Thursday, June 7, 2012

Powder Room Reno

I follow many many blogs and my favourites are definitely the ones where talented people take ordinary items and upcycle them to a different purpose.   Our first venture into this process started when HH found a tap at a local flea market.  It has modern lines and is intended to use with a vessel sink.  HH tends to lean towards modern, chrome, straight lines, light colours.  He brought it home as it was a good price (around 50.00) intending to use it in our ensuite which has a trough like Ikea sink.  He spent some time installing it.  However, when he turned on the tap the water flowed over the glass into the sink and out the other side.  LOL.  He was not amused (and his front was a little bit wet :p).  So he put the original tap back on.  Now what to do with it?  Our powder room was seriously dated.  We had recently renovated the living room and the powder room did not reflect well on the rest of the lower living area.  Time to do it. My HH and I spent many hours looking at vanities and vessel sinks and neither of us could agree (like did he really have an opinion??? ok maybe) on the look.  Now while HH's taste is modern, my taste is more eclectic.  I like a good mix of new and old but still clean looking.   He also tends to be of the opinion that anything that may be antique should stay just as is so not to hurt any value.  However, I believe unless you have a true antique (Louis IV furniture for example) then value is only in the eye of beholder.  So one day, while perusing blogs and the internet for ideas, I discovered someone had taken a dresser and turned it into a bathroom vanity.  I had a hallelujah moment.  And imagine my surprise when I showed the pics to HH and he readily agreed.  My task was then to search Kijiji, Craigslist and our local thrift stores for the right piece.  There were restrictions of course.  Price (not to exceed 100.00), size (narrow space) and style.  After only 1 week of looking I found the perfect dresser through Kijiji.  After a few emails back and forth we ventured out to Etobicoke and there it was.  Perfect size, lovely proportions and the price was right - 100.00.

In these pictures I have already removed the top and the attached mirror.  I didn't want to use the mirror so we had to cut down the back piece that had the arms to hold the mirror.  The mirror is lovely - just not what i had in mind.

So first I should show you the late 80's powder room.  These pics are again taken after the wallpaper has been stripped.  An easy task with TIF (I believe that's what it is called) wallpaper remover.  That stuff is fantastic!!  Works within minutes and everything more or less falls off the wall.

Ok - an oak toilet seat - looks really dated now.  And that lovely shade of purple yuck.

Lovely builder grade built in vanity with sink -  I updated years ago with new handles and a coat of paint on the doors.

So not only did the vanity have to be ripped out but we took out the old laminate flooring as we had saved hardwood floor from our living room reno and wanted to put that in.  This worked out perfect as the new dresser vanity has legs and the floor needed to go from wall to wall.  Next was the vessel sink search.  He was deadset on glass - with a design.  I said ok  to glass but no design but I really wanted just a plain clean white sink to stay somewhat with a vintage feel.  We went to the usual places.  Home Depot - had very limited variety to choose from and the prices werent great.  We went across the road to Rona, where we had purchased our kitchen sink previously, and there found a larger inventory with a wide range of prices.  Again HH insisted on glass, when we had picked one we liked the very helpful young sales stud man climbed up and looked for the sink. Out of stock!  So then we picked another (white) and again - not in stock.  Being the kind of people who like instant satisfaction and dont want to wait to order something in since we are doing this NOW (go with the momentum while you can), he kept looking up in the shelves and found a box that was labeled vessel sink granite.  I said well lets have a look at it.  He brought it down and opened the box and I was in love.  What a beauty - still had the modern vibe HH wanted but in my mind felt vintage too.  However, there wasn't one on the showroom floor so we had no idea of the price.  I held my breath as the helpful young sales stud man went and looked it up. The glass vessel was 199.00 and we were prepared to pay up to 250.00 since we loved the granite. When he returned he said "179.00"  WHHATT!!  SOLD!  Wait - it gets better - when we went to the checkout the price was further reduced by 15% - a special that day only.  Woo Hoo!  As we left HH said "start the car..." That was funny.

