Before & After: How to Renovate a Bathroom in Six Weeks
When it comes to bathroom renovations, many believe it’s a job for the pros. That’s not the case for Elizabeth Rishel, blogger from Within The Grove. From gutting the space down to the studs, to knocking down ceilings and installing tile, she tackled her guest bathroom reno, DIY-style...in just six weeks! We caught up with her to hear the story of how she pulled it off.
“We hadn’t touched a single design element in this bathroom since purchasing our home a year ago. So, enjoy this flashback to 1993 in all it’s bathroom glory. I’m talking about the scallop sink, peeling wallpaper, 90’s lighting, and a vanity that probably couldn't even be saved with a little paint.”
“Our goal for the guest bathroom is to create a modern space that Oliver (our son) can grow into and one that our guests will enjoy. I try not to get emotional when I look at these images because this guest bathroom is truly a vision that came to life in a way that is so much more than we ever imagined.”
What inspired your design?
We’ve always been inspired by bathrooms and spaces in general that are bold yet neutral in style. When designing our bathroom, we thought about what we could do to the space to allow our guests to fully relax, make them feel welcomed, and to be able to share our design style.
How did you go about choosing your paint colors?
From the very beginning we knew we wanted our walls to be a creamy white. We honestly dreaded picking out a white because it can be so hard with what seems like hundreds to choose from. When Clare reached out to us, we quickly learned they only offer 55 timeless colors - The perfect creamy white included. It only took a matter of seconds to pick our creamy white, Whipped, and we are so pleased with it!
As for Irony, this one took us by surprise. We originally were looking for a dark green or black color for the door in our guest bathroom because we loved the idea of a bold door against the creamy white walls. When we received the swatches in the mail, we realized those colors wouldn’t work like we were hoping for. Something was missing. When we looked all of Clare’s paint colors, Irony just happened to jump out at us. We never looked back and it was the perfect color for the door.
Clare's swatches made picking out a color a wonderful and easy experience! I was able to easily place and move them to different walls that receive different amounts of sunlight throughout the day. This was so important to us to make sure we picked out the right color. I also didn’t have to get out or rinse a single paint brush to do this compared to using a traditional sample pot.
Renovating a bathroom can get expensive. How did you keep your budget in check?
We quickly realized how expensive bathroom vanities can be. The particular one we wanted was $1800! So what did we do? We built one... As if flipping a bathroom in 6 weeks wasn’t enough! We had to get it built and stain in time to install the countertops. Doing it this way saved us $1400 and we got exactly what we wanted plus being able to choose our own countertop, stain color, and handles.
Did you learn any new DIY skills?
We used to have one, very long light going across the top of the old mirror. Instead of having lighting above, we wanted a sconce on both sides of the new mirror and in order to do this we had to try something we’ve never done before: re-wiring electrical! It was surprising how fairly simple running new electrical can be. The hardest part was fitting in the small crawl space in the attic to run the electrical wires.
What's your favorite design element in the space?
The tile floor! We knew from the very beginning we wanted hexagon concrete tiles. We went with porcelain tiles that look like concrete to stay within budget. We are beyond excited with how they turned out!
How the heck did you pull all this off in six weeks?
When things went wrong, they went really wrong. We had major tools break including our wet saw, we didn’t realize we had a box of tiles slightly different in color until it was time for install, and our countertop was cut incorrectly. We’re also parents to a 2 year old which makes things a little trickier to get done. So, how did we pull it off in 6 weeks? By mapping out a weekly strategy, staying positive, a lot of late nights, not being afraid to ask for help, and always having coffee on hand!
What's your best tip for first-time DIY painters?
Don’t be afraid of trying something new and bold with paint! At the end of the day, it’s just paint. This means you can change paint colors as often as you’d like and just as easily if you decide bold isn’t for you or if you want to go a little bolder. But by only having 55 colors to choose from, I have a feeling you’ll pick the perfect color every time.
How do you feel now that your renovation is complete?
My favorite part of the process is by far seeing all of the things we dreamed of doing to our home one day become a reality. This was our first major renovation and the first time we designed a room like this from top to bottom. It’s a feeling we’ll never forget seeing our design plan come to life!
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