Bathroom Makeovers at the Quirky Old Home

Our new, old home has two bathrooms – one upstairs and one on the main level. There is no en suite. In fact, the main floor bathroom, where the “master bedroom” is located has no shower. What you gain in character and charm, you often sacrifice in other areas in these older homes.

The upstairs bathroom is full service and was completely renovated before we bought the house.

Upstairs Bathroom Before

Here is a picture of the upstairs bathroom before the makeover. It was quite lovely and nicely staged when it was put on the market.

There were, however, a few issues for me in this space.

I am not a fan of tan walls. Neutral. Boring.

There was no towel bar near the tub – it was located on the far wall by the sink. Inconvenient.

There was no storage. As in none. No drawers, no closet, no shelves.

The toilet was not working properly. Water in the bowl was draining meaning that two (or more) flushes were required every time it was used. Wasteful.

Upstairs bath looking at toilet

Here is a picture of the space after the makeover. As I mentioned in the stairwell makeover post (here), I tied the use of the gray paint used on the upper walls in the stairwell and hallways (the two bathrooms sit at either end of these spaces) into the two bathroom makeovers.

The gray color tied nicely to the white and black tile as well as the ceramic tile floor. Much better than tan.

I purchased a French Toile shower curtain for $30 from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and added a black fringe trim to the top. The gray of the Toile and the black trim tie the color scheme together nicely.

I put up a double towel bar so that when you stepped out of the tub or shower, you could simply reach for a towel rather than walk across the room to get one.

I added a hotel shelf over the toilet, so that extra towels were readily available. My sister used these in her last bathroom renovation, and I think it’s a genius idea for small bathrooms with limited storage. And the hotel shelf that I used was only $20 at the local big box hardware store.

And the toilet. Ah, the toilet. The leaking toilet. Turns out, after much work and research, that we had a hair-line crack in the bowl which was causing the water in the bowl to leak down the drain (not onto the floor thankfully). Poor DSH took the thing apart and added a new wax ring and employed various other strategies before determining that there was a crack causing the leak. After several hours of work.

We researched toilets and went off to the local big box hardware store to buy a new one to fit our needs. The toilet we so carefully researched and purchased turned out to be the incorrect size. Which we found out after DSH took the old one out and (tried) to put the new one in. Sigh.

DSH carefully re-packaged the toilet and off to the big box hardware store he went (I was so done with this part of the project, and I wasn’t even doing the dirty work) to purchase the correct size toilet.

There was one choice. Hell, there was only one toilet! All that research.  All that time. All those wax rings.

According to the directions, the entire project should have taken 30 minutes. Well, six hours later and one more trip to the hardware store to purchase a longer water hose and another wax ring (I should have added up how many wax rings we bought and used since I’m sure we’ll be able to laugh about it someday.  Just not today.), we had a perfectly functional toilet. Homeowner projects always have a way of taking more time than anticipated. And more money.

Upstairs Bathroom After looking at sink and tub

Here is a view of the sink area after the makeover. I purchased a gray, metal Ikea cart to place next to the sink to hold the various items used in the bathroom – soap, face wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair stuff, etc. My plan is to buy some cute apothecary jars to make it a little more organized looking and cute, but it sure is a lot more functional. And I like how the newer, industrial look mixes with the more traditional features of the space.

I kept the mirror and fixtures, which my friend had suggested that I spray paint, because I kind of like the eclectic mix of chrome and gold in the space. I added a smaller towel bar next to the sink and some robe hooks behind the door which came in handy with company over the holidays.

Upstairs Bath floating shelves

I also added some floating shelves with pictures of the kids and some old elf tchotchkes from my paternal grandmother. I have some pictures to put in frames to add some other color to the space, but all in all it is a very warm and comfortable and functional bathroom now.

Main Floor Bathroom Before

Here is our main floor bathroom which, as you can tell, is also our laundry room. The space is very small, and we discovered, when we moved the electrical panel which was situated over the bathtub (see that interesting story here), this space was, at one time, the back porch of the house.

