Mirror makeover

Happy Monday!  I hope your weekend was great!

Today I’m going to tell you how we framed our bathroom mirrors- because I must have done 5 million (no exaggeration here folks) Google searches in order to figure out how to do our mirrors.  There are SO many different ways to frame mirrors out there, including kits that you can buy.  I’m going to add my tutorial to the list- I’m not saying it’s the best, but it was simple and involves very few tools.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

1.  Square or rectangular mirror
2.  Low profile mirror clips
3.  Pine base molding (we got ours at Home Depot- Home Depot** will cut it for you, or they usually have a hand saw in the lumber area where you can make your own cuts)
4.  Miter box saw
5.  Mirror adhesive
6.  Pre-stain wood conditioner (recommended for soft woods such as pine)
7.  Sandpaper (150/220 grit, just to smooth down the edges where you make your cuts)
8.  Stain color of your choice
9.  Polyurethane of your choice

First, you’ll want to remove your mirror from the wall.  Then, measure the dimensions of your mirror and figure out how much of your mirror you want to frame.  We did ours a little “wonky” because of the location of the holes for the original mirror clips.  Basically we had a GIANT mirror hung on the bathroom wall with 4 plastic flowers that had screws running through them, inset ~4″ from the edge of the mirror.  I wish I had a picture.  I don’t.  It was hideous, trust me.  I guess lucky us that the mirror wasn’t also glued to the wall.  Anyway- so we had the holes cut off the mirror- again, lucky us that the mirror was giant because we did have to cut off quite a lot.  Here’s a terrible drawing from mspaint to illustrate:

The dots are where the flower clips were and the lines show where we had the mirror cut down


Because we’d made the mirror narrower when we had it cut, we didn’t want to cover up a bunch of it with frame- we wanted to keep it’s original rectangle shape.  So we decided to go with this plan for framing (again, excuse the terrible mspaint drawing):
The red is the edges of the mirror and the brown is the wooden frame we made

This way, the frame would conceal the new clips, but not cover up a ton of the mirror’s surface.  After settling on this method, we then placed our molding pieces on the mirror and measured the length that each board needed to be on its outside edge (the longest edge).  Then we went out and cut each board at a 45 degree angle with the miter box saw.  Pine is soft enough to be able to make the cuts with the miter box saw- which is good because we don’t own a miter saw!
After making the cuts, we sanded down the edges and the faces of the boards to make them nice and smooth, and then prepped the wood with a wood conditioner.  This allows the soft pine wood to better accept the stain.  
We stained the pieces according to the directions on the stain can (we used a tiny can of Minwax English Chestnut and had enough to do both mirrors, plus some extra).  Make sure you stain the back of the wood as well, because you will see a little bit of it in the mirror.  After the stain was dry, we applied several thin coats of polyurethane (Minwax fast drying poly in satin).  Alternatively, you can get a stain with a poly built in- I used this on our coffee table and it worked great.  Or, if you don’t like stain, you can paint the frame.  Your choice!  
Once the frame pieces are dry, you’ll want to glue them to your mirror (*NOTE* This is why we used the pine molding, because it was very lightweight and could be glued easily, without fear of it falling off.  Also, you need to make sure you use glue rated for mirrors).  We glued the edges first, because they were going to be fully glued to the mirror and we could easily line them up with the sides.  Plus we needed to hang the mirror back on the wall with the clips before attaching the top and bottom pieces.  Once the sides were fully attached (about a day of drying), we took the mirror back inside and hung it on the wall with our low profile mirror clips.  Then, we glued the top and bottom on to the mirror.  We were able to use the side pieces and a little bit of painter’s tape to keep them in place.  You’ll want to make sure you keep the door closed and turn on the bathroom fan during this process, because the mirror glue is very smelly.  Here’s the finished product:

Loving that stained glass in there…

And a couple close ups:

The stain really brought out the pretty wood grain of the molding

Mitered corners- if you don’t get your miter cuts just right, you can fill in the gap with some wood putty that accepts stain.  If you decide to paint your frame, fill in the gap with some paintable caulk or spackle. 

Ta-da!  Not too difficult and it dresses up a mirror nicely.  Plus, it’s affordable.  All in all, we spent around $55 per mirror to get this project done- $20 to have the mirror cut down, about $15 for the molding (our mirrors are about 4ft long x 3ft wide), $20 for the stain and poly and wood conditioner (which we used on both mirrors and still have some leftover), $8 for 2 packs of mirror clips, $5 for mirror adhesive and $8 for the saw kit.  If you don’t have to cut your mirror down, you could easily do a large mirror for $35- WAY cheaper than those mirror kits!!

