Tiny Bathroom: Concessions and Splurges

When I get discouraged on a project, it helps to think how far we’ve come, even if it’s just in the last week. I left you all last Monday-ish with this image:


Since then, we’ve installed flooring and wainscoting, and done some serious painting.

The purpose of this bathroom is to add value and livability to this home. We don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, but we also don’t want to leave the house full of crap or modern materials that take away from the home’s historic feel. To that end, we’ve made some concessions and some splurges.

Concession: flooring. We didn’t want to lay tile in here; between the cost and the labor, it wasn’t worth it to us. We went with a vinyl tongue and groove board that’s been texturized to look and feel like wood. We got the whole floor done for under $100. It looks lovely, it’s super easy to clean in a bathroom that may well be a small child’s someday, and given that the house has a jacuzzi tub in it from the previous renovator, I don’t feel TOO awful for making this concession to modernity.


Splurge: beadboard wainscoting (above). I actually don’t know if this was a splurge in terms of cost (you’d have to ask Peter and he isn’t here right now), but it was a splurge in terms of time. I had forgotten how much I hate priming and painting beadboard, and I’m sure Pete just loves putting it up one board at a time (we didn’t use the big sheets of it). But it looks lovely and adds some architectural interest to the tiny bathroom. We decided to do beadboard a long time ago so the room would look less like a room carved out of a bedroom.

Concession 2: cheap toilet. There is no reason to buy an expensive toilet for a room we will seldom use (we all sleep and live downstairs) and which was installed for the purpose of increasing the home’s value.

Splurge 2: a retro sink and faucet. I spent a lot of time looking for the sink and faucet, which I think have to act as the centerpieces for the room. I was pretty adamant that we not buy a modern-looking sink from Lowe’s. To that end, I spent maybe just a little more (though not tons, because cool stuff doesn’t have to be more expensive, you just have to plan in advance for it) for this sweet little Deco-style sink:


…and this cool retro faucet with cross-style faucet handles:

Cup of mandarin oranges not included in sale.

The classics never go out of style and I can’t wait to see them installed.

Concession 3: lighting. I wanted something really cool, and in order to achieve that, I hunted forever and finally ordered these from Shades of Light:


They had the schoolhouse vibe I was going for, and I really wanted the dark oil rubbed bronze finish for contrast (a lot of time ORB is brown-ish or purposely distressed and I hate that). Come to find out 24 hours later, they were on back order and couldn’t be shipped until July 5th. I was ticked at the lack of transparency; not once in the ordering process was I informed that the lights couldn’t ship right away. I was told by a sales representative (when I politely suggested that they show the stock status during the ordering process) that it’s displayed on the website. It isn’t, I promise, and she finally corrected herself and said they send an email. I didn’t receive that email until the next day and if I had been working with a contractor and had scheduled an install, I might have really been miffed. (Granted, you shouldn’t schedule installs until you have the things in-hand probably.)

After looking up reviews, it turns out this happens frequently with this company. The company gets good reviews except for on this issue, and they do have a good selection. I may someday order again from them, but not if I’m on a timeline, which I currently am. We’re sick of working by the light of a little desk lamp plugged in on the floor!

S0, we made a concession here and ordered a similar base from Amazon and a less cool but still functional shade was purchased from Lowe’s. I’ll show pictures when it’s all installed.

Neither concession nor splurge: paint color.



Yes. It’s Bay Sands. It’s my favorite neutral and I’m a little ashamed that so much of my house is grey right now. It’s trendy and I try to keep my head about trends and be true to the house and to us. That said, I really, truly like this color. It looks very classy and classic with the white wainscoting and the dark flooring, and most importantly, I had the paint already. So, excuses aside for going the safe route, I also went the cheap route. Sometimes, that’s important. 🙂

So that’s where we are right now. Amid all of the chaos of installing a bathroom, I also made a (not perfect but functional) lined curtain for the back door (the last curtain for this particular window, I promise, but I needed to learn to make a lined curtain and was overwhelmed by the pattern on the boat curtain I made for practice):


It was actually super difficult because the linen I ordered ended up really gauzy and difficult to keep in shape, but I managed and I am now done covering this window with things.

Peter’s been working on a 3-legged stool:


…including bending the wood for the back by poaching it in a water bath in my oven. It’s not done; I’ll try to remember to update when it is.

And for those who wonder how we do all of this with a toddler, plus 40-hour-per-week jobs, plus I’m in a show right now (go see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee!), I wrote a blog post about doing DIY with a toddler. Everything I wrote about in that post is true, and when I painted the back of the house last weekend, I used all those techniques and kept The Boy with me, outside, the entire time. That said, sometimes we cheat, too:


When it’s raining and the brad nailer is going upstairs and I’ve got a hot iron in my hand and the plumber is coming next week, sometimes, we turn on the TV and turn off his brain. He’ll survive, and so will we. (Also, this movie is full of racism and bad portrayals of women. Who knew, right? Sigh, goodbye, childhood.)