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An Impromptu Bathroom Makeover – Day 1

As you know, my in-laws have been here this week, and they’ve been helping me with projects around the condo.  My mother-in-law has sanded my kitchen countertops and re-oiled them so that they look absolutely perfect for putting the condo on the market.  She also sanded the new bookcases that I built in the living room after I did all of the wood filling.  And of course, she’s also helped with other projects.

I’ve had my father-in-law busy repairing a constantly-running toilet, installing three ceiling fans, and installing a bi-fold closet door, among other things.

So yesterday when he arrived, he said, “Well, what do you need my help with today?”  The only other thing I could think of that I really wanted his help with, and absolutely didn’t want to do myself, was install a new toilet in the second bathroom.  The problem is that we couldn’t just uninstall the old  one and install a new one, because the entire bathroom was disgusting, and several things needed to happen before a new toilet could even be installed.

I mean, if the other bathroom was disgusting before its makeover, then this bathroom was disgusting times ten.  Seriously, gross.  It has basically been the forgotten room in the condo, tucked away behind a closed door for about three years now and never used.  But of course, if it stayed that way, it would be a big liability when we go to sell this place.

So yesterday, we decided to tackle it.  Here’s how it looked before (although he had started removing the toilet, and I forgot to put the tank lid back on before taking pictures.  Oops!)

Get ready for grossness.

Tiny condo bathroom before makeover

It has that same massive wall cabinet that the other bathroom had before I ripped it down.  But it doesn’t seem as intrusive in this bathroom, even though it’s so tiny.  I think it’s because you see it from straight ahead, rather than from the side sticking out into the room.

And about five years ago, I started ripping the wallpaper off the walls, and only got far enough to make the room look even worse.

Tiny condo bathroom before makeover - 2

This bathroom also has the very same cabinet and doors that the other bathroom had.  And it’s just as gross.  Same cheap apartment-grade countertop also.  Yuck.

Small condo bathroom makeover - 3

This bathroom is so tiny that it’s impossible to get good full-length pictures.  But as you can see, there’s a shower in this bathroom, with a very narrow door.

Small condo bathroom makeover - before

And all the way around the perimeter of the room, as well as around the toilet, the two layers of vinyl flooring are curling.  It was like that when we purchased it, and it’s only gotten worse over the years.  So there’s all kinds of incredibly gross muck and yuck caught around the perimeter of the floor.  And the thing that really grosses me out is that it’s not just our muck and yuck.  It’s other people’s muck and yuck as well.  That seriously makes my stomach turn.

I had to decide quickly how to tackle this room.  I didn’t want to spend days peeling two layers of wallpaper, repairing drywall, and prepping the walls for paint.  So I decided to put wood slats right over the top, from ceiling to floor.  So while I went to Home Depot to get all of our supplies for this bathroom makeover, I had my father-in-law remove the toilet, the countertop (along with the sink and faucet), and all of the baseboards and quarter round in the room.

As soon as I got back, I tackled the floor, removing the two layers of vinyl flooring.  Then we got busy on the walls.

Small condo bathroom makeover - wood planked walls

We started on the area above the sink, working from the ceiling down.  The wood planks I bought are tongue and groove, and fit together quite easily.

With two of us working (one cutting, and the other nailing up the wood strips) the work went very quickly.

Small condo bathroom makeover - wood plank walls 2

It was pretty smooth sailing, but working around the angle on the wall cabinet was definitely a challenge.  But we figured it out.

Small condo bathroom makeover - wood plank walls 3

And of course, all of the corners and the areas around the wall cabinet will be nicely finished with quarter round.

In all, we got three of the four walls done.  We could have finished the fourth, except that I want to install a new door before that wall gets planked.

Small condo bathroom makeover - wood planked walls 4

So today, I’ll work on the trim and flooring, and hopefully at least get enough of the walls primed and painted so that he can install the toilet for me.  I know how to install toilets myself (I uninstalled and reinstalled the one in the other bathroom a total of three times during that makeover), but if I have someone volunteering to do that stuff for me, I’m going to take full advantage of that if I can!  🙂

I’m hoping to get this whole makeover knocked out in just a couple more days.  Needless to say, it won’t be as involved as the other one.  It’ll just be a basic makeover to make this room look decent so that it won’t be a liability for us when we put it on the market.



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  1. You know how sometimes you see rooms people say are gross and then they’re really not that bad? That’s NOT this room! Wow, you had your hands full. I’m really digging the planked wall solution. I bet it turns out looking fantastic!

