Workin On Some Plans

Is it weird that I am always working on bathrooms?

First it was the first floor bathroom de-bloodification.

Then the kids bathroom makeover.

I did a little art hanging in our guest bathroom.

And then we redid the basement bathroom for my sisters wedding.


I don’t really know why I work on bathrooms first.  Probably because they can be done cheaply.  And I am nothing if not ridiculously cheap.  If I was a hooker, I’d be paying you to pick me up.  Of course, I’m not. mom.  But you get the point.

So that is why I am really excited about making over our office bathroom.

What does cheap have to do with it?  Well…let me explain.

You know how I have partnered with Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine for the past few months?  And they made it possible for me to decorate our porch for Halloween, they sponsored some fun tablesetting ideas for Thanksgiving, they were the fire power behind our toy box for Will’s room and they helped me reorganize our kitchen desk.

Whew.  They have been good to us Bowers.

Well, like any good lovah, they are saving the best for last – A BATHROOM MAKEOVER!  Yup.  They are giving us 500 smackers to redo a bathroom!  Yes my inner cheapskate is jumping up and down.  And it has been ever since the news.  It’s a very fit cheapskate now.

And since I have no money – this couldn’t come at a more perfect time.  It’s like a birthday gift to me from one of my favorite stores…and I have to do all the work.  But I’m cool with that.  Because in the end, it means one totally new bathroom just for me.  Enter one giant smiley face here.

I honestly couldn’t wait to share the news – and this makeover is probably gonna take me all month – so I figured that instead of having the room completely done, I’d share more of a play-by-play as I get it done…reality-tv-style.

First the bathroom…

Yeah.  So the bathroom is pretty BLAH.  There is a basic builder’s grade vanity…with the top NOT attached (who knows why Napolean did that?! Napolean is the previous owner by the way.)  And why yes, that is a floor vent right in front of it – exactly where you stand.

So after a little number crunching, we decided to keep the vanity – since it was in fine condition – and the toilet – also working.  And even though the top and the toilet aren’t my favorite (they are almond colored to match the floor) I figure I am just gonna make them work until the budget allows for replacement or they die and go to toilet heaven.

The shower is slate.

Don’t ask me why I hate slate in a shower because my head might just explode from the tension.  But I do.  I hate it.  Call me weird but I like to see the dirt and black moldy growth in the place I like to get clean.  And the devil I can see is a lot better than the devil I can’t.  Yes that is gold all up in there too.

The light fixture absolutely needed replaced.  There was no saving that one with a coat of spraypaint.  And the mirror was actually something I had in my very first and very tiny studio apartment….so it is munchkin sized.

The floor will stay because 1.  it’s marble and b. it’s in great condition. and d.  it’s not hideous and I can work the almondy toilet in with it.

Like I said before the vanity is gonna stay – but we need to modify it.  First we are gonna move it over a bit so it’s closer to the toilet.  And then we need to make sure it’s pushed up all the way to the trim.

Right now the pipes get in the way.  Oh Napolean.

So we will be cutting out around where the pipes go so that the vanity will be properly installed and permanent (vs. the wobbly mess it is right now).

Color me crazy but I am gonna paint this bad boy.  It’s gonna be fun.  and feminine.  and flirty.  and thirty (just threw that one in there cause it seemed to fit).

I absolutely want to switch out the gold.  I feel gold for a lot of things…but not in here.  I’m thinking chrome…because its sparkly :)

Above the sink, I’d love a low profile shelf that could be good for added storage (like a place for a candle and a glass of flowers).  If it doesn’t fit there, then I can totally see it above the toilet…two very viable options.

ABSOLUTELY we need a new light and a new mirror.  And I’m thinking a few black & white photos would look good here too.

Since this is an office bathroom, I don’t think the shower will get very much use.  At first I thought I would spray the door frames to make them fit in but everything I’ve read online is more supportive of making them oil-rubbed bronze and I wanted polished nickel so the plan is to completely remove them and get a shower curtain instead.  The fabric should allow for a little more pattern and softness in here too…

We definitely need to paint.  Yes the walls are a fleshy mauve color and the trim is a red chocolate brown.  Wicked ugly.

