Before and After: A Very Satisfying $1,000 Bathroom Facelift

published Sep 3, 2018
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(Image credit: Home Tour America)

It’s always fun when someone comes up with a nickname for their home’s style, and the owners of home were a bit fed up with their “faux Tuscan” bathroom. Though it was spacious, with a roomy shower and plenty of storage, it was also “dated and dark and was not reflective of our more modern style.” Let’s see how they went from “faux Tuscan” to… let’s call it “mod nautical.”

Reader Jeff Conkle shared what the bathroom was like before its makeover:

The bathroom was last renovated in the early 2000s in a style we jokingly called faux Tuscan. We knew when we bought the house that the bathroom had to be redone. The walls were terra cotta orange, the tile floor and shower walls were the same bland beige, the honey oak cabinets were dated, the mirrors and lights were gaudy, and the countertop was tile with dirty grout.

This bathroom also had what I think of as late ’90s/early ’00s zero contrast. This was a trend seen mostly in bathrooms and kitchens in which every single color had the same value, so a black-and-white photo of the room would be a uniform gray.

(Image credit: Home Tour America)

Look at it now! All signs of faux Tuscan have been erased—see more about the shower below—and the windowless room is now so much brighter. The new wallpaper is delightful, and I love the bright blue and white geometry juxtaposed with the organic whorls of the wood countertop. The art pieces—black on white with a wood frame—tie in well with the white vanity with black handles and wood top. The new lights have a much more streamlined look, so they don’t compete with the graphic wallpaper.

Here’s what made this transfromation possible:

Working on it mostly in the evening or on weekends, it took about one month to complete all the changes. I did it myself, so one of the criteria for our design choices was that it had to be a product or material that I could install myself. That is what led us to butcher block countertop which we ended up loving more than any stone that would’ve cost five times the price. We also limited ourselves to off-the-shelf products to make it easier and cheaper. The total cost of the bathroom redo was about $1,000.

(Image credit: Home Tour America)

Here you can see that Jeff added a stripe of gray tiles (there’s also one along the outer base of the shower) and a new shower floor. I was initially surprised that the walls were painted gray rather than white, but now it makes perfect sense: Gray is the linking color between the brown shower and the blue-and-white wallpaper.

We love the wood countertop and the accent wallpaper. I tried my best to make the new accent tile work with the existing shower tile, and I think it turned out well, but we could’ve always torn it all out and started over.

(Image credit: Home Tour America)

I love how the beautiful wood floor and countertop unite the bathroom with the surrounding rooms. And it just dawned on me that the diptych is of a shower! That is charmingly on-theme, without being cheesy. The dark drops add a bit of moodiness to the bright room and coordinate well with the dark faucets and other hardware.

Having completed this renovation single-handedly, Jeff has some lessons to share:

Find what you like, then think of what you’re capable of. I knew that I wanted to save money by doing it all myself. I read lots of info about removing and replacing tiles, replacing flooring, installing new faucets and drain lines, wallpapering, etc. and just had fun trying it all myself. We also specifically tried to selectively update while blending with some of the old that was too costly to replace (the shower field tile). We think the accent tile made it look updated even without touching the beige.

Thank you, Jeff!