Priming & Painting The Bathroom (& A New Mirror)

When we last shared our hall bathroom adventures, we had removed the old wallpaper and were left with this:

Not only were the yellowed walls crying out for a fresh coat of paint, the mirror had some functional deficiencies. As in, John couldn’t see his whole face when he looked into it. Just about anything from the nose up was cut off, so while he could still perform is-there-something-in-my-teeth checks, if he was having a Something About Mary hair moment (uh, but not for that reason) he wouldn’t have even known.

Beyond having a too-small mirror, the other issue was that the light fixture drooped about 8″ from the area that it connected to the wall, so a larger mirror would be hard to cram into that space without bashing into the… legs?… of the fixture.

What did we do? We turned our frown upside down. Along with the light fixture. It’s definitely not a permanent solution, but that in-the-meantime 180 degree spin freed up a lot more space to hang a larger mirror that we grabbed at HomeGoods. We love the shape of the mirror and aren’t sure if we’ll paint the distressed silver-ish frame down the line, but for now it’s a huge improvement just to see full faces. Look how much more of John you can see when he’s standing in the same spot!

We also made a few other quick updates, like removing this wooden toilet paper dispenser that we plan to replace with a simple oil-rubbed bronze one.

Then it was time to do something about the blue trim that ran around the bottom of the room and the bathroom door frame, so we taped off the slate to protect it.

It took four coats (two of primer and two of paint), so this is after about two primer coats I think.

While we were priming and painting, we decided the vanity could use some primer and paint as well. It wasn’t great wood (sort of reddish and dulled/scraped in a few areas) and there was an odor issue. As much as I scrubbed it I couldn’t shake the scent, but I knew a nice coat of odor-blocking primer + paint would do the trick. I also thought it was a fun opportunity to bring some color into the room with a bright coat of paint on the vanity, paired with clean white walls. Sort of like this.

So on went the primer to the vanity as well as the trim (I did two coats of it on the inside as well, just to squash that smell issue once and for all). This picture is just of the first coat I think though.

Then it was onto those two coats of paint (this is coat #1). We used Simply White by Benjamin Moore in semi-gloss since we loved how it came out on the trim upstairs that we already painted.

We painted both the walls and the ceiling the same white tone (Simply White in an eggshell finish to allow the trim to look glossy by comparison). I cut in and John rolled.

Two coats and a day later, we had this…

In person it’s a nice clean-feeling difference. And although white is certainly more classic than risky, we think it’ll be fun to bring in color with art and a brightly colored vanity instead of just defaulting to putting color on the walls.

We’d still love to update things like the light and the sink along with possibly doing a more major upgrade down the line (grasscloth wallpaper? tiled accent wall? pedestal sink?). So you could call this first take on the hall bathroom Phase 1, which will just be a combination of a few cheap tweaks to make it more comfortable to live with until we save some money for a more “deep tissue” update later on.

It’s definitely a far cry from what we started with a few weeks ago already…

Oh and you’ll notice in that second to last picture that we’ve started stripping some of the wallpaper in the foyer as well as attempting to de-blue all of the trim out there, but it’s taking forever (this time we discovered a second layer of wallpaper and of course that crazy trim takes four coats) so we hope to be back with an update on those projects someday. You know, if we’re not found hiding under the table muttering “blue trim…. blue trim… it’s haunting my dreams… it’s eating my soul…”


P.S. Last night I quickly snapped this instagram picture on the way back from our evening walk, and it one captures the green undertone in our teal door so it finally looks like real life. Leave it to the ol’ cell phone to take a more accurate picture than the fancy camera. #nofilter #instagrambeatsDSLR


  1. says

    Man! You guys are big time now! Look at that big beautiful brick home on that secluded wooded lot. What a lovely place to raise a family. Congrats.

  2. says

    Looks great! I really like the all white fresh look so you can add color in other ways. I am voting for an accent wall of tile! And isn’t the 4 coats for the trim a pain? But so worth it to eradicate the blue trim!

    • Joan says

      Agreed with Wendy and Elise! Your Phase 1 seems to be about getting to a blank slate.

