Emily Henderson Header Image Emily Henderson

My house

Our Bathroom ‘Before’

Bathroom remodel

Our master bathroom(before) would be a perfect set for a made for tv movie where the mom is depressed, the kids are unruly and messy, and they probably own a comically long ferret. Its just weird, and gross but at the same time pretty relatable.

When we were shopping for our house we had our priorities, as you must have when you are on a budget. We wanted a fixer without too much renovation and a lot of natural light. A ‘magical spa-like bathroom’ was not on our list, but naturally we wanted something, you know, better than what we got:

It could be worse and a lot of people in the world don’t live near running water so just having a house and bathroom isn’t something to complain about. I knew that we didn’t have time to renovate this before we moved in but I at least had to paint the walls. I get that mossy/sage greens are coming back (the 90’s!!!! I’m terrified … ), but not in this context. Nay.

Bathroom remodel

Everything has gotta go. We might keep the sink base/vanity if its easy to design around it since its not offensive but who knows. Part of me wants to do this on a crazy low budget and just do something really simple. I wish that we were more DIY and could just do it ourselves, but its just not my deal. I have the patience of a hungry, ADD, 2 year old – tiling my bathroom myself unfortunately isn’t an actual option. I keep telling myself we need to reno because its good for resale, etc, but i’m not terribly motivated (nor able) to sink 15K into these bathrooms right now. Do I hate taking baths if/when I want one? Kinda. And bathing Charlie isn’t exactly fun in this guy, but I just can’t get motivated to prioritize designing it.

Bathroom remodel

Yeah. You get the idea.

Bathroom remodel

We even thought about just painting everything. Taking off the metal screen adding a curtain and then having my painter paint the floors and the tub. He quoted me $800 each bathroom to do that and i’m still tempted to do it. It would just be white and then we would replace the faucets, hardware and call it a day. But that just seems like the easy way out and not what a designer should do, right? Also if looked mediocre (which it would) we would have wasted $1600.

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Definitely keeping that shower head. Its so sculptural and what a retro flair!

Bathroom remodel Bathroom remodel

Here’s some progress. Not sure you can really call it progress – we just painted it white, really.

Master BathroomBathroom remodel

I’m going to start pulling together the design plan. I kinda need/want to finish the kitchen, studio, and huge built-in shelving for the living room. And then we’ll see what kind of budget we have left which i’m sure will be very little. Who knows maybe it will end up being a ‘how to renovate your bathroom for $1500’ kinda thing. Obviously that would require way more work in a way, but it also could be an interesting challenge and better content for the blog. But thats me, today, and some days are easier to pull the trigger on things than others. I know that we could get more in resale if there are some beautiful bathrooms, but once you start demo, buy all the fixtures and fittings and all the labor, etc I think each bathroom would end up being at least 5K (and thats if we don’t move anything). Thoughts? Go for cheap/DIY/clever solutions or save some and do the more designed/higher end/beautiful/splurge? I mean, there is an obvious answer, right? Its what I tell my clients all the time … “Do what you can afford ….”

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  1. Emily-Anyone can pull out a check book and get a beautiful new anything, but it takes someone who has creative talent to make something lovely on a budget. Most, of not all of your followers are on a budget, which is why they are looking at your blog. If all your own home reno’s involve writing checks, then what do your readers learn?

    that big mirror in the one bath, could be cut down to be a tall skinny mirror to go over the smaller bathroom sink-it could perhaps go up to the ceiling. That’s what I did in our bathroom. I bought a wonderful new sink and faucet on build.com and shipping was free. I used subway tile with gray/taupe grout, and even thought about having the tiles laid the long way and staggered to make the simple inexpensive tiles look more custom.

    You can do much better than just writing the big check!