I touched on it a bit last week, but the changes around here have me itching to redo our 2nd bathroom. And while I had fun experimenting with working with what I have, we plan on being in this house for a while, and we’d like to update the bathroom to really fit our style instead of buying more things to hold us over. So I started brainstorming again on what would make this space work for us.
However, as I type, I’m just a few weeks away from welcoming a little woodworker into our family, so the idea of a major bathroom overhaul isn’t particularly realistic. That’s why I like the idea of a multi-phase project. You don’t have to do it all at once to start seeing happy changes, and you can wait until time/money/energy are maximized to pull out all the stops.
But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look at what we’re starting with:
These are pictures from the listing when we bought the house, and it’s honestly not any different. Except we hung a shower curtain. And hung up beach towels, because we’re totally together adults. Since it wasn’t our primary bathroom, we weren’t really concerned about it. Its certainly not an offensive “before”, but it definitely wasn’t “us”. The house was fully renovated in 2007, which provided a lot of nice details for us (crown molding everywhere, refinished hardwoods, back porch, etc.) but also left us with some inexpensive builder-basic finish choices like those dang beige tiles.
We are not beige people. Okay, literally, we are beige. But beige is not our thing. And this was a very beige bathroom. When we moved into the house, every room was painted a buttery yellow beige, except for the 3rd bedroom (hot pink stripes!), and this bathroom with the baby blue. And man, that baby blue just did not jive with the large-scale beige tiles. And the strangely-chosen brown glass tile accent. I guess it matches the vanity? Sort of? They did the same thing in our master bath, except with a green glass tile stripe. And the kitchen, with it’s flesh-toned square tiles and green/brown mosaic. I dunno man. Somebody here was into it, I guess.
As I am wont to do, I got bored when Ben was working on a Sunday, and I just decided to start messing with the bathroom. Down came the world’s dumbest mirror and tiniest hanging cabinet, and up went the painter’s tape. I rummaged through our paint stash to get leftover grey paint and transformed the heck out of that bad boy. This is why I love painting. It was like 2 hours of work (which is mostly taping for me) and it felt SO MUCH BETTER. Something about the grey makes the beige feel less awful. I took a terrible picture with my phone to give you an idea.
And then unfortunately because I didn’t actually have a plan, I had to put the WORLD’S DUMBEST MIRROR back up so we could have a functioning bathroom (but you better believe that stupid small cabinet and the towel rods got bundled up for Habitat for Humanity) and then I had to make a plan.
*A side note on why I hate this mirror so much, because I think photos don’t capture how dumb it is: the mirror portion is WAY small- like you can see most of your head at one time, but that’s it. AND, it’s set back about 5 inches from the frame (because it’s sort of a medicine cabinet with compartments that are too small to hold anything?) so the mirror is even less visible and very claustrophobic. Also, the magnet on the door never holds it closed properly so it’s always just swinging back open. Believe me, it is DUMB. I can’t wait to donate it, because people always go “oh that’s nice” when they see it. So maybe I just have unreasonable mirror rage. Also important (is any of this important?) to note: this is going to primarily be a kid’s bathroom, and even standing on a stepstool, there’s no way a kid under like 6 would be able to see themselves in this mirror. Rant over.
But then! I made a plan! And here it is!
So here’s the deal: Phase 1 is all about accents, and Phase 2 is when we get real messy and tear up all the tile and (maybe?) put in a new tub. But I’m 36 weeks pregnant and I ain’t got no time for tiling. (Or, really, for demoing tile and then replacing it).
But I still want to talk about our tile choices because I’m really excited about them. First, out with the 18″x18″ beige blocks, and in with multi-toned grey penny tile for the floor. I’m rull obsessed with penny tile because it feels classic but fun. I’m especially into this penny tile because I think having the shades of grey makes it sort of modern and youthful, but will also help to disguise ALL THE DOG HAIR. Or, you know, at least some of the dog hair.
Then in the shower area, I want simple and inexpensive. Subway tile it is! I mean, 15 cents a tile?! How can I not? We upgraded to glass subway in the master bathroom and it’s really beautiful, but for a closed shower with a curtain, that sort of aesthetic upgrade is kind of wasted. (Also, the glass tile was a mother$&%#^$# when installing the shower door, and we’re not quite over the trauma)
But I’d like to lay this modest tile in a herringbone style like the moodboard 1) because subway tile is everywhere right now and while it’s classic I know people are sick of it and I’m kind of sick of it, so it’s nice to do something a little different and 2) because that sort of sideways herringbone is way more interesting than a traditional brick pattern, but it’s not more challenging to accomplish (also, sidenote, every time I type “moodboard” in wordpress, it autocorrects to moldboard, and that leaves me with SO MANY QUESTIONS. What is a moldboard?! Who is writing about it?)
I also mentioned that we’d like to replace the tub, because I’m pretty sure this one is the shallowest tub on the planet and it isn’t terribly nice for an actual adult to bathe in. (Seriously, scroll up to the before and see how shallow that tub is. I’ll wait) I mean, I’m only 5’3″ and I have to get very selective about which areas of my body get to be in the warm water, so for my 6’3″ husband, it’s just a joke. And we like baths! They’re very soothing and relaxing, and we’re all about it, but I don’t know how he doesn’t partially freeze to death every time.
