The Upstairs Bathroom – Refresh or Renovate? The plot thickens.

About a month ago, I wrote about our plan for the upstairs bathroom refresh. Andy and I discussed it thoroughly, and I thought we were on the same page. The to-do list was relatively simple overall.

  • Remove the torn wallpaper and paint the walls
  • Restore the marble sink
  • Paint the exterior of the tub
  • Replace the light fixtures
  • Paint the vinyl flooring

And the most critical to-do of all,

  • Remove the pink paneling and solve the mystery of what was behind it.

Over the winter break, I convinced Andy to do a bit of pink paneling intervention on Instagram.  Did you watch our story? We had so much fun filming that day.

Before the demo, I had a hunch that there was original wainscoting behind that plastic, and guess what?

We found original wainscoting. Insert happy dance here. The more we talked about the refresh, the more we started to question why we were waiting to dive into our grand remodeling plans for this bathroom.

Naturally, we boiled everything down to money and the budget. However, with an overall project as massive as BHH, coupled with the uncertainty of how long we will live here, money is only one piece of the puzzle. We try to schedule all of our significant upgrades based on what will make our lives better right now but will also appeal to buyers when/if we sell sometime.

Together, Andy and I considered what it would take to make a renovation happen now vs. later.

The Layout

Currently, the bathroom is laid out like this:

Everything is on one side of the room. If this bathroom were a boat, we’d soon find ourselves face down with a mouth full of water. It would surely tip over in a hurry.

If we start the master plan, we will move things around. The tub will move to the opposite side of the room, and we will use the open space for a free-standing shower, like this:

I have tentatively laid out the shower size as 3′ X 4′, but I have not looked at industry standards yet. There is plenty of room for adjustments.

While it would be nice to move the toilet and sink a little farther apart from each other, it’s not a deal breaker if they stay right where they are. As is, there is plenty of room for a cabinet between the sink and the shower.

The Project List

The master plan is much more extensive. It includes everything on the refresh list above, plus these costly additions:

  • Hire a plumber to move the plumbing, tub, and build and tile the shower.
  • Heated tile floor (more about this in a future post.) – DIY
  • Hire an electrician to redo the electrical wiring to accommodate lightswitches, new outlets,  an exhaust fan, and the heated tile.
  • Reglaze the tub.

Refresh or Renovate? Which did we choose?

At this point, we have decided on a hybrid of the two at worst, and the whole enchilada at best. We are committed to moving the tub and building a new shower. Once we have a bid for plumbing, we will determine whether or not to move forward with the other expensive items on our list.

The possibility of an updated bathroom is exciting, and I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. As per my usual, I am not too bogged down in the detail of finishes at this stage. We have a general feeling in mind that I wanted to share right now.

I found this first photo on Pinterest, and the credit goes to Kim from Yellow Brick Home. During a day trip to Kohler, she took this picture in the design center. I love the old paintings and photos, the bright white and orange, as well as the unusual layout of the flooring.

In this next bathroom, I like that the wall sconces have a traditional vibe. The sink is also adorable, but we are keeping the one we have. And look! more orange. I have a thing for anything that reminds me of sunshine, especially in the middle of winter. (Like mother, like daughter)


Photo Credit to BHG This image was found on Pinterest.

As far as the shower goes, we are not firm on anything at this point. Yesterday, I posted this picture on IG:


Photo Credit: Pottery Barn

Since we have no plans to paint the wainscoting, our bathroom will not be quite so white. I love that black and white wallpaper, but we could achieve the pattern in the first photo by breaking out the stencils again. (Andy, forget everything I said about never stenciling again. I was just tired.)

I am also drawn to the concept of a walk-in shower without a curtain. The idea is a little industrial, but I think we could make it work in BHH with the right choice of tile and proper tie-in with the rest of the room. Again, this is all preliminary. I am just going with my gut at this point.

Now that you’ve seen our plan, I want to hear from you. What do you love about your bathroom? What’s on your wishlist? Have you remodeled a bathroom before? What would you do differently? Leave a comment below. I would love to know.

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