The Guest Bath and My Dilemma


This was the second time I felt overwhelmed by a project I had taken on. The first time was several years back, when I inadvertently removed part of my basement wall, along with some very dated wallpaper. (I ultimately just skip-troweled that bugger into a stucco/plastered look, which ended up looking pretty darn good.)

But this second time–well, this was something different entirely.

In choosing to remodel our home, we knew, at some point, we were going to remodel both bathrooms. And I knew that we were holding off on the master bath because we’re going to have to practically gut the whole bath and start over. Against my husband’s wishes, I chose to fix up the guest bath for two reasons: 1) I didn’t think it would be a drastic remodel, and 2) we were expecting guests in the next few months, and I thought it would be nice to redo the bath for them.


I had successfully re-grouted the shower and replaced the shower fixtures with brushed nickel. I wanted to save the vanity and simply give the cabinet a facelift by painting it with Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations. I was even going to save the cultured marble countertop by finely sanding it down and polishing it. That left us with the prospective tasks of repainting the walls, replacing the flooring with vinyl planks, and replacing only the toilet and vanity faucet. Simple, right?


The more I examined the cabinet, the more I noticed its defects. The cabinet face was real wood and looked good, but the frame was just particle board. It looked like it had water damage some time in the remote past (before we moved in.) I realized that if I painted, I would essentially be hiding water-damaged particle board. To make matters worse, the cabinetry had been installed over the flooring. To tear out the old linoleum, we would have to remove the cabinet or cut around it.

When I realized all this, I was overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness. I sat on the edge of the tub, exasperated. I am usually realistic about my talents and abilities. But this time I knew– I had truly bitten off more than I could chew.

My husband could sense my frustration at encountering these obstacles. He cheerfully concluded that we would just bite the bullet and buy a new vanity and toilet. The plumbing would have to be reworked (there were no under sink shut-off valves), and he was the guy to help me do it. He virtually did all the hard work and heavy lifting—from tearing out the old toilet and vanity to constructing the bead board wainscoting and trim to reworking the plumbing and installing the new flooring, toilet, and vanity.

I just painted and decorated and thanked my lucky stars that I have such a handy and generous husband, who is ready to bail me out of situations where I’m in way over my head…or when I slice off my finger. But that’s a story for a different blog.

20170508_171624I found a cottage-style bead board cabinet at Lowe’s and worked the décor around that. Because I had salvaged the old tub and tile, I wanted a clean, white cottage look. Once I explained to my husband my ideas for the bead board wainscoting, he knew exactly what he had to buy, do, saw, and nail.

I merely painted– everything– from the light fixture to the mirror to the walls (Home Decorator’s Bayberry Frost from Home Depot) to the bead board and the trim. I even distressed the wooden face plates.

By removing the old wall cabinet behind the toilet, I found space for an original print of mine. Instead of drilling holes in the shower stall for a curtain, I found a bowed tension shower curtain rod and cottage style shower curtain at Target. Things came together within a relatively short period of time, and the final result was more functional, lovelier, and more up-to-date than the old bath.

Ultimately, it took two weeks and about $1,000 to fix up the bath, which is not bad at all for an almost-full bath remodel.

Of course, I’d be nowhere without my hubby and his expertise. He actually taught me a little more about plumbing—and about maintaining your composure in the face of enormous obstacles.

Thanks for visiting,