When we moved into our house, it was previously rented by five guys who had just graduated from college. As you can imagine, it was like Animal House and the Hangover combined. According to my neighbors they use to throw kegs off the roof and party all night long. The house was a disaster, smelled musty, and was absolutely filthy. I had seen the house prior to them renting it. We wanted to rent it at the time but we didn’t have extra money to pay first, last, etc. The house was in great shape and had a lot of charm with the exception of the kitchen and bathrooms which were completely outdated. When we moved in the landlord agreed to let me make some modifications within reason. I told him my dad would do the work, we would look for the least expensive materials while making it look nice but I couldn’t live here in the current state of some of the rooms. We asked that the house be painted all white so we had a blank slate. We had so many projects to do that I never got around to painting colors because we were so focused on so many other things such as getting it clean, working on the outdoor space and various other elements of the house (cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning). I’m now revisiting our upstairs bathroom. Currently, my color scheme is white walls with chocolate brown accents. I am now looking to take it to the next level by painting above the bead board chocolate brown to give it a more dramatic effect.
What most people don’t know about renting is that a lot of landlords are very accommodating if you just ask. I have been very fortunate where I have lived that they let me do, whatever I want (within reason of course). It only improves their space and value of the home. They are normally genuinely happy if someone is taking care of their property. I always encourage people if you don’t like something and it’s outdated all you have to do is ask.
This is an example of a project we took on. Our landlord agreed to pay for the materials and my dad did the work. Our bathroom initially looked like this below. It had an outdated sink and stock cabinet with huge track lights above with a tacky oak mirror. I had my dad take out the light fixture. My dad was going to do a built in cabinet and sink but he was only visiting for two weeks and we were on a limited time schedule. The photo below is what it looked like before.
The floors were blue tile trimmed with red. Initially I thought what the heck, I can work around it and maybe do a nautical theme since we live at the beach. However, the tile was so disgusting and the thought of five guys living here before me made me want to start fresh. I convinced my dad to redo the tile (he thought he was just doing the kitchen). Off to Depot we went, I found some Dale Tile hexagon shaped 12” x 12” tiles that looked vintage and fit the architecture of our house perfectly. They actually look like original to the house (see in the after pictures). By the way, did you notice the plastic icky beige towel bar. Gross.
How do you like the empty toilet roll they left. Can you imagine this is only one room?This is how our bathroom looks now (see below). Now my new project is to paint above the bead board a rich chocolate brown. I wanted a minimal feel to the bathroom. Simple and not overly done. I got the shower curtain from the Nate Berkus collection for $29.99 on sale vs.. Restoration Hardware’s hotel collection for triple. I wanted Smith and Noble bamboo or textured blinds but it was not practical to buy customs blinds that might now work somewhere else. I found these at Target for $29.99 and they are nicely textured in a grass cloth. People think they are super expensive and are always surprised when we say Target.The picture (see below) is actually a card. I was looking for some classy nudes but all the paintings were too expensive. I happened to stumble on some cards in an and found this in a shop in Connecticut. The frame cost me $ .01 from Aaron Brothers because I did buy one get one for a penny and the mat came from Target. To frame this entire picture including the picture cost me less than $20.00. You can’t tell by the photo but it looks like an expensive piece of art up close. This is an inexpensive way to add art to your home. I’m always looking at cards or books for things that I can frame. I prefer to do a larger mat so there is even more focus on the item your framing. I love these frames from Aaron Brothers because they looks expensive (Pottery Barn has similar ones) because they are a rich chocolate brown wood frame.
This shelf sits directly across from the toilet and behind the door. Unfortunately, I’m still learning how to photograph for my blog and I accidently cut off the top of my orchid. The table came from a home boutique store that is no longer in business in Manhattan Beach. I’m looking for a matte white colored Urn to match the small one below to put my orchid in. I like that Martha Stewart look of multiples of the same object in various sizes. Here you can get a glimpse of the tile we used for the bathroom floor. As you can see, it looks more vintage and appropriate for our house.
We needed to replace the nasty oak bathroom sink so we went looking for a free standing sink and cabinet. At that time (four years ago) it was difficult to find nice free standing sinks and cabinets like the ones in Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. I had one day to find everything and our only options were Home Depot and Home Expo. All the Home Depot free standing cabinet/sinks looked cheap or too small and I wasn’t convinced. We found this one at Home Expo and it was the only one that looked like something that would go with our house. I liked the marble top because it made it look more expensive and was more beachy as opposed to some of the other ones. I found an inexpensive faucet for the sink that looks like one you might see from Rohl or Restoration Hardware at a fraction of the cost. I hung two Chatham Towel Rings from Restoration Hardware's on each side of the sink. Since they had to be hung higher it looked funny with just one so, I ended up putting two and it looked much better. I also got the Chatham Tissue Holder and Towel Rack] at Restoration Hardware to make the fixtures look a little more upscale than your typical rental.
I’m in love with my parrot. I found him in my favorite store Home Goods. He will look great against the chocolate brown walls once I paint them. My boyfriend just thinks it’s more clutter on the sink but I love it.
Can you believe I couldn’t find any pictures on-line of chocolate brown bathrooms. This was as close as I could get to demonstrating the contrast of the brown and white that I am looking to create. The bead board would remain white below and I would paint the top a rich chocolate brown. I will change out the mirror and either do a long gold rectangular one or paint a silver mirror that I hate downstairs a glossy white to make it pop on the wall. I found some great bathroom fixtures that are fabulous for our style house at Rejuvenations, which specializes in classic American light fixtures. Now, I have to finalize the color brown and get to work. Let’s see how long this will take me. Of course, if we owned this house, I’d be gutting this bathroom and starting from scratch. Now back to reality! I’ll be sure to post the after pictures once I finish. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your comments.
Just for giggles, I thought you might get a kick out of what our house looked like before we moved in. I just did the post on our window boxes (what our house looks like now) and you can you see with some minor changes such as paint and flowers how easy it is to spruce up your house. Keep in mind this picture makes it look good compared to state the house was actually in. I wanted to keep that door because it fit the architecture of the house better than the one we have now (see post on I’m in Mourning) but it was falling apart. Most of the ones that look like this need to be custom and being renters, I’m not willing spend that kind of money. However, I just found one at Osh for $100.00 that looks very similar and eventually I am going to replace it. It will add to the character of the house. You can see how the flower boxes were not painted, the house was chipped (I got the landlord to agree to paint the house) and fix the roof. There were NO plants anywhere except for two rose bushes and a hydrangea bush in the corner. I painted the window boxes, added the arbor by the front gate and we planted all the roses and flowers ourselves. It’s like the saying, “We’ve Come a Long Way Baby”.
There are some inexpensive and creative ways you can freshen up your bathroom or home especially for those living in a house that they are renting or an apartment. I’ll be sure to show you the after pictures once I finish it. With a little bit of creativity you’d be surprised what you can do!
Photo Credits: All photos are taken by Peggy & Fritz except Photo 11: Source Unknown. You are welcome to use them and it would be great if you can reference Peggy & Fritz.