Bathroom Closet Before & After

Just a quick post about improvements I made to our bathroom closet. First off: bathroom closet! I’ve never had one before, and it’s crazy nice. There’s a ton of room. But when we moved in, there was only one long shelf in there.

Bathroom Closet Shelf Before 2.JPG

It wasn’t an efficient use of the space at all.

Bathroom Closet Shelf Before

I put everything out on a towel while I was working and Doozy made himself comfortable. Cat logic: “If I fits, I sits.”

Bathroom Mess Nest

The first thing I tackled was the floor. It was splattered with paint, and had an overall gritty texture that never felt clean even when it was. The perimeter of the floor had been covered and then exposed at some point, so it looked unnecessarily shitty. Sanding it to the point of perfection would have required a belt sander. Given that it’s a closet floor, I didn’t need perfection — I just wanted it to feel clean. So, I sanded a bit, followed by a quick coat of stain and poly. I also added some trim using wood I had on hand, to cover up the gaps around the perimeter.


Bathroom Closet Floor Before


Bathroom Closet Floor After


Bathroom Closet Floor Before 3


Bathroom Closet Floor After 2


Bathroom Closet Floor Before 2


Bathroom Closet Floor After 4

Next up was shelving. We had an IKEA Billy bookcase from two apartments ago that I kept in our basement at our last apartment. I thought about selling it several times, but I decided not to because I knew it might come in handy wherever we lived next. It’s a perfect fit here!

Bathroom Closet Shelves 2

Next to it I added shelves using brackets left in the house and two cheap Rubbermaid laminate boards from The Home Depot. I cut them to fit using my mitre saw. They look the same, but they’re actually slightly different lengths because this closet’s angles are not at all square. When you want a perfectly tight fit, be sure to measure for each shelf, and error on the side of cutting too long – you can always shave off if needed!

Bathroom Closet Shelves

I like to use paint pens for making dark screws less conspicuous.

Painters Pen

The closet had a light fixture that looked kinda cool, but it was rusted and used antiquated bulbs.

Bathroom Closet Light Before

I was very excited to replace this light fixture with a $3 porcelain lamp holder. This created a perfectly-placed outlet so that we now have a place to plug in our radio (AM NPR FTW) and charge toothbrushes, razors, etc.

I think these lamp holders are a great way to add outlets for low-voltage use. If you’re not comfortable with replacing a light fixture (or if you’re not allowed to as a renter), an even easier alternative is to use a screw-in socket adapter.

Bathroom Closet Charging Station

The drill piece kit I mentioned in this post included attachments for cutting holes – they’re awesome. I had previously hacked through things with a cheap keyhole saw and this is so much easier.

Drill for Cutting Holes

The closet door awkwardly abutted the bathroom door, so I removed it. I plan to hang up a simple curtain instead. I used slivers of wood and spackling paste to fill in the door frame gaps where the closet door hinges used to be.

Bathroom Closet Hinge


Bathroom Closet Hinge After.JPG

That’s it! Now we have a clean floor, a charging station, and plenty of room to spare.

Bathroom Closet Storage After.JPG

The basket holds cleaning supplies, which is really nice to have upstairs.

Bathroom Closet Shelves 3.JPG

Toilet necessities tucked into the back corner, and a hook rail because Jarrod always hangs out his clothes the night before work like a crazy person. On Friday, he hangs out his clothes for Monday: crazy person!

Bathroom Closet After.JPG


Bathroom Closet Before


Bathroom Closet After 2.JPG

I’m waiting for the closet curtain to come back from the tailor and then this bathroom will be finished – photos to come!

New House Tour: Upstairs

It’s time for a house tour! Let’s start upstairs. There are two bedrooms, one on either side of the bathroom.


Both of the bedrooms are gigantic: approximately 20’x12′. They’re in decent shape, albeit filthy.


Those mirrored closet doors have to go! When we* paint, I’m going to paint the angled walls the same as the wall color — not the ceiling color — which I think will make them look less steep.


*Full disclosure: we’re actually not painting. I’m paying someone to do it for the first time! It’s simply too huge a job for us to tackle ahead of move-in (mid-August), as every single thing in the house needs to be painted: ceilings, walls, closets, doors, and trim. More importantly, I want to have a professional paint job for our first home. We have to spend a lot of money on not-fun stuff that we can’t even really see (more on that another day), so it’s worth it to me to splurge on one thing that will make a huge difference in how we feel about the house on move-in day.


The huge window has some water damaged trim, but that’s nothing primer and paint can’t fix. There’s no evidence of mold growing (unlike our basement – more on that another day).


