Mi casita: $81 half-bath redo

The other day, my attention deficit was acting up more than usual.  So I took a “brief” study break to the bathroom—and was immediately distracted by HOW UGLY our half-bathroom was.  So off I went to Home Depot.  Three days and $81 later, we had a new half-bath.  Wanna see?  Well hold your horses.

This is what I started out with:

Before: ugly, depressing, dark bathroom

Our half-bath is a tiny, long and narrow space.  The laminate floors were gross and from the 60’s (probably).  The walls were a dark olive green.  The mirror and cabinet under the sink were old-school wood.  Obviously, this place needed a serious redo.  WANNA SEE?!

No.  First, let me finish convincing you that this place was ugly…

ugly wood mirror

ugly wood cabinet

UGLY floors (I apologize in advance if these are the floors in your house. Maybe you should get rid of them?)

Ok, now I we can talk about the redo-ing part.

Now get ready, because I am about to share my best DIY/home improvement tip of all time: Every time you go to Lowe’s or Home Depot, swing by the paint section and ask where they keep their “Oops paint.”  Whenever people return paint they don’t like, or paint is mixed incorrectly and produces the wrong color, the store resells it at a crazy low price.  This is known as “Oops paint.”  As long as you are not very picky, you can stock up on an assortment of cool paint cans, ready for when your next project calls.  And let me tell you, I’ve never regretted a purchase.  A few months prior to deciding this bathroom needed a redo, I purchased a gallon of a bright Tiffany-bluish paint for $7.  Yes, seven dollars.  For a gallon.  Turns out, it was just what our ugly bathroom needed (besides new floors).

Here are a few other tips prior to painting:

line every edge and corner with blue painter’s tape so your end-product doesn’t look amateur

protect fixtures and other accessories from splattered paint by covering them with tinfoil

and don’t be lazy! remove everything that can be removed from the walls prior to painting (doors and door hinges, outlet and light-switch plate covers, etc.)

Ok, now you can paint.  If you are planning on changing out the floors as well, then definitely paint the walls before you do the floors.  This way, you’ll get a smaller heart attack every time you accidentally drip paint everywhere (as I was very good at doing).

Next tip: Laminate floors are the easiest, quickest, and cheapest way to completely change the look of a room.  Laminate squares range in price from  $0.59 to several dollars per square foot, depending on the style.  Because I’m a high-roller, I chose a $0.99/square foot option.  I kept it extremely simple and chose a style without much design, because the more simple, the more timeless.  Trust me.

I had no idea how to lay down laminate floors.  I still have no idea.  Apparently they sell fancy tools to cut around tough edges (like toilets) to perfection.  But I decided I didn’t need fancy tools.  All I used were heavy duty clamps, a heavy duty exacto knife, a little bit of ingenuity, and facetime (so my dad could tell me over the phone how to fix the messes I was creating).  What I can tell you is that you should start laying the laminate tiles from the center of the room, and work your way out; you should strive to make your cuts as precise as possible; you should probably invest in the fancy tools I refused buy; and you should buy yourself a tube of all-purpose white caulk to disguise your screw-ups.

heavy duty clamps and heavy duty exacto knife for nice, clean cuts

start at the center and work your way out to the edges

caulk: my life-saver

This is how caulk will save your life during projects like these: Because you probably will refuse to buy the fancy tools too, you will inevitably end up with visible spaces between your tiles and with imperfectly cut, uneven tile pieces.  My dad would have NEVER approved of my work.  But with caulk, you will fool the world!  Check it…

step 1: recognize your weaknesses. you did a BAD job here. you need to fix it!

step 2: caulk it

step 3: smash it in real good with your finger

step 4: clean off the excess

Make sure you clean off the excess caulk immediately.  Otherwise, it will dry and get really dirty as soon as you step on it.  And the floor will never look clean.  I’m still paying for that mistake.

Another example of the wonders of caulk:

before: notice the obvious space between the tiles

after: space between tiles officially concealed

When I finished laying down the floor, I placed heavy objects all over it and let it dry undisturbed overnight.

heavy chairs, books, and weights all over the new floor

What do you think of the sneak peek of the new paint color?  It’s so much more… alive.  I also painted the mirror and cabinet in glossy white.  Then I made a quick trip to Michael’s and bought a few decorative accessories.

porcelain birds and wooden birdhouses to compliment my Rosa Blanca painting by my grandma, Nani

fun, decorative wall decal

wall hooks for our guests to hang their towels

Enough.  Ready for the big reveal?

After: bright, airy, happy half-bathroom!

Looks better, eh?  Here’s the breakdown of what I spent, so you see I’m not lying:

  1. Paint, $7
  2. Laminate floor, $30
  3. Caulk, $4
  4. Wall decal, $12
  5. Bird and birdhouse accessories, $10
  6. Painter’s tape, $6
  7. Towel rack, $12

Grand total: $81.  BAM!!!

Hope you enjoyed that.  I’m pretty proud of it!  Using the drill to take down and put up the door, and hammering paint cans open and closed at 4 am didn’t make Jeffrey happy with me.  But when he woke up in the morning and saw the finished product, he wasn’t mad anymore.

Have a great one, everybody!

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Categories: Mi Casita | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Mi casita: $81 half-bath redo

  1. Alright my dear. I am normally impressed with your DIY projects, but this is to a different level! Awesome job! And where did you get the decal? Love the birds.

  2. You are phenomenal! So talented :)

  3. Mami

    Lo bueno es que no tienes NADA mas que hacer!!!!
    Me encanta tu energia y entusiasmo!

  4. joe

    never caulk all the way around a toilet base. leave the back open so moisture can escape

  5. Tia Roxana

    No ale!!! Nadanas esto faltaba!!!!! Todavía estoy con la boca abierta!!!!! Wow! Te quedo padrísimo!!

  6. SOOO Impressed! You worked on it at 4am? Jeff can’t hang w your Mexicanity

  7. My husband found this and it is eery how similar our situations are/were. My bathroom is in a half remodeled dismay as we speak. I decided to paint the cabinets and ended up tearing the gross vinyl wall coverings the previous owner GLUED to the walls. I’ll be discussing my adventure on my blog when I’m all finished. I think you and I were meant to be blog buddies. Just sayin. Also, it looks AMAZING! Love it!

  8. Tia Roxana

    Ale, volví a leer ti blog, pero sigo sin entender………a question horas descansas??! Digo……no paras!!
    Deberás que te quedo padre la decoración!!!! TQM :)

  9. Mami

    Me voy a esperar a que vengas para redecorar mi recamara!!!!

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