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Powder Room Update

Finally, the Powder Room is ready for the big reveal.  What did we do during this update:

1. Painted the walls

2. Put up a new mirror (Lowes)

3. Installed new lights (Lowes)

4. Refinished bathroom cabinet

5. Refinished over the toilet wicker cabinet

Before and After:


Sorry for the funky photos.  The powder room is so tiny that you have to try to take the photos from outside the room and walk around to try to get both cabinets.

I love our house, I truly do.  The only thing I hate about our house is the builders grade, press-board with a very thin veneer, crappy, yellow, oak-ish cabinets.  Do you get the impression, I really don’t like them!?!  Unfortunately, these same cabinets adorn our kitchen, powder room, master bath, and second bath!  ARGH!

We really can’t afford to replace them, and they are in pretty good condition.  So, I set out to find a way to make them look better.  Paint?  Well, I am from the old school of if you have exhausted all other options, then paint.  I knew with the cabinets not being real wood, once I paint them, there is no going back to a wood look.

Stain, that would have worked on the wood veneer, but the sides of the cabinets are just basically a big sticker.  Stain would not work there.

I tried Minwax Gel Stain several years ago, it had a very glossy finish and two years later was chipping like crazy.

I kept seeing General Finishes Java Gel Stain on Pinterest.  Always one to check reviews, I could not find one bad one!  Sounded like a plan to me.  I figured I’d try to refinish the powder room cabinet since that is the smallest one and would be the easiest to replace if it didn’t look nice.

This has to be the easiest stain I have ever worked with!  Here are the steps I followed:

Buy your supplies:

  1. some old white socks (raid your drawers)
  2. Good rubber gloves 
  3. 320 grit sandpaper
  4. Tack Cloth
  5. Throw away sponge brushes
  6. Painter’s pyramids
  7. GeneralFinishes Gel Stain – Java
  8. General Finishes Gel Topcoat in Satin Finish
  9. 002 (4)



Prepare to stain the cabinet doors:

  1. Remove the doors from the cabinet
  2. Clean the cabinet doors (I could not use anything too strong or watery, so I used my favorite all purpose cleaner “Awesome Cleaner” from the Dollar Tree.  It truly is Awesome and works on everything.  Best $1 I spend on the house!
  3. Lightly sand the cabinet doors and frame.  Make sure you sand very lightly since it is just a crappy veneer.  Make sure you sand with the grain of the wood.  I did this outside.
  4. Rub the cabinet door and frame with the tack cloth to pick up any dust that is on there.
  5. Rub the cabinet door and frame with the tack cloth again.
  6. Prepare your area for finishing.  I taped two layers of garbage bags to my countertop.  I used masking tape and made sure I had two layers everywhere.001 (4)
  7. Put your cabinet doors on top of your painters pyramids (they allow the cabinet door to get up off from the surface so you can get the sides easily.  They also allow you to do both sides of the cabinet doors without letting the first side completely dry.
  8. Open the can of gel stain.
  9. Put your cabinet door on the painters pyramids.
  10. Use the sponge brush to stain any decorative trim on your cabinet doors.
  11. Put on your rubber gloves, then put the white socks on your hands.
  12. Get a generous amount of stain on your sock.  Put the stain on the door.
    1. You don’t want to go to thick.  It is better to do several coats.
    2. Don’t overwork it!  Once you have it on, leave it alone.  This exceptional Stain is self leveling so don’t worry that you don’t have it completely smooth, it will smooth out, trust me!
  13. This is important: Wait for 24 hours between coats.   Sand lightly and use your trusty tack cloth between each coat.  This helps the gel stain grab on to the previous coat.

How does each coat look?

Lightly sanded door (that took the yellow off!)

Lightly sanded door (that took the yellow off!)

First Coat

First Coat

Second Coat

Second Coat

Third Coat

Third Coat

Fourth Coat

Fourth Coat

The cabinet came out so well, that I decided to use the General Finishes Gel Stain on the horrible wicker cabinet above the toilet.  I was not sure it would work, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I was amazed at how well it came out!

