Thanks for visiting!

I'm looking forward to sharing thoughts on home decor and renovations, travels, photography, and more here.

Tiny 3/4 Bathroom Renovation: Bringing in the Light - Week 5

Tiny 3/4 Bathroom Renovation: Bringing in the Light - Week 5

It’s Week 5 of the One Room Challenge: our tiny 3/4 bathroom seems to finally be coming together, but there’s so much to do before next week, and some of it is out of our hands (electrical! and whether our toilet arrives on time!).

I’m feeling nervous and excited. Many thanks to Linda for hosting and organizing the One Room Challenge, and to media partner House Beautiful. It’s given us more impetus to get the job done in a relatively short timeframe and not let it drag on with our (my) indecision as might have otherwise happened.

Here’s where we started, and our progress so far (most of which our contractor and his subs have done—asterisks for parts of the project we’ve done ourselves), and our remaining items:


  • Demolition of existing bathroom
  • Re-plumbing to move pipes away from exterior walls
  • Drywall and plaster
  • Choosing and purchasing tile*
  • Tiling and grouting floor
  • Installing new shower
  • Framing enclosure for new pocket door
  • Trimming door and baseboards
  • Priming and painting walls*
  • Painting bird designs on upper walls with Cutting Edge Stencils*
  • Choosing and purchasing chair rail*
  • Choosing and purchasing shower door*
  • Choosing and purchasing fixtures:*
    • double sconce (with milk glass!)
    • vintage-style brass wall shelf
    • towel rack and toilet paper holder
    • shower fixtures
    • pedestal sink
    • sink faucet
    • toilet (again, after the first one arrived broken)
  • Ordering artwork*

STILL TO COME (with one week to go—eek):

  • Chair rail finishing and installation (and potentially board & batten)
  • Window and trim installation
  • Pocket door installation
  • Shower door installation
  • Fixture installation, including electrical work
  • Accessorizing
  • Trim painting and final touch-ups
Accessories in progress: Moroccan brass lantern—from Morocco—on Pottery Barn's vintage wall shelf

Accessories in progress: Moroccan brass lantern—from Morocco—on Pottery Barn's vintage wall shelf

Stenciling update

The major project of the past week was stenciling the alternating birds-and-berries and birds-and-roses designs on the wall—a first for me. I might do a tutorial in the future if folks are interested; I found the stencils pretty easy to work with and was happy with the results, especially after touching up the messy bits in the corners. I’m excited to see how it looks once the rest of the room is put together, and to share final photos next week! Thanks again to Cutting Edge Stencils for partially sponsoring the stencil project!

Chair rail debates

I’d been debating over what kind of chair rail to buy or construct, and finally found a simple, single-piece profile at our local millwork yard. It’s technically a window apron, but it reminds me a lot of the chair rail in the first house we bought, a 1917 condo. It’s made of a wood I’d never heard of before, sapele, and when I went to pick it up, I was stunned by how pretty and luminescent the wood grain is. I’ve since learned that this is an African hardwood now commonly used as a mahogany replacement, but I feel uncomfortable using it since I’m not sure about its provenance—specifically, whether it was sustainably grown and harvested or if it’s destroying important wildlife habitat ("la selva"=rainforest and one of my obsessions in life, so clearly I don't want to contribute to its demise!). Now, I’m trying to decide whether to paint it as I’d originally planned, or just polyurethane it and let the wood shine through…which could then also mean re-painting the lower walls white if the gray doesn’t work well with the wood tone. It would also probably mean board & batten is out of the picture, as I don’t think we’d want gray battens butting up against an unpainted wood board. Thanks to everyone who took my Instagram poll on painted vs. unpainted chair rail. And feel free to weigh in with thoughts in the comments. I need to decide in the next day or so!

Toilet woes: solved (hopefully)

Well, it ended up costing more than I’d anticipated needing to pay, but I did get the ultra-water-efficient toilet I felt like I had to have for this project: the Niagara Conservation Stealth One-Piece. It’s been so great in our upstairs bathroom, and I didn’t want to go to a less water-efficient model knowing this one is out there. I also like that it’s universal height rather than comfort height…which to me as a 5’2” woman is never comfortable, and certainly not a great option for my little four-year-old. The company kindly let me order one directly, though the freight charges were pretty steep. I found out later that I could have tried to order through the Home Depot Pro desk, but I doubt I could have gotten it on time since it was backordered on Amazon and through the other vendors that usually carried it. Now I just have to hope it arrives by next Tuesday like it’s supposed to, though that’s cutting it pretty close to the deadline.

Next up

This weekend, I hope to paint the door trim, clean up the adjoining office that’s become an out-of-control staging area (also getting a mini-makeover with a new closet installation and replacement bay window) and buy a few plants.

I’m also looking forward to checking out the featured designers’ progress and seeing what the other guest participants have been doing with their rooms. So close to the finish line—and yet, so far away from project completion here! How’s everyone else feeling?

Small Botanical Bathroom - One Room Challenge Reveal

Small Botanical Bathroom - One Room Challenge Reveal

Sometimes Things Don't Go As Planned: Bathroom Reno Week 4

Sometimes Things Don't Go As Planned: Bathroom Reno Week 4