Hall Bathroom 95% Done + Ikea Hack.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

ikea bathroom cabinet vanity hack
”Babe, have you seen the bathroom?”

“Babe, I just saw it the other day.....”

“I know but have you seen it recently?”

I can hear the thoughts tumbling around in his head as we teeter down the hall:  I just saw it, why do I need to see it again, ugh ok fine, humor her...

*flip light on*

“Oh!  Oh.  Oh!  You, you decorated.  Oh.  Well, look at that.”

“Yeah babe and that’s a fake plant, don’t,  ...”  (HomeGoods, man, I tell ya, that store is nuts.  It makes me buy fake plants.)

“Fake plants, sure, they’re ok.  Wow babe, huh,” nodding and scanning the room at the same time.

“I added those too.” (see Ikea hack below)

“Wow babe, looks good.  Yeah, I think I could turn this into my bathroom.....”

“You’re in charge of cleaning it then.”

“Uh, welp, ok!  Never mind!”

In all seriousness though, the before and after could not be any different.  I am quite pleased with the bathroom.  I keep finding myself suddenly, randomly standing in its doorway looking at everything.

hall bathroom before
Its second iteration here, that icky hospital green, the color I didn't request.  Sadly I don't have a before before shot.  It was painted peach and had another of those super cheapo glass vanities.
One thing that bugged me about that Ikea vanity I picked up, well two things, its slight footprint leaving a hugely bizarre awkward gap between it and the toilet and that it had zero counter space.

ikea fullen talleviken bath vanity cabinet before
Tiny, lonely Ikea bathroom vanity, the uh, hang on, looking it up...Fullen/Talleviken but with different legs and doors.
In the copious time I had to think about that thing, the world, nanoscience (no, please, not really) while painting the floor, I pondered what I could do to get that vanity to fit in and make sense while also providing space to set things the heck down.

Oh the variations of ideas, my head was swimming.

Unrelated meandering through Menards sans my typical by-the-list mentality, always dangerous, I stumbled across four foot long 5/4” (aka woodworker speak for 1” thick, in case, fyi) by twelve edge-glued red oak boards, fifteen bucks a pop.  So I bought one with no plans.

Got home and realized, oh, duh, attach shelves to the side of that vanity ya dope!  Heh, back to Menards, doh, to find hardware.

To this day, I still come across things I’ve never seen in there before, things I didn’t know existed.  Like framing angle/joist clip thingamawhoohas.  Similar to these.

Huh.  Maybe they’d be perfect.  Pursing my lips, let’s try it.  Grabbed three.

Back at the ranch, I chopped up that super heavy, super thick board into foot-long pieces.  Damn that’s a strong, sturdy plank, whooie.

tung oil on 5/4 red oak shelving pieces

Sealed the chunks with tung oil* 'cuz hey, why not try something new to me, attached the brackets, then attached them to the side of the Ikea cabinet.

red oak shelf tung oil before and after
Some satisfying woodworker porn for you.  Oiled vs. not oiled.
The brackets weren't strong enough to keep the shelves from tipping down using bolts alone so I zipped screws from inside the cabinet into the wood edges which helped.  Mostly.  The lower two shelves anyway.  The top not so much for some reason.

attaching brackets to shelf pieces with machine screws
Shoulda painted the not-shelf-side with some white spray paint but I was too jazzed to get this done.  Itty machine screw bolts went through the holes into the side of the cabinet.
attaching floating shelf to side of Ikea bathroom vanity cabinet
Traced the bracket holes onto the side with a pencil and drilled through for those machine bolts.  One shelf up!  Kinda droopy but not bad.  
And voila, extra storage, extra place to set things down!  Plus it minimizes that huge awkward gap a bit and things look less floaty in space lonely.

Finn coming in for a sniff of the Ikea bath vanity cabinet hack shelves
Finn!  Always gotta sniff.
Ikea bathroom cabinet hack with wood floating shelves
Ok, here's an after!  Yes the math to evenly space the shelves hurt my brain.  Yes they blend quite nicely with the wall.
While I was in that bath, I patched up the tub as uh, I uh, when I was demo’ing the tile, despite by best efforts at protecting the tub, I uh, dinged the tub in a few spots with falling broken tile.

damaged bathroom tub ding
Yeowza.  That was the worst ding and it was quite large too, probably about 2".  Bad.  Oops.
Thankfully hardware stores sell those spiffy tub patching kits.*

I seriously had major doubts this kit would be a successful venture but lo, doubts proven unfounded, it worked.

