A blog that features my easy-to-moderate, inexpensive, do it yourself home improvement projects in an effort to transform my 1,000 sq ft bungalow built in the 1970's into something with lots of cottage chic/shabby chic/victorian chic/traditional chic style.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Transforming the Bathroom From Eeek to Chic Part Two--Finally!!!

So, the "new" bathroom is finally done and I just love it! I used to make sure that door was always closed but now I make sure it is always open, so lovely does it look and smell. Well worth the money and time we put into this. And the blood, sweat, and tears, of which there was much and many! (It's always harder than you think it's going to be.) (Always.)

We have two bathrooms in our little cottage but no one would use the "blue" bathroom. As the Middle Child says "horrific things have happened in there". Though this is all true, a big part of the problem was the broken fan, which, failing in its duty, meant it was a wet and smelly place even before the wall-encapsulating barfing.

As it turns out, the fan was the only thing that needed replacing, something we accomplished in a short space of time and for about $25.00. However, once I got The Spouse to agree that the bathroom needed a transformation of sorts in order to entice anyone (other than The Big Guy) to think of it as a safe place to be (the Little Guy and the MC using our ensuite bathroom is getting pretty old), the juices started flowing. And, without further ado, I present the before photo . . .

And the after! (please do remember that my camera can't produce a straight line at certain distances so things are not as warped as they appear . . .)

Note the lovely new fan (which came from a "cheater" kit, meaning we didn't replace the whole thing with new casing, etc., as that would have required making the hole bigger or smaller).

Next is the before photo of the problem with the tub--The Big Guy has pulled off the overflow thingamajig (in spite of all we did to replace that, I still never learned the correct term for that). There's a sad story related to this overflow apparatus; at some point the original tub was covered over with one of those tub and walls all-in-one features made of some kind of plastic. In doing so, the holes that are meant to line up with the holes on the overflow thingie don't --- so no screws can be used to hold it in place. The overflow thing that was there when we moved in was attached with glue which is probably the reason it eventually came off. We figured if we used glue, it could last at least a few years, at which point we would just glue it again.
Not. Non. No. Nein. So, in spite of money being spent on a new overflow thingie, special expensive glue and a second tube of a different kind of special expensive glue, the overflow remains uncovered.

The overflow failure almost proved too much for The Spouse but I convinced him that we had to carry on, make a success out of a failure, etc. etc. Which led to our next failure, one more spectacular than the last. Remember this mirror that covered the entire upper wall?

In my enternal optimism, I felt sure we could simply remove it, cut it down, and put it in an old frame that I had in the garage. We left this task nearly for last as, I must admit, it scared both of us. Finally the day came when we could put it off no longer (the family was getting tired of tools all over the place b/c I refuse to put tools away if I think I am going to use them again the next day . . . or the next--BIG waste of time, right?) The plan was to spread a blanket out on the ground in the garage, place the mirror on it, cut the size piece we needed and cut the rest of it into pieces that could easily be disposed of in the garbage can.
What happened was that the handy dandy glass cutter we bought ($13.98) was not the only tool needed. It seems there is some special holder/snapper-apart thing one needs. Once I finally convinced The Spouse to actually help me with this task and our hot breath was fogging up the mirror, I didn't dare take time out to purchase one of these special tools we would never again use. We figured we could do it without.
Not. Non. No. Nein. The glass cut fine but it cracked when we tried to split the two pieces apart. Sadder yet, the mirror was big enough for us to make three attempts, all with the same glass-splitting results. The Spouse was pretty discouraged by that point so instead of cutting up the glass in easy-to-be-disposed of pieces, he put huge chunks of the mirror in the garbage can and hit it with a wrench.
Glass. Every. Where.
However, the story ends happily. Living in the garage was a mirror we had bought when we had been married for just a few months and which has adorned many walls in many homes through the years but now had no place to dwell. I painted it the same color as the trim and now it hangs on the wall, smaller than it should be, but still living large.
But first we had to deal with the abomination we found beneath the mirror.

After two hours of work, scoring, misting, tearing (score, mist, tear, repeat!) and sanding, the wall was finally ready to accept paint. Did I mention we scored a can of blue paint for just $1 on the returns table at our local home improvement mecca? In the end, it was too dark and had to be mixed with the white trim paint. However, this was a blessing since the blue paint was flat and the white was hi gloss which, together, made for a nice finish for a bathroom that is often, er, glistening with moisture.

Lovely, is it not? And so much better than that mirror! The space does seem smaller and a bit darker but the new light fixture goes a long way towards that end (especially since the old one didn't work very well). However, the installation of this light fixture was the biggest challenge we faced and we had to face it FOUR times. It's too traumatic to talk about it but I will say that one of those attempts involved an electrocution. (Is there some kind of prize for the person who has been electrocuted the most times in the midst of a home improvement project? Does five seem like a large number? If so, The Spouse is in for a nice surprise.) (Bless his heart, is it any wonder he balks at these things?)

Still, we love its alabaster glow and aren't even concerned about the fact that the matte finish on the fixture doesn't match the shiny one of the new toilet paper holder since it's most likely not long for this world, anyway (we have been through so many of those, both in size and shape but The Big Guy seems to defeat them all).

