Half Bath Progress — Tile, Wainscoting, Window Casing, and a Color Change

The half bathroom is inching closer and closer to being finished! The one big thing hanging over my head is still the floor, but I have a few more things I still want to get finished before I tackle that huge project.

I finished painting and adding the resin coating on all of the tile, let it cure for a couple of days, and then got most of it installed. But something still seemed “off” about the whole thing — the yellow chair rail, yellow tile and yellow lower wall. The yellow tile seemed bright and cheerful, but the yellow chair rail and wall looked dull. That seemed strange since it was literally the exact same paint color out of the same container. And yet, it looked dull on the painted finishes.

So I tried the chair rail in white, and I loved it!

yellow bathroom tile with white trim vs yellow trim

I had rejected the idea of white wainscoting before because it just looked so boring against the upper walls. And I do love white wainscoting, as you can see in the music room and hallway bathroom. But in this bathroom, it just seemed so…blah.

But as it turns out, just the addition of the yellow tile with the white wainscoting was all it needed to take it from blah to bright and interesting to my eye. So I painted the lower wall white as well to get the full picture of what it would look like. This was after one coat of white on the lower walls, but it already looked so much brighter.

yellow bathroom tile with white wainscoting

And of course, the addition of all of the bright painted trim (picture frame molding, baseboards) will complete the look.

Speaking of trim, I finally cut the access panel in the wall behind the toilet. This was the whole reason this bathroom had to have wainscoting in the first place.

If not for the need for this access panel (due to the special plumbing required in this bathroom), I wouldn’t have chosen to do wainscoting with picture frame molding in a room with such busy upper walls. But I couldn’t think of a better way to disguise the required access panel than with picture frame molding.

So after cutting the panel out of the drywall, I trimmed the edges of the cut out piece with base cap molding, and then put it back in place.

access panel with picture frame molding cut into wall behind toilet

I still need to come up with a way to keep it in place. Right now, I just have a tiny piece of wood shim wedged in there so that the panel won’t fall out. I’m still trying to figure out a more permanent solution for holding that panel in place.

I also got the window casing installed, although I still need to caulk and paint.

bathroom with window casing installed

That window casing is another reason I decided to try the white on the chair rail and lower walls. I knew that with the addition of the tile backsplash/accent around the room, that would put the chair rail up much higher, which wouldn’t allow for a full apron under the window.

I couldn’t imagine the window casing in white with a narrow little apron up against a yellow chair rail. That would have just highlighted the narrow apron. With the window trim and the chair rail white, it better disguises the narrow apron under the window. And of course, it’ll look better once it’s all caulked and painted.

Today, I hope to continue with the trim and get all of that installed (including the crown molding), get the tile grouted, and get the second coat of resin on the countertop. And speaking of the countertop, I’ve decided to give the final coat of resin a matte finish.

Resin generally has a very shiny and reflective finish, which you can see here…

bathroom epoxy resin countertop - original shiny finish

And it really shows up here…

DIY MDF bathroom countertop for undermount sink - 24

But yesterday, I watched a video about how to get a matte finish in resin. I’ve done it myself before, but that was for the huge piece of artwork that hangs in my music room…

sanding a resin coating to get a matte or satin finish - 11 - resin with satin finish after using buffing compound

But even after sanding that resin to a satin finish, it never dawned on me to try that on a countertop. But in the video I watched, they said that a matte finish would hide scratches on a resin countertop (obviously), so I’m going to try it.

I decided to test the look by sanding the right side of the countertop by hand with 220-grit sandpaper, and it looks pretty amazing…

bathroom epoxy resin countertop - matte finish

It’s hard to see the full effect in pictures, but there’s not a bit of shine or reflection on that side of the countertop. It’s just pure matte goodness.

Of course, the sanded resin will have to be waxed, so it will probably end up being more of a satin finish. But it will still be better at hiding scratches than a really shiny, highly reflective surface.

So that’s the progress! I’m definitely on the downhill slide towards the finish line with this, but again, I won’t be able to get it completely finished until the floor is done. Ugh! Stupid floor! I hate it when a huge, daunting project holds up progress. If it weren’t for the floor, I could probably have the bathroom done by the end of the weekend. Again..ugh!



