Our $979 Downstairs Bath Renovation

Last year, I shared some “Before” photos of the downstairs bath at our old house. It was a room we didn’t really think about until a guest would ask to use it and then I would cringe a little. Stained baby blue and pink linoleum (the previous owners kept their dogs in there during the day), a crusty old oversized sink and vanity, and weird frilly-looking light fixtures. The faucet was a big pet peeve of mine--it was one of those cheap, 1980s styles with the knobs so close together your fingers would get stuck trying to turn the water on or off. That being said, this little ¾ bath did its job, providing a shower, sink and toilet on main floor of the house. If you've lived in an older house (ours was built in the 1920s), you know how tough it is squeezing an extra bathroom into the house! I don’t think anyone would complain about an extra bathroom, no matter how ugly.

Before we got on the house-hunting train last summer, we had started our bathroom project, choosing paint colors and sourcing some fixtures, but we weren’t in any rush to finish it and were actually planning to get it done in the fall after the nice weather was gone. When we decided to sell, we had to hop to it, and finish the job! We also had to really prune the budget, especially when it came to things like art work, hardware, accessories, decor, and a back splash I had wanted to add. Despite the fast-track schedule and pared-down budget, it came out nicely, and, I believe, was one factor in selling our house quickly!

Things were so hectic, I didn't even get a chance to take photos of it after it was done! So the one below is from our real estate agent, who was taking photos for the listing:


And, as a reminder of how yucky it was before:


We kept the toilet and shower stall, as well as the existing light fixture over the vanity, the mirror, towel rack, and towel bar. We replaced the floor tile and purchased a new vanity/sink combination that was actually on sale for Memorial Day weekend. We also gave the ceiling, walls, and radiator a fresh coat of paint. For the lights, we found new shades that fit into the existing fixture, but were a simpler design. We did the work for less than $1,000! Below is a rough breakdown:

  1. New paint, about $40

  2. New exhaust fan/light, $89

  3. New vanity cabinet, top & faucet, about $500 all together (Saved about $250 due to a Memorial Day sale + coupons at Lowe’s)

  4. New tile floor, $320

  5. New toilet seat, $30

Total: $979!...and probably $100 or so in supplies like paint brushes, grout, etc. Ok, so a little more than $1,000, but still nothing to sneeze at.

Keeping most of what was there, and dedicating the biggest portion of our money to the new floor and vanity helped keep our budget in check, while really giving it the look and feel a completely new bathroom. What do you think? Did this help sell our house? Would you complete a renovation like this before putting your house on the market?

The Downstairs Bath: To Do

Last November, I wrote a post about our plans for the downstairs bathroom. After the holidays and the loooonnng winter, we're getting back into the swing of it. As I said before, it's in dire need of some TLC, and by that I don't mean the time Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes burned Andre Rison's house down by throwing all his shoes in the bathtub and lighting a match (all-time favorite Behind the Music, btw). It was the second-most embarrassing thing to happen to the Atlanta Falcons (zing), but speaking of humiliation...

Josie always needs to be in the mix.

Josie always needs to be in the mix.

The story of this bathroom, we think, is that it was added fairly recently (in the last 15 or 20 years). It straddles the kitchen on one end, and the front hallway on the other, which leads us to believe that half of it was a pantry and the other half was a coat closet originally.  What I wouldn't give for a pantry! Or a coat closet! But seriously, I think the folks who lived here before us made the right choice. A 3/4 bath on the main level of our house has been clutch.

Here is the floor plan:


I don't see any problems with the layout, and there's no need to move any plumbing or electrical hook-ups (thankfully!), so this will be a simple "pull and replace" job and is mostly about upgraded finishes and a new vanity/sink combination. The toilet and shower enclosure/fixture are in good condition. 

I wanted to keep things light and neutral, so I could have some fun with the artwork and accessories in a small space. In the end I settled on creamy grays and whites with pink, green, and coral accents. Check it out: 

Serenity now....

Serenity now....

Here is the Plan:

  1. Replace linoleum with new tile flooring
  2. Install new base molding
  3. Install new exhaust fan/light combo
  4. Paint walls, trim, ceiling
  5. Install new off-the-shelf vanity/top/sink, upgraded with nicer hardware & plumbing fixture
  6. Add tile backsplash around vanity
  7. Paint Mirror
  8. Paint vanity light fixture, replace shades
  9. Replace toilet seat/cover 
  10. Scrub and repaint radiator

So that's where we're at. I really CANNOT WAIT to start demo! I love tearing things up and peeling back the layers of this little house. 



Veronica's Nursery Tour

Now that Veronica is nearly 17 months old, I've finally gotten around to photographing her nursery.  First, let me just say that typically this room has clothes, books, and toys strewn about and basically looks like we've just been robbed at all times. We pick up and then the next morning the fun begins again. She also likes to "organize" and "put things away" now, and by that I mean we will spend a half hour looking for her left shoe and finally find it in the bath tub. A few weeks ago, I threw a load of her laundry into the washing machine, not thinking too much about it. I came back an hour later to discover that she had thrown 5 or 6 (unused, thankfully) diapers into her hamper and they had exploded in the washing machine, requiring a shop vac and two garbage bags to clean up. Rookie mistake!

Where was I? Oh yeah! The nursery. So I tidied up and sent Frank and Ronnie to do errands while I snapped a few photos. It wasn't a great time of day for photo-taking with the light, but sometimes you just gotta let good enough be good enough, right? 

