One Bathroom Reno: Check!

Our shoestring reno budget got stretched, but it was worth every penny.

bathroom-wordWhen we moved into our 1972 bungalow in 2013, we knew we had lots of work ahead of us to make this drab house into our cozy home. We were determined to do as much of it as possible by ourselves and on a shoestring budget. That said, when it came to our kitchen and main bathroom, we simply didn’t have the time, tools or expertise to tackle a full reno. So, reluctantly, I blew the dust off of my piggy bank and hired a professional bathroom and kitchen renovation company. Goodbye shoestring budget. Goodbye savings.

Although we have another full bathroom in the basement, the main floor bathroom is the one we use every day, so we wanted it done, done right and done fast. Back in the 1970’s,  when this house was built, bathrooms were all about function and definitely not about luxury. The “spa” bathroom was an extravagance found only in the very richest homes (we thought only movie stars had big fancy bathrooms). So, here is what the bathroom looked like when we moved in…note the weird etchings on the bathroom mirror (someone must have gotten an etching kit for Christmas and thought that a zebra, a mountain goat and some seaweed would look great etched (forever) into their bathroom mirror). Note: not my shower curtain, this photo was from the real estate listing.


13_tripp_crescent_mls_hid746807_roommainbathroomAFTER…   Here is our new and improved bathroom.


We went for a traditional style vanity with quartz countertop. All of the accents (hardware, mirror, medicine cabinet) in the room are  a warm dark brown.


We replaced our old bathtub with a walk-in shower. The rain shower and handheld water sources are such a treat! A teak shower bench makes it so easy to shave my legs! All of my decor items are things I picked up on sale or at the dollar store. Who says things have to be expensive to be pretty?

I love our new light! It's pretty and provides more light than we've ever had before.

I love our new light! It’s pretty and provides more light than we’ve ever had before. Hey, look at me in the mirror…duh!!!

And, what would a bathroom reno be without some new towels? I bought these scrumptious towels and this adorable farm truck painting with a gift certificate that some wonderful friends gave me for my birthday, which fell conveniently right after our reno was completed. (I love the painting because it’s 1) farm-related 2) there are dogs in it 2) it’s red and 4) it’s so unexpected in a bathroom.




I brought these clay fish home many years ago from a vacation in Cape Cod. I love them!


This pretty metal storage rack was my half-price find at HomeSense. It’ sturdy, yet light enough to move for cleaning under and behind.


I found these sweet shells in Cape Cod and decided they would look pretty in frames. I used a piece scrapbooking paper for the backgrouond and the frames were $5 each at Wal-Mart










So that’s it for our bathroom renovation. It’s stylish, functional and (we think) very pretty.

I hope you will drop in again, soon, to see our kitchen reno–which is also finished. Oh, and we’re in the process of painting our huge dark brick fireplace. It’s taking lots of elbow grease, but it’s really going to brighten up our living room! I will be posting photos and the tips we learned…the hard way.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy DIYing…and, remember to pace yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and every reno takes longer and costs more than you think it will. But, that’s all part of the game.

Caution: Renos ahead…

New header--front of house-2We’ve been working so hard on the front and back yards of our new (old) house since we bought it in 2013, that we just haven’t had the time or energy to tackle the inside. Well, the outside is looking pretty good (as you will see in my next post), and it’s time to gut the main bathroom and update the kitchen.

Are we doing the renos, ourselves, you ask? Not a chance! Peter just doesn’t have the time and neither of us has the energy. We have hired a kitchen and bath company to do it right and do it fast. We just don’t want our kitchen and bathroom to be out of commission any longer than necessary. That said, it doesn’t come cheap, but when I look at the 0.77 percent interest rate on my “investment savings account,” I figure I’ll get a much bigger return on my dollar by investing in our home. Not that we’re planning to sell anytime soon because Peter and I love our home and our community.

The renos are scheduled to start in a couple of weeks and I will be posting photos from start to finish. For now, here’s our first photo–it’s me and Peter at the stone quarry approving the two quartz slabs that will become our new kitchen counter tops.

Gloria kissing quartz counter top July 2016Peter with quartz counter top July 2016

All I can think of right now is, “I hate renovations, but I will love have having renovated.”

I hope you’ll drop in later this month to see our progress and check out the “before” and “after” photos.