Framing the bathroom mirrors has to be one of my favorite projects that we’ve done in the house- a lot of impact for very little effort.

What do you think?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by this company in any way for this post.

Bathroom break…?

I’m back again, with another bathroom post.  Don’t worry, we only have 2 bathrooms so this will be the last bathroom post!   
We actually re-did our upstairs bathroom (master bath to us, but really sandwiched between the 2 upstairs bedrooms) before the downstairs bath.  It looked like this when we moved in: 
Giant mirror and 80’s light fixture?  Check.  White laminate counter top and linoleum?  Check.  Towel shelf precariously hanging on wall (wouldn’t be able to hold a towel)?  Check.

 The first thing we did was remove the giant mirror, because we needed to have it cut down (it too was held on by plastic flower clips, 4″ in from the sides.  Bizarre).  A tip- any local glass shop can do this for you, and to cut ours down it cost around $20 per mirror.  This beats buying a new mirror- even cut down ours measure ~4 ft x 3 ft.

Look what we found behind the mirror:

Oh yeah, blue flowered wallpaper.  Awesome.  Gotta love it when someone just paints right over it…

Because the wallpaper had been painted over many times…we painted over as well.  Not ideal, but way less work than removing it.  We did remove pieces that were peeling off, then put spackle over the line between the wallpaper and bare wall and sanded in smooth.  We have flat walls, and I think this method worked well- you cannot see areas where we spackled.  Where the prior owners spackled?  You can see that.  And we’ve fixed some ugly spots thanks to them.

We used the same counter top, faucet and light fixture as the downstairs bathroom, which we installed ourselves.  The mirror got framed in this bathroom as well- hmmm, I think I should write a separate post on how to do this, since I googled all over the place to figure out how.  I sadly do not have in process pictures, but I can certainly explain how we did it – I think it turned out well.  We did not re-do the floors in this bathroom- that’s on the future to-do list.  The floors are fine (and thankfully no rotten floor in this room- yikes, I can’t even begin to imagine how we’d deal with that in a 2 story house!) just not updated.  When we do the floors in this room, we’ll probably use the same vinyl flooring as downstairs, (we still have an almost full box left from downstairs- hmmm, that reminds me, we should buy it before they discontinue the color!) but we are NOT removing the linoleum first.  We are going right over the top- because I am never removing linoleum again.  That was a nightmare.

Care to see it?

Done!  We used Contemplation by Behr as the wall color.  This color is the same color that’s in our master bedroom closet and master bedroom ceiling.  Master bedroom walls are Sage Grey by Behr.

And a view from inside the room.  The picture frames have changed since this picture was taken- they’re now white.

As in every room we’ve re-done, we changed out the door hardware from brass to brushed nickel (drawer pulls were already that way when we moved in) and replaced all the switches, switch plates and outlet plates to white (seriously- this last part is the easiest, cheapest way to update a room!!)

That’s the upstairs bath!!  I love it- it’s very calming.  Thankfully this was a pretty simple re-do. Not like the downstairs bath (which you can read about here).

What’s your favorite room in your house?  I’m not sure if this room is my favorite, but it’s pretty close!


I’m back!  Betcha didn’t think I’d make it after the weekend!!  Ha- maybe I will stick to this blogging thing.
So after we bought our house, we spent the next 8 months painting every. single. surface.  (I don’t think we did anything have to do with the outside, except stain the fence- and technically that could be considered painting as well!)  Some people say that a room in your house won’t feel like your own until you paint it- I can see that.  Especially since one of the draws about owning your own home is making it your own space.  We had two motivators for painting the rooms soon after moving into our house, aside from making it our own space.  1. The people who lived there before were TERRIBLE painters.  I have a sneaking suspicion they painted right before they put it on the market, because that paint was slapped up on those walls.  Example: our bedroom was tan except part of one wall (not the whole wall) got left blue- why??  2.  We didn’t want to move furniture into a room until the room got painted, because we didn’t want to be playing furniture shuffle.  So our bedroom was the first to be painted, then the kitchen, then the living room, etc etc. 
Now where am I going with all of this?  Well, a few months after we’d moved in, we decided to paint the downstairs bathroom.  This was about a month before my husband’s parents were coming stay with us.  The bathroom wasn’t terrible from afar:
See- not too bad.  What you don’t fully see is the slapped on paint that’s too dark for the space, the white laminate counter top that is separating from the plywood and the giant mirror/light fixture that’s straight from the 80’s.

