Let’s talk about vanity, shall we? Specifically the sink vanity that we last left off as primed in this post.
This is one of those real-life stories where we painstakingly stared at about fifty swatches before carefully choosing a pretty kelly green tone that we thought would be awesome. A fun pop of color in a white room (sort of like this). So off to the store we went and grabbed a quart of Baby Fern by Benjamin Moore in their semi-gloss Natura paint. And after one coat – even though we gave it two in the hope that the second one would work a miracle – we knew…
Seriously, at one point Clara said it was the same color as Kermit The Frog. How did this happen?
So we did what any self respecting DIYer would do and we whined a little and then we laughed for a while and then we went out to the garage and stared at all of the paint cans that we have sitting around and finally found the one we were looking for: Silhouette. It’s an awesome moody brown/gray tone with the slightest plum undertones. Really, photos of it hardly do it justice but we first used it for a bunch of book projects and fell in love, so it’s no surprise it was our “rebound guy.” We didn’t want our hearts broken again, and we thought it would be really sophisticated with the slate too. And happily, it was:
Now instead of the white bathroom with the colorful vanity, it’s shaping up to be the chic little black and white bathroom (ok, it’s not really black, but it’s close enough to give it that vibe). We especially love how it looks with the dark doorknob and hinges.
And although we did have some need-to-repaint bad luck, when it came to the knobs the universe threw us a bone. We went to Anthropologie just to look around (sometimes we fall in love with $14 a knob items, which are a little too steep for us) and these cool faceted knobs were marked down to $2.95!
One of my favorite things about their octagonal shape is that they mimic the angles of the mirror, which also has the same tone in it.
How lucky is that?
And we also grabbed this toilet paper holder from Lowe’s on clearance to replace the old wood one we had there before.
Remember this guy?
Definitely an upgrade.
You’ve come a long way, half bathroom.
So that’s the story of gaining a little vanity va-va-voom, with one of those surprise DIY speedbumps along the way. I think the lesson is that you win some and you lose some, but as long as you keep on trucking – and course correcting as you go – things usually work out OK.
Next up I have to scrub or replace the grout, and switch out this leaky faucet.
And we can’t forget our upside down light (remember I turned it around here to allow for a bigger mirror?). Doesn’t it look like two beady little eyes and the mirror is the mouth? Like the bathroom’s making the same face I’m making in this super flattering picture?
The light is a smidge off-centered from the mirror. The issue is that the faucet and the light don’t line up, so if we centered the mirror on the light it would be really off compared to the faucet, so we sort of split the difference so it’s less noticeable for now.
So yeah, there are a few more things that we’d love to do in here for this Phase 1 update – mainly some grout fixing, light updating, and a new faucet. I’m weirdly excited about light shopping (and completely avoiding the grout project – so we’ll see how long I can go). Even though we have plans for a more major bathroom upgrade down the line (grasscloth wallpaper? tiled accent wall? pedestal sink?), it definitely feels nice to make some cheap tweaks to make it more welcoming in the meantime. Anyone else working on a half bathroom update? How goes it?
That looks great!
Steph Nelson says
I don’t love that green either and I am a huge green fan. Maybe an emerald would have been better? Oh well, at least you tried! :)
Cindy D. says
I wasn’t a fan of the green, either. I love the color you went with and will write the name down to use when I paint my cabinets.
hey! i bought those same knobs last week for 2.95! one of life’s small pleasures when you dig through the sale box and find the number you’re looking for. cue anthro cackle here.
Lisa E says
Good call. True the second coat would have made it darker, but I think it still would have been an in your face Kermit the Frog color. Clara is clever, lol! It’s also amazing how yellow the green made the vanity top/sink look.
Janelle @ Two Cups of Happy says
Ah! I was seriously gunning for the green vanity – but that shade was definitely “Kermit-ish”. I do love the knobs you scored. I really like their textured lines. What a steal!
