Bathroom Makeover Therapy

I’m at that weird place where so much shit has gone wrong in the last week that I don’t know if I want to recount the details of my own misery for every single person I see, or if I just want to forget the whole week ever happened.

I do know that Saturday afternoon, right about the time my truck became inextricably wedged into a snowbank in my driveway, I decided that the only way to set things right in the Universe again would be to go to my happy place. (By which I mean Lowe’s, obviously.)

I actually went there for rock salt and tire chains, but since they didn’t have either of those things, I decided to buy enough random shit to give my downstairs bath a mini-makeover instead.

Because that’s logical.

My haul included:

  • One gallon of paint, trays, rollers, and brushes
  • Grout stain
  • A farm-ish light fixture
  • Junction boxes, wire, outlets, and outlet covers
  • A lantern

Yeah. That last one is unrelated, but I was binge-shopping and it was on the end-cap of the checkout aisle I was waiting in and I’m pretty sure I needed it.

Okay, so let’s talk about my downstairs bathroom and feelings for a little bit, shall we? First of all, the downstairs bath has looked pretty much like this since the day I moved in…


And in less flattering lighting…


The thing about this bathroom is that there’s nothing overtly wrong with it. I don’t think it causes any visceral negative reactions like some of the other bathrooms I’ve started out with.  The “prison bathroom” in the garage I used to live in, for instance …


Uh. Yeah. That happened. But if you weren’t around back then, rest assured I turned it into something less likely to make your skin crawl before I actually moved in. I’m crazy, but not that crazy.

The full bath in the Memorial house was another fun one…

memorial house 007

Also never showered in that room until it was ripped down to the studs and replaced with (in my humble opinion) the most awesome bathroom that ever existed.

All I’m saying here is that I’ve had enough experiences with holy-effing-yuck that the downstairs bath at the Liberty house has, for the most part, fallen into the “I’ll get to it when I get to it” list of projects.


Here’s the part where we’re going to talk about feelings. Does anyone need to go get a glass of wine first? I do.

So the thing that’s been really hard for me to reconcile about life on the farm, and with this house specifically, is that it’s been both the most amazing, rewarding, fulfilling, and simultaneously soul-crushing work I’ve ever done.

I know that some of this is just the snow talking. The snow that takes a 1-hour job and turns it into a 6-hour job and gives me fifteen new gray hairs. The snow that makes it almost impossible for me to go get hay when I’m out, and is giving my chickens frostbite, and means I spend less time with my favorite fuzzy little dudes than I’d like.


I know this is also because I’ve reached a point, as far as house-projects go, where most of the easy stuff is done. There’s a whole lot less of “slap a coat of paint on it” to make it look better, and a whole lot more of… other stuff. Like needing to rent scaffolding, and trying to find a time to get an expert opinion from a plumber, and dreading another eighteen hours of quality time with the drum sander.

And even though I’ve pretty much got a decade’s worth of proof on this website that I can actually do some shit, after a couple of months where I feel like I’m not making progress on anything, and when it seems like everything I do is a struggle, it starts to eat away at me.

It’s weird, but I am capable of feeling like both a total badass and completely helpless at the same time.

I want everyone who reads this website to know that, because there are a lot of stories out there that make it seem like fixing up a house, or starting a farm, or enjoying the hell out of life while still taking care of the things that need to be taken care of is, well, easy.

And sometimes I’m the person who, in retrospect, tells stories like it was all easy. Except it’s not. Sometimes it’s hard to finance the project you want to work on, sometimes the weather hates your guts, sometimes you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. And sometimes you need to do something that doesn’t quite make sense, just because it energizes you to do other things.

That’s exactly where the downstairs bath falls, in the scheme of things. It doesn’t make sense to “pretty it up” because I’m planning to rip all of the tile out of the first floor in the next year. It doesn’t make sense to paint the walls because I’m planning to move some awkwardly placed outlets for the “final version” of this bathroom.


It doesn’t make sense to paint the trim when I’m planning to rip it out to put in board-and-batten on the lower-half of the walls.

And yet…

This room still drives me effing crazy.

