Monday, July 10, 2017


This past month has been a whirlwind! As soon as school got out, Todd and I immediately tackled the upstairs bathroom. The bathrooms and kitchens in this house are definitely a priority, since not only are they ugly and not functional, but they were improperly installed and are disgusting. Super important to get these spaces up to a live-able level, as we use them on a daily basis! And, as per usual, our reno was done on a very tight budget.

I guess I should also forewarn you that this is gonna be a lonnnggg post, as it's both the process AND the reveal. 

So let's get started with some "before" pictures! (Brace yourself for some severe ugliness and nastiness!) 

So these two pictures are from the MRIS listing when we bought the house. They are just plain deceptive because they make the bathroom look semi-decent. 

But just wait.

The first thing I did when we moved in was to take out the white cabinets and shelves. They were literally falling off the walls AND they had some mysterious stains and mold in them.

Not sure WTH was going on here with these floating square shelves. Just plain weird decor choices. 

So, let's just talk about this old light fixture. Apparently, they were a "thing" back in the 70s-80s, but were quickly ruled out because they are just plain dangerous to have an electrical outlet (non GFCI) so close to a sink. Plus, reaching up over your head to plug something in? Eek. And this was the
only outlet in the bathroom. The addition of the chunky mirror didn't help with accessing the darn outlet either. Who wants to take the mirror off the wall every time you want to use the outlet?

Oh yeah--- and the light is ugly. (Let's count how many times I say "ugly" or some variation in this post? Mhmkay?)

Now for the BIG "what was the previous homeowner THINKING" portion... The toilet and the floor. Sooo... apparently, the guy took some linoleum tiles and nail-gunned them over the preexisting floor. He just "installed" (using that word very loosely here) the tiles around the vanity and toilet without removing them first. And he didn't even get close. Like, there is a HUGE freakin' gap around the toilet base that just collected SO MUCH stinkin' pee. Looking at this picture makes me gag all over again.

Plus all the nails are popping out of the floor at this point. Ouch! Not safe at all for feet! (Or my poor Swiffer mop!) 

The door situation is another thing in itself. Who cuts out of the trim to add a lock like this?! Ughhh. Thanks a lot! We added an over the door hook from Amazon so that we would have a semi-safe place to hang out towels.

The whole house also features painted over switch plates and air vents, including complementary dimensional paint drips! Also, let's mention here that the electrical on this level isn't up to code.

The tub/shower was tiled fairly recently. Not what I would have picked, but it was in semi-decent shape and neutral in color. Lots of cracked and peeling caulk, due to it being the WRONG KIND OF CAULK. The tub/shower also features some dated faucets and fixtures... and of course, a broken drain.

And the tub! Not in super bad condition, although it will probably need to be reglazed down the line. (But from what I understand, that's pretty inexpensive to do.) There is a lot of caked on caulk on the bottom. And those rectangular brown and beige tiles? Stick on plastic, faux glass things. Yup. Just so water resistant! (Can you detect the sarcasm?)

Oh hello there, old air ventilation system! It works fine, although it doesn't vent out of the house like it's supposed to. It vents out into the attic above, but next to the exhaust pipe out of the house. Our home inspector told us that we would need a new roof in the next few years and to just have them vent this out when they install it. And as you can see, it's also pretty grimy up there.

So, as you can also see, the "original" paint color was this grayish teal color. The previous homeowners painted the purple on top... But they didn't bother to take the mirror down before painting.

Also, note the brown "goop" drips... I seriously don't want to know what the "goop" is. Ick. 

So you can see why I was pretty ecstatic to paint! I used a mop and wiped down the ceiling and walls with my Young Living thieves cleaner. It smelled wonderful, dried quickly, and degreased the walls just in one quick wipe down. The brown, sticky "goop" wiped right off without a scrub! I used Valspar's color changing ceiling paint in a matte white. It took two coats, but went fairly quickly since it was such a small space.

I think taping took longer than painting itself! I used Zinsser Bulls Eye Primer on the walls to cover up the dark purple. Then I used a quart of Valspar Signature's Shoreline Haze in a satin finish. Mhmmm. Love me a good beige color!

I really wanted to paint before putting all the new floors and fixtures back in, so I did most of the painting right before and right after we took out the old floors, toilet, and vanity. Boy was it easier to paint with everything removed!

And DEMO DAY! We removed the old flooring. Since it was installed completely improperly, it was a breeze to pull out with a crowbar and minimal force. We were surprised (but also not really surprised) to see various floor layers underneath...

Todd did a great job taking the toilet out! He had the brilliant idea to put it in the tub since we weren't going to be doing anything to the shower walls. I put an old dishtowel down the toilet pipe so that the fumes wouldn't come up. I also put an old towel under the toilet to protect the tub from further scraping and messes. (Just some excuses to buy myself new towels, right?)

