One Room Challenge

Before and After: 3 Statement-Making DIYs Totaling $1,800 Rescue a Tired Powder Room

published Sep 21, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: Bathroom vanity with red wallpaper behind mirror

Some homeowners heavily embrace one color in a room with success, but other times, a monochromatic color scheme can be overwhelming, like it was in this once-extremely red powder room in Diane Sudhoff’s (@southhousedesigns) home.

The wallpaper was red, the vanity was red, the brick floors were red, and the decorative detail around the countertop was red. “We wanted the bathroom style to reflect our current style and the Mediterranean vibe of the architecture of the house,” Diane says. Plus, she and her husband wanted hooks and towel bars for their guests to hang towels.

During the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, they revamped the space and gave it a fresh tile backsplash, a board and batten wall treatment, and an overall upgrade around the vanity.

“We started with the gorgeous blue tile wall,” Diane explains on her blog. “This was my first time tiling, but once I cut my first piece, I was hooked. It’s oddly satisfying! Kind of like wallpapering.”

Diane’s tiling advice? You don’t need a tile marker to designate where your tiles will go; a crayon will work just as well. Diane alternated her rectangular “river blue” tiles horizontally and vertically to create two accent stripes. The tile backsplash is much more serene than the red before, and Diane paired it with brass sconces left over from a previous home project and a mirror that better matches the grandeur of the vanity. She knew the mirror was meant to be; in fact, she bought it before they even closed on the house!

“The one thing we salvaged from the original bathroom was the shape of the countertop,” Diane says on her blog. “I loved the gentle curving front in a basically square room filled with lots of linear aspects.”

Diane wanted to add warmth to the room, so she knew she wanted the new vanity to be wood. “I liked the open shelving concept,” she says on her blog. “Since this is a half bath… we didn’t need drawers and drawers to hide all the toiletries and cosmetics of a full bath.”

She and her husband assembled the vanity themselves (with the help of their architect son and some pros who made the curved cuts for them). The only hiccup they ran into was that they accidentally cut a too-large hole in the counter for the sink, but they took it to a community workshop in Kansas City to get some help. “They laser-cut a plug to fill the original hole to allow us to re-drill a new hole of the 3-inch required size,” Diane says.

Now, the vanity is one of her favorite parts of the space because of the DIY work she and her husband did. “My favorite thing is how my husband smiles with pride as he shows off the room!” she says. “I’m the DIY enthusiast. He has never been — or had any interest in honing those skills — but we did it and did it together.”

Diane and her husband gave the other walls a refresh, too. They added board and batten (painted coral, Behr’s Pink Abalone) and adorned it with hooks for hanging towels. “Getting the ‘right’ coral for the board and batten wall was the other biggest obstacle of the entire process,” Diane says. “Perseverance + sample jars = victory!”

Diane created a mural on the wall above the board and batten by tracing olive branch line art that she downloaded from Etsy, enlarged using Canva, and then had printed on blueprint paper. Diane traced the design and used a white chalk pen to create the shadows and shading she wanted, and then she sealed it to prevent smudging once she was satisfied with the design. That said, “the one thing I wish I had done differently is the mural,” Diane says. “I wish I had been bolder with it. I wish I had gone bigger. But for a first time, I’m actually very pleased.”

Overall, she’s very happy with the way her vision for the space came to life. “I also LOVE how well the results marry form and function,” she says.

This project was completed for the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.