I’m just going to say it. I hate the cream/pink colored walls, and the off-white switches and outlets. (And sometimes, part-white, part-off-white)


The walls are dirty, the doors are a weird gray color…


Which became far more obvious once I started painting them white.


Since this might be the room most seen by guests and myself at the moment, a quick-ish makeover seemed like a good idea, both for the overall feel of the house and for my own personal sanity.

This is not going to be a big project. I’m determined to keep it as small as possible, while getting rid of all the things that drive me nuts.

First up, paint.


The walls are Roycroft Mist Gray (Sherwin Williams) at 50%. The trim and doors are the same of the rest of the house– Moonlight White (Benjamin Moore) at 25%.

I’m also in the process of moving a couple of outlets/light fixtures that are making life difficult. Part of the reason I’ve been putting this off is because I plan to swap the positions of the toilet and sink when I finally re-do this bathroom for-real, which means all the light fixtures and outlets are going to move anyway and nobody likes drywall work enough to do this more times than they have to.


This bathroom is going to stay in it’s current state for at least another 9 months, so I’m going to invest a few hours into patching drywall now so that I can actually enjoy this space for the next year.

Luckily I have a secret bat-cave entrance to the electrical in the bathroom from some holdover architecture from the original house. This is in the closet under the stairs, which also shows an old doorway and the “inside” of the bathroom walls.


(I’m not responsible for the closet-graffiti.)

I’ve probably spent 5 hours on this bathroom in the last couple of days, and here’s what’s been done.

The walls and doors have been painted (but the doors need a third coat.)


Many of the ugly outlets have been swapped out…


And now look like this.. .


And even in a late-night picture you can see the difference some paint makes.


Up next this week:

  •  Moving the light and electrical outlets over the sink (and patching the drywall)
  • Staining the grout back to white
  • Getting a new (extra-long shower curtain)
  • Installing the mirror for my old beachy bath
  • Installing a new light fixture over the mirror
  • Swapping out the door hardware
  • Purchasing and installing this cabinet from World Market

The long-term list includes:

  • Swapping positions of vanity and toilet
  • Building vanity
  • Installing new tile
  • Patching the ceiling
  • Dancing around in the new bathroom like a lunatic

Honestly though, I got the Rotozip out, tore into some drywall, and already feel like I’m back to myself again. While this project doesn’t make any sense in the grand-scheme of things, doing something that keeps you motivated should never be underestimated.

And boy, I’m so glad to be back.

32 Responses

  1. Roycroft Mist Gray (Sherwin Williams) at 50%. Looks sage green to me…maybe it’s the light or my screen. Looks much better than that pinkish tho.

    What does the 50% indicate? I know nothing about paint..can’t afford it and hate to do it…but sure could use it here.

    Miss the little clickables at the bottom of posts to navigate to preceding posts…sorry…that could well be one of the parts of your horrible last week….at least I didn’t ask about the fucking snow management..oops.

    1. 50% means that only 50% of the formula for the original color was used. (i.e., instead of 10 shots of black, it would be 5 shots of black). This is usually done when someone likes a color but wants a more subtle version of it. I’ve also seen people use a color at 100% on the walls, and 150% on the trim.

      (I’m a paint department manager at Lowe’s)

  2. I hear you girl! I’m in west Michigan and this winter is sucking the joy and ambition out of me. I just found your blog last night and you inspired me to get off my butt and start the next project in my old house: built-in dog crates. Thanks for sharing your life, skills, and humor with everyone. You’re amazing. Never doubt that.

  3. We are stuck in the home improvement rut at our house. The weather is too nasty to do the projects we want/need to do. The flu has knocked the BF out for over a week. We are having trouble deciding on a paint color for the living room and dining room. We have little drywall patches that need to be done (also from moving outlets).

    I know what we need to do is just buckle down and finish something to get back into our groove.

    You made a great improvement on your bathroom! I hope that it inspires you to keep truckin on!

  4. Hang in there! I do that “quick easy project in the midst of a detailed and frustrating project” all the time in my sewing. Sometimes, it’s the only way to go on. It’s also why I currently have cute t-shirts, turbans, and clutch purses I wouldn’t be making otherwise.

