bathroom

DAY 19 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Vanity

Channel the DAY 7 Kitchen Cabinets and DAY 13 Clear Your Counters vibes from the kitchen and whip your vanities into shape!

STEP 1: CLEAR IT

Take all the shit out of it. Take all the shit off of it. Rearrange. Reorganize. Purge the shit. The end.

STEP 2: PAINT

Paint that thing. It will take less than half a day, hopefully.

STEP 3: HARDWARE

Add some. See some hardware I posted about on DAY 7 for kitchen cabinets. Here are the ones in the photo above.

STEP 4: COUNTER

Getting trickier here. Several options here:

  1. Add some stone like we did here with this marble look quartz. This cost something like $300 maybe. I can’t remember. Definitely wasn’t more.

  2. Replace it with butcher block (from Floor & Decor or the like). That is easy to cut if you have a circular saw or know someone who does. Seal it with butcher block oil or poly.

  3. Replace with a simple counter sink combo from Home Depot like this one or this one. Those are nice because they are simple AND include the sink.

STEP 5: SINK

Some people dislike vessels. I get it, it makes the vanity taller. If you have a lower vanity, like the one in the photo, it actually helped to make it taller without replacing the whole vanity. I also prefer the flat bottom vessels, like this one I have bought about 10 times, because the ones that look like a bowl end up spinning and leaking.

STEP 6: FAUCET

No need to replace it if it’s fine, but if you do, refer to DAY 14 for some good faucets to purchase.

STEP 7: STORE IT

Find a place for your toothbrush, your hair spray (do people still use that stuff?), your hair dryer, the hand towel…..all the shit that lays out on your vanity top. Put it away somewhere. Give it a home. Live free of crap in your face.

Check out the before and after of that bathroom with the updated vanity. Click on the photo to see more about that makeover

Below are the resources mentioned above in this post.

Go. Go forth and conquer your vanity and win your space back.

DAY 14 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Faucets

Wanna make life better? Fix a faucet. There are a ton of options on how to accomplish faucet new-ness and doesn’t always require a repairman or a plumber. Let’s dig into it….

ONE: Paint

If you read DAY 12’s post about painting, you’ll have seen the section where I recommended painting a faucet. In my MIL’s hall bath, shown above, we were going to leave the shower faucet ORB even though we were going matte black on the other fixtures. It was going to be hidden behind the shower curtain so we weren’t too concerned. Then, I got a wild hair and thought, hmmm, let’s paint that little mofo. I had painted the light fixture, why not that? I got her permission to experiment and if it ended up looking like crap after usage, we’d just replace it. The paint was a good inexpensive first step. We left the shower head, the tub faucet and the valve cover on. We papered and taped around the tub and shower to make sure no overspray would get onto the tile or ceiling. It worked! After about a year of usage, the paint is still holding up STRONG. Here is the paint we used.

See the post I did about this bathroom here.

TWO: Clean

Something else you can do to make your faucets like new is to clean them out. Calcium build up can really put a damper on water pressure. You can secure a bag of vinegar around it and let it soak for a few hours, then run some water to get the vinegar out. The water should flow more freely.

Another non-faucet related, but kind of related cleaning you can do came to me as a suggestion from Brenna Brooks of Brenlow Properties. She said she was having water pressure problems, so she had a plumber come by to see what was up. Turns out she had a ton of calcium build up in her old copper pipes. The plumber used some solution to rid it of all the build up and WA-LA, water pressure restored! So, it’s like a whole new faucet without getting a new faucet.

THREE: Repair or Replace

Call a plumber out to fix a leaky valve or replace the faucet all together. Who are we kidding, we really do just want a new faucet. Go for it. You can even replace a shower head all on your own. Just buy the shower head and some plumber’s tape. Wrap the tape around the direction of how the shower head will move around the threads. Easy.

If you want to replace a whole faucet altogether, here are some of my favorite faucets that range drastically in price depending on my project.

If you find one on Amazon, don’t forget to search in Amazon Warehouse Deals! If you don’t know what that is, just click on that link and search for the faucet or any other item! These are items that people returned for whatever reason. Some are damaged but most I find are like new or are new, open boxed items. They will tell you in the description.

Another way to get to it is to search on the Amazon home page and just choose Amazon Warehouse in the drop down box to the left. Practice by clicking on the photo.

OR….

When you have done a general search for something and the item has come up, scroll down below the price, add to cart button, etc and choose the “Used & new from…” link. That will take you to all of the used items and returns. You can choose to buy a used one from another vendor or from Amazon Warehouse. Click on the photo below to see where that circle link takes you.

Ok let’s get going on the faucet updates!

If you have any success with your faucets, whether paint, repair or a new purchase, show me! Use the #updatedon’trenovatechallenge tag!