Now, when I walk down the hall, I am greeted by this view, one which I have fantasized about ever since we moved in. The crown moulding was meant for a different project (my bedroom) but one must make sacrifices when the juices are flowing and The Spouse is willing. The beadboard was purchased almost a year ago and has been living in the garage all this time, inducing guilt and anxiety every time I barely miss running over it with my car. The trim at the top and bottom of the beadboard are left-overs from other projects so they were free. That's my favorite number: free. (The beadboard, or as it is often called, wainscoting, is the faux kind and comes all in one piece--we used about $10 worth.)

Please note how white and lovely the caulking looks in this sink! It took nearly an hour to get it just right--who knew it would be so hard?!?!?!

When I look at this picture, all I can think of is how much I want to change the floor--gah!!! (Even The Spouse agrees, even though it would involve removing the toilet and resealing it.) However, that and the new tub and tiled surround and pedestal sink all must needs wait . . . and wait and wait and wait until who knows when.

Still, I am very grateful for what we have been able to accomplish. We caulked, glued, nailed, wood-filled, painted, bead-boarded, mirrored, lighted, trimmed, sanded and repaired most of the bathroom at a cost of approximately $125-$150, which is a bit more than we planned on spending. (I hate math so I'm not going to attempt arriving at a specific number but the main expenses were the fan $25, the light fixture $35, the glass cutter $14, the beadboard $10, the toilet paper holder $16 and the white paint $27--of which approximately $22 worth is still sitting in the can. No pun intended.)
It was hard, aggravating and at times, downright dangerous, but it was worth it.

And if you come for a visit, I will even let you use it (though the Middle Child advises against it . . .)


  1. I love it!! I think it looks modern and romantic.

  2. beautiful use of space and color!
    So totally YOU!

  3. As beautiful as I've come to expect from you!

  4. Oh my gosh, Heidi! I'm so glad I came back here! My comment I left hours ago is gone. It's because of this format. When the comment form is embedded I always type up my comment and hit post comment and usually forget that word verification shows up later so I click away. My comments almost never stick on this type of comment form. Just so you know.

    What I said was that I love the shade of blue: great mixing :)! Also, what an adventur/ordeal! I'll bet half the satisfaction is knowing what you went through to get it to look that way. Great reward to be able to look at that, though! Lovely!

  5. I LOVE that color & those flowers. Just beautiful!

  6. Loverly! The colors are great too. Well done!

  7. Dang that's gorgeous! What an amazing pay off for all that stress and hard work!

  8. beautiful! I'd come for a visit just TO use it. you know, if I didn't live hours away, because I just can't hold it that long anymore.

  9. It makes me want to run down to your house just to use your beautiful commode. How proud I am of your accomplishments.

    Love ya Cuz

  10. My favorite colors and style! it looks so beautiful.

  11. Love this! Looks like pics from a bed & breakfast, one that I'd love to visit! :)

  12. That's awesome Heidi. Very pretty and classy. I love the framed mirror...and the beadboard. I can't believe how cheap it all was...in cost that is.

  13. I LOVE it! It's beautiful. You're so creative and good at designing!

  14. Woohoo! I could follow your link! AND comment!! It's gorgeous! Cannot wait to use that baby!

    Hindsight insight #1--turn the electricity off while fiddling with wires.

    Hindsight insight #2--free standing toilet paper holders. The only way.

  15. Jami--we DID turn off the electricity the first three times we installed the light fixture. And uninstalled it. I guess we got cocky the fourth time around. Free standing toilet paper holder: defeated. One must admit that the Big Guy has skills.

  16. Beautiful!! Love the color & all the decorations :)

  17. Spectacular!!!!!! I'm in the midst of repainting the kitchen (as you know) so I can SOOOO relate to the woes of trying to do a "simple" facelift to a room. You two have done a phenomenal job, I must say.

  18. Well done Heids and spouse! It's really beautiful!

    (Next time you smash glass with a hammer I want to be invited. That sounds fun!)

  19. It's very beautiful, Heids! Just like all of your other projects, this turns out so charming. Hope you're well! *hugs*

  20. Oh my gosh! I'm in love with it! Please come do mine now!

    And I think the mirror is perfect...big mirrors are overrated.

  21. Sweet! Lovely colors! See what I miss out on when I don't blog!

  22. WOW. It's beautiful! You are one gifted lady.

  23. That is so beautiful!!! I love the mirror and all the little touches. I love the beadboard too! Your bathroom is an inspiration to me! I am going to do a bathroom remodel soon and I want to "borrow" a lot of your little touches!

  24. You can browse all of the websites that specializes in the top bathroom fixtures and get a good knowledge what is available for you to choose from. The proper bathroom fixtures will make your bathroom a perfect place to relax and enjoy the personal space!

    For the Cheapest Boilers Visit PlumbArena.co.uk

  25. Looks fantastic! I love the blue plumbago in the ironstone pitcher. I pinned that image so I'll remember to do the same when our plumbago is wild with blooms this summer. '-)