  5. I apply this same thinking to myself. When I’m feeling like crap (most days), I MAKE myself put on something other than sweats or jeans, do up my hair, and slap on some makeup. Then I feel like a million bucks and my outlook (which is usually crappy) suddenly turns positive. Although this is most likely short-lived, I tend to get more done on these days. Why just yesterday I replaced the weather stripping on my front door, that I’ve been meaning to do for 2 years. Next up…coming up with a plant to cover the gap between the top of the kitchen cabinets and the ceiling (we tore out the soffit & put in taller cabinets, but there is still a gap). Maybe with the right clothes and a new makeover, I will FINALLY figure out how to cut crown moulding.[I’m 50% English. I should note, however, I’ve never lived anywhere but the USA (and Germany & Saudi, but that was with the Army)] 😉

  6. I want that cabinet for my bathroom. You know, the one that has a giant hole in the drywall, three different visible layers of flooring, and a cat with a peeing problem. So probably not for now.

  7. Now picture having to leave your home for 5.5 years to find work, finally getting back home to find that your aging body and bank account still aren’t capable of getting the things done you originally wanted to do, along with having to wait out the winter, (which I have to say is definitely NOT as bad as yours!). The Promise of Spring, daily stretching and rewriting the priority list keeps hope alive. Onward and Upward!

  8. OH SHIT! I just saw that cabinet the other day and told H that I WANT IT! But, not for the full retail $$$. I think I’d pay around $500, but no more. Love that thing.

  9. Sometimes you have to “pretty it up” for the sake of keeping your sanity. It looks better already!

  10. That does it- the nasty paint-spattered GFCI in my bathroom (complete with black test/ red reset buttons) goes TOMORROW! At this point, any progress on my remodel might help me find my lost motivation lol. Amazing what you got done in five hours, looks great!

  11. Since I’m currently overwhelmed/bored/frustrated with nearly everything I have going right now, I pulled all the crap out of an entire hall closet onto the floor and spent the afternoon reorganizing. Sometimes getting sidetracked to something doable is all you can do. Well, besides whine and wine.

  12. I’m all for forgetting last week happened. My power went out from Wed. morning till Sunday, with temps dipping into the low 20’s. Brrr. Can’t wait to get some projects going this spring.

  13. I am soooo sick of winter… We never have really bad winters here but this year it started in mid-December and it hasn’t left yet! I can understand your mood. I feel it too. I have paint in a closet waiting to go on the dining room walls if it ever warms up. Wallpaper half stripped off the bathroom walls, and even that is an improvement over what it did look like, ugh! But this weekend it is going to be 60 finally. Just one problem with that….where to start? So many projects, so little time 🙂

  14. Why do they even make those ivory wall plates/outlets? I’ve yet to see a color combination where they look good.

    I’m running out of places to put snow and my mailbox has been trashed by the snowplow 3 times so far.

  15. KitKat, It all looks good, I never knew about paint at percents…. so you keep saying you need a plumbing expert opinion. I keep wondering what kind of issue you could possibly have that requires an expert. What’s the issue, maybe it’s not such a big deal. AND a lantern? That burns an actual flame? Nice to look at but knock it over, you have liquid fire. Years ago my dad took one and modified it to accept a light bulb, so darn clever and unique back then.(70’s)

  16. That looks lots better already!

    I was also feeling unmotivated so I tore the carpeting off my stairs. Which is great…except the part where we have to suddenly decide on stain colors for the floor and trim.

  17. Bath remodeling can be a HUGE job! Good Luck with this project! It’s already turning out to be awesome! Thanks for sharing the progress!

  18. I’m with you on this one–redoing my bathroom right now and for some reason it’s just easier to focus on the stress of that rather than real life stress. Can’t wait to see how you move the lights! I just bought new bathroom lights from but have yet to install them. Hopefully your post will be just the motivation I need!

  19. Wow, paint and the other tiny little fixes really can make a big difference. Looks good. And well done on doing what you can for now so it won’t drive you nuts for the rest of the year:).

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