Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bathroom Progress: Mauve-B-Gone!

Here is my before:

A half-acre mirror and prune baby poop mauve paint. Blech.

I didn't realize until I painted what a huge psychological drag that room was on me. I'm grateful it wasn't in a bedroom, or I may have required a therapy intervention.

I placed the arbitrary goal of having the bathroom painted before my sister arrived for a two weeks visit. I say arbitrary because my sister is a reasonable human being who's rehabbed her own old home before (A 1910 foursquare Arts and Crafts) and knows all about living with the ugly until it comes around on the project list.

Still, sometimes an upcoming event is the motivation to get my rear in gear. Here's what my geared rear did in a weekend-- progress:

It's changed the whole look of the room. It's lighter and airier, the sunshine actually reaches all the way into the room instead of just lurking gloomily by the window, and looks and feels clean rather than muddy.

The ginormous mirror that used to dominate the entire room...

...has been replaced by a temporary 25-inch square I had hanging around the garage:

It's got a few dinged corners and is far from perfect, but it'll do until I find a more permanent solution. It's looking like I will need a custom size, and I know I'll want to put a lot of thought into that before I order it.

It's amazing to me that reducing the size of the mirror in the room seemed to make the room seem larger. Conventional design wisdom states that mirrors give a room an enlarged sense of space. In this bathroom I seemed to have discovered the cross-over point to diminishing returns on that rule of thumb, where a larger mirror is unescapable, overwhelming, and even a little disorienting. At any rate, the smaller mirror is an enormous relief.

I also replaced the L-shaped shower bar (the ceiling support looks a little wonky above because of the angle of the camera. It isn't!), a job that took two people, 8 hands (yeah, you do the math on that one), and cursing of drywall anchors. There are no pictures in an effort to protect the privacy of the victims. And everyone should also be grateful there was no audio.

As wonderful as the paint is, these are still "progress" shots, rather than "afters." I've still got to replace the light fixture and cabinet hardware, the countertop and sink, and add the fun stuff-- window treatments, art, and decorative items. I also need baseboard trim.

I'll admit I'm a bit on the fence about the color of the cabinetry with this new paint. It seems more orangey in comparison to this color. But I'm not really in the mood to embark on a cabinet painting project right now, so either way we'll live with it.

I've crossed a big one off the list, and I couldn't be happier. I find myself walking into the bathroom to flip on the light and just look. No more mauve!

10 Mini Projects for the Bathroom

1. Upgrade the cabinet hardware.
2. Grout the floor.
3. Paint
4. Replace the light fixture
5. Replace the mirror--Sort of. 
6. Replace the toilet paper holder.
7. Replace the shower curtain rod.
8. Add art and decorative items.
9. Replace counter top.
10. Replace sink and faucet


  1. Wow! Just, wow! I continue to be amazed at the power of paint to transform the feel of a space.

    One of my first thoughts was that the cabinets look so much nicer--but I kind of see what you mean about orangeiness. (Maybe?) If you like the wood (it looks like a nice one in the pics), it would probably be easier to change the wall color than to paint the cabinets. I KNOW, you just painted them! And I love the color--but I think painting cabinets well is much trickier than painting walls.

    Huge progress! It must feel great.

    1. Rita--
      Thanks. It has been great to see a big positive change in that bathroom. I see your point about the orange-y cabinets, but after dithering through what seems like about a thousand paint chips, it seems that it doesn't really matter what shade of paint I choose for the walls, those cabinets are just.....orangey. My sister has suggested sanding and re-staining, and someone else has suggested refacing with new doors/drawer fronts (in a more retro style instead of shaker style) after refinishing the face-frames. No matter what I do, I've learned the advantage of "living with it" while considering my options. You are right, I am NOT excited about embarking on any sanding/staining/painting/replacing/remodeling cabinet projects right now. Who ever is?

  2. Whoa......That Looks AHHHHH-MAZING!!!!!! I LOVE that color.....I just cannot even believe how much better it looks with just the one little change! Whoooooo-Hooooooo!!!! Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Sara, thanks! That shade is Weathered Glass, by Valspar for Eddie Bauer Home. It is a turquoise that is a few shades lighter than one of your faves, the Holiday Turquoise by Sherwin Williams. I'm laughing at myself about how much I've been walking into my bathroom just to admire the clean, new paint job!