Saturday, May 28, 2011

Amazing Master Bath Transformation: From Ugly to Slightly Less Ugly

{Project 365 - Day 128}

I do not like to complain about my house, as it seems extremely ungrateful when in fact we are blessed to (1) have a house, (2) have a house that we love, and (3) have a house that is the perfect house for raising our family. And I know this, and feel grateful for it every day. But this is a blog about the good, the bad and the ugly, and the truth is that our master bathroom falls squarely in the "ugly" category. It's ugly, but I'm still happy to have it (much like my feet). We found this house when I was 6 months pregnant with Caroline, and we'd been looking for a house for at least 6 months at the time. When we saw it, we knew pretty quickly it was The One, even though it was a hot mess. The neighborhood, the space, the floor plan all pretty much lined up with what we were looking for, and the house actually came with a yard -- not a great yard, but for this area, it had a decent amount of usable play space. I knew the house needed {a lot} of work, but I said to David: "I think this is it." And he said: "But have you seen the master bathroom?"


The master bathroom looks like it was the result of a contest wherein architects were asked to come up with a design that would make a large space live small. The space is totally chopped up by (1) two (small) closets that are only accessible by entering the bathroom; (2) a linen closet that juts into the middle of the room; (3) two separate vanities on opposite sides of the room; (4) a separate room that contains the commode, a ginormous 80s style whirlpool tub (paaaaarty!), and (5) a shower that is actually pretty big, but seems like a scary shower cave because it has a tiny door and then huge walls of tile. In addition to the crazy layout, the bathroom has tired finishes all the way around. Cosmetic updates alone cannot save this bathroom; only men with sledgehammers can. But it will be several years before we can redo the bathroom, so I had just resigned myself to the fugliness and really just stopped looking at it.

But then one day I realized that with a couple of small improvements, the bathroom would be a far more pleasant place to be in until we could do a complete renovation. But since our ultimate plan is to gut the room and start over, the cost of any intermediate improvements would have to stay in the low two-digits. First, the paint color. We painted the bathroom before we moved in, and I chose Benjamin Moore's popular Wedgewood Gray, a soothing spa blue color. I had seen it in the Pottery Barn catalog and thought it would be perfect. But I never liked the color in our bathroom. I think in fresh, new bathrooms the cool tones of Wedgewood Gray add a character and patina that keeps the bathroom from looking too stark or new, but in an older, dingier bathroom like mine, it just made it look dirty. So I decided to paint over it with the same green color we used in our sunroom. Paint I already own plus painting supplies I already own = free. I taped up the room one night, and the next day my super awesome dad came and painted the bathroom (thanks Dad!!). Dad painting the bathroom = free.

The next major cosmetic problem in the bathroom was around the edges of the plate glass mirrors. It's hard to explain it, but it started to do the mirror equivalent of fraying around the edges. It was discolored and kind of craggy (is that a word?) along the edges. See, look at the bottom of David's mirror:

And then one day I started looking around the internet and learned about a technique for framing out plate glass mirrors using MDF trim. These posts made it look easy. Buy the trim at Lowe's. Have them cut it to size in the store. Paint. Stick to the mirror with Liquid Nails. I decided to give it a try.

I went to Lowe's and bought two 16 foot pieces of this baseboard trim to frame out the mirrors:

I also bought an $8 miter box and saw because Lowe's would not do miter cuts, and we decided that doing those on site would probably be more accurate anyway. I also bought some Liquid Nails and caulk. All told, I spent about $40 in supplies to do the two mirrors. I then spent a few days painting the trim. You need to paint both sides, because some reflection will show from the underside of the frame. I only had oil-based white paint, which took forever to dry, so the whole thing took awhile.

My dad and I spent an afternoon measuring, cutting and sticking the trim pieces to the mirror to create frames.

My sink, after:

I think the frame around the mirror makes a HUGE difference (so does closing the drawer and wiping up the toothpaste, but hey, gotta stage the "before" shots so the "after" is more dramatic, right?)

David's mirror, post-framing;

As you can see, the bathroom still makes zero sense:

And someday, we'd love to start over with a less dizzying layout, but these simple cosmetic changes have really freshened and brightened the bathroom in the meantime.

1 comment:

Mom to 3 C's said...

Those are some nice, HGTV-worthy improvements! Way to go!!