I’ve been super busy this weekend finishing up some projects. I’m very excited and can’t wait to show you some of them.

However, because several of them are tutorials (which take a little longer to write up), I decided to share with you a guest bathroom makeover from our old house.

This poor bathroom had an identity crisis.

With its 1970’s light fixture, 
Harvest gold laminate counter top and dark wood vanity,
Sunburst shaped handles that hurt your hands to use them,
and Laura Ashley style wallpaper.

The first thing we did was strip the wallpaper in this room. If you have never stripped wallpaper, there are two types of wall paper stripping projects. The easy ones and the hard ones! Luckily we had an easy one.

Awww, doesn’t Pretty Handsome Guy look happy?!  

The walls had been primed before the wallpaper was attached (as opposed to gluing the wallpaper on top of the drywall (or sheetrock as some people call it.)
Forget the steamer, forget the chemicals, we used these tools:

  • Cheap, cheap, cheap pink fabric softener mixed 1:1 with water
  • Spray Bottle to pour your fabric softener mixture in
  • Paper Tiger or wall scoring tool
  • Wallpaper scraper – We really liked the Piranha shaver since it has a razor sharp blade
  • Or Wallpaper Trim Tool

You start by scoring the wall with the Paper Tiger or similar tool. The more holes the better, so put on some dancing music and get busy.

Then you spray the walls with your fabric softener mixture. Really saturate them! Wait 15 minutes, then spray them again. Now, use your scraper to start peeling. I truly hope your sheets come off in nice big sheets like ours did. If not, you may have to have your walls re-skimmed with spackle or joint compound.

Or, I hate to mention this, but you could paint over the wallpaper. We have two rooms in our current home that this was done in (we know for a fact that the wallpaper was glued to the drywall without priming first.) If you take this route, I want to let you in on two secrets:

  1. Use an eggshell or satin finish paint (it will not show the edges or imperfections as easily.)
  2. Take the time to make sure all the wallpaper seams are glued down and then spread some joint compound or spackle over the seams and sand it smooth. This will get rid of the tell-tale seam lines when you paint over wallpaper.

After you have removed all the wallpaper you need to wash your walls really well to remove the glue. We saturated the walls again with the fabric softener and then cleaned it off. Finally, we used TSP cleaner (available at any home improvement or hardware store) to get the walls perfectly cleaned.

Then I painted the walls a bright Nickelodeon slime green. I kid you not, but I didn’t take a picture of it in that state. My friends thought I had flown the cuckoo’s nest. But, I went back with a creamy lemon glaze and ragged it on top. The result was a beautiful lime sherbert color (perfect for a little boy or girl’s bathroom.)

Next, the light fixture had to go, and it went quickly!

 I replaced it with a four light chrome fixture.
Then, I had to paint over that ugly vanity cabinet:
Now that is looking better! I added new chrome/porcelain pulls.

But, that harvest gold vanity would not stop shouting “groovy dude” whenever I saw it. So, it had to go too. Unfortunately, we were on a limited budget, so I had to get creative.

I fixed the chipped corner and seams with wood putty.
Then I sanded and primed the countertop with Zinser Oil based primer
(A necessity to get the  surface prepped with a super adhesion coat of primer)
so I could do this:
 Beautiful blue water reflections
I painted the vanity top and then added five coats of polyurethane to seal it. I recently had the opportunity to visit our old house and couldn’t wait to see how the vanity top held up over the years. It really held up better than I expected. There was some slight chipping where the back of the sink met the back splash. I should say that our neighborhood has very hard water and this is where the splashed water would hide and sit. So, for the cost of paint, we had a new vanity top that has held up to use for over three years so far.
So, are you ready to see the final reveal? Here it is:
In case you are wondering what ever happened to those sunburst tub faucet handles:
Yes, that is me, installing new valve stems at 8.5 months of pregnant bloated-ness. 
That was also THE day I went into labor!
Anyone else have some crazy last minute pregnancy stories?


41 replies
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  1. concretenprimroses
    concretenprimroses says:

    Wonderful counter treatment. I have old faux butcherblock laminate in my kitchen, good to know what I can do. The way you painted the blue is very beautiful.
    I just did a difficult wallpaper removal – I'm jealous of yours and know exactly why your dh looks so happy!

  2. ★All Thingz Related★
    ★All Thingz Related★ says:

    I can't tell you how much I LOVE the counters!!! Thanks for linking up with Anything Related! ~Bridgette

  3. Su
    Su says:

    Do you think I could do this to a cultured marble vanity TOP? I bought one at a yard sale for $5 (double sink) but I want it white white not the cream. . it looked white at the yard sale. I gotta go back and read this post again

  4. - Brittany
    - Brittany says:

    Thanks for your many comments and questions. Here is some more information about painting the countertop:
    I used regular latex semi-gloss paint. If I were you it might be worth it to use an oil-based paint or at least an Enamel (Benjamin Moore makes a water based Enamel called Impervo that is really good.) Then be sure to put 5 or more coats of oil based polyurethane on top of it. And let it dry and cure for a week (don't set anything on it or it will stick and cause a mark.)

  5. Their Mommy His Wife
    Their Mommy His Wife says:

    Stopping by from PoPP 🙂
    do you recall what type of paint you used on the countertop?
    Six months ago we moved into a circa 1981 split-level ranch style (think Brady Bunch meets West Virginia, lol) and the kitchen has faux-butcher block with burn marks and mystery stains. Hubby says remodeling can't happen for a few more years but I so desperately need to do something to them and I love this idea!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  6. jerriann
    jerriann says:

    Wow!!!! The counter top is amazing, along with everything else. Thanks for much for sharing your knowledge. My daughter can really use this right now.

  7. Amanda@The Hand Me Down House
    Amanda@The Hand Me Down House says:

    What a transformation! The bathroom is adorable, now! 🙂 I wish I had read your wall-paper tips before we moved into our house (although we still have SOME awful wallpaper left). And LOVE that picture of you — a completely devoted DIY'er. 🙂 Great job, Brittany!!

  8. Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes
    Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes says:

    Love the renovation on the bath! Gee, that tile looked like it was in great shape for 1970's vintage! I'm glad you replaced the starburst handles, they did make me laugh out loud! Haven't been to your blog of late, happy I stopped by today. Stop by and visit my fairly new blog when you have a moment, I love company! I enjoyed my visit today!

  9. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    great before & after…love what you did!
    Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by my site the other day and checking out my fall mantel.


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