One Room Challenge: Week 5 – Installing Plumbing Fixtures and Accessories

Once my tiny little master bathroom was painted and tiled I could not be any more excited to start getting my plumbing and accessory fixtures installed into the room! The space was really starting to look like I’d envisioned when I first laid out my mood board.

I was planning on reusing the original plumbing fixtures that were in the bathroom since there was nothing really wrong with them and I wanted to keep this whole project as low budget as possible. They looked pretty bad in the original space, but I knew a new environment would shed a completely different light on them. See the place where the purchase sticker was never removed from the toilet?! It had probably been installed for 5+ years when I bought the house!

I knew that the toilet had a tiny hairline fracture on the base, but it was not affecting how it was holding water and I figured if anything did go wrong, I could spring for a new toilet — probably my favorite Kohler one — down the line. The sink was falling off the wall in the original bathroom, so I worried that would be an issue, but during demo, I realized the bracket holding up the sink had missed the backing in the wall and was hanging loose in the old lathe and plaster. Doh!

So with that in mind, I brought all the fixtures back inside once the painting was done and reinstalled them. I did pretty much the same thing to install the toilet as I when I installed one in the other bathroom, but since the toilet was all one piece already it was even easier here. Yes the sticker was still on though!

The sink installs onto a bracket on the wall and then is screwed into the wall through the porcelain. Definitely use a wrench and arm strength to tighten these screws, because I didn’t and the force of my impact driver broke the sink a little bit in the corner! Dang it! But… I didn’t know it yet, but the sink was destined for something else.

On the other side of the room, I had space for a medicine cabinet beneath one of the sconces. The original main bathroom had a cute mid-century mirror that I’d saved after we demo’ed that space. I loved the patina of the mirror, the antique spotting on the glass, and wanted to repurpose it in another room in my house. I’d gotten the lovely original mirror from my childhood bathroom and installed that in the main bathroom instead, so this one was still floating around. I sprayed it with a matte black spray paint and it came to life as an entirely new piece. I few screws into a stud in the wall cavity and this piece was as good as new.

There was one problem though… if I stood in front of the mirror, I could barely open it! With my back pressed up against the sink I could only open the mirror about half-way before it hit my face.

If I wanted to open it all the way, I ended up leaning alllllll the way back to peer inside. Whomp, whomp, whomp.

It really wasn’t the mirror’s fault though either. The sink suddenly felt too large. I’d adjusted the location of the sink so the bracket could be installed into the wood backing (thus preventing the sink from falling off the wall again!) and now it was even closer to the toilet. Whereas before I’d scooted around the sink to pop a squat, now I felt like I was sitting directly beneath the sink. And it was not good. My cute little bathroom felt super awkward!

So after a week or two of that too large sink, I hopped onto Wayfair and started looking for a tiny sink to replace it with. I landed on this one which is just about 12″ x 12″! Although I’d recently watched Young House Love replace their tiny bathroom sink with a larger vanity, I knew that in my space this was the way to go. When the sink arrived the difference in sizing was instantly obvious and almost laughable! This change was going to increase the space in the tiny bathroom by so much!

I uninstalled the original sink and snapped a quick pic of it to post on Facebook Marketplace. Then I placed it on the curb with a free sign and within a day, it was gone!

It had, however, left it’s mark on the new bathroom. My pretty new beadboard was full of holes that the new sink wasn’t going to cover up. Oh well… I grabbed some sand paper and sanded the holes and then used wood filler to clog up the holes. Then, more sanding and a bit of touch up paint. It doesn’t look perfect, but in the end, the patched holes actually make the new beadboard feel older, like it had a purpose and has been there over a longer period of time. I’d not above a little wear and tear on the newer things in my home, if it makes it feel like there’s a history to it!

Once the new sink was installed and the faucet hooked up, I was in love. It was tiny, but adorably so and functioned just perfectly for washing hands and getting ready in the mornings. Plus, the new smaller sink wasn’t all up in my grill when I tried to use the toilet. It was perfect! Plus, it allowed for enough room for me to install the toilet paper holder and the towel ring from the affordable set I’d bought at Home Depot too. This bathroom was starting to look legit and, more importantly, functional!

And yes, I did finally pull the sticker off the toilet tank! Now this room just needs final touches and some styling and it will be a completed space that feels in the spirit of this 1909 house without costing a fortune! All good things. Mostly, I’d just glad I’m not walking into this space any more!

It feels like the perfect place to get ready in the mornings and the eastern light shines through the window ever so nicely. I can’t wait to show you the whole reveal next week, but in the meantime, enjoy this sneak peek!

And be sure to check out all the other people working on the One Room Challenge! So much amazing inspiration is out there for your own projects!