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  1. I love that you changed the wainscoting to white. I honestly had trouble discerning that it was yellow when you first debuted it. It’s so soft, it was hard to tell if it was just a lighting effect or a color. Now, the wainscoting helps the beautiful yellow pop in the tiles! It’s so pretty! 🙂

  2. how about magnetic catches for your access panel…i have them on my medicine cabinet and it works well

    1. I built access panels like this and I used magnets, I had to rig it up so that the panel would snap in place but it’s doable. Have to get very strong magnets, or use several of them. I used 2 on a small panel and it wasn’t enough.

  3. The white wainscoting is perfect. And I love the small square backsplash against the geometric design on the wall! As for the plumbing panel. Perhaps some strong magnets as if it were a cabinet door. (But without hinges. It is not in an area the would have anything knocking it and magnets would hold it firm until you need to slide it away for plumbing needs.
    Sheila F.

  4. What is this ‘special plumbing’ you speak of? Can you give me a bit more info or is it archived already?

    1. As I remember, the half bath and garage are on a slab, so rather than going to the trouble of trying to drill a hole for a four inch sewer line, this toilet flushes into a sump basin that pumps the good stuff up a line routed through the attic. It’s archived, a few years old though I believe.

  5. I’m so glad you’re opting for the white! With everything that butter yellow, I kept thinking of your original kitchen cabinets, which were very retro and 70’s. The white makes it feel much more modern.

    1. Wouldn’t a push magnetic latch work? Maybe with a piano hinge on the bottom or side, whichever way you want it to open.
      You got your COLOR! What a happy room😄

  6. Maybe industrial strength Velcro would hold the panels.
    I love all the color in your house but I’m to afraid and don’t know where to start.

    1. Velcro! That seems so simple. And obvious. 😀 My brain tends to over-complicate things, so I didn’t even think about that!

      1. Haha we used velcro on our bathroom access panel until we could think of something better. It’s still there 10 years later.

        Like the white much better and love how this is all coming together!

  7. Love the white! It teaches me so much to seeing you react to something that feels “off” and changing course. We have all seen that room where the installer just followed the plan and never stepped back to reassess.

  8. Gorgeous! I am curios why some of the red points are not connected but some are on the squares?

  9. Looking great! Two suggestions, use Velcro for the access panel and for the floor sand it using a hand sander as the one you rent won’t fit in the bathroom anyways. Then finish the floor as it will be different from the patterned floor (if that is still your plan).

  10. I have a vertical access panel in my hallway with trim like you do. The wood catch on the sides have magnets to keep them in place. It’s perfect, and snaps right in.

  11. I’m always astonished about the change in the look after you grout the tiles! I like the tiles but was a bit taken aback when I saw them attched to the wall due to the dark lines in between. but the part that’s already grouted looks so different – and so in tune with all the things around it, very beautiful!

    1. That’s exactly why I stopped working on trim and grouted that one section. 😀 I knew in my mind that the grout would make a huge difference, but those dark lines between the tiles just kept distracting me. I needed to SEE, and not just know, that the grout would make a huge difference so that I could continue working on trim and not be distracted. 😀

  12. It looks great with the white. I had my doubts but the tiles make the difference. As for the panel, can you use those little tabs that can be turned to hold it in place. If painted white, they would hardly show plus you’ll have your toilet in front of it so most of it won’t show anyway.

  13. I think I missed where the vanity went from green to coral. What happened there? Are the lights still green?

  14. Wow! Your journeys never cease to amaze me. I love how you go for it and find a way to make it happen. I obsess over all the small deets, but you keep showing me that it’s best to just jump in and figure it out later!

    What a fun space!

  15. Can I ask why you aren’t hiring the floor done? You seem to dread it so much and it’s such a huge room. (I would if I were you and could afford it!)
    BTW way this bathroom might be my most favorite thing you’ve done! I think it’s amazing!!