DAY 8 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Throw In The (New) Towel

Recently someone asked me what towels I buy for my Airbnbs. She commented that Airbnbs always have the nicest, fluffiest towels. The answer I gave her was this, “The thing that makes Airbnb towels so fluffy and nice is that they aren’t 5 years old.”

But, yet we put up with towels that are so old and worn that if you were to walk into someone else’s house and you saw them, you’d assume they were to dry off the dog after their bath.

Now, we’re not really suffering through using these beat up old towels. I mean they are just old towels. They still dry stuff.

But, there’s something to be said about what we expect in a hotel or as a guest at an Airbnb versus what we will tolerate at home. Having my Airbnbs, especially after outfitting 4 now, has really shown me how little I expect out of my own house compared to that of a vacation rental. At a vaca rental, mine especially, I expect the paint to be touched up, repairs to be made instantly and all of the towels to be perfect fluffiness. Why don’t we expect that of our own homes? Is it too wasteful? Maybe. But, maybe there is something to be said for letting too many of these things fall by the wayside and feeling like you’re living in a poorly maintained and outfitted house. You know how people fix a bunch of things before they sell, love it, and then wonder why they hadn’t done that stuff sooner? it’s like that.

Your challenge is two part:

Towel Purge

First weed out the towels that are best for drying off a dog. Trust me some people with dogs will actually take those off your hands. I once asked the Facebook group for my condo building if anyone wanted some old towels for their dogs and someone actually asked if they could have them for after yoga. People want them. You could reserve them for dirty messes in your house by stashing one in your car and some in the laundry room. Just don’t hoard them because you feel like you could use them some day and you feel guilty about getting rid of them. Purge what is no longer necessary. Purge the ones that are scratchy and look like vomit. You’re better than that.

Buy New

If you want to buy some fluffy new towels at a good price, grab some at Target. I buy these towels or these most of the time. Today they have 10% off with code HOME. I always buy white towels. That way I can bleach them after guests get make up stains on them or whatever the heck they do. Everything is white so it can get bleached. Towels, washcloths, sheets, pillowcases and bath mats.

And while we’re at it, buy a new bath mat. You know that thing is ratty AF. I’ll be upgrading mine. And you know I’ll be getting white. I always see so many cute ones but I always go back to good old white. I replace my towels every year at the Airbnbs, I have probably not replaced my own in 4+ years. It’s time. Not only will my body like it, my bathroom will enjoy the nice visual upgrade.

The Update, Don’t Renovate list of challenges can now be found up under the Learn section at the top of my site. Click here to head to that page and see what you’ve missed!

eDesign Reveal: Retro Fun-ky Bathroom

You guys. That accent wall. That is all I can say.

My friend Autumn gave me a ring and told me she desperately needed some help with her hall/guest bath. I had given her some advice on her kitchen before so I knew her style - MCM/funkadelic. I know Autumn from college, but haven't seen her in years. I've never been to her home in Michigan, but was up to the  task since eDesign is something I offer regularly. She sent me the photos of  her bathroom and walked me through it. 

While not the most horrible bathroom I've ever seen, it definitely was not looking like Autumn's style. Autumn is a fun, mid-century modern, retro loving girl. We decided since this bathroom was the guest bath, we could go a little more funky in here than what she had done in her kitchen. She did give me some parameters to work with, though. 

1. She couldn't afford to gut and remove everything. This wasn't a total redo, just a makeover. So we were stuck with the flooring and retro-old school shower tile. To be honest, I would've removed the shower tile if I were renovating this house for a flip. It's just not the sort of thing most people would be down for. HOWEVER, I was totally digging that we "had" to work with this gold tile. That shower tile is one of those things that I (and she) thought was pretty cool, but know it's not for everyone. Doesn't matter. This bathroom isn't for everyone, it's for her and her family.

2. We could replace the counter and backsplash tile.

3. We had to keep the sink and vanity base. Luckily, Autumn had a carpenter dude that could help us out with fixing up the vanity. The rest had to go. 

Everything else was fair game. So, I went to work on designing. Often when I'm designing I hit this sort of wall where I'm like you know this is just not fun enough....might as well be builder grade. Maybe you call it "writer's block". Nothing inspiring or special is coming out of my brain. Then I poke through to outside the box and find something that makes me think, "Hmmm, I wonder if they'll go for this." At this point I have to stop. Everything comes to a halt. If I'm about to make this super awesome decision and base everything else around it, then there is no reason to move forward without the client's consent. I hate wasting time just to start all the way over.  That moment came when I found this super funky wallpaper from Coloray Decor. I shit you not, I did not choose it for its name: Autumn Flowers.

