Monthly Archives: September 2012

Another Frame Job


Our budget was pretty maxed out after the installation of the granite and new shower so when we got around to the mirror, I knew we had to get creative.

I’ll flash you back to the before.  Oh Hollywood lights, how I don’t miss you.

To recap our demo, we knocked out the furdown and raised the placement of the light.  We thus had a little space to work with around the mirror and decided to frame it with some trim to make it look more custom.

It ended up just looking sad and wimpy though.  The piece of trim we selected created too small of a frame- we needed to beef it up more.  Doing so would make the mirror the focal point of that wall and make it really pop.

To simplify things, we wanted to leave the existing trim up but find an additional piece to place on the inside of the frame.  We chose to go with this guy:

I did worry that the mirror would be too small with all this framing so it took us a few weeks to finally take the plunge.  I have to say, though, it turned out great and we still have plenty of mirror real estate.  If you have a huge mirror on a double sink wall, a big, chunky frame is totally worth the mirror space it takes up.


Mirrors are the ultimate tool of vanity, and this mirror is no exception. For starters, it’s huge. Like, bigger than some rugs. The weird part is that given the way we designed everything, we could now see ourselves in the mirror while showering. And, naturally, everything looks better with a frame around it.

Julie had found a bathroom somewhere online that had a huge framed mirror, and of course she wanted it. The problem with mirrors, though, is that they really are tools of vanity… which means that the prices are absolutely criminal. So, I needed a solution. Cheap.

My first attempt with framing the mirror was actually with casing, a type of trim generally found around doors. Part of the issue was that there are small clips on the sides and tops of mirrors that help hold it to the wall, but they’re too bulky to place the trim over. To work around this, I put gobs of Liquid Nails on the back of the mirror and pressed against the wall. Once it cured, I cut the trim and again used Liquid Nails to glue it to the glass, but on the top and sides I let the trim overhang by about 50%, and then drove nails through it into the wall to help secure everything.

There was a problem: it looked wimpy. It definitely made the mirror stand on its own, but it just didn’t have the classic, bulky look Julie was looking for. So, while perusing the aisles of Home Depot one day I stumbled across the solution: base boards. Granted, these are huge base boards that, quite frankly, I think would look terrible when used for their stated purpose, but they were perfect for what I needed them for.

I did, however, have a bit of a problem: my original framing was not square. Unfortunately, the trim had shifted slightly while the glue was curing and had resulted in something that (mostly) looked square but was slightly off. I decided that the difference was negligible and went ahead and cut everything at a 45* angle anyway, hoping that the end result would look square… well, square enough.

So here’s how things went:

1. Cut trim. I measured at the longest distance for each side and made forward cuts at 45* from those points.

2. Flip over and cut again- I cheaped out and only bought a 10″ mitre saw. Good enough, right?

3. Apply glue to back of trim. Remember, glass is smooth so it’s hard to get things to stick, so don’t be shy- buy extra tubes!

4. Adhere to mirror. This can be a huge pain because most of the time when you press on one side, the other will pop up. In a parallel universe, your anti-self is having the opposite problem (if you don’t get the joke, consult your nearest physics department).

5. Tape until you get a weird frankenstein-looking mirror. Remember Step 4? Again, don’t be shy with the adhesives. Apply liberally.

6. Sand edges between where two pieces of trim meet. This was only necessary because Julie throws a fit if I don’t run sandpaper across every piece of wood I touch.

7. Caulk where edges line up. Remember, putty and paint makes a boat what it ain’t!

8. Paint. See Step 7 for clever limerick.

9. Enjoy!




Filed under Bathroom, Easy DIY Projects

Hooked on Character


As the master bathroom renovations were wrapping up (read more on that process here, here, here, and finally here), I began noticing that something was off.  As much as I was loving the sparkly new shower and luxurious-looking granite, it was beginning to look more catalog and less home-y.  While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I knew I was craving some good ole character in the space.

It only took a few seconds for me to put my finger on the real problem.  Everything was too new.  Nothing was distressed or worn!  *Gasp, whose house was I in??

Never fear, if it’s one thing I’m good at, it’s finding the good, the old, and the battered.  The idea hit me as we began narrowing down our towel bar options.  There was a shiny, new, brushed nickel towel bar that matched our towel rings and toilet paper holder but it seemed so blah.

Instead, I decided to find decorative hooks to line up in a row.  I wanted something that was unique and would add that piece of character the room was missing.  You’d think finding pretty, unique hooks wouldn’t be that hard.  After hours of trolling Etsy and stores like Hobby Lobby, I only managed to find options that were either too standard/new looking or too expensive.  I was starting to think I needed to reroute my idea.

But then I came across this battered piece in Garden Ridge.

And while one hook was broken, the other three were just what I was looking for.  With an iron look, distress by way of white paint splotches, and the unique scroll-look, I knew I had a winner.

Chris gave me his usual “are you insane” look but knew arguing was a lost cause.  Especially since it was also the cheapest option I’d found at a grand total of $7.99 meaning each hook ended up being $2.67 each.

Compare that with hooks I found on Etsy like the one below totaling $16 EACH (eep!).

Source: Etsy, Alacart Creations

We just had to get rid of the ugly white backing behind the hooks, screw them into the wall, and, voilah!, instant character.

Two hooks looked odd on the wall so we went with three.  Two to hang towels and one to hang the awesome metal “W” I found at a flea market.  Because you can never have enough initials in your home.


This was one of the more complicated sub-projects in the master bath, so I’ve created a detailed step-by-step guide. With the right tools, you can usually finish this in a weekend:

1. Get hooks.

2. Screw hooks into wall.

3. Have a beer.

It can be a daunting task, but it will definitely pay off in the end. Having a distressed thing that you can also hang towels on is a high-end solution to the everyday problem of style vs. being dry.



Filed under Bathroom, Easy DIY Projects