February 01, 2020

Giving My Brother's Bathroom a Makeover

Unless you've been reading for a few years, you won't remember that my brother was remodeling his bathroom... and in April 2017, my mom, Jeanie, Becky, and I bought Nathan some stuff to decorate his bathroom.

Since then, it's been a running joke in my family that Nathan's bathroom will just never get completed. It's looked the same for YEARS. Nathan works a lot, so he's not home very often to work on it, but it definitely should have been completed by now.

As of yesterday (three years later!), the basket looked like this:

I told him that I really need a project to work on, and I'd love to finish his bathroom if he just tells me what needs to be done. He was planning to go to Grand Rapids this weekend, so when I asked him about helping, he said that if I really wanted, I could help by sealing the grout in his shower and installing shelves in his closet.

He mentioned just adding the wire shelves, but I said absolutely not--I just got rid of all the wire shelving in my house, so if I was going to install shelving, it would be wood.

I was very excited to use my router for the shelves! I hadn't used a router to make a decorative edge just yet, but since this was his house and not mine, I felt like it had to look really good. I was surprised just how much routing the front edge of the shelves makes such a huge difference!

This is what the edge looks like before the router:

And literally 30 seconds later:

I actually made the cuts for the shelves before I got there (I asked Nathan for the measurements and pictures). I went over there yesterday afternoon before picking Noah up from school, and I was surprised how much I was able to get done.

Everything went pretty well, but I ran into a couple of problems today. I told him I'd take care of Bailey (his black lab) while he was gone, so I went to let her outside yesterday afternoon. While I was there, I sealed the grout in the shower and I installed the shelves. I had no idea I'd get so much done in such a short amount of time.

This morning, I went over there as soon as I woke up to make sure that his dog could go outside. I brought Joey with me so that he could play with Bailey while I worked. 

Building the shelves worked out great--the cuts that I made were pretty perfect. After sealing the grout in the shower, the shelves were my top priority. After installing them, I taped off the paint around them so that I could paint them. Nathan had paint leftover from the trim, so I used that for the shelves and the bathroom door. 

I ran out of paint before finishing the other side of the door. And as I was painting the closet shelves, I noticed that the "white" wasn't the exact white for the shelves as it was for the walls. There are like 85 different shades of white paint! 

I didn't think it'd be a problem, but once I realized that the closet was white and the shelves were white, only they were two different shades, I knew I'd have to paint either the shelves or the closet in order to make a match. Since I already had tape around the shelves, I decided to paint the shelves a dark gray in contrast to the white walls of the closet.

I had to go back to Lowe's, so in the meantime, I told Noah I'd pick him up and take him to get some new shoes (he outgrew his old ones) and then we'd go to Nathan's. I wanted to get a toilet paper holder and a hand towel ring, so Noah and I went to Kohl's, T.J. Maxx, and Lowe's before we were finally able to get to Nathan's. 

After painting the shelves, I was very happy with how they looked.

Until I took the tape off of the walls. When I pulled back the painters' tape, it pulled the wall paint off with it! The color was "white", but Nathan didn't know what shade or anything at all about which paint was used. So, I still have to go back and paint the closet because I really don't like the missing paint.

The basket of stuff that my mom, Jeanie, Becky, and I bought for Nathan back in 2017 was still sitting there, untouched. So, I started to unpack that. I hung the decor (a painting of an anchor and a couple of oars that were crossed together). I was irritated by the oars, because there was no way to hang them without them being crooked. But it's (three years) too late to return them to the store, so I just hung them anyways!

Nathan has some "before" photos of his bathroom when he first bought the house and he'd done a drastic makeover (with help from Brian, my older brother). He said he'd send me some before photos soon, so I'll post the difference when I have those; but for right now, these will have to do. 

In all, this is what I did:
  • Seal the grout
  • Build and paint shelves in closet
  • Paint bathroom door
  • Install bathroom casing
  • Hang decor
  • Hang toilet paper holder and hand towel holder
  • Set out the rest of the decor (towels, rugs, etc)

I didn't see the valance until I was almost done, so I'll have to buy a rod to hang that. Otherwise, I set out the decor that my mom, Jeanie, Becky, and I had gifted him three years ago. 

And his bathroom can actually be used now! I'm so glad that it's done. When I started working on it yesterday, there was a receipt next to the grout sealer, and it was from 2017, hahaha. And when I was pulling things out from the basket we'd given him, I found the gift receipts--dated in 2017! 

Other than repainting the closet because of the issue with the tape pulling the paint off the walls, I just have to paint the doorway casing and hang a valance over the window.

Nathan left a (very generous) amount of money for me, but I didn't take it--I really just enjoy working on this stuff. He has a lot of potential projects, so I hope I'll be able to help out. It was fun to work on his bathroom this weekend!


  1. Looks great. We've been building new houses for 30+ years, I've never seen an electrical outlet near the toilet like that, I thought it was against code. Next time bring a hacksaw with metal blade and cut those screws down on the toilet, cover with plastic caps.


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