I Really Am Making Progress On The Bathroom (But I’m Still Facing The Biggest Hurdle)

I know it seems like this master bathroom project is going on forever, and that’s because it is. Well, maybe not forever, but it’s been in progress now for a year, and there’s still quite a bit to do before it’s finished.

I got off track for a few weeks when Matt and I bought the wheelchair van and Matt started living life outside of our house for the first time in many years. And since then, it’s been difficult to get back into the swing of things. But I really have made progress since the last time I took inventory of how much more I had to do to finish the bathroom. Here’s that list I made a while back with the items that I’ve finished crossed out…

  1. Finish the crown molding and trim around the mural wall — sand, caulk, prime, and paint
  2. Install the last row of tiles around the ceiling in the shower
  3. Install the door between the bathroom and home gym
  4. Trim out that door
  5. Build two vanities
  6. Build the “dresser” between the vanities
  7. Make the “chandelier” and install above the bathtub
  8. Build the cabinet for the toilet area
  9. Paint the walls and ceiling in the toilet area
  10. Install baseboards in the toilet area — caulk, prime and paint
  11. Have the bathtub, tub faucet, and toilet installed
  12. Hang shower curtain in the shower (yes, I decided to use one)
  13. Order countertops for vanities and have the sinks installed
  14. Finish the plumbing on the sinks
  15. Install the wainscoting on the lower walls
  16. Finish all of the rest of the trim (doors, window, wainscoting) — wood fill, sand, caulk, prime, and paint
  17. Hang the other vanity mirror
  18. Decide on privacy (window treatments? glass film?) for the window and doors

So that means that I have half of that list finished. That’s not great progress, and it’s certainly far behind where I had intended to be as we approach the middle of July (I had intended to be completely finished by now), but that’s what happens when real life gets in the way of plans.

I did get the pink wall in the water closet repainted this weekend, so now it’s white just like the other walls.

Master bathroom remodel still in progress - beautiful mural on wall behind bathtub, wainscoting on walls in water closet

Ahhhh…so much better, right? 😀

And yesterday I spent several hours searching for, downloading, and editing 30 pictures to go in the 30 frames that will go on that feature wall. It took me a while to narrow down what I wanted to use on that wall. I started out on Etsy trying to find 30 downloadable pictures that would all coordinate, but I very quickly found that it would be close to impossible, and would end up costing way more than I wanted to spend.

So I ended up heading to that treasure trove of free downloadable pictures that I shared with y’all a few years back — the Biodiversity Heritage Library on Flickr. That’s where I found the birds prints that are on the entryway wall…

Entryway with dark teal wall, gold framed arch mirrors, grid gallery wall of bird illustrations, wall sconces, DIY credenza, and DIY upholstered ottomans

That library is so huge that I could spend hours and hours just perusing all of the pictures. You can see this post that I wrote a while back where I highlighted some of the different collections you can find in that library. And that barely scratches the surface. I mean, there’s so much there it will make your head spin.

But it didn’t take me long at all to narrow down what I wanted to use for my feature wall. I went with butterflies and moths. 😀 So it will be a gallery wall of 25-30 colorful butterflies and moths. Here’s a peek at the 30 that I chose…

Free butterfly illustrations used for a grid gallery wall with 25 framed pictures

And every single one of them required resizing and editing for color and brightness. Now it’ll take a while to frame them and hang them, but I hope to get that done today.

Then I have to build the cabinet that will go in there, reinstall the toilet, and that area will be finished.

And then, before I can do anything else in the rest of the bathroom, I have to build the vanities and the cabinet that will go between them. That’s the project I’ve been dreading and putting off because, to be quite honest, it scares me. If you’ve forgotten, here’s what that wall will look like…

Drawing of vanities and storage cabinet for a master bathroom remodel

Yes, even after 30 years of DIYing, I’m still not as fearless as some may think. I’ve been procrastinating on those vanities and cabinet for as long as I can because the thought of tackling those projects intimidates me. I don’t know why, honestly. I’ve built furniture before. I’ve build cabinets before. I’ve built tables before. And I’ve used veneer before.

But I’ve never put all of those things together before to try to create a beautiful walnut veneer piece of furniture and tables using expensive turned walnut legs. And I’ve never done any of that on a project where painting wasn’t an option if I mess up the wood. There’s a great deal of comfort in working on a project like that where painting is an option since painting allows for lots of wood filler and caulk to hide mistakes.

Making these things, which will comprise an entire 12-foot wall span with no safety net of being able to paint if I mess things up, has caused me to get stuck in the “planning” stage for months now. There’s safety in the planning stage. I can convince myself that as long as I’m still “planning,” there’s forward momentum and I’m getting things done and moving towards the finish line.

But the truth is that the planning stage of that wall was done almost three months ago. Now I’m just flat out procrastinating. There’s no other word for it, and there’s no excuse for it.

So I’m now about a week away from being face-to-face with my most intimidating project for the bathroom. I only have a little bit of a buffer left (hanging 30 frames and building a cabinet) before I’ve run out of time and excuses and delay tactics. Because after this week, and after I have those frames hung and the W/C cabinet built, I can’t make any more progress on this bathroom until those vanities and “dresser” cabinet are built. The rest of the finishing projects — wainscoting, tile backsplash, and the rest of the trim — can’t be done until after those things are built and installed. I’ve got about one more week to get out of my head, get out of the “planning” stage, and get to the “doing” stage of that big 12-foot wall.

