7th House on the Left

You know when you have those projects that you start on and you’re all gung-ho on getting that sucker done, then an obstacle comes out of nowhere and you’re back at square one? Well, that’s sort of what happened when we decided to finally get around to tackling the half bathroom. We were all like, “This is what we’re going to do, we’re so excited! Yada, yada, yada…” and then, bam. An obstacle by way of an unforeseen wiring problem with the exhaust fan. We’re still working on that issue (well, my dad is, since he’s our designated licensed electrician). Until we get that figured out, we’re going to move on with another project in this space – more specifically, do something with the 41.5-inch wide wall behind the toilet.

Half Bath Layout / 7thhousentheleft.com

Our initial thought was to put a large piece of artwork on the wall, but after thinking it over (and getting opinions from my family when they were in town last week), we decided that adding shelves would balance the tiny space out and make it feel more “finished”.

Restoration Hardware Inspiration / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Needless to say, there are thousands of shelving options available for purchase out there. Since time was on our side during our 3-day weekend, we decided to tackle a DIY option. While scrolling around Restoration Hardware’s website, I stumbled on these reclaimed wood wall shelves. Greg and I both loved the modern meets rustic vibe and thought it could easily be replicated with some DIY action.

DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Shelving / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Seeing as how this room is really small along with the reflections from the mirror, it’s really hard to get good photos of the space, so bear with us. Before we took a trip to the hardware store, we mapped out where and how long we wanted the shelves to be with a few pieces of painter’s tape (seriously, we use this stuff for everything but painting). The shelves ended up coming at 30 inches long (leaving 5.25 inches on either side) and 12 inches apart. We decided to go with 10-inch-deep shelves so that they wouldn’t be in the way while using the facilities, but they’d still be functional. At that point, we grabbed our measurements and parts list and headed to the hardware store!

DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Shelving / 7thhouseontheleft.com

We purchased a 10-foot piece of 2″ x 10″ pine and had it cut into four 30″ pieces (even though we only needed three, we’re hanging onto the fourth piece for a possible future project). We also bought six 10-inch-long pieces of 3/4″ galvanized pipe, six 3/4″ floor flanges and six 3/4″ pipe caps for the shelf brackets. Other necessities included a small can of Special Walnut stain, a sponge brush (we bought a few just because) and a can of spray paint (we’ll get to those details in a second).

DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Shelving / 7thhouseontheleft.com

First, Greg made the “brackets” for the shelves. All he had to do was take a 10″ pipe piece and attach a floor flange on one end and a cap to the other. We went with galvanized pipe (you can find it in the plumbing section) because we wanted a good, chunky, industrial-looking pipe. However, for a more inexpensive version, you can go with EMT conduit (which is over in the electrical section).

How to Make Faux Wrought Iron // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Once all six brackets were assembled (which took only about 2 minutes), I spray painted them with a light coat of Rust-Oleum’s textured spray paint (in Aged Iron). Once they were dry, Greg covered them in a coat of flat black enamel spray paint we already had on hand.

How to Make Faux Wrought Iron // 7thhouseontheleft.com

The textured base with the combination of the flat black enamel spray paint made the pipes look extremely similar to wrought iron – a tip we’re going to remember if we ever want this look for a future project.

DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Shelving / 7thhouseontheleft.com

As you can see, we picked out the ugliest piece of 2×10 framing board we could possibly find because we wanted the shelves to have as much character as possible. Before we started the staining process, we sanded the boards and rounded the edges with a vibrating sander and 120 grit sandpaper. We weren’t looking for perfectly round edges–we just wanted them to look a bit worn.

DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Shelving / 7thhouseontheleft.com

For the stain, we used Minwax’s Special Walnut, which we already had in our stain/spray paint stash. Greg applied the stain using a sponge brush to ensure it would get down into all of the scratches and nicks we made during the distressing process. We decided not to seal the planks with polyurethane because we really didn’t want a glossy finish of any kind, and we wanted it to look as close as the inspiration shelving as possible, which isn’t sealed. Since a clear coat wasn’t in the plan, we made triple sure the stain was thoroughly dry before we put the shelves in place.

DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Shelving / 7thhouseontheleft.com

In the photo above, you can really see the awesome character from the “ugly” wood coming through the stain. Greg was lucky enough to hit a stud for some of the right-side brackets. For the other 18 holes, he used toggle bolts to hold everything in place. These puppies definitely aren’t going anywhere.

DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Shelving / 7thhouseontheleft.com

For us, the weight of the shelves and the texture of the pipe are enough to keep everything nicely in place. Greg mentioned that if you wanted to make these a little more child-/accident-proof, you could take one extra step during the bracket-building process and drill two holes all the way through the pipes using a drill bit meant for metal. You might need a few extra tools (such as a vise–to keep the pipe from turning–and a higher-powered drill). At that point, you’d just need to attach the shelves with screws through the holes in the pipes.

DIY Restoration Hardware Inspired Shelving / 7thhouseontheleft.com

We really love the finished product, and it definitely makes the tiny space feel a bit more on the “finished” side. The shelves really help balance out the vanity wall on the opposite side, and we’re thrilled to have some storage to be able to showcase some pretty things.

When it came to adding accessories, I mainly just worked with what we already had on hand, but also took a quick trip to Tuesday Morning. That’s where I found the wire basket, mercury glass lantern and faux greenery ball. It’s probably obvious from the empty mercury glass vase that I’m not quite finished finding a combination of accessories that I’m in love with – so, I guess you can call this a work in progress. I didn’t want to wait until it was “perfect” to post it because I was anxious to show off our new shelves. Oh and the topiary on the top shelf looks like it’s hitting the ceiling, but it’s really just the angle of the photo. It’s actually about 2″ from the ceiling. I hope to find a more modern (and slightly shorter) one in the future.

