One Room Challenge: Week One – Master Powder Before Pictures and Inspiration

First off, hello to all of you new to this blog! I’m so excited to be guest posting as part of the One Room Challenge this Spring 2019. I’m Laurel and I’ve been working on my house — which I named Berrybrier after the brambles of blackberries and raspberries in the backyard — since I bought it in Summer 2017. It’s been a huge project full of ups and downs and I’ve been living here throughout it! I painted the house a happy, salmonberry, coral pink color and finished a DIY gut reno on the Main Bathroom all by myself. I am currently working on the Kitchen as well as the other main spaces! Click around and check out the progress while you’re here!

But while other renovations were taking place, the little Powder Bathroom off my Master Bedroom was neglected! So this room has become my One Room Challenge guest project! It’s difficult to force myself to finish and style a space before moving on to the next one, so this is a great incentive!

This space was a delightful shade of yellow when I bought the house. A 24″ wide door (very narrow!) allowed you to squeeze into the room from the Master Bedroom. 1970’s or ’80’s faux wood wainscot paneling did not help the overall space. The room was absolutely tiny at 54″ deep and only 30″ wide! You could barely scootch yourself around the sink to get to the toilet, let alone use this space to get ready for work! It felt immediately dated and old in here and it didn’t belong with the house. The layer of dirt, grime, and gross that coated the space did not help at all!

The sink in the Powder Bathroom was falling off the wall since the bolts holding it to the wall had missed the backing. It was so large for the space you could quite literally wash your hands while sitting on the toilet. During the demo of the Main Bathroom at Berrybrier I ended up removing some of the paneling in the room in order to get at the bath tub pipes which had to be cut from this side in order to remove the tub. When I took off the paneling I discovered that there already was a nice, small, square hole underneath to access those pipes, so that’s probably why that paneling was added!

I made the hole a LOOOOT bigger to cut the pipes and then I left it like this for four months. And yes, I did still use this bathroom every single day to brush my teeth and get ready for my 9-5 job. Go me!

After I completed the Main Bathroom, this space still got ignored until the rest of the house improved. But no longer! I am finally ready to attack this poor room and make it something that functional for getting ready in the mornings, packed full of storage, and beautiful to boot!

Since I love a challenge, things are a bit tight at the moment, and because I don’t plan this to be a long term bathroom, my renovation budget is going to be $650. That’s right, a full gut renovation of my bathroom for less than $650! In order to meet that goal I’m going to use as much as I can get for free and make some other smart decisions.

So let’s check out some inspiration so you know where I am headed!

I will need to significantly reduce the size of the sink so this room is easier to navigate around in! The one now is a pretty average size, but this room is just not an average size. As much as I’ve tried to make the existing sink work to save money, it’s just not working. So I’m taking a page out of Young House Love’s book and splurging on a tiny sink! I know they didn’t think their sink was right for their large Master Bathroom and eventually replaced it, but it’s the perfect size for my tiny Master Powder! I found something similar on Wayfair and bought it.

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The plumbing will all be staying in the same locations, but I’ll be adding lots of storage around it. I’ve decided to add wall to wall shelving above the toilet and use simple wooden brackets to keep costs down. I love this picture of a kitchen which shows how classic and aged this look can be. It doesn’t feel cheap at all, even though it is super affordable at only a few bucks a bracket!

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I watched Sharp Objects around the time I first started brainstorming for this room and fell in love with the pink beadboard in the bathroom featured heavily on the show. Since the walls were a mess in here and I decided to use as many of the scraps of drywall I already had, trying to tape and mud would have taken a thousand years. I decided the best use of my budget would be to cover the drywall with beadboard panels from floor to ceiling. The Sharp Objects bathroom served as an inspiration for the beadboard and the color though.

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This color was going to be tricky! I want this space to be blush against a formerly white cheek; hint of pink in a white climbing rose; a calm pink, mature, pale, and barely there. It was a tricky color to land on! This color was the closest inspiration I could find. It’s just a drop of pink in white without too many overt undertones.

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For the floor, I didn’t need much tile at all since it was such a tiny space! My parents had some left over tile from their bathroom renovation and offered it up. A marble mosaic for free? Yes, please! It’s a pretty two tone basket weave like this here. They also gave me a few leftover 12×12 marble tiles from the same renovation which I am planning to try to use as transition strip into the bedroom. The tile is very similar to what’s in this shot below, but I’m planning on using a black grout instead which will give it more contrast. Now if only my bathroom could expand to be this big too!