So now the powder room starts to come together.  This is the vanity in place with it's new handles.  I used Rustoleum Heritage White for the base.  I removed the top, sanded the whole thing down, painted 2 coats of the Heritage white on the base and drawers, made a glaze with raw umber and wiped that on. Then I lightly sanded down the edges and distressed it (much to my husbands distress...why do they think if you paint something to look clean and new you should just leave it like that???  Not to mention that I actually PAINTED this antique.)  The top was treated to 2 coats of Minwax Polyshades in Walnut with a light sanding inbetween.  I love this product. I've also used it in Black for my sales counter at the shop.  It is durable and easy to use.   I looked for handles everywhere and found these lovelies at Rona.  They are brushed nickel and I love the way they look.    I also felt that the empty keyhole didnt look right. I found a set of keys in the scrapbook section at Micheals. (Tim Holtz).  This key fit perfectly - it says "secret" on the side.  I took the rest of them and with a dollar store frame and scrapbooking paper made a picture to hang on the wall. I also repurposed a Norman Rockwell print that I bought a new frame (Ikea) and rematted to hang over the toilet. (sorry no pics of these 2 pics :(  )

 HH drilled holes in the top and we took the back off the top drawer to facilitate the placement of the plumbing.  Of course it didn't all go smoothly - there were a few curse words.

Here is everything in place. You can just barely make out the water pouring over the glass into the sink.  I like the look of this - a bit modern and a bit vintage - just like me.

So before the flooring was put down, I stripped off the old wallpaper and HH repainted the upper part of the walls with paint we had left over from the living room fireplace wall. Its a nice chocolate brown (colour name? its by Behr and is on the same card as the Swiss Coffee off white trim colour).  The wallpaper I had seen at Home Depot and it works perfectly and pulls all the colours together.  It is not prepasted.wallpaper.  This is the first time I have used paper that I had to use separate paste with and you know what?? It was easier!  And cleaner! And my seams are invisible.  Thats great!  Worth every penny.  The chair rail is painted the same as the trim in the rest of the house (swiss coffee by Behr).  The mirror is from Ikea (@18.00) and I hung it a tad low but it is OK.  Once the holes were drilled that was it we were committed.

Here is a view of the floor.  We had EXACTLY enough left over.  Fortunately we (HH) prefit the pieces like a big puzzle to make sure it would all work.  If we were short we would have played around with something else farther under the vanity where it wouldnt be noticable.  I have since replaced that lovely oak toilet seat with one that closes with just a touch.  I really like the way the new vanity sits a bit back from the doorway.  The original built in came right up to the frame and this way seems to make the room feel bigger.

And here is the piece de resistance.  I knew I wanted a statement piece of art.  Even though the room is small I wanted to really fill the one large wall space.  So I headed to Ikea originally looking for the Audrey Hepburn canvas.  However, that seems to be not available anymore.  I spent a while looking all through the larger prints including cityscapes.  Then I saw this beautiful picture of I am guessing Greta Garbo.  The colours are perfect in the sepia/brown tones and the background is very close to the trim colour. Also this is an era appropriate piece in keeping with the vintage feel of the dresser - and also one of my particularly favourite time periods. But the very best part?  It was on sale!  20.00 off.  Love that.

You can also see the light that we changed out from an old brass/murano glass fixture from 1990.  This was in our ensuite bathroom but HH didn't like it as it didn't shed much light.  However, in here it is perfect, it is brushed stainless metal and the light bounces prettily off the ceiling.  It's perfect.

Here's a picture that will hopefully give you a better feeling for the space.

Overall this was a very fulfilling and fun job to do.  I will try and give a breakdown of total costs.  It really wasnt very much as we used a lot of what we had on hand.  This is one of my favourite places in the house and I like to just go in and sit there... is that odd??

Dresser  100.00
Tap  50.00
Vessel Sink 152.00
Towel Ring  9.00
Mirror  18.00
Toilet seat 30.00
Picture  29.00
Misc. decor  20.00
Trim  50.00
Wallpaper and paste 75.00
Chandelier  - repurposed from another room
Flooring  free - had left over
Paint free - left over
Total  533.00  Just a little over the 500.00 I was aiming for.

Linked up to Thrifty Decor Chick - June Before and After Party - see button below.

TDC Before and After

And I just want to mention that I have had almost 4000 views on my little blog here.  Thank you to everyone who visits and takes a minute out of their day to read about my life.  If you like what you see why don't you take a moment and become a follower.  I'd love that and maybe I'll have a giveaway to the 25th follower.



  1. A beautiful and stunning project, which I was lucky enough to see in person! The really cool thing is you used your own creativity to design and create something uniquely yours ... at a fraction of the price of a professional designer :)