And left over money will go toward new light plates and switches and maybe a couple hooks for towels :)

So are your eyes burning?

Did you throw up a little in your mouth?

Are you not wanting to eat lunch ever again?

If so – mission accomplished :) Yes, that bathroom is a hot mess…and I hope that with our budget, we can put in a little more swagger.  So here’s the plan –

It all came from the idea that we need to work with the existing pieces and really spend the bulk of the money on fixtures…like a new sink faucet, new light, and new shower fixture.  Half of the budget would be for fixtures…and then add about $50 for paint…$50 for a mirror….$50 for new shower curtain/rod/hooks/liner….that would leave us $100 to use toward the vanity makeover, a glass shelf, hooks, new knobs, and possibly new door hardware and light switches.  Eek!  Hope we squeeze all that in!

So that’s what I’m dwelling on right now…how bout you?

p.s.  the art is from my print shop, the towels are from Bed Bath & Beyond and the turtle is from West Elm.  All other products are from Lowes.



  1. April says

    “Is it weird that I am always working on bathrooms?”

    Actually, it makes sense. They say if you don’t have time to clean the whole house before company comes over, you should clean just the bathroom. It’s the only place your guests will spend several minutes alone with no conversation or food to distract them.

    I’d presume the same goes for makeovers. ;)

  2. Kim S says

    I never in a million years would have thought to paint the vanity teal, but as soon as I saw your mood board I loved the idea! Can’t wait to see how it turns out! :)

  3. Jeanette Peters says

    LOVE the mood board?!

    If someone was interested in making a mood board herself…how would she go about doing so? :-D

  4. says

    I love all your ideas for the bathroom, especially the color for the vanity. A shower curtain is so much easier to keep clean than glass doors. When we redid our bathroom, we put up a rod & curtain temporarily until we could afford shower doors- man, they’re expensive! Anyway, I’ve decided I like the curtain better anyway. I actually just use a liner- we have a short section of wall on the front of the shower and I just push the liner into the corner & it’s invisible.

  5. kelly says

    I don’t know what it is about people and bathrooms and BROWN. My previous owner painted all the trim in the kitchen and bathroom chocolate milk brown. While I feel for your bloodificated bathroom, our bathroom is POOP colored. How’dya like that? Dark chocolate brown TUB, menstrual and poop-colored fake marble floor tiles and BROWN trim. Yucks. So when I saw Napoleon’s brown trim in here, I died laughing. Some people just have no sense of anything — dang.

    Also, dang girl, how many bathrooms you got up in that house?

    • says

      ewww… I think I just puked reading that comment :)
      And we have 5.5 bathrooms…too many for normal life but it was just enough for the wedding :)
      xo – kb

  6. Jill says

    Katie Bower, I love your blog. I love how candid you are and I love how you blog on such a huge variety of topics. One thing I wish you would touch on somehow is your financial situation. I don’t expect you to tell us how much Jer makes or how much you make w/your photography. I am more interested in hearing you expand on when you say things like ‘poor’, ‘house poor’, ‘broke’, ‘have no money’. Is it like where at the end of the day when you have maxed out your 401k contribution, put the recommended amount into savings and Will’s college savings, filled you fridge with groceries, filled your SUV with lots of gas, and paid every last bill and have no credit cards and have no money left for home reno type of broke? Or is it like you barely pay the costs of your home each month and who can worry about those other things right now type broke? Or somewhere in between? Again, I’m not asking for your family budget but I am just wondering what poor looks like to you. From the outside looking in, it is very hard to believe you have ‘real’ money struggles and would love to see you blog about it.