However, it actually seems like a good idea to have a shallow tub when bathing children? I’ve never actually bathed a child, so I’ll have to get back to you on that, but it seems logical.
SO. TLDR: Phase 2 means replacing the floor tile, shower tile, tub(?), toilet, and shower fixtures (they’re hard to see in the before photos, but they’re weirdly art deco and just not good).
But until we have the time/energy/money to take all that on, I think we can zhush the heck out of this bathroom and make it a whole lot nicer place to be. Enter: Phase 1! (And another view of the moodboard so you don’t have to scroll)
I already repainted, and that was huge. Everything else is about making it function better for us and look a little bit nicer. And generally, it’s all pretty easy and inexpensive.
First to go was our leftover shower curtain. I hadn’t thought much about it before, but as soon as I put up the new Project 62 curtain, I was like “WAS I BLIND BEFORE?!”. I threw the curtain away because it was old and gross, but I wish I had snapped a picture first because it kind of blows my mind how much a simple change like that can make. The bright white on the new color blocked curtain just pops so much and makes the room feel WAY bigger. I’m team “closed shower curtain”, and I love how this new one looks with the fresh paint. I missed the sale when it was $18, but I got it for $24 and I ain’t mad about that.
I also mentioned before that I had taken down the towel bars without having a plan. And I wasn’t about to hang them back up over fresh paint. I’m not a fan of the towel bar, and I was very not sad to see them go. There was one right next to the toilet (yay! toilet germs on my towels!) and then one to the left of the sink that is blocked by the door in the 2nd photo. There’s not another great spot to hang towels in this bathroom, so that position got reused, but with MUCH BETTER hooks, also from Project 62. I mean, $15 total for these bad boys? Perfect! They look so nice and expensive, I’m here for it. There’s still beach towels hanging on them, but, you know, baby steps y’all.
So those are the only changes I’ve made so far, primarily because they were inexpensive, easy to get, and I was paranoid that the collection would sell out at Target and I would be devastated. But it’s already a much better place to be.
I’m probably most excited about replacing the DUMB MIRROR, and I found the perfect option with this simple round black mirror from Wayfair. I was looking for round, inexpensive, and kind of modern, and this one really ticks all the boxes. I love the touch of black for sure, but if Ikea still sold the Grundtal mirror, I would have jumped all over that. We used 2 of them in our master bath, and they’re pretty perfect: simple, modern, and 20 freakin bucks! WHYYYYY did you discontinue them, IKEA??? WHY?!
Ikea meltdown aside, I can’t really complain about a great option for only $65. There are a lot of cool round mirrors out there, but the prices got a little wild, and I’m not trying to drop a ton of cash on that particular portion of the project. (Insert another view to prevent scrolling fatigue :))
The most expensive change (which is certainly a relative term in a budget project) is the new light. Lighting is generally not cheap, and you don’t want to go with the cheapest options anyhow. I LOVE this one from Shades of Light, (specifically the Young House Love collection) because it’s kind of funky and has the cool mix of materials, but doesn’t feel too trendy or too fancy for a kid’s bathroom. The brass touches pick up the tone from the new hooks without being like “HEY, I’M A BIG BRASS LIGHT”, the black ties into the mirror, and the white shades keep it fresh.
Speaking of white, I’d love to paint the vanity a nice fresh white. It’s in good shape and there isn’t a real reason to spend the cash to replace it, but the current faux-wood finish is so dark and it feels like a black hole in the room. I think, especially when we replace the floor (which will be kind of busy with the multi-tones) it will feel so nice to have the vanity just be fresh and fade away. It’s one of the least interesting things about the room, so it shouldn’t be the first thing your eye goes to.
To bring in a little color and warmth, I’d love to include some artwork and wood tones. This piece from Minted is really beautiful, but I’m guessing Ben has something similar in his portfolio we could frame and hang above the new towel hooks. Above the toilet, I’d like to add some wood shelving, just like we did in the master bath, but make these a little more functional instead of just decorative. The countertop isn’t huge, so it would be great to have a few shelves to keep certain items within arm’s reach of the sink. We’d start with the Ikea Ekby brackets (painted black, naturally), and then use a nice medium-toned wood plank shelf to add some warmth. Then, top it all off with these Y-weave baskets in a fun cobalt to add a little more color to the room. I’d also like to find a simple natural woven basket for TP storage, and to bring in a little more of the wood tone.
The last little bit is textiles. Because perhaps we’ve outgrown beach towels. I LOVE the Serena and Lilly towels we use in the master bath, but I’m probably not going to shell out that much for kid’s towels. I hear children are kind of gross and don’t respect nice things. However, Turkish-style towels are popping up everywhere now, and these ones are fun with the allover stripe, at about half the price. I’m also into the dark blue rug, which I think will break up the tile floor nicely and add some depth with the pretty blue tone.
So there you have it: 1 MILLION WORDS about our little 2nd bathroom and the big plans we have for it. This will likely be a slow-burn makeover, getting a few pieces at a time, and then building up to the big overhaul, but every little change ends up being so satisfying that it’s still really fun to work this way.