When we first saw the hall bath at our new house, the only thing it had going for it was its size. And that could be said for the vanity itself as well. It’s HUGE- big enough for two sinks (but only has one) and had loads of storage. But, it had those 70s cabinets with weird detailing and had been (badly) painted white.

It also had the same white formica countertop as the kitchen, which wasn’t offensive but I figured it would be a great place to try my marble contact paper fix.

The project for today though is the vanity. As I mentioned in my hall bathroom plan, I wanted to reface the cabinet doors to change their shape. That would require not only paint, but removal of the weird decorative trim and adding straight flat trim around the edges for a shaker-style look.

I knew from the kitchen cabinets that this trim was just brad nailed on, but the paint here made it a little tougher to remove. I used a stiff putty knife to pry it off, sometimes with the assist of the rubber mallet.

Once I got into the groove, it didn’t take me very long to finish all of the doors.

Oh yeah, better already (ha!) It’s always darkest before the dawn, yes?

The many layers of paint left me with almost an inset pattern where the trim was, which I had anticipated. I decided to fill it with putty instead of trying to sand the painted area down to match. I thought it would take less time and give a cleaner finish. Ultimately I have no idea if that’s true since I only did this method – which means I was right, I think.

Once the putty dried, I sanded it until my hand ran smoothly over it for the most part. We aren’t looking for perfection here because 1) I hate sanding and 2) I could see how it looked with some paint and then add more putty if needed.

The next step was to make my new shaker cabinet doors by adding some trim. I bought some unfinished wood strips at Lowes. They were 8ft long, so I used my trusty miter box saw to cut my pieces at home to length. This is important because not all the doors and drawers were exactly the same size. You don’t want to cut all your pieces the same length upfront, but rather measure each direction as you go – then cut and install.

I only used wood glue and painters tape to hold it in place while it dried. Why? Because the wood was super light (almost like a balsa wood), and I couldn’t actually locate my brad nailer since it was packed in a box somewhere in the house still. But actually I’ve done plenty of projects like this with trim and as long as you don’t need it to hold weight, it has always held up fine. Plus, paint is like glue basically so that’s DOUBLE gluing and 100% legit.

The cutting and gluing of the trim took the longest because I basically had to maneuver all the 8ft pieces while sitting on the floor in the bathroom with a saw. I really like to make things difficult by working in place as much as possible. I didn’t even take the doors off the hinges until it was time to paint. One could argue that gravity wasn’t doing me any favors with the glue, but this is just how I work and I will not apologize.

Here’s a progress picture in both the amount of trim installed and the amount of things that have accumulated on the countertop.

It’s looking super classy so far, I know. Ok so once the trim was finished and the glue was dry, I ran a bit of caulk around the edges. I think this really just helps the trim blend in and make the painting a bit easier. You’ll be relieved to know that I finally removed the doors to paint the vanity base. I used my favorite furniture paint – the $6 Sherwin Williams sample quart in Black Magic.

I do not usually use primer. I have had great success with painting 3 (or more) VERY thin coats, using the first coat as a primer in the sense that it’s so very light and also looks like complete garbage. In my experience paint usually looks like garbage anyways until the 3rd coat. Resist the temptation to get coverage quickly with thick coats. See exhibit A: this may even be the second coat.

And you can see here that I lied and actually painted one of the doors before adding trim. I was probably testing the filled areas. Ya’ll I can’t explain my methods really. The proper order would be filling and sanding, adding trim, caulk, then paint. The most likely reason for me doing things out of order is that I start and stop a lot due to toddler, so I’ll tackle the next step on whatever is dry or sometimes I work on what I just feel like doing.

The very last step in the painting process is to wax. I ALWAYS use paste wax. This step is so crucial to getting that professional finish and one that lasts. I have used fancy waxes but Minwax Paste Wax is easy to find and works great. It’s probably the one I’ve used most often.

After waxing, I added new hardware. I did have to drill some new holes since I covered the old ones with trim. But man oh man, hardware is a total game changer. Behold, the after (without revealing too many of the other projects happening in here). Sorry for the tight crop, but a girl has to have her secrets.

The difference is remarkable! I love the contrast of the black vanity against the white hex tile. The re-facing of the doors completely changed this vanity from dated to timeless. It was an epic start to this room’s transformation that’s for sure. Stay tuned for more projects in this space!

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