Home Projects

Before and After: A 1980s Bathroom Gets a Floor-to-Ceiling Redo with Classic Vintage Vibes

published Nov 8, 2022
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Before: Dated bathroom with gold-beige walls
Credit: Liz Meier

Aging bathrooms leave a lot to be desired — and a lot to be repaired, from flooring to countertops to plumbing to potential mold issues and water damage. And renovating bathroom a, even if it’s relatively small in size, can be a lot to take on.

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When Liz Meier (@lizzydesigns_) and her husband tackled their bathroom, only barely updated since 1988, they knew they were gearing up for a big project. “There was the old linoleum floor that was sad and had obvious water damage (which we later saw went through to the subfloor),” Liz explains. “The ceiling was peeling, and the fan didn’t do its job. There was mold, a broken shower fixture, outdated decor, and just everything!”

Credit: Liz Meier

The bathroom also had a second door next to a single vanity — neither of which were much help to the Meiers, functionally. “We decided to close it up to make way for a double vanity,” Liz says. “This room was never what we wanted; instead it was always that bathroom that we really need to gut and redo one day!”

Credit: Liz Meier

Liz’s husband decided to take on the job of gutting and rebuilding the bathroom (everything except the plumbing) himself. Liz designed the space, picked out the furnishings, and helped her husband where needed.

They worked around her husband’s full-time job, so because of that, with a few breaks, the project took six months. Their all-in budget was approximately $15,000. “It took longer than we thought it would, but again, he did it pretty much alone and while learning as he went!”

Credit: Liz Meier

Liz’s husband gutted the room and rebuilt the floor, ceiling, and walls, including closing up that second doorway, and ceiling. He helped the plumber install the new West Elm vanity and tub. He installed the contemporary globe light fixtures, changed out the trim around the window, and tiled the walls, floors, and tub surround.

“There were surprises, such as the original ductwork for the fan was found to be done incorrectly,” Liz recalls. “He ended up having to redo the ductwork, which was not part of the original plan.”

Her advice to anyone taking on a home reno is to “prepare yourself for it taking longer than expected.”

Credit: Liz Meier

But, on the plus side, Liz says, installing the new penny tile flooring ended up being easier than anticipated. “It turned out great!” she says. “I love that we tiled all the way around the room; I think that adds a lot.” They paired the penny tile on the floor with a white square tile with dark grout on the wall. The white tile plus the white paint in the space help to modernize and brighten the room from its beige beginnings.

Credit: Liz Meier

“Redoing the trim around the window also became something special and eye-catching,” Liz adds. “Even just the shower curtain is one of my favorite things!”

Credit: Liz Meier

Liz says that besides the feeling of security knowing the water damage and behind-the-scenes issues are taken care of, the new decor in the room makes her happy. The brass touches, arched-shaped mirrors, pops of green, warm brown tones, and fun new artwork certainly create a cheery, cozy, calming, and contemporary bathroom with vintage-inspired touches.

Credit: Liz Meier

“I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently,” Liz says of her bathroom redo. “When it’s done, you will appreciate your new space so much!”