Before and After: An ’80s Bathroom Gets a Classic Update

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Tasha’s twins were using a dark and outdated bathroom, complete with carpet (why was that ever considered a good idea?) and some very ’80s materials. Calling in the professionals for the major plumbing and drywall work, but doing the rest herself, Tasha created a space that can grow with her girls and remain visually appealing for years to come.

From Tasha: Our second full bathroom, which is mostly used by our twin girls, was horribly outdated — circa 1980. There was dirty carpet, almond-colored tile in the shower area, a cultured marble vanity and those awful vanity lights. But the biggest problem was that the space was divided by a wall separating the vanity from the toilet/shower area, which made the space feel very small. There was also no natural light in the bathroom.

The space did not function well for us, with no natural light and the wall dividing the two areas of the bathroom, it felt very cramped. And the carpet was FILTHY, but we didn’t want to replace carpet in a bathroom. So, we opted for a full gut job. Since we will be in this house long-term, we wanted to update the space in a way that should stand the test of time. We wanted to avoid choosing tile in colors or materials that may become outdated over the years. So, we avoided trendy choices for the big components like tile and cabinets.

This DIY bathroom remodel took about five weeks from start to finish. We had some professional help with plumbing a new drain for the bathtub and with the limited drywall work (most of the walls are cement board under the tile—we did that ourselves), but we did everything else ourselves! Installing the IKEA sinks presented some challenges because the full depth drawers allow for very limited plumbing depth behind them, but we figured it out!

We chose black slate floors and classic white subway tile, plus walnut style cabinets—all components that aren’t likely to go out of style as trends change. The decor now suits our young twin girls, but we can easily change out the decor as they get older and eventually move out to make it more neutral. We are so glad we chose to remove the wall and add a transom window in the space. It makes it feel SO MUCH larger and brighter.

Tasha’s words of wisdom: Don’t be afraid to hire help for small portions of the job if it’s beyond your expertise. We are very glad we hired out some small aspects of this job.

Thank you, Tasha! You can see more on Tasha’s blog, Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body.