Travel, Treats, Tips, & Traditions

Our Bathroom Makeover!

Posted on: by Kate

bathroom makeover

The long journey of fixing up our Fixer Upper is still trucking along.  We have been in our house for just over a year and we finally have our Bathroom Makeover to share! We fell in love with our new little house‘s location and also all of it’s potential.  As you may remember, we bought our house as a fixer. “As Is.”  Since we do all of our projects ourselves it kinda takes forever.

So this past week the Master Bathroom makeover was finally complete and it is seriously the  bathroom of my dreams!

Let me tell you a little bit about what we started with.  Our original bathroom consisted of a front area that had a 1980’s builders grade two sink vanity that was no longer in great shape, this front area had a pretty little ‘upgrade’ of what I estimated as 10 year old carpet over the standard vinyl flooring.  Lovely. Past this you would find a door that led to the toilet and shower area.  The shower was the size of a tub enclosure but was only a shower.  It worked, but had some issues.  The toilet also worked, but had some issues.  Toilets in the house were almost immediately replaced because of these issues; the shower we endured.  It gets better.  The toilet and shower area flooring was also carpeted.  EVERYONE says “Wait, not the toilet and shower area?”  “Yep, the toilet and shower area.”  Oh, did I mention this was an inside bathroom with no windows.  That stinky smell you are imagining….. double it.

It gets better.

So we didn’t have any money to upgrade anything and we didn’t have permits yet but we decided that we at least needed to rip up the carpet in the bathroom, vinyl would be better than decade old musty carpet right?

In the front area of the bathroom we found what we expected – crappy vinyl with the addition of carpet glue residue.  Whatever, we can live with it.  When we got to the toilet and shower area of the bathroom and that started getting ripped up we noticed that there was not any vinyl.  For some reason the previous owners decided to rip up the vinyl and put down carpet on top of slap concrete.  So I mean, that was beautiful and cozy and I didn’t mind at all that time when I lodged a carpet tack into my foot while going potty.

We did not take many pictures of the house in the ‘before’ state.   My neighbor was able to send over a peek into her bathroom that was a similar set up to ours, her’s is in nicer condition than ours was – but to give you an idea…..

Before-Picture*much prettier than our before – but just to kinda see the set up, it has everything you need, but no frills and a bit cramped*

I was beyond excited when we hit our sinking fund goal to pay for the remodel (we are doing all of our remodels without credit if at all possible) and our permits were approved.  My husband, Dad, and Mom all worked on the remodel on their days off.  I tried to help but was usually told I was in the way.  In all fairness; I totally was.

My dad is amazing.  I get overwhelmed looking at projects, especially several at the same time.  My dad can see potential where other’s might just see only problems.  He can work out the step by step in his head and then the finished product is all he can see.  He walked into a very tiny standard bathroom with a whole lotta problems and all he saw was a beautiful bathroom that just needed some tweaking.  He explained to us that if we moved the wall out just a bit we could have a soaking tub and a shower.  We lost a standard closet in our room (which will be replaced this summer on the other side), but that gave him just the right amount of room.  Harry and Dad drew up plans and waited for city approval.  They said it was good to go and stuff started coming down.  It took several months because everyone has full time jobs; but the end result was so worth the wait.  With a standard tiny bathroom my dad and Harry made this…..


It is still not very big, so there is no way for me to get pictures of the entire bathroom makeover in one photo.  If you ever come over to my house please just invite yourself back for a looksy.


Full disclosure – picture day is the cleanest it has ever been and as clean as it will ever be.


When you first walk in you will see the vanity they modified from a 2nd hand dresser we bought on half price day at Salvation Army for just over $100.

Here Harry is putting on the top counter, it is seriously so pretty you guys.  It is not old, but it is real wood and has a funky and unique vibe that we love.


This DIY Repurposed Bathroom Vanity is so much cooler than anything we could have purchased new!  It was hundreds cheaper than any quality (or even not so quality) vanity from a home improvement store.  It was a greener choice for sure – no brand new item made, no shipping of that item, no big boxes of packaging materials, etc.  Not only that, we dig the Salvation Army – they help people in our community and all over the world – that’s cool.  So for so many reasons we LOVE our one of a kind DIY bathroom vanity!

medicine cabinet makeover

We hung a mirror repurposed from our old house ($0).  The standard medicine cabinet was SO ugly but I didn’t want to spend $50+ on a new one – Harry used wood stain we already had and a little bit of left over wood and just trimmed it out.  Fancy? No.  But we think it is a nice compliment.  We originally had florescent lights which we replaced with the upgraded, but not super expensive light fixtures as well as a working exhaust fan (the one that came with the house was past it’s prime!).

Then you walk into our bathroom area.  It has a soaking tub, a separate shower, toilet, and fancy little details that I just can’t get enough of.


The soaking tub is smaller than a standard soaking tub which is great for several reasons.  First and foremost, it is awesome because it fits in the tight space – a standard tub would not have fit.  It is also awesome because it uses less water than a standard soaking tub meaning I can take a bath every once in a while and not feel too guilty.

Check out this amazing tub faucet….. my dad found this fanciness online, I could have spent just as much on a not so pretty one at the store and everyone who comes over is like “OOOOHHHH Ahhhhh!”