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I want the new bathroom to be packed with the storage I need, while still feeling light and open. It’s important that the space feel like it belongs to the rest of the house and isn’t a dated addition. Overall, I want the room to be light-filled and bright, with just the palest of calamine lotion pink on the walls and ceiling. After much debate, I landed on Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach as the perfect barely pink and not beige color. The soft pink tone with be juxtaposed with a more dynamic black and white floor, a black faucet, and black accessories. The chrome accessories and lighting should thus fade nicely into the background. And of course, I’ll fill the shelves with houseplants!

Bath Accessories | Sink | Tile | Beadboard | Lighting (Similar) | Paint | Bracket | Faucet

Check out all the other One Room Challenge Guest Participants here!

What do you think of my plan? Would you get ready in the master bathroom as it currently is or would you hold out for the renovated space? Have you ever tried to put together a renovation project with only the cheapest and free materials you could find? Let me know in the comments!

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Installing the Bathroom Sink, Faucet, and Bathroom Accessories

So, it’s the first week of January 2018. My bathroom is finally functional again now that it’s painted, tiled, and the toilet’s installed. My sister moves in and it’s time to hop on to the final task for a functional bathroom: installing the sink!

I’d originally ordered a pretty pedestal sink for my bathroom, but I realized that the pedestal would take up precious floor space. Floor space I needed for storage. In particular, toilet paper storage. So, I returned my original sink and ordered a new wall mounted sink. Now, because the walls weren’t tiled in here, I wanted a wall mounted sink with a little bit of a backsplash. The sink had to be pretty small in size too, in order to meet code requirements and for ease of access to the room. The sink is immediately to the left inside the bathroom, right beside the door, and there’s only about 14″ depth available before the sink is sticking out. I couldn’t move the sink over closer to the toilet because code requires 15″ from the center of the toilet to any other element. It was a tight fit! I ended up landing on the Kohler Greenich Sink because it fit both my constraints.

The sink arrived the week Bronwyn moved in. So technically she lived in my house without a bathroom sink for at least a couple of days. But really, we didn’t have a kitchen either, so the sinkless bathroom was a total luxury. When it finally was in hand, I didn’t waste a second getting it installed though! After measuring my locations I marked out where my brackets needed to go, checked for level, and predrilled holes for the bracket bolts into the plywood backing behind the drywall.

I dryfit my brackets and checked again for level before tightening them fully.

The brackets were easily secured to the wall with the bolts into the predrilled holes and just needed to be hand-tightened a wrench. Try to ignore the big empty space above where the medicine cabinet is supposed to go! Not sure why that hammer was balancing all precariously there either…

Once the brackets were tightened it was time to place the sink on top. I gently lifted it on making sure to aim so the brackets caught.

Since the brackets still allowed for the sink to move side to side I took out my measuring tape again and confirmed the distance from the center of the toilet.. I needed that to be 15″ in order to pass my plumbing inspection and I was not about to fail another inspection! Once my sink location was perfected, I could screw in two more bolts to the bottom of the sink that would prevent it from sliding to one side or the other. I didn’t want to do that though, because 15″ from the center of my toilet had my sink about 2″ off center from my vanity. I’d known this going in and after the inspection, wanted to be able to slide the sink over slightly to get things lined up. So I left off those two bolts for the time being.

I did however confirm the sink was level and my bracket alignment correct. Everything was looking good, so it was time to install that faucet next!

Then I opened up my new faucet from Delta’s Cassidy Collection and started putting together the handles. They have handle options and I picked the cross handle option since I think it looks the most traditional. It was fairly easy to just follow the included directions and tools to put these together and install the set screw to secure handles. Again, I’m constantly surprised by how easy it is to DIY things around my home. I can do this, you can do this, your little brother can do this! It just takes a little patience and the right tools.

Once that was done, I placed the faucet on the sink and hooked up the handles to it. Then I moved on to the drain, placing a ring of caulking around the piece that sits into the sink to prevent water from leaking out.

The sink itself also got a bit of caulk to make sure things fit together tightly.

I was heavily supervised during this activity by Queen Malary who periodically checked in to make sure a) I was doing things correctly, b) knew she existed, and c) knew that it was dinner time.

The drain is also secured to the bottom of the sink with a plumbing washer with a tube extension, so with the caulk too, it was very tight. I used a couple of large plumbing wrenches to make sure it was water-tight!

