The bathroom renovation is moving along. But with a missing-in-action plasterer and me itchy to get sanding so we can paint the bathroom walls, I decided to spend my weekend working on another bathroom project.
When we bought our home we inherited this guy, an awesome cast iron claw foot bath.
His only flaw was his decidedly peachy finish. When orginally plotting the bathroom renovation, I hadn’t really budgeted for a bath overhaul, thinking it was something we could do further down the track once the savings had recovered. However, the more we thought about it, having an unplumbed bath sat in the garage for two weeks was a wasted opportunity and definitely the better option for refinishing (some places do the refinishing off site, so you would need to unhook and move the bath). Also, the navy underneath that had looked deep and regal in amongst the bright greens and blues of the old bathroom was starting to ring alarm bells for ‘out of placeness’ in the future bathroom. So I rang around for a few rough quotes as I wasn’t convinced it would be doable without the banks disowning us, and sure enough $800 was the price tag for re-enameling the inside. Eekk!
Option 2: DIY…
I was kinda hesitant to tackle this as I didn’t want to devalue our gorgeous bath with a tacky DIY job, but with the promise that we could hand it over to the professionals in 6 months if it all went to custard, and that it could be a ‘tide us over’ job until then if it didn’t work out, I began my research. This video on youtube made me believe it was definitely possible, even fairly straight forward. And so the adventure began, and I am really really pleased with the outcome, the professionals will not be getting a call from me and my darling bath looks a million times improved. The finish is lovely and glossy without runs or drips. It is probably up to 90% the quality of a professional job at 10% the price, and that makes me feel all smug inside that I made the right call giving it a go.
First thing I did was to lay a drop cloth (I’m a messy painter) and flip the bath over so I could paint the underneath. The claws came off easily enough with a spanner and then I sanded down the whole surface with a 180 grit sandpaper. This is to rough the finish up so the next paint sticks, more than it is to smooth it. I like all the old nobbly bumps and character of the cast iron and years of paint.
To paint it I picked a dulux high gloss super enamel in ‘The Remarkables’ (there is part of me that would love the walls of the bathroom to be dark and moody like this). I used a small foam roller to paint it as they give a smooth, even finish but can still get in all the gaps.
Starting at the top I worked my way down the sides and, because I was using a roller, I could simply roll along the edge to get a smooth line and full coverage without paint getting under onto the enamel. There was a touch a rust to the edge so it was important to get a good coverage of paint the seal the metal.
One coat fully covered the old blue, but I popped on a second coat to give it better protection against chipping.
Next step was to apply the new enamel the inside. I used a brand called Tub N Tile that I found eventually at Bunnings for $70. This came with 2 tins that I mixed together in a glass bowl and then separated back into the 2 tins it came in for my two coats. The instructions were to pop the 2nd coat in the fridge until needed and leave the other for an hour at room temperature before starting. While I wanted for this to cure I started my prep.
First I gave the bath a quick wipe down, then I made an abrasive cleaner by mixing washing powder with water to form a gritty paste. I scrubbed the bath with this to remove any grim build up then rinsed well with warm water.
Then I gave it a very thorough sand with 180grit paper and made sure I removed any bumps in the finish and that the whole bath lost its gloss and became a lovely dull surface that was sure to suck up my enamel coatings. Followed by another wipe down and then left it to fully dry.
Again I applied the paint with a small foam roll as I wanted a smooth drip/brushstroke free finish. However, the product didn’t like foam and the roller degraded at a quicker than usual rate, so I used 3 rolls per coat, as I am always paranoid about getting roller fragments in my paint so as one started to look like it might flake I switched to a new one.
I painted the bath in thirds. For each third I would roll the walls horizontally then do vertical strips along the base, spreading up the sides to overlap the paint line. Then I would run the roller around the rim joining with the paint line from the sides. By doing it in thirds rather than sections I could merge the paint in the different zones quickly without it becoming tacky, and each thirds was completed quickly enough that I didn’t need to worry about edges drying, which could have been a problem if I went around the bath doing the walls, then the base etc.
After the first coat, I had to wait at least 12hrs before the second coat was applied, so I went out with two of my gorgeous little cousins for cupcakes at a cute local store. Mmm Rhubarb and custard cupcakes!
Finally, this morning I got to apply the second coat and pronounce my bath mission complete.
