Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bathroom Makeover: The Counter of Guest Bath One

A Modern Metal Makeover!

I decided to makeover this entire bathroom using (and testing) new products on a variety of surfaces.  So far, I've completed the Vanity Counter top, Vanity Cabinet, and the Walls.  I am in the process of finishing the shower tile and the door/trim.  I will also be finishing a mirror surround using Bomar pieces. This was the bathroom before:
Pretty Blah...looks like an apartment bathroom. This room is small but has good light. It needed to coordinate with the adjoining bedroom. And, since this is the bedroom most students stay in when they attend classes, I wanted to showcase several faux finishes.

The walls in the bedroom are venetian plaster with blue foil and a custom gold Lusterstone. The metal bed frame is an oil rubbed bronze.  The room is dark and serene so I wanted the bathroom to have a modern jewel box quality. Since blue dominates the bedroom-this would only be an accent color in the bath. For a brighter bathroom, I went stronger on the "tarnished" gold aspect.

The Counter Top Finish:  This is a typical Cultured Marble (acrylic) counter top with a cast back splash.  There is a separate side splash piece.  It also has a large chip on the edge.  I did have the faucet removed because I want to replace the fixture but I didn't have the drain and stopper removed. This is a mistake that will haunt me later.

I taped plastic under the faucet fixture holes, pushed down the drain piece and stuffed it with plastic. I left the metal drain raised before I applied the finish but pushed it down before pouring the epoxy.  The counter was cleaned but not sanded or primed.

The Stone Decor is mixed in equal parts, tinted a light brown and brushed over the Cultured Marble.  I stippled this finely with a Neon Leon Brush but left it thicker in the chipped area. This layer needs to dry at least 6 hours but I waited overnight and sanded it first thing in the morning.  It stuck great even with vigorous sanding on the sink edges.

(Dried Stone Decor)

My color layer was accomplished with tinted Luna in a dark gold, light gold, and cream. The three colors were brushed on and again stippled with the Neon Leon. This makes for an easy application on a curved surface.  The Luna needed to set for several hours before sanding. I reapplied my Luna for a denser coat using a brush, flat troweling the product and basically compressing the mica. For the sink and curved back splash area, I used a small rubber triangle trowel.  I again sanded when this layer was dry.

(2 layers of Luna tinted 3 colors)

To customize this finish more, I used a favorite stencil from Wallovers-the City Swirl.  I mixed silver glitter into Aquawax and troweled it over the stencil-fading the pattern in and out.  I opted out of the sink-it was too hard getting a clean pattern on the curved surface. Aquawax dries fast-less then an hour-and I was ready for the next layer.

To really pop the stencil, I rubbed a tea-stain glaze over the entire counter top.

I decided to apply the Rock-Kote Epoxy to:
1) Fill the area creating a smooth counter top
2) Amplify and add depth to the finish
3) Practice pouring a sink and a back splash.
I will go more into depth about the Rock-Kote in a later post only on that subject but will give the basic to this counter.  I taped plastic really well under the counter to catch the epoxy that dripped over the side.

The key is keeping the material thin but pouring it thick.  I began my pour on the top of the backsplash and used a sponge brush to draw it down the back splash sides.  As I worked, I used a torch to keep the material thin and moving.  Next I poured the counter and then into the sink. I used the sponge brush to remove the excess epoxy drips under the counter.  When I thought the pour was 100% meaning I had no gaps, I torched over the entire counter to level and release bubbles.

I waited 30 minutes and then pulled the tape and plastic inside the drain and wiped the drain. Some epoxy did drip into the cabinet and in the drain.  When the plumber returned to install my new faucet, he realized he had turned the attachment pipes the wrong way while removing the old fixture!  It wouldn't turn because I set the drain in the epoxy!  I used a blade and scored around the drain removing it and allowing the underneath pipe to be turned.  Amazingly the epoxy only cracked around the drain and nowhere else in the finish.

I noticed a small divot in the epoxy and attempted to fix this with the new Rock-Kote Creme, a trowel on epoxy.  I did a sample in the studio and it seemed OK.  But when I tried it on the counter, it left trowel lines and dried a different sheen (more like Aquawax) making the area worse-ugh. I decided to hone the entire finish with a palm sander using 600 paper followed by 1000 wet sandpaper. The dust was wiped off and then I rolled a coat of C500 gloss which removed some sanding marks and helps prevent future scratching. Now the entire area is smooth and has a more "granite-like" sheen.


  1. I never see any explanations to go with your photos.

  2. That's one heck of a job you've done just to customize the counter top. The result was both gorgeous and classy. I remember, when I remodeled our bathroom, all I did was repaint the walls from black to white. I also changed the flooring of our tiles to antibacterial ones. It's kind of simple, but the whole concept was to change it into an eco-friendly bathroom.

    Randell Jeffries