A few weeks ago, I started a tour of our house in Washington. At the time, we were just getting ready to list the house for sale in preparation for our big move to El Paso.
Well, God is good, and after only 5 days on the market, we accepted a full-price offer and sold our first home. It was a bittersweet moment, as you can imagine. We were flooded with relief because our realtor didn’t think we’d be able to sell the house for the listing price, but the listing price barely covered the original purchase price of the home, not to mention everything we’ve done to the home.
We couldn’t afford to lower the price. We couldn’t afford to negotiate. What an amazing thing for God to allow us sell the house, pay off our loan, and start new. We know we have not gotten a return on the investment we put in to the house, but life is about more than just making a profit. We took a house that was in sad shape and improved every bit of it. I think that’s my privilege as an image-bearer of God. I get to shape and transform the dust into something beautiful. At the end of the day, my bank account may not be swelling, but I believe we are radiating the glory of God by subduing our little corner of the earth with beauty and grace.
Which brings me to the rest of the house tour. I’ve got to finish it so I can tell you all about our move and that little incident in New Mexico involving three patrol cars and the threat of arrest. Yep. That.
But first, a little reader survey:
Do you like getting jabbed in the ribs by a toilet paper roll holder every time you use the bathroom?
Do you like to think about mint ice cream cones whenever you contemplate the bathroom walls while using the aforementioned facilities?
Do you adore stick-on vinyl floor tiles that don’t quite connect in a bathroom which is used by three boys?
If so, then have I got a bathroom for you! Ta-da!
This is our bathroom the way it looked when we first moved in. It had all those things going for it–mint ice cream walls, stick on floor tiles, and more (like an extra piece of white trim stuck to the top of the back splash for no apparent reason and brass fixtures that did not match the nickel lighting and…).
…and so I really did not love this bathroom.
That mammoth golden oak vanity was much too large for the space. Someone in a previous household had carved “HI! Hi! Hi!” into the side of it, probably in an effort to make peace with the beast.
It didn’t work.
Now, the builders were aware of the beastly size of the vanity and tried to compensate by installing installed a teeny, tiny toilet. Now, my husband and I are not small people. I have already told you that I am 3/4 Giant (on my father’s side) and while I am not rotund by any means, there’s something about being squished between an intrusive toilet paper holder and a shower curtain that made me feel about as comfortable as a sumo wrestler in an airplane lavatory.
Lovely image, I know.
To make matters worse, this is the main bathroom in the upstairs. It is the bathroom guests use and children crowd into to brush teeth. It is the bathroom I had to walk by every single day and groan at until we made some changes.
And boy, did we.
This is our hall bathroom after a significant face-lift.
The first thing we changed was that awful vanity. We found a smaller vanity on clearance at Home Depot. It was smaller in width and in depth which was perfect for our small bathroom. Suddenly, we had room for two more children to crowd in and ask me questions if I ever tried to use the bathroom alone!
We also bought an adult-sized toilet, the kind that did not come from a preschool. You cannot know how happy that purchase made my husband.
It made him even happier than replacing the stick-on floor tiles, which was the thing that sent me over the moon. It was like Christmas and my birthday combined when I got to rip up the vinyl floor tiles. I was as giddy as a school girl with that putty knife in my hand.
In place of horrid sticker flooring, we put down real slate tiles. We had been collecting them for quite some time from various building surplus stores. They’d turn up every now and again for just a few cents a slate from people who had leftovers from a project.
We looked for brightly colored tiles and scooped them up whenever we found them. Usually, we found only one or two useable tiles at a time, but we weren’t in a hurry. What we wanted was unique, interesting rock. After all, if we were going to be stuck with a small room, we wanted to make it count.
We didn’t find all of our slate on the cheap, but we found enough of it to make a dent in the cost of renovating our hall bathroom.
A friend of ours from church came and laid the tile for us. He even complied with my request to lay them on the diagonal, even though that meant a lot of extra work for him. But I wanted interest and movement, not boring, straight lines.
Plus, every girl knows that if you have a choice between a diamond or a box, you pick the diamond. Always.
But wait! There’s always room for more diamonds!
We found these baseboard tiles after the floor tiles were laid, and they were perfect to finish the floor.
Jeff also added the accent tiles behind the sink. They look a lot like the baseboard tiles, but have glass tiles instead of slate for the accent. I love, love, love the addition of the glass.
These accent tiles were more expensive than the slate flooring, but we only needed a few because our bathroom is so small. Plus, they added so much to the room.
So much better than stick-on tiles. Like, infinity times a gazillion.
You may have noticed that the walls are no longer mint green. Good-bye, ice cream cravings! I painted the walls when we first moved in because the mint green was just not working for me. We picked up some free paint at a paint recycle place near us. Did you know such places exist? They do!
I made a custom color for the walls (that’s a fancy way of saying they didn’t have enough of any one color so I dumped a few together until it looked about right). I wanted something to complement the colors in the slate (at least, that’s what I told my husband when the finished product came out blue-grey).
I also told him we were going with an ocean theme. Because I totally planned that. See?
That slate on the wall was my grandfather’s when he was a boy. It even has some math on the back written in chalk. I will never erase it.
The Ocean Bath advertisement was in a stack of papers from my great-grandmother’s attic. The colors are perfect for the room, and I love having little reminders of my family throughout the house.
I accessorized with a towel holder I made from a scrap piece of wood and some random cabinet knobs.
I also found a little abstract oil painting at a garage sale and had to have it because I was going for that nautical look, remember?
Note to all my OCD friends (you know who you are): Items in this picture appear more crooked than they do in real life. Promise.
I love how the bathroom turned out. For weeks after we finished the project, I’d say, “I can’t believe this is my bathroom!” because I’m weird like that. Jeff has short-term memory issues so he’d just smile every time and say, “I know! Isn’t it great?”
We’re perfect together.
If you have short-term memory issues or are prone to repetition, you might like to see one more side-by-side shot of the renovation. Here it is:
Ah! I still can’t believe that’s my bathroom. Except now it belongs to some guy named Eugene. You’re welcome, Eugene.
Next, I’ll show you what we did in the master bathroom! Hint: it involves more tiles and more of that Cabinet Transformation stuff, which, though I complained about like a whiny two-year-old in the chip aisle of Walmart, I ended up loving.