Reader Redesign: Bathroom Red, White & Blues

Last year Lilly and her husband Markus spent her Independence Day making over her half bath, so we thought we’d celebrate her sweet makeover on their one year bathroom anniversary. Here’s her (hilarious) letter:

After living in our 1952 house for three years, I was so excited to finally be able to remodel our tiny but crazy powder bathroom that connects to our bedroom. We did all of the demolishing, painting, tiling, plumbing, painting, beadboard and trim ourselves and it was a Fourth of July weekend blast!

I let out my aggression on some wallpaper one day after work. It was stuck on well, much like our previous bathroom makeover, but after borrowing our neighbor’s Scunci steamer it started peeling off easily.

We took a full day to mix the mortar and lay all of the tile. We purchased a wet saw at Home Depot for about $90 and snipped some tiles off of the sheets and cut them down to fit the edges and corners using the saw. We accidentally mixed a second match of mortar too thin, which caused our tiles to not stick to the floor and nearly brought the end of our marriage, but soon we had completely tiled floors!

I think my favorite part of the entire bathroom experience was grouting. You start to see it all come together, it’s almost idiot proof and it’s good for the upper body. I chose a grey grout to pop against the white tile and stay neutral for future home owners. With that said, after spending so much time on this bathroom project it is unlikely that I will be selling this house before my death. I picture George Banks in front of the wrecking ball in Father of the Bride II.

I knew I wanted the room to have a midcentury prep feel, with nautical elements even though I hate theme bathrooms. I thought the rope mirror, polished chrome hardware, and navy wall gave the look I was going for without going overboard (overboard?? heh? …a little nautical bathroom humor).

This piece [on the right wall] was originally a gift to my grandfather and he took so much pride in it, hanging it over his easy chair up until he died. My grandmother processes her life through shopping for furniture, so everything in their house is different now and while I love our family today, I cherish having a piece of the house that used to be with me in my new family’s home.

My secret favorite part of the room is the built in magazine rack that I saved from the original architecture and reinstalled and painted to match the beadboard and trim. It’s a perfect place to stash some of my “never will I ever recycle these in a million years” editions that I still enjoy flipping through. – Lilly

So a big thanks to Lily for sharing her makeover! We especially love that she included the art from her grandparents’ house and restored the original magazine rack. Be sure to hit up Lilly’s blog for the full story and a complete source list. Happy Fourth of July weekend everyone!


  1. Tina says

    Brilliant and absolutely lovely…I’d
    never seen a magazine rack like that for a bathroom– love it!

  2. says

    Love the magazine rack! At first, I thought it was a hole where one of those old gas heaters used to be. We’ve considered taking our gas heater out and putting a box of sorts in its spot…so I think I know what I want to do with it now!

  3. Emma says

    Love! Great job. Guess what. I currently have the delightful flooring in the “before” picture in my 1959 kitchen. :\

    • Rebecca says

      That’s the kitchen flooring I grew up with in the 70s and 80s! Never forget that look.

  4. Anastasia says

    While I am a huge nautical lover (anchor tattoo on foot!) I too dislike theme bathrooms. This one definitely has not gone overboard and captures the essence! My favorite touch is the lobster on the toilet! Thanks for sharing

  5. janice says

    Lovely and WELL DONE! The little built in is great and I’m so relieved to hear the marriage survived! :)

  6. Kristen says

    This looks great; thanks for sharing! I love the tile and the wall color!

    I’m about to update a bathroom that has wall paneling/ beadboard as well. I have two little ones, so I’ve been thinking about painting the paneling the dark, “bold” color and then painting the upper wall white (in order to avoid dirty fingerprints on white paneling). I know that this in not the “traditional” way to paint paneling in a bathroom. Any thoughts on painting a bathroom this way? (In other words, is this idea a mistake?!)

    • Kaely says

      My parents had a beadboard bathroom with a dark color on the bottom and a light color on the top and it was lovely. They stained (nstead of painting) their beadboard a really deep forest green and had a pale pale butter yellow on top. I loved that room.

  7. Beth says

    I thought I was the only one who got my reno on during holiday weekends! Haha! Love to see this post as I am redoing our first floor half bath at this very moment. Well, not *this* very moment. I am taking a break while some paint and spackle dry.

    Nice work! Love the beadboard!

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