Budget bathroom update
When money is tight, and demolition is out of the question, a bathroom can still be updated with some paint and a couple of new fixtures.
The house was built in the fifties. When I moved into the house in the mid-nineties, the bathroom was still stuck in the fifties. To say it was ugly would be an understatement. Long and narrow, with blue (or should I say “BLUE!”) wall tiles with peach border, and a peach and blue tile floor, the room was a prime candidate for a complete gut and remodel.
Given the limitations of the size of the room, the layout could not be changed nor could any space be borrowed from another room. And the wall tile was in excellent shape, so tearing it out was not really justifiable. And a complete remodel was not within my budget anyway.
My biggest problem with the bathroom was the peach and blue floor tile. In my opinion, it was just plain ugly. That was the one thing I really wanted to change. I had a couple of options:
Tear out the existing tile and lay new neutral tile: This would have been messy and inconvenient (there is only one bathroom). Plus there was the risk of damaging the wall tile and tub.
Lay new tile over the existing tile: This requires a lot of prep work to remove any waxes from the tile and apply a leveling compound. Even then, this shortcut is not recommended. Besides, he finished floor would have been higher than the entry threshold.
Install a vinyl floor over the tile: Again, a lot of prep work. Vinyl floors tend to curl at the edges if they are not held down with moldings. The entire bathroom has wall tile meeting the floor.
Install peel and stick tile: Not recommended for bathrooms as water can seep down between the seams and weaken the adhesive. Besides, the prep work was required here too.
Install bathroom carpeting: A high maintenance option, not to mention the squishy-squishy. Carpets simply don’t belong in bathrooms.
In the end, I chose the easiest and least expensive option: live with the floor as is. Besides, this kind of floor is actually coming back into style and is original to the house.
Surprising what a couple of changes and a fresh coat of paint can do….
- New brass vanity fixture replaces the chrome fluorescent fixture that would have been more at home in a gas station restroom.
- New beveled mirror replaces the old silvered mirror.
- Baby blue vanity counter replaced by a new gray counter. A new china sink and a chrome and brass faucet complete the look. The faucet was the big ticket item, but it adds a touch of elegance to the bathroom.
- The vanity is painted the same colour as the walls: a medium gray. The vanity could not be replaced as vanities this wide (4 feet) tend to be a couple inches deeper than this one. And with such a narrow thoroughfare to get to the throne, a couple inches just could not be spared. In hindsight, I should have chosen a more durable finish than the wall paint, but it held up perfectly fine as long as we lived in that house.
- Gray blinds and towels help neutralize the blues and peaches.
- A blue bath mat helps hide some of the peach and blue tile.
- The medium gray walls help to subdue the overabundance of blue. There are enough reflective surfaces in the bathroom that the darker paint does not create a gloomy space.
Not seen: The bathtub was professionally refinished and looks like new.
And, while some people may dismiss the wall and floor tiles as being “outdated” and “stuck in a certain decade,” I don’t regret my decision to keep them. Sure, that decision was based on finances, but the end result was that the original details were preserved.
Project completed in 2000.