What do you think of my new tiny sink? Would you go for a sink that small or do you need a larger sink to get ready? Have I been able to hit the right note in this space to make it feel like it works with an old 1909 home?

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One Room Challenge: Week Four – Installing and Painting Beadboard and Wooden Shelves

Once I had wrapped up the drywall in my bathroom and installed the tile the room was ready to take the next steps towards function! I knew that the drywall scraps and odd corners would be difficult to touch up, so I decided to switch gears and use beadboard to transform the space and make my Sharp Objects bathroom dreams come true. Beadboard was signifcantly less time consuming and less dusty than trying to tape and mud and repair all the drywall / lathe & plaster in the small space!

Those of you with eagle eyes will have noticed from last week’s post that I was able to start installing the beadboard around the time I finished the tile. Here’s that snipit picture showing the one back wall of beadboard up. Sometimes, you just can’t wait any longer, right?

I used simple MDF sheets of beadboard from Home Depot, because they were the least expensive and I wanted to keep costs down as much as possible since this space is “temporary.” If this bathroom was more of a long term space I would have used wood plywood panels or individual beadboard planks. But, since I plan on turning this room into a full bathroom (flipping the shower from the current main bathroom into this space), when I eventually turn the dormer into a bathroom, short term solutions work well.

The back wall of beadboard was the most difficult to install because it was extraordinarily difficult to get the piece into the room. It had to fit through the small door and then squeeze into the entire back wall space while not bending or snapping. After that it was just a matter of cutting the boards to size and chopping out holes for lighting and switches and then a whole lot of nail gunning! I did also have to remove the trim around the window which I’d then have to reinstall. Immediately after I finished this project using a borrowed nail gun and air compressor from my neighbor, I bought myself a battery powered nail gun when Home Depot was having a huge sale. The difference between the ease of use is phenomenal and I adore my new nail gun! Now I need another trim project…!

After the beadboard was nailed up to the walls, I was ready to attack the baseboards. I used the same 8″ flat stock for baseboards that I’d used in my main bathroom, but skipped the decorative trim piece on top. I had over purchased my baseboards originally and was able to use scraps for the whole space! Then it was time to add the finishing touch of quarter round (which ironically, I’d skipped in the main bathroom). This was also scrap pieces left over from the kitchen (which I promise to finish and show you soon!). So yay! Free baseboards!

Before the quarter round was added, the rough edge of the bathroom tile was obviously apparent and it looked pretty terrible. But when I was calculating how much tile I had and laying out the space, I realized as long as I installed quarter round the edge would be hidden and I could get away with my minimal amount of free tile.

Once it was installed, the edge was completely hidden and it looked great! You can see below how the quarter round on the right has all been nailed in, hiding the edge and the left side of the quarter round is lifted, not nailed in yet. It was a TIGHT fit to get the tile to work in the space with clean finished edges, and I’ll admit, it’s not perfect, but it’s a million times better than the space before!

After the baseboards were complete, it was time to address the ceiling as well. The beadboard edge didn’t align perfectly with the not-level ceilings (old house problems!) and so I needed something to hide that edge and create a finished look. I picked up some simple crown moulding from my favorite wood store here in Portland, Woodcrafters. I picked up one 16′ length which gave me just enough to finish off the space. But then, I miscut a piece and rather than try to feather in two pieces along such a short length of ceiling, I bought another 8′ length and cut it to size. It was under $60 for all that crown and now I have a bunch leftover, but I do curse that mistake!

I’d never cut crown moulding before and spent some time googling to figure out how to do it. I found a handy guide that explained all these angles the chop saw needed to be at in order to make angled cuts to the crown when lying flat on the saw. The measurements were insane! 31.6°?! How?! I took a cheat sheet I found out to my saw, determined to somehow make it work, and discovered that my saw handily marked and locked to the crazy angles. Perfect! With that guide, and one miscut, I was able to get the crown up and finish off the ceiling! The corners of the room still had the same gap that that was now hidden by crown at the ceiling, but I had a plan for that too.

Before I could address those corners, I had something else to tackle. I knew that my little Master Bathroom needed to pack in storage while still looking good, but for a while I wasn’t sure the best way to achieve this. After searching around for inspiration, I found this image which I shared when I kicked off this project. I loved how the simple wooden brackets supported the shelves. It looked elegant, old-world, and inexpensive, a wonderful, and rare, combination!

