evolution of my home | part 7 | the three bathrooms

by | Jul 12, 2015 | Bathrooms, Before and Afters, Furniture Makeovers, Master Bedroom, My House | 22 comments

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And now it’s time for part seven of the history-of-my-home tour when we look at all three bathrooms in my house.

Let’s start with the upstairs bathroom…

This is the bathroom that’s next to the boys’ room and guest room and it’s in the original 1940’s part of our home.  It is teeny-tiny by todays standards.  I think there’s no more than about 6″ between the toilet and the tub and you can easily reach the paper on the opposite wall from the potty.  The wide angle lens I’m using makes it look a little bigger than it is.

When we moved in, we painted the walls in a pale aqua, Jeff built the shelf for storage and I made a shower curtain out of remnant fabric and then another one for an HGTV.com project.  Other than that, we left it alone.  There just wasn’t much I could do to change this space until we had the budget for new floors and fixtures.

The mirrored medicine cabinet that was in the house when we bought it was “smoked” and it was hard to see your reflection, but I was able to pick up an exact replacement at a yard sale for $5.00.

When we started working on this bathroom earlier this year, I was originally planning to replace the sink, but I realized that I just didn’t like the faucet and the messy caulk job.  The sink was fine.

So, I used a scraper and razor to clean it up and re-caulked.

I painted the ceiling white and installed a wallpaper mural from Anthropologie for an HGTV.com tutorial.

We paid to have the 2″ marble hex tiles installed.  I installed the herringbone marble tile backsplash in the kitchen and I learned that I can do tile, but I don’t like doing tile.  There were also some tricky areas in this tight space, like a curved detail on the front of the tub, the radiator and the sink pipes.

I gave the trim a fresh coat of paint as well and we replaced the almond toilet with a white one.

I love using vintage mirrors, when possible, so I used an antique plaster mirror I found for $25…

…and painted it in a mix of MMS Milk Paint Lucketts Green, Boxwood and Mustard Seed Yellow with a Furniture Wax finish.  The new light is from Pottery Barn.  It really was the only one I could find that would fit in the space, given the low ceiling height.  I think the style of it is perfect, though.

The soap dispenser is from Target and the flowers and glass bottle were given to me by a sweet reader.  I found the “gentlemen’s” sign at the flea market in Raleigh, NC.  I figure it’s a subtle way to give fair warning that I cannot vouch for the cleanliness of the toilet at any given moment!  (Boy moms everywhere are nodding.)

Now, I was planning on making a sink skirt and rad cover with some shelves, but you all talked me out of that!  The longer I lived with it, the more I loved how much of the mural you can see and the radiator and the sink pipes work with the style of the space.  I need to give the radiator a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint, though.  We do need some storage, though, so I ordered two glass shelves to hang above it, so there is a place for extra TP, tooth brushes, etc. and a toilet paper holder.

On the wall behind the door, we’re going to hang a board with vintage hooks on it for towels.

I still have a few things on my wish list for this space, like reglazing the tub, but I’m not sure if we’ll ever do that.  We’re hoping to move in a couple of years, so we want to carefully pick the projects we put money into.

So, this bathroom’s story isn’t quite finished, yet…

The half bathroom, which is downstairs was probably one of the worst rooms in the house.  This is the only “before” picture I have of it…

Oh, the carpet.  I despise carpeting in a bathroom.  We ripped up the carpet and found 1940’s maroon “marmoleum” floors.  It’s marbled linoleum, if you can imagine that with me.  The wall was clad in pink plastic tiles with maroon accent tiles.  The window, which used to be the light and ventilation for the space, was boarded over when the addition was put on.  Since we didn’t have the money for a full makeover, we used $50 in sticky backed tile to cover the floors.  I painted the maroon accent tiles black and put a gathered curtain over the “window to nowhere.”

As I was browsing the internet one day, I saw a contest True Value was hosting for a $2,500 bathroom makeover.  I had never entered a contest like that, but decided I would give it a shot on a whim.  I grabbed the camera and made a quick video giving a tour of my bathroom.  I was wearing my painting clothes and, in the middle of it, my youngest, then a toddler, waddled in and flushed the toilet.  I wish I still had that video, but it’s been deleted!

Anyway, I was a finalist and entered the “voting” stage of the contest.  I asked my readers to vote and ended up winning the contest…

I drew a plan for the back wall for a rad cover, built-ins and bead board to cover the old window…

I ordered marble hex tile, which unfortunately came in two different tones, so we had to get that fixed before the install…

We ordered all of the bead board, trim, lumber, faucet, backer board, thinset, grout, a sink and a toilet.  Again, I opted to have the tile professionally installed, which cost $300.  Well spent.

They installed the new backer board right over the sticky tiles!

We also paid someone to move the light from above the mirror to an overhead.  Between ordering all of the materials, DIYing most of it and hiring some of it out, the projects took months to complete.  It was just a lot to coordinate and things kept going wrong.  It was definitely the hardest reno of the entire house.

