Bathroom, the Beautiful Part One

Last week I revealed the big bathroom makeover and today’s I’m going into the nitty gritty of this project.  It felt like one of those HGTV surprise renovation shows except we didn’t get to have a six hour dinner while some studly host worked on my bathroom.

bathroom makeover

This project did cement the fact that reality shows  really can’t update a room in six hours.  I don’t care if they have the most incredible team ever, doing a kitchen in six hours is not possible.

Nope, not at all. 

Here’s one main reason—soft walls.  If you paint the walls and try to attach something like a freaking cabinet, you’re going to encounter soft walls.  Sure it feels dry to the touch but just like freshly painted nails, smears will happen.

Ok, I’m going to get off my renovation tangent and focus on the project at hand, our master bathroom.  Greg and I set reasonable prices for each other’s Christmas present and most years Greg ignores me.  This year I decided to treat him the same way.  First it started with seeing a pretty light fixture and it didn’t seem like a wonderful Christmas present.

“Here, Greg—something for you to do.  I love you too.”

Instead, it went—“here Dad, I have something for you to do.  I love you too.”

A light fixture led to a medicine cabinet which then led to a shower curtain.  Within three days, I had all the big aspects of the room selected/ordered.  I’ve been sitting her for hours writing and rewriting the guts of this project.  You don’t need another post about how we dealt with wallpapered wall.  We’ve done it.  The most striking part of this makeover is the vanity which is what I am going to write about . . . and maybe the accessories (part two) since they contribute to the overall feel of the room.



My grand plan had me building two shelves between the vanity and the wall.  I planned to have each shelf supported by 2×1 running along the three sides (side wall, back wall, and vanity).  Sounds easy, right?  I even mapped it out, sort of.

The two lines marked 1 ½” make up the original plan.

The two lines marked 1 ½” make up the original plan.

Then I started thinking.

And staring.

For some reason, I tend to stare/zone out when planning things in my head. . . or thinking really hard.

What if I built the shelf off the ground to make it look more custom?  I can’t do three shelves because it would make them too short.  Ok, one shelf it is!  I started modifying my original drawing and could barely make it out anymore, as you can see from above.  Here’s my second, more understandable plan.

bathroom makeover

Boom!  Then I investigated the wood situation in our garage—we had trim and baseboard wood but nothing else.

I started completing the math on shelf height and I realized three shelves would make them too short.  Ok, two shelves it is!

Now to be all super stealthy, I worked on the shelf the week before Thanksgiving due to a half day.  I needed to get 90 percent of the shelving cut and nailed but not nailed into the space.   So let’s get started.

Step One

To achieve this look, I needed to build a base for the bottom shelf, matching the height of the current vanity.     

Once I had that, I needed a few lifts to bring it to the correct height.

bathroom makeover

I added a 1″ x 2″ to the front of the shelf base, to have it jut out like the cabinet did.  Plus I already had my plywood shelves cut to size . .  based up on the vanity size, not the recessed kickboard piece.  After I cut my baseboard, I placed to see how it looked.

bathroom makeover

bathroom makeover

And I even checked the levelness of everything.

bathroom makeover

Step Two

At this point I failed you because I stopped taking pictures due to time constraints on project day.  Once Greg left, I fired up the nail gun and started shooting.  I handled the base and then I started on the shelf.  I leveled the back 2″x1″and nailed it in.  Then I leveled the sides but check it against the middle nailed piece and prayed for the best.

With fingers crossed, I placed the shelf top on the supports and checked the levelness.  Perfect.


But the front middle sagged due to lack of support.  After freaking out a bit, I cut an extra 2″x1″ to act as a divider/support on the bottom shelf.

bathroom makeover

Step Three

The decorative trim was nailed to shelf supports but I needed to add blocks of wood to the top sides as a support (and something to nail it too),

Step Four

Next up came the strip on the left side.  We used this trim (cove moulding) in our living room built ins and we had enough left to create a frame for the vanity.  I lined it up against the trim and leveled it before nailing it in place.

Side note: Mind you this is all being done in an hour (not all the cutting) and I needed to stop because my dad arrived to help with everything else.

Step Five

For a few weeks, our bathroom vanity looked unfinished.  I needed Greg’s help sinking some of the nails but due to his cast, we needed to wait.  A few weeks later, we sunk them, wood filled the holes, and painted it.

Side note: While I had him captive in the bathroom, I made him assist me in installing knobs to the cabinet doors.

I attempted to be cost conscious and use a quart of paint we had from refinishing the dresser but ran out before my second coat.

Step Six

After the painted dried, we applied a polyacryclic to help with the durability of the vanity.  Althought we used a high gloss paint, the polyacrylic makes the vanity even shinnier.

Now for the all important price breakdown:

  • Wood/hardware- $54
  • Room Paint- $30
  • Vanity Paint- $18
  • Polyacrylic- $20
  • Shower Curtain- $36
  • Medicine Cabinet- $131
  • Light fixture- $149
  • Toilet- $268 *being installed this weekend
  • Custom Artwork (etsy)- $44
  • Plant pot- $12
  • Bins- $50

Grand Total- $812

In the end, it’s more than I expected to pay but the room has been transformed to something we aren’t ashamed of.

bathroom makeover


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s