I dread that call where I have to say, "I have a crazy AF idea and I don't know if you'll go for it." Ok, dread is a strong word. It's more of a "this person is going to think either think this is brilliant or that I'm a crazy person. No in between" Last thing you want is for your client to think you're way off base so yeah these phone calls are a little nerve racking. 

Well, she went for it! The floral wallpaper was the perfect accent wall funkiness to add to this retro-esque bathroom.  With the wallpaper decided, the rest of the design came together. 

A few things ended up getting tweaked but most of the design remained. Every design I deliver has a design board with details to the side along with a spreadsheet for each item needed to pull of the design, links to buy, quantities and total material budget. Some have an accompanying room layout. Some have a sketch to describe further detail.

To see more about my design services, click here.

The rest of the elements worked around the wallpaper and existing features that had to remain. She had a door on the other side of the room that was a natural wood (seen below) she didn't really want to paint so I wanted to bring in another wood element somewhere.

The butcher block was an easy choice. Not only is butcher block inexpensive, it is easy to cut and install.

The next element I had to deal with was the mirror and lighting situation. The vanity was super long at 76". I didn't want to be all boring and have a super large, expensive AF mirror. Nothing fun in that. Since this is the hall bath, it is conceivable that there may be a couple of people getting ready in here at once, so one mirror wouldn't do not to mention such a large vanity with just one small mirror would look unbalanced. So, we went with 3 smaller mirrors with a single sconce above each.

Also in this area was the vanity base. The doors and hinges were not looking too good so Autumn's carpenter outfitted it with new flat front doors. Such an easy way to update a huge vanity like this. Replacing it completely would've cost mucho dollars.

What you can't see in those other photos was the toilet "nook". My original design included a green accent wall instead of the wallpaper. We didn't want to lose that green so we opted to put it behind the toilet. You can see it when you look in the mirrors which is a nice touch. The vintage telephone stand makes a great TP holder and complements the vintage - retro vibe. I have one of these stands in my own bathroom and it makes for an excellent TP stand. You can put one roll on the top and it will hold 3-5 rolls below. You could obviously put magazines and other things in there if you plan on camping out for a while. :)

And the moment we all love, the BEFORE AND AFTER Photos!!!

I love how everything looks fresher. The floral wall obviously is very vibrant, but the counter just feels more natural, one of the reasons I love using real materials like butcher block.

I'm now working on a closet design for Autumn and can't wait to see how it turns out. She's an awesome friend/client who is not only not afraid to be bold, but she also gets things done fast. Right up my alley for someone who loves to get her some photos! Stay tuned for the closet!


Sources

Butcher Block Counter - Lowes

Mirrors - West Elm

Sconce Lights - Etsy

Shelves - World Market

Sink + Faucet: IKEA

Toilet Paper/Telephone Stand  - Etsy

Wallpaper - Etsy

Bathroom Makeover: Travertine Tune Up

When Joe from Constructed Matter and I launched our Room Makeover offering, I never thought our first client would be my mother-in-law. She reached out to me a couple weeks ago asking if we could do it pronto. Planning and coordinating these things with clients take time which is why we haven't had any to show yet. But, we were excited to jump in and do our first one with someone I know. Our Room Makeover deal is meant to be a small-ish in scale project lasting a week or less. And by a week or less I mean the actual work, aka labor. Two weeks ago I began the designing and planning. We have to allow some time for orders to come in, which they didn't but we made do. We finished the install in about 3 days. I want to show you the before photo first but I shan't. Straight to the result!

Ok let's back up now. While my mother-in-law would have loved to tear out the travertine tile, it just wasn't in the cards. Too much time. Too much money. She has other projects she wants to tackle so we had to deal with it. The main problem with the travertine is just how yellow and brown it comes off most of the time. Here's what it looked like before.

So, we had the travertine, fine. But, that counter that I think looks like "tiger" granite had to go. I used to know the builder grade name but I purposefully blocked out of memory bc it is not yummy. 

Granite that must die

Clearly that had to go and was going to be a huge factor in brightening and de-jungle-fying the joint. Next up was toning down the travertine. Travertine was a huge flipping trend a while back when beige was all the rage. It's not a bad tile. I wouldn't choose it for my own house, but I do like that it is a natural stone. You can have it polished, which my in-laws did, and it looks shiny and new. Only problem is it is still beige. Some travertine comes off really yellow and even more so when paired with browns, reds, and..... anything. My mother-in-law tried to work with it and painted the walls a grey blue, even tying the gray and the beige together with the shower curtain. She thought it would feel like the ocean with the sand color and the blue. If I'm honest It didn't look half bad. But, it still felt yellow-y/brown and dark. To make matters worse all of the fixtures were ORB. I mean come on. More brown. :(

Brown and brown granite and brown fixtures

So, we stripped it all back. It comes to no shock to you I'm sure that I was painting this room white. I'm telling you I really really tried to think of something else. I studied. I Pinned. I Googled. The only thing I could think of to tone down the beige/yellow/brown of it all was to paint the walls white. It worked like a charm. Actually there were a few things that really made HUGE strides in correcting the browny yellow factor in this bathroom. 