The drain stopper is kinda annoying to hook into the drain stopper lifter, but with a little finagling of all the different parts and tubing below the sink, I got it to lift smoothly and straight.

Then it was time to see how thing were working! I hooked up the water lines and removed the faucet’s aerator (the little bit that makes the water come out less splashy) to test the water lines. You want to remove the aerator first so any sediment in the new plumbing lines can be flushed out and not clog up the aerator.

I hadn’t installed the P-trap yet, so I just stuck a bucket below the drain for the sink to drain into. I wanted to make sure this was working correctly before I put more things in my way down there!

The faucet was working great and after a few minutes (and an almost full bucket of water!), I wasn’t seeing any sediment, so I went ahead and used the little included tool to reinstall the aerator before moving on to the final step!

The P-trap came together easily. I bought a chrome metal P-trap kit and extension tube from Home Depot. It included everything I needed plus a nice little pictogram with instructions. I spray painted the plumbing parts matte black to match the water shut off valve flanges and cut the extension tube to the right length for my sink. Then it was just a matter of placing the included rubber gaskets between the different components and tightening the washer joints.

Wah-lah! A working bathroom sink! Who’s fancy now?!

Before the night was over though, I wanted to finish up installing the other accessories I’d bought from Delta. I’d gotten a toilet paper holder from the Cassidy collection and a hand towel ring from the Victorian collection (I switched to the Victorian because I liked the detailing better).

I realized when I went to install the toilet paper holder that there was a finish discrepancy. It was slighly shinier than the other Champagne Bronze pieces. It was subtle, but definitely different. I thought maybe it was accidentally mislabeled and actually a polished brass piece. I snapped the quick pic below and sent to the Delta rep who’d helped me with my purchases and they quickly replied that I could have another piece for free. In the mean time, though I realized a toilet paper holder wasn’t actually going to fit in here… Whoops! So I asked for a towel bar instead.

The towel bar arrived promptly after and looked just like the tissue paper holder for some reason! I wondered if they were made in a different factory from the faucet and showerhead and toilet lever or something. I just wanted a functional bathroom though, so I didn’t bother telling Delta this was shinier as well, and installed it. Now it’s installed I can’t even tell the difference.

Installation was simple for the towel bar too since it came with a template! Tape template to wall, drill holes where marked, install brackets, slip towel bar over brackets, install set screw!

The plumbing had installed the showerhead for me when we passed final inspection so that had been complete for a long while and was off my plate. One less thing to do is always good in my mind!

Overall, these pieces were where the majority of the bathroom cost came in. I’d managed to make affordable selections everywhere else and splurged a little here. It became even more of a splurge when I picked the champagne bronze finish, but I really wanted the fixtures to feel more old world and aligned with the period of the house. Boy was I pleased with the end result too!

Total bathroom plumbing fixtures and accessories: $714

The bathroom’s come a LONG way from the magenta madness that was going on when I bought Berrybrier!

Boy I feel dirty just looking at that bathroom. Gross!

Have you worked on any plumping projects recently? Were you pleasantly surprised by how doable it was? It’s always nice to know you can do things like installing a sink or fixing a sewer line and don’t need to hire an expensive plumber to figure it out!

Installing My New Toilet and Changing the Toilet Lever

There’s a new throne to bend the knee to in the Land of Laurel and it ain’t made of iron. That’s right! I’ve got a gorgeous porcelain throne for ya’ll to fawn over today. It’s downright spectacular. And oh so necessary. You see, back in early January 2018 I was just over 2 months in to my bathroom renovation and it was time to kick it into high gear. I had a deadline, one not set by me, one I couldn’t just ignore as it passed by, a big, important deadline. My little sister was moving into Berrybrier to live with me! Hi, Bronwyn! And well… she needed a place to relieve herself that wasn’t the tiny hell bathroom off my own bedroom. As much as that delightful little space worked for me, she was going to need a space a bit more… accommodating and far less… disgusting.

Luckily, I had a space that was pretty darn close! See the capped toilet flange below? That was my first step for getting the bathroom into more of a… useful… space. The plumber had installed it when he was doing rough in and after I’d tiled around it, and drywalled, and painted, the flange was finally ready for a toilet. The center part was just a cap that prevented the sewer gases and smells from coming into the bathroom. For which I was grateful. I popped it off with a screw driver and exposed the hole beneath.

Then I grabbed a reinforced wax ring toilet install kit from Home Depot and stuck it in the hole. The reinforced plastic part keeps it pretty centered.

