before and after

February 8th, 2010

I feel a little funny calling a post “my bathroom” so we’ll just stick with before and after, because that’s what this is.


My bathroom is 8×6: a sink, a toilet, a bathtub, and an obtrusive radiator all fit in the tiny space and accommodate this family of 5. The photo above shows how it looked three years ago when we moved in. It wasn’t great, but it came with the house so we had to work with it. The pedestal sink was nice and skinny and all, but we own things and they need to go somewhere. There wasn’t anything wrong with the sink so there wasn’t any need to replace it, though I did hate it. The toilet topper, or whatever the hell those things are called, went out right away which made the bathroom feel much bigger. A year later, my brother was installing a light in the ceiling and dropped his hammer on the sink. Suddenly we had to replace the sink and super fast because my brother was leaving and he knows something about installing sinks, whereas we know nothing. The sink and faucet came from our local hardware store and the cabinet was a lucky, lucky find at an antique shop. It was 100 bucks, which I thought was crazy expensive, but all that storage space has been worth it.

during // pretty bathroom on elsie marley

This is a during shot. It’s hard to tell from the picture but the people who owned the house before us ripped off the tile that was on the wall and then just painted, just painted over the glue that was underneath. The tile was a peach colored plastic tile, but still, you can work with that a little better than painted glue. Why this didn’t tip us off to their halfassedness I don’t know–you are just blind when buying a house for the first time (or at least we were). You think you’ll just fix everything up lickity split. Yeah, that doesn’t happen because the water heater breaks or the basement floods or you build a fence in the backyard or go and have more kids (or all of the above plus some). So I am embarrassed to tell you how long ago I took this during picture.  But it doesn’t matter now because it’s done!

pretty & thrifty bathroom // elsie marley

I had to plaster and sand and plaster and sand and plaster and sand over the glue, but that 6 dollar bucket of plaster made a huge difference. I painted it white and painted the top bit peacock blue, which is my new favorite color. The shiny thing attached to the cabinet is a mailbox! I trash picked it a few years ago  (why? I don’t know.  We didn’t need a mailbox, but I can’t resist good trash). It holds books and magazines and has an added bonus of protecting them from all the sink splashing my kids do.  The toilet paper holder is an old warhead box–really it is–that I stole from my high school boyfriend. The owl we got as a wedding present and the picture above it was a thrift store spurge.  I got the metal first aid kit off ebay and we keep all the medicine locked up in it, so the kids don’t get into it.  The paper whites bloomed just for the picture and the hanging plant is called string of pearls, which is a pretty succulent.  All in all I think we spent a little over 300 bucks (and three years) to get it all done.  So there, now you more about my bathroom than you ever thought you wanted to. There are more pictures on flickr if you want to see more!

*edited to add: the paint is called Realm and it’s made by Behr!

Posted in my home.

40 Responses to before and after

  1. Rebecca says:

    I want to imitate this room exactly. I love the colors, the crisp white and deep, serene teal, especially mixed with the rough texture and warm color of the wood. Gorgeous.

  2. Alex says:

    Ooooh! That blue is just gorgeous!

  3. I came here from design*sponge after spying your perfect potty room! I’m starting on a “gotta get it done under $500” makeover of our powder room that is a hot mess (as we inherited it)– I thrifted a stand for the vessel sink but LOVE your sink. It’s hard to find a vessel that allows you to have a “regular” faucet that attachs to the actual sink top. I see you say you got it at your local hardware store…do you happen to know the brand/make/whatever? I’d be much obliged, and congratulations on putting together a perfect room on a budget! My kinda gal. ;-)

  4. Liz says:

    Could it be ‘quiet storm’ from Behr?…

  5. Rebecca says:

    Painting over tile adhesive. Too funny. Friends bought a house where the previous owners had painted around the furniture. There were big rectangles in all the bedrooms where the beds and dressers had been.

    Beautiful transformation. Love the blue.

  6. Tanya Hein says:

    That. Blue. Is. STUNNING!

  7. […] ÖNCE_SONRA Banyo Dekorasyon Mart 8th, 2010 Her zaman  Önce_Sonra’ ları çok seviyorum. Paylaşınca da sanki ben yapmışım gibi mutlu oluyorum.   Bu banyonun  ÖNCE’si                                                                         Elsie Marley:SONRA’sı:detaylar… […]

  8. Kelly says:

    I just found this (via Bluebirdbaby) and I have to say this bathroom is stunning. I love it!!

  9. […] Bluebirdbaby I found this gorgeous bathroom redo and I am loving the results. It’s what I hope for in our house (not exactly but the […]

  10. […] need some help. I dyed this piece of fabric to make a curtain for our bathroom window, but my husband vetoed it. It wasn’t the fabric that he didn’t like, he […]

  11. dw says:


    Can you come over and do mine?

  12. […] inspiration I needed to start thinking seriously about what to do with my own tiny bathroom. Her blog post on the project details the three year journey spawned in part by her brother dropping a hammer on […]

  13. Found this via ReadyMade. I have to say, I love the mixture of modern and antique elements.

  14. The painting is perfect with the wall color. I love it to pieces. Where did you get the plant hanger for the string of pearls?

  15. I know a couple of other girls already asked, but I assume you responded to them directly: What color/brand is the peacock blue paint? I think it would be perfect for our “library space” someday!