Small Bathroom Upgrade Project

We gave a small guest bathroom that had been decorated with graffiti art by the teenagers of the previous owners a whole new look.

Bathroom remodeling projects included:

    • Walls: Strip wallpaper liner from walls using a mixture of wallpaper remover, vinegar, baking soda, and fabric softener.
    • Ceiling: Wet textured popcorn ceiling and scrape the texture off.
    • Drywall: Repair drywall using drywall joint compound.
    • Vanity: Install new vanity doors, hardware, marble top, sink, and faucet.
  • Mirror: Hang new full width mirror with holes cut for wall light sconces.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner we’re completing an unfinished bathroom makeover that these homeowners inherited when they bought the house.

Here’s the bathroom right here.

Danny Lipford: All right.

But I’m going to warn you before you go in.

Danny Lipford: Uh-oh. Wow, this is a first.

Paul and Jessica Golden have been married for a little over a year. And besides combining their stuff, they’re also trying to figure out how to combine their talents to manage and improve their new home.

Jessica Golden: Well, we’ve only lived in the house about…

Paul Golden: A couple months.

Jessica Golden: Two months, maybe?

Paul Golden: We moved in and then we just started going, “What do we want to change next? What do we like? What do we want to go from there?”

Jessica Golden: Yeah, the guest bathroom was the first priority.

Paul Golden: I’m more laid-back about all the decisions. So that, and it’s going to come down to what Jessica wants to do regardless. So Jessica makes all the decisions.

Jessica Golden: I end up being the project manager pretty much, which means I just nag him about it.

Paul Golden: Yeah.

Jessica Golden: The vanity’s dated, I’d like to change that. I want to swap out the countertop. I kind of have an idea for a full mirror that I’d like on there. Not sure about the lighting, but paint. We definitely want to paint.

Paul Golden: Strip the wallpaper and then paint. Definitely. Even though I kind of like the artwork, we got to get rid of it, right? Yeah. Got to get rid of it.

Jessica Golden: It looks pretty rough right now.

Danny Lipford: But this project has a bit of a tight timeline to it.

Jessica Golden: Well, Paul is moving to China in about a week from today, actually. So we’d like to get it done before he moves.

Danny Lipford: So we better get started.

Jessica Golden: OK. Here’s the bathroom right here.

Danny Lipford: All Right.

Jessica Golden: But I’m going to warn you before you go in.

Danny Lipford: Uh-oh.

Jessica Golden: We bought the house from my aunt and uncle. And they must have been in the middle of a bathroom renovation because the wallpaper’s down, but their teenagers have made some of their own art on the walls.

Danny Lipford: Oh, is that right?

Jessica Golden: Yeah, you’ll see for yourself. Here we go.

Danny Lipford: Oh, this should be pretty interesting. Let me take a look at—oh!

Wow, this is a first. Graffiti art is definitely an unconventional approach to bathroom decorating.

First thing I think about is we could take, like, a clear polyurethane and just go right over this so that you can save all this.

Jessica Golden: Yeah, that’s a possibility. Paul, what do you think?

Paul Golden: Yeah, we could do that, or we could paint over it and get rid of the wallpaper.

Danny Lipford: I think maybe that’s what we should do here. Actually, they still have the liner on this. That’s probably why they stopped where they stopped, because that’s not easy. But we’ve got a way to get all of that off. And then are you thinking of painting or wallpaper?

Jessica Golden: I think I’d like to paint.

Danny Lipford: What else, what other ideas did you have here?

Jessica Golden: You know, I like the vanity; but I don’t really like the style of the cabinet doors. Is there any way that we could replace those?

Danny Lipford: Yeah, I mean the, tell you what, it’s not very big at all, so we could actually put all new doors on there. Now, we can also save this great hardware you have here if you’d like.

Paul Golden: No. Let’s get rid of the hardware.

Danny Lipford: Let’s get rid of the hardware? OK, and…

Jessica Golden: We’ll give those back to my cousins.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. That’s right. What about this whole area over here? Did you have any ideas on that?

Jessica Golden: Yeah. I’ve always liked the look when it’s just a full mirror; and then it has, like, maybe two sconces that kind of come through. Would that be a possibility?

