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Diary of a Fixer-Upper: Getting Started on the Bathroom

This week was big in fixer-upper land: Despite being swamped at work and feeling generally blah about starting a new project, I purchased my first bathroom-related item.

It wasn’t easy. When you aren’t excited about renovating, spending money on home improvement feels like getting socks and underwear for Christmas.

So nobody was more surprised than I was at the thrill I felt when ripping open that box. It wasn’t even a fancy or unique purchase, but it somehow got me back to the level of excitement I needed to get this process moving again. As I described in a previous post, I have a system for creating a design, and with the help of my new-found enthusiasm, I got to it.

That first purchase was the medicine cabinet. I think it may be the very definition boring, but I went with it for two reasons. First, I like that it doesn’t stick out from the wall. Even among recessed cabinets, many jut out to show off fancy design elements. Secondly, unlike my first choice, it was not out of stock.

The second purchase was the light fixture. Are you noticing a theme? Yes, they are both from Pottery Barn. I am tempted to lie and say I found them at a fabulous nearby antique shop or on Craigslist. Getting a bunch of fixtures from Pottery Barn does feel a little bit like selecting a tattoo design of a yin yang sign. But I gotta hand it to the old PB—I just liked their stuff best, and medicine cabinets and wall sconces aren’t really where I want to make a big statement. Not that I’m defensive or anything.

Those two purchases alone will make a HUGE difference in the bathroom. Currently, I have zero storage, and I have long dreamed of hiding my toothpaste and moisturizer. Also, I have hated the art-deco-style light since the day I moved in.

As soon as the light arrives, my handyman/neighbor will install my new purchases. This means that in a little over a week, my bathroom will look substantially less crappy. It also means I’ll be on my way to the lovely bathroom in my mind’s eye, which looks like a much smaller version of this bathroom.

Apparently, I should buy stock in subway tile, because I am obviously obsessed with it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have some consistency between the kitchen and the bathroom, but I promise, that’ll be the end of it. No subway-tiled bedrooms or closets, I swear. Although closets would look pretty cool.

Anyway, subway tile is cheap, and that, my friends, is a good thing. Hex tile in a black and white pattern—which I am very excited about for the floor—is not cheap. So hopefully saving a few bucks on the wall tiles will help balance out the more expensive floor. I am also not replacing the toilet and sink, so I can save some money there, too. I do want a new, deeper bathtub, however, and that will be pricey.

The last big-ticket item will be to make room for shelves by expanding the bathroom into the hall closet. As my plans stand now, I’ll undertake that project in phase II, which I hope to finish between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

True to form, I am flummoxed by paint colors again. I want something light, but noticeable, and a little bit vintage-y, if that’s possible. Maybe Antique Glassware, Constellation, Seedling, or Light Pistachio? Blue Bonnet? Lily Lavender?

The people who name paint colors are intentionally making me sound silly, right?

Daphne writes about her renovation every Tuesday. To read Daphne's remodeling adventures from the beginning, click here.

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