But up close it needed some love- especially after we’d freshened up the rest of the rooms of the house. So my husband took it upon himself to start painting the bathroom one weekend.  We like to start by painting the trim, because it’s easiest to tape off.  Around the tub is quarter-round trim that is sealed with silicone.  He started by scraping off the old silicone…to discover the quarter-round was soft.  As in squish your finger into it soft.  Whoops.  So out came the quarter-round.  Then, he got a wild hair to peel back the linoleum to see if there was any water damage to the sub-floor.  Can you guess what he found?  Yup.  Next thing we know, the bathroom starts looking like this:

Wasn’t this supposed to be a simple paint job??

 And this:

Yep, not simple.

 What we discovered was the subfloor by the tub was rotten.  And water had actually seeped under the wall, into the bedroom next door.  Yikes.  Luckily, the wall was not soft.  And we were able to pull back the carpet in the bedroom and air dry everything- the water seepage was fairly contained to a small spot and the only major damage was in the bathroom.  Phew.  (But picture me panicked when this all first started- that’s what I do, panic like it’s my JOB.)

So my husband cut out a piece of the sub-floor (FYI- never done this before- another great thing about owning your own house, you learn on the job!) and replaced it with a new piece of plywood.  What you don’t see pictures of is the 3 days (!!) it took to remove the linoleum first.  They glue that sh*t down!  I never, ever want to repeat that process!!

After the floor was finished, there was just the simple task of patching holes, leveling the walls with spackle and sanding (FYI- never put layer after layer of paint around a light fixture/mirror- it leaves a giant ridge), replacing the counter top (can’t have pretty walls with out a pretty counter!), oh yeah and laying a new floor!  Did I mention that my in-laws would be visiting within the month and that this was our only bathroom downstairs??  Nothing like a little pressure to get you moving.

We didn’t have the tools to lay tile, and I personally do not love the feel of tile, nor the amount of effort it takes to clean it.  So we picked up some vinyl flooring from Home Depot** that is a row of 3 tiles that “stick” in place (it was kind of like laying tongue and groove flooring that’s sticky) and looks/feels like tile.  See:

Not too bad for vinyl!!

The counter top was ordered from Home Depot (seriously, they love us there!) and is a solid surface coating over cultured marble (special order, made by St Paul, color is ginger).  We chose a rectangular, undermount sink.  LOVE (all sinks should be undermount, IMHO).  The faucet isn’t pictured, but it’s this one by Glacier Bay.  The light fixture is similar to this one (the sides are square though, not rounded like the one in the picture)- I was limited by what I could choose for the new light fixture because the hole for the electrical was a large square, not a small circle.  Boo.

We also had the mirror cut down, because it was mounted with plastic flowers that were 4″ inset from the edge of the mirror- gag.  Plus it was GIANT.  After re-mounting it with thin silver mirror hooks, my husband framed it out with pieces of stained pine molding.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the frame- that was done long after my in-laws visit (Note to self- take updated pics!).

Want to see the end result?

Ta da!  The stained glass came from my husband’s grandparent’s house.  It happened to fit PERFECTLY in the window and the frame matches the stain on the vanity- total coincidence.  It looks really lovely during the day when the sun is shining through.  The paint color is Harvest Brown by Behr, with Raffia Cream on the ceiling (we also used these colors in the living room and laundry room- they read differently in ever room)

Phew.  That bathroom was a lot more work than we’d expected it to be- but it looks so nice now.  Well worth the effort.  What do you think?  Have you ever found a surprise while doing a simple project at your house?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in anyway by this company for this post.

Re-visiting the kitchen

I’m not going to say anything about how this is post #2 in as many days, for fear of jinxing my progress.  Whoops- guess I did just say something.
Anyway…a room that is constantly changing in our house is the kitchen.  Well, kitchen and dining room actually, since they are one room.  The kitchen was the selling point of the house (that and the big backyard).  We really loved the custom wood cabinets, layout and the storage space.  What we didn’t love were the counter tops, appliances and the paint color- the counter tops were 21 year old white laminate that had lost its finish and was separating from the plywood it was attached to.  You could set a coffee cup down and leave a permanent ring.  Awesome.  We knew that we could only live with these for so long (and lucky us, all the counters in the house were white laminate!)  Unfortunately, new counters are expensive, so we’d have to let that one wait awhile.  The easiest (and least expensive) thing to change was the paint color.  Because blood red just wasn’t workin’:
The blood red dining room with previous owner’s furniture

The blood red kitchen and lovely white counter tops.  Plus old, inefficient appliances.

