Tuesday, October 15, 2013

31 Days: Bathroom Before and After!

The first time we toured this house with our realtor, I thought the main floor bathroom was adorable.

Our realtor thought I was nuts.

"It's so dated," she kept saying.

Yes, but look at that adorable chrome pedestal sink!

"Yeah, and a yellow toilet to match!" she said with just a little sarcasm.

Yes, the fixtures are originals, but they are in fantastic shape! The tub (which is also yellow, of course) is made of the old original ceramic. These old tubs retain the heat so much better than today's fiberglass models. Every tile was perfect, not a single crack or scratch.

The decor in the bathroom was a little dated. Okay, a lot dated. I could not understand the dark mirror and light fixtures in this little room. And the truth is that even though I like wallpaper, these butterflies were more than a little scary.

I had a vision for this room that would turn it into the sweet little jewel box of our vintage house.

And as you may have figured out, when I have a vision, it is my husband who comes to the rescue, making that vision a reality.

He made me a deal.

"You remove the wallpaper, and I will paint."

Piece of cake!

After a few hours of peeling and scraping and smelling like vinegar, we then primed the walls with a nice coat of Kilz before adding the new paint.

Are you ready for the Big Reveal? Here it is!

The paint color we chose is called Woodlawn Colonial Gray, and it is one of Valspar's selections from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

I know what you are thinking.

"Gray, gray, everybody is using gray. It is so trendy."

I thought that, too. And normally, gray is the last color I'd ever pick for a room in my house. I tend to pick warm colors over cooler tones for almost every project. But the tiles and grout had just a hint of gray in them, and I knew that this was the only color that would "make sense" of the yellow in this tiny little bathroom.

This shower curtain (Threshold from Target) was the inspiration for this makeover. It had so many pretty tones of gray, and just enough of the yellow to tie in with the fixtures. Here is a tip: It is so much easier to match a fabric to paint than it is to paint a room and try to find a fabric to match.

The bath mat and towel had a fun paisley pattern that brought a little more retro flair to this retro bathroom!

I really wanted a new chrome medicine cabinet for this room, but it turns out that it would have taken too much retrofitting to make it work. A simple solution was to paint the medicine cabinet white and call it a day. We replaced the brown light fixtures with chrome fixtures to match that vintage chrome pedestal sink.

This bathroom makes me so happy!  I love the retro vintage style, and I am so glad that we managed to give it a mini makeover while retaining all of the original charm.

Total expenses: 2 new light fixtures (Lowe's), a quart of Kilz and a quart of paint (Lowes), new curtain rod and curtain (Target), new bath mat/shower curtain/hand towels (Target).

Grand total for this bathroom remodel: around $150 dollars.

That beats a gut job any day of the week!

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Give it a makeover and love it instead.

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!


  1. What a great attitude and result! I love the colors together and the pattern of the curtain. Be sure and send some pics to your realtor - it may teach them a valuable lesson for future sales!

  2. Mary, this turned out adorable! I love that shower curtain! I agree with BlueInks - send a picture to your realtor. Great job!

  3. Oh how fun - I'd be running from a bathroom re-do! We've done it twice, dh was in charge BOTH times - colors, paint, swatch - have at it, I said! He did just fine :) That's a groovy old bathroom, kinda funky and neat - the grey is a fabby accent color in the new - not too shabby a'tal! :)

  4. What a great remodel! The grey is so perfect with the yellow fixtures. Takes me back - I grew up in a mid-50's house with 2 bathrooms - 1 pink and the other yellow!!!

  5. I think your new/improved bathroom is gorgeous! Love the yellow and grey together!

  6. Turned out great! Forgot to show you Joe's bedroom while you were in town...it was a rainy and boring weekend that caused him to say..."Can we paint my room...it should only take about an hour." He chose Behr "Elephant Skin". It is a ...you guessed it...a gray, with just the right amount of dirt thrown in. Wow! It had been 15 years since it was last painted and did it need it...looks sooo good. :) Can't wait to see the bathroom up close. xo

  7. Hello Maryrose! My name is Katy and I'm the social media coordinator for KILZ brand products. We are happy to see that our primer helped transform your retro bathroom. We would love for you to share your experience by writing a review. Visit our review page, select the produce you used, rate and write a brief description and hit submit - it's that simple! We appreciate the feedback! Thanks!

    Link to review page here: http://www.kilz.com/primer/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=8ad359ff4f72d310VgnVCM100000176310acRCRD

  8. The bathroom looks fabulous- and I knew it would! Love the color. But I might have to see it up close say early Christmas time??? hint-hint.

  9. Good thing you've seen through the out-of-style fixtures of the bathroom. Every space has great potential. No awkward placement of furniture or hideous palette can't be remediated. What you did is definitely impressive: keeping the original fixtures while transforming the bathroom into something more contemporary. You've given the house justice. Thumbs up!

  10. Found you over at Hooked on Houses. :) I love your vintage bath! I'm in love with the 40'-50's era and it is so refreshing to read about seeing someone find the value and potential of older stuff and not just rip it out and stamp it with home depot! Good job!

  11. Love it!!! Yellow and gray are so wonderful together. Funny how that color combo didn't even seem to exist a few years ago!

  12. WELL DONE YOU! ANYBODY can gut a room and through money at it. An original, one of a kind beautiful room was the result of your creativity and budget minded solutions. What a joy it was to discover your blog today!

  13. Beautiful! Love that you kept the original fixtures! Came here through Hooked on Houses.

  14. Thank you for preserving this bathroom. It takes a really artful eye to see that what you did is way more beautiful than cramming in a plain white toilet, plain-old vanity, and gutting it. You made a great example of how to love what you have and make it better. This was grand! I will be back to visit your blog again.

  15. Beautiful! This is the same way I usually do 'retrofit redesigns'. If your budget's small (and sometimes even if it's not!) working with what's already there, especially if it's in gorgeous condition as are your fixtures, it's a very eco-friendly way to get a new look! Wonderful job! The combo of gray and the pretty yellow sink/toilet/tub is just right :-)

  16. The bathroom is beautiful! I've seen those very gray & yellow rugs at Target and didn't have a place for them. Glad youd id! You've done such a great job!


  17. Go with what's there, right? Great job! Love that sink too! She's a cutie!


  18. I love your updated look! You couldn't have made this bath look any more chic and modern if you had gutted and started over. What a waste of beautiful fixtures that would have been. My favorite however is the floor tiles! Love them! Marie