Room: Ta-da the new, powder room (bathroom)!

What surprised me about this remodel is I came into it with a plan – and much of that plan was thrown out! It became important to be flexible and it’s one reason the room took longer then expected. Although the room wasn’t quite what I had originally imagined… it’s far better!

As we progressed, it became clear that some things weren’t going to work out. The cream color for the cabinets just didn’t look good with the bright blue of the walls; the bird paintings were too yellow and square for the vertical height of the wall (and were moved to the hallway outside the bathroom), the first, selected light fixture was going to be too dark for the light feeling of the room, and the dark mirror frame got changed to silver.

See the gallery of the new bathroom!


Thoughts on this room ~

For some time, I’ve felt that the height of the room (9 feet) needed to be featured. We did that with a speciality, pearl paint (Winter Blue Fox from Lowes) in a metallic silver for the ceiling, two patterns of crown moulding and a cabinet that reached all the way to the ceiling. Vertical artwork also draws your eye upwards.

Originally we had picked a stock vanity but I kept looking for a unique table that we could use instead. This became a big headache because the space was so small that most dressers (at 34-36″ were too wide) and end tables were too low. Persistence paid off when we found this table at an antiques mall in another city. Stripped, sanded, and redone in the grey to match the cabinet it is topped with Italian marble and a vessel sink.

For such a small room, it was expensive, time consuming and a pain in the neck. While I think it turned out lovely, I’ll be glad to work on some larger bathroom projects that don’t need as many changes.

Total remodel cost ($1400):

Wall finish– Lowes’ Venetian Plaster Aquamarina #67. Because we started with flat walls, one gallon did the job ($40).

Ceiling – Lowes Pearl paint (Blue Winter Fox) with crown moulding ($80).

Vanity ($120) – with marble top ($250), vessel sink ($125), and a new faucet ($150)

Overjohn cabinetextended height size with molding and wood, repainted, and new door pulls ($150).

Base Moulding – removed and replaced with larger molding ($20). Painted Chef White (from available paint)

Fixtures and extras – lighting fixture ($25), mirror ($60), towels and towel bar, toilet paper hanger, toilet bowl brush, trash can ($60).

ArtArtwork from Bed, Bath and Beyond (bought with $5 off coupons for $20 each small, $40 for the large) $120.

Toilet – The one chosen for the downstairs powder room is a space saver, quiet flush from Jacuzzi ($200).

This bathroom is now finished except for a few extra touches such as a towel bar and a soap dispenser — whew!!

Planning: powder room

Our downstairs bathroom has a pedestal sink and toilet and has bugged me from day one of our move into this house 13 years ago. The wallpaper has only gotten more dingy, the molding more grimy and the whole thing a burr under the saddle!

These are the before photos of our downstairs, powder room which contains a sink and a toilet. This is the same hall that leads to the laundry room (done in our previous remodel). Due to the cramped nature of a small bathroom the photos are a bit cramped too 😉

Pedestal Sink, mirror and current lighting

Thoughts on this room:

  • Uninspiring and nothing special. This room doesn’t offer anything unique or tempting me to see the rest of the house.
  • Very tired. The wallpaper is dirty and so are the baseboards. This is a hard used room as everyone uses it when downstairs where the living rooms, kitchen and dining rooms are located.
  • Needs ART! The walls are borrrrrrinnnnggggg!
  • Pedestal sink just looks cheap as does the frameless mirror.
  • Hate the brass coverplates and towel ring.
  • Baseboards seem to suck onto dirt.

The plumbing arrangement won’t be changed, so toilet and sink remain where they are. Room size is almost a square: 56 1/2″ (wall with sink, toilet) x 55 1/2″ (door wall).

Planning for the NEW bathroom look:

1.) Remove the pedestal sink and replace with a vanity and sink combo. Instead of going with the Lowes’ stock vanity we found an antique table we will be using instead. $120

2.) Replace the faucet and sink ~ DeNova brushed nickel vessel faucet from Overstock. $170


Vessel sink bowl – China White sink whose shape mimics the medallion on the light. $113

3.) Replace the toilet. Jacuzzi  Prestige White High Efficiency WaterSense Elongated 2-Piece Toilet $200. This toilet is not an easy install- you need to know what you are doing as you must drill new anchors into the floor. Great flush, very quiet, love the smooth sides and trim at bottom, very small tank, plastic seat is rather cheap feeling.