    1. A couple of reasons. (1) I can’t justify spending that money (hiring out flooring is expensive) when I need to be saving up for costs like all of the studio cabinets and workroom table, (2) I can’t bring myself to hire out something like installing and finishing flooring when I’ve done it twice before (three times, if you count what I’ve already installed in the bathroom, storage closet and back entry) and know it’s really pretty easy, and (3) installing and finishing flooring is one of those projects where the dread of the project is disproportionate to the actual process. I’ll spend weeks dreading a project like that, and then when I actually finish it, I think, “Well, that was easy! What was I dreading?” 😀

      Mostly, I dread having to clear out the studio so that I can get to the whole floor, and that’s something I’d have to do whether I do it myself or hire it out. So I need to just get in there and get it done. 🙂

  16. Yes! I’m liking the changes. I couldn’t have explained precisely why I wasn’t liking it before, but it seemed something was off. The white really changes the feel of the room to happier, more coordinated. I love how you aren’t afraid to keep tweaking until you get what makes you happy. Great work!

  17. Seriously inspiring! Have you drilled or sawed through a finished epoxy project? I want to pour my backsplash (horizontally) at the same time as the counter. I can’t pre drill for the wall mount faucet as the plumbings not in. I can’t wait to see your matte counter. Wondering why you need to wax it.

    1. I haven’t drilled through, but I have used a tile wet saw on it (on the pantry backsplash). It worked just fine. I didn’t have any problems at all.

  18. I like the white wainscoting it makes the room look bright and it seems to make the walls and tile pop. I wasn’t going to say anything negative about the yellow as it might have looked beautiful when you had finished (besides it isn’t my bathroom). My vote is the white looks BEST. I can’t wait to see the final reveal.

    Question, why do you need access panel behind the toilet? My toilets are connected to the floor and the upper tank. Just asking?

    1. Didn’t Kristi say this toilet has to flush up for some reason or am I thinking of something else?

    2. It had to be plumbed differently than most stools. It had to go up and out. Her archives explains it all.

  19. I was hoping you would paint the chair rail white and leave the bottom the light yellow. Can’t say I love the tile backsplash though. But do love the vanity color.

  20. LOVE the white wainscoting, and I didn’t even notice that the window frame didn’t have an apron until you pointed it out, lol. Your half bath is now so much more cheerful and happy than with the darker colors. Get it, girl!

  21. Now the window trim is in, you´ve made the right decision to repaint the chair rail and the wainscoting white. It is all coming together so nicely. So bright and happy looking!!!!

  22. Kristi – my husband and I had to do the same type of panel to access the bathtub in our master bathroom that has jets and a whirlpool. We used the magnets that people put on closet doors to keep them closed and it has worked like a charm.

  23. Love how this room is coming together. Also a huge fan of the white wainscoting choice. Make the yellow tile sing and is a great neutral background for the beautiful wall design.

  24. In my garage we had a frozen pipe issue for the hose spigot. When we accessed the area to fix it we found the past homeowners had tacked up paneling over a badly patched giant hole. Nutshell we insulated where we could, and added a bleeder valve to easily drain the line for the exposed part since we couldn’t insulate it all. Anyhoo we made a frame that held a home-made french cleat pieces to hold an access panel flush to the wall with the weight of the panel. That area didn’t have much room for a hinged door. I recommend a set of cleats at the top and bottom if you got the vertical room. Ours had one at the just the bottom and we ended up rigging up a latch to hold it flush at the top.

  25. Probably costs a pretty penny but you have to admire how this guy hides the plumbing access doors.


    I’m sure you’ll find a latch of some sort to hold your panel in place. I agree with some of the magnet suggestions but there are probably “door” latches made just for the purpose somewhere out there.

    Loving the way the bathroom is looking. This is one time I did not see your vision for this until it started coming together. Beautiful work!


  26. I like the white!
    ??? Are you going to do the wainscoting to the other half wall ?? Just wondering

  27. Kristi, have you thought about using rare earth magnets to hold the panel to the wall? My husband and I have used them for similar purposes. You can purchase some that are made with screw holes.

  28. There is a very simple, cheap item in the door hardware section. One half is screwed onto the edge of the wall or cabinet face, pointing into the door opening. It has an opening like a spring. Then on the door there is a mated piece that closes into that spring and it holds tight until you pull the door open. I’m not explaining it well but if you asked Home Depot for the spring clip to hold cabinet doors shut I’m sure they can find it for you. Probably less than a couple of dollars each. For your application you would put one on each side since the door wouldn’t be held by a hinge.