Until next time, be kind, be happy and be thankful.


Pretty collage for a bare bathroom wall

Oh, this old house still needs a lot of tender love care. I have so many ideas that would transform this place into my dream home…if only I had the money and time, sigh. Take our bathroom, for instance, it’s classic 1980; it doesn’t even have lights over the vanity, just a ceiling light in the middle of the room. Try putting on your make-up in that!

While the bathroom waits patiently for its turn for a makeover, I decided the least I could do was add a little character to it. So, I ransacked my house for anything floral and called it a “theme.” (LOL) Here’s are some photos of my mini-makeover that cost me nothing more than an hour of my time. What do you think?


Don’t you just love dollar store finds?

collage 2

I found the pretty pitcher at a second hand shop and the silk roses are 20-year old. They’re so droopy that the look real.

Roses in pitcher

I hope this inspires you to put some of your favourite things together to pretty up a boring space. Thanks, for stopping by. As always, more to come…

Another “paint saves the day” story

Frame_paint cans and brushes

Painting is one of those chores that require a lot of set-up and clean-up time. So, once I’ve got it all out, I like to paint, paint, paint!

When we moved into our house, the main bathroom had soooo many problems: it was painted a horrible army green; it had (and, unfortunately, still has) a molded bathtub–another left-over from the 1980’s. And, the piece-de-resistance:  the mirrors that are etched with images of a zebra and seaweed…well, it’s just too awful to talk about! Here are some photos to show you what happens when someone with too much time on their hands gets an etching kit for Christmas…(hee hee)

Let me show you my etchings…(OMG, they are a design travesty!)

Frame_IMG_3492 Frame_IMG_3493                   And, these aren’t all of my etchings. There’s seaweed in one corner and a tropical fish in another. (They also etched masterpieces into the mirrors in the guest bathroom, too).

Anyway, back to my paint story. I never realized how much paint colour could change my mind about a room. As soon as I started to roll the Raffia Cream onto the bathroom walls, I could feel the difference. It looked bright, clean and fresh. I can even overlook the molded tub, for a while (until I win a lottery and replaced).

I am going to take the cabinet doors, complete with their etchings, to a glass shop this week and have the mirrors replaced. So, for now, I’m very happy with our redecorated bathroom. I still have some pictures to hang on the wall, but here’s a peak… Frame_IMG_4374

Just about everything in our house has a little story behind it. For example, my husband and I collected the seashells on the east coast one year. I bought two frames at Walmart for $5 each, used a complementary sheet of scrapbooking paper for the background and, voila, wall art for $10. I bought the pitcher and its matching wash basin for $5 (for the set) at a garage sale in my neighbourhood. The silk flowers come from the dollar store. I love the touch of colour.


Frame_IMG_4366 Frame_IMG_4372








The starfish and the little fish are souvenirs from Prince Edward Island, $2 each. 

I love my seaside souvenirs!



…and my dollar store silk flowers in their vintage $5 vase…


I even love my soap dispenser (although the cucumber-melon soap that came with it smells really awful)


And, last, I love my $49 storage shelf from Homesense… it needs something colourful on it to give it some interest–I’m looking around to see what I can find in the house!

Frame_IMG_4363 I hope that, if like me, you are on a budget, you will find something in my posts to inspire you. You know, it’s easy to have a gorgeous home when money isn’t a problem. But, it’s so gratifying to make your home warm and welcoming when all you have is your piggy bank and your creativity. Check out Pinterest for lots of great ideas. I know you will find something that will spark your creative fire!!

Turning an “unsweet” into an ensuite

 And the make-overs continue. . .


We’re still pretty busy getting organized in our new house. It takes time to find a place for everything and put everything in its place.

We’ve got the main floor in pretty good shape, except for the two bathrooms. The main bathroom is next on my list of make-overs, but for right now, I just have to tell you the story of our ensuite, which could be more aptly called our unsweet.

The plan was for me to do this make-over on my own and turn this little “mistake” into a sweet ensuite just for me. Before I go any further, though, I  have to thank my husband, Peter, who came to my rescue every time I couldn’t reach or lift something and when I needed an extra brain, third hand or a second opinion. He is always there, with his never-ending good-nature, to help me with anything and everything. I thank God for him, every day.

