Before and After: A 1980s Bathroom with Gross Tile Gets a Head-to-Toe Upgrade

published Jun 11, 2021
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Credit: Ashley Domm

From candles to glam mirrors to fun art on the walls, small bathrooms present an opportunity to treat yourself in your home: to go bold with wallpaper, to splurge for the fancy soap, or to add your dream DIY materials to not a lot of square footage. “Your bathroom should be spa-like, fun, and relaxing,” homeowner Ashley Domm says.

And Ashley’s “unremarkable” late ’80s bathroom with beige everything and small square dated tiles (with water damage to boot) was anything but.

Credit: Ashley Domm

“It had tiny white tiles that were impossible to keep clean, a bulky white vanity and sink, and no particular character,” Ashley says. “It also did not include any of the quirky, eclectic elements I have throughout my condo.”

Credit: Ashley Domm

So Ashley decided to rip up the tile and give the bathroom a revamp from the bottom to the top. “I had originally decided to just pull up those awful tiles and replace them” she says. But she discovered so much water damage and other issues that the whole sub-floor had to be replaced, and she had to hire a contractor.

“Watch out for what could be under that floor!” Ashley says. “I originally thought I would retile the whole thing myself over a weekend, and boy, was I wrong.”

Credit: Ashley Domm

Hiring a contractor set Ashley back about $4,000, but the contractor replaced the subfloor and laid the new tile — a black and white marble-y hex tile that will hide dirt and wear much better than the white ones before.

Credit: Ashley Domm

All of the work on the floor opened up the door for more changes that were more budget-friendly, Ashley says, like a fresh coat of white paint (Clare’s Whipped) for just $35, a new modern green vanity from Wayfair for only $600, and a sleek glass shower door for $400.

Credit: Ashley Domm

The new door made the whole shower look brand-new — even though it’s the only part that changed. “One thing I didn’t do was pull the whole tub out and start from studs,” Ashley says. “That expense was not in the cards, but a soaking tub would be the final piece I would have changed.”

Credit: Ashley Domm

Soaking tub or not, Ashley is still proud of the whole space’s sleek and spa-like vibes. “I love that it is a retreat,” she says. But she also loves that the bathroom balances serenity with whimsy. It’s “fun and does not take itself too seriously,” she says.

Credit: Ashley Domm

With her triangular TP holder, her “Get Naked” bath mat, and, of course, that super-cool eye-patterned wall treatment on the window wall, Ashley’s space maintains the eclectic quirkiness she craved.

“It is now a dream bathroom,” Ashley says. And what could be better than that?