The finishing touches

The bathroom is so close to being finished I can almost smell it… taste it… ugh… I can’t really think of a way to phrase my feeling of readiness for a finished bathroom without making some pun. I can’t wait for it, let’s just put it that way.

I’m in the home stretch. After more than six months of demolition and rebuilding, we currently have a functioning bathroom – the only thing it’s missing is a vanity and a sink. Problem is, vanities are one of the most expensive fixtures in a bathroom. I was debating putting the old piece back in…

But after looking at it, in comparison with the rest of the bathroom, the decision was clear. We needed a new piece. As with the shower, the tile and everything else, I started shopping around. While waiting for the perfect piece to go on sale, I got to work on the lighting and the mirror.

Early in the game, when installing the drywall, I had decided that rather than using a traditional wall-mount vanity light, I wanted to use recessed lighting, so I built a small soffit above where the sink would go, and wired it for lighting. To build the soffit, I used small pieces of 2×2” to build a rectangular frame large enough to fit 3” can lights into. After framing it out, I wrapped in drywall and finished the soffit.

After selecting the lights I wanted from Home Depot, I then cut 4 holes, evenly spaced, into the underside of the soffit small enough to fit the can lights.

After wiring the lights together following the instructions included with the lights, I popped the light trim into place and was ready to go. I was pretty pleased with the result – it appears fairly classic, so hopefully it won’t go out of style in 5 years the way Hollywood light strips did… eek!

For the mirror, I was planning to dress up the old mirror, but while it was sitting in the utility room for 4 months, Helen dropped something on it, and a corner of it broke off. Determined to salvage the mirror, I purchased a glass cutter and trimmed off the broken edges. I was surprised at how easy it was to use the cutter – I just laid a straight edge on the glass, ran the scorer, tapped the score with the ball end of the tool (as instructed) and then put pressure on each side of the cut – it split perfectly.

You can get a glass cutter for about $7 at Home Depot.

With the mirror trimmed to size, I needed to mount it to the wall, and since one side of the mirror was no longer beveled like the rest, due to the cut, I needed to frame it somehow to conceal the secret.

To mount the mirror to the wall, I used LiquidNails mirror adhesive. Then, with the mirror glued to the wall, I placed two small screws at the bottom and top of the mirror to hold it into place while the glue dried.

With the mirror securely on the wall, I decided to frame it to match the rest of the trim in the bathroom. I used 3” MDF, making the top and the bottom slightly longer on each edge to mimic the window on the opposite wall. I used the same adhesive to stick the pieces to the mirror/wall, covering about 1” of the mirror on each side, and then used a 2” finish nail around the edges to secure the MDF to the drywall, being ever so careful to ensure that the nails wouldn’t nick the mirror. The finished result turned out quite nicely…

While finishing the lighting and the mirror, I discovered a vanity that I liked. Only problem… it’s $800.

Unfortunately, as you can see in the photo of the mirror above, there must have been a weak spot in the mirror, because about two weeks after I hung it, the top left corner cracked. So much for saving the old mirror. I found a mirror the same size at Home Depot for $29 to replace it with, but that will have to happen when I install the vanity. Until then, dirty hands in the Lee household…

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