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Before and After: A $4000 Redo Gives this 1980s Bathroom Vacay Vibes

published Aug 6, 2020
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before: beige tub with mauve wall tile
Credit: Jennifer Goschke

Bathrooms aren’t usually prime destinations in a home, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be. In fact, with a little love—by way of artistic tile or soothing colors—bathrooms can be a focal point. Of course, a centerpiece bathroom wasn’t exactly what Jennifer Goschke was dealing with in her home, built in 1982. The guest bathroom was dull and dim—and extremely stuck in the 1980s. “Because of all the shades of taupe, it just always felt dirty to me,” Jennifer says. “The house was previously a rental property and felt very generic so as to appeal to a wide group of people.”

Credit: Jennifer Goschke

But generic and boring wasn’t what Jennifer was hoping for: “I wanted something happy and bright, a place that would make my guests smile,” she says. But she also knew that she didn’t want to alter the size of the 60-square-foot space. So she got to work on a redo that brought the illusion of airiness, DIYing most of the redo herself.

Credit: Jennifer Goschke

Jennifer started by tearing out all the old stuff—vanity, flooring, and wall tile included. In place of the dingy old floors, Jennifer added the same vinyl plank flooring used in the rest of the house to help the bathroom feel like it flowed with the other rooms.

Jennifer was able to salvage most of the walls, but some were too damaged in demo to save. “The biggest challenge was making the walls look good as I had a mishmash of old, textured drywall and new drywall where it was too damaged to salvage,” she says. “Drywall work is the bane of my existence. Skim coating is relatively straightforward, but taping and finishing joints is difficult for me when joining old drywall to new. I’m not an expert so it takes me longer to make it look good.” She succeeded, though, and was able to create a clean canvas for the bathroom’s wall treatments.

Credit: Jennifer Goschke

For the look of the new bathroom, Jennifer was inspired by the Brazilliance wallpaper by Dorothy Draper; she bought the classic wallpaper on Etsy to use on the wall behind the new floating white IKEA vanities. “The wallpaper is the star of the room,” she says. For the other walls, Jennifer used a bright, leafy green paint (Behr’s Perennial Green).

Jennifer used a BILLY bookcase in the corner for extra storage; topping it with crown molding that gives it a high-end, built-in look.

Credit: Jennifer Goschke

One thing Jennifer did hire out: Refinishing of the old almond-colored tub. The new bright white finish complements the built-ins and makes the bathroom look way more sleek. She also installed modern stacked subway tile in a matching white tone, as well as black fixtures to match the vanity faucets and light fixture.

The new bathroom is a full 180 from the old, in the best way. “I love how the morning light streaming through the window makes it feel like I’m on vacation!” Jennifer says. And for anyone nervous about putting a home with a bathroom like this on the market, Jennifer makes a smart point: “If you’re worried about resale and finicky buyers, keep the bigger ticket items neutral, like the tile and the cabinetry. Paint and wallpaper can be easily changed,” she says.

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