Danny Lipford: Well, that takes a little coordination between the electrician, us, and the glass guy to cut through the holes in the glass. Because that’s something that you don’t want to try yourself, but I like that look.

Paul Golden: What about the popcorn ceiling? We’ve done them in the other rooms. But I tell you if you’ve got a good trick for that. Even though being a tall guy, it’s the best shoulder workout.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. Yeah. It is, it’s a tough thing. I’ll tell you what the same formula that we use—the same little solution that we use to spray on the walls—works great to get rid of the textured ceilings.

But you know, when you put all of this together, it starts making a fair, you know, good bit of money here. I don’t know how much you’re aware of that or not.

Paul Golden: She’s the boss.

Jessica Golden: Yeah. I know some people. I think I can get some pretty reasonable prices.

Danny Lipford: That’s an understatement. Jessica’s family owns a local business that includes a kitchen and bath design center. So she has access to some great design help, and an inside line on the materials to make it all happen.

Jessica Golden: Oh, yeah. That’s exactly what I was thinking. I like this.

Designer: Three different grays here.

Jessica Golden: Of course I really love the—

Designer: This is everybody’s favorite. So you can see it would be this door style, this color, but overall to give a larger view of it is great.

Danny Lipford: Robin also helps Jessica work out the details for the custom mirror she wants so they can order the materials and we can get to work.

Jessica Golden: All right. Let’s get started.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Great.

Paul Golden: Seems like a lot of drop cloths for such a small bathroom.

Danny Lipford: Paul’s right, but the first rule of renovation is protect everything you don’t want to change.

Now, this might seem like an abundance of caution. But I’ll tell you, if you’ve ever done any kind of bathroom renovation and ended up with a damaged tub, it really is disheartening when you finish everything and it looks good and you see that chip on it. So taking a small piece of plywood and a little plastic and covering it up really gives you a good place to stand while you’re scraping all of the wallpaper and the popcorn ceilings.

Joe Truini: I’m getting ready to paint this kitchen, and I thought I’d use this rosin paper I have left over from a flooring job to cover the floor here and the countertop just to protect it from paint spatters. So I’m going to show you a trick of how to cut this paper without it tearing on you.

First of all, you roll it out—roll out as much as you need—and then we’re going to use a utility knife to cut it. But rather than cutting it from the top edge down, which most people would do, we’re going to start an inch or two down from the top edge. Because if you cut from the very top edge, the paper will fold over and has a tendency to tear or block the paper so you can’t see where you’re cutting.

So we’re going to start, again, maybe an inch or two from the top and cut all the way down and straight through the bottom edge. There, just like that. I mean you see because we didn’t cut through, this top edge is held in place. Now, you just tear it away.

This technique works great for cutting anything that comes on a wide roll, including roll roofing, builder’s felt. And if you’ve ever installed a floating floor, you know that the underlayment comes in a really wide roll, sometimes as wide as five feet.

So, try this trick. I’m sure it’ll help you there.

Danny Lipford: Newlyweds, Paul and Jessica, have a bathroom in need of a makeover. The old wallpaper had been removed, and the liner redecorated before they moved in.

Jessica Golden: They had let their teenagers turn it into an art studio.

Danny Lipford: So we’ll have to correct that, but first we’re starting on the dated vanity. The cabinet stays but the doors are going away, as is the medicine cabinet. Next, we disconnect the plumbing to the old faucet and start removing the vanity top…

Boy, that’s in there, isn’t it?

…which is proving to be a bit difficult.

I’m not ready. Let’s tilt it straight up. OK, Paul. Now we can get it.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Lovely.

Danny Lipford: Made my end a little lighter.

Next to go is the dated light fixture, which reveals the wallpaper that was here before the graffiti.

Now, why would they want to take that wallpaper down?

Paul Golden: I have no clue.

Danny Lipford: Looks like it’s homemade.

So Jessica and I get started mixing a solution to remove the wallpaper liner that remains.

Jessica Golden: Why do we put fabric softener in it?

Danny Lipford: It keeps it from evaporating so fast.

Jessica Golden: OK.

Danny Lipford: So it allows it to work. Because all of this is supposed to attack that glue on the paper, you know, and you already have the face of the wallpaper off. If you didn’t have the face of the wallpaper off, would have to take a little PaperTiger and kind of perforate everything.

