Emily Winters: Bathroom Renovation, Day 18

Day 18 of this bathroom renovation felt wildly different than Day 1; the demo is done, there’s no sign of construction. As I’ve said all along, I expected the room to look this complete in less than a week from demo day, and I was wildly mistaken, since 3 months (or a total of 18 working days, with at least 24 trips to the hardware store) has passed by.

It’s been a great transformation, and I can’t wait to share a real before and after with you next week (complete with a bargain-budget-breakdown), but first I wanted to let you in on some of the accents that I’ve been buying/making/hoarding away that really make the bathroom functional, efficient, and generally-speaking, more charming.

Finishing touches in the bathroom decor.

These little things really make the space, so pre-big reveal, I’m excited to show you what 7 little things I picked out (and made!) to pretty up the room. Keep on reading to see more!

1. I installed drawer pulls on the vanity.

The Ikea Lansa brushed nickel drawer pulls are something I picked up the same day that I bought the vanity itself (one year ago). I had some practice in installing these long, narrow drawer pulls a few months ago when I installed a similar-but-not-Ikea-product on my upcycled office filing cabinets. Practicing the installation was worth it if you can find a piece of plywood to test with, but if you want other tips: Measure. And level your measurements like your life depends on it. And then measure again, because there’s no repairing that Ikea veneer surface once you damage it. I used pencil to make little dots where I needed to drill, and then went loose with a bit that was the same size as the screws that came with the handle set

Drilling to install new vanity drawer pulls.

The holes in the vanity should line up with the hardware, and then you can breath a deep sigh of relief as you tighten the screws.

New vanity drawer pulls.

My worst nightmare involved one of the pulls being slightly off level since any mistake would be really, really obvious, but the whole set ended up looking really great with a little patience.

Finished drawer pulls.

2. I whipped up a masterpiece.

Picasso or Em-asso? The world may never know. Oh, except that it looks nothing like a Picasso, and I signed the bugger “merrypad 2012″ in the lower right corner. All DIY artwork looks a little more pro and exclusive and expensive with a quick penciled signature, doesn’t it?

merrypad 2012 DIY art.

Anyways, adding the frame was just a quick decision to brighten the wall over the toilet with a pop of my favorite Laughing Orange paint from Benjamin Moore, brushed without care onto a piece of ivory paper that I had in my crafting arsenal. The frame itself was from Ikea, a birch finished piece from its famed Ribba line of products, and the frame color, mat, and pop of color add a lot to the space. Plus, because it’s a moisture zone, I won’t feel bad if it gets damaged, and I’ll feel more welcomed to swap it out for something new whenever I want.

Don’t let the pop-out in the wall fool you, the art is perfectly centered over the toilet, which is perfectly centered between the wall and the edge of the shower, so it looks off-center here but it would look more imbalanced if it wasn’t centered over the toilet (I tested that position as an option).

New DIY art for the bathroom. Adds a pop of color!

3. Bought a hook for towel and bathrobes.

I had considered reusing the same brushed nickel hook that had been installed just outside the shower before I started demo, but this 3-pronged little guy caught my eye while I was at the hardware store. Priced at just $3, I couldn’t pass him up.

Bathroom hook, a practical trio.

4. And made a home for the toilet paper.

Fun fact: I bought this toilet paper holder the same day I bought the towel racks in Ikea (circa Thanksgiving of 2010). Gulp. This simple little piece sat unused since the day I brought it home, and the rolls have since lounged on the toilet tank or window sill in a serious frat boy-style ever since, the installation itself, delayed by me being indecisive on where to install it. I cringe telling you that I’ve gone without a toilet paper holder for almost 3 years, but it’s quite the luxury to have it installed now.

A new Ikea toilet paper holder.

5. I bought a jewelry nest.

This white perched owl is something I picked up at Marshalls for $5 early in the renovation process. I knew it would sit perfectly on the built-in shelf behind the sink, and it does. It’s the perfect, convenient place for rings and earrings. And it’s cute, another little pop of personality.

Owl ring holder.

6. I dared to test out an unconventional bath mat.

This jute rug was another impulse purchase for $15 at Marshall’s. I think really anchors the room, although I was and still am a little skeptical about using jute in the vacinity of the shower and inevitable moisture. Everything I googled spoke positively about using the natural fibers in the bathroom and moist places (even outdoors?), so I guess I should chill out about the whole thing. Plus, it takes a lot for jute to show a lot of wear and tear, and I can easily let it breath or dry on the clothesline in the backyard during the summertime if it happens to get soaked (although it’s been in place for a few weeks to date without an issue). Did I mention that it’s 3×5? As someone who’s only bought 2′x3′ bath mats, this looks pleasantly balanced in the space. I’m adoring it.

Jute rug in the bathroom.

7. And I even found a few new hand towels.

I finished off accessorizing for now with the purchase of a few new hand towels, scored at serious discount from our local Bon-Ton that closed a few weeks ago (think <$3 each, but not part of a matching set). I love the light gray and pop of color in the yellow-y gold towel.

