Half-Bath Makeover

Looking at the before photos, we don’t need to explain why we redid the half bath. Actually, I think I laughed out loud when I saw this bathroom during my initial walk through. It didn’t have much going for it with the blue paneling (I desperately tried to paint over), hideous textured walls, mismatched toilet and seat, and peeling, rusted floors.

I guess Zac hated it as much as I did because a month after moving in, he randomly started demolishing the half bath. No plan. No budget. Nothing. I scrambled for DIY-able, affordable inspiration and quickly fell in love with this powder room refresh from Chris Love’s Julia. I’m not afraid of dark colors but since there is no natural light in this room, I liked that the white paneling helped brighten things up. I also liked that we wouldn’t have to be doing patch work or anything to the drywall on the bottom half since we were just going to cover it up again.

Inspiration: ChrisLovesJulia 

So, on New Year’s Day, Zac started on demo. I’d say it was pretty straightforward – especially for me since I didn’t do any of it. Floor, gone. Toilet, gone. Vanity, gone. We were left with an empty room and a giant hole in the wall behind the toilet. We couldn’t quite figure out why they hadn’t drywalled it, but we learned the reason why two toilets too late.

With the room cleared out, we began sanding off the texture. If we had to do one thing differently, this would be it. We spent HOURS sanding, peeling, scraping. It would have been worthwhile to just redrywall the entire space. Texture is a real beyotch. Despite our best efforts to contain the mess, our bedroom and the rest of the house was covered in a fine white dust. But at least we got some good arm workouts out of it.

Photo Jan 15, 12 20 45 PM

Another thing I loved about the design that Chris Love’s Julia did was the wood-look tile flooring. They have it running through their entire main level, but because we have carpeting in our master bedroom outside of this bath we were free to do what we wanted. We went with a mid-toned wood-look tile that was pretty cheap (roughly $1.40 sq/ft). This was the first time either of us have tiled so we stocked up on all of the necessary supplies (here’s lookin at you kneepads) and made a compromise on grout color. (We went with Camel, I wanted darker… Zac wanted lighter… though he’ll swear to this day that he wanted darker as well). Looking at the final result, I wish we would have done a thinner grout line, just something to keep in mind the next time we tile.

Photo Mar 06, 9 13 53 PM

When it came to paint, lighting, etc. We went with Narragansett Green by Benjamin Moore on the upper half of the wall. I love that it’s a little richer and more jewel-toned than the Raccoon Fur shade on our bedroom walls. I wish we would have taken the effort to move the lighting but in the end I just went with some pretty generic sconces even though I was dying to get my hands on some cool brass ones. Budget. Budget. Budget. Ugh! We installed the tongue-and-groove planks per Chris Love’s Julia’s instructions and we were well on our way to a finished bathroom.

Photo Dec 27, 2 30 40 PM

I must say, we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves at this point. And the good times kept rolling as we scored an awesome deal on a floor model Touchless Cimarron Toilet by Kohler. Not only was I excited also because you just flush it by waving your hand over the tank but also because we got a nearly $400 toilet for $50. Score! But, the toilet gods weren’t shining down on us for too long. After getting this toilet home, Zac carried it upstairs and as he was setting it down, it cracked. Actually, it pretty much shattered, along with my high hopes, and my budget.

Photo Dec 18, 5 52 25 PM

Fast forward a month or two of having to share the main bathroom, we bit the bullet and got another toilet (full price this time) all the while searching for an affordable stylish vanity. We finally found a vanity on sale at Home Depot and snagged it up. And then came more problems.


The PVC pipes to the vanity weren’t letting us install it properly so Zac tailored the drawers to fit but we ended up hiring out a plumber to do the final connections. And the standard 12” rough-in toilet we purchased didn’t fit. We finally realized why there wasn’t drywall there before. The previous toilet had butted up so close to the wall that it was actually pushing in the panelling. Long story short, a wonderful plumbing store assured me that there weren’t any toilets made with smaller than 10” rough-ins and that was probably what I had before. Sure as shit (toilet humor), the 10” size worked. You know the saying. Third toilet’s charm.


Photo Oct 21, 12 22 40 PM

As I mentioned, I regret not moving the sconces. They’re too low and too close together so finding a mirror that would fit wasn’t the easiest task. Standard bathroom mirrors start 24” wide and we’re working with a 19” space. I found this Threshold mirror at Target and am pretty pleased with it. I also planned on updating the hardware on the vanity but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m thinking some cool matte black pulls. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m just happy to have a bathroom after 6 months of dust, sweat and toilets.

You can find all of the links to the products we used here.


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