Rental Bathroom Makeover: Before, During, After

Well, now we know the drawback of real-time blogging: sometimes real-time is way too slow. I’ll save the nitty-gritty details behind the delay for another post – instead, let’s check out our newly redecorated bathroom.

Bathroom Door and Antique Rug | Project Palermo

Unfortunately the bathroom is still small and awkward – nothin’ I could do about that – so it’s impossible to get an all-inclusive pulled-back shot.  I’ll include a lot of photos – let me know if anything is unclear.

Antique Rug in the Bathroom | Project Palermo

New cabinet bar pulls from Home Depot and an antique rug from Humboldt House. HH actually had the rug in their shop bathroom. It’s beat-up, which I love because it’s not precious: aside from, like, setting it ablaze, there’s nothing we can do it that hasn’t already been done.

Bathroom Antique Brass Towel Hook | Project Palermo

Antique brass hook from eBay; hand towel from West Elm. I sewed on the hang loop, thus exhausting my sewing tolerance for the year.

Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

The soap pump top, door hooks, medicine cabinet knob and doorknob plates all got spray painted oil-rubbed bronze. The radiator cover and toilet paper holder were painted white.  I’ll do a follow-up post about some of this hardware.

Bathroom | Project Palermo

The one electrical outlet in the bathroom is hidden by the mirror.  The cords you see lead to the electric toothbrush in the medicine cabinet and my hairdryer in the basket below. I considered reworking our medicine cabinet to house the hairdryer as well, but… nope. It’s fine as-is. I don’t mind the dangling cord and if it were even one second more time-consuming to blow dry my stupid hair everyday I’d always leave the house looking like a ragamuffin.

Medicine Cabinet | Project Palermo

Aren’t Jarrod’s pills appealing? Makes me want to take one of each. Also makes me think Jarrod might have a pill problem. [Confidential to Jarrod: we need to talk.]

Extra Long Shower Curtain | Project Palermo

Aside from the paint (Benjamin Moore “Soot” color-matched by Behr), the biggest change is our new extra-long shower curtain. 98 inches. Count ‘em!  (You can’t.  Just trust me.)  It’s so long and our bathroom is so small that it’s hard to photograph the full length.

Extra Long Shower Curtain | Project Palermo

The shower curtain is custom-made because we’re fancy like that.  Actually, it’s custom-made for lack of any acceptable option available for purchase.  I’ll return with details: it involves a grommet kit.  Spoiler alert: grommet kits are super fun. I want to put grommets in everything now.

Shower Curtain with Brass Grommets and Rod | Project Palermo

There was a lot of hemming and hawing and hand-wringing regarding this shower curtain rod.  Those were dark days.

Brass Shower Curtain Rod and Hanging Plants | Project Palermo

Speaking of dark: people have asked if the wall color makes the bathroom feel darker or smaller. Yes, a bit darker; no, not smaller.  It is small, but the color and the length of the shower curtain now make it feel grander, for lack of a better word. Also, those wall tiles now look lighter: virtually white, instead of the odd-off-white color they really are.  I didn’t anticipate this optical illusion – it’s the best unforeseen perk of the makeover.

Rental Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

Long-time readers of this blog might remember that I redecorated this bathroom shortly after we moved in.  In fact, it was featured on WordPress Freshly Pressed and remains my busiest blog traffic day.  I was pretty proud of it back then but think this recent go-round makes the most of the space.

Bathroom Before
Bathroom 2011

Bathroom | Project Palermo

Check out my original bathroom makeover post for details about moving and covering the medicine cabinet.

One more round of comparison photos, for fun:

Bathroom Before

Bathroom 2011

Rental Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

That’s it! I’ll return with a couple of posts about bathroom plants and antique hardware.

Bathroom Makeover Days 3 and 4

Pro tip!: Don’t ever spend four days straight in the bathroom if you don’t have to. Whew.

Lots of tedious-but-necessary-and-ultimately-satisfying tasks.  I cleaned the floor vent as best I could in preparation for a fresh coat of paint.  I haven’t found Citristrip to be nearly as effective as Klean Strip, but I’m grateful to have it for indoor jobs like this.

Grate

I also cut out the gross, old caulk on the tub and recaulked it.

Caulk Before and After

Hanging Plants in the Bathroom

I rehung the plants and introduced this pretty bird to the mix. Antique brass, ten bucks off eBay, major score.  It will be the classiest rental bathroom hand towel hook in all of Lincoln Square.

Put a Bird on It

Bathroom

Aside from the shower curtain, my main remaining task is to choose the hardware for our medicine cabinet (above) and vanity (below).  It will be either brass or black-bronze.  I love the sweepy brass pull (that’s actually what it’s called: “sweepy“) but I think it looks like we’re frontin’ – pretending this bathroom is fancier than it is.