All of the baseboard and door trim is in rough shape, too. The most recent occupant was a woodworker and he seems to have started a lot of projects that he didn’t finish. The finishing nail holes aren’t filled, there is spackle left unsanded, etc. It’s another reason we’re grateful to have a pro painter on the job.


It’s hard to say which upstairs paint color is the worst, but I think the red in the bathroom takes the prize.


The bathroom is fine — we’ve certainly seen a lot worse — and it will be totally transformed by a new paint job. The granite tile isn’t anything I would have chosen, but at least it’s gray and in good shape.


I’m excited to have a bathroom closet. It’s big! Those abutting doors will be annoying, though, so something will need to change there.


This sink has hilariously terrible proportions. It will be replaced at some point, perhaps as part of a full bathroom remodel or maybe I’ll cave and replace it earlier. It’s pretty low on our priority list, though: there are a lot more pressing projects!


This Relax sign cracks me up in combination with that paint color — nothing about fire engine red says “relax.”


Moving on to the second bedroom.



We haven’t decided which bedroom we’ll use. We prefer the purple one because it gets evening sun and faces the front yard tree instead of the backyard alley.


The green room closet, however, is enormous. Probably 6’x10′. It would definitely be nice to have as our primary closet.


That’s it for the second floor! I’ll leave you with a photo of a very unprofessional paint job. I like that someone got to this point and said “Close enough!”


Bathroom: That’ll Do

Fixing up the bathroom was at the top of my to-do list when we moved in. It’s small and, as I mentioned previously, it’s made even more cramped by the crazy angle of the door.  Here’s what it looked like with the previous tenants’ stuff.

There was a medicine cabinet above the sink, which I didn’t like because it protruded into the sink space and the mirror was too small, and there was a glass shelf above the toilet, which I didn’t like because those things are really only good for displaying your cologne collection and I stopped wearing Cool Water in seventh grade.

So, down came the medicine cabinet and the shelf along with the towel bar.

We painted the walls Benjamin Moore Decorators White (you might think the walls were already white, but you’d be wrong – note the swatches in the top left corner of the picture above). I shopped for a wall-mounted storage option before realizing that I could simply repurpose the cabinet I removed. I covered the mirror using the starch + fabric approach discussed on various blogs (e.g., here, here and here).  Measuring and cutting fabric super-precisely can be a drag, so I cut my material (a remnant I had on hand) a little bigger than needed and applied it to the mirror, using a defunct debit card* to push it tightly into the edges.

(I ironed after this step.)

* Defunct because Chase deactivated it to punish me for shopping at Michaels.

The next day, after it had dried, I used my X-Acto knife to cut off the extra fabric. Very easy and much more precise than if I had measured it. I’m pleased with the result, especially since it didn’t cost anything.

I cut a small hole in the back so that I could run a power cord from behind the mirror into the cabinet to plug in our electric toothbrush. I ran a second cord leading to my hairdryer, which I am far too lazy to unplug and put away each morning. Know thyself. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not a beautiful solution, but it works. I may use another cord cover to conceal the south-bound cord; I’ll also paint the existing cover to help it blend in a bit more.

Here’s a bunch more pictures – sorry, it’s hard to photograph such a small space.

All in all, I’m happy with the bathroom now. It came together pretty quickly and cheaply thanks to using supplies I had on hand. The landlords paid for the paint. The only thing I splurged on was the West Elm stripe shower curtain and some cheap IKEA FRAJEN towels (which are actually pretty nice – they have a sewn-in hanging loop and I like thinner towels for quick-dry purposes).

Look at that crazy angle! How did this floor plan happen?! (Sneak peak of the black wainscoting, by the way, and that’s the aforementioned cathole.)

Maplewood Planning: Bathroom

The Maplewood bathroom is the only step down from our current bathroom.  It’s small and made even more cramped by the angle of the door (see the floor plan here).  Here’s what it looks like with the current tenants’ decor:

(Sorry for the unsightly toilet shot.)

The only way this bathroom is going to work for us is if I can get a bigger mirror in there.  That tiny medicine cabinet is coming out.  I pulled out the medicine cabinet at our last apartment and replaced it with a nicer mirror, so there’s a precedence for success, but here we have that stupid wall outlet to work around.  My idea is take down the glass shelf and mount a mirror that spans across the sink and the toilet, using a SlimLine extension cord underneath it (love these things).  Maybe that’ll work?  And fingers crossed our current bathroom storage tower (ours has a different door) fits to the left of the toilet, although I’m afraid it’s literally 0.5 inches too wide.

Sorry to crib from Manhattan Nest again, but his bathroom re-do has me thinking about painting the walls a bolder color than I would otherwise be inclined.

(Image from Manhattan Nest)

Maybe with this shower curtain?