New Kids' BathroomI’m about to show you a really horrible bathroom. Are you ready? I mean really ready? You’re going to wonder how we lived eight years with this bathroom and, let’s be honest, I’m wondering the same thing. But bathroom remodels are expensive and there was always a financial reason to put it off (wedding, baby, another baby, etc). Then the shower stall in the other bathroom broke (that bathroom got a facelift, which I’ll try to show you soon), our toddler started out-growing the ducky float she’d been bathing in and the baby got too big for the sink … I saw an opening and I took it.

Now brace yourself. This bathroom was the color of mucus. The kind you see when you have the flu. This bathroom was kind of like having the flu. It made you sick and achy all over just looking at it. Our contractor even got the flu while he was working on it.  It was bad, guys. Bad.

The medicine cabinet was so big I could’ve fit both kids in there (but it was gross and that’s weird so I didn’t), the leaky tub faucet turned that damn grout black almost instantly and no amount of harsh chemicals and elbow grease could get that hideous mucus tub looking clean. The ceiling/wall above the window was crumbling, the shower head was falling out of the wall, the floor and half of the walls (also mucus yellow) were chipped, ugly, old, worn and just gross. And there were these metal handlebars everywhere. Someone who lived here before the people before us (did you get that?) needed some handlebars in the shower. I totally get that, but all these years later they were still there, because how do you remove rusted metal bars that are drilled into a cast iron tub and 50-year-old tile? You don’t. You gut the damn thing. And gut it we did.

Did you already cheat and scroll ahead to see it? You did, didn’t you? Whatever. I don’t blame you because now you see I am not exaggerating. For those who didn’t cheat, go ahead, see for yourself …

Bathroom Remodel Before

Okay, now you’ve seen it. It was horrible and I apologize because you can’t unsee it.

Now feast your eyes on the after …Modern kids' bathroom Before and AfterBathroom Before and After Bathroom Before and After Bathroom Before and AfterBathroom Before and After

Now how about a quick side-by-side for good measure?

Modern bathroom before and afterDear New Bathroom: I think I love you. So much. So, so much.

I went with brass fixtures, charcoal floors, white subway tile with gray grout and white, white, white, white, white everywhere else. Everything is new except the loo. And I mean everything. This baby was gutted and rebuilt because nothing was worth saving. Except the old pedestal sink, which is probably getting sold on Craigslist because have you seen the stuff people sell on Craigslist?

Now let me be frank. Going gold is expensive, and we didn’t even go expensive. We went less expensive because even that was expensive. In hindsight, while I love that wall mounted sink so much I might just marry it, matching brass pipes to a brass faucet from a company that doesn’t make brass pipes to match its brass faucet was kind of the bane of my existence these last few months. Have any questions about p-traps? Want to know who makes them and in what shapes, sizes and colors? Go ahead. Ask me. Do you know how many shades of brass exist in the world? I do. One million. Do you know how many match my faucet? Zero. None. Zippo. Nada. Did you know I didn’t know that until we had already bought the sink and faucet and it was too late to go back? Oops.

Here’s the thing about gutting a bathroom and not knowing what you’re doing because you’ve never gutted anything before, let alone a bathroom. There’s a bit of a learning curve. Like a Sandy Koufax curve. Here, let me give you an example. When Pat, our friend/contractor, and Chris, my husband/financier, told me the wires and knobs and all the other plumber-like things would be exposed under the sink I gave them a horrified look and told them they were wrong. I assured them that I would buy a pretty p-trap, but that there would be no other ugly plumber-like things under that sink. Pat scratched his head and very gently asked me, “Well then where will they be?” I promptly told him, “Well on Pinterest there are no ugly plumber-like things.” And in that very moment I lost all credibility and those two, bless them, tried their hardest not to laugh at me. So listen. Unless you plan on living in a showroom you find on Pinterest, maybe do some research before you gut your bathroom.