New bathroom hand towels.

Truth be told, there are still some things to do to finish the space, yes, but those are things I’ll have to get to when my budget replenishes a little bit. I’m talking about things like:

  • Adding a vent fan (recommendations on your favorite quiet products appreciated).
  • Building a frame for the wall-mounted mirror.
  • Making or buying a shower curtain (I’ve been searching for a manufactured option with little luck, and finding 70″x70″ raw fabric is proving harder than I expected).
  • And fixing that completely off-center lighting above the new mirror. Oh boy, what am I going to do about that one.

Still need to fix this off-center light.

Hopefully those are tasks that I can tackle over the next few months as inspiration comes along, but for now, it’s looking really great.

I’ll be back next week to showcase the real-life before and after photos, as well as share a budget breakdown with all the details, short of my bank account number; remember: I was trying to stick between $1,200-$1,500 for this whole renovation.

Until then!

Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.

24 Responses

  1. Terry says:

    For a shower curtain-rod…thin …..couldn't you use ikea wire curtain hanger system very inexpensive and non intrusive almost like they aren't there. Fantastic work!!!!

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  3. Dessy Anaiwan says:

    All are nice ideas given in the post as well as in the comments ! But, I also want to give one suggestion for bathroom remodeling. The suggestion is if you use marble on all surfaces then it will give a great look to your bathroom and make you more comfortable. Marble gives bright look and make your mind ever fresh.

    Dessy A. http://www.appliancesconnection.com/bathroom-acce

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  7. meanfatsassy says:

    I repainted my large mirror silver(has a large frame) to match everything else. Looks great.

  8. mark carter says:

    don't forget to use paint and flooring

  9. coloradowindo says:

    Great information I used pencil to make little dots where I needed to drill I use it only for shape.

  10. Janet Casselberry says:

    It is a ships compas with balances.

  11. James Pennybacker says:

    Looks great. Nicely done

  12. Gareth says:

    While it's improbable, if the wiring was run through the attic instead of the walls, you could tie new wiring into a junction box in the attic. This would meet code since the junction point is still accessible. Plus, if this is the case, you could more easily install sconces on the sides of a smaller mirror (instead of one fixture above) without tearing up the drywall to run new wires; just use the junction box to run wiring to two new fixtures instead of one. Of course, this is probably not the case and you'll be cutting into the walls anyway.

    And don't forget to measure the room before you buy a new fan. The exhaust fan should be drawing enough cfm that it can fully exhaust the entire bathroom in 7.5 minutes.

    • emily says:

      Excellent info, Gareth. Hopefully I'll get to replacing the light sometime this summer and it'll be do-able without hiring out or doing any complex rewiring. And the tip about the fan is excellent, I already wrote it down in my planning notebook.

  13. Gareth says:

    With regard to quiet vent fans, the only truly "quiet" ones for that size space are going to need a larger duct than what a house the age of your's will likely have (I'm assuming it already has one). The quite fans require a 4" duct, whereas the most common ducting outside of newer homes is 3". And as for the light, those types of fixtures are very often wired without an electrical box because they're so light (at least all I've ever seen have been). So you'll need an "old work" housing for a new fixture and you'll have to patch the hole where the wires are coming out of the wall now. If you're lucky, the existing wiring will reach where the new housing will go. If you're not lucky, you'll either be hiring an electrician or climbing in the attic and running the wires yourself.

    • emily says:

      Great point raised about the vent fan. We do have ducting in place for it already, but I hadn't considered that it might not fit more modern fixtures. I'll climb on into the attic to investigate before ordering anything.

      Dare I guess the electrical work is going to be more complex. I don't think I'll be able to pull the wires over another foot, but I'll have to look into it more.

      Thank you for the comment with all this information!

  14. Rmiller says:

    speciality towel and robe holder

  15. JParisDesigns says:

    suggestion for the shower curtain: try buying/making 2 separate curtains. This way, you can find fabric in the size you would need (35×70) and then you can pull them to each side when not in use so that you don't cover up the awesome subway tiles. just a thought :)

    • emily says:

      Have thought that too! Know of any really thin rods? I'm wondering if I double up with another one that's the same weight as the one I have now will be too chunky-chunk…. two thin might feel less top-heavy.

      • JParisDesigns says:

        hmmm no, can't think of any thinner rods besides the dinky tension rods for window curtains. You mean for the shower curtain liner, right? I was thinking you would just cut the liner in half as well and hook them both to the same rod like usual. Not sure if the water would seep through the crack when showering though. I didn't think further than the aesthetics of it, not the logistics!! haha

      • TERI says:

        I am doing my bathroom too..and in shopping around actually saw a shower curtain rod that is a double rod for that..kinda neat..I am know doing the crown molding which I myself may have a problem with myself but am going to attempt it LOL…I love trims lol…hides alot of mistakes..LOL

  16. Michelle says:

    Looks amazing!

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About Emily Fazio 


I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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