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. 



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!