Painting Bathroom Cabinets and New Hardware for a Major Facelift!

Jul 11 2021
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My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing. (Yes I even have a picture of their old bathroom!) He really built furniture to last! I was only able to save about half of the kitchen he and my Grandma built and cussed the entire time… Those kitchen cabinets would have HELD this house up during a tornado lol. Lucky for me though I was able to save some of them for the kitchen down here and these bathroom cabinets too. I installed them a few years back and built an oak countertop too.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

The cool old sink I found out in a shed on the property and am still just totally in love with it. With our progress down here the last job for this bathroom was to give these old bathroom cabinets a facelift.

I uninstalled the doors, removed the drawers and removed the old hinges on two of the doors and all of the old hardware.

The old hinges on the doors beneath the sink were REALLY rusted on… SO, instead of taking an angle grinder to them (because they still worked fine) I decided to leave them be.

Now, moving on to painting the bathroom cabinets.

I have some very different plans for our kitchen cabinets down here but with the pallet walls in this bathroom I decided white was the best choice to help keep this room as bright as possible. (It is a windowless, basement, bathroom after all.)

The doors, drawer fronts and boxes I scraped down and cleaned thoroughly but with my paint choice I didn’t feel I needed to strip them. (I have no shame in spending extra money for something that will last.)

Rustoleum is my favorite paint for this type of situation.

I purchased a quart of high gloss in white and got to work.

Rustoleum (like any oil based paint) takes some getting used to.

Its best used at room temperature and with some patience. Two coats (at least) is best and trying not to put too much on is also best for getting a smooth finish.

Because of how thick oil based paints are they’re a bit like painting with glue… But they have a way of also self leveling themselves which helps!

And they also don’t require a sealer of any kind so I love them for wet environments like bathroom cabinets. And with this dark bathroom I won’t have to worry about the white paint yellowing from sunlight…

Oil based paints are also incredibly stinky and need a solid 12 hours between coats and a good 24 hour full dry time. Oh, and the only thing that will take it off of your skin is mineral spirits or acetone and it will NEVER come off of fabric…

Do these cabinets still look old and rough?

Yes.
They.
Do.

Could I have totally avoided that by completely sanding them down smooth? Absolutely and I almost did that but I’m glad I didn’t.

I didn’t want these cabinets to look brand new.

When I went to put the new hinges on the two big doors I stayed well away from where the old hinges had been. For the first time in years, the cabinet doors are level and even! I also cheated with little door magnets too to keep them closed because: Why not?

I had one last thing to do before we could start using the bathroom cabinets again.

New cabinet boxes nowadays come with backs lol but my Grandpa built his cabinets in place like I did with my own kitchen cabinets which means there’s no reason to add a back when there’s a wall behind them!

Well there is no wall behind these cabinets…

Unfortunately I installed them BEFORE I covered these bathroom walls with pallet wood.

I ran to Walmart and grabbed some thick poster board. It made a nice (and very easy) solution to the problem. I simply cut it out with a utility knife and put them in place with double sided tape.

At first I felt lazy for using poster board…

What I “should” have done was climb up into our garage rafters, find a piece of scrap board and carefully cut my cabinet backs with a jigsaw, sand them down and then tack them into place with screws… Then fill the screw holes with wood putty, sand them down again and then paint them.

That sounds like a lot of work when poster board will work just fine lol.

The poster board also has the added benefit of being removable which I totally plan to do someday so I can mod podge a pretty fun fabric to them to give some life to the inside of these old bathroom cabinets!

Just one more thing: Door and drawer hardware.

With the running theme of using black plumbing pipe in every possible way throughout the basement it just made sense to me to make little pulls out of it too.

I purchased 20 packs of 1/2″ caps, nipples and floor flanges on Amazon because we’re planning on using them on the kitchen cabinets too.

I put all the floor flanges on first and then just screwed on all the nipples and caps… I am not oblivious to how dirty the above sentence just sounded… I swear twelve year old boys named plumbing parts lol

I think our bathroom cabinets look so great! And they work great too!

Up Next: Accessories and The Reveal!

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

My Grandpa built these bathroom cabinets for their main floor bathroom back in the 1950s when they first got REAL indoor plumbing.

Comments

  1. July 11, 2021 at 10:05 am

    The cabinets look great, and how lucky were you to have that cute sink just lying around in one of your sheds?

  2. MADELINE l NEWTON
    July 11, 2021 at 11:22 am

    another great job on saving part of your history …have you found a way to put the dates of the cabinets and who made them and your reconstruction of all of this great work …hope so for your family members in the future …love all of the work you have done…would love to have kept my grandma’s place and acreage ….proud of you …take care and enjoy all of this …

    • July 12, 2021 at 9:25 am

      Madeline, that’s an awesome idea! I definitely need to figure out a way to date the cabinets and who made them! Thanks for coming by 🙂

  3. Kat,hy
    July 11, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    I don’t mean to sound critical, just asking a question…. Did you use caulking around the sink so water doesn’t accidentally get underneath it? I love that you use things your grandfather made. I have and use a few things my grandfather also made.

    • July 12, 2021 at 9:25 am

      Hi Kathy, yep I should have mentioned that, I used clear caulk around the bottom of the sink! Thanks for coming by! 🙂

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