Holy cow! We have been busy here at the SB. I mean, I thought once we’d finished the kitchen we’d have all of this time — I was actually nervous I’d get bored or something. But nope. Life is still crazy.
This week has been a super fun kind of busy, though. Manny and I celebrated our FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY on Monday. Then, yesterday, was my bday. We have some family in town and my parents had a little party last night and it was super great to be surrounded by so many of my favorite peeps.
On top of that, we are in the middle of an active project — fixing up the backyard. It is no small task, I’ll tell you. But hopefully we’ll make some serious progress this weekend and I’ll have details to share soon.
For now, I want to shine a little light on a past project that never got any love, even though it was a doozie as far as makeovers go.
I’m talking about our guest bath. Having an extra bathroom in a small house is a real luxury in a lot of ways, but this poor space needed some help when we moved in. Let’s take a look together, shall we?
(For better or worse, this is the only “before” picture I seem to have and it’s from our home appraisal. It was a space used by two teenage boys, so I’ll cut them some slack. But it wasn’t exactly a selling point for us, beyond the fact that we liked the idea of a second bathroom.)
When our house was built, this small bath was the only one — but thankfully, a few years before we bought our house, one of the existing guest bedrooms was turned into a master bath. At the moment, the guest bath doesn’t get much use except when, go figure, guests are in town. But it’s great to have it and we’ve done our best to make it a nice space despite it’s tiny footprint.
Three troublesome things about this space aren’t visible in the before-image, so I’ll walk through them.
1. The hexagon tile floor was painted white. Like, painted. With paint.
2. The ceiling was severely bowed and flaking suspicious-looking off-white paint into the shower/tub area.
3. The lighting above the vanity consisted of a cheap builder-grade chrome fixture with three bulbs. Not terrible. (Our handyman took it home for kicks.) But not great, and a little overwhelming in such a small space.
We tackled the flooring first because we were so curious what was under all of that paint — paint which, I should mention, had taken on the yellowed hue of Elmer’s glue left to dry on construction paper. You can’t tell in the before picture but it was ghastly.
We used Citristrip — and a lot of it — and after two weeks of toil we finally got all of the paint off. The result? Um, white flooring. *Why* someone applied a thick layer of matte white latex paint to original 1920s white hexagon tiles, I don’t know. But getting the gunk off has made the space a lot more charming IRL than photos can show.
Regarding the ceiling, we realized it was bowing because it had never been secured to the joists above. It was just floatin’ around up there, resting on the edges of the walls. So our handyman secured it to the joists with some screws. It was actually rather delicate work. We didn’t necessarily want to replace the ceiling if we could just repair it, so the screws had to be half-secured, one at a time, and then drilled the rest of the way in after giving it all some time to settle in order to avoid breaking it.
Then Manny did a lead-test on the flaking paint. Take a wild guess how that turned out. So we skim coated over the old mess and applied new, non-lead ceiling paint suitable for use in bathrooms. The result is pretty great, actually. It looks good as new.
Then we painted the already blue-gray walls above the beadboard wainscot a similar color a shade or two darker: Benjamin Moore’s Secret AF-710. For good measure, I freshened up the white paint on the wainscot as well.
The pièce-de-résistance, though, is our Catalina Blossom shower curtain, also from Schoolhouse Electric. I had originally picked up a simple white waffle curtain from Pottery Barn, but I took that bad boy back when I saw the fall SE catalogue and the rest is history. The color and pattern are so dreamy, and they work well with the muted blue of the upper walls.
After all of these small changes, I began to really like this room. This is extra great because part of me had assumed back when we bought the house that we’d spring for a bathroom reno sometime down the road — to round out the misery of our massive kitchen remodel, I suppose. But now I don’t feel that way at all.
I will add that, surprisingly, I’ve even come around in regard to what is perhaps the strangest feature of this room: the glass blocks at the end of the shower.
The plumbing isn’t on the side of the shower facing the rest of the house; rather, it’s on the side that faces the exterior. As best I can tell, this is because the tub has been here since the house was built almost a hundred years ago, and when someone at some point added the shower, they left the plumbing in place.
When we first saw the house, and later, when we first moved in, I detested these glass blocks around the shower head. Once the rest of the room was in better shape, though, I saw them in a new light.
I read up on glass blocks a little, and while I had always thought of them as a telltale sign of bad 80s interior design, it turns out they were invented in the early 1900s.
Granted, this info doesn’t change the fact that they aren’t original to the house. But I no longer mind them. It’s a simple change — and all in my head. Nonetheless, learning to love what’s already here is both cheaper and less stressful than planning another renovation.
Anyone else with mini-makeover experience? Any good tips or special considerations you’d like to share?