Before and After: A $5,000 Redo Brings Old-School Vibes to a New-School Bathroom

published Jul 23, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
white subway tile, black and white penny tile, white molding, white tub, shower cubby in wall, door way
Credit: Kevin Brost

If a room is in decent shape, it might only take a couple of changes to make it feel really perfect. This bathroom redo, completed by Kevin Brost (@walkerspointitalianate), is a great example. The bathroom was built in the 1940s but updated recently before Kevin and his partner, Ian, moved in.

Although the subway tile and jetted tub in the room weren’t totally what Kevin and Ian envisioned for their largely cottage-style home, those features were in good condition, so the couple decided to keep them. However, “the stark black and white floor tile was at war with the cream colored tub and wall tile and had to go,” Kevin says — plus, he and Ian wanted to make a couple of aesthetic changes.

Credit: Kevin Brost

“We knew with some relatively minor changes, we could make it a place that didn’t detract from the rest of the cottage,” he says. Because they hired pros to renovate the rest of their house, they asked the same pros to do this job, too, although the changes were relatively DIY-able. The combo of shiplap, fresh paint, and new tile were icing on the cake for this charming space.

“This was a fairly straightforward reno,” Kevin says. “Swapping out the existing floor tile for natural slate laid in a French Versailles pattern definitely made the biggest difference. It grounded the space and gave it an air of history that was missing before.” And, he adds, adding beadboard injected character for a relatively low price. (Their redo total was about $5,000.) 

Kevin says the most difficult part of this bathroom redo was nailing down the perfect cottage-inspired paint color. “We whiffed on the paint color for this room the first time around,” he recalls. Kevin and Ian’s first pick was Benjamin Moore’s Cloud Cover (an off-white with gray undertones), but it was much lighter than expected when it went up on the walls. 

Luckily, they’d only painted one coat, and Kevin and Ian pivoted and went with a rich tan (Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter), a neutral that Kevin says “seems to work for everyone” and brought everything together in this space. Kevin’s other favorite detail in the space is the pedestal sink, a Wayfair find that he says elevates the space and gives it a vintage feel. “It adds a ton of character but is super affordable,” he says. 

Kevin says the whole space feels much more charming now. “Although it’s recently renovated, it has a lived-in feeling, which I attribute to the natural stone floors and wood siding,” he says. His two main takeaways from the bathroom redo are that shiplap is an affordable way to cover a bathroom wall without having to pay for tile, and it’s always worth it to re-paint if you don’t like the first paint color you choose.

Kevin’s last bit of home reno advice? “Take your time to figure out how you want the space to feel and how it will work with the rest of your home,” he says. “We’re all inundated with images of other people’s spaces, but only you know what will work for how you live.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.