I almost always forget the Before shots. The boys bedroom wouldn’t be nearly as remarkable without the cold truth of how bad it WAS, laid out beforehand. Well, for those of you who have visited our home in person, you know the main bathroom wasn’t horrific or anything…
When we moved in it had purplish-blue sponge painted walls, an oak vanity, a builders flat mirror and had the big round hollywood lights. That was six years ago. I changed it up a bit (as John calls it, I “brenda’d it up”) within the first 6 months or so by re-painting the walls red, painting the brown oak vanity to crisp white. I took the flat mirror off and replaced it with an antique. The silver was spotted and mottled with age but the boys were 5, 7 and 9–they rarely looked in the there for anything but practicing ferocious faces and googly eyes. Then I replaced the hollywood lights (so ridiculous, and still in our master bathroom) with a plain one, with milky white globes. This all helped a lot, but I never really loved it.
okay, I loved the cozy red walls and black and white toile accents added, but there was NO love in my heart for the cheap vanity, the stained sink, the blah and drippy faucet. The toilet was fine because it’s white. Unless it’s a wonky color or a porta-potty, how can toilets be anything but neutral?
here’s a sideways, almost worthless shot of the bathroom closet.
consider that the “before” in this Cinderella story.
First: I painted the red walls a light creamy buttermilk color to lighten it up. I posted about that earlier this Summer. The room felt so much bigger and fresher that it inspired me… I kind of got on a roll…
John hates when this happens, but I think he is pretty used to it, now. I started looking at the floor-man, I really dislike ceramic tile. Slate tile? love. Anything else-blech. And this tile was grayish blue. Have you ever noticed there is no blue in my house? I don’t find it to be a cheerful color, though I don’t want to insult GOD, who splashed it all over the sky and all. He knows what He’s doing, and maybe if I had high ceilings, like atmosphere high, it would work for me. I DO like certain shades of robins egg blue (did my scrapbook room in that) but anything blue equals blah, in my book. especially if it is pastel or navy shades of blue-ick. So I started looking at that tile and thinking “I bet we could change that fairly easily. And its a small room, it shouldn’t cost too much!” I spoke my thoughts out loud, as is my habit…
(insert John cringing)
and it wasn’t too hard. I filled the grout lines and scrubbed the tile and John loves me SO MUCH, and a month or two or three later? He installed this wonderful floor, worth waiting for and costing only about $50 for the whole room. They are 18″ square linoleum tiles:
I love it because the color is so PERFECT for a home in the country with three boys. It is called “Tuscan Gold” or something similar but it should be called “Unmopped For 6 Weeks In February” because that is the exact shade of brown it is. Then that sweet husband of mine, knowing my love of molding, added baseboard with a little more substance than the 3/4 inch cheap-o stuff that was here. Besides, the baseboard behind the toilet had a funny smell. We are working on aiming accuracy…always, always…let my future daughters-in-laws come back to this post and SEE, that I did TRY to train them!
So then I decided I would take off the vanity ceramic top with its wimpy little 2 inch white square tiles with gray grout that looked like a bad tooth filling and was just as impossible to clean. John said we couldn’t replace the vanity, that I was pushing things, (insert John muttering here) and he was right, so I was planning on painting and adding molding to it but then, proof once again that God adores His kids and spoils them rotten and John kind of likes me, too? That proof was sitting, waiting for ME, at Lowes Hardware.
A lovely maple cabinet, that matches our kitchen cabs (that are just outside of the bathroom)-on clearance! Marked down to only $118 from over $400! And I am so brazen, I ask for the manager and request a further discount for it, as it is the floor model. He takes another $20 off because I just stare at him, unblinking, when he insists it doesn’t have a scratch and their COST on it was $250. And my stare was SO unnerving, or else he was so late for his lunch break, that he throws me a further bone.
So we take it home…yippeee!!!!!!
Now the vanity top. Hmmm. What to do? what to do? I haunt the local Habitat for Humanity thrift store, waiting for a bargain. No dice. I don’t want tile again, but consider it. I buy a piece of laminate for $10 and it is a pretty cream color. I start researching how to build a counter-could I pour a concrete one? John forbids such a mess but all along, I am kind of hoping for something NICE…Why doesn’t anyone ever donate Carrera marble or granite counters? I can’t really use the “resale value” as an argument, since we kind of plan on dying in this house, unless God says otherwise. I have no plea except “honey…please?”
Did you know a custom granite top is over $600? But our local hardware store, Jerrys, has a special 37″ top, and it includes the undermount sink, and it was under $200, THE SAME PRICE AS LAMINATE and in my favorite shades of green, and have I mentioned that John and God both spoil me, regularly?! yup, they DO.