Voila! Isn’t he handsome. Now he gets to hang out in the garage to cure for a week before he will be reinstalled once that pesky plasterer makes a reappearance and we can get a going with the painting and tiling. I’m keen to see how the new enamel holds up, so will pop back with updates. Now to go hunt down an obliging person to let me invade their shower… Muuummm!
Waking up this morning a shower was NOT the first thing on the agenda, due
in part completely to the fact that our bathroom currently looks like so…
Friday night after work, I started clearing out the bathroom, pulling down the blinds, unscrewing fixtures and ripping down the wooden railing. So Saturday once our fabulous builder and plumber were on site we could strip the whole room. And ta da! don’t it look so
much better hideous. But things need to get worse before they get better right. Of course as with most old house, things behind the walls are never straight forward, so in our case it is things need to get worse before they can get worser (that a legitimate word.. honest). Once the walls and floor tiles were off, we discovered a fews soft patches in the floor that needed lifting, and below that a few soft beams so those will be replaced before we re-jib and start to put the room back together, luckily Brad’s uncle is looking after the building side of things for us to get everything healthy behind the walls. So while that is all happening, I’m dreaming about the finished look and have put together a mood board for the room. Its handy to have this to refer to with all my ‘still to be made’ decisions, to see if they complement everything else.
Left on my to do list while we are wall-less:
- I need to find a toilet. I really want one that sits flush to the wall, which saves from having to clean behind it. But we also don’t want to have to replumb and our S-trap sits 240mm off the wall which is abnormal, so I’m doing a final hunt before I commit to having a plastic joined cistern and base.
- Find a mirror.
- Make blinds for the window – fabric is ordered and on the way.
- Decide whether or not we can afford to have the cream bath re-enamelled or do we attempt a home kit?
- Paint the door and skirting while they are off.
- Refurb the door and window hardware.
Our little meyer lemon tree is doing so well pumping out lemons this winter. Its just a newbie to the garden after the original didn’t survive the snow last year. But this guy is made of tougher stuff, and despite a light sprinkling of snow so far he is still focussed on making juicy lemons so I can make zesty lemon curd.
I prefer lemon curd when it is thickened with eggs, not cornflour and has a thick opaque look to it rather than translucent. For our wedding I wanted to make lemon curd and jam favours. Mum and I hunted through old recipes until we found one from my great granny that was perfect. It makes a delicious zesty and creamy lemon curd that sets to be nicely firm and gooey. We whipped up a casual 100 of these back in January and make cute little linen covers for the lids using the date from our wedding stamp and bakers twine.
So with lemons galore, I spent my last Sunday making more of this yummy lemon curd and spreading copious amounts onto crumpets [there may also have been some blatant knife licking going on]. Now what else can I do with my lemons???
Makes 3 cups
5 lemons (juice & zest)
Pinch of salt
Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and whisk well to combine. Pop bowl over a pot of boiling water (keep the bowl above the water level) and whisk continually until smooth and thick. This takes 10-15minutes and the curd should coat the back of a spoon once thick. Once thickened, pour into sterilised jars while still hot and seal. It will thicken further upon cooling. Store in a dark cool place and refridgerate once opened.
How gorgeous is this bathroom? I love the fireplace and floor length curtains. Shower smower, imagine starting your day soaking in that bath with a cup of tea and roaring fire… and consequently being perpetually late for work, hmm… from that point of view our current bathroom is perfectly set up for punctuality. Here is what it looked like when we moved in.
And for the best part it still does, with the additional of Alfonzo, our maiden leaf fern. It doesn’t really have the same historical bones as the above beauty, instead its 30′s heritage is hidden behind 80′s peachy cream enamel and Paua tile accents. This, combined with drizzling water pressure and a shower the boy cannot actually fit under [not a problem I have ever experienced] means its more of a slap and dash than leisurely soak event each morning. But it does have character and I can’t wait to spruce up our cute claw-foot bath. Finger crossed, the whole space should be in for a major sprucing in three weeks. So the bathroom dreaming has begun! Here are a few gorgeous bathrooms I’m coveting.
So far, the thinking is that there will be grey walls, a BIIG shower, a mix of dark and light tiles and chrome fittings. But whatever happens there will definitely be monogrammed something, a recycled wood bath rack and a special place for Alfonzo who might inherit some friends.