Now that you know how clueless I am about bathrooms, you can appreciate that we picked out everything in this bathroom all by ourselves (and by “we” I mean mostly me because my husband did not want to hear the words “brass p-trap” one more godforsaken time) and it turned out pretty stinking nice, if I do say so myself. And, bonus, it cost less than we anticipated.

Now can we talk about the marble backsplash for a second? It was part of the original plan. I didn’t care how it was accomplished, but I was getting a marble backsplash for my wall-mounted sink. You see, our whole house has marble windowsills and we added marble for the built-in shower shelves to match so, naturally, we needed a marble backsplash. This makes total sense, no? Well, long story short, our faucet was too close to the wall so I needed a super thin chunk of marble in a very specific size and color and every single marble seller in all of Philadelphia and South Jersey told me “Yea, um, no. That’s not possible. The marble you want doesn’t exist in the world. You’re up a creek, paddle got eaten by a river monster.” Well don’t you know it, I found the exact piece of marble, in the exact color, size and width I needed (drumroll please) for $12 at Home Depot.

Bam. [insert inappropriate gesture]

I win.

Are you still with me? Just a few more things.

I wanted a fancy brass or black medicine cabinet, but for a house we probably won’t live in forever it didn’t seem worth the expense. I’m surprised how much I like the clean lines of the frameless one we settled on. (If you haven’t noticed, the theme here is “clean.”)

I wanted fancy brass sconces, too, and I got them. I fell in love with every single light fixture I saw at Cedar and Moss, but I went with simple, since it’s a small space, and chose a style that was a bit easier on the budget. I ordered a new brass ceiling fixture, too, but it hasn’t been installed yet.

I’d like a small rug for outside the tub but I just can’t decide. I’d love a beautiful Persian, but it seems to me like Persian rugs and kids splashing in the tub and moisture in general maybe aren’t so great together. I love the look, but Persian rugs are not cheap and I couldn’t stomach destroying one. So back to the drawing board.

We need a new door but pick your battles, you know?

The tub. It’s not cast iron (because they are 300 pounds) and not acrylic either. We went with Americast. It has mixed reviews but it was unbelievably affordable, much lighter than cast iron, sturdier than acrylic and did I mention affordable? We’ll see how it holds up but so far it’s been lovely. Or as Isla says every single time she’s in there, “It’s Won-er-ful!”

We don’t have any storage in this bathroom except that medicine cabinet so I bought that beautiful basket to hold toilet paper, my hair dryer, extra towels, the kids’ bath toys and some lady things hidden in a Baggu bag. Surprisingly, there’s room to spare.

Side note: I love the brass so much, but copper might just be my next obsession.

Alright. This is the longest blog post ever and most of you probably aren’t still reading anyway so I’ll just stop now. Here are the full details on where we got all the stuff:

{Delta Faucet tub/shower faucet + sink faucet + towel ring + toilet paper holder in “champagne bronze” | Cedar and Moss sconces | Industrial Light Electric ceiling mount light | American Standard “Princeton” tub | Kohler medicine cabinet | tile from M.T.O. Bath & Tile | sink | Serena & Lily basket | Target shower curtain | Signature Hardware shower curtain rod + rings in “polished brass” | Etsy Turkish towels | Rail 19 copper soap dispenser}

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  • Reply Rachel June 7, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Wow, what a great remodel! It looks awesome-so bright and clean looking! :)

    • Reply Risa Page June 7, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Thank you, Rachel! Bright and clean is exactly what I was going for!

  • Reply Olivia June 21, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    I am using that same faucet family and finish in my bathroom remodel! I am also doing a wall-mounted sink, and would love to know what plumbing parts you ended up using to “match” the brass and how much they cost compared to the standard parts. Thanks in advance!

  • Reply Megan July 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I love it! I’m using this as inspiration for my own bathroom redo (eventually). It’s simple, yet bright and clean and cozy too. Great job!! I love your decoration style. Keep the posts coming :)

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