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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Small Bathroom Remodel for less than $2000

This small bathroom picture had been filed away for two years in a folder as the exact look I wanted for our home's tiny upstairs bathroom. When I saw it, I knew when the day came when my husband was mentally ready for another home project and was fed up with the ever-clogging pipes in our 100+ year home, that I would pull out my dog-eared magazine clipping and say yet again,"well, I was thinking...". The designer who did this bathroom, Mrs. Phoebe Howard, as she is affectionately known in the designer world has made quite a name for herself through magazines such as Coastal Living and has a store front in my home town of Jacksonville Beach, FL. Well Mrs. Howard, thank you for planting the inspiration seed in my brain and I would like to show you my version (for less than $2000) on your great design.

So here is my reality. Yes it is a tiny bathroom, but it lives large and has a decent size closet that helps. We had to take all the drywall down and remove the entire sub floor to access all the pipes. We jackhammered out 6 inches of poured concrete from the floor, you read that right. Previous owners had leveled the floor with concrete right over the old pipes. I took advantage of attic space above and just like the picture, arched the ceiling in my bathroom by using plywood forms that attached to the top of the old ceiling. My talented drywaller then scored the green board and patiently bent into place, using 5 coats of durabond for a smooth and perfect look. I need a better picture probably. It turned out so pretty I have been afraid to put the accent molding like the inspiration picture. Still looking for a pendant light but it is wired for it. I found the basket weave tile on-line for $13 a square foot. For the record, I called Mrs. Howard about the inspiration floors and was quoted $75 a square foot. I used my old vanity which I had made myself previously out of plywood, but added more stock molding to it so that it would accommodate a new marble top I found on craigslist for $150. Bought a new undermount sink for $80, and sink fixtures for $89 (big time sale). My tip is find the product you love on-line, copy and paste it to google search and start your price comparisons. You can't see it in the original picture, but I will add a close up the ceiling in the shower where I took glass beads (found at hobby stores) and used silicone glue to attach them randomly on the overhead tile. The art work is just two shadow boxes from Hobby Lobby that I took the back off and cut two pieces of clear plastic sheets (also found at Hobby Lobby) to fit inside. The coral was found for $4 each at Ace Hardware in Jacksonville Beach, FL. I painted each one a greyish blue. Walls were painted with Benjamim Moore, Revere Pewter (Aura, Bathroom and Spa) The Aura was a splurge upgrade but with all the steam from a bathroom I considered it a wise investment. Bought new fan vent but threw away the vent cover and made my own out of decorative metal work from Home Depot. Much nicer look. Here are some close ups and some of those ideas, and feel free to comment me and/or let me know if you want more details or links from any of my purchases.

Vent cover is actually a metal screen from home depot. As luck would have it, the protective paint coating on the screen was identical to the paint color I chose. I cut it with metal cutters and framed it with simple molding that I painted with the wall color.

Carrara Marble tile floor with a basket weave pattern. Chose polished, not honed. This has a pretty taupe-grey square mixed with the carrara marble. Used white (not too white) grout. But make sure to mix the grout with a product called "milk" instead of water. It will add the needed protection you need from mildew and mold. Do that in the shower as well. You can not find this product in Home Depot. Try a tile store. Then use an impregnator sealer after it cures such as one made by Dupont that can be used on marble floors. Oh, and can you tell what the legs of the vanity are? Yep, those are post finials that are used mainly for decking (found at home depot). For this project I actually taught myself how to use a paint spray gun. It makes a huge difference on the final look. Husband set up a room of clear plastic sheeting for me on all sides...the prepping takes the longest. Spraying is actually quick. You want to do multiple light coats with the primer and then with the final paint. Lightly sanding when needed.

This was my grandmother's mirror that I already had in the bathroom. Problem was that it was gold. It had a beautiful patina and could be 150 years old. I love it, but gold wasn't working and I really wanted to keep it in the mix. So I purchased some silver leaf rub on paint called Rub n' buff (1/2 FL. oz, tiny tube and goes a long way)at Hobby Lobby and literally used my finger and an old sock to rub it on. I tried my best to keep some of the aged patina. I am just happy that it worked out and didn't totally destroy my grandmother's old mirror.

So this is a picture of the arched ceiling in the shower. Yes, that is glass beads that you buy in a bag for like $2. I used the one that has random clear, white, and buffed beads and randomly placed them as you see in the picture. Everyone that sees it loves it. Because my ceiling arched, I was very limited on what type of tile I could use. I had actually tiled this myself over 8 years ago so all the new hip glass tile in sheets was not available to market yet. This is just floor tile from Home Depot that I modified to look different. I have to say, I still love it. This is so easy to do, and not a single bead has ever fallen off.

This is the marble top I found on craigslist for $150. This is one those purchases you make before ever doing the project just praying that what you think will work, will. Otherwise this would have been passed on to another craigslister. It originally was a piece from Restoration Hardware for $650. So I did score a great deal. I was worried though I wouldn't find a sink to fit. But I believe that if you find something that is a little bigger than the opening it actually looks better. Having more of the counter top overlapping your undermounted sink hides the silicone caulk that is sometimes used to mount the sink. Mine was actually mounted by routering the top of the vanity so that it fit snuggly right on top. All the credit for that rigging job goes to Daniel, my drywaller who is a great "out of box" thinker.

Hopefully this picture shows the extra stock molding detail added to the base of the vanity. The marble top was bigger than the original top that was on here (a yucky goldish fake marbly thing). So I had to beef it up a little on the sides and back so that the top fit better and didn't extend out too much. This is simple to do with any cabinet piece. Think of those flat sides in kitchens. If you were planning on painting them, it would be a good time to add detail such as molding. There is a closer look at the deck finials for legs. You can highlight the picture and see the molding that was used up closer. My pictures are not very professional, and I am now noticing that there is a yellow glow from the light that is on, but hopefully you can get the idea. Mrs. Howard has a staging team that I am sure does all her pictures.

Close up of my inexpensive frames ($20 each, I think I got them half off for $10 at Hobby Lobby). Every room in my house has some form of coastal element to it, usually shells. I grew up in Atlantic Beach, FL but have lived in Chicago now for about 14 winters. Having beachy items reminds me of home and warmth, even when there might be 16 inches of snow on the ground. For this project, just remove the back and cut sheets of plastic (found at Hobby Lobby...I am starting to think they should sponsor this make over) to fit inside. Glue the coral in the center and let dry. Then glue the whole piece so that it sits in the inner rim of the shadow box. Be careful not to let the glue ooze so that it shows past the rimmed frame. Then I glued a second piece of plastic to the inside where the old back use to go. It is a shadow box, so there is space inside for the object. Just make sure your object is not too large.

Hopefully you found one or two ideas you can take away from this project. The bulk of my budget had to go to fixing the pipes underneath, so there wasn't very much for the sexy items that people actually see. I am a naturally cost-saving frugal person, so even if I had extra money to spend on this project (which for the record I don't), I still would have made the same product choices and do-it-yourself design elements. I love the final outcome, dare I say it....even better than Mrs. Howard's design.


  1. Donna - your bath remodel is fabulous!!!!

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