Fortunately, we don’t have to do that, but there’s a lot of spraying and scraping ahead of us.

All right. You got that special suit for Jessica?

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Oh, yeah. And got one for you, too.

Danny Lipford: Oh, do you now. All right.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: There you go.

Jessica Golden: Oh, extra large. Thanks, Chelsea, I appreciate that.

Danny Lipford: That should work well then.

Jessica Golden: All right, so, we’re suiting up?

Danny Lipford: Yeah, suit up, and we’re about to get wet and dirty.

Paul Golden: You need some help, Jessica?

Jessica Golden: I see you had no problem getting yours on.

Danny Lipford: He’s even got the deluxe model with the hood.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: The abominable snowman.

Jessica Golden: Looking good.

Danny Lipford: All right. So I’ll get started with the pump-up sprayer here. And hopefully, with any luck, this stuff will fall right off.

The key to success here is to saturate the ceiling texture and the wallpaper enough to release their hold on the drywall without damaging the drywall itself. Once it soaks in and works for a few minutes, we can start scraping.

See, it’s starting to buckle a little bit, isn’t it?

Paul Golden: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: That’s a good sign. Get some of it off, and then it’ll work even better. Just want to try to keep from gouging it as much as we can.

Jessica Golden: Good job, Paul.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, there you go. OK, y’all got this under control here.

Jessica Golden: I’m right behind you with the sprayer if you need any more water.

Paul Golden: I think you’re supposed to spray it on the wall.

Jessica Golden: Like this?

Paul Golden: Here, you want to try this, Jessica? It’s really easy.

Jessica Golden: Oh, no. I’m good with the sprayer.

Paul Golden: I can work the sprayer a little bit if you want me to.

Jessica Golden: I like my job.

Danny Lipford: The ceiling texture works pretty much the same way.

Jessica Golden: Oh, it’s coming right off.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Jessica, is that easier than the last time y’all did it?

Jessica Golden: Oh, yes. Much easier.

Paul Golden: Jessica, spray a little bit more right through here.

Jessica Golden: Where?

Paul Golden: Right through here. You’re about to lose all spraying privileges.

Jessica Golden: Come down here and take it from me.

Danny Lipford: These two make great comedy relief.

Paul Golden: Try to get a little bit more on the ceiling and less on me. Sorry. And it’s a good thing, because this is a very tedious job. Spraying and scraping, spraying and scraping.

Fortunately, the graffiti markers were water-based, so, they aren’t leaving any stains on the drywall. And once it dries overnight, we’re getting ready to paint.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: All right. So any of these strike you?

Jessica Golden: I really like this one a lot. Maybe one of those two?

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Are these too dark, probably?

Jessica Golden: Yeah, I think that’s too dark, and this looks really blue to me.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Yeah, definitely. OK. So…

Jessica Golden: Yeah, I think that’s my favorite.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Yeah, that one looks really good. All right. Let’s go pick it up.

Jessica Golden: All right. Let’s do it.

Paul Golden: Hey, did you guys find a color?

Jessica Golden: Yeah. We’re going to get it right now.

Paul Golden: Good deal.

Danny Lipford: Hey, does this happen to you a lot?

Paul Golden: What, I work, she shops?

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Paul Golden: All the time. So all we’re going to do is take some of the joint compound and just skim out just a little here and there—just real light coat. You don’t want to put a lot on there, because the more you put on, the more you’re going to have to sand off.

Paul Golden: Right.

Danny Lipford: If you put some like that, and then just kind of skim it like that, then that’s it. Matter of fact that whole area right there is ready to go. So if you just get these kind of spots here and there. And since you’re so darn tall, you get the high spots, I’ll get the low spots.

Paul Golden: Sounds good.

Danny Lipford: The joint compound fills the low places where the drywall has been gouged during the scraping process. Once the first coat dries, we sand off the high spots.

Usually a project like this will need at least a second coat to level out the low spots because joint compound does shrink a little as it dries.

All right. We have all the joint compound on. It’s drying, probably be about another hour. Little bit of sanding necessary. Paul’s really experienced at sanding. So no problem with that. Now, you guys have painted before?

Paul Golden: Yeah.

Jessica Golden:Yeah, technically.

Danny Lipford: And no problem whatsoever?

