Bathroom Makeover

When I bought my house last summer I got it because of the potential. You could call it move-in ready–but it wasn’t current and fresh. Case in point: the main bathroom. It was a good size but it was tired. I hated it so much that I don’t even have before pictures. This shot of the old vanity tells the story though:

old vanity

I had three contractors quote me for a bathroom reno. The prices ranged between $4,000 and $17,000 USD. No thanks! This room just needed freshening up. My dad transformed my kitchen and I knew he could improve the bathroom on a budget too.

The shower doors opened up the space and let light in from the window over the tub.

bath after

A round mirror and a new, taller vanity were inexpensive replacements. My mom surprised me with a neat soap dispenser cover at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

new hardware

Latté-colored walls freshened up the room, and silver spray paint turned the wood medicine cabinet into something funky. Brushed nickel hardware took the room from the 70’s to the 21st Century.


The icing on the cake was a custom wall decal by Write At Home that lists a section of the subway stops on the Bloor line in Toronto–the very stops I traversed when I lived in Toronto.

wall decal

I made sure the Castle Frank subway station was included in the list. It’s what John Simcoe, the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, named his cottage. He named the humble structure after his son and–tongue firmly in cheek–called it a castle. The “castle” is long gone and a subway station is in the location now (in a neighborhood called Cabbagetown).

Castle Frank is also the name I gave my house. It’s a nod to my roots in Toronto, references my own humble abode, and honors my dog, Frank, who frankly, runs the place.

So there’s a history lesson and a walk down memory lane in my bathroom. Priceless.

bath collage

Speaking of prices, here’s the rundown of the costs:

  • Shower doors:  $150 (Home Depot)
  • Sink and vanity: $200 (Home Depot)
  • Faucets: $40 (Home Depot)
  • Towel racks: $20 (Ikea)
  • Round mirror: $40 (Ikea)
  • Extendable mirror: $15 (Ikea)
  • Wall decal: $50 (Write At Home)
  • Wall paint: $20 (Fred Meyer’s)
  • Spray Paint: $6 (Home Depot)

At just over $500, this is a far cry from what the contractors wanted. It goes to show that with a little creativity and sweat equity (or in my case, an awesome dad willing to dive into the project), you can breath new life into a room that once looked past its prime.


Filed under Decor, DIY, Thrifty

14 responses to “Bathroom Makeover

  1. i love your sink! your updated space looks great.

    it must be so nice to have a family member with some do-it-yourself talent.

    • Thanks for commenting! I’m really thrilled with the way it turned out. I like how the sink is similar to a pedestal sink but has storage under it.

      It’s great to have a handy dad. I can do some things, but shower doors and replacing a vanity seemed daunting.

  2. I love that you have ur Dad – and I love what u did with that bathroom! I had that old vanity, btw, including the expanded version of it in the master bath, in both bathrooms when I had the house in Lexington – I honestly never even thought of doing something as terrific as you did here 🙂 AND THAT MIRROR MAKES THE ROOM!!! Now, I wanted to say this about Cabbagetown – it is also a revitalizing, quirky, funky neighborhood I think in Atlanta? that I read about in Southern Living magazine – so you may want to meet its ‘name twin’ 🙂 And kisses to Frank from CoCo, who runs this place, too 😉

    • Yes, he’s the best! He made the room 100% better. Funny how you had the same vanity. My biggest gripe about it, other than how low it was, was the condition it was in. The wood was nice once, but it had worn out.

      I’m going to find the other Cabbagetown and read about it. Funny! Thanks for the info. And sniffs and licks from Frankie to CoCo 😉

  3. Love your bathroom!! It was fun shopping with you at Ikea and Home Depot. You hadn’t put up the wall writing while we were there – what a great idea and it looks fantastic!!

    • I enjoyed home reno shopping with you too! It’s obviously not an everyday thing (unlike shopping for, say, clothes 😉) and your decorating tips were helpful. Isn’t the decal neat? It is light and airy and fits the style of the room–and it doesn’t feel at all like showering in a subway!

  4. I really like the wall decal you chose, that’s the candles on the cake, very artistic!

    • Thanks Dad! It was fun to add the finishing touches after the big work was done. I really appreciate it. I admire it every day.

    • Jean, I’m so happy with how the decals look on the bathroom wall!! When you asked me to customize the design to your specific subway stops, how could I say, “No”? From one Toronto lover to another, well done! PS- Thanks for the shout-out to my WriteAtHome Etsy Shop 🙂

  5. Oh my goodness! What a beautiful transformation. You and your Dad have done it again. I love how fresh and open it feels. And my fave feature is definitely the Toronto element -very designer’s touch!!! ~Sarah

    • Thanks Sarah! I’m flattered that you think I’ve added a designer touch to the space. I was originally shopping for a subway poster but a dark, heavy piece didn’t seem to fit in.

      The tub and toilet were newer and didn’t need replacing. The shower doors hide the less-than-glamorous (but not hideous) manufactured marble slabs around the tub without making the space look smaller.

  6. I have that exact sink except in dark brown. I love it, except our faucet is too short, haha. The bathroom looks great! Bathrooms are so much easier then you’d think. I’m glad you didn’t shell out big bucks for a contractor!

    • I almost got the dark brown one! I love it too but since I have dark furniture I wanted to depart from that look for this room. It is a great piece. Practical but not too big. And I don’t have to hunch over the sink anymore. It’s a nice height. I can’t imaging forking over for a contractor. It was a one-day project. And my dad had never installed a shower door before!

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