I set out to create something similar in my space. I found these incredibly inexpensive brackets from Home Depot for under $4 each. I calculated I could fit 4 shelves in my space and bought 8 brackets. I bought another 16 foot length of 8″ flatstock (having exhausted my reserves on the baseboards) and carefully cut four boards to the length of my bathroom back wall. I then measured out the distance between my shelves (settling for 14″) and marked up my wall with bracket locations. The brackets slipped over screws drilled into the wall. That was supposed to secure them, but they still tilted and moved a bit. I added a few 2″ nails with the nail gun to further secure them to the wall, just in case! Then all that was needed was slipping the shelves on top. I left a 1/4″ gap behind the shelves so they’d extend into the room just a tad more (and allow me to place deeper items on top of them) and then nailed them into the shelf brackets and side walls with the nail gun. Suddenly it felt like the room had character!

I needed to address the corners of the room still though. I bought corner pieces that were intended to trim out outside corners, but flipped them around to use on my inside corners. I’m a rebel! See how big and ugly that gap in the corner between the panels of beadboard looks? Yuck.

I cut a corner piece to length and nailed it into the corner. Instantly, it looked way more finished and – strangely – more historical. I was just glad to not have a gap!

I cut the rest of the corner pieces to length, carefully measuring between each shelf and lined them up. I figured it was easier to do this now after I’d installed the shelves than to try to notch out the shelves around the corner pieces if I’d installed them first. (I’d also nailed the window trim back up!)

Once I’d cut all my lengths, I simply nailed the pieces into the corner, easy, peasy.

After all the trimwork was installed, it was time to get caulk-happy. SO MUCH CAULK. I caulked all the edges of the shelves, filled in all the nail holes, caulked the window trim, caulked the crown, caulked the baseboards. SO MUCH CAULKING. But, damn, it was looking good in here!

So good, in fact, it was time to prime! Wooopeee! I covered my newly tiled floors with rosin paper and slapped Zinsser’s No-VOC primer over everything. When it was done, you guys, I almost second guessed myself. Should I leave this room white?! It was simple… clean and maybe even historically accurate?

But no, in the end I decided to go with my original design plan and pick up some pink paint. Afterall, this was a tiny bathroom, where if not here should I have some fun?! White paint with black and white floors would be boring, I told myself. But still… it was looking pretty good!

The pink I chose for the space was Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach, which is the perfect pale shade of calamine lotion. It’s not too pink, nor is it fleshy. It’s simply excellent. At night, compared with the white primer, the pink is a barely noticeable hue. I picked up a can of Benjamin Moore’s Natura in Satin which is my preferred paint and sheen. The Natura brand is no-VOC, no-formaldehyde, and uses special no-VOC pigments as well. There is no off gassing smell and the light color paint is thick and easily applied.

Once the first coat was complete, the space really started to come together though! I couldn’t get enough of the color! It did feel old-world. Historical and somehow more beautiful than I expected. It really was the perfect shade of pink, definitely not too pink, subtle and muted enough to feel truly old. Basically the opposite of the bold, coral I’d chosen for the exterior of the house!

With one coat complete that night, I was ready to attach the second coat the next morning and finish off any patchy pink areas. Because of the beadboard and all the trimwork and because it was such a tiny room, I ended up forgoing a roller and brushing out the entire space! I even painted the ceiling by hand in the same shade (it’s such a tiny space, no sense in breaking up the color). The shelving looked great and the entire space felt like an old 1900s pantry, just like my inspiration! Of course, I’d be filling those shelves with linens and bathroom needs rather than dry goods, but the feeling was conveyed so beautifully!

I got ready to do the second coat the next morning and ohmygod I just couldn’t fall more in love. In the morning light, the room glowed pink, like something out of a movie. The light is incredibly flattering and made my skin look amazing and I felt like Glinda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz!

The window allows just the right amount of light into the space and boy was I astounded by the beauty of this little room. It’s so hard to believe this little space looked like this not that long ago! It was so dark and dingy!

Now it’s light, bright, and glowing! It feels intentional, like it was always this way! And most importantly, it feels like it belongs to this 1909 house. The space speaks to the character of the old house and I just adore it. The color looks good with the old, stained wood doors and I can’t wait to pull up that rosin paper and see how it looks with the black and white tile floor!

Boy am I pumped to get the plumbing fixtures in here and style out those shelves! Designers love open shelving!

Have you ever transformed a small space? What were your small space storage solution spaces? Could you live with only open shelving as your primary linen / bathroom storage? Would you ever paint your bathroom pink? Let me know what you think of how this little room is coming along in the comments below!

I’m chugging away on my little One Room Challenge. Be sure to check out the other projects too.

One Room Challenge: Week Three – Installing Marble Basketweave Tile

It’s lovely to have a concrete plan for a space before you dive into a project. That’s why people hire interior designers! When you’re working on your own space it’s a lot easier to make decisions as you go… but doesn’t always create the best results. That’s why this One Room Challenge is so nice! I’ve got my plan and am slowly making progress. It also encourages me to actually finish the project, rather than getting it to 90% and leaving it there. Ha!