Paul Golden: Oh, a little bit here and there.

Danny Lipford: All right. So sand it. Start with the ceiling. Paint your two coats there. You already got your trim painted. Two coats on the wall, then clean up and we’ll get back in the morning. Top goes in first thing in the morning, and I think I’ll probably get it finished, I don’t know, midnight or so.

Jessica Golden: OK.

Jodi Marks: Well, if you are in the market for a new toilet, look no further than the Delta Brevard, because this toilet right here has got FlushIQ technology.

Let me tell you what’s all going on here. First of all, it is a touchless flush, so that when you wave your hand over the sensor, it automatically flushes the toilet for you.

It also has overflow protection. What does that mean? Well, it means that the toilet’s not going to overflow, because inside the bowl, there’s a sensor that detects the water level. And it stops the water from flowing into the bowl once it hits that level so that it won’t overflow.

Another thing that it has is leak detection. So, you know, inside the tank if the flapper is not seated properly, you can start to leak water, and that’ll run up your water bill. Well, there’s a sensor in there that will alert you to let you know that that leak is going on.

There are a couple of other cool features that I like. Look at this. It’s got a slow close lid, so you’re not slamming the lid. It also has a SmartFit connection right here for the tank to the bowl, so that that reduces leaks as well.

This is just a pretty cool, little toilet. It’s also ADA-approved with a comfort height, so, you’re in good shape to go there.

I’ll tell you what, I’m going to have to get one of these. I’ll get it on my bill and give it to Danny.

Danny Lipford: Paul and Jessica Golden are knee-deep in doing it themselves. Now it’s time for the pros to step in with a new marble top Jessica chose to update their bathroom. The place looks tons better with paint, but this top will really raise the level of this room.

Paul Golden: Hey, Danny, how’s it going?

Danny Lipford: Hey, Paul, how you doing? I see they got the countertop in, it looks pretty good.

Paul Golden: Yeah, they came in early this morning, got it all put in. Didn’t take them much time at all.

Danny Lipford: Man, that’s perfect. And I love having the sink underneath like that. It’s so much easier to keep clean.

Paul Golden: Right. Exactly. Yeah.

Danny Lipford: So, you’re going to help me hang this mirror, huh?

Paul Golden: Yeah. That shouldn’t take too long, right?

Danny Lipford: Well, let me show you what Jessica picked out. OK. That is a mirror with—you notice all the trim on the bed?

Paul Golden: Right.

Danny Lipford: It all is going to go around this mirror. And the mirror that you saw on the other bed there has the holes in it for the sconces. So we’ve got a little electrical work to do, a little trim work to do. But when it’s finished, it really won’t take that long, this is going to look awesome.

Paul Golden: Yeah. I think it’s going to look great.

Danny Lipford: We start by dry fitting the bottom piece of trim and the mirror so that we can mark the holes for the lights and cut out the drywall where the new boxes and wiring will go.

Now we can attached the pre-painted wood trim around the border. The spacers behind it will give us room for a molding that’ll help this adhesive secure the mirror. This time when it goes in, it’s here to stay.

OK, make sure it doesn’t slip out. OK, we’re in all the way. How about that?

Paul Golden: Here we go.

Danny Lipford: Good. Now the rest of the trim can go in to secure the glass and add those decorative touches that Jessica wanted.

All right. Perfect timing. OK. So far this is what we have, but now you got to make a little decision.

Jessica Golden: OK.

Danny Lipford: We have the crown to go right on top. Now, we need to decide. We can go anywhere you want on this. If we go down like this, of course, Paul’s a little taller than you. We don’t want to see the board behind it. That’s about as low as we could go.

Jessica Golden: OK.

Danny Lipford: And about as high as we could go is there, which kind of encroaches on that crown there.

Jessica Golden: Possibly a little bit lower. It’s really whatever you recommend.

Danny Lipford: So I would think right about there.

Jessica Golden: Yeah, that looks good to me.

Danny Lipford: OK. All right. That’s the way we’ll go with it.

Jessica Golden: Awesome. I love it.

Danny Lipford: All right. Good. We’ll have it finished here in just a little bit. We’ll even put up a couple lights for the heck of it.

Jessica Golden: Awesome. I appreciate it.

