depot
Towel Bars-Home Depot
Light Fixtures- Home Depot (older)
Chandelier-Antique find
Bench: Tuesday Morning- Gifted
New Jars- Kirklands


  1. Your changes have made a huge difference in updating your bath!

    ... would you like to share at our multi-blog "Imagine the Impossibilities" link party? I think everyone would really enjoy it as much as I ...

    Here's the link:

    We stay live until Friday midnight (CST). Hope to see you at the party!


  2. Thank you. I did link with the party. I have had so many more hits since figuring the link thing out.

    1. So glad you linked up! I have a tutorial on my blog (with screen caps) on how to do the link up and link back thing ...

  3. Beautiful job! Your bath is lovely. I really like the white cabinets, and all your little touches.

    1. Thank you. I like it much better now. It was worth the hard work.

  4. What great upgrades. Thanks so much for linking up to the challenge!

  5. I am so glad I linked up. Thank you for the invite.

  6. We just bought a 90s house with a very similar bath. Your updates are fantastic and easy on the wallet! Can you please share how you got the beadboard to adhere to the bathtub?

    1. My husband made it so it wedged in there but I have heard people
      can liquid nails it on. Good luck.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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