Today we’re finally wrapping up the bathroom remodel we completed by going through how we transformed our vanity from 1979 builder grade, to updated and modern! If you haven’t seen the entire bathroom reveal full of all the finished pictures, you should definitely take a peek!
Now back into the “how” part : )
Going into the bathroom remodel, we knew we wanted to keep as much of what we had as possible, with a huge one being this vanity. However, the current state of it just wasn’t doing it for us. It felt old and heavy in the space and needed a good refresh for our vision to come to life. After deciding on the finishes, we got to work!
First up was removing all of the doors and drawers, and sanding the entire unit down. We are lucky enough to have solid wood cabinets, and bringing them back to bare wood already made the room feel more spacious.
In order to bring the vanity to looking like one solid piece as opposed to three separate cabinets, all of the gaps got a couple layers of wood filler and more sanding.
We went back and forth between restaining and painting, but in the end, painting won! Once the primer was put on, you could no longer tell that this one vanity was actually 3 pieces!
The drawers also received a good sanding and priming as is, but the doors got some extra attention. We will be going into more detail on the exact process when we share our kitchen update in the next few weeks, but long story short, we had old doors that we weren’t in love with, and one day a lightbulb went off while on my hands and knees trying to find that small earring that dropped (why does it always roll way under things?!) The front of the doors were not exactly our style, but with a little extra prep-work, the backs could be turned into our favorite shaker style! The the left is the back of the door, and the right was the original fronts!
Because we wanted some open storage, we only refinished the two center doors, and added a shelf to the outside cabinets. Unfortunately I don’t have too many pictures of this process since it involved both Matt and I holding pieces in a tiny area, but the shelf has 3 supports- both sides and the front (we used 1/2″ x 1/2″ trim). The only other two pieces were the 1×2 for the front edge, and the shelf itself, which was made out of leftover 1/4″ plywood.
- First, we added the 1×2 into the frame by screwing in pocket holes from the back.
- Then, we added our supports 1/4″ lower than the top of the 1×2 to the sides and front using 1″ screws.
- Last but not least, we put our shelf in place on top of the supports.
A few date nights with my paint brush and roller (used our favorite- Benjamin Moore Advance in Cloud White), new hinges and simple hardware, some simple trim added to the bottom of the unit to dress it up, and the vanity cabinets were complete!
Next up was upgrading the old laminate countertops with concrete. Because this was completed for our ORC and we only had 6 weeks to get it all done, we chose the feather finish concrete that was in stock at Home Depot instead of waiting for shipping. The brand most commonly referred to in blogland is Ardex, but we gave Henry a try, and after 3 months in, it’s still going strong!
For our prep-work portion, we removed the sink (we reused this as well!) and scraped away all of the old adhesive and caulk.
Before the cement could be added, the surface needed to be roughed up a bit, so we took some 60 grit sandpaper and went to town.
After a good cleaning, it was cement time! This project was extremely easy, yet time consuming all at the same time. We mixed the cement in an old plastic bucket per the directions, and added three thin coats, waiting overnight in-between each application. Also between each application was a lot of sanding. And I mean a lot of it. The good news was that despite reading how power tools proved to be too strong for others, ours worked great and make the process a lot easier! We started off with a low grit, and worked our way up to extra fine, until the concrete was smooth to the touch.
In terms of what we did different, besides using a different product, was our application. Instead of applying the concrete with long smooth strokes and then leaving it, we came back in about 20 minutes later (when it was about 25% dry) and smoothed out bumps or bubbles with short little strokes all over. I think this attributed to all of the variation in the colors, and we love the result!
Our only other tip for the application would be to use something that can’t be bought at a store- your hands! We were dealing with the small metal band on our laminate that connected the countertops with the “backsplash” and were having a heck of a time getting the cement smooth over it. After failed attempts with various sized spreaders, I decided to give my thumb a shot (make sure to use a glove so you don’t end up with cement hands!), and it worked out the best by far! To sand the area down once dry, I just wrapped sandpaper around my thumb, and it smoothed out in no time.
To seal the concrete against the inevitable water splashes and bathroom products we used this 511 Impregnator Sealer from Home Depot and applied 3 coats. A small roller did the trick, and it took 5 minutes in total.
All that was left was reinstalling the sink! Tip- if your sink is already removed, install your new hardware before reinstalling and you will save lots of time and curse words.
Can you believe that this is the same vanity? We are so thrilled with the final product and how much more functional and bright it is. It was a lot of fun to style, and only cost us about $60 for us to refinish! (Already had wood and paint on hand, and did not include new faucet in cost!) If you missed the full bathroom reveal last year, be sure to take a peek, and thanks so much for stopping by! : )
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