Toilet Paper Holder and Towel Holder with Shelves

Last month we remodeled the small bathroom on our main floor and we’ve been living without some important things in the room, toilet paper and towel holders. The roll of TP has been sitting on the floor and a towel has been draped over the edge of the sink. Time to change that.

When I remodeled the living room, I bought some railroad spikes with the plan to incorporate them in to some designs. I didn’t use one. As we talked about ideas for the bathroom we thought it might be neat to use some of the spikes. Brandi found these examples on Pinterest for inspiration.

Of course I would make my own versions, especially since these cost $98 and $104 respectively! When I milled up the black walnut for the ladder, I did a second board to make these holders. To see the grain I had rubbed some water on the pieces.

The big challenge was attaching the spikes to the wood. Since I like to learn new skills I wanted to see if I could bolt them together. I cut the spikes to length and sanded the ends square-ish. Then it was over to the drill press to put a 13/64 hole in each end. Things weren’t perfectly straight, but the spikes are far from straight anyway, so it was fine. I finally got to use the tap wrench I received for Christmas a few years ago, which was just big enough to fit a 1/4-20 tap. It worked and I was so excited!

I used different bolts with washers in the final assembly but didn’t get a picture. After cleaning them up the spikes with a wire wheel on a bench grinder, I drilled some holes in a scrap piece of wood, mounted them, and spray painted them black.

I drilled a hole near the heads where I used epoxy to put in a pin which would keep the rail in place. I didn’t get a picture of this, but I do have one at the end of the post to show how the TP holder works. Meanwhile, I had cut all of my pieces of walnut, drilled holes for mounting and assembly, rounded the edges on my router table, and sanded through the grits.

To keep the finishing stage simple I sprayed on 4 coats of lacquer from a rattle can and applied a coat of Linseed Oil & Beeswax Polish.

The bathroom is finished and fully functional.

If you’re curious about the sign, I bought it on FB Marketplace about 2 years ago. Yes, toilet paper definitely goes over.

Bathroom Remodel

After the kitchen project I needed a break. With fall arriving it was time to dive back in to something and the small bathroom was next on our list. It’s the last room on the main floor to get a facelift. Look at that lovely style!

Over the course of a weekend we:

  • Took the door off its hinges
  • Pulled all of the trim
  • Removed the towel and toilet paper holders
  • Moved out the toilet
  • Tossed the vanity in the trash
  • Installed shut-off valves on the sink’s water lines
  • Took down the mirror
  • Pulled up the tile floor, mortar, and a layer of subfloor
  • Removed wallpaper
  • Tossed the light fixture in the trash

The flooring and wallpaper made for a very long and exhausting Sunday.

It was nice to have a blank slate. We scrubbed the walls to try and remove any remaining wallpaper glue, which took about an hour and a half. Then I worked on repairing drywall. The old toilet paper holder was inset, so I had a pretty large fix there. In the above picture you can see all the glue left on the wall from the backslash. Sanding glue never really works, so I took a blade to cut around the area. Then I used a putty knife to take off some of the drywall paper. After that I sanded a bit, applied primer, and then several rounds of drywall with sanding in between. I learned this technique in the kitchen when some pretty large areas of drywall paper peeled off. Works great!

We primed the walls. While painting Brandi had a good idea to do the ceiling, which made it much easier not having to cut-in. We painted two coats. I cut 3/4″ plywood for the subfloor.

The toilet flange was sticking up above the old floor and while removing the tile and mortar I must have jostled an old leak in the drain pipe, which I figured would happen. I tested by pouring some water down it was definitely dripping. Good time to fix both issues while the floor was gone. After buying some PVC parts I got home and realized the lower piping was 3″ thin wall (Schedule 30) PVC. Of course that’s a different outside diameter than standard 3″ Schedule 40 PVC and needs a special coupler. Nobody carries that part anymore so it’s a special order. They do carry a 3″ Schedule 30 to 4″ Schedule 40 coupler though, so I got one, a length of 4″ pipe, and a 4″ toilet flange. Check out the old $1.00 price tag on the coupler I cut out!

Things went pretty smooth from there. I wired in the new light (Menards) and ordered brighter LED bulbs (Amazon). I installed the same Sam’s Club flooring I had used in the living room, kitchen, and hallways. Then I was able to attach the toilet flange over the top of the floor as it should be. We installed the vanity and sink (Home Depot), hooked up the new faucet, and reinstalled the toilet. After only 8 days we were happy to have a functional bathroom again. It was two exhausting weekends though!

