Behind The Scenes, Creativity Before Consumption, Interiors

DIY: My Thrifty Bathroom Makeover

A week ago the lovely ladies over at Design*Sponge featured my bathroom in their Before and After segment. They only included one before shot so I thought I’d show you a few more today so you can see just how awful it was.

We’ve lived in our house for five years and the bathroom was the last thing to be fixed up. Looking at these pictures, I don’t know how we lived with it for so long. It’s nasty. But it was the one room that needed a bit of cash thrown at it and some professional help instead of our usual DIY attempts. So we had to wait.

It ended up like this:

But it started like this:

Ugh. I’m breaking into a cold sweat looking at this one. So much mismatched junk. And nowhere to put anything except overstuffed baskets. Kitschy art on the walls was a nice try but, no.

With the help of said professional, my friend Josh, demolition began:

Once Josh got the tile and tub in, I had him put up wainscoting all around the room. It’s dirt cheap, at about $20 per 4′ piece and it really adds character to an otherwise featureless space. Then I agonized over what shade of grey-lavender to use. And yes I know the silver toilet seat was too small, thank you very much.

I bought an old sink at Habitat for Humanity ReStore for about $50. I wanted an old one with utilitarian faucets – nothing fancy. And it had to be wall mounted (you can’t see in the pics but there’s no pedestal) because I like to see the raw plumbing underneath. I like the mix of raw and pretty. I went with dark grey grout to make the penny tile and subway tile pop. Both tiles were cheap, cheap.

The wood cabinet above the toilet was given to me and I left it raw and added a curtain. It sat in my driveway for ages – one day it fell over and the glass broke, otherwise I would have put some cool window film on it perhaps.

The bathroom is very small and is between both bedrooms so we lose two walls to doors. I looked for months for a mini clawfoot tub and finally found one on craigslist. It had to be 4′ to fit along the wall where the shower had been. Most common size is 5′. Anything longer than 4′ would have meant moving the toilet/plumbing which = more $$$. This tub is adorable, but admittedly a bit tiny for grown ups! My kids fit in it perfectly.

The only missing piece of the puzzle is the shower curtain rod.  I have to install a round or oval one and they’re flippin’ expensive! At our house things usually get about 95% done. There’s always that last bit that takes a while to finish. Anyway, after five years without a tub it’s all about long, steamy baths right now.

Lastly here are a few pictures taken later by Bethany Nauert for Apartment Therapy when a bit of our real life mess had seeped back in:

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  • Reply A Flair for Vintage Decor 21 October 2010 at 10:13 PM

    I really like it!! We may be moving in to a house that has a clawfoot tub but the bathroom needs someone to add some coziness to it…and your remodel is really inspiring me! Love your collected and unique look! Take care, Caroline

  • Reply Holyoke Home 21 October 2010 at 10:43 PM

    I wanna know where you got that COOL toilet seat lid? Is it silver? Did it come with the bathroom?

    Also, can I say I knew you when?

  • Reply Emily Henson 22 October 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Thanks! The toilet seat is from Ikea, believe it or not. Who knew they sold them?? I actually bought the wrong shape though so it doesn't quite fit properly. It looks like the toilet has an underbite.

  • Reply HOBNOB design 24 October 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Brilliant use of black grout. I've used myself in a commercial bathroom, no more dingy path to the loo.

  • Reply Heather España 26 October 2010 at 6:56 AM

    I love it! I, too, am on the hunt for a short vintage clawfoot tub :). It's all about craigslist.

  • Reply Anu 27 October 2010 at 12:20 AM

    it's really beautiful! do you have any photos that show the tile meeting the wall/wainscoting. we have a similar sized bathroom with a clawfoot, and i was planning on doing subway tile around the lower half of the whole room, but this has got me thinking there might be another way to go.

  • Reply Becky 28 October 2010 at 3:57 AM

    This is awesome! Just stumbled upon your blog via DesignSponge, and I'm loving this re-do. We keep saying we are going to re-do our mini master bath "next Spring." This is good inspiration.

  • Reply Sophie 14 November 2010 at 2:22 AM

    I am in love with your blog!! Just came across it.

    I featured you in mine :))))

  • Reply Tereza 16 November 2010 at 12:18 AM

    Love it! it's so fresh and colorful, you did a great job, i would love of this was my bathroom!

  • Reply Emily Henson 25 November 2010 at 12:58 AM

    thanks for all the lovely comments. It's nice to know you're out there!

    Anu – I will take a photo of where the tile and wainscoting meet. It looks nice, we just did a row of bull nose tiles at the end to finish it.

    Thank you, thank you!

  • Reply Tiffany 13 December 2010 at 2:41 AM

    I have to know what color grey-lavendar you used. I'm wanting to use the same color in my bathroom. Beautiful remodel.

  • Reply Beth McHale 17 April 2012 at 4:12 AM

    What color did you use on the tub? I LOVE it!

  • Reply Aidel Knaidel 17 April 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Hi-just clicking through from Curbly. Beautiful job! Adding this to my idea file for when I'm brave enough to tackle my own bathroom.

  • Reply Petals 19 April 2012 at 7:27 AM

    Wow, who knew a bathroom could be a fun space. Love that tub color. I might miss the shower space though, I'm always in a rush. Your job sounds way to fun. I'm jealous,

  • Reply Emily Henson 19 April 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Hey everyone! Thanks for the lovely comments.
    @Beth McHale – Tub colour was actually a spray paint – we did it outside before installing it. Rustoleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X in Key Lime.

    @Tiffany – So sorry but I can't remember the wall lavender-grey colour! If it comes back to me I'll let you know.

    @Petals – we kept the shower and had a curtain around the tub, but yes you're right, I definitely went for looks over practicality. It wasn't as easy to shower as in a cubicle but it looks much nicer!

  • Reply emily bosma 26 April 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Love the redo – what tile did you use? Looking to redo my pedestal tubbed bathroom with a similar look 🙂

  • Reply emily bosma 26 April 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Looking for the tile you used – where did you get it? I'm redoing my pedestal footed tub bathroom and love the look you have here!

  • Reply Emily Henson 27 April 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Hi Emily. For the walls we used the most basic white subway tile from Home Depot – 3" x 6" and white penny round tile for the floors, also available at HD, although we got a good deal on it at a local LA tile shop. We used a dark grey grout – can't remember which, maybe dove or delorean. We tested two and went with the darker.

    It's a great neutral but interesting base for a bathroom – whatever other colours you introduce will always work with this look.

    Hope that helps.
    Best of luck!

  • Reply Ashley 2 May 2012 at 3:22 PM

    OOOOO SO GREAT! I'm currently plagued with figuring out how to layout our bathroom upstairs (it's TINY!)…I love seeing how you worked with the space you have. Any chance you could roughly sketch out the layout like a blue print?

    I would love to see how you worked it out with having two doors, as this is something I'm hoping to accomplish as well 🙂

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