Our long-in-the-making master bathroom reveal

This post has been a long time coming. Since January 2, to be precise.

This (sorta) Old Life: Master bathroom reveal

That’s the day we posted our first bathroom renovation project post–which all started with a few leaky tiles. We knew it would be a while before this day would come, but we never thought it would more than 10 months later–more time than it takes to cook a baby!

Just so you know where we started, here are a few before pics:

This (sorta) Old Life: master bath sink before pic

What it looked like on move-in day.

This (sorta) Old Life: master bath shower before pic

This (sorta) Old Life: master bath toilet before pic

And this is what we’ve got now:

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation

To say we never would have imaged it looking like this is not hyperbole.

When we started, we had no vision for this room. At all.

We started anyway.

This (sorta) Old Life: master bath reveal

We did a pretty good job of keeping you updated with our slow progress until mid-summer. (You can see all those posts, if you’re so inclined, on our project/home tour page.) We got stalled (again) when we had to turn our full attention to painting the house so we could finish that beast of a job before school started.

Since the beginning of September, we’ve worked more on the bathroom and less on the blog. We knew we couldn’t do both at the same time (and kick off a new school year for all 5 of us). So, we haven’t been able to document this project in real time. We’ve got plans to get you caught up in a series of small project posts (such as one featuring our drawer shelf).

This (sorta) Old Life: master bath reveal

How we finally got to the end

When we last left off, we had the tile done. (And did that ever feel great!)

This (sorta) Old Life: bathroom tile with faucet

And our vanity was mostly done. We’d shared a post about choosing the vanity, but we hadn’t written about tricking out the basic box we found at the ReStore.

This (sorta) Old Life: master bath reveal

At this point in the reno project, we were a little stuck. As I said, we didn’t have a clear vision, even with so many things chosen. We knew we wanted to use this sink:

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation sink

And I’d found this sweet little 70s globe at an estate sale that I wanted to use instead of the white/brass one we currently had…

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation light

…along with this over-the-vanity light we found at The ReBuilding Center:

This (sorta) Old Life: bathroom vanity light

And we’d purchased cork for our floor. We love cork floors.

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation floor

And we had some art we’d created. (These are photos we took and had printed on aluminum, which we thought would be perfect for the humid conditions of a bathroom.)

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation art

We weren’t sure of how to make these elements work with our tile, or with each other. Originally, we thought we’d go with a light color on the walls, thinking that would allow the tile to stand out. But we couldn’t land on a shade we thought would look good.

Then I read this post on Apartment Therapy, which suggested that a small room with no natural light would look good with a dark color. It’s counter-intuitive (we want light!), but I started thinking about dark browns.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation-paint chips

Cane was a little dubious (and after we put some test paint on the walls he was still dubious, but less so), but we decided to be bold and go for it.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation-brown wall

And this is what got us unstuck. Suddenly, we could see all the elements coming together.

We decided that we for-sure wanted a concrete counter top, which we tinted brown.

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation concrete counter top

Yes, Cane made this counter top. I think there’s no DIY this guy won’t take on.

We decided that we for sure wanted to use our vanity, even though it doesn’t have much (traditional) storage.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation-vanity

We decided to build some shelves for over-the-toilet storage that would allow us to store some things we’d never previously had a space for–extra towels and toilet paper.

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation drawer shelves

(Here’s my favorite part of those shelves–the doors fold down!)

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation drawer shelves

We came up with a solution for a towel bar. I wanted to be able to hang three towels up, but didn’t want three towel bars. We love our custom (and inexpensive!) towel bar.

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation towel bar

We decided to go with wood accents, in keeping with the natural vibe coming from the wood vanity, cork floors, and dark brown walls.

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation wood accents

Though almost everything in this room is thrifted/salvaged, we did buy these new from Ikea.

After painting the walls such a dark, dramatic color, we knew the white door/trim wouldn’t work anymore. We had grey paint left over from the house painting project, so we just used it. And then we used some Behr Clay Beige (the same color we used on our living room) on the ceiling because we had some already and thought it would work.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom door color

We found some 70s door hardware at The ReBuilding Center for $5, which we swapped out for the bright 90s brass handle we had.