  2. Love your work Kristi! Any tips as to how you removed the vinyl flooring? I have some that I would love to get rid of and have pier and beam. Instead of cement, I have plywood underneath. I really like your idea of using high end vinyl tiles.

  3. Aren’t families wonderful! so glad you are getting much needed help….and what you are doing looks GREAT as usual. You are a great problem solver. I love visiting your site and getting inspired! Happy Weekend!

  4. Love your wall solution and can’t wait to see what you put on the floor. Also love your can-do attitude and enjoy your blog!

  5. Your in-laws are awesome to help you out in so many ways. That bathroom is shaping up nicely and I can’t wait to see how you finish it out. Even though it is a tiny bathroom, it’ll make a great selling point when it clean, freshly painted with new flooring and some colorful decorations.

  6. Absolutely love the plank walls! Brilliant idea! Are you going to use that gorgeous cedar for the counter top in this bathroom too? I loved that in your other bathroom. Can’t wait to see the colors you choose, and all the progress is so exciting! Your condo is looking amazing, I’m sure it will sell in no time flat! 🙂

  7. I would get rid of that shower door and put up a curtain. I had a shower with a small door and it is claustrophobic! Not so bad with a curtain plus you can bring in color that way.

    Love your blog and your ideas.

    1. Great idea! I wouldn’t mind doing that to my shower! And I wouldn’t have to clean that darn door – HA!

      1. Oh, and it would probably make the door a bit wider without all that trim. I am looking forward to this “simple” makeover all finished and clean!

  8. Woman, you are amazing! You sure have a lot of patience. If this were my bathroom, I’d have tossed in a lit stick of dynamite, screamed “FIRE IN THE HOLE!” and run for cover. Those walls look amazing already, and they haven’t even been painted. I bow down “I’m not worthy”-style to your patience and design ideas.

  9. I just love watching your condo transform! You do such an amazing job, and everything looks so beautiful when you are finished 🙂 I bet your condo sells the same day you list it!

  10. Kristi,
    You are doing a wonderful job! I hope you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your in-laws are extraordinary, too.

  11. Basic makeover….bah ha ha ha. You are awesome! I totally get the funk and muck thing. Having looked at houses it floors me (no pun intended) how dirty some houses are in the details like that. I am hoping my house sells on the merit that it is CLEAN in all the cracks, crevices and baseboard. Clean and fresh goes a long way. If I found a house I loved, I could look past the design taste if it did not fit mine, but someone has to deep clean. The cleaner the better.

  12. Oh, yes I just decided to re-do a bathroom today, and you?
    Girl, you amaze me. So talented!
    Can’t wait to see the end results! 🙂

  13. I love everything you do! I am so glad you had some help for a while. You are one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. I hope all goes as planned so you can get your condo listed!!!

  14. I’m totally impressed. I love the idea of just putting planks over the wallpaper. I have two bathrooms to remodel and they both have wallpaper. I’ll definitely consider the planks.

  15. Why didn’t you take the wall cabinet out before installing the wood slats? I’m curious because it means redoing the entire wall if you (or a future owner) decides that wall cabinet needs to be replaced.

    I’m running into a similar situation in my kitchen where the builder decided to place cabinets on the bare floor and tile around the cabinets. I can leave the cabinet as is or I can change the entire floor and cabinet. They didn’t leave enough tiles to make it possible to keep the same floor.

  16. I like the wood planking you used. I agree with the previous comment about getting rid of the shower door. Although I would opt for a clear door to give the impression of more space. Curtains tend to feel even more crowded. Great work!

  17. Love the plank walls Kristi!
    I agree with another poster that you are one the hardest workers out there! Not to mention brilliant!!! Love your myriad of solutions for EVERYTHING. You’re amazing!!
    And I’m so glad you were able to get some help from our in-laws.
    BTW, what is that planking? Is it meant for flooring. I learned after reading various Blogs recently, and checking the HD and Lowes websites, and their stores, that not all stores carry the same things. For example, although I was able to find unfinished cabinets on HD’s site, they’re NOT available in AZ. Lowes, however DOES have them. I could NOT find any “planking” in either store (if I’m remembering correctly – I’ve been looking for a LOT of stuff lately). Another blogger had put “planking on her little boy’s room wall, and she wrote that she bought packs/bundles of planking for something like $9! I DO remember that she spent a total of $42 for the whole wall! I couldn’t find anything that came close to that!!!
    Also, several bloggers have posted that they use “lattice” to finish off the fronts of cabinets/bookcases, and I can’t find anything like that on their websites.