Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dear John,

Our Bathroom, The Makeover

Once upon a time, our bathroom looked like this...

2007-03-26 09-33-29

2007-03-26 09-33-29

Four bachelors lived in our home (my husband being one of them) before I came along. 

As you can see they left some feminizing to do.

We were lucky in that our bathroom had good bones, nice neutral palette, and clean lines to work with. The last owners must have put in the new vanity, medicine cabinet and lights. And I can't fault them for their choice, it was perfectly acceptable. But in my book new and acceptable, well, it's just not my cup of tea. I needed to bring out the pretend history of my home. (The things I make up about my home are much more exciting than its real life.) In my mind this bathroom had its start in a farmhousey cottage but was being renovated to a spa-like bath house.

2009-07-06 21-35-44

Here is the linoleum we started with. It always irked me. I felt like it was for a janitor's closet.
2009-07-18 10-39-44

So, how's a girl with an ultra tight budget (remember we are living off my husband's stipend) going to makeover a bathroom?

With some creativity and spit polish.

I knew I needed a different mirror. I have never been a fan of medicine cabinet mirrors (or most medicine cabinet mirrors --- there are a select few I enjoy).  So that meant I would still need storage.  I needed a cabinet.

Enter the hideous beast:
Found at a thrift store for $10, wait maybe it was only $5. hmm.
The guy at the counter seemed disturbed that I was buying it (can't blame him) and asked me what I was doing with it, his voice laced with disgust and concern.
2009-07-06 18-26-56

"Painting it," I said, "getting new handles, and using it in my bathroom makeover."
 If only he could see it now, in all its glory.
I used white spray paint in a satin finish, in case you are wondering. Ah spray paint, how I love you!
2011-03-30 10-06-56

While at the thrift store I also bought a great mirror for $10. (That I remember.)
And honestly it was perfect as is. But I had grand schemes in mind for aging it to its "original farmhousey cottage" state. So I tried crackle paint. Now I've used crackle paint before with great success, but something went wrong this time. It got all bumpy and weird. And then for some reason I thought I could fix it with pearlescent paint. (Not sure in retrospect why that would help.)
So below you see a photo of how I ruined a perfectly nice $10 mirror.
BUT, I wasn't to be bested. I got out the sand paper (and some stamina) and got ready to smooth it out and repaint it white. Yet, while I was sanding it, I found exactly the aged persona I was looking for. So as it turned out, I was finally done with that mirror.

2011-03-17 15-05-56

See, aged beauty. For $10 (and a buttload of work on all those mishaps).
2011-03-30 10-06-45

Anyway, see those new lights? I knew I needed something other than those hollywood dressing room light strips --- those just aren't jivin with the antique. So I was on the hunt for beauty and I didn't have the money for the lights my sights were set on. I found a light I was in LOVE with and it was $300.  :(  No can do.

2011-03-30 10-00-41
So I prayed. Honestly, I did. I know it might seem trite, but God answered so amazingly that I still feel his love today when I think about it.  I was praying being honest, telling him how much I loved the $300 light and that I knew we just couldn't afford it, and I asked him if he could help me find a light that I liked and could afford.  So I walked through the store (a new-stuff-store, not a thrift store) and was just looking when I came on a decently priced light I did like. (Honestly it was the first one that I liked besides the $300 one, everything else I saw I wasn't really into.) Well I couldn't find it on the shelf. So I was worried I couldn't get it. But when I found a salesman he said I could buy the display at a discount since it was opened. Awesome! I was so excited. So I brought it up to the counter and the guy asked me how much the salesmen said to take off, I told him, but then as he scanned it he said, "Well, you are going to get it a lot cheaper than that! Its clearanced out at $12." I could have fainted with joy. Not just because I was getting a new light, but because it felt like a great big hug from God. I am getting teary just remembering it, his love and attention was so specific to me. So I just love that light.

Moving on to the flooring. I had to get something else down, I just had to.
We found a pre-cut piece of faux granite tile linoleum at Menards for $15. I think it looks pretty convincing for linoleum. (It looked a heck of a lot better than what we had going on.) And so for the linoleum, the glue, and new floor stripes we spent $30.

$30 for a new floor! I'll take it!

before after floor

There was also the looming question of how to bring out the snazziness of that peculiar half wall, and alleviate the initial "huh?" that happens when you first look in.
I found this wall hanging, while shopping at Ikea before I moved in, and it was perfectly sized!!  So I snatched it right up. (Can't remember the price.)
And I think it does exactly what I was hoping it would.

Also, you might notice the ceiling light in the background, the once-silver rim (you can see it in the first before picture) was taken down and spray painted with flat white spray paint. I like how it doesn't scream for attention anymore.

On the ledge are different white bath salts in containers we got for our wedding. It feels so "spa."

2011-03-30 17-40-24

I also fixed the issue of the breaker box right away --- I couldn't live with a visible breaker box!!
Once again, a $5 fix from the thrift store. When I purchased it, it was another painting (which needed to be hung the other direction) but I painted this flower over it and it works pretty nicely, if I do say so myself.
2011-03-30 10-10-20

And there you have it.
Our dear John.

Cost Break Down:
Something like $15 for the new white cabinet (including paint and new handles)
$10 for the mirror
$12 for the light
$30 for the floor
Around $10 for fresh paint

A totally new looking bathroom for about $80.
Ah yes, it can be done. And it can look good doing it.

2011-03-30 10-03-35


  1. I love it! You are such a great decorator. Such a good eye! I hope I can find some gems thrifting when we buy a house!

  2. Dear Lydia- You have re-vived the dream of re-doing MY bathroom (and a few other rooms!)Dream on Girl!

  3. Amazing!! Gorgeous! However, it looks in the picture like you tiled the floor. Did you? What was the cost of that, and how did you do it?

  4. Thanks Ladies!
    You make a girl feel so good.

    Janine, the flooring is linoleum thats made to look like tile. We found it at Menards for $15, and when you add the glue and flooring strips that go at the ends, it cost us $30 total to do the floor.
    Its pretty easy to put in. You just put the glue on the floor (we went over the old linoleum) and spread the new piece out, cut around things, smooth out any bubbles and caulk around the tub and stuff. (The hard/icky part is taking the toilet up to get the linoleum under it.)

  5. Wow. You're freaking talented Lydia! I'm going to have to keep reading and hope that it rubs off on me at some point!

  6. wow... i know YOU! you have some serious talent! and i love your writing style too! this is truly inspiring!

  7. wow!!! So amazing!! We just bought a place that needs re-doing and this gives me hope for not spending too much money yet making it look decent. Thanks so much for posting!!!!!


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