I originally thought of doing some kind of groovy bead-door like thing in the wall opening we created while removing the vanity (also unplanned, as we documented here), but in the end we decided to go with candles on thrift-store holders that got a shot of Antique Bronze spray paint (to match the towel bar and light fixtures).

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation candles

Seriously, the hardest thing to choose? The shower curtain.

This (sorta) Old Life: Dark master bath renovation shower curtain

I brought home at least 8 different curtains. We’ll spare you all the choices. We finally landed on this one–of course, it was the very first one we brought home. I know it probably seems really busy with the tile, but it works in real life. (Well, we think so, anyway!) (Or…not. See update at the end of this post. :-))

This (sorta) Old Life: Dark master bath renovation shower curtain

Our final piece was a last minute, could never have planned it:  Our painting of Edgar.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom art

He was a thrift store find I picked up after being inspired by Lisa’s post on portrait paintings.

We thought he’d go somewhere else, but we were stumped about what to put on a blank space near the sink and I brought him in on a whim. We think his dark emo moodiness fits in this room. And, thankfully, he averts his eyes when I’m standing naked in front of the sink. :-)

Why this is a happy place for us

It’s not just that it looks and feels better, although we think it looks and feels about a million times better.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation before and after

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation before and afterIt’s that it works a million times better. We have just the kind of storage we want. We now have everything in the bathroom we want in the bathroom.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation

I love not having shampoo bottles hanging from a metal shower caddy or cluttering up the edge of the tub. And I really love our long towel bar that holds the perfect number of towels and doesn’t require any fussy towel folding.

It’s also that the project is really frugal and green. We’ve lost track of our exact costs (and are too lazy to go back and figure it all out), but we know we did our complete overhaul for quite a bit less than $3,000. The tub was our biggest expense, at $500. We spent about the same on the tile surround (including tile, backer board, plumbing supplies, tile cutter, etc.)

thissortaoldlife bathroom tile whole tub

Our frugal/green highlight is the vanity. We really like how it looks and functions, but the frugal/green aspect of it just tickles us. We spent $20 on the cabinet, $10 on the sink, $5 on the faucet, less than $30 on the concrete counter top, and $1 on the vintage pulls we added to the cabinet doors. Other than the concrete, everything was used.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation vanity

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation vintage 70s pulls

We’ve really come a long way from this day:

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation tub

After we wrestled that guy into submission (not sure if we can really call it a win when we had to put a hole in the bedroom wall…), we knew we could take anything this bathroom renovation wanted to throw at us.

This (sorta) Old LIfe: stuck master bathroom vanity

Even this.

It wasn’t easy and at times it sure wasn’t pretty, but we think it’s real pretty now.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom renovation

Over the next few weeks, we’ve got plans to share posts on how to make/do the projects we haven’t blogged about yet. As we do, we’ll come back to this post and insert links in the text above.

Truth be told, we’re glad we need some time to catch up with these projects here on the blog. We’re a little pooped from our two major summer projects, and we’d like some DIY-free time this fall to rest and recoup and figure out what we want our next project to be.

This (sorta) Old Life: entry stairs with brown paint

These are likely next on our list.

Unless, of course, the homeowner gods decide to play with us mortals again and thrust another project upon us!

Oh, and I almost forgot!

We are super-d-dupity excited to have made it into Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color Contest!

Apartment Therapy Room for Color Contest

February UPDATE:

Even as I hit “publish” on this post, I had a feeling the lovely birds on the shower curtain weren’t really gonna fly long-term. :-) We finally did find the perfect shower curtain:

This (sorta) Old Life: Master bathroom

(But we still haven’t figured out how to take the perfect picture in this hard-to-photograph space!) And we know we still owe you a tutorial on the concrete countertops and tricking out a basic box vanity, but we’ve been too caught up in making more progress on our entry stair project of late. Some day when we’ve got some downtime. Yeah, right… :-)