Bathroom Makeover: Before and After

Bathroom Makeover: Before and After:

Country style bathroom makeover

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My husband and I have spent the past several years remodeling our little house in the country that was damaged from cigarette smoke (I know, yuck). The main floor of the house had to be completely renovated, but it had a nice layout and it was well built so we felt like it was a diamond in the rough that was worth saving. The first room that had to be redone was the upstairs bathroom. The other two bathrooms only had showers, and with three little kids, we really needed a nice, clean bathroom so we could bathe our children. I had no desire to salvage the existing tile-work or vanity, so we took them out and removed the linoleum flooring and started from scratch.

Bathroom remodel:

Country style bathroom makeover

Before: Linoleum, laminate counter and builder’s grade tile

First, I tore out all the old tile around the bathtub. Even though the bathtub doesn’t have a shower, I still didn’t like that there wasn’t a waterproofing membrane around it (because, kids), so I put a waterproofing membrane around the tub that was three feet high and along the apron front of the tub using a waterproofing membrane from Lowe’s. The membrane is easy to install and is simply rolled on with a foam brush in several coats:

I painted the top half of the walls a light blue color and then I installed my blue border tile first:  

My bathroom tiling was going to go halfway up the walls on all four walls of the room,  so I wanted to be sure that I kept the border tile level across all the walls. In order to do this, I attached temporary 2×4 batten boards at a level height to support my border tile and installed them using white thinset mortar:

Country style bathroom makeover

Tile Installation: Note the green waterproofing membrane behind the tiles

Once my border tile had dried, I removed the 2×4 supports and patched the holes and installed my subway tile around the tub. My tub was about one inch higher on one side than the other, so it was important that I tiled down to the tub instead of up. That way, I could use my level border tile as a guide and all my tile would stay level down to the lip of the tub. I used good old painter’s tape to keep my tiles in place as I installed them. This is a fairly small bathroom with all interior walls, so adding the white tile really brightened up the room. I used subway tile from Lowe’s:

Above the bathtub, I installed a fancy, mural-type tile that I found on Amazon. The tiles were fairly expensive, but since I was only using four, it wasn’t too terrible:

Next, I installed chair rail tile that matched my subway tile from Lowe’s. They are from the same line and are made to coordinate. The tricky part with cutting these tiles is that you have to use a miter cut to fit the tiles together correctly in the corners of the room. You have to angle the table of your tile saw so that you can cut the mitered edge. My tile saw lifts up to a 45 degree angle on one side so that you can achieve these angled cuts:

Country style bathroom makeover


I saved the floor tiling until last because I didn’t want to chip the floor tiles if I accidentally dropped a wall tile onto the floor while I was working. We took out the toilet and the vanity, then I tore out the linoleum and the luan underlayment. I installed cement board, and put Aquadefense roll-on membrane over it to waterproof the floor. I installed porcelain mosaic tiles that I purchased from Home Depot:

DIY FAIL: I went with white grout on the floor. Did I mention I have three kids? Such a mistake. It looked dirty after the first two weeks and I couldn’t get it to look super white again no matter how much I cleaned it. Plus, I hated how the pattern didn’t really show up in all white. So, I got out my Dremel tool, my shopvac, and put on full face protection and REMOVED ALL THE GROUT and replaced it with gray grout. So, if you ever install white grout for floor tile, it better be epoxy grout because that won’t stain like regular grout. Even so, l don’t recommend it for this particular pattern, because the pattern doesn’t show up very well with the white grout and needs a contrasting color to make it pop.

Next, I painted the existing medicine cabinet. First, I removed it from the wall, took off the door and sanded it lightly. I used Zinnser’s BIN shellac to prime it and painted it with white Benjamin Moore Advancen paint:

Country style bathroom makeover

We updated the lighting  and mirror, and purchased a new vanity from Home Depot. The vanity top is made of blue marble to further tie into the blue and white theme:

Country style bathroom makeover

After: Bathroom Makeover (Note: the new gray grout on the floor)

Country style bathroom makeover

After: Bathroom Makeover

I do love how this bathroom turned out! It’s bright and airy even though it’s a fairly small space. Being a mom, I also love being able to wipe down the tile walls with a rag (has your three year old ever drawn on the walls with toothpaste? Mine has, so having a washable surface for the wall in the bathroom is a definite bonus).

13 comments on “Bathroom Makeover: Before and After

  1. What a huge improvement in your bathroom ! You did a fantastic job in design and execution ! Congratulations, you are a champ!

  2. I would of liked a better picture of the floor but OMG your bathroom look amazing. I’m loving it. My son is going to be redoing his bathroom floor, I’m going to show him your pics.

  3. You are amazing! The bathroom looks beautiful, and functional, especially when you have three children. You have a lot of fortitude & patience to remove the grout and redo (I would have left it). Your tip for about using dark grout on the floor is key for anyone redoing a bathroom, even if they dont have children, and only have messy guests. 🙂

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