  1. Paint. Obviously.
  2. Removing the blinds on the window. Even when they were slanted open it still made the room dark.
  3. Replacing the counter

To keep from adding any beige/yellow back to the mix we opted for black fixtures and hardware. I went a little haywire here actually. I had a black can of spray paint and nothing could stop me. I didn't even mean to enter the shower area but nothing was safe. I painted the shower curtain rod. I painted the shower head, tub faucet and handle. I don't know how that will hold up but my MIL was cool with it and if it turns crappy we'll just swap out the stuff for a new black version. For now it will work. The light fixture I ordered was backordered so I just ripped that old ORB mofo off the wall and painted it. Slapped on some new shades and called it a day.

Speaking of painting hardware and fixtures, Joe made us some custom towel bars. I looked for what felt like 5 hours for a long ass towel bar. No one makes a long ass towel bar. We need a long ass towel bar in this bathroom because when guests come in town to visit, which they do, often, theres need to be room for all the towels. So, Joe welded a 5' foot long ass towel bar and it is magical. It was raw metal so I of course painted it black. If it rubs off I will get it powder coated. My photos all sucked so I stole this one from Joe.

He also made a matching TP holder and hand towel holder.

Custom towel bars welded by Constructed Matter

Obviously there is a lot of experimentation here. I was sure to get these ideas cleared before implementing. But, also, since I am over at this house often, and use this bathroom pretty often, I can check in on the things and fix as necessary. For a client (and not my family member) I would maybe not go to these experimental lengths. It's fun to test these theories though and see what happens so I can share with the world.

The last thing was to add the soft stuff. This is my favorite part. I don't care how much you do to a space in a renovation or makeover, if you leave it empty it will lack personality. If you fill it with your old stuff it will feel like a split personality. Finish it off! First I start with some things I know I want, like a piece of art or some vintage thing. In this case it was the Arizona and Ohio Eye Charts from Constructed Matter

Styled white floating shelves in bathroom

Next, I love going to Target, Lowes and West Elm and just throwing stuff in my cart. I tell this to my Design Therapy consult clients on the regular. When you finish your renovation or just want to revamp your space, go to the store and just start throwing shit into your cart. I'm not trying to get anyone to overspend by any means, but I've learned from my staging days that this job will never get done, or done well, if you don't just GO FOR IT. Sometimes shit works that you least expect. So, grab that cart and just fill it up. I usually fill up 2 or 3, honestly. Don't waste time hemming and hawing about do I really like it, will it fit, is it the wrong size, is it fugly....JUST GRAB IT. Take it all home and start grabbing from your pile to build your styled area. I can't tell you how many times I was so sure about something at the store and in the end it didn't make the cut. And guess what did? The thing I thought might be fugly. Take all the rest back. Then I finish it off by filling in with random stuff from around the house. 

Another thing, don't just stick to the departments in the store that coordinate with the room you're working in. Use things from other rooms to dress it up. In this bathroom I bought kitchen towels to be used as hand towels because they had a better pattern. I also used a cheese tray as a tray on the counter and a dining charger as "art". Whatever. IDGAF. It works.

Funny Side note: the bust on the counter is from a garage sale and cost around $1.75. He was awesome until I knocked him over and his head fell off. My MIL glued his head back on and I found him in her laundry room waiting for me when scavenging the house for more things to bring in. I sprayed him all black (naturally because watch out I have this paint can in my head) so his decapitation didn't show. 

Bust and cheese tray make a great bathroom

And that was it! Bye bye dark yellow-y tiger brown bathroom. Let's see the difference.

BEFORE AND AFTER TIME!

The bathroom turned out so nice and bright and the travertine is actually a nice sandy color now rather than all the brown and beige.

Interested in your own Room Makeover....or Restyling of a room....or Design Therapy Consult? Check out your options on my Design Services page!

Shop This Room

Shelves: Home Depot

State Eye Charts: Constructed Matter

Succulents: Target

Towel Bars: Constructed Matter

Towels Bath: Target

Towel on Rod: Target

Towel on Cabinet Pull: Home Goods

Vessel Sink: Amazon

Vessel Drain: Amazon

Wood Box: Target

Bath Rug: Target

Black Round "Art" Charger on Shelf: Target

Cabinet Pulls: Amazon

Clock: Target

Counter: Marble Look Quartz

Faucet: Amazon

Mirror: West Elm

Planter - White: West Elm

Planter - Black: Home Goods

Spray Paint - Black: