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Before and After: This Dated Bath Got a Modern Farmhouse Makeover

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Sara Smith)

This photo doesn’t look too bad, but click through to find out why reader Sara refers to this bathroom as a “two-toned linoleum bath pit” — and how the situation was dramatically remedied in less than two weeks for less than $2,000.

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Here’s more detailed information on this 1950s bathroom, pre-renovation from homeowner Sara:

The before picture pretty much sums up why I needed a change from this two-toned linoleum bath pit. I honestly was embarrassed to have friends over, even our family. We have a small house, with only one full bathroom and what we call our “outhouse” half bath in the garage. So, we needed and wanted a nice DIY upgrade! I was sick of getting out of the shower and seeing the nasty linoleum flooring curled up on the edges and the hideous blue and maroon tile vanity when washing my face or brushing my teeth. We have two kids, one 5 years and the other 18 months old, so I wanted to put to rest our dates and ugly bathroom and create a comfortable and new bathroom for them as well.

Comfortable and new, coming right up!

(Image credit: Sara Smith)

This is so fresh and bright! It’s a tricky space to photograph, but it’s still easy to see what an improvement has been made. I really like the look of shiplap in a bathroom — does it actually have a nautical feel appropriate for a watery setting, or is that just a trick of word association? This shiplap also seems perfectly proportioned to the space — not to big, not too dinky — and it was actually installed by Sara, along with the tile. So impressive! Here’s how she describes the process:

Demo started on a Tuesday evening…final touches ended on a Friday the next week. So roughly a week and a half. With a new set of tools that I desperately needed, such as a tile cutter, power jigsaw, nail gun, and other hand tools, including a handyman to come patch the plaster wall holes left while demoing out the stubborn tile and lathwork, and a handyman to help with the under the vanity sink plumbing, it totaled just under $2000! Besides making the accidental holes in the walls and the plumbing leak frustrations, the only other setback was having two kids to try and wrassle in between painting, drilling, sawing, plumbing, tiling….otherwise I could have had this project done in under a weeks time and even less than $1500.

Kids: so cute, so fascinating, so endlessly expensive.

(Image credit: Sara Smith)

This photo was taken mid-remodeling, after the flooring and vent had been removed, but with that bold burgundy tile still in full effect. I must admit that I think the original tile is cool, but it’s definitely A Look, and after 60+ years, those tiles might not be looking their absolute best:

Wow! The 1950s sure was a decade of tile that was meant to last! Our 1956 California cottage home has a very cozy and eclectic feel, but the main hall bathroom had a daringly “vintage” look with the blue and maroon tiled vanity that was truly meant to stick around for another millennia! That tile and plaster lath work was no joke. The “updated” ’90s cream linoleum flooring had more of a yellow patina, ad plaster walls just screamed to be covered. Time to go! So I bought some tools and started to rid the tiled ’50s bathroom…and embark on a vintage-modern farmhouse bathroom style:)

Linoleum certainly has its strengths—cheap, easy-to-clean, available in tons of colors—but it doesn’t tend to age well over the decades. And what did Sara decide to replace that nasty, curling, yellowed linoleum with?

(Image credit: Sara Smith)

This gorgeousness! I love all of the interesting tile we’ve been seeing lately —beautiful blue, stenciled with paint — in bathrooms. The generally small spaces are perfect for experimentation and perhaps a bit of splurging, and exciting floor tiles are a great way to add visual interest if you want to keep the rest of the bathroom white and bright. Sara loves this tile, and the renovation as a whole:

I love the tile!!! Although it’s a bold black and white Moroccan style pattern in a small bathroom, it makes the room look so much bigger and brighter. I love the shiplap walls and painting it all bright white just gives it such a clean, yet comfortable feel. I love it!!! I love the mix of modern with vintage and the whole comforting farmhouse feel. It makes me smile now every time I’m in the bathroom. Sometimes I just go and sit on the floor to admire me and my husband’s work. I know I’m easily satisfied I suppose. It’s the small things in life;)

Be prepared for work work work!!! Don’t be afraid to just do it! Have a vision and a plan, but know that there will be problems, there will be setbacks, and if you have a spouse there may be a quibble over who has to stay up and paint the final coat of paint or who has to clean up the mess for the day ;). It’s all worth it! Keep a sense of humor throughout and a bottle of vino handy! Happy Reno-ing !!!Xoxo

Thank you, Sara!