My Bathroom Makeover

Winnie Luthien Thye
by Winnie Luthien Thye
15 Materials
2 Weeks
Hello from sunny Malaysia! My name is Luthien. Normally, I'm a mixed media book and jewelry artist but in the past few months I have been bitten by the DIY bug in a big way. My first remodel was our 12 year old kitchen, but what I'm going to share today is my small bathroom makeover.

When we moved into the our new condo 12 years ago, it came with the blue guest bathroom you see on the left. I didn't like the blue tiles at all, but it was new ... also I had no idea what I could do with the tiles beside hacking them off and replacing them with new ones. Unfortunately we didn't have the budget for that. So we left the blue bathroom as is ... for the next 12 years. I really didn't think much of it until I discovered that tiles can be painted. That was my perfect budget-saving alternative to hacking and replacing. I did intensive research on the internet and asked around, I realized that we didn't carry a specialize paint for tiles here like they have in the US. So I went for the most durable paint I could find. And Nippon's PU Recoatable Finish was my choice.
This is a 2 part epoxy paint for exterior surfaces. It comes in 4 liters of paint + 1 liter of hardener. Mix the 2 together and you get a durable, long wearing paint. Before painting, I scrubbed the walls clean and let it dry. Normally you'd put a coat of primer, but I decided to pass that step because my tiles were matte and rough to the touch and I was quite confident that it would take the epoxy well. Using a roller gave me a better finish. After 4 coats of paint, I am pretty pleased with the results. The paint feels good to the touch too.

Next I painted the walls a medium grey and added a black strip just above the tile line and on the door frame. This really framed up the bathroom nicely. So now that the walls are done, I proceeded to the floor.

I used a normal wood&metal paint (not as slippery as the PU paint when wet) for the floor because initially I just wanted a temporary solution to cover-up the blue tiles as I thought of retiling just the floor later on. One thing led to another. I saw a beautiful Moroccan tile design on the net and decided why not try stenciling a tile design on the white floor! I scaled and printed the design onto a printable transparent film, cut out the stencil manually and used a simple spray paint to spray the design onto the floor. It was an experiment and to my delight it turned out beautiful! One month on, and it's still holding up despite the frequent use. The floor is protected by 2 coats of sealer.
For the sink area, I first built a simple vanity out of pine wood and stained it a walnut color. For the legs I added galvanized pipes for a bit of industrial look.

Then I made a sink out of a stainless steel salad bowl. I had to drill a hole for the drain in the bottom of the bowl. I faced some problems with the salad bowl sink after installation (refer to end of Video Pt 1 for troubleshooting) but I was able to rectify the problem and at the same time add a special feature to the bowl.
The water wouldn't drain properly due to the difference in height between the base of the bowl and the trap, I had to raise the level of the bowl by adding some of my old Ice Resin to the base. And since I was adding resin anyway, I also threw in some old clock cogs and gears to go with the industrial look.
*Ice Resin is also a 2 part formula where you mix an equal part of A (resin) to and equal part of B (hardener). It takes about 16 hours to cure hard at room temperature.

Next was the plumbing. I bought flexible hose for both the drainage outlet and the water inlet. These flexible hose were much easier to work with compared to the conventional PVC pipes. With a lot of Teflon tapes and rubber washers the task was done.
*Please refer to the Video Pt 1 for a more in depth look of the process.
Update - a trap has been added a few days after this post went up last year. Thank you to all who provided me with the information about having a trap under the sink.
After tackling all the larger projects, it's time to beautify. I made a light fixture out of galvanized pipes too and this is to be the light for my vanity area. I bought 2 cheap pendant lights, dismantled them and used their ready-made wires and sockets for my industrial light.
For an added feature, I made a tall panel by gluing together 3 pieces of 4 inch pinewood and stained it walnut for the light fixture to sit on. After sorting out the wiring (with the mains off), and with the help of my 12 year old, I screwed the panel straight onto the wall.
*to get a clearer idea of the process please refer to Video Pt 2
I bought some kitchen utensil racks from Daiso (our local 5 dollar shop) and with some leftover pine, I made a crude rustic rack to be placed above the WC for storage.
Finally, to dress up the builder's grade door, I added some moldings and painted it one shade lighter than wall. To get the "frame" appearance, I had to do a miter cut with each of the wood moldings manually as I didn't have a miter saw. That was pretty challenging.
*Refer to Video Pt 2

I love how the old school tungsten bulbs cast a certain romance to the vanity area now. And here is a closer look at my Steampunk salad bowl sink. You can also see my homemade faucet here which I made from pieces of galvanized pipes and a Gate Valve.
I find myself spending more time in this bathroom now mostly just with the tungsten lights on. icon
Part 1 shows the transformation of the walls, floor and vanity. This part also addresses the problem I had with the sink.
Part 2 shows how I made the feature panel, the light fixture, the rustic rack and how I dressed up the builder's grade door.

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  • Arlene Ellerbrock Arlene Ellerbrock on Mar 16, 2019

    Stunning! IMHO, that is as good a permanent fix as anything! I do wonder, though, about the sink drain. Perhaps your building codes do not call for a P-trap for the sewer? It would not be hard to incorporate even if you did need one. Very, very clever! I love the stainless steel bowl being used for a sink. VERY original!!

  • Sandra Sandra on Apr 24, 2020

    How is the paint holding up?

  • Barb Barb on Jun 14, 2020

    I’m so impressed with that big gorgeous transformation you did. I have this same problem with sand color tiles, does the paint mixture smell real bad? Girl power❤️💪👏

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