    • says

      Okay – let me be frank. Jer’s income is a base plus commissions. Basic sales stuff. In the past he pulled about $70-$75K a year before taxes. This year he made very little commissions…and I supplemented with photography money…but our gross income didn’t come close to that.
      So to answer your question – at the end of the day, when we pay taxes, pay the basic bills like mortgage, water and car note, buy groceries, fill the tank with gas, and pay for the other house expenses (because yes we still have to chip in over there), we have nothing left. Right now we are not able to put anything into savings, retirement or college funds. Yeah. It stinks. And is scary. And I hate it. But it’s our reality. When it comes to things like Christmas – we saved our gift cards from the previous Christmas and bought each other presents. Of course, I do make a little through the blog – but that money goes toward feeding the blog with project expenses and blog it breaks even and helps when we have unexpected expenses. We do have some savings put away…but it’s more of a small emergency fund. So we are definitely living on a month to month basis.
      xo – kb

      • Katie says

        Wow- Thank you for your honesty, Katie! I would LOVE to see a blog post from you about how you budget for things like trips or redecorating projects, even your grocery budget…. Im about to have a a baby so I would love to see any tips or tricks you have! Example… do you coupon? price match? do you grow vegetables to save money? any DIY tricks you have learned to save money? and again… thanks for your honesty!

        • says

          Yes I coupon…yes I grow veggies…yes I invite myself over to my parents house if I don’t have any food in ours :) I save EVERYTHING. I haven’t bought gift bags or tissue paper in years…I reuse everything from cans to egg cartons to unused paint. And I dumpster dive regularly :)
          xo – kb

          • Katie says

            Oh please do a post about this! I wanna see your “hoarder” side!!! Where do you keep it all? Hvae you ever thought of purging and having a Garage sale??

          • says

            I’d love the read a post on this topic, too! I think we’re all house poor but you two seem to make it work a lot better than the fine folks I know!


  7. Andrea says

    I was thinking that turquoisey-beachy-aqua would be an awesome color to paint that vanity and then scrolled down to your plan and saw that you were thinking the same thing! I want something in my house to be that color…I have a vision for a nursery for a baby that I don’t even have and that color is in it. I’m thinking bookcase.

  8. says

    Would love to know the brand/color/material of tile you are using on shower wall. I’m having my kid’s bath tile floors and shower/tub surround ripped out next week and still haven’t figured out tile situation. Thanks! It’s going to be beautiful, I can already see it!

    • says

      We are gonna leave the tile as is…so wish I could be more help but we aren’t replacing anything. Maybe next time it’s in the budget!
      xo – kb

    • says

      We are definitely not set on anything…just trying to make the most of the money and not let anything go to waste…so just stay tuned.
      xo – kb

  9. Amanda says

    I’m a regular reader and a first-time “commenter,” but I wanted to offer a small suggestion to help make that budget go, maybe, a wee bit further. I had the same ugly, contractor-grade light fixture in my master bath – HATED IT! So I took it down, spray-painted it, hung it back up – UPSIDE down – and added some cute $2 shades to it. I ended up LOVING the results. Happy to send “afters,” if you’d like.

  10. Katie says

    I totally LOL’ed at your “oh Napoleon” comment… our previous homeowner’s name is Chauncy and we’re ALWAYS saying “OH CHAUNCY….” because our house is a straight out of the 70’s, never been remodeled, hot mess.

    Good luck with the bathroom remodel! I think that’s next on our agenda.

  11. says

    Oooh good luck with your newest bathroom renovation. We have our (one[!]) bathroom reno on the back burner (uh, because we only have one bathroom) for now, but I feel you on the inappropriately placed heating vent.

    The only heating vent for the entire upstairs is in the bathroom and it is directly beside the toilet.

    In the winter, sometimes it’s a race of how fast you reach for the toilet paper versus the hot air blasting under you.

  12. Lori says

    Hi Katie~

    We’re about to embark upon painting the trim in our house- one slooow-moving room at a time and I’ve scoured your blog for trim colors but couldn’t find the 411.

    Do you use a standard trim color throughout your house? What color trim do you use?

    Thanks in advance for your help!!

    • says

      I use just plain old bright white paint base. I ask the folks at the paint desk to just give it to me plain – no tint or additives.
      xo – kb

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