Hardware Options

The bronze bar pull is in the lead – it looks modern and substantial, and I’d do a coordinating bronze knob on the medicine cabinet.

Check out the new old rug from Humboldt House – that place is not messing around with its awesomeness.  The shop is gorgeous and the pricing is very fair.

Bathroom Rug and Hardware

So, that’s that!  I’ll post pictures, of course, once the final details are in place.  I punched the clock at noon today and went to the pool with friends.

Pool

And on the fourth day Marti ended her work which She had made; and She rested on the fourth day from all her work which She had made.

Bathroom Makeover Day 2

Day 2!  Full disclosure: this weekend won’t end with triumphant After photos because I won’t have our new shower curtain in hand until Tuesday. This is the drawback of real-time blogging.

Antique Grate and Flap Wheel

All totalled, I spent way too much time on this damn grate.  I just wanted to get down to bare metal so that I could give it a clean, even coat of spray paint.  I should have skipped the boiling, scrubbing and sanding and gone straight to the Klean Strip.  I usually don’t go all scorched earth on antique hardware but this thing isn’t precious.  It’s the opposite of precious: it’s heavy as hell and it will survive the apocalypse.  So, I shouldn’t have hesitated to strip it.  Lesson learned.  At least it was fun to use the flap wheel sander.

Antique Grate and Stripper

I also spray painted the toilet paper holder, held aloft with kabob skewers.

IMG_6987

Back upstairs is chaotic.  Lola finds comfort on his L.L. Bean box, which is very special to him for reasons unbeknownst to us.

IMG_6998

Finished painting!

IMG_7009

The color is Benjamin Moore’s Soot, matched by Behr – it’s the same inky-navy-black that we have on our kitchen wainscoting. Our bathroom is off of the kitchen and I like that the two rooms will now be cohesive inverses of one another.

IMG_7004

Somewhat Real-time Bathroom Makeover

Our country’s independence gave me a glorious four-day weekend (thanks, Thomas Jefferson et al.!) and I’m celebrating with a bathroom makeover.  My friend Kimberly suggested that I live-blog it.

Paint Swatches

I won’t be doing that exactly, but I do plan to post pictures each day of the previous day’s progress. I’m usually a very slow blogger (it takes me a while to get around to posting pictures of my projects), so this seems like a good challenge.

Bathroom Hinges

Vent GrateDouble, double toil and trouble.

Wall Paint

Wall Paint

 

Upholstered Nailhead Trim Headboard

Shortly after we moved into our current apartment I posted about the inevitable “I’ve made a huge mistake” phase that follows every relocation. Apparently that rule applies to virtual moves as well: I migrated from WordPress.com to WordPress.org this past weekend and, so far, feel as though I made a huuuuuge mistake.

(Real quick, for those who don’t know, WordPress.org means that I’ve taken on the work and expense of hosting this blog on my own, instead of WordPress.com taking care of that for me. It should offer greater flexibility in my site’s design as well as an engaging learning experience that will exercise my aging brain (important!). So far, all it is offering are crushing reminders that I am not nearly as CSS-adept as I think I am. Anyway: if this site looks weird in the coming week or if old posts return from the grave, just know that I’m behind the curtain, editing code and cursing the gods.)

Let’s move along, back into the bedroom, and talk about our new headboard.

DIY Headboard

This is the fourth time I’ve reupholstered this headboard and each time I swear it will be the last (so many staples!). But beds are expensive and this headboard does the job. It’s a simple design: plywood cut to size at Home Depot, covered in high density urethane foam, wrapped in batting and then fabric. The cats thought it was a great game.

Cats

The headboard was previously tufted; this time I decided to try nail head trim instead. I glued some wood trim to the perimeter of the plywood, to add some depth to the headboard and to give me a sharp/clean edge to nail into.

DIY Headboard

DIY Headboard

DIY Headboard

I bought this Dritz Home Decorative Nailhead Trim kit from Jo-Ann for 12 bucks. This is the antique gold finish.

DIY Headboard Nailhead Trim

Most of the tack-strip nailheads are decorative.  Every fifth head, however, has a hole for a matching nail.  This ensures even spacing, neat rows and much quicker work.

Trim

My best take-away tip is to roll out your row, lightly tapping every other nail into place – not all the nails and not all the way in. That way you can adjust the row if needed. Once it’s placed and straightened just how you want it, then you can go along and drive all of the nails in. I used a rubber mallet to do so.

DIY Headboard

It always looks dopey at this stage:

DIY Headboard

Much better:

Bedroom

The functional nails definitely stand out, but they’re consistent (i.e., every fifth nail just looks a bit different) and it bothers me much less than a row of unaligned nails would.  It also bothers me much less than the nails I would have inevitably driven into my skull had I tried to line up 200 individual nails.

DIY Headboard