 I’d always wanted to do a kitchen in green, so off I went to get a million paint chips and tape them to the walls.  My husband actually made the color choice, going with Mother Nature by Behr.  The ceiling is actually a couple of shades of green lighter- I’m not 100% on the color, it’s either Corn Husk Green by Behr or Rejuvenate by Behr.  Whatever it is, it’s pretty.  I do wish that either a. I’d chosen a shade or two lighter for the ceiling, because only in certain lighting can you tell there is a color difference or b. that we had crown molding in the dining room to better separate the two colors.  The crown molding idea is still on the table, we’re just not 100% sure how to do that because our cabinets already have crown that meets the dining room wall- installing crown in the dining room would involve taking off the crown on the cabinets and cutting it.  Not to mention I would like white crown for the dining room- and that cut would have to be perfect in order to match up between the white and wood crown.  It makes my head spin, I tell ya.

Anyway.  So we painted the kitchen (and discovered part way through the process that there was wallpaper under that blood red color.  Awesome.  Since it’d been painted over at least once, we just painted right over it, because removing it would have been a PAIN) and purchased a couple of appliances.  The fridge we inherited was small, inefficient and dirty.  That got moved to the garage and is now the extra fridge/dog treat holder (yeah, our dogs are spoiled).  The stove was also inefficient and dirty.  I cleaned it up and we gave it to a friend of a friend (who was using a stove from the 50’s…).  Oh and we also updated the lighting- taking the kitchen lighting from fluorescent strip and can light to track and pendant (I used one of the can light converter kits to install the pendant).  So here’s the kitchen after we did all that:

Kitchen with new paint, new appliances and new lighting.  You can see here how the dining room is right next to the kitchen.

 The dining room didn’t get much of an upgrade- we painted and installed the light fixture in the opposite direction.  Not my favorite light fixture but it worked so we went with it.  Oh and we also changed out all the door hardware from brass to brushed nickle and light switches/outlet covers from almond to white (this trick is by far the cheapest, easiest thing you can do to instantly update a room).

Dining room and a kitty- that’s Amber.  She loves to be the center of attention.

At Christmas, my parents generously gifted us with a new dishwasher and microwave, rounding out the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.  About a month later, we’d had it with the laminate counter tops and bit the counter top bullet.  I’d been eyeing Corian countertops for several months- I liked the solid surface (no way was I going to deal with laminate again) and the fact that they are man-made.  Plus the color goes through the entire counter, so if there’s ever a scratch we can just sand it out.  We even went to Home Depot** a few months prior to our purchase and picked out a bunch of tiles to choose from and then harassed asked everyone who came to our house to pick their favorite.  Once we’d narrowed it down to 3 choices, I ordered 10″x10″ tiles directly from Corian.  If you’re going to make a large investment in counters, you won’t regret spending the $15 per tile to see a bigger version of your teeny tiny sample tile.  2 of the colors we thought we liked were gross in large tiles, and the one we were just so so about was gorgeous in a large tile (the tiny tile left out SO much detail).  And we actually use the sample tiles all the time as trivets for our hot pots and pans- bonus!

Anyway- lucky us, Home Depot was having a counter top deal.  We ended up with a free sink, a discount on our color choice, 12 months no interest financing plus I think another 10% off the entire order or something like that- it was a great deal.  We went with a single basin, under-mount stainless sink.  LOVE.  I’m never going back to a double basin sink again.  The faucet is this one– we both wanted something with a pull out sprayer (not pull down) and only one hole cut in the counter (so we didn’t have the soap dispense installed).  So far it’s been a great faucet- no complaints.  Ok, without further ado:


Kitchen after counter top installation.  The color is “burled beach” and is 10,000x prettier in person.  Our kitchen doesn’t get a ton of light because we have a lot of trees, so we went with something light to keep it from getting too dark in the kitchen (because painting the cabinets is 100% out of the question)

With the pretty new counter tops, the rest of the kitchen was looking a little bland with only wood, stainless and green.  I had to spice it up a bit- we don’t love clutter on the counters so colored accessories were out.  One day I happened to stumble upon a shade at World Market** that I knew would be perfect!  Lucky me, it was on sale and the perfect size for the window (they’ve since sold out of this shade- insert giant sad face here).

