Transformed: Tim & Lisa's Budget Bathroom Redo
Dec 21, 2009
First let me make it clear that while I'd love to lay claim to the creative ideas in this bathroom remodel, I had nothing to do with them. My friends Tim and Lisa are both creative types with great taste and a knack for finding a bargain. They live in a largely original 1961 ranch in Traverse City. There are a lot of things to love about a home from that era, but this bathroom wasn't one of them. The vintage house won them over with its gorgeous hardwood floors, spacious layout, original maple kitchen, and original light fixtures, but they had to upgrade the bathroom—without spending a lot of money.
Tim is an artist (see his work here or buy prints and originals in his Etsy shop). Lisa telecommutes for an architectural firm in San Francisco. Tim has some mad woodworking skills and a perfectionist bent, and they both enjoy getting their hands dirty with DIY projects. So when it came time to reimagine the bathroom, they knew they could save money by handling the design and the work themselves. The challenge came down to sourcing materials that wouldn't ruin their budget.
The whole house has a very sleek, minimal feel, so they took the bathroom in the same direction. Here's the amazing result. Try and guess what the vanity is made from before reading on.
The floating vanity is the centerpiece of the renovation. Crisp white walls and a black rubber floor (like the kind you see in locker rooms) keep the look simple and direct.
The most expensive single item was the Toto toilet with dual flush and super-sleek design ($350).
Tim and Lisa wanted a frameless glass shower door, but the price was too high. This sleek alternative was scored online for a fraction of the price but still gives the bathroom an open feel. A rainshower fixture in the ceiling reads as a high-end amenity but doesn't cost much more than a standard wall-mounted showerhead.
In the shower, pebble tiles are a nod to the homeowners' love of nature, and white subway tile is an inexpensive, classic choice for the walls.
Next to the shower, the linen closet has a rustic-industrial look with barn door hardware and a weathered, reclaimed door from Odom Reuse, a salvage company in Traverse City.
Underneath the sinks, you might expect a tangle of pipes. But not when Tim's doing the job. He concealed everything within the vanity and wall, enhancing the minimal aesthetic.
So how about this vanity? Tim made it from scratch, for about $325, including the fixtures and mirror. That's not a typo. It's made from OSB flooring material, $25 for a 4'x8' sheet. Tim finished it with 5 coats of polyurethane to seal it from moisture. His ultra-precise joinery and sleek design make this humble material look like luxurious custom furniture. The sinks are $13 salad bowls from Ikea, expertly fitted with drains. Faucets were bargain finds at Home Depot, $80 apiece.
The entire down-to-the-studs bathroom remodel cost around $3,500. That includes everything you can see, plus new wiring and lighting, plumbing, insulation, window, sub-flooring, and shower waterproofing system. Pretty amazing results for a price that some might spend on a marble-topped vanity alone.
What can the average homeowner learn from this inspiring example of DIY ingenuity?
- Open your mind. Alternative sources and materials are everywhere!
- Spend where it's important. Figure out where it's worth it for you to splurge.
- Think about reusing. Salvage yards are a treasure trove of ideas and materials that still have a lot of life left in them.
- Mix old and new. Tim and Lisa's weathered door softens the sleekness just enough.
- A few small, special touches can give a room a high-end look without going whole hog.
When I walked into this bathroom the first time I knew it was a great blog post waiting to happen. Thanks for letting me share it, guys! —Diane
Do you need some low-budget ideas for spiffing up your bath or kitchen? "Spiff it up" is the eDecor Plan for you. For $400 ($320 through 12/31/09!) I'll give you a comprehensive plan for a cosmetic makeover, complete with 3D renderings, an Inspiration Board with links to everything you'll need to buy, a color scheme you can take straight to the paint store, and a to-do list to help you get it all done on your own time. Click for more info or just email me.
TAGS: diy budget bathroom renovation makeover before after pictures osb board vanity rubber flooring pebble tile shower toto dual-flush toilet odom reuse salvage barn door linen closet 60s pink bath remodel
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