Our house has a half bathroom on the first floor, but for the first few months after moving in, we would climb the stairs to the second floor to avoid it.
It looks nice enough here, right? But upon closer examination…
It was a confined, dark and gloomy space. Spiders lurked in corners and hung from cobwebs on the ceiling. The vanity, mirror and cabinet were sloppily streaked with a deep burgundy stain that trickled onto the inside.
The walls were painted a dingy yellowish-white. The floor boards were chipped and water damaged. And worst of all, there was a strange smell incessantly hanging in the air.
My son was afraid of it; I was repulsed. Even after a good cleaning, we wouldn’t use that bathroom. We certainly couldn’t expect our guests to either, and so we took some major steps to renovate.
This is where I drew my inspiration in order to create a bathroom that would feel more beautiful, inviting and clean. I chose white and navy as base colors and coral as an accent.
To start, we removed everything — baseboards, flooring, vanity, mirror, cabinet, fixtures and the toilet. The toilet was in decent shape so we gave it a good cleaning and bought a new seat, seal and tank parts. Anything that was salvageable was donated to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.
When we removed the cabinets, vanity and mirror, we learned the walls were once a dark red ocher color. Interesting… I suppose that’s some of the fun of a pre-owned home. Further prepping of the walls revealed that previous owners might have just painted over existing wallpaper because it peeled off in sheets!
The flooring was probably the worst to remove as it was nailed and glued in place. After everything was out, we gave the walls a good wipe down with TSP diluted in water and cleaned the floor with a mixture of bleach, borax and water. That took care of that strange lingering scent.
Now with our blank canvas, we got to work!
The first thing we did to improve the bathroom’s appearance was paint. We applied two coats of KILZ latex primer followed by a few coats of Valspar satin interior paint in Vivid Blue. We painted the blue only halfway down the wall to where the beadboard would meet and the entire ceiling. The room already had crown molding, so it created a nice division between the walls and ceiling.
Since the walls in this bathroom are smooth, we had to really take our time painting. I’m not sure if it was the paint color, wall surface or combination thereof, but imperfections and mistakes were easy to spot. We brought in additional lighting to help catch any drips and invested in a quality roller cover made especially for smooth walls. The walls still required some sanding, painting and re-painting, but in the end I think we did a good job.
When I think clean, I think white and so we installed a beautiful beadboard halfway up the wall and all around the room. It really brightened up the small space.
We bought the already-primed hardboard beadboard, but in retrospect, we should have invested in real wood. The hardboard puckered around nail holes no matter how much we filled and sanded. It was also a pain to paint, leaving patches of paint streaks despite our best efforts.
We used Valspar semi-gloss interior paint in Ultra-White to finish the beadboard and painted the crown molding to match. We probably could have used the existing baseboard, but we opted to replace it with a slightly fancier one. The beadboard was capped with standard chair moulding for a finished look.
This is the tutorial we used to install the baseboard, beadboard and chair moulding.
Despite the little DIY flaws, I still love the look and feel of the beadboard. Like the board and batten we installed in our daughter’s room, it’s a classic wall paneling that instantly enhances the space and adds a touch of beauty and elegance.
3. CERAMIC TILES
Do you recognize these tiles? They are the same gorgeous tiles that we laid in our laundry closet. But since the washer and dryer are now sitting on top of them, I hardly get to enjoy their beauty, and so we put them down here, too. Yay!
4. NEW SINK, MIRROR & ACCESSORIES
The clunky wooden vanity was replaced with a sleek pedestal sink. The previous vanity had small strips of wasted space on either side of it that was a haven for spiders and a challenge to clean. Removing the bulk underneath the sink opened up the space and brought more white to the eye. The sink also got a shiny new set of knobs.
We further replaced the light fixture, mirror and accessories for a clean, modern look.
Let’s take one last look at the Before and After.
It is now used regularly by the family and is ready for guests! Next up, bathroom decor… I’m thinking nautical. What do you think? Thanks for reading! — v.