I want Oil Rubbed Bronze fixtures, but they are crazy expensive. That rich brown looks so great against the new granite, though! I find Rustoleum makes oil rubbed bronze spray paint, and it is only $7 a can. It is NICE, and I am determined to spend as little as possible, in penance for my granite lust. So I paint the light switch, the outlet covers, the hardware on the vanity and this-the toilet paper rod.
I was especially excited about this project, because I balked so at spending $38 on TOILET PAPER holders. It’s hiney paper-why does it need gold plated hardware?!! I found a silver curtain rod at the Goodwill for $3 and threw out the middle bar to just re-use the cute little endcaps with the white tension rod thingymajig, that holds your 2-PLY, but of course-only after painting them in the ORB, to match. I felt so clever that if I had had suspenders? I would’ve hitched my thumbs through ’em and rocked back on my heels, grinning!
THEN, I found a light at the thrift store for $6.99, and 3 matching white shades at a different thrift store (antique milk glass! just $2.99 each!) and with a coat of my new BFF, that bronze spray paint, they were ready:
The mirror has a nice beveled edge, and no silver discoloration from the 1930s. I have teenagers now, who care about their reflections more than they used to. The mirror was $17 at a St Vins, and I just painted the wood frame to blend in with the walls and disappear. It was hard not to paint it ORB, but I was starting to see an obsessive pattern starting up. My favorite father-in-law came over and hung both items, re-wiring the new light and even cleaning up the sheetrock dust…love him so much.
Brian and Anne picked up this chippy, creamy distressed wooden shelf for me about a year ago. I have moved it all around the house but finally found the right spot for it. The wicker bottom shelves were a Walmart find, at like $5 each. Can you believe how perfectly they fit?! The shower curtain there on the side was temporary. It’s actually a king-sized duvet cover I clipped up there until I found the linen one–see below.
It’s hard to take a picture of a small bathroom but here’s an attempt. The door is always left open, so if you come over for dinner? This is the scene from our dining room table. Yumm-o, pass the french bread, there’s the potty in full view.
I have no thrifty story to share about the faucet. It had to be a certain size. I wanted/needed ORB finish. It wasn’t crazy expensive but it was full price. Not even a 10% off, or a $3 coupon on it. The shame. it haunts me.
but isn’t it purty? and it doesn’t drip!
here is a sideways shot-the curtain is a flat bedsheet that I paid $3 for, and clipped up with ORB curtain rings. It hides the towels, kleenex and extra shampoo. If you are in our bathroom and really need an extra 13 x 9 cake pan or a large orange Tupperware bowl with matching lid, large enough to feed 3 dozen people cold potato salad? You will find those hiding in there, also. Help yourself, but if you barf in that bowl consider it as yours. just seal it up and take it home. please.
We’ve had this old schoolhouse coat rack for almost our whole marriage. I still love it! I remember hanging it high years ago, nervous that bathroom rough housing would result in one of our toddlers impaling something soft and fleshy on one of those hard iron hooks! Still might happen…
and here is the new shower curtain. Though, once again, my skills with the lens makes everything in this photo look pukey-green, when it is actually soothing buttermilk.
The curtain is more generic and plain than I usually choose but I am weaning myself to a simpler style, with more substance than flash. It is Ralph Lauren linen, and (of course!) it was on clearance at Kohls, $18 marked down from $65, plus I had a coupon for 30% off WOOHOO!
(Another $187.00 and I will have made up for the counter and faucet splurges!) I will be buying Ivory soap with a coupon until I am 78 years old, John, I PROMISE.)
I found the curtain on a recent Sunday afternoon shopping trip with Claudia. I was planning on sewing a shower curtain like I usually do, but once I saw this one, I knew I couldn’t even buy the fabric for that price. And Claudia was there to back me up. We do that for each other, while shopping. We call each other “the enablers”.You hear a lot of:
“Oh yes, you have to get THAT! and it’s such a great deal! and it looks so cute on you! and that’s classic, it will never go out of style! and you know, if you divide the COST by the # of times you WEAR it, minus the discount and we can just order soup at lunch and if you don’t buy it, I WILL!”
til we stagger out of the door with bags loaded. Yet our husbands keep sending us off together, while they watch football, and it bites them in the wallet, everytime.
Also, please enjoy my laundry. It is usually hanging there, dripping, so I guess this is “keeping it real”. But to be honest, I did wipe off the Crest minty freshness from the faucets before photographing them. But I wipe those white spatters pretty obsessively, anyway, now…remember? full price faucets? oh, it smarts, still.
So. There’s our shiny new bathroom…
Don’t all of you rush over here to whiz in it, at once.
Let’s make a nice, orderly line through the dining area…
and don’t any of you wipe your grubby hands on my favorite green sweater. because I’ll know.