Mary beth says
Is it wrong that I love when you guys make a bad call?
LOL… it makes me feel so much better about all the times I mess stuff up!
Looks really good, guys… keep chugging along!!
Meshan Foutz says
Agreed! I’m like, they’re human after all!!
Maggie S says
WOW! That is the perfect color with the floor!!
I love it –and I might copy it for a bath vanity I have to paint ;-)
> the same color as Kermit The Frog.
Hahahahaha, exactly my thought! Good job Clara :)
Thanks for this story of your color adventure. Silhouette is one of my faves, and def love the new look. Very chic and adult powder room. Fabulous!
Hah, that is so funny Clara thought it was Kermit, when I was scrolling through I thought you covered the whole thing in Frogtape for some reason! The new color looks great though!
Made me laugh out loud, Steph!
The new color looks very sophisticated and just right…..but isn’t fun that we all know the vanity has a froggy heart!
I thought the same thing! “I wonder why they’d cover the whole thing in frog tape? They must have something really cool planned!”
I vote we rename the 1st color Frogtape!
That’s exactly what I thought!
While the green didn’t work…I still would have done a color on the vanity. No more grey!!
I’m dying to upgrade all the bathrooms in our new house, but, ya know, budget. I think painting the vanities in all three of them will be our “for now” solution. Right now, they’re all darker wood but none are in good shape. I think they’re all original to the house (1979) and the master even has a phone jack in it. I have no idea when we’ll actually get around to vanity painting. It feels like there’s still a million other things to do/buy. Half of our rooms are virtually empty. That’s the fun part/overwhelming part, I guess.
LOVE that your master bath has a phone jack in it. For some reason as a kid, I just knew that was the absolute height of luxury – something that clearly all millionaires had.
Yeah, it would’ve been really sweet back in the ’90’s when I was in elementary school. I could’ve plugged my see through phone into that sucker. But I haven’t had a landline for about a decade so…
It’s like a breath of fresh air compared to the before. The plum looks great with the mirror, too!
I had the same problem in my bathroom with the light not lining up with the faucet and having to split the difference with the mirror.
The green, in and of itself, is a great color (at least Kermie thinks so…), but ugh, it made the countertop look all shades of gross.
Nice. Still, for the splash of happy color on the vanity, I would probably pick the blue color you painted your entrance door.
Yes! That color would have been lovely for the vanity. This color is OK on its own, but it doesn’t go with the floor tile at all.
Gauri W. says
I strangely like the green better! I’m sure you’ll add a pop of color but I just loved that shade of green! Even if it does sort of look like Kermit…
Awesome vanity color. Might have to be a copy cat! ????
Erin @ DIY on the Cheap says
Looks great! Love those Anthro knobs. I’m enjoying following along as you make this new home as awesome as your old one!
Holy crap, that (current) vanity color is gorgeous! Definitely pinning this so I can remember the name of it!
I am closing on my first house today (in 2 hours guys!! I’m already experiencing buyers’ remorse!) *gulps* In the soon-to-be-mine new house, is a half-bath which isn’t as bad as how yours started out to be, HOWEVER, there is lovely peel and stick tile in there. I was going down the same thought path as yours = let’s make it pop and be all interesting looking!
Best of luck Kara! I bet it’ll be awesome!
Thank you! Part of me is happy to know that your ideas don’t always come out perfect and awesome every time!
Where did you get the lotion and soap holder? I have been looking everywhere for one that isn’t wire!
That was from Anthro a while back (I bought it once for the pretty containers and refill them whenever they run out).
Erika, I saw near identical ones at Homegoods this week for $7.99. I need to go back and buy them this time!
Thanks for the info Sherry!
Thanks Lisa! I may have to make a trip out there!
I do need to update a vanity like this. I’ve put it off because I have a laminate top and I wasn’t sure quite how to deal with it. Paint it? Pull it up? It is so much easier to shut the door and ignore it sometimes.