Here’s the shade installed.  One thing that gives me hives about our kitchen- WHY is the light not centered between the cabinets??  Seriously folks…

The shade was SO pretty I quickly snatched up 2 more for the dining room windows, because the dining room was looking sad in comparison.  I installed them as outside mounts because they were the wrong size for inside mounting- I think they worked out just fine though.  We also just recently updated the chandelier in the dining room- the one we’d flipped always hung slightly crooked and too high above the table.  I found this one on sale at Home Depot and snatched it up.  LOVE. 

New shades and chandelier in the dining room make things feel more cozy.

And that rounds out the tour of our kitchen and dining room.  We love it.  The only thing left to change is the flooring (which is about as annoying as the counter tops were) but that’s something that’ll have to wait awhile- for now we’re pretty happy with our pretty kitchen and dining room!

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in anyway by these companies for this post.

Changin’ it up

I am the WORST blogger ever- almost 1 year (!!) between posts.  I don’t know if I’m cut out for this blogging thing or not, but I’m going to give it a try…again.  Got a little push this morning from Kim at NewlyWoodwards who linked my blog on her post this morning (eek)

So we’ve changed a few things since the last time I blogged…here’s the latest.  First- the coffee table that was my 2nd blog post EVER…had to go.  Insert giant sad face here.  It just wasn’t working for the space- it was GIANT.  And blocked the view of the fireplace.  And threatened to give me a hernia every time I needed to move it to vacuum.  It did serve as a good hider of dog toys and blankets, but after living with it for over a year, in various arrangements, I’d had enough.  See these pictures as evidence of the monstrous beast:

The coffee table shortly after we moved in and set up the living room

The most current state of the coffee table

 So I was on the hunt for a new coffee table.  Enter Craigslist.  I was hoping for something round, with glass.  Something not so giant and heavy and fireplace-blocking.  After a few days of browsing, I found one I liked! It was being sold by a college student for $20.  My husband and I went to pick it up- and it was rough.  The good: round-ish shape. solid wood. glass top.  The bad: wood was scratched.  finish wasn’t great.  The ugly: the glass was scratched.  the bottom was wicker and coming off.  there may have been dog fur involved.  My husband was NOT thrilled, to say the least (I *might* have made him go get it after work.  With my bike in the back of the truck.  And I *might* have neglected to tell him there was a glass top involved.  Whoopsies.)  Now, here’s where the bad blogger comes in to play- I have NO before/during pics.  None.  Zip, zero, nada.  Shame on me.  But here’s what I did, since obvs this little table couldn’t live in our living room in its current condition:

1. Clean off dust and hair, remove wicker bottom
2. Clean glass top and frost- I had to cover up the scratches somehow, so frosting came to mind.  I frosted both sides with a spray can of window frosting, then spray poly’d the side that would be facing up. 
3. Sand, sand, sand and sand the wood (I highly recommend an electric sander for this part.  I used a Black n’ Decker mouse with 80 grit sandpaper, then 200 grit for the final sanding).  Sanding revealed some beautiful wood grain- yay!!
4. Stain.  I used a stain with polyurethane built in- Minwax Polyshades.  This is pretty simple to use- wipe on, allow to dry (I did this in 90+ degree temps with 90+% humidity- so I gave it 24 hours or more between coats).  Sand in between coats with 000 steel wool (found in the sandpaper aisle at the hardware store).  When I say sand I mean lightly rub- just enough to scuff up the finish.  Then rinse and repeat steps- I did this 3 times. 

Want to see the final product?  Excuse the terrible cell phone pics (bad blogger, bad!).  My husband’s opinion (who was a skeptic the ENTIRE process, but really, who can blame him?):  He loves it!  Yay!!

Ta-da!  I love it- it makes the living room feel SO much more open. 

And a close up to see the frosted top and newly stained wood.  *Note: After using the top for a few weeks, the frosting has stayed put.  However, I’ve touched the underside a couple of times and that has not held up as well.  My plan is to remove the glass, touch up the frosted underside and poly that side as well*

 Does this coffee table look familiar to anyone?  Yep, Katie Bower at BowerPower has a very similar one– in fact, when I saw ours on Craigslist I knew I had to have it, I’d loved the look of hers!  I didn’t get quite the deal that she did, but I still think I got a good deal.  Total spent: $34.  $20 for the table.  $10 for the sand paper.  $4 for the frosting spray.  We already had the stain (which was one of those teeny tester cans- these last forever. I swear I have enough for another table) and the poly.  Plus I was able to re-sell the monstrous coffee table for what we paid for it ($150).  All in all, not too shabby.

Fingers crossed I can stick with this blogging thing- I have a lot more things to share!!