Grab Bar in the Powder Room

I was thinking of putting a grab bar in the powder room since the toilet is the traditional height and it’s one that is often used by guests.

Grab bars come in various lengths.

I realized I didn’t know too much about grab bars except that they should be sturdy.  I figured the sturdiest way to mount one would be in the wall studs.  I had already located the studs (17.5 inches apart) to hang the chair rail.

I tested the placement with a piece of masking tape.

After a little research I decided to hang a diagonal 24-inch chrome bar near the toilet. The topmost measurement should be not more than 42 inches.  At a cost of less than $22 it arrived from Amazon in less than 2 days. Chrome to match the other fixtures in the room.

Hole on the left for screw into stud and 2 holes with moly bolt hardware.

Sug and I had a bit of a time hanging it because only one screw on each end went into a stud.  We used moly bolts for the the other holes.

Safety grab bar installed in the powder room.

Although the grab bar is not very attractive, it is a reasonable safety precaution and might save my towel bar from being pulled out of the wall (again).

Have you made accommodations for greater sturdiness in your home?


Strip Framing an Oil Painting

I had purchased an original 8-inch square oil painting while we were visiting Smith Island.

This 8″ by 8″ (measured at its base) painting should go well in the powder room.

I was going to hang it in the powder room which used to be a “biblotheque” but is now “The Grand Tour” but the painting just looked too plain.

1.5-inch by 1/4-inch pine lattice strip which has been stained with “walnut”.

I had seen other paintings simply framed with a strip of wood on the sides as detailed in this YouTube video.  I stopped by Lowe’s and bought an eight-foot piece (the smallest it comes) of 1/4″ by 1.5″ pine lattice which I planned to stain.

Screen door molding makes a good spacer — 1/4-inch by 3/4-inch.

I had on hand some 1/4″ by  3/4″ screen door molding which I spray painted black.

The nails of this spacer are offset from the ones that will be used in the frame itself.

The screen door molding was cut to 8-inch sections and nailed to the sides of the painting’s stretcher aligned with the back edge.

Top and bottom are added on top of the spacer bars.

Then I applied the stained lattice to the top and bottom of the painting with small finish nails.  The nails were recessed and the nail holes filled.

I dabbed the end-grain with stain-soaked rag after nailing it all together.

The side pieces of lattice were cut long enough to cover the ends of the top and bottom of the frame.

After — A floating frame makes all the difference.

Now the painting is ready to hang in the “The Grand Tour” — a remembrance from our travels.

What happens to your souvenirs?


I was hoping to give you a wonderful tutorial on coping trim but alas we’re abject failures.

Shoe molding is used in front of baseboard to finish the floor.

Su and I thought we had mastered the technique because we started by coping the shoe molding.  Basically the end of a piece of molding is cut at a 45 degree angle then, with a coping saw, the rounded edge is cut out.

The shoe molding has been coped everything else needs a little filler.

When that edge is laid over the right-angle piece at the corner it fits perfectly.

The profile edge of chair rail trim.

Having succeeded at the easy piece we tried to cope the wainscoting.  We started with the hand saw method which left a sloppy joint.

Using a coping saw to remove the excess wood from the profile.

I found a video on YouTube which did an entire coping job with a Dremel tool of which I have two. It looked easy enough.

The technique seemed simple but the piece never did lie neatly.

Both Sug and Charlie tried their hands at Dremel coping.  Then we all watched the video again.

The last piece was worse than the first.

Time was getting late and we had two more pieces of chair rail to install so I just cut 45 degree angles and nailed them up.

Filling the gap with a plug.

Unfortunately the walls in this tiny room are nowhere near 90 degrees so the molding left gaps at the corners.

At this point the corner joints on the chair rail have been puttied.

Sug came to the rescue with wood putty which she jammed into the joints.

The corner looks better than it should.

Then after the putty dried she painted the corners white like the other moldings.

Every little detail tries to derail us.

Voila! Looks fine.

Can you cope?

Sidebar:  Sug says coping is a skill she’s determined to learn.  I bet she will.

Powder Room Redo — Step 13

Step 13 — rehang the towel bar and toilet paper holder — was not difficult but essential.

The plugs are different colors because the top and bottom holes were different sizes and took different screws.

Each end is held to the wall with 2 screws.  I used wall plugs on all but 2 screws which were screwed directly into a stud.

The chrome fixtures are echoed in the lights.

Both fixtures are from the early 1950s when the powder room was originally put in.

The powder room is once again usable and almost finished.

I’ve warned Charlie not to use the towels on the towel bar because I also have a pile of towels on the back of the toilet for everyday use.

Mirrored switch plate (at the left of the photo) was salvaged from the living room.
GFCI outlet and switch for the exhaust fan.

One more tweak: Since the switch plate is a vintage mirrored one I decided to spray the newer plate across the room charcoal metallic.

Are you tempted to move to another project when you’re almost finished?

Powder Room Redo — Step 12

Step 12 is one of the easy steps — hang the mirror.

This area has been hung with brass hooks for the very heavy mirror that still needs to be installed.

I bought 2 new large hooks and nailed them into the same holes from where I had taken the old hooks.  Although the hooks were firmly into the studs they were too high indicating they were not the same holes.

The mirror in the powder room.

I could have moved the hooks lower but was afraid to mess up the wallpaper.  Instead I lengthened the wires at the back of the mirror so it would hang a cell-phone’s-length lower.

The mirror seems to enlarge the tiny room.

The room’s 2 lights are reflected into the large mirror which brighten the room as if there were 4 lights.

Do you use mirrors to increase the light?

Powder Room Redo — Step 10

Now that the toilet is set we’ve finished installing the baseboard.

This is the baseboard behind the the toilet.

Our baseboard is made up of a 1″ by 4″ board topped with ogee molding and fronted at its base with shoe molding.

The baseboard slipped easily behind the toilet base.

We had measured and installed baseboard on the wall that would hold the toilet but had to pull it out to actually get the toilet in.  After the toilet was installed the 1 by 4 and ogee slipped easily behind it so I’m glad we pre-cut it.

The shoe molding could not be one continuous piece on the toilet wall.

We had also precut the shoe molding but it had to be split on either side of the base of the toilet.

The finished look of the baseboard.

We’ll touch up the painting on the trim when everything is finished.

Do you have complex trim in your house?

Powder Room Toilet Installed

I ordered a new toilet for the powder room.

Old toilet (dated 1952)
New toilet

And I hired our favorite pro to install it because the floor and flange had a few issues.

Old cast iron flange

Unfortunately I didn’t have the wherewithal to take any photos of the process which was interesting because the old cast iron flange had to be chiseled out.

Closet flange with a gasket.

A new closet flange with a rubber gasket was laid into the hole first then screwed to the structure.  Two spacers were laid on top of the closet flange and sealed with silicone which brought the level up to the floor level.

The space between the back of the toilet and wall is limited.

I pulled out the previously installed baseboard so the toilet would fit since its base was longer than the 1952 toilet that was previously in the space.

The baseboard slipped behind the toilet base.

The baseboard easily slipped back into place.

The shoe molding still needs to be installed.

Tomorrow we’ll try to finish this project.