Before and After: This Early 2000s Bathroom Revamp Cost $5,500 — But It Looks Way More Expensive

published Nov 13, 2023
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Main bathroom remodel

If you’ve recently purchased or moved into a house, it might be your dream home — with every room perfect, just waiting for your furniture and decor to make it yours. On the other hand, you might have purchased a total fixer-upper that needs way more than furniture and decor to look the way you want it to. Most likely, though, your house falls somewhere in between the two ends of the spectrum.

Interior designer and DIYer Marissa Calderon (@marissacalhome) bought her home knowing she’d be renovating it one room at a time. One of the items on her to-redo list was the main bathroom. “This bathroom was one of the biggest eyesores for me and one of the rooms I was most excited about changing,” Marissa says of the before. She disliked its honey-colored cabinetry without hardware, its large sheet mirror above the vanity, the huge plastic corner tub, and the vinyl flooring.

“This early ’00s bathroom was not only dated but basic builder-grade,” Marissa adds. “The whole room was a strange yellow-y beige.”

During the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge, she took it from yellowy-beige to black and white with pops of warmth. Her overall vision for the space was “a little bit vintage, a little bit European.”

After upping the character of the space with vertical wood paneling (multiple 4-foot by 8-foot shiplap panels), Marissa painted the walls white to achieve a brighter look. Instead of completely ditching her honey-colored vanity, she decided to give it a face lift by staining the wood black with India Ink stain and adding new quartz countertops as well as new hardware. “The marble countertop pattern and brushed gold handles against the black is such eye candy to me,” Marissa says.

Above the vanity, Marissa added a square tile backsplash and two brass-framed mirrors for a look that’s way more high-end than the flat sheet mirror that was there before. She also replaced the hulking corner tub with something that made more efficient use of space and installed new subway tile for the shower, too.

The wall paneling, new tile, and marble-look vinyl floors “were an intense amount of work and took a lot of time,” Marissa says. But together, the different elements sing. “I love how the various tile sizes and the white wood paneling complement each other,” she says.

Marissa says if she could do one thing differently, she’d use individual vertical shiplap boards to create her paneling instead of prefabricated panels. “It actually ended up being more cuts and more work” with the store-bought paneling dimensions, Marissa says.

Marissa completed most of the reno herself — including the new brass light installation — but she did bring in a plumber to help rough-in the new bathtub faucet since it was going to be in a different spot than it was for the old tub. “You can DIY a lot of things, but plumbing can be tricky,” Marissa says. “That is a tradesperson worth hiring.”

There was a slight setback with the plumbing, however: The rough-ins (aka the valves behind the handles and faucets) weren’t the same brand as the fixtures Marissa had selected. “The shower was already tiled over when we made the discovery the rough-ins didn’t match,” she says. But thankfully, she and her plumber found found kits to make everything work.

Marissa’s best bathroom renovation advice? “Be realistic about the timeline for a full bathroom renovation!” she says, and be prepared for setbacks along the way. Her project took eight weeks and came in at $5,500.

One of Marissa’s favorite details in the space was a last-minute decision, the addition of the faux wood beam across the bath and shower area. “I love the black and white vintage look of the room, but it needed a little warmth, and the wood beam added this,” she says.

Now, she has an on-trend bathroom for 2023, mixed with some details that make it feel personal and charming. “I love the cozy yet sophisticated look of the bathroom now,” Marissa says. “It is really my style.”

This article originally published on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: This Early 2000s Bathroom’s Revamp Cost $5,500 — But Looks Way More Expensive