The Painters Pyramids were invaluable for this!

The Painters Pyramids were invaluable for this!

The Painters Pyramids were invaluable for this!

The Painters Pyramids were invaluable for this!

How did the cabinet over the toilet come out?


It is going to live to see another day! I could not believe the General Finishes Gel Stain worked on the wicker too!

How does the Powder room look now?  Well, it is so hard to photograph cause it is so small, but here it goes!

after only

008 (3)

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The Perfect Bathroom Mirror!

I ran to Lowes after work to get some more ceiling paint (I have lost my knack at cutting in the paint free-handed – I found out the hard way),  I have to touch up the ceiling.  I was also looking for the perfect mirror to replace the one that got broken last night.  I found one already framed for a little less than $100!  Yeah!  Buy that puppy!  And buy it I did.  I left the store and it was pouring down rain.  Not to be deterred, I took the flat-bed cart with my purchases out to my car.  I had to lower the back seats to get the mirror in my tiny little Prius.  But, it fit fine.  Now I am soaking wet. LOL

So, I get home and we very carefully unpack it and remove all the staples.  I let out a sigh of relief as I found the mirror arrived to my home in tact!  We took the mirror into the powder room to see how it was going to look.  It was the perfect dimension for the wall and looked AMAZING.  Well, all except for one thing.  When the shades are on the light fixture, the shade touches the polystyrene frame (IE plastic).  The melting point of polystyrene is 360 degrees.  An incandescent light bulb can heat up to 500 degrees!  OH NO!!! That is not going to work.  The frame is very dimensional and sticks out pretty far from the wall, which by the way is why it looked so incredible!

So, we are now looking for LED lights that go into a standard socket since they do not burn hot.  The other alternative is to install the new mirror in our master bathroom (which will mean we will have to buy two of them).  Also, I am not sure they are going to go with what I have in mind for the master bathroom.  Currently, the master bath is white on white.  I want to changed to wall color to grey.  I would paint the trim and cabinets bright white and leave the white tiles.  I was also planning on doing an accent wall with metallic silver and gold horizontal stripes.  Yes, I am already planning the next bathroom.  I know, I know, you think I am a glutton for punishment.

But, let’s not forget… the only reason I finally did the powder room, which I have been thinking about for a couple of years, is because the toilet would not stop running!

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All because the toilet wouldn’t stop running

Our powder room toilet would not stop running.  Eh Gads!  When the water bill came, it was over 100% of our normal water bill.  Ever the lazy homeowner, we didn’t do anything about it the first month.  When the next water bill came, it was again over 100% of the normal water bill.  So, I told DH that it was time to change the innards of the toilet and stop the running.  He has never done this before.  So, where do you go to learn how to do it… YOU TUBE!!!

When I saw that you had to remove the entire toilet tank to replace all the inner workings of the toilet, I thought, well, I have wanted to paint the horribly mossy green powder room for some time, guess  it is the right time now.

So, this morning, my DD and I went to Lowes to pick up some paint.  A nice color called Cafe from Valspar.  I was worried that it would translate to off-white on the walls.  My DH took apart the toilet and we removed everything from the powder room and proceeded to paint.  Since they painted the ceiling above the sink the horrible green color, we had to paint the entire ceiling so the two whites would match.

I painted the walls behind and beside the toilet the Cafe color since the priority is to get the toilet, mirror, and new light fixture in tonight.  We decided to use the beige color from the kitchen as an accent wall (the wall with the mirror and light). I just got done painting that wall also.

The big wall on the left and the wall next to the mirror wall will get done tomorrow night.  I will also need to touch up the ceiling since my freehand “cutting in” has not been utilized in 7 years (I was out of practice).  Here is how it looks before and during.





Well, we just had a little mishap.  While re-installing the mirror, it dropped down on one side and broke.  I guess instead of buying framing for the existing tacky mirror.  We will be buying a new framed mirror.

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