Plus it was easy(ish) too.

The goo you mix up smells exactly like Bondo,* horribly smelly, so vent the area.  Yes, I then did a search for white Bondo, just to see, couldn’t find any.

mixing bath tub repair kit
Top left:  patch part of the kit.  Top right:  stinky mixed tub patch (be sure to drip the liquid part b onto the goo, not a porous mixing surface, ahem).  Bottom:  the above dent with curing patch.
The trickiest part, and most important part of this project, is getting that goo as smooth and tight to the dinged area as possible; it’s not easy to sand afterward.  I discovered this the hard way.  Of course.

A rotary tool kinda makes the situation worse and easy to ruin your newly patched section but you can use one if need be.  Just do so gingerly.

dent patched with tub repair kit
Sorta.  Yeah, I gotta go back and try to touch this one up a bit.
But honestly, I was pleasantly surprised that if you didn’t know and didn’t go looking for it, this kit, for the most part, did the job quite well.

Unless you’re Mike, and while showing off to him how you magically made the damage disappear, he rains on your parade “yeah, it’s right here.  And there.  Only because I knew.”   Mmm, thanks babe.  Merciless teaser he is.

Although today I noticed one of the dings, the patch failed and it’s exposed again.  Hm, that’s very weird.  Probably had the mix ratios wrong.


Oh I painted the ceiling to match the walls.  Pretty cool.  Seems I enjoy painting bathroom ceilings.

ceiling paint to match dark gray walls

I also used this interesting silicone-y type grout sealer* on the spiffy new shower tiles.  Yes, I don the paranoid-about-leaks-in-the-shower crown now.  The sealer works.  The water beads up.

silicone grout sealant

Annoying aspect of the product?  The sponge top is very wide and the instructions yell "don't get it on the tiles!"  Then uh, don't make the applicator tip so super huge maybe?  The tip in general leaves a lot to be desired, FYI.

So then I decorated a smidge.  Most everything came from HomeGoods or was something I had and reused.  The macrame was a bargain find at the Heritage Antique Mall.  The photos are mine and in an Ikea frame.

updated view of hall bathroom with multiple projects shown
Wow.  So different than the image above, huh?!  It is the same house, I swear.
The wall mount soap dish* is a cheapy one and the mirror is merely a frameless door mirror turned sideways, both from heh Menards.

view of hacked Ikea bathroom cabinet and decor

And right, I made that faux metal brassy threshold too.

As we've had to switch to using this as our master bath of late, just an FYI on those stencil painted floors....No amount of sealing will prevent water damage if water sits on it too long.

hall bathroom with lath wall, stencil paint floor, and Ikea hack cabinet

Be sure to clean up any lil' puddles or pools or what-have-yous, the finish will bubble.  As such, I would not stencil paint a floor, put in that insane amount of work, in a high traffic room with the gigantic likelihood of standing water i.e., kitchen, mudroom, laundry.

Even the most hawk-like protectors (me) can miss a puddle on occasion and your hard work will be down the drain.  Ah, drain, bathroom, pun.  Heh.  Such a dork.

So anywhooo, right, that's the bathroom!  After we've moved back to the master and I've cleaned up, I'll get some more finished photos.  Or try.  I still need to patch the old towel holder hole as I got a 24" bar, touch up the baseboards, get a strip of quarter round behind the toilet and sink, but all in all, that's it!


Sadly, today marks five years ago that we lost our Hailey sweet pea.  I miss her madly.  And despite five years evaporating, seriously, where on earth did that time go, it still feels like losing her happened yesterday.

Hailey the German Shepherd
Hailey.  My stinky fluffy sweetie pie.
Ok, lots more to do, lots more to share.  With a deadline now in the books, I hope to be back here asap!

*The tung oil, tub patch kits, Bondo, silicone grout sealers, and wall mount soap dishes are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. The detailed explanations and before-and-after photos provide a clear insight into the transformation process, making it an inspiring read for anyone interested in budget-friendly home improvement projects


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