Over the next several days I picked away at the remaining items:

  • New switches and outlet
  • Peel & stick backsplash tiles (Menards) with caulk around the edges
  • Refreshed the stain on the door trim and nailed it up
  • New prefinished floor trim
  • Hung the mirror

So much cleaner and no longer cramped. I’m going to make towel and TP holders with shelves in a couple of weeks.

Using Old Leftover Flooring in a Bathroom

A few weeks ago I noticed a wet spot on the ceiling below my bathroom toilet. It turned out that I was able to lift the toilet right off the floor because the bolts didn’t have any washers! The wax ring was almost nonexistent as well, which must have been causing a slow drip. It could have been much worse. So I figured I might as well tear up original linoleum and the cheap stick on tiles I put down five years ago. Here’s how those layers looked.

With the trim removed and old flooring pulled out, I noticed the subfloor was pretty rotted from old leaks of some kind. Also check out the old wallpaper I found under the trim!

I removed a layer of subfloor and replaced it with new plywood. Recently when cleaning out a closet I found nearly a full box of flooring Dad and I installed in the kitchen back in 2013. The whole master bathroom and closet need a major remodel so I figured I might as well use this to buy time. After a bit of maths I thought I had exactly enough for this little area. I couldn’t afford to make any cutting or measuring mistakes and it worked out. I cleaned and refreshed stain on the trim and gave the register fresh coats of primer and white paint.

I also bought a LED light strip that can be toggled between activation manually by a button or automatically by motion. It’s the perfect solution for trips in the middle of the night.

Bathroom Shelves with Towel Hooks

Several weeks ago Brandi repainted her bathroom. When we were searching online for new towel racks these shelves caught her eye.

I offered to make a version of those and we had the idea to do a whitewash to match some of the other new decor around the house. We both thought the white would look really good with the deep blue color she had painted. On a shopping trip at Menards we saw this toiler paper holder, which I said could be sanded down and whitewashed to go with the shelves.

Since it was a smaller piece it would be a good test for the whitewashing techniques. I helped her out, but Brandi did most of the work and we both liked the result, especially for our first attempt. It was done by scuffing up the wood with a wire brush and then applying thinned out paint with a small chip brush. We took it back to her house and hung it up.

In the mean time, I had started on the shelves. Since we were going for a weathered whitewash look, I milled some reclaimed lumber to 1″ thick, cut everything to size, did a rough sanding, glued, and screwed.

Some of the pieces had cool characteristics to them that would look good with the whitewash. I did some testing of paint and stain to roughly apply to the wood before whitewashing. I wanted to be able to create more of a dirty/weathered look than what we ended up with for the toilet paper holder.

Going in, I thought a gray or one of the blackish stains would be the winner. We both preferred this dark walnut.

Next, we tested with a different whitewash technique, which involved pouring thinned out paint on the wood and spreading it with a scraper. The results looked really cool.

You can see the scraper at the top of the picture below. I gave the shelves a quick coat stain, since it was going to be painted over.

When Brandi saw the stained shelves in person, she loved how the grain and imperfections of the wood were highlighted, thinking it would be a nice contrast to have some wood grain in the bathroom. So she redid the toilet paper holder and we gave it two coats of spray lacquer.

We also finished the shelves with two coats of spray lacquer. Since the plan was a weathered and whitewashed look I had only done a sanding with 40 grit and you could feel the roughness of the wood. So I did 6 coats of a wipe-on poly as well, which gave things a much better feel. Then I attached the hooks for towels and we hung them up.

Notice the mini crate I posted about the other day? Not sure what she’s going to fill it with. The stained look was definitely the right decision and looks great with the towels and decorations.

Tinkering with a Bathroom Fan and Heater

I’ve been busy with travel, the truck, and summer, so I haven’t posted any projects or videos lately. Several weeks ago I did mess around with a bathroom fan and heater. Here are some pieces of random video from that process.

$10 Bathroom Floor Upgrade

Since I liked the tiles for the bathroom basement so much, I decided to do the same in my bedroom. Only $10 for a box of 20 tiles at Family Dollar. This bathroom is much smaller, but due to the confined space and more complex fitting of tiles I think it took me about as long to do.

The gray works well too because I already had a gray rug and towels. I did buy a new shower curtain to replace a white one.

Basement Bathroom Upgrades

After putting in a new LED light in the bathroom next to my workshop I figured I’d give the place a “quick” makeover. The biggest need was to do something with the nasty floor. After a tip from Mom I picked up a few boxes of peel and stick floor tiles from Family Dollar.

Not bad for $30! Good enough for a basement bathroom. I also put in a quick release toilet seat and replaced the faucet and it’s supply lines.

Sunday Plumber

My guest bathroom faucet wouldn’t stop running when I turned the water back on. Ended up replacing the entire faucet and lines. No leaks either!

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