Saturday, October 27, 2012

Farmhouse Bathroom Remodel -- Done!

Remember when I mentioned how our family has gotten so much closer after the move?  Well, I wish it was because of how magnificently and sensitively I shepherded my children through the transition.  It's actually because of the fact that all five of us share one bathroom upstairs.  When we first moved in, I thought that was going to be one of the most challenging parts of living here, but it's been totally fine.  I  swear.  Plus, it gives me hyper-control over my children's hygiene.  I actually didn't know I still needed that.  Do you know how many shortcuts a child takes in this department when you're not around?!  I actually had to tell one of my children that yes, you have to use toothpaste when you brush your teeth, even on the weekends. Yikes.

Though the shared space is fine, what wasn't fine was how much the bathroom needed to be resurfaced and updated -- from the cracked and peeling cultured marble, to the vinyl flooring, to the impossible-to-keep-clean shower surround, to the room-length mirror, to the fluorescent shop lights over the vanity.  I'm sure it was an example of high design back in the day, but its day was over.  I wanted to give it a rustic, vintage feel, with a slightly modern edge. And I wanted the remodel to be as low-cost as possible.  Which explains my radical decision to paint every square inch of the perfectly beautiful cherry wood that filled the room.  Sorry, all you purists out there.  Here are some before/after pics to show you what a few changes can do to a space.

Found some reclaimed barnwood at an architectural salvage store (link below).  Had varying sizes of "slate look" tile laid in a random pattern to keep it rustic and informal.  Added an antique glass door cabinet to bring a little history back in amongst the new surfaces.

Since this bathroom will primarily be used by the kids, I needed to choose a floor material that was easier to clean than natural stone, and more resistant to water than wood.  

There was so much wood to paint!   I decided to use Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White on all the cabinets so they would look like oil-rubbed, vintage furniture.  For the rest of the surfaces, I had the chalk paint color-matched at Sherwin Williams in a latex, satin finish and was able to coat the larger surfaces with a roller.  Matched perfectly.

Counter tops were custom made out of Peruvian walnut.  I kept all the original, antique brass hardware.  I love those H hinges and they can be found all over our house.  
The barn wood was dark and didn't have that weathered gray look I was after, so I cheated!  With a dry-brush technique I added a very diluted wash of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Paris Grey to lighten it and help it blend with the floor tile. Here's a sample of an original board next to the "weathered" ones.

I spray painted chrome cage lights with Rustoleum's oil-rubbed bronze finish -- that saved me a TON of money, since I needed four sconces quickly and chrome was the most available.  Modern, counter top vessel sinks are from Kohler (great Overstock find!), and I kept the original antique brass faucets because I just love them.  Added mini-can lights from Lowes over vanity for extra light while putting on makeup.

Tub/shower surfaces were done with matte subway tile and a slightly darker grout to complete the vintage/modern look I wanted.  A new shower fixture with  rain shower head brings a little luxury into this beautiful, old farmhouse. 
I can't even begin to tell you how much I love being in this bathroom!  And it is such a thrilling thing to see the vision in my head turn into something my family can touch and enjoy.  When you factor in their size, function, and comfort, a bathroom remodel is a lofty undertaking loaded with tough decisions. But I'm learning that great design doesn't have to be expensive. It just has to be great.  So don't be afraid to paint some wood, put a little effort into a few standout features (like a barn wood focal wall!), and if a reasonably-priced sconce is calling your name in the wrong finish, spray it!

Material Sources:

Silverfox Salvage, Albany, NY -- reclaimed barn wood
LampsPlus -- sconces
Overstock -- Kohler vessel sinks
BestTile -- Italian "slate" floor tile
Faucet Direct -- Moen shower/tub fixtures
Amazon -- Whisper Quiet exhaust fan by Panasonic
Miller Construction, Guilderland -- so many talented craftsmen!
Design on 20, Guilderland --invaluable sounding board and support during material selection
Lowe's -- industrial light over commode
Perfectly Imperfect -- Annie Sloan chalk paint and "should I paint the wood?" inspiration!
Target -- shower curtain and bath mats
Something Olde Something New, Slingerlands, NY -- antique glass-door cabinet


  1. Shan,

    Todd told me you posted. Looks dynamite! What a great project.


  2. I also had an antique brass faucet in my bathroom before, but I wasn’t able to keep it because its condition was beyond repair. Well, I was still lucky because I was able to find better-looking brass faucet. I didn’t find it hard to install it too since the procedure is almost the same with the one I had.

  3. Could you please tell me what color paint you used on the walls? Thanks
    You bathroom is beautiful it really inspires me!

    1. Thank you! It is called Platinum by Benjamin Moore. It is one of those perfectly neutral grays that doesn't head towards blue or olive. Took me a few failed attempts at other grays to find it!

  4. What color of blue is this on the wall??

  5. did you have any problems with the roughness of barnwood on the wall behind vanity? I'm planning on doing this but am worried about moisture etc...

    1. I'm so sorry, I have not kept up with the blog and didn't realize I had comments waiting! I've transferred all these posts to my other blog because I didn't want to maintain two different ones. You can find me at As for the barn wood, my main issue was difficulty in cleaning. No real moisture issues. But when the kids send toothpaste flying it is not as simple as wiping with a rag. But I still don't regret the decision. It's beautifully rustic the way I had hoped. Good luck!

  6. I am constructing this exact bathroom because I love it so much! The wood wall is going in today. Just trying to find the mirror that you have. Where did you get it and how wide is it? Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment! I am so sorry it took so long to respond! I found the mirrors for dirt cheap at Lowes. It was so long ago I can't remember the cost. They are about 18" wide. Good luck!

  7. Hello, love love love your tile floor- do you remember the name of this tile and maker? Your link you provided is a dead end. Hank you so much!

    1. Thank you! I can't find my paperwork anywhere and just can't remember the name. Purchased it at Best Tile in Albany, NY. I vaguely remember it being an italian tile. Sorry!

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