Thank goodness for Todd! He also undid the plumbing so we could remove the vanity AND he scored all the baseboard trim with a knife so we could pull it out without tearing the walls.

Here you can see some sneak previews of the wall color. :)

I didn't bother painting all the way down the wall since the plan was to install a bead board wall with hooks for our towels. Thank goodness, because if I had to paint the whole wall, we would have run out of paint! A quart was barely pushing it after cutting in and doing touchups!

If we ever re-tile the floor in the very, very, very far future, we will have to replace the plywood. But for now, it did the job.

We used some cement board for the sub flooring. We were total experts after our porch/sunroom floor. I measured and drilled, while Todd cut.

And since the room was pretty square, I decided to NOT follow the rules (of starting in the center of the room). I started with an L-shape, and worked my way from the farthest side of the bathroom (at the tub) to the doorway.

It went pretty quickly and without any problems! We just picked a cheap-o standard 6" tile from Lowes that matched the shower tile, and that was light and neutral. I installed the tile, while Todd cut them for me and mixed the mortar. It helped to speed the process along since I didn't have to keep getting up and down. We used a quick-setting mortar that set in less than 24 hours.

And then we grouted! I grouted while Todd kept the clean water buckets a-comin'! We used a premixed grout tub in a beige color, and we literally had just enough to finish. I was scraping the bottom of the tub for the last section! Phew!

Beautiful! I was so proud of our floor at this point, and I just couldn't wait to see everything else installed in the space!

But in the meantime... I spray painted the vent covers (for the ceiling and floor vents). Since our ceiling vent system is so old, I wasn't sure what kind of cover would fit on, since most are clip ons. So instead of taking numerous trips to and from the hardware store to find a fit, I decided to just keep the preexisting cover until we update the fan itself. The floor vent was one of those "numerous trips" situations. I measured the opening, went to the store, bought a cover with the correct dimensions, got home, tried the new cover, and realized it didn't fit because of the depth. Ugh. I guess it worked out okay, since in the end (after my returns!), I didn't spend any money on this part of the bathroom! I grabbed a can of white primer and white spray paint from the basement that we already had to give them a cleaner facelift!

I'll have to do an update post on our gardens too! :)

Trim Day! Our friend Andrew let us borrow his nail gun and air compressor. We had a littleeee difficulty in buying the right replacement nails, but once all that was said and done, Todd nailed the trim in in a matter of minutes! I measured the trim, and Todd cut it. We make a great team when we are on our game!

We marked the studs for the bead board wall with painter's tape.

And then it was time for me to caulk and paint the trim! I usually enjoy painting (besides the cleaning part after), but I reallyyy dislike caulking. Since I'm a perfectionist, it's super frustrating and tedious for me! I start out taking my sweet time and then when I realize I have callouses on my hands from the caulk gun, I start rushing, and then things get sloppy, and then I get... stressed. Let's just say I watched all two seasons of Girlboss while caulking all the trim.

And then we will fast-forward to the long awaited "after" pictures! Our friend Andrew came over and "helped" us install the toilet and vanity in one final push. I say "help" because he did most of the work. You know you have a good friend when they are scraping wax and poop residue off the bottom of your toilet! "We", *ahem*, Andrew, got the last fixtures in with both of our daughters (a baby and a toddler) chillin' in the living room! Talk about multi-tasking at it's finest!

I got the two rugs on clearance at Kohls, plus an additional $10 off coupon I got in the mail. They are very plush!

NEW TOILET!!! (And I thought I was psyched when we got our new toilet at the townhouse.) Okay, okay, so it's not actually new... but newly installed! Do you see? Do you see?! NO GAPS AROUND THE BASE OF THE TOILET. Hallelujah! Look at that beautiful caulk line! :) The potty also got a new seat, since the old one was plastic and was broken. (I can't believe we sat on a broken, crooked toilet seat for over a year.)

The basket is from the thrift store and was $3.99. It fits a few rolls of toilet paper and Todd's comics perfectly! The toilet brush is from Ikea. I like to stock up on them whenever we make an Ikea trip. They are the best quality for the lowest price, 99 cents. Our trash can, which did not make the picture, is from the Dollar Tree.

Check that light fixture! My dad installed it for us. It's a tad off center from the sink/vanity, but I tried to position the mirror a little off as well so it wasn't super obvious. (Did you notice?) I scored the light fixture at a yard sale for $15 and it was brand new, still sealed in the box! (I think it was listed at $25, but I was able to talk the lady down in price.)