I painted mine about 4 years ago, and it came out pretty well. I just have to be careful not to spill anything like hydrogen peroxide on it or the paint bubbles up. Little bits have peeled off in a couple of places, but I managed to patch them with a dab of the same paint. I’m sure it will need to be replaced eventually, but for 30 bucks, it was a pretty good quick fix for a vanity top that was truly hideous before.
Maybe try a cement treatment like Little Green Notebook did in her laundry room- came out so cool!
Ooo, I like these suggestions. It also gives me the opportunity to practice on something. I hadn’t thought of that. I mean, I can’t make the shockingly bright 70s yellow countertop look worse!
Wowza that green is BRIGHT! Glad it all came together, though. Can’t wait till you tackle the floor and the shell sink!
I actually didn’t mind the green, though in pictures in might look a little more muted than IRL, and I might be obsessed with green at the moment. I feel like green and yellow can be so tricky to pick, even with test swatches. I do love the Silhouette, we used it on our island to contrast the creamy white wall cabinets. It was a good match for our granite which is dark and has some reddish, grey, and black colors in it.
Aw man, I was really hoping for a crazy pop of color in this bathroom. I agree the green was terrible, though.
I love the black vanity. Clara is right, it was looking a little Kermit-y. We painted our vanity green and we love it (although it took my hubby a little bit to come to terms with it!). http://www.blessedlifeatopacakestand.com/2012/09/green-with-envy-of-my-new-vanity.html
For your bathroom the black was a good choice!
Kathy V says
LOVE the green you chose! I somehow always find the “perfect” swatch and then when I paint the object, it’s all wrong. You obviously have an eye for color!
That’s the type of green I was envisioning when the green in this post didn’t work out – looks great!
Sugar Cookie says
I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one who painted (and repainted) something this weekend! I put a couple of different colors on my kitchen island before finally going back to the original color and deciding that I just need to think about it some more. I was so discouraged! I even thought, “I bet YHL doesn’t get their paint colors wrong this many times!” So thanks for keeping it real and making me feel better about myself :)
We totally bomb sometimes! In the famous words of Dori: just keep swimming :)
Jamie @ A Chandelier Life says
What a difference a little paint, some inexpensive pulls and lots of headache can make. Looks good.
Thank goodness you did not keep that green! I love the green in the inspiration picture, but the colour you chose made the counter top look really yellow (maybe it’s just my monitor acting funny).
The grey-brown colour looks much much better :) And, I love those knobs – so cute!
At first I kept staring at the vanity wondering why you had covered the entire thing in FrogTape! I like the deep brown much better, but it does seem like the room needs a little pop of color. Maybe a stencil on one of the walls? Or a cute round rug?
Amelia R. says
We once “accidentally” started painting our living room an orange color that bordered on day-glow, so I feel your pain. The new color looks great in there though!
Lauren @ The Highlands Life says
What’s your recommendation on what to do with the color of the inside of the cabinets? I have some chocolate brown painted cabinets in our basement and an wanting to paint them a softer white but what do I do with the dark brown insides? Leave them?
You could leave it if it doesn’t bother you or prime and paint it white inside if you’d like (we did that with this one, just to block an old odor that was coming through and freshen it up inside as well).
emily @ go haus go says
Love the final color you chose! Very sophisticated and upscale looking.
Ahhh, thanks for the timely post. Was considering a fun pop of color on my white bathroom cabinetry in an upcoming fall bathroom reno. Was going to do a dark wood like color, but thought maybe something bright and fun might be nice too. Do you think any pop of color might be too Kermit in the end or was it just that particular color that failed? Also, any tips for prepping the cabinets before painting? Were you able to just skip any sanding, priming, etc and go straight to paint? Thanks!
