Introduction: Reclaimed Renovation - DIY Powder Room Update for Under $100

About: I'm a life-hacking reuse junkie who loves to create, even if all I'm making is a mess. I love hammers and rocks and history and hand planes. I hugged trees before it was cool but can still operate a chainsaw. …
My husband is pretty sure I'm a hoarder. He doesn't say as much, but I can tell by the way he fidgets while I'm rummaging through the free bins/dumpsters in back of my local Restore.

He might be right.

I don't get materials for specific projects. I get materials that I see could be useful. Always discarded or donated. Often free. The kind of things he wouldn't hesitate to toss out are the very things I covet. Then when I embark on a project, I make it work with what I've got.

When I'm done, the results are always:
One of a kind
Low cost
Good for the environment
Just exactly my style

This half bath facelift fits the description. The eclectic mix of art, materials, and fixtures gives this space oodles of character, and the price tag makes it sploosh-worthy.

Step 1: Why Renovate?

I suppose it's useful to ask yourself this question. "Cuz I want to", is generally a good enough answer for me, but in this case it is pretty much an aesthetic matter. I use this powder room frequently and it is not a pleasure. U-G-L-Y it ain't got no alibi. It's ugly.

Our house was built in the 90s (not exactly a strong period for American residential architecture) with builder grade fixtures and materials. Little customization. Blah.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our home. I'm just saying what character it does have is 100% imported. It's an ongoing struggle between me and the house that I gladly participate in.

The "before" photos tell the story.

Step 2: What I Did, With Cost Breakdown

This little makeover, which took me about a day and a half to complete, consisted of:

Flooring - $15

We began with the classic linoleum, white with little blue squares. You know what I'm talking about. Not pretty. Since it's a high-traffic bathroom and I track a lot of mud and water in there, I didn't want to use wood. Tile is nice and durable, but can be a serious pain in the ass as far as installation, cleaning, and demo (when I decide at some point to change it again).

What I decided to replace it with is some stick-on vinyl "planks". I am always suspicious of man made materials trying to approximate the look of natural ones, but I liked the look of this stuff. The existing door and trim are wood (honey oak, duh), so I used a darker brown and grey flooring color. Looks fantastic. Wears great.

This stuff is AWESOME. So easy to lay down. I tore up my linoleum before laying it down because I didn't want to shorten the door jamb or trim, but you could lay this over existing linoleum or tile and it would be perfectly fine.

Vanity Cabinet and countertop- $2

The existing vanity was, again, your standard issue 1990s builder vanity. Oak. Plain-faced cabinet doors with rounded edges. Oak and plastic toilet paper holder. Laminate countertop.

I removed the countertop, cabinet doors, fake drawer, and TP roll holder. I ran the doors and drawer front through my table saw, squaring the round edges. I then mixed the paint. Starting with a white(ish) latex ($0), I added enough black paint to make the desired grey, then a slurry of water and plaster of paris for added adhesion and wearability over the existing wood finish. Cleaned and lightly sanded, I painted the doors and vanity body. Once dry, I added drawer pulls ($.50) and hinges ($.50), then cut a hole in the cabinet body and installed the new roll keeper ($1).

For the countertop, I used old salvage boards ($0). I cut the boards into strips, laminated, planed, cut to length, applied a few coats of finish, then glued/nailed to vanity body.

Sink and Fixture - $8

The sink ($5) was in pretty rough shape when I got it, but porcelain cleans up nicely with the aid of some Barkeepers Friend and elbow grease. Then I installed the fixture ($3). The sink was designed to back mount to the wall and be open underneath, but I wanted to put it on my vanity instead. So I did.

Plumbing and Paint - $40

So here's where the budget and reuse goals flew the coop. The supply lines I had planned to use were just barely too short. I mentioned this fact to my guy on the phone and he came home with two shiny new supply lines. Then he wanted to help more so I told him he could pick a wall color. Instead of me mixing it to his color from my stash, he insisted on buying new paint. I love that guy, but he's hard on my budget aims. Anyway, water flows, walls painted.

Decor, Shelf, Mirror, and Towel Holder - $10

When I cut down the salvage wood countertop, I ended up with extra length. It became a shelf for the wall. The other shelf/towel holder is actually an old truck mirror I snagged from a garage sale ($1).

I reused the existing vanity mirror, just not over the vanity. I made simple mounting brackets for top and bottom by cutting rabets in some scrap lumber. I painted the brackets in the same fashion as the vanity and fastened it all to a lower point on a bare wall, creating the illusion of a longer space and a fuller length mirror. Now I can properly assess my butt. It's a practice I rarely engage in, but an occasional necessity, lest I forget my 40 year old body doesn't process ice cream as efficiently as it once did.

The art and other decor is a mix of pieces I created (or recreated) and pieces I found to my liking (and for a song) at garage sales and the like.

Step 3: Yay Little Half Bath!

I'm happy with this little half bath now that it has big personality. With a little effort and about $75, I made it into a room I like to enter.

Go on, now, and try your hand at some reclaimed renovation. You've got mad DIY skills, creativity for daaays, and at least one space begging to be made over.

Have fun, think outside the (big) box (store), and keep making awesome stuff!

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