A Very 2010s Bathroom Gets a Dreamy Cottagecore Makeover

published Apr 26, 2024
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Some people have words that immediately come to mind when describing their home (maybe even specific home names!); for Realtor and DIYer Natalie Paquin and her husband, Graham, that turn of phrase would be “Your grandma’s modern cottage.”

Their primary bathroom, with its clawfoot tub, vintage-looking wood pieces, and floral drapery, is now cottagecore to a tee, but it once looked a bit more plain and very 2000s or 2010s with its massive corner tub.

In a mostly DIY makeover with professional plumbing help, plus tiling help from Natalie’s dad, the couple created a completely new (meets old) bathroom. It all started with a demo process, in which Natalie and Graham tore out the old tub and shower, tore up the old tile, and sold the old tub and vanity so they wouldn’t go to waste.

White walls and floors brighten the room. 

Natalie painted the walls white (Behr’s Off White), and Natalie’s dad installed the new white-with-gray-veining square and elongated hex tiles from a local retailer. 

Natalie says her dad actually picked out the floor tile, and it made things less overwhelming for her. There were so many other tiles to choose for the bathroom makeover, like the green tiles for the shower wall and the black and off-white mosaic tile for the shower floor, that having one less decision was helpful. 

Natalie also added picture frame molding to the fresh white walls for a bit more character in the room.

Dark wood tones add an antique vibe. 

Natalie and Graham’s entire home is antique-filled, and in the bathroom, the dark linen cabinet and vanity add contrast with the cottage-y white. The vanity is actually an upcycle of a $150 credenza the couple found at ReStore.

“When starting our bathroom reno, we hunted forever for a reasonably priced vanity,” Natalie explains on Instagram. “We needed one that was roughly 7 feet long and a little more shallow than usual, which felt impossible to find AND wanted something with some charm to it! Although we found a few we loved, the cheapest one was $3,500 and still wasn’t the perfect size.”

That’s when the $150 find came along. Natalie and Graham stained it darker with a mix of Varathane’s Early American and Provincial colorways, had a custom quartz countertop with undermount sinks made for the piece, and added new legs and faucets. Their total came to about $900, still just a fraction of the multi-thousand dollar price tag for something new. “We are SO happy with how this one-of-a kind vanity turned out and that it’s a perfect fit,” Natalie writes on Instagram.

A rusty clawfoot tub was restored.

The tub in the room was also an upcycle; Natalie and Graham restored a 1900s, rust-covered tub using Tremclad’s Rust Paint. The hardest part was finding the right plumber to make it functional. 

“What we didn’t know is that it would take six months of trying to find the right plumber to hook up our exposed plumbing and European-made faucet,” Natalie says on Instagram. Four plumbers and several specialty parts later, the wait was worth it.

Drapery creates an especially cozy escape. 

Although one might not immediately picture heavy drapery in a bathroom, the under-$50 floral curtains from Wayfair, plus other touches like the patterned lampshades, give this room its cottagecore style.

Two other unique things about this bathroom? The marble side table next to the tub — a DIY project made from broken countertop slabs — and the glass doors in the bathroom. “Something that shouldn’t make sense but does to us is probably all the glass doors on the bedrooms and bathrooms,” Natalie says. “Anytime I post photos online, we’re always met with questions about ensuring privacy, especially for bathrooms. For us, it’s only us two living here so it’s never bothered us, plus we prefer the natural light coming in all the rooms.”

This bathroom is a true testament to DIY — and doing what works for you in your home!