      With the blue door and plans for a green vanity in the bathroom, it feels a bit like Sue the Napkin. Are you still taking inspiration from Sue for your whole house?

      I’d love to see a post that has mood boards or other thoughts about your overall design direction for house #3. Maybe it’s just me, but having a road map helps me follow you guys and builds excitement to see it all unfold.

    • says

      That would be fun! I’m playing with paint chips and possible future layout changes so hopefully I can write up those first thought brain dumps soon!


  3. Dena says

    I like the color of your door but I was surprised when you chose blue as I thought you’d hate the color blue by now (trim)!!!!

    • says

      Haha, I know, right? I think blue worked its way into our brains and now we just think of this as “the blue house” so maybe that’s how the door ended up blue!


    • Christen says

      I thought the same with yesterday’s post, but now seeing the real blue, it kinda looks like the blue spine on your book!

    • says

      It’s so funny, we realized when we posted the photos on Monday that having painted a red, yellow, and blue door is like the three colors in our blog header!


  4. Kate says

    It’s been said before, but it’s jaw-dropping what a little paint can do. I always wonder why sellers don’t put in a little extra elbow grease and paint. That would make their home so much more appealing to a buyer. Great job though! And to get the house in this kind of shape so early on is A-MAZING!!

    • Stacy says

      I would have loved to have paint the trim and the walls of my current house but ended up selling it as is, simply because I was pregnant and we sold it so quickly I never got around to it. the only room that got a fresh coat was my daughters room bc the decals she had on her walls peeled off the paint. While I agree that it would make the home more appealing I think some people think why bother since so many people complain that the colors aren’t done in their taste and end up repainting anyways.

  5. Brittany says

    I’m glad I’m not the only one with blue trim problems. I was recently painting some blue trim at church and I think it took at least 5 coats (used a paint + primer mix) and I still see that blue showing through! Can’t wait to see what else you guys are going to do.

    • says

      It’s maddening right?! Especially when you apply a coat and think “this’ll do it” and it dries and the blue is peeking through again! Haha!


  6. says

    Looks like you’re using Frog Tape? Is it as great as they claim, or is it just like the 3M blue stuff? Been interested in trying it out.

    • says

      We love it! I hear the new blue tape has a similar formula now (something about Frog tape locks the color so when it gets wet from the brush there’s no bleed) but I only use Frog tape since that’s what worked best years ago when I did a comparison.


    • Emma says

      I have been repeatedly let down by the 3M blue tape. In both paint jobs and craft projects, the stuff has failed me. Either I really suck or it lets paint bleed through (admittedly, both are possible).

    • says

      Awesome. The 3M has barely let me down, but Frog seems foolproof with that chemical. Had some bleeding with 3M in the past, but mostly due to my inability to properly run my finger along it and seal it. However, I tried the Ace Hardware brand blue tape and that was the WORST. The bleed was unbelievable. I would have been better off freehanding it.

    • Tiffany says

      I have recently tried both (blue and green)and was soooo disappointed in the results. The best tape I have ever used for painting is that 77 cent masking tape from the paint section at Walmart. (Hope this isn’t regional.) I have never had it stick to something and leave a residue and it ALWAYS gives me clean lines! Hooray for affordable!

    • Linda says

      One thing the guy at Ace told me (including how he likes the green tape himself) is that the tapes tend to have actual useful lives. I had tried using old blue tape and was disappointed. He said the tape was probably too old for anything (since I had it for two years and who knows how long it was at the store).

  7. Laurie says

    Blue trim, blue trim… haha. I’m convinced that the previous owners of our homes have some inherited design influence over us. My new neighbors across the street painted their front door red as soon as they moved in. The door had been red with the previous owner passed away but was painted black by his son before putting it on the market. My house had blue trim and blue crown throughout before it was totally redone for sale. I found some blue crown above the garage. I ended up painting my bedroom a blue color that I never in a million years would have done before. I like it but don’t know why. (You painted your outside door blue) Blue door, Blue door!

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