Then I took the bolts that came with the kit and stuck them into the toilet flange. They slide nicely into place upside down, which is better than ones that screw into the flange from above since it’s easier to aim your toilet. I had bought the Kohler Memoirs Two Piece Toilet which is easier to install since it literally comes in two pieces. I lifted up the bottom part with the help of my friend Nikki and aimed it at my bolts and wax ring while her dog chased Malary around my house. With a little finagling we landed it just so for a perfect fit! Then I slipped the plastic covers that came with the toilet over the bolts to protect the porcelain and screwed on a nut to hold the toilet in place. I tightened the nut enough to keep everything snug and then simply sawed off the excess bolt with my hacksaw. Easy, peasy.

I snapped the bolt cap covers on and then it was time for the tank. This guy I was able to place on myself after Nikki left. It came with bolts already placed in the bottom of the tank and again I just aimed those bolts at the holes in the bottom part of the toilet. Then they got nuts which I tightened with a wrench being careful not to tighten too tightly which could break the porcelain. As I did that I stuck my level on top to make sure I was keeping things plumb.

One more check that it was level and I was ready for the fun stuff! The toilet lever that came with my toilet was already installed when I unboxed it. That’s convenient right? Wrong.

Lovely polished chrome in finish, there was nothing wrong with it, except I was using Delta’s Champagne Bronze (a brass /gold look) finish on all the other plumbing fixtures. So I popped one of Delta’s Cassidy Collection Toilet Levers into my cart and got ready to switch it out.

I also went ahead and screwed in the toilet water supply line into the tank and into my favorite water shut off valve that looks so cute coming out of the baseboard. I kept the water off still, but I wanted it to be ready to go once the lever was switched out.

Switching out the lever was also super easy. I took a short handled screw driver and just unscrewed the single machine screw that was holding it in place and popped off the lever.

The Memoirs toilet looked kinda cute all handleless and naked too! But.. that wasn’t going to stick around for long! I’d carefully noted the placement of the original nuts, washers, and other bits that came off the original toilet lever and meshed those in together with the new Delta parts.

I kept the delta parts that held the lever to the toilet themselves and screwed the original Kohler handle arm and chain into the new lever. That way the interior of the tank was mostly the same.

The Delta lever had some with a plastic handle that was supposed to replace the handle and chain, but that seemed like opening a larger can of worms than I was ready for so I just ignored that bit.

I checked several times to make sure the combination of parts together were still raising the flapper and thus “flushing” the toilet before I even considered turning on the water to this new throne!

But after it passed that test several times, I decided it was ready, got my bucket and dry towels ready and turned the water shut off valve to on. The tank and bowl began filling with water until it magically stopped at it’s capacity point. The moment of truth: would it now flush?!

Yes! It worked! And with no issues or re-dos or mishaps along the way! Turns out installing a toilet is really not as hard as what you’d think. And when everything in the bathroom is brand new and never before used, it’s not even the little bit gross!

So now I had a toilet! A whole toilet to myself! Well, for myself and my sister who moved in the very next day! Sure… we had to wash our hands in the kitchen sink until I got around to installing the bathroom sink and faucet a few days later, but eh, no big deal! Plus a functioning toilet and shower felt a thousand times better than the gross original bathroom!

In all the plumbing fixtures were one of the most expensive parts of this bathroom renovation. BY FAR. Which is to be expected since they are the fancy finished bits! Here’s the breakdown of the toilet bits and pieces:

  • Reinforced Wax Ring $8
  • Toilet Water Supply Line $6
  • Sink water Supply Lines about $20 for two lines
  • Toilet $380
  • Toilet Lever $25
  • Toilet Install Total: $439
  • Now, you could totally spend a whole lot less if you went to Home Depot and bought some cheaper fixtures, but since I was trying to restore some of the original character of Berrybrier back into this house and I wanted a specific look, I splurged a bit for pieces I liked and would like for years to come.

    If I was a better blogger I would have snapped a picture of the final toilet all installed with it’s lid on but I am not a very good blogger so I will go ahead and just give you this sneak peek. The toilet installed, complete with a few plants on top of the tank and a preview of the installed sink!

    Ohhhh progress! It feels sooo good right? Boy is it nice to have a place to shower and relieve yourself after months of a messy construction zone! I mean, the rest of Berrybrier still looked absolutely insane considering the kitchen floor disaster, but even that was looking up! My sister Bronwyn had moved in with me which meant a whole bunch of free labor. Yay! Double time progress!