UPDATE 9-16-22:

I finished building the vanities and the middle dresser! You can click here to see how they turned out.

DIY table-style walnut vanities and DIY walnut eight-drawer dresser



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  1. I absolutely LOVE the butterfly wall concept! 🥰🦋

    As with any project, the hardest part is starting. I’m confident that it will turn out amazing… once you start!

    1. Backup idea for the vanity do the sides sink cabinets first. If you run into some problems, you could paint the center dresser like the WC cabinet to tie them together.

      For joints- Keep a hold of all the walnut dust and scraps you reasonably can to make some similarly colored filler in a pinch. There’s tons of laminate floor patch kits you can make filler for cracks to the color you need with trial and error. Did this in an evening with an accident prone friend helping repair their floor one evening.

      Good luck just break the big stuff down, you can do it!

    2. I was in awe of everything you did/made in your pantry, bleached those boards for the counter top, made your own tile backsplash, made cabinets, installed drawer runners/hardware, made the microwave cabinet. It all made my head spin that you were able to do all that. I used to do alterations on very expensive clothing and what got me over my trepidation was that I told myself “it’s only cloth.” Forget the cost of your materials and go at it like you do everything else. It’s only wood, etc. You can absolutely do it. Think of how much easier it will make your life to get Matt ready for all those adventures!

  2. Thanks for being honest about the feelings of trepidation you’re experiencing; we’ve all been there and used planning as a procrastination vehicle! Your plan sounds, well, sound and I think building the WC cabinet will get you back into the furniture building groove.

  3. Whichever appeals to you: start with the hardest thing to do or start with the easiest thing to do. Do that and then pick another step. Step by step it’s not as big a job as a darn TWELVE FOOT WALL! No wonder you want to procrastinate!

  4. You are amazing. Building furniture. How rare. Giving your husband the time of his ( and your) life in the van. Pat yourself on your back for all the projects you’ve done. As far as making a mistake – you have done that before and recovered remarkably. You won’t make a mistake! Your plan is thought out.

  5. Would it work to build a mini mockup with cheap wood so that you’ve been through all the steps to make you feel more confident?

    1. I hadn’t thought about that. I usually walk through the steps, step by step, in my mind all the way through from beginning to end several times before I actually start a project like that just to make sure I’m anticipating any problems. But I had never thought of actually making a little mock up.

    2. That’s what I thought! Try a “practice run” and then you can make all your learning mistakes on something less intimidating!

  6. Honestly I don’t know why painting is not an option. Is it because of pricy products or the image in your head. I think those three pieces painted would be lovely. So proceed and if you have to fall back and paint, roll with it.
    Is water closet storage stained or painted?

    1. It’s all of the above. I had a vision in my mind, and paid premium prices for the materials to make that vision reality. The storage in the w/c will be painted.

      1. Love the wall white. So happy for the joy you and your husband are experiencing with the new van, it brought me to tears reading your story. Is the building project for bathroom something you could gift yourself by hiring someone or even hire for partial work? We all know you are capable, sometimes we just need self-care. One more thought…I like you, love landscape ideas, being in the great outdoors surrounded by trees, plants,decor. I have hours of weeding to do all the time, it has taken over my days. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. I get you completely. On intimidating projects I have to fool my brain and just say ok I’ll gather everything I need here, I’ll measure what i can. I’ll just assemble one small area and if I’m not feeling it by then I can stop and try again another day. I know myself and once i get started usually I’m ok and do more than I planned.

    1. This is what I was going to say! I call it the “Just” Technique for whenever I catch myself procrastinating.

      Say I’m feeling too tired to take a shower? Okay JUST take your towel to the bathroom, then you can go to bed. JUST turn the tap on for 5 seconds… And of course next thing youre done, all because you tricked yourself into doing the manageable tiny parts 🙂

  8. Can’t wait to see your gallery wall! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    I was reminded of something I read about butterflies…they never see their own beautiful wings and I dunno, knowing an entire wall is dedicated to their beauty puts a smile on my face.

  9. Kristi, you are amazingly gifted and talented. If anyone can do the task of building the vanities, it´s you!!!! Don’t think of it as a 12 foot long project, break it down to the 3 separate units, so think of it as building 3 pieces individually that are then joined to make your 12 foot space. I think then it´s not so intimidating. Your vision, design and plan is clear, you can do this Kristi. Your butterfly-moth wall is going to look beautiful.

  10. First you can execute this. Do you want me to come down and help? That will allow me to procrastinate on my new 3 unit renovation. Lol

  11. Go Kristi Go! You can do it! Try mantras (“just one step at a time” ), try music, try anything to get out of your head. Tell yourself whatever messages you need to overcome negative perfectionistic thoughts, which paralyze and stop your progress toward your vision and achievement. if it’s a bible verse or a certain motto, just use that to move yourself forward. Do not get down on yourself.

  12. You are phenomenal as far as I’m concerned. Taking a break is a wonderful thing. I love the butterflies!!!