Before and After: A 1980s Bathroom Is Unrecognizable After a DIY Redo Full of Luxe Touches
We’ve seen bathroom upgrades that range from $30 refreshers to $30,000 gut renovations. Depending on budget, you can change out the shower curtain in your bathroom or totally change the shower layout — and either option might make a big impact or solve a particular problem with the space that always bugged you. This $7,000 bathroom redo by Princess London (@noire_motif) changes a little bit of everything, from head to toe.
Before, this brown and tan bathroom, which is used by Princess’s kiddos, “was a quintessential ’80s bathroom,” she says. It had dark stained cabinets, beige counters with built-in sinks, a no-frills sheet mirror, and a shower that was tiled only three-quarters of the way up to the ceiling. “No matter how much I cleaned the bathroom, it was just too dingy to feel clean,” Princess adds. “The tan-yellow walls never reflected good light into the space, making it feel even darker.”
The one thing Princess liked about the bathroom was the size of the linen closet, but “because it was right behind the door to the bathroom, it made accessing it feel really tight,” she says. “It needed to be more functional and organized.”
Other must-dos on her list: upgrading the vanity to include drawers and changing the linen closet to cabinetry. “The bathroom had not been updated since the home was built,” Princess says. “It was time.”
During the One Room Challenge, Princess got assistance from her father and her husband to demo the old bathroom. Then, on her own, she installed new tile for the floor and shower, built a new vanity and new cabinetry in place of where the linen closet was, roughed in plumbing with a new shower valve, built an accent wall with mirrors, installed drywall, roughed in electrical, installed a toilet, made a Roman shade, painted, and installed a vent fan. The only professional help she got was with cutting the new quartz countertop.
For her own projects, the tiling took longer than expected, Princess says, because of a “wildly out-of-level floor” and a tub and shower area that wasn’t framed to the standard dimension.” But the actual shower and sink plumbing was easier than expected. “It was my first time roughing plumbing,” Princess says. “I’d previously been intimidated by it, but we had PEX, a flexible plastic plumbing tubing, and with the clamp system it uses, I felt more confident trying it myself,” Princess says. And ultimately, the tiling work was worth it, as her glazed tile (in the shower) and matte tile (on the floor) elevate the space. Not only does the full tile job in the shower (all the way on the ceiling, too!) make it look luxe — it’s also easier to clean.
Princess’s favorite design detail is the mirror wall, though that wasn’t without its challenges, either. “I changed the design on it halfway through the project, and even with the challenges, I pushed through and completed it,” Princess says. “I’ve never seen another vanity wall like it.”
She elaborates on her blog: “On the back wall, I wanted to frame out the mirror — that idea never changed from the first drawing to the last — but I decided to elevate it by making reeded panels to surround the mirrors. I cut every dowel and placed them one by one.” The paint color she chose for her accent wall, vanity, and linen closet shelving was Sherwin-Williams’ Cast Iron.
The mirrors are from Amazon, the lighting is from Perigold, and the hardware for the cabinetry is from CB2. “I love every single choice that I made, from the cabinet hardware, to the cabinet color, the tile choices, and even the pain-in-the-butt mirror design,” Princess says. “There really isn’t anything I would change about this project.”
Her advice for others taking on a full remodel from demo to daydream-y result? “Plan as much as possible, but maintain the ability to be flexible,” she says. “Projects hardly ever go smoothly. There’s always some issue that pops up. When it does, take a deep breathe and focus on the solution, not the problem.”
Inspired? Submit your own project here.