After last weeks bathroom demo, electrical, insulation, and drywall, I was ready to tackle the bathroom floors! I was excited to start tiling again. The first time I’d tiled, I’d run into a few bumps so I felt a lot more prepared this round. I picked up another sheet of concrete board from Home Depot for $10 as well as this nifty little concrete board cutting tool which was also $10. Oh my god, you guys, this tool is amazing! It made cutting the concrete board SO MUCH EASIER. Last time I tiled, I’d used a simple box cutter and it took way longer and didn’t work nearly as well as this tool. 100% worth the $10!

I laid out the hardibacker in my bedroom and marked where I needed to make my cuts for the doorway and toilet. Then I started chugging away at my cuts. I then ended up cutting the entire thing in half, because I wasn’t actually able to get it into the bathroom in one piece.

Then I simply took my trowel and scraped out a bunch of mortar left over from tiling the Main Bathroom. I like to make lots of long grooves, but I don’t stress about making them perfect.

It took three sections of Hardibacker to cover the room. The larger sections were from what I had bought for this room and the little scrap on the right was left over from the Main Bathroom.

It was strangely wonderful to finally have this laid down. The room instantly felt so much cleaner! I just wanted to walk all over it barefoot. Ha! You can see I continued to leave the sink up. Excellent tool storage spot, you see.

After the Hardibacker was laid, I waited 24 hours and then went ahead and used the last little bit of mortar I had to tape all the seams and smooth any bumps. This was the final step before I could begin tiling the next day! Woohoo!

Tiling is kind of soothing, so I couldn’t wait to start. I dry laid the whole things to start to see how things would need to sit. Then I made all my cuts and got out the rest of my mortar, so I was ready.

I was very tight on tile for this project, so at the back of the room I put in three inch by 12″ pieces of marble. They’d be mostly hidden behind the toilet and a basket of toilet paper, but I kind of liked how it mirrored the transition at the entrance to the room. On each side of the room I barely had enough tile. I measured out where the baseboard and shoe base would be and laid just enough tile to tuck beneath that.

It was very tight on both sides. But I crossed my fingers and double checked my measurements and was pretty sure it would work out.

On the right side of the room, I was even tighter, but the longer white marble part of the basketweave would nicely support the baseboards.

At the front of the room, my tile transition strip was looking pretty good. I knew I would finish it with another fir transition strip at the edge so no one ever stubs their toes.

Then it was just time to lay it down with mortar. It looked soooo good! I really like the impact mosaics like this one and the one in the main bathroom make. It’s super easy to lay, since it’s attached to a sheet, though I did need to cut the marble mosaic tiles with a tile saw I borrowed from my next door neighbor, Erik. The hex tile in the main bathroom, I was able to cut by hand with a simple tile nipper. I was excited to get the grout in and finish it off the next day.

The next day, I opened the container of black grout I had left over from the main bathroom and got to work! I love a high contrast grout for making the colors pop out! I had about 5/8ths of a large container of grout left from the Main Bathroom so I expected to have plenty for this room. One thing I hadn’t considered though, was the depth of the tile! Even though this room was about half as large as the Main Bathroom, the tile was probably more than twice as deep. It ate up the grout and I ended up back at the store to get another quart of grout for $20. I like the Fusion Pro grout since it doesn’t need to be sealed or anything. It makes the process even easier.

Once I’d gotten that grout in, wiped up all the excess, the space looked SO GOOD. I adored the floors! They have an excellent presence and really feel like they speak to the character of the house. It makes the bathroom feel older and more authentic. And, let’s be real, it’s 100% better than the original un-stuck peel and stick tiles that came with the house!

I love that the black grout adds so much contrast and drama to the floors. It makes it feel so much more dynamic. You can see here below how my little trim pieces at the top of the bathroom turned out. I don’t think it looks that bad!

I’m just so ecstatic to have real floors in this space for the first time ever. It’s like Christmas morning walking in here now! I will say, that marble tile is COLD underfoot in the mornings though. As a dedicated slipper wearer, that’s fine for me. If it was a bigger space, I’d have considered using one of those electric heated floors underlayments. It would definitely be worth it in a bigger room. This tiny little one though works just fine as is.

I can’t wait to show you how the space looks with all the beadboard and trimwork next week! It’s such a huge transformation for this little room and so, so much nicer to get ready in!

Have you done any fun tiling projects recently? How did they turn out? Are you happy with the end results? Do you like contrasting grout or more subtle grouts better?

Be sure to check out the rest of the participants in the One Room Challenge! There are so many cool spaces shaping up, I’m ecstatic to see the final results of all these spaces in three weeks!