I think since the sink is an off-white color certain tones in the vanity were really making it look yellowed and mis-matched and we failed to think about that when we picked the color the first time. So my tip would be to check if your pop color works with the floor/counter/etc (as well as being a color you like on its own). As for prepping the cabinets, they were chalky and dried out wood, so we just primed and painted (definitely sand and use a liquid deglosser if they’re glossy though).
Sheri. Exactly! That’s what went “wrong.” You made the sink look awful and yellowed. I have to say again you made an excellent recovery and picked something that looks awesome!
Looks great, I like the dark/light combo. How do you guys decide what is worth a mini-upgrade before a larger planned reno? Are some rooms better off waiting for the full treatment? Thanks!
It really depends on your budget (can you spare $50 for a few quarts of paint and a new mirror?) as well as what you’re starting with (ex: you might not have wallpaper to peel and just have bare walls that you’re fine with leaving as-is for a while). In general we love the idea of doing some quick math in our heads about the easy update before diving in (it can add up quickly, so making sure it doesn’t get out of our budget helps). Just ask yourself “if I have to live with this bathroom for a year until a major update, is it worth $50 to like it better in that year?” and then you’ll hopefully have your answer (adjust $50 to whatever it might cost you since it could be even cheaper or more expensive depending on what you’re starting with).
How do you like the open ended toilet paper holder? I’ve been avoiding those with the fear that an overzealous spin would have the paper flying across the room! :O
I worried about that too, but so far it has been awesome. There’s not much room to fling your arm when you use it so maybe that helps? Haha!
You know, I always passed over those types of roll holders too because I figured the kids would yank the roll off on accident. But I’m starting to think that if replacing the roll was as easy as slide off/slide on, as opposed to the super tedious spring dowel remove/replace, my kids might actually replace a roll. Right now they’ll stack a new roll on the sink, right above the empty roll holder or even on top of the empty roll. Yes, they’re boys.
Laughing Abi says
We’ve had an open-ended holder for 7 years and the roll has never flown off. I love how easy it is to change. No excuses for leaving an empty roll!
We have a freestanding open-ended toilet paper holder in our master bath. I’ve noticed that if it’s facing one way, the roll seems to try to inch it’s way off, but facing the other way we haven’t had a problem at all. No overzealous spins, but we don’t have kids/guests using that bathroom either.
We have that kind in both our bathrooms but they each face a different way. We even had a maintenence guy comment on it and ask if it stays on better on one versus the other, we hadn’t even realized until then but there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to have them face for keeping the roll on
I’ve had one of those open ended holders for a few years now. The roll doesn’t fall off but I’ve discovered no matter how easy it is to change it I’m still the only one in the house that knows how LOL
I love these too! Just gotta chime in. Don’t know why everyone doesn’t use them! Way better than those old spring ones that are a pain!
Hilarious!! My good friend just painted her front door the exact color and it is horrible, a fun joke of the neighborhood for the time being.
I like the neutral color you went with, though I do have a green vanity in my kids bath and my kitchen island is blue.
Awwww … I am so sad to see no fun pop of color on the vanity. But I totally get why “Kermit the Frog Green” doesn’t work ;)
Too bad, but nice recovery! Lookin’ good in there!
Quick question – did ya’ll get the floors professionally cleaned before you moved in?
Absolutely no disrespect, but the main floor powder room floors look…very dirty. Goodness knows what’s hiding in that grout.
I speak from experience in having bought a 25 year old Colonial in Short Pump in Richmond.
Our floors were exactly the same as yours and it took our pro cleaners two hours of scrubbing and chemicals to remove 25 years of “people funk”. I’d hate for Clara to walk on those gross bathroom tiles!
We cleaned them with vinegar and baking soda, but the grout color didn’t change (it doesn’t appear to be dirt, but I think when grout ages it can change colors chemically, so we think that’s what happened?)
man, between your old dining chairs and this, I’m starting to think you guys have some sort of kelly green curse!
I know, right?! Maybe green is a hard color to get right. Or we’re just mentally blocked and green is our kryptonite!
