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. karen says:

    Part of the fun of buying a house is laughing at what morons the previous owners were. Painting over glue is extra special, though.

    The bathroom looks super; lovely choices as always.

  2. Kimberly Grommes says:

    I love the color choices! The blue is gorgeous and adding it above the white probably helps the room feel much bigger! :) My husband and I have only bought older homes. It’s fascinating (and sometimes scary) what you find, but if I bought a new home, I’d be less likely to personalize it I think. Thanks for the post! :)

  3. Stacy says:

    I love the finished room! It’s so pretty and the blue is just lovely. ENJOY!

  4. deb says:

    Oh that bathroom looks stunning. I love it :)

  5. Karen says:

    It seems to me that the time needed to complete a room re-do is directly proportionate to how lazy the previous owners were…that’s been my experience, anyway.

    Great job! Your bath looks beautiful!

  6. It looks beautiful. Painting over glue? Wow. I thought our previous owners were bad (apparently they had a paint spray gun, so they just spray painted the whole house one colour…)

  7. julia says:

    i LOVE it! that color is beautiful. we are trying to re-do some things in our bathroom this year (our previous owners painted over fake tile- they didn’t even bother to rip it off to paint over the glue!) this is really nice though.

    and three years- not bad. i was feeling like a slacker and it’s only been four months since we moved in! (though, we don’t have any kids…)

  8. Annika says:

    Oh my goodness, how lovely.

  9. Carolyn says:

    I really REALLY like the peacock blue over the white. Its funny, most design shows and books will tell you to put the darker color on the bottom, but this bathroom totally works with a bold color – great job. And I love the cabinet/sink. Really nice old wood. Looks great!

    Doesn’t it feel great to finally be done?

  10. kerri says:

    I have that sink too…and I don’t like it either. I’m giving my brother a hammer this weekend, cross your fingers.

    The previous owners painted every room brown, the first room we changed was the bathroom. Your pics make me want to change it again.

  11. juniper says:

    Wow- well done! Looks great! Love the colour, the owl and sink… the whole thing works really well together!

  12. sk says:

    really lovely work!

    i adore that peacock blue.

  13. Ali says:

    I adore that blue – job well done I’d say! It looks wonderful (and practical).

  14. cheryl says:

    This is seriously gorgeous. I would probably be afraid to use a dark color in a space like a bathroom but it looks awesome and doesn’t make the space feel any smaller. I love the mailbox idea.

  15. Lils says:

    LOVE IT!! well worth the wait.

  16. Rach says:

    It looks fab – I love that blue.

    And out of (desperate) interest, how do you work with peach coloured bathrooms? Our place has a peachy coloured tub, toilet and sink and until we can afford to rip it all out, I need to do something in there! The tiles are beige-ish. I don’t think there is any hope, to be honest…

  17. j. says:

    We’re in the process of remodeling one of our bathrooms too – It seems like it will take forever! I LOVE the cabinet, the sink, the peacock blue, the mailbox, well, everything!

  18. c says:

    it’s lovely, meg. all of it. but the mailbox magazine holder? in the words of this woman’s husband:


  19. Roxy says:

    You don’t know me . . . but I frequent your blog ever since your great advent coloring book debuted! And I just wanted to say that I love. your. bathroom! How cool – it turned out awesome and I reading about other people’s treasure hunts. :-)

    So I guess now you know me. A little. :-)


  20. fun Frieda says:

    I love that sink!
    Our little family of 3 shares a single bathroom. My son is only 8, but already I’m thinking we need more space.

  21. marija says:

    I love your before & after (feels better than saying I love your bathroom) but what prompted me to comment is your beautiful blog. I love it. It is truly great – easy to read and navigate. A pleasure to look at. Nice work!!

  22. rebekka says:

    I LOVE the paint color, absolutely LOVE it!!! Can you tell us what it is?

  23. thebungalowbabe says:

    The blue wall paired with that painting are perfection. I love this bathroom!

  24. Jill says:

    peacock blue is a great choice! i have been looking for a retro blue to match my sixties house…what brand name is it?


  25. Amy says:

    Yes – I second that emotion.
    Please supply the wall color info.
    I’ve been searching for that exact hue.