Hello pretty, big, beautiful sink! So much counter space now, compared to our last dinky one! I like the taller faucet neck because it allows for more space when washing your hands. And those knobs are the sole reason why I picked this faucet set. Sigh. Love them. The milk glass pitcher has a hobnail design, which is my most favorite milk glass pattern. I got it at the thrift store for $2.99. It's the perfect size to store our toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes! The soap dispenser I made from a mason jar and a plastic mason jar lid. I drilled a hole in the top and inserted a plastic dispenser from a Soft Soap container. Eventually I plan on replacing the plastic dispenser for a foaming one so I can make my own Essential Oil hand soap. 

I love how the bead board on the vanity doors and drawers coordinate with the bead board on the opposite wall.

And another favorite part of the bathroom! I heart bead board walls with hooks. I have four hooks up now, and am debating on adding a fifth. (I like odd numbers because I think they visually look better, but I'm not sure that there will be enough room for a fifth one behind the door.) The hooks are the perfect spot for our towels and our clothes while we shower.

Like I said, a lot of caulking hours went on around here. All worth it! :)

There's our spray painted vent cover and gorgeous caulked molding! The toilet paper stand was an online yard sale find for $5.

I had originally planned to put some shelves with a towel rack on the blank wall above the toilet, but now I am second guessing myself. I may use the fifth hook that I didn't use from the bead board wall and create a hook next to the sink for the hand towel... TBD.

And note the new electrical outlet on the wall, new switches, and new plates! Everything is nice and safe now! Our home inspector completely missed thousands of dollars of work since all the electrical on the upper level of our house wasn't to code. So the home inspection company covered the cost for an electrician to come out and rewire all the outlets and switches. Let's just say our realtor is the best ever.

The shower tile and fixtures stayed the same. I cut out and scraped off all the old caulk, and replaced it with the correct kind of silicone caulk. The tub area looks much better now! Maybe one day we will replace the tub and shower fixtures, but for now, they work and aren't a big priority.

The shower rod cover was going to be replaced, but in the end, I decided to just scrape all the purple paint off it and reuse it. It actually blends right into the wall color! The curtain hooks are from Walmart. I got rid of our old fabric liner because it was too hard to keep clean, and replaced it with a medium weight plastic liner. The shower curtain is actually a fabric shower liner from Walmart, except I got it from an online yard sale site (with a tension shower rod and silver hooks) for $5. One day (when I can muster it up enough to pay $25 for a shower curtain) I'll replace this shower curtain with something a little nicer (like a shower curtain without those magnets at the bottom), but for now, this will do!

Anddd the rest of the house is still a mess. Real life. 

And the door is still not up. I want to paint the trim before putting the door up. I also got some new hardware--- knobs and hinges, and a new threshold (to connect the floors). But this step will be a future post. Maybe I'll have figured out wall art by then also!

Let's close out this post with some before and after pictures, side by side, and the final budget for this project!

And here's the breakdown of the budget. I seemed to have lost some receipts, so I am going off memory and prices on the store website. It seems that I completely lose all organization skills when in the midst of a big project!

Electrical: FREE, thanks to my dad and our home inspection company 
Plumbing: FREE, thanks to Todd and our friend Andrew

Building Supplies:
Vanity: $249, Lowes
Light fixture: $15, online yard sale
Faucet: $97.47, Lowes
Mirror: $29.98, Lowes
Wax rings: $21.26, Home Depot
Caulk: $10, Lowes
Nails: $4.72, Home Depot
Plumbing pieces: $6.74, Home Depot
Toilet seat: $7, Lowes
Door hinges: $5, Lowes
Door knob: $9, Lowes
Tile: $35, Lowes
Tile spacers: $9, Lowes
Grout: $15, Lowes
Mortar: $15, Lowes
Subfloor: $20, Lowes
Screws: $5, Lowes
Door spring: $3, Lowes

Wall paint: $15.28, Lowes
Ceiling paint: $26.98, Lowes
Primer: FREE, already had
Painting supplies: FREE, already had
Trim paint: FREE, already had
Spray paint: FREE, already had
Wall hooks: $19.85, Lowes
2 Rugs: 8.99, Kohls
Shower curtain: $5, online yard sale
Toilet paper holder: $5, online yard sale
Basket: $3.99, thrift store
Milk glass pitcher: $2.99, thrift store
Soap dispenser: FREE, already had
Toilet brush: .99, Ikea
Trash can: $1, Dollar Tree

GRAND TOTAL: $647.24

I'd say less than $700 for a large bathroom is a pretty good deal! And if we were to get the tub reglazed, we would be all in for around $1,000, which is fantastic for a bathroom!

Come on back soon to check out the finished door and *hopefully* decor!


  1. This looks fabulous! This makes Karen's operation with her condo look like small potatoes! Thanks so much for your input!

  2. Hello Lindsay,
    What a lovely transformation. It looks so much brighter and cleaner. Great job!
    Big hug

  3. Wow! I am impressed! I wish I had the time to redo my bathroom too. I really needs an upgrade.

    - Momma Cat

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