Cue the stage lights. Say hello to Janiqua, formerly known as Jane (the most lack-luster guest bathroom in the great Midwest). It's Friday, so let's talk about the dramatic makeover! There's something about a guest bathroom that should feel a bit glamorous, like you're treating your guests, so I decided I needed to kick this room up a notch (or 10). A new paint color and an overall sprucing up took this room from drab to fancy-schmancy. Jane was suffering from a serious case of the boredoms, and needed a pep talk and a whole lot of spunk to earn the name Janiqua, but I got her there, slow and steady. You'll find some before photos below, complete with a scary shower curtain and rod + magenta rings. Yowza! Jane was a partial DIY gone wrong. The base of this cabinet was so rough that I'm convinced someone took a saw-zaw to it to make it fit plumbing standards. And considering the nice light ceramic tile color that is presentable, why is the grout poop-brown? For a hot second, it took me back to the old brown bathrooms at The Chalet. Take a look.. what happened here? Was something trying to eat its way out of there?It was all ok though! My overzealous self remained hopeful! My husband called me crazy, but that is normal. Crazy is good. It's certainly an interesting concept to go from our first home where the beautiful details and originality were hiding behind loud wallpaper and strange objects, to a newer home, where we're adding the details to a blank canvas, appropriately named Jane.Jane is without a window. I've never worked on a bathroom without a window before. My old second level studio apartment had a window IN the shower. Albeit narrow, it was there, and showering included a view of the city skyline and action-packed entertainment. I saw and heard it all... the crazies outside, cops chasing vandals off the roof of Subway, a few drug deals, bike races, the ketchup&mustard lady, more than enough wrecks (one car ended up in our courtyard), protesters of all kinds on their way to the capital building, marathons, Grant hospital patients lighting up in their gowns, and a person dressed as a mummy hanging out in front of Subway. But it wasn't Halloween. The annual Fourth of July extravaganza took people-watching to a whole new level. People come out of the woodwork for that thing. With a few strategically placed shampoo bottles and the lights off, they couldn't see me, but I knew where they were going and what their mother had for dinner last Tuesday. Free hot water, endless entertainment and the water pressure of Niagara falls; if I had to name that shower, its name would be Clutch.The guest bath at our first home is one of my all-time favorite renovation projects. Small, but dramatic. Windowless aside, I'm really quite thrilled with the way the new guest bathroom turned out. Everything in the room was functioning properly, but it needed a lot of updating to bring it in to 2014. Now for the individual updates, if you're interested in how this all happened...
The blonde oak base cabinet either had to go, or had to be painted, so I went with the latter as I liked the size and placement. Plus, the existing tile didn't run underneath the cabinet. I chose a semi-gloss white paint and added classic glass door knobs to jazz things up a bit. We added a trim piece at the base of the cabinet to conceal to atrocious hack-job. I removed existing caulking and gave the baseboard a good sanding before applying fresh caulking and a new coat of white paint. The walls also now feature a new color called Veil by Allen Roth. It's not a dramatic change, but I avoid loud or dark colors in bathrooms, especially ones without windows. They should feel clean and alive.Moving right along, the iconic one-piece 90s countertop and silver faucet needed some serious updating as well. If I had a dollar for every one of those that was installed, I would be one well-off lady. After looking into some new standard vanity tops, nothing really struck me as the kind of awesome that makes my head spin. So of course, I thought it appropriate to take matters into my own hands and create something custom (although I had no clue what I was about to get into). Ardex Feather Finish is available at Home Depot for $16 and it's essentially skimcoat for a multitude of surfaces, but the only time I remember it being used was when Grandpa Sam would patch small cracks in his basement floor. Well, have I told you how much I love a good ole' concrete countertop? Bless my heart.