Danny Lipford: Once the crown molding is leveled and nailed in place, the fixtures go in covering up the electrical boxes and getting us closer to Jessica’s vision.

Oh, you’re coming in to get a look, huh?

Jessica Golden: I love it. It’s perfect.

Danny Lipford: You know, it really does look good. I think the designer did a great job in thinking about how to fill this space. And then to be able to get all of these pieces the right size. I mean, that’s a lot of pieces, a little bit of finagling there, but I think it’s OK.

Jessica Golden: It looks awesome.

Danny Lipford: All right, let’s see if we can put these on here. So can you reach it? There you go. Just tighten that up and slip it right down over it. OK.

Jessica Golden: There we go.

Danny Lipford: All right, give it a try. Turn the switch on.

Jessica Golden: All right. Let’s go. Uh, uh oh.

Danny Lipford: See, dimmers. All right. There you go.

Jessica Golden: Oh, it’s perfect.

Danny Lipford: Now we can turn our attention to getting the faucet Jessica picked out installed. With this individual handle-style faucet, it’s important for the countertop fabricator to know the spacing you want so that these holes are located in just the right spots.

Finally, Paul and Jessica tape off the cabinet to get it ready to paint.

Jessica Golden: What are you doing?

Paul Golden: I’m taping. What are you doing?

Jessica Golden: Get out of the way. I’ll do it.

Danny Lipford: The vanity is getting the same shade of gray that the cabinet shop used on the mirror trim above it. They also sent a catalyst to mix with the paint so that it has the same durable finish as the stuff they applied in their shop.

Once the vanity cabinet is dry, we can install the new doors the cabinet shop made. And begin adding all the accessories, like the curved shower curtain rod, the toilet paper holder, and the hardware for the cabinets.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: All right. What do you think, Jessica?

A little bit—let’s try a little bit lower.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: OK. How’s that?

Jessica Golden: Yeah, right there. I like that, that looks good.

Danny Lipford: All right, pretty good. You know it’s really tricky when you’re trying to position hardware, especially on newly-refurbished cabinet. And especially hard if it’s an unconventional hardware like this.

But Chelsea found these cool things called Glue Dots that come in a little dispenser like this, and you’re able to apply them to the back of the hardware. And it’s kind of like having a second set of hands that you’re able to put it right in place then reposition it if you need to. That way it holds it in place while you put your screws in.

So, there’s more hardware to mount, pictures to hang, and lots of little decorating touches to finalize. But all that means we’re just minutes away from a completed project.

Installing a backsplash is relatively easy, and people often assume that applying tile to any wall requires the same process. But a tub or shower enclosure is very different because of the constant moisture it endures.

A backsplash is primarily decorative and can be installed directly over drywall. But for a tub or shower, you need to begin with a cement backer board base, because the tile will be constantly wet.

Next, you’ll tape the seams of the backer board; and apply a waterproofing sealer to the surface before you begin installing the tile. That way, even if moisture makes it through the tile or the porous grout, it won’t be able to get inside the walls behind them.

The makeover for Paul and Jessica’s bathroom was started before they bought the house. But it was never completed, unless you consider graffiti art a preferred décor for bathrooms.

The vanity, mirror, and light fixtures were dated. And the textured ceiling was the only one in the house they hadn’t tackled. Now the graffiti wallpaper and dated fixtures are all gone. The clean, simple walls now give the attention to the new marble vanity top and the mirror with its custom trim and integrated sconces.

Popcorn ceiling’s also gone but the vanity cabinet remains, but now with new color and new modern doors and drawers. This is a room Paul and Jessica can be proud for their guests to use.

Well, Jessica, you made some great selections in here. It really looks good. And both of you worked pretty hard to make it look this good.

Paul Golden: Yeah, it was a lot of hard work. But looking at it now, it really paid off. You can tell. It looks very nice.

Jessica Golden: It looks amazing. I love it.

Danny Lipford: Well, that’s perfect. Well, I’ll tell you what. There is a lot of work involved in a simple bathroom remodeling like this, and Jessica did a lot of work, not only here but making all of the selections. But it did help a little bit with her family’s kitchen and bath showroom.

Hey, if you need some more ideas on bathroom renovation, you can find them at our web site I’m Danny Lipford. We’ll see you next week.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here