This room was also nicely staged when the house was put on the market. But, again, I had some issues with the space.

The colors just did not work for me. And, after the electrical box was moved, we had to re-paint anyway.

Again, virtually no storage existed in the space.

Finally, I am working on ideas on how to provide some sort of separation between the laundry room and main floor bathroom functions.

Main Floor Bathroom After Full View

Here is the main floor bathroom after the makeover.

Painting it took two of us and was a quite interesting experience working around the large pieces in a very tiny and cramped space. It brought DSH and I closer together. Literally. Not figuratively.

I painted the wainscoting the same satin white color as the wainscoting in the hallways and stairwell. I (I should say DSH because he painted this part) painted the upper walls the same gray as those spaces, too.

Houston Electrical Project #1

Here is what we discovered when we were buying this house. A nice picture over the bathtub was hiding a little surprise.

Houston Electrical Project #2

The main electrical panel to the house!

Main Floor Bathroom After picture over electrical panel

The panel was moved to a more appropriate place and is now also properly permitted. The problem was that a junction box remained that needed to be hidden. So I used a large Impressionist print in a dark frame that once upon a time graced the wall in the office of my career job which I left many moons ago (in another lifetime it seems).

The other electrical issue in the space is that there is an orange extension cord that has been pulled through the wall and is plugged into the outlet on the wall next to the washer and dryer. We have been unable to figure out what it is powering and where the other end is plugged into. And we are not about to unplug it and find out the hard way!

We asked the former homeowners, and they played dumb (I believe that they know). The inspector and the various electricians who have been in the home cannot figure it out either. Our best guess is that the electrical cord must be powering a heat tape to prevent the water line from freezing in the winter. We decided this because, in spite of the bitterly cold winter, the water line to the washer never froze and it is on the coldest side of the house and runs through an exterior wall. We had a water line in a more protected wall and space that did freeze so that is our assumption for now and another good reason not to unplug it.

I’m sure we’ll figure it out some day.

Main Floor Bathroom After

Here is the sink and toilet wall where, once again, I added a hotel shelf for towels. I kept the rest of the fixtures and just cleaned them up.

And the toilet. Ah, the toilet. This toilet started leaking while we were painting. Onto the floor. We feared the worst! Fortunately, we just had a leaky valve which took only two trips to the local big box hardware store and a few minutes to replace.

Every house we have lived in has required work on the toilets. Do people never replace the guts or wonder why toilets leak? The last house we lived in had a hairline crack in the tank which we discovered when it wasn’t filling all the way because the previous homeowner reduced the setting so he didn’t have to replace it. Which we did because you cannot have a bathroom being used by teenagers that you cannot flush effectively. Ugh.

Main Floor Bathroom After View of Sink

The space is now so cozy and warm. But I have a few plans for the future.

First of all, I plan on getting rid of the $99 special sink unit and replace it with an antique dresser converted to a sink unit. It will take some time to find the right piece to fit in this tiny space.

The other thing that I am working on is adding some sort of separation between the toilet and washer and dryer unit. We have looked at antique doors – we even went to a place in the city that specializes in architectural artifacts which is a nice way of saying old junk from old houses. Old junk that is expensive.

I’m leaning toward something that is not too heavy looking. Like shutters that are painted in a crackle finish. But that is another project for another day.

I have one more interior project on my goal list for this winter and then, hopefully, we will be able to move onto outside projects and trips to our little cottage on the lake. If the weather ever takes a turn for the better!

Next winter, I plan on completing the main floor projects and garage game room as well as maintenance items that we are uncovering as we live in the house. Like adding insulation to the sunroom so it’s more comfortable in the really cold and really warm weather. And converting a small attic space into a linen closet. And getting the garage and other storage areas (I should say area as in singular) organized. And selling off the rest of the stuff we no longer need or use now that we have downsized. The never ending list of projects when you own a home.

In the meantime, I love our bathroom makeovers! Our quirky old home is starting to take on more of our character and personality, and we’re loving it more and more.

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