The back story of this room is that, before Ronnie, it was technically our guest room, but in reality it was just an extra space to store junk.  We didn't do any redecorating or improvements, pretty much keeping it the way the former homeowners had: the walls were an eggshell beige, the wood floor was beat up, and somebody had covered the cracking plaster ceiling with a 70s popcorn finish.  We furnished it with a lonely twin bed and a cheap nightstand, and that was about it. Well, besides various Christmas decorations and cat toys.  So, picture a guest room, but the type of guest room you'd stay in if your host really didn't like you. Pretty terrible all around.

In the spring of 2015 we found out we were having Ronnie, and realized that this crash pad for our friends was not really going to cut it as a baby's nursery. It was downright depressing. Frank got to work on taking down the popcorn finish and patching the plaster and I did the heavy lifting of scouring the internet for inspiration photos.

We knew we were having a girl pretty early on, and while I love gender-neutral nurseries, for some reason I was drawn to sweet little feminine bedrooms with a mid-century flair.  I also liked the rooms that could transition from baby to toddler to kid easily, with a mix of decor suitable for any age. Frank's input was that he was keen on some type of purple wall color.  So here's what we came up with:

  1. The wall color is Sugarplum by Benjamin Moore
  2. I love PAISLEY patterns and I knew I wanted a bright, colorful pattern to add some oomph to the room. I wasn't sure where to use it at first (quilt? wall tapestry? changing pad cover?), but settled on a cornice board above the window. We bought something similar (and nicer) by P/Kaufmann
  3. For the rug, I wanted something 100% wool and on the neutral end of the spectrum. This is the rug we purchased.
  4. The light fixture was tough. All the ones I loved cost waaaay too much or were just not the right scale for the room. We settled on this cute one from Ikea for now. I may switch it out if I come across something I like better. 
  5. This Ronettes album cover is a little twist on the traditional baby name sign! 
  6. I love the artwork of Richard Scarry, it is so freaking cute and full of life and emotive! However, I wanted some artwork that was a little softer, color-wise, and so I ended up buying these from a great Etsy shop.
  7. A little set of frames from Ikea, including this adorable one that reminds me of I don't know what--Cinderella's castle? The Brady girls' bedroom? I'd like to add to this wall of family photos as she grows. 
  8. I loved this dresser from West Elm, but I thought the front was a little plain.  We ended up finding the one we used at Good Will for $30! It was a dark wood veneer that we painted white. 
  9. The crib is Ikea.  We had selected the one above but it was out of stock so we purchased a similar model with solid panel ends
  10. One of our favorite local shops is Crompton Collective for handmade goods and antiques. Browsing one day, I knew I needed one of these sweet handmade stuffies from Teddy Bear Republic!
  11. I found this vintage 1960s Disneyland tray at a flea market instantly fell in love. I thought I'd keep lotions and other baby sundries on it but it's too cute not to be displayed. I keep moving it around to different spots but I'm thinking of hanging it on the wall.
  12. The starburst mirror is from Target.
This blanket was made by Frank's Nana!

This blanket was made by Frank's Nana!

The $30 thrifted mid-century style dresser + $20 of white paint = SLAY

The $30 thrifted mid-century style dresser + $20 of white paint = SLAY

 Still loving this pretty paisley patterned fabric--it reminds me of a watercolor painting. 

 Still loving this pretty paisley patterned fabric--it reminds me of a watercolor painting. 

My next project is going to be a little reading nook for Ronnie. A little chair and (child-safe) reading light would be great next to the bookcase. And yes, Pharrell Williams is writing children's books now.

My next project is going to be a little reading nook for Ronnie. A little chair and (child-safe) reading light would be great next to the bookcase. And yes, Pharrell Williams is writing children's books now.

So, that concludes the 5-cent tour! I'm still working on adding to her gallery wall, and like I mentioned, creating a reading nook for her. Also, a moment of silence for the poor rug...since it's taken QUITE a beating over the last year. In hindsight, instead of a rug, I probably should have just put a tarp down. Light gray and white with a baby? Rookie mistake indeed...

The Half Bath: Before

Current half-bath situation, with Josie photobomb

Current half-bath situation, with Josie photobomb

So it's November 28, is it too early to start talking about New Year's Resolutions?  The holidays will be for relaxing and enjoying time with my family and friends, but come January, I know I'll be itching to tackle a new house project.  Something smallish and manageable, because #baby #work #sanity and I'm all about setting achievable goals for myself in 2017.

The former inhabitants of our house kindly converted a pantry and coat closet on the first floor into a half-bath. For that, I'm extremely grateful.  Otherwise, guests would have to traipse upstairs (and see our totally spotless, always organized second floor LOL), and for a family of three like us trying to get ourselves ready and out the door, the second bathroom has been key. 



We haven't done anything to the half-bath yet (clearly), because 1) most everything works and is in decent condition, and 2) we don't use it as our main bathroom.  That being said, I cringe a little every time a guest uses it.  It's pretty dated, with a pink and blue linoleum floor, and a toilet seat with--I kid you not--some kind of raised floral detailing.  The faucet is one of those $10 Home Depot deals popular with cheap landlords the world over. You know the ones--where the knobs and spout are so close together anyone larger than a 5 year old will get her fingers stuck trying to turn it on and off.  Oh, and the hardware is a mish-mash of finishes ranging from chrome to oil-rubbed bronze to brushed nickel and the laminate top is sorta trying to look like granite but obviously isn't trying very hard. 




And the shower is just one of those pre-fab fiberglass stalls with a shower curtain.  It's in decent condition.  And that concludes the tour of the room in our house we forget about until someone asks to use it.  

Pretty lame, right? It definitely needs some updating! My goal for the new year is to give this half-bath a new lease on life and make it a space I can be proud of.  What are your home goals for the new year? Oh, you haven't thought of any yet? Don't worry, you've still got 34 days!