I was planning to remove the plastic tile, but there was some concern about asbestos in the glue, so we just put the bead board directly over the tile with construction adhesive.  We made a paper template of the back wall, so we could cut a piece of bead board to fit exactly.


I painted the walls in Owl Gray by Benjamin Moore and the trim is in “off the shelf” white.  The light fixture is a floor sample from Home Depot and I embellished the shades with gray ribbon.  The mirror is vintage and so are the locker baskets.  I hung them on the walls with nails and use them to store TP and hand towels.

The room has stayed pretty much the same, but I played around with the accessories last year.


I love this bathroom.  The only thing I would change is the white grout.  I wish I had chosen gray grout, but lesson learned.

And, here is how the master bathroom started.  Like the half bath, there was no natural light in this space.  The walls were painted green when we moved in and it had a smaller mirror, but it was otherwise the same as the pictures below.

mbb 2

I really hated this bathroom.  It was functional and fine, but I still hated it.  The vinyl floor wasn’t glued to the floor properly, so there were bubbles in it.  Everything was beige and almond and cream, which is totally not my thing.  The vanity, light and fixtures were nice, but just not my style.  The tub was very shallow and small, which was not good for soaking at all.  Since it was our master bath, I wanted it to look and feel more luxurious.  It just wasn’t a priority, so it stayed like that for years.

It was my job as an HGTV.com freelance writer that got the renovation started.  If you’ve been following this series, you know that gig has kicked off most of my makeovers and large home projects!  My editor asked for bathroom tutorials, so I pitched installing a skylight tube, turning an old dresser into a bathroom vanity, making a cornice for the tub and making a lined shower curtain.  We were hired to do all of those projects, so you know how that is…  If we’re going to do the vanity, we need to do the floors first and if we’re going to do the floors, we need to replace the tub and the tile surround and so on.  We decided to do it all at one time.

I installed 3/4 height board and batten to add some architectural interest to the space.  I selected 12 x 12″ marble tile for the floors and we had them placed as close together as possible, so the grout line would be very small.  I also gave the ceiling a fresh coat of white paint.


We were connected with a handyman who worked with us on removing the old tub and installing the new one.  He also installed pot lights and a pair of antique sconces I bought on eBay.  Since we acted as his “labor”, the cost was a lot less than if we hired a company for this project.

I selected 3 x 6″ marble tile for the shower surround as well as niches for shampoo, soap, etc.  I was so done with the wire rack that hangs off the shower head!

I hired the tile work out for this project as well and I’m so glad I did.  The floor was a pretty simple install, but it took them about a week to complete the shower surround!

The new tub fit in the existing recess, but it was deeper and wider, so it feels more appropriate for a master bath.  Jeff built the front panel for it.

We found a sink to fit in the $50 Craig’s List dresser and retrofitted the drawers around the plumbing pipes.  Moen sent me the faucet.  I sealed the dresser top with Waterlox, the same product I used to seal our butcher block counters.

Since this room had no natural light AND it had attic space above it, we decided to install a skylight tube.  I absolutely love having natural light in that space.

Here’s how the master bath looks now…

The curtains are made out of Artissimo, the same fabric used in the master bedroom.  They really pop, since most of the bathroom is white.  I bought the shower faucet off eBay.

mbb 8

Here are the shower niches I was talking about.  I bought those off Amazon.  (It’s pretty funny.  I ordered all of the tile, toilets, fixtures, etc. for all of these bathrooms online, so the UPS guys love me when I’m renovating a bathroom!)

Jeff designed and built the built-ins and radiator covers…

The antique beveled mirror was free and the sconces were bought on eBay.  They are in the same style as the chandelier in the master bedroom, again, tying those spaces together.  The walls are painted in Simply White by Benjamin Moore and the trim is in off-the-shelf white.

Whew!  I thought the bathroom post would be shorter than the others, but these rooms all have undergone pretty major transformations!

The next room in our “evolution tour” will be the guest bedroom…

If you missed the other room tours, here they are…

Part 1 | Living Room

Part 2 | Dining Room

Part 3 | Home Office

Part 4 | Kitchen

Part 5 | Family Room

Part 6 | Master Bedroom

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    1. Barb Tilton

      Love the evolution of your home. Are you pleased with how the Waterlox has held up for the bathroom counter? Can it handle the occasional toothpaste spot or dripped lotion, cosmetic, contact lens solution, etc.?

      I’m years away from being able to re-do my bath, but always thinking about it!

    2. Mary Virlee

      Great post, I am in theists of remodeling one bathroom and in the demolition process the contractor dislodged the tile in the bathroom that abuts the one he was working on. I am struggling with a shower curtain and mirror and wall color in the bathroom that had white tile, white and gray marbled vanity top and a white vanity and a mostly white floor. After reading your post I am going to use gray grout. Like you I want the bathrooms to be modern but retain the vintage charm

    3. Sandy A

      You have created a most beautiful home! Lots of work, but so worth it. I just love every room!!