The shower is a great size, it is smaller than the one before, but now we have a tub AND a shower!

bathroom makeover

In a small space like this storage is so important.  Storage is all over the place in this bathroom!

storage in the bathroom

I saw a pretty picture on houzz of a tub that was surrounded by wood instead of tile.  It looked SO elegant but I assumed it was much more expensive.  Harry said it was actually less expensive and he had a fun idea.  Not only could we have fancy schmancy wood, but he made it a little cabinet!  Under the tub there would have been some wasted space but Harry made it into tiny cubbies!  One houses wash cloths, another holds the toilet bowl brush and a couple cleaning supplies, one holds toilet paper, and one is our miscellaneous cubby which will no doubt be filled up soon! So it saved money, it was easier for them than tile, and it added storage.

bathroom makeover

Our reclaimed dresser / buffet / whatever it is thingy that we turned into the bathroom vanity had a ton of drawers and they all would have been lost with the plumbing without some modifications also.  Harry and my dad raised it up and also put some additions on the side (maybe someday I can sweet talk them into telling you all about it) so that every single drawer and door is useable!

After we had all the pieces in place and storage figured out there was nothing really to do but make it pretty.  As you know, I like to do pretty on a budget so that is what we did.  Harry made these shelves that everyone seems to love with this DIY floating shelves tutorial.


They cost about $12 each and took one afternoon to make the two long shelves over the tub as well as the three above the toilet.


I bought three frames at garage sale, the large one was $2, the two smaller ones were $1 each.  The larger one we left as is, the two smaller ones were silver and Harry spray painted them to match the oil rubbed bronze look.  Harry and I both went to school for animation and both took life drawing all through college.  I can’t wait til I have time in my life to start taking life drawing again, I know people think this is weird but I don’t care.  I found three tasteful nudes in books at Estate Sales and framed them up.  I don’t suggest putting expensive art up in bathrooms, but there were simply pages out of books and I think it looks very pretty.  For $5 total we have three framed at matted art pieces.  Love it.


I filled three thrifted jars with epson salts, bath bombs, and cotton balls and I think it is so pretty!  Total cost was $12! A thrift store vase and flower along with some taller framed photos give the room a little height.


Rolled up washcloths we already had and a candle holder we had in the closet round it out for hardly anything!


And how does one make the potty pretty?  We did!


Over the toilet we also have three pretty shelves.  The top shelf has a thrifted little two drawer thingy that is the perfect size for feminine products and the little Lladro figurine Harry bought me as a graduation gift (While I don’t collect them; I also have a thing for Lladro’s design style).  Three thrift store candle votives sure made the middle shelf pretty for $3 total.

bathroom makeover

The bottom shelf has a little basket with my essential oils collection as well as some little canisters we already had with bathroom essentials (Q-tips and such).


Want to talk about that chandelier for a second?  Because I do.  Harry saw this pretty little number in the clearance section for $47 (originally over $100!)  and texted me a picture but my lousy phone didn’t get the text til the next day.  When we made it back to the home improvement store it was back up to full price.  We talked to the manager and he was like “Yeah, not sure why they went back up, just keep visiting them they will go back down.”  We were nowhere near ‘needing’ the light yet so we waited patiently.  It never went down.  Finally my dad who pretty much lives at Home Depot and Lowes found a manager who likes him and he asked him about it.  No arm twisting, just a question to the manager and guess what – my dad bought it for $30.  WHAT?!  I know.

Because I know you all want to know – we painted with guaranteed one coat coverage Behr Marquee – the soft green color you see is called Folly.  I can testify to the fact that it does indeed cover in one coat when you apply according to instructions.  Behr paint is fairly inexpensive in comparison to it’s counterparts and I have nothing but good things to say about the Marquee line.  The colors are vibrant and fresh.  Behr Marquee is low VOC and all kinds of lovely.  I will be sharing tips on how to paint with Behr Marquee in one coat in a future blog post.  I have friends at Behr who are kind enough to provide us with paint for our projects but our tight budget and Behr’s quality has always made it our first choice for paint anyway.

And because you know me so well, you know everything from the faucets to the tile was discounted making this project very budget friendly! So there you have it!  Our beautiful little ‘work with what you have’ bathroom makeover!  Do you have a low budget bathroom makeover you want to share?  Link it in the comments!

Want to see our other projects?  Our kids rooms were standard 10ish x 10ish rooms – as boring as can be.  They needed some cosmetic work – mostly just new paint and new flooring, but we decided to kick them up a notch!  Check out our oldest’s Shabby Chic Room, our son’s Star Wars Room, and our littlest’s Polka Dot Minnie Mouse Room!  All are decorated with inexpensive Behr paint and a bunch of stuff I found at garage sales!

Want to see even more before and after projects?  Stay tuned because there are several to come!


Until Next Time ~ Kate
Comments: 12 Responses
  1. Angela says:

    I absolutely love love love love it! Awesome job Kate! You should really consider doing this for a living. You have a knack for decorating.

  2. Cam Bowman says:

    I love the colors! They are my “calming” colors. You did a really great job on this! Enjoy!

  3. JENNIFER says:

    Wow. Especially that vanity. Must feel especially wonderful knowing it was built with love.

  4. Wow!! That is stunning! I can’t believe all the beautiful details. LOVE. 🙂

  5. It turned out Amazing!!! Love it!

  6. Terumi says:

    This is gorgeous! I love the bathroom vanity. And the chandelier is so pretty too!

    • Kate Hamernik says:

      Thank you so much =) We are so happy with the way it turned out – especially since we were at the mercy of thrift stores and clearance sections haha!

  7. I am SO envious! Your bathroom is gorgeous!!! Nicely done!

  8. Lorry says:

    I love, love what you did to the bathroom!! Looks amazing!!

  9. Kristene Hanson says:

    Wow, your makeover is fabulous. I love all the shelving and such!!

  10. I still can’t believe this is the same bathroom. I love the color and tile choices. You have a great eye for design.

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