I also never would have done it if I had known how long it would take me, so I'm glad I didn't know then what I know now. I've muttered "When this bathroom is finished, I can die a happy woman!" far too many times in the past two years, so now I'm kind of scared. I mean, I don't want to die NOW, I just want to be happy that I actually finished the bathroom when I die in my bed, after a good meal and a sound night sleep, when I'm 96.
So.... before another two years goes by, let's look at the after pictures of this basement bathroom. This is by far the hardest DIY project I have ever tackled, and also the most fulfilling.
When I started coming up with a plan for the lighting in this space, I was really drawn to fixtures like this from both Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware.
On to the mirrors, which proved to be a big project. After sketching a hundred different ideas, I finally came up with what I wanted, and Melanie knew exactly how to execute it. She made precise measurements of everything I needed and I went and bought and cut all the boards. I showed up at her house one evening, and we routered out a groove on the backside of all the boards so that the mirrors could just sit inside without having to be glued or fastened to the wall in any way. This is such a brilliant and custom way to hang mirrors. She is so smart. The mirror was the original one that was in bathroom, I just had it cut into three smaller pieces. I recruited my dad for a day, and he was able to install the mirrors and surrounding woodwork. The mirrors were SO heavy, it took me, my dad AND my mom to get them in. Then came the time consuming and very messy task of filling, sanding, caulking, taping and painting.
Also, I haven't ever addressed the door situation. The original door opened up into the bathroom and if anyone happened to be sitting on the toilet, they would have lost their legs from the knees down when the door flung open. It was just dumb design and I had to find a way around it. I had always wanted a barn door somewhere in the house, and this was the perfect place to use one. I found an antique door from my girls at The Old Brick House, which is a monthly vintage market here in the Phoenix area that is amazing. (@oldbrickhouse) If you live here, you should go. If you don't live here, come visit!
I painted the two little signs on the outside of the door using matching frames I found at Goodwill for a dollar apiece. I had the idea two years ago when I started this whole mess, and the completion of them makes me so happy.
While my electrician was here working on the bathroom, (eons ago) I already knew I wanted to use a barn door in this hallway, so I had him remove the sconce just outside the bathroom door and install a can light in the ceiling. (The bathroom door had already been removed, but I propped it back up for the picture, just so you could feel my pain.)
I was left with yet another drywall repair, and so I decided to cover the small hallway with paneling. I headed right over to my neighborhood Lowes in my work costume (they probably think I'm a legitimate hobo) and got all my paneling cut.
Another small but needed detail was the added leg supports on the vanity. Technically, the vanity was made to float, and although it was secure, that long butcherblock top and the two sinks are super heavy. That alone was making me nervous, but the vision I had of teenage girls hopping up onto the counter to do their makeup was causing me anxiety. So, with the leftover butcherblock material, we wedged some legs under the vanity for added support. They look modern and sleek and now I can sleep at night.
I shake my head, even as I'm constructing this post, about all that has transpired in this tiny space. Bathrooms are a big deal. So. Much. Work.
Two beautiful pictures inspired all the change.
I MUST thank my dear friend and neighbor, Melanie, for helping me finish this bathroom. She is the most helpful and construction savvy girl I know, and she is the only reason this bathroom is done. I can't even begin to list the things she helped me with or the number of hours she has spent in this bathroom, but I'm so thankful that she was willing to guide me along and be my tiny cheerleader every step of the way. She's an incredible friend.
This bathroom is the most perfectly imperfect space ever, and I'm happy to claim it. This project made me stretch and do things I didn't really want to do, things I didn't know how to do, and things I wasn't good at doing. But the "befores" and "afters" speak for themselves. Although imperfect, it is definitely a big improvement.
Oh, what a feeling!