Monday, March 24, 2014

Upstairs Bathroom Re-do

Last fall, I hatched a brilliant plan - we could give our upstairs bathroom a quick make-over during Christmas vacation!

(Ha. Ha, ha, ha.)

Initially, this space wasn't anywhere near the top of our priority list because, unlike almost every other room in the house, it functioned. Hideous, yes, but functional. But because we convinced ourselves that making this room a whole lot better would just involve a series of small upgrades that we could do ourselves, it moved rapidly up the list. Plus, it made me kind of depressed to imagine giving the baby baths in that putrid yellow tub. The pictures above are from when we first moved in (that's not my curtain - they kindly included it in the sale...).

The first order of business was the tile. Now, if we were planning to stay in this house for many years to come, or if our tile was in great shape (but was just an unfortunate color), we would have either saved up to totally re-do the tile, or had it professional re-glazed. But we decided a quick and easy fix was more than fine for our purposes, especially since the tile has some cracks - I think it was a somewhat poorly done DIY when it was initially put in.

I heard about tile paint in This Old House, and thought it might be worth a shot, even though it seemed almost too good to be true. Painting over ugly tiles for a bright white finish?! But as you can see below, it's pretty darn good! I buffed and cleaned the tiles one night and filled in all the cracks with caulk, and then Peter painted the finish on the tub tiles and around the floorboard tiles (I actually left the house in honor of our unborn baby's brain cells - this stuff was incredibly toxic smelling). Then - and this is the tricky part about using this product - we left the house for a week (it was Christmas to New Years) because the tile can't get wet for a few days.

After this, the series of updates runs together in my mind, but we painted the walls a really pretty pale blue, replaced the horrible track doors on the linen closet that were never on their tracks (this task nearly broke Peter because the frame was so far from being square it was crazy!), replaced the light over the vanity, took down the huge, glued on mirrors and replaced the one over the sink with a Home Goods find, and installed a new towel bar and toilet paper holder.

We lived with it with these updates for quite some time while we shopped for, ordered, and waited on a new granite vanity top and sink to come in. Earlier this month, we finally picked it up! Right before that, I painted the awful faux marble laminate vanity base with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I was very skeptical about this product, but it was amazing. It's strange stuff - very thick and matte - but the coverage was incredible. I did have to give it four very thin coats to effectively wipe out the marbling, but it was worth it.

The small narrow shelves to the left of the vanity had shudders that were falling off (this house is FULL of shuddered doors!). I took the measurements to Home Depot and they cut me new pieces of wood, and I bought some basic trim pieces to finish them off. I added the same new hinges and knobs to these that I used on the vanity.

The final-ish task was taking off the old vanity top and sink and replacing it. My parents were in town last weekend, so Peter took off the top and disconnected the water in the hopes of finishing the job when they were around so they could help lift it onto the vanity. The pipes were so old that they weren't standard sizes, and our new sink didn't line up exactly with these old pipes. Nightmare! After hours, Peter basically gave up called our plumber on Monday morning. The plumber assured him he was super close to finishing and gave excellent instructions, and he was able to finish the job.

I can't believe how much I've written about this bathroom update, and I know most of it wasn't exactly riveting. But I am incredibly proud of this project. My mom calls it the "painted everything" bathroom, which is fairly accurate, but it's also a place where we - and particularly Peter - did some things that we both would have happily left to professionals just a few months ago. With the electrical work, carpentry, and plumbing tasks, I feel like we made huge strides in our confidence to dive in and figure things out in this crazy old house.

And now, of course, I'm not at all depressed about giving the baby a bath in this pretty little room :)


  1. I am so impressed!!! Way to go!

  2. Julie, this is all so awesome! You and Peter are my DIY heroes :)

  3. Hey, that's cool! Good job there. Hope the plumbing is carefully pored through and laid out, to ensure the standing and well-being of the room, as well as the rest of the house.

    Res-Q Plumbing


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