Here is one of the truths we hold to be self-evident about home renovation… that shit is going to get worse before it gets better.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said that in the last decade of writing on this website, but I imagine it’s a lot. And yet I still sometimes enter projects with a wide-eyed optimism, and the belief that “this is just swapping out the tub and a little tile, guys, it seriously won’t take that long.”
Ha. Yeeeah. That “quick, little” project started four months ago. Four. That’s fun.
And shit definitely got worse…
In all kinds of ways.
But even when you have to tear part of a wall down and find out that toilet water has been leaking in to the subfloor and spend an inordinate amount of time with drywall dust in your eyes, the thing to remember is that even though it always gets worse before it gets better…it does, in fact, get better.
And I’ve basically been doing one long happy-dance for the last 24 hours, because, guys? It is now getting better.
Goodbye mismatched, dated cabinet doors. You will not be missed.
Because there’s a pretty nice granite counter on top of those old-ass cabs, and because I already replaced the sinks a couple of years ago, I decided to just update the vanity by buying new doors and drawer fronts from Cabinet Door World a few months ago.
I spray-primed the raw wood doors with Kils primer-in-a-spray-can, and, honestly, was not real thrilled with the coverage. Then I brushed on the color (Moonlight White OC-125 at 25%… barely tinted). One coat on the back of the doors, three coats on the sides and front, with a light sanding between each… and more than one beer.
The doors turned out pretty good actually, but this still reaffirmed my desire to actually spray the kitchen cabinet doors instead of brushing when I do those.
I just re-purposed the hinges from the old doors and spray-painted them flat black.
I know, there are a million different types of cabinet hinges. This particular kind attaches with two screws on the back of the doors, and two screws on the front of the cabinet frame. And the holes were already there from the previous doors, so that made it pretty easy. (Easy enough that in a moment of insomnia I decided to install these things at midnight on a Saturday.)
Now, I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not my decision to just re-face this vanity was the right one. Having the doors on was definitely a check in the “good idea” column, but then I looked at the existing drawers…
I can’t even look at a picture of these things without my gag reflex kicking in. I’m a person who shovels animal shit on a fairly regular basis, so I’d like to think I’m not too squeamish about things, but for some reason these drawers with other peoples hair and what I think were toothpaste stains all over them? Yeah, I feel sick just typing that.
I briefly considered just scrapping the entire vanity right then and there. Then I thought about just pitching the drawers and bolting the drawer fronts on to the cabinet. Then I thought about building my own drawer boxes.
What I decided was to bleach the hell out of the existing drawers and “use” them for the time being. I mean I don’t intend to actually put anything in them because I’m so skeeved by the whole thing, and if I decide I really need the storage I’ll rebuild the boxes sometime in the future.
In the meantime, I picked up some cheap-ish hardware and couldn’t resist installing it…
The standard-length screws that come with cabinet hardware don’t love it when you try to install a handle in the middle of a drawer with a 1/4″ recessed panel, so I had to do some rigging for that as well… another thing I’ll take care of if/when I rebuild the drawers.
But really, the important part here is this…
When the floor tile is in, I’m also going to fashion some “feet” to make the vanity look more like a piece of furniture, but I think it’s still looking pretty good either way.
And the crazy thing is… this isn’t even the exciting part of my progress.
The exciting part is that I mostly held up my commitment to working an hour a day on the bathroom over the last week, and I made some decent progress on the tile board. Which seems like it should have been easy (ha) but this house keeps reminding me in new and exciting ways that work in an existing and old-ass house is a whole different ballgame than work in new construction.
This, for example, created a small delay…
If you’re wondering what that is… it’s a picture of some poor planning on my part. See the stud? Well there’s only a half-inch of it exposed to install the tile board on to, but because I put the back boards on first it covered my “nailing area”… and since there’s a vent pipe rightthehellnexttoit I had to get creative on figuring out how to create a nailing surface.
There were also a number of different parts of this wall cut out when the old tub was removed. In retrospect, I should have just taken the whole thing down and rebuilt it, but here we are…
Ha. Structurally she’s perfectly sound, but I actually had to devise a mapping system so I new how to screw the last piece of tile board to the “studs”.
The good news is…
THE TILE BOARD IS DONE.
Well, in the tub at least. Getting those four boards up should not have been such a large ass-pain, but between furring out the walls, and dealing with the studs, and all of the other fun little challenges and old house brings, this took approximately seventeen times longer than it should have.
But still. Done. It’s finally getting better.
I’ve still got to mud the seams and do some other prep, but I expect to have tile going up by the weekend. And that’s definitely worth some celebration!