    4. laura

      love this! We are in the final stages of a complete bathroom diy renovation… it started with paint samples and ended with a gutted shower, floor, walls etc. Love the trim piece/bead board across the front of tub. laura

    5. Renea

      There is a product out there that allows you to change grout colors. It comes in a shoe polish” applicator and you simply color the existing grout. You could get your grey grout very easily. I buy it at Florida Tile here in NKY.

    6. Nan, Odessa, DE

      Great points here! Thanks.
      Now tell me what is your favorite bathroom flooring????????????????? Why?
      What’s about using gray grout?

    7. Teresa

      I really love the small marble hex shaped floor tile you used in the smaller bathrooms but I noticed you used a larger tile in your master bathroom.

      So my question is if the space is larger should you go with a larger tile rather than a small shaped tile or is it just a matter of preference? We have a large master bathroom that currently has a vinyl floor but want to upgrade to a tile floor. I am concerned the small hex tile might not look right in that large of a space? Your thoughts please.

    8. Terri

      Toilet paper never looked so pretty!

    9. Erin

      Your downstairs half bath is just classic! Great call on wainscotting over the window, it added such depth to the small space, and wall space to hang art.
      2 Questions:
      Did you and your husband do the woodwork, or hire out? It’s nicely done.
      Is the “Off The Shelf White” semi gloss or satin finish?

      Thanks, love your blog!

      • marian

        Yes. We did all of the woodworking in our home. The only projects we’ve hired out are electrical, some plumbing and most of the tile work.

        The off-the-shelf white is satin. 🙂

    10. Teresa

      I also had a question:

      Does it matter if you use a small size tile like the hex shape in a large bathroom? Or should you go with a larger size tile? I really like the small hex tile but not sure it would look right in a large master bathroom.

    11. Theresa

      love this series & your beautiful home!!

    12. kell

      Ha!!!! I had to laugh…I am in the same situation with out house, I call it “if you give a mouse a cookie” house. (have you ever read that book?)If you replace the tub, you’re gonna have to take out the drop ceiling, and if you do the drop ceiling then you’ll need to replace those lights, if you replace the lights you will need to knock out the one wall and if you knock out the wall you’ll probably need to replace the cabinets since it’s such a mess…and the domino effect continues. So bravo. you give me hope when it comes to my little house…that is literally like giving a mouse a cookie,…love your updates…have you noticed the wall paper getting wrecked up with it being behind the sink with water hitting it?

    13. Lauren Baxter

      I simply love this series! Its so cool and interesting to see overtime how you really narrow in on your style and how spaces change over time and with different priorities! Those spaces are beautiful!! I love everyone for different reasons and that natural light coming in in the master bath is awesome.

      Lauren Baxter | LB Designs

    14. Jamey

      On the picture of the beadboard added to the front of the tub, it appears to have a top covering over the tub/added beadboard to keep the water from getting on the wood. I am wanting to do the same with my tub in a bathroom I am in the middle of remodeling, so I would greatly appreciate some more info on that installation. Thanks! Great inspiration!

    15. Sarah Senica

      Hi Marian, I am really enjoying your whole evolution series! Your home is stunning and your are so talented. I think it was in your master bedroom post that you mention just wanting to be done, even when you know what you’re choosing while you’re choosing it isn’t right – it made me chuckle because I can so relate. Sometimes I find it discouraging to look at pictures of perfectly designed spaces because there’s not a single room in my home that I feel is finished. What a relief to see pictures of the whole process and know I’m not alone. Thanks so much for sharing!

    16. Anna Maxson

      Love the wallpaper mural! I’ve been thinking of doing a mural in our formal dining room. I looked for your tutorial on HGTV.com but couldn’t find it. Would you be willing to help me locate it? I’d love to do a little research before I purchase the paper. Also do you have any specific tips for this particular wallpaper mural? This is exactly the one I have been wanting, and its sitting in my shopping cart at Anthrpologie until I have a little more information…..and get the Hubs 100% on board! Your input might just push him off his fence and help me get this project going!
      Best Regards,

    17. Jessica

      I enjoy your blog very much! My husband and I are remodeling a 1940s farmhouse ( in KY) and blogging about it as well. I always come to your blog for inspiration (your blog helped me pick my wall color). It helps my sanity during this process to read about others who have been there and done that; it also helps to see creating such a beautiful space didn’t happen overnight! The baths are beautiful. What brand and style sink did you use in the dresser?

    18. Jill

      I am considering purchasing the same Pottery Barn two light sconces for my master bath but I was a little worried that the candelabra bulbs wouldn’t give off enough light. We don’t have any other overhead lighting, except in the shower. I would have two of them though, one over each sink. How well do they light the room? Thanks for your help!

    19. Barbara

      Love your home it is lovely


    Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

    I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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