Great colour on the vanity!
We just gave our dated bathroom a update last week. The tile is this awful mosaic in a white/grey marble look, with brown grout. I used the Polyblend Grout Renew in white from Home Depot ($10 for a bottle), and you’d swear we put in a new floor. It’s not quick to do (although our tiny tiles meant there was more grout than usual), but definitely a worthwhile cheap fix. They have several colours available too.
Thanks for this tip. Is it more of a grout cleaner or a grout sealer? (I could use both!)
I’m having some need-to-repaint woes as well: I went wayyyyyy too dark in the living room, and the hallway looks like a nursery! I’ve resigned myself to DAYS of primer-ing and repainting, but at least now I’m 100% SURE of what I want. *sigh*
That color is a very nice look with the slate. I’m dying to know how you clean up the grout. We have a 1950s bathroom with teeny blue hex tiles on the floor that’s not in great shape, and the grout definitely needs cleaning/re-doing, but not sure what to do/how to do it! We also just updated our half balf with the tiniest wall-mount sink in the world. I wanted to do some crazy dramatic wallpaper, but it turns out fancy wallpaper is expensive! So I mixed a bunch of blue and gray paint samples I had laying around so that it at least has a fresh coat of paint. We found 4 different layers of wallpaper hiding under the crown molding ; )
Gabby @ Cookie Cutter Unique says
I don’t know, the green vanity could have been kind of epic. It’s refreshing to see that you shared your “bad call” with us though, we’ve all had those (some of us more than others). Oddly enough I DIYed a headboard a couple years ago in a similar “Kermit the Frog” green, my new fabric is slate grey. Get out of my head Petersik’s.
chrissie lynn says
before i scrolled down to see the green i thought “oh, it can’t be that bad…” THEN I SCROLLED. wow! a lesson in how awesome colors can sometimes go horribly wrong in certain spaces.
that said i LOVE the color you ended up choosing – such a rich tone and it goes great with the floor and new knobs.
can i finally admit i am so excited for this house transformation? knowing it has the potential to be your “forever home” has me so eager to see the changes you make. i think when we consider upgrades as more permanent we take fewer risks and really stick to what works for us. i see this house as ending up a perfect mix of your last two – timeless classics and pops of fun!
Looks great, you guys! We’ve picked out “oops” colors before. It happens to the best of us, right?? :)
I wasn’t going to give my two cents, but since you mentioned it already…I immediately pictured grasscloth wallpaper when I saw the finished vanity. It would look amazing! Do it!
Ooh, I’m really happy you went with the dark chocolate color over the kermit green. Big improvement! We’re expecting our first baby and are also on a budget – seeing projects like this give me confidence that we can turn around some garage sale furniture – I’ve never painted furniture before and it seems so scary!
Are your knobs level. They look a little out on one of the photos. Lovely colour on the vanity, I love two tone.
Maybe it’s just the pics? Or they could be off in person but we can’t see it! Haha!
Sal, thanks I am glad I am not the only one!
It looks like your knobs and the door on the left is a smidgen higher than the door on the right. At least in the photos the lines don’t match.
Sarah G says
Looks very nice. :)
My husband and I tried to redo the hall bathroom in our new house this weekend and the end result was tearful. We had 80s yellow wallpaper and it came off nicely but the glue did not. After hours of scraping and patching dings, we thought we had it all off but after priming and painting it is very obvious that we did not. We also removed the popcorn ceiling and had to paint that. That side turned out okay, but still we can see almost every patch/scrape.
First time DIYer…rough start. Hopefully round 2 will be better.
You can do it Sarah! Lots of luck on Round 2!
Too bad about the green, pops of color are so cheery. When not pleased by my new paint color I like to marry them with my surplus in the basement & see if that’ll do. No big loss if it doesn’t. The new dark color choice is smart and will stand the test of style fads!