From what we can tell, the main bathroom originally had a doorway from the hall and another from the master bedroom (designers call it a “cheater ensuite”). One of the previous owners, however, decided to build a wall that would cut the room into one main bathroom and one teeny tiny laundry room (which could only be accessed from the master bedroom)–strange, but true.

The house was next owned by a family who, just a few years after buying the house, were transferred across the country. In an effort to sell the house quickly, they decided to turn the laundry room into an ensuite.


Unfortunately, these folks weren’t about to win any do-it-yourself awards, as  you can see from the photos. The ensuite was just one mistake after another. Look at what I found when I took the toilet tank off!

Holes in the wall were patched with scraps of plywood placed over other scraps of plywood.

I wanted it to look feminine and somewhat vintage. I was so excited! And, Peter is perfectly happy with the main bathroom, so I don’t have to feel guilty for claiming this little space as my own. By the way, we have another full bathroom downstairs that also needs sprucing up. . . but I’m saving that one for the last.

Back to my ensuite makeover. I started by turning off the water to the toilet, draining the tank and removing it. That gave me access to the mess of boards that had to be removed before I could install the new wall board. See the photo above…that’s what it looked like once the tank was off. You can see the dryer vent hose and some pink insulation.



Next, I removed the mirror, which was too big for the space and totally off-centre.

And, the paint colour–oh brother!!! It definitely had to be changed. I was so glad that the previous owners had left a half-gallon of paint that would be just perfect for this room–light tan/taupe/beige (I never know what to call it). Good, another $50 saved. Every penny counts when you’re on a very skinny budget!

So far, $0 spent.



Next came the bead board–you know, it’s that 4′ x 8′ wall board that looks like individual boards. I needed two sheets, at a cost of $26 each. Not bad. As you can see, I ran it horizontally, rather than vertically. Creative decision? Nope, the board-cutter guy at Home Depot cut it wrong, so I just went with it. Actually, I rather like the effect.

In keeping with the vintage look and my skinny budget, I rooted around in the basement until I found this simple white-framed mirror that my mother gave me years ago. It was just the right style and size for my pint-sized ensuite. And, the price was right! (You’ll see in the final photo.)


I wanted to put up a small medicine cabinet to store my tooth brush, medications, and so on. Given the petite size of the room, I knew the cabinet would have to be quite small. A couple of weeks of on-line searching didn’t turn up anything that was both small and vintage-looking. And then I remembered Winners. It’s the one place where you can always find something unique and priced to sell. Sure enough, I found the perfect little cabinet. It’s just the right scale and it’s very vintage. The only problem was that the door had ugly purple grapes and gaudy green leaves painted on it. But, that could be easily fixed with a sheet of pretty card stock from my craft room. I forgot to take a “before” photo, but here’s how it looks, now.

Frame_DSCF1101The window in this room is very high up on the wall and is certainly not a feature point. To deal with that, I bought a pair of full-length lace curtains from Sears for $30. They are so pretty, with their long, attached, scalloped valance. They make a beautiful feminine and vintage statement.


Next, there was this big and ugly fluorescent light that had been very crudely installed in Frame_DSCF1107the ceiling. Yep, a big hole was cut in the ceiling and the light was stuck up there. Period. Replacing the whole ceiling and the light was not option, so I created a frame around it with leftover baseboard. A huge improvement!

And last, but not least, a few decorative touches. I wanted to hang something pretty on the wall that would tie in with the vintage theme and match (or at least not clash with) my new medicine cabinet. Back to my stash of designer paper and down to the basement to find a couple of old frames. Flying pigs and a muted vintage floral pattern.

Here is the finished room. It’s so tiny that it was impossible to back away far enough to get everything into the photo. What do you think of the results?





Here’s a summary of my costs:

Paint: $0
Mirror: $0
Frames and pictures: $0
Medicine Cabinet: $25
Beadboard (2 sheets): $52
Baseboard (3 lengths): $15 (this did the both the floor and around the light fixture)
Curtains: $30
Other decor items: $0 (re-purposed from the old house)
Total room makeover cost: $122 + tax

I was hoping to do it for under $100, but I always plan at least 20 per cent for contingencies. And, I always need it! Oh, yes, and Peter just reminded that this project required three trips to Home Depot. He has a rule of thumb that every DIY project requires at least three trips to Home Depot!