Renovation Reality: Volume 2, The Powder Room

My first blog post, Renovation Reality: volume 1, introduced the suburban Chicago English Tudor renovation project that we’ve been working on, and how we gave this home some much needed curb appeal. Now it’s time to take our tour inside!

Ask anyone which rooms cost the most to renovate, and they’re sure to tell you the kitchen or bathroom. These rooms often take the largest investment, but many times bring back the highest return...when they’re done right! If you’re going to make the large investment to update one of these rooms, it’s important that a good amount of thought go into each and every selection, especially if you plan to sell the home at some point and time.

The previous owners of the English Tudor home had updated some elements of the main floor powder room, and two second floor full bathrooms when the home was purchased by the current owners. Unfortunately for us, the updates were already outdated, giving all three of these bathrooms a dark, old and dingy feel.

The main floor powder room was a flashback to the 1970‘s (what was it about this era that had homeowner’s selecting colored toilets and coordinating sinks!). The flooring was original to the home, and could have been interesting to work with, but was cracked and broken beyond repair. At some point (probably when the blue toilet and sink were added!) the previous owner added the glazed grey tile to the walls, and replaced the original window with glass block. There was absolutely nothing about this bathroom that fell in line with the style of the home, or gave it a fresh and updated feel.

With an entire home to update and decorate on a tight budget, starting from scratch was just not feasible. Rather than gut the entire bathroom, we chose to work with some elements, and replace others. The broken floor tile was replaced with tumbled marble tiles in various sizes, that we found on closeout. Since there was not enough of one size to cover the entire floor, we created our own pattern with a mix of 2x4” and 4x4” tiles. To give the room some added interest and a custom feel, we added in few pieces of a more expensive river rock tile around the toilet and sink bases. The mix of beige and grey stones helped to tie the tumbled marble floor together with the glazed grey wall tiles, which we chose to keep in order to keep renovation costs low.

We replaced the blue toilet with a new white one, and switched out the blue sink to a new white sink and vanity combination, giving the room some storage. We replaced the light fixture, painted the walls a soft beige, and hung a roman shade in the same color as the wall paint, to help diffuse the glass block window. The tilting vanity mirror works great for the homeowner’s small children, allowing them to see themselves without needing to climb onto a stool.


While not an entirely new bathroom, the before and after images are pretty dramatic. The new powder room better represents the homeowner’s desire for spaces that are light and bright, and the updates we made are sure to add to the home’s overall value.

Stay tuned for our next blog post where we’ll tour the two second floor full bathrooms won’t want to miss these two big transformations!

Filed under: bathroom, remodeling
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