The plan was to re-coat the existing ivory sink with the feather finish product (not to be confused with faux feather painting). Let's not go there. If the plan failed miserably and I was out $17, I wouldn't be upset because the countertop was either going to be donated or junked anyways. Well, it was incredibly labor intensive, but the custom concrete look turned out to be a success, and a huge improvement. At just the right consistency, it goes on like butter and comes off like a dust bowl. I applied it, let it dry, sanded with a power sander and repeated that process once again. It's not perfect and certainly not as smooth at corian, but it looks natural and it's given the guest bath some unique personality.. just what it needed. I sealed it with a waterproofer and added a bit of black paint to the sealant to give it a darker look. Danny installed a new modern faucet and called it a day. Danny replaced the gate valves with quarter-turn ball valves, as the gate valves will eventually leak. When flames and plumbing is involved, I get outta the way as I'm typically in charge of turning the shut-off valves on and off for test runs. Kudos to him for fixing the plumbing issues and doing some wiring work to prep for a new light fixture. The job was minimal compared to the last home's undertaking, but I'm continually reminded of what a blessing it is to have a handyman husband. The dark grout color was an issue that had to be addressed. I like the subtle tile color, but the brown grout had to go. Thank goodness for recently reading about a product called Polyblend Grout Renew, which can be found at Home Depot for $13. All I had to do was paint it on, wipe the edges, and let it set for 24 hours. Two coats later (two coats due to the original dark brown color), I'm thrilled with such a dramatic difference for such minimal cost and labor. We've had it on for about a month now and it's holding up great.The 18 year old toilet had seen better days and needed replaced. Simple update, big difference. We went for a higher seat and a more narrow silhouette. While picking it out, I immediately gravitated towards the $238 Kohler toilet, but really the only difference was a nicer stainless handle verses a white plastic one that was on the $99 toilet. So, we cheated the system and bought the $7 stainless handle and installed it on the $99 toilet. Hey-O!
The same went for the mirror, light fixture, towel hook and towel bar. The antique mirror is (very heavy) and from a local antique store - it was gold but I sprayed it with chalkboard paint to give it a matte black finish. The light fixture is from Lowe's by Portfolio.I found a box of antique hooks in the basement of our old house and they came in very handy for this bathroom's hand towel holder and bath towel holders. They were mint green and copper, but after a little black glossy paint and sealer, they're good as knew but with some vintage charm. Cheers to repurposing and not spending $80 on new bathroom hardware. That feels good.As for the room's decor, I kept it simple, but used a mix use of grays and different metallics (silver+gold - gasp!). The artwork here is dear to my heart and from a local antique shop. They are original drawings of six different places I visited in Italy. The charcoal mat and gold frame tie the space together.Have you heard of these air plants? They don't require anything but air to survive! Wake up, black-thumb friends! I found these glass bulbs a while back on clearance and I'm happy they've created a new home for some air plants. Soon they'll get long and weepy.The shower curtain was definitely a DIY project of its own. It can only get better when starting with a vinyl chevron curtain and magenta curtain rings.. woo baby! I love how a nice floor-to-ceiling shower curtain gives a boutique hotel vibe and extends the perception of the ceiling height.. lots of luxurious fabric can really transform a space to feel special and spa-like. I already had a standard size white shower curtain, but I wanted to extend it to be full-height. I could have dropped a good $60 on a nice new full-height waffle weave shower curtain, but I would never want to spend that much on a shower curtain, unless it provided me with a lifetime supply of Lifesaver Gummies. So, I went to a fabric store in search of a water-resistant fabric. I typically avoid large patterns, but I do tend to gravitate toward classic stripes. I found what I was looking for in the 'make-your-own-patio-cushion' section and sewed a strip of it to the bottom of my existing white curtain. I also ordered a long mildew-resistant fabric liner. Buh-bye vinyl.Last but not least, an upgraded rain shower-head. The old one made a strange hissing noise, but that's no longer an issue.And that's a wrap for Janiqua! Questions? Comments? Working on your guest bathroom? Leave a comment for me! I'd love to hear from you. Or, just come visit us - somebody's gotta use this refreshed bathroom!
*Big props goes to Sherry & John over at Young House Love for their installation tips and ideas regarding the Polyblend Grout Renew and Ardex Feather Finish products.