4.) Walls and Ceiling ~ Remove Wallpaper and replace with Venetian Plaster from Lowes: wall color will be a soft blue (Aquamarina #67); the ceiling a dark silver grey, both of these colors will really pop with the crown molding.

5.) After viewing cabinets at Lowes, have remodeled the current over-john cabinet (31″ x 30″) to a taller height (30″ x 42″) by adding molding trim over the top.

6.) New lighting over mirror. Found on Craigslist $25

7.) New mirror. Current mirror is 20″ wide and 36″ tall. Loved this Jacqueline mirror  (42″H x 27″W x 1″D) but for $200 (plus shipping) my budget went with a  local find (28″ x 36″) at $69, at an antique shop.

9.) Replace base molding with 6″ tall base used in Laundry room.

10.) Install new crown molding.

11.) Art, decor, towels. Artwork x-ray plants in soft lavender, greens and blue with face towels and wash clothes that match.

Crown Molding

We’ve been spending the week doing some of our local Parade of Homes. These are open homes by builders you can visit for free and our purpose was to go and take note of some of the trends and buyer-desired features so we could later duplicate them in our house!

A very noticeable feature was the use of molding, both base and crown, on walls, ceilings and over doors and windows.

Let’s examine crown molding first as I love it.  The most common rooms with crown molding is the formal dining, great room and master. Often we also saw it in the kitchen and entry way. We saw none in the upstairs areas or the extra bedrooms.

The reality is that it is time consuming and expensive to install. Crown molding is sold by the linear foot. It can be bought in oak, pine and even MDF and if it wood is designed to be stained will be more expensive, then the type that has more joints and is made to painted.

Most of the crown molding and other molding we saw was painted white on medium tone neutral walls. In a few of the homes it was stained a deep, rich brown.

Crown molding corner jointWe even saw one example that was painted cream and then was glazed over so the lines of the molding were even more evident (just personal taste but we both didn’t like it – too trendy and it already looked dated).

It can be a bear to put in as you have to cut the ends in a reverse, upside down cut then what you would normally think so it’s not for a “beginner.”

Some of the homes cheated by using this decorative joining piece  (photo left) so they wouldn’t have to cut it all fancy. Having installed crown molding ourselves, this probably saved tons of time!

Here are some clever ways the builders cheated to gain the look without the price. To see the full effects of the crown and for better details, click the photos. That will show it enlarged and details can be better viewed.

In this example, the builder has put in crown molding, then left a section of plaster painted white below it. A small bead of molding defines the bottom of the white area, giving the illusion that all the white area is molding (it is not). This was a very old trick used as long ago as the Victorian age.

crown molding with plaster illusion

In this yet to be painted crown molding design, above and below the crown molding is placed a simple piece of baseboard. This gives the optical appearance that the entire unit is one massive piece of crown molding (it’s not). If you have very high ceilings and want to make a massive statement, this fits the bill!

crown molding with base above and below

Here is the same technique of above and below base molding with crown but it is stained. Here you can see how the optical illusion of one massive (and supposedly high-dollar piece of crown molding graces the ceiling.

crown molding with base molding stained brown

In this version (below), which we liked best, the crown is offset with only one piece of baseboard that is located below (as opposed to the previous version which did above and below).

crown molding base below only

And here is the same effect with a tray ceiling, done at different ceiling heights:

crown molding at two ceiling heights tray ceiling

From a visitors’ viewpoint, it was immediately noticeable if a home had crown molding or not because of the darker shade of neutral that is now popular with builders. The crisp white of the crown molding made the ceiling and wall paint really pop and gave the entire home a fresh, new feel.

Crown molding is often noted in real estate seller’s notes on a home up for sale so it is an attractive feature that buyers desire. With a little ingenuity you can also have that ka-ching look with just a bit of sweat equity!

Want to see more about crown moulding and moulding projects? There’s more on the blog right here