When we moved into our house, the upstairs hall bath (which was soon to be the toothpaste-encrusted kids’ bath) was the least of our concerns. It had an intriguing shell-sink made of swirly off-white cultured marble, a decent-sized cabinet under that, and a teeny-tiny cabinet from Kmart or somewhere hung above the toilet. It had a sheet-vinyl floor that was oh-so-convenient for potty-related accidents, and the little particleboard cabinet was big enough to hold washcloths and hairbrushes, should either of those items ever be put away. Here it was:
This was actually the listing photo, taken by Showcase Photographers, and it looks a heck of a lot better here than it did in person. The wall cabinet actually looks like it’s real and the floor looks like it’s travertine or something. Don’t be fooled; it actually comes in a roll for 80 cents a square foot.
Note: The decorating isn’t mine.
Anyway, when we decided that we were going to rip out the kitchen, and that ReStore would actually do the ripping for us for free, we found out that they would graciously rip out the bathroom for us as well. This was an unbeatable opportunity for me, because once something is demo’d it has to be put back. Which means there are endless possibilities of fun in finding building materials and stuff. So even though we didn’t have a plan for what it would look like when we put it back together, this was a challenge I was willing to take on.
Oh, and my husband can’t say no to redoing the bathroom if it’s already ripped out. Just sayin’.
A quick note to all of you who are thinking that it must be nice to have the budget to just rip out something on a whim and not worry at all about putting it back. You’re right; I don’t worry about it, but it’s not because I have the budget for this. It’s because I pray and then take several trips to my local ReStore, where building materials grow on trees and everything is cheap (compared to how much it would cost to redo it even from Home Depot).
Oh, and you also have to be willing to put up with inconvenience, which to me is a first-world problem. So I have to walk down the hall to use the bathroom and stumble over boxes and piles of laundry to get to it. Small price to pay for the not-knowing of how it’s going to turn out.
It’s also possible that we’re just a little crazy and that you may not identify with this at all. To me, the opportunities that come with having an entirely ripped-out bathroom will entertain me for long enough to get the bathroom put back in, so it has never bothered me at all. But some people think having intact bathrooms is more fun, even if they have shell sinks and sheet-vinyl floors. And that’s okay.
Back to the bathroom. So after it was ripped out, we found ourselves at ReStore (probably for my birthday or something, because I did request we go there for my birthday) and found a huge vintage sink with a 1902 stamp on it. We had intended to replace the shell sink/cabinet with another cabinet and countertop so our kids would have room to store their gummy handsoap and sticky toothbrushes. But here was this antique fixture, complete with a faucet, that was really cool and not much more than $100. It was technically a pedestal sink, but the top of it was so big that it took the place of the entire countertop we had before. We excitedly bought it, and then walked by it in the hall for a few months while we figured out what was going with it.
We had let ReStore take the mini-cabinet and the toilet, which for some reason, seemed unreasonably tiny. This ended up being a big mistake.
Turns out that there was a reason the toilet was tiny. Some spaces have a small rough-in, and you have to special-order a toilet to fit. Those are not cheap. In the future, we’ll not be donating a toilet until we are sure that the rough-in is the standard 12-inches, or the most expensive fixture in our bathroom may be the toilet.
Next came the floor. I had my eye on colorful, painted-looking wood tile from The Tile Shop. I like wood tile in general, but I’m always hesitant to use trendy items in my own house since we’re planning to stay. But, The Tile Shop had a fun play on wood tile there called Marvel Wood (if I remember right), which I loved. The kids’ bathroom would be a perfect place to put it. It’s a small space and since it’s a kids’ bath, I thought it would be a great place to use it without making a design statement in my whole house that says “I’m crazy and I like it.”
We chose open shelves instead of the teeny cabinet above the toilet, which are deep enough to store towels (the builder of our house just simply forgot that people needed closets). We made the shelves out of a long piece of wood cut into thirds and stained espresso. The tub surround we left alone. So in the end, we bought a new toilet, a few dozen square feet of flooring, a sink with a faucet attached, a light fixture from Lowe’s, a few brackets for the shelves, and a big piece of wood. The paint color was leftover from the dining room. Total cost: not much.*
*If you live in a house with tiny bathrooms, you can pave the floor in gold and still not spend very much, though this tile was around $5 a square foot.
Since this bathroom is so small, it’s really hard to get pictures. But here I go:
This one shows the sink a little better:
Oh, I forgot to mention the mirror! We left the builder-grade unframed mirror on the wall because ReStore said they wouldn’t take it. Then, we found a piece of wide vintage trim, mitered the edges, glued it to the mirror on the wall, and painted it the trim color. Custom mirror for cheap.
Here’s one last picture that shows the floor a little better:
We have yet to figure out a window treatment…the bathroom came with blinds that look a little sloppy and unfinished, as well as block the light. I would love to get rid of them, but then our neighbors will get more than they bargained for. A custom Roman shade would probably cost more than the whole bathroom, and I don’t think my sewing skills are quite up to making one myself. So if anyone has any suggestions on how to make this window awesome for cheap, I’m all ears!
Have a great weekend, everyone!!
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