This project was supposed to take about a week in time for a house showing that didn’t happen (damn you, COVID!!!) and after lots of starts and stops, 2 months later, it’s done! Next to my kitchen reno, it’s my favorite space that I’ve renovated.
When we first moved in, the bathroom was builder grade original from 1986. The floor tile was off white, the shower tile was off white, the tub was off white, the walls were off white (are you sensing a theme here!?). In short, it was in desperate need of a renovation but as this was the kids’ bathroom and they didn’t really care what it looked like and it was still functional, the space was put on the back burner.
I did do a little room “refresh” a few years ago. Not wanting to spend a lot of money to renovate since I had a lot more house to focus on, I just painted the vanity and walls and sewed a new shower curtain. I was going for a beachy vibe and at the time, I thought it looked pretty good for the little I spent on it. Although the cosmetic changes made a world of difference, it did nothing for the tub, tile, and floor which stubbornly remained off-white.
My number one goal in this latest renovation was to make the bathroom look and feel as large as possible since this is a tiny bathroom and do it via a total gut job if that’s what it took (and it almost did). I did replace everything but the medicine cabinet. So, let’s get to the details!
The vanity… oh, how the vanity gave me angina! Getting a vanity that wasn’t busted from the delivery process had me screaming at the shipping gods to just send me one without a cracked basin! It took five rounds of ordering a vanity from 2 different stores before I got one that didn’t have damage. The vanity issues caused the project to go from 2 weeks to 2 months… If you want to read more about my vanity frustrations, here ya go!
Originally I wanted a light wood toned vanity and the only one that I found and liked was too pricey for my budget but was beauuuuuutiful! This one was about $4,000 for the configuration that I wanted and that was more than I wanted to pay for the entire bathroom reno, so as beautiful the vanity was, I had to pick a lower budget option.
The vanity that I chose was more in line with my budget and had better storage with the bottom shelf as an added bonus. I also thought I could whitewash it to make it look like my inspiration photo so that was my original plan.
But I was sadly mistaken! This blog is all about my wins AND losses so I’m the first to say that the end product of my whitewashing looked terrible and was a definite LOSS…
Very hospital-esqe, no? Luckily all it needed was another coat of paint so it wasn’t a total loss. This time around, I went DARK and chose Black Beauty by Ben Moore and couldn’t be happier with the contrast between the vanity and the walls which I painted Dove Wing by Ben Moore.
I like to water down my paint when painting cabinetry so that I get as little brush stroke marks as possible when the paint dries. I’m happy to report that I had no visible stroke marks on the vanity using this method. I also replaced the cupped drawer pulls with a wide bar in matte black to match the faucet.
The bottom shelf was perfect for three baskets. 3 kids, 3 baskets.
I installed a pivot mirror above the vanity that I got from Amazon. It’s a lot smaller than the one that we had but I don’t miss the weird way the old mirror went behind the toilet. Really who wants to do their business with a mirror behind them but I guess it’s better than a mirror in front, right?!
The sleek black faucet was from Lowe’s and picked up the black from the pivots in the mirror and the light fixture. The light fixture was also from Amazon and was oil rubbed bronze when I got it so I painted it a flat black to tie in with the faucet and mirror.
I installed some shelves above the toilet for storage. If you remember, these are the same shelves that I used in my kitchen renovation that are the best thing about my kitchen (I’m 100% going to take them with me to my next house!). Because I had 2 leftover shelves from my kitchen project, I was more than happy to use them in the bathroom and all I had to do was cut them to size and buy brackets so these shelves were also budget-friendly. The shelves injected a softer vibe with all the white and black in the rest of the bathroom. It also allowed me to add further softness with the baskets and a faux plant.
One thing that I did that helped the room look big was to ask the contractors to bring the shower tile all the way up to the ceiling. Initially we didn’t talk about where the tile would stop and they stopped about 2/3s of the way up the wall like the original surround. You can see where they stopped before I asked them to bring the tile all the way to the top. I’m so happy that I had them go all the way up because the tile makes your eye move up, up, up making the room seem taller and bigger than it actually is.
The shiplap wall was a quick wall treatment that only took a couple hours to complete. Instead of drilling into the shiplap to install a towel bar, I opted to hang 2 hooks for towels right beside the shower on the drywall part of the wall. To me it makes a lot of sense because then I can leave the shiplap wall free to add some art (which I’m on the hunt for). If the next homeowner wants to drill into the shiplap to install a towel bar, then they can feel free (but I’m not wrecking the aesthetic of a beautiful shiplapped wall with something as mundane as a towel rack… please 😉 !).
The toilet is a low flow toilet with the option for a #1 vs. #2 flush and it was easy to install. The only thing that was difficult was carrying it up the stairs but that’s a job for my 2 teenage sons (after they turned into teenagers, I retired from heavy lifting).
This bathroom project was a combination of doing what work I could to save as much as possible (installing the vanity and toilet, putting up the shelves, installing shiplap and all fixtures, and painting) and having a contractor do the things that I consider either too much of a pain the rear for me to do or that I don’t know how to do (installing the tub, tiling the shower and floor). I’ve learned that this is the best strategy for me to do lots of projects without stressing that it will be too expensive while avoiding doing things I don’t want/know how to do.
Okay, I think I talked about everything in the bathroom so here’s the source list for everything that’s in this room:
Pivot Mirror – This mirror is a lot cheaper than similar styles and is made really well
Light Fixture – Although Lowe’s and HD had a similar light fixture, Amazon had the best price
Tension Rod– This one actually works and doesn’t go crashing to the ground with the slightest touch!
Nail Gun to install shiplap – My current favorite tool! It makes nailing shiplap so easy.