Aside from switching the accessories around here and there, without making it look too busy, I also plan on adding something to the top of the toilet tank so the shelves won’t appear as being top-heavy for the wall.

DIY Restoration Hardware-Inspired Shelves / 7thhouseontheleft.com

On top of helping the space feel more finished, we’re also pretty thrilled with the price, which was a fraction of the inspiration shelves. If we had purchased these from RH, it would have cost $683 including shipping. All of the supplies for our DIY version turned out to be around $100. Not too shabby.

A few nights ago, I was cleaning the half bathroom and it suddenly dawned on me… why haven’t we finished this room yet? I really have no idea. It wouldn’t take much… wall art, a few small accessories and a pretty soap dispenser and we’d be in business. Here’s a glimpse at what it looked like when we bought the house…

Half Bathroom Before / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Yeah, it wasn’t pretty but the photo actually made it look better than it really was. The countertop was just sitting on top of the vanity and on top of that, the vanity was ultra short – way too short for my 6’7″ better half. And here’s what the bathroom is looking like these days…

Half Bathroom Progress // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Hardest room to take a photo of… ever. As you can see, what’s there now is pretty Plain Jane and completely lacking color. On the other hand, it’s come a long way since we got the keys to the house. Over time, it dort of became a project by association. When the hardwood floors were done in the laundry room, we naturally included this room. When we ordered the cabinets for the kitchen, we also placed an order for another sink cabinet. When we re-painted the laundry room, that meant the half bath as well.

To date, we’ve removed the vanity and toilet, replaced the tile floors with hardwood, installed a new toilet, had a new vanity installed, added quartz countertops along with an under-mount sink, painted the walls and the trim, added a window shade and hung a hand towel and toilet paper holder. Seeing as how there’s not much to do to call this room “done”, we thought it would be fun to focus on this area over the next few weeks between our other projects. And here’s our starting point…

Bathroom Mirror // Ballard Designs // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Almost a year ago, we got this mirror for the half bathroom. It’s fun, slightly rustic (the finish is “distressed” and slightly modern all in one – aka, our cup of tea. We have yet to hang the mirror in the bathroom because the current light fixture – well, the light bulb that’s sticking out of the wall – is too low. So, before we can hang the mirror, we have to remove the light, patch the hole and replace the existing exhaust fan with an exhaust fan / overhead light combo. Aside from that, all we have left is to decorate. We aren’t completely set on a “vision” that’s planned down to a T, but here’s what we have in mind so far…

Half Bathroom / 7thhouseontheleft.com

As I mentioned earlier, we already have the mirror and we’ve also purchased a few of these hand towels (I ordered 2, 1 for a back up and I’m more than kind of obsessed with them) as well as the soap dispenser. We picked out this wooden box to go on the back of the toilet (along with something else – we just aren’t sure what yet) because we like the “woodsy” vibe and think it would be a neat way to bring some rustic elements in as well as provide some small storage.

As you can see from the big question mark, we’re still trying to hunt down wall art – both for the wall to the right of the sink and the wall behind the toilet. For the wall to the right of the sink, I’ve been trying to design something, but I haven’t come up with the right design just yet. I really want to design something more on the modern side with a some colors that would tie in with the hand towel. As for the wall behind the toilet, we’re thinking maybe a grouping of artwork or one big piece – like maybe a stretched canvas or something. The jury is still out on that one.

So, yeah. That’s where we are and what we’re going to be working on over the next few weeks between all of the other projects we have going on. We’re looking forward to having the tiniest room in the house with a big ‘ole “Done!” seal on it.

For a very long time, 14 months to be exact, the half bathroom has been the most neglected room in the house. It remained untouched and definitely unwanted – though it did serve as a great “paint brush cleaning sink” while we were busy painting every other wall in the house.

As with the kitchen’s before photos, the half bath looked much better in photos than it was in person. Overall, it was dark and depressing. It also had the shortest vanity ever – okay, well maybe not ever, but it coming in at around 28″, was far too short for my 6’7″ husband. Lucky for us, the half bathroom has become a project by association…

When we decided to replace the tile floor in the laundry room, we knew that meant replacing the floor in the half bath as well and it didn’t make logical sense to lay down new flooring around a vanity we knew we hated and wanted to replace. So out went the vanity! Cue the Hallelujah chorus! 

Knowing that we needed a vanity, we decided to tack on an additional cabinet to the kitchen cabinet order (to the tune of around $500). Before the vanity was installed (along with the rest of the kitchen), Greg got busy patching up the big gaping hole that was mysteriously behind the mirror that hung on the wall, and painting the walls the same color as the laundry room (Martha Stewart’s Artesian Well #MSL117). Shortly after the vanity was in place, the new countertop was installed (on the same day as the kitchen countertops). Because we ordered such large pieces of countertop for the kitchen, we were able to get the half bathroom countertop at remnant price coming in around $300. From what we gathered from quotes from other companies, this was a really good price. When the plumbers came to hook up the new kitchen sink, they also hooked up the half bath. I guess you could say it all happened kind of like a snowball effect.

Oh, and the sink. I tell you, we LOVE this sink! It took us forever to pick out the right one, but we finally came across this one from Kohler (for $228). It’s 24″ x 16″ and about 7″ deep (plus the thickness of the countertop). We plan on using this bathroom as a “utility bathroom” – meaning it’s where we’ll give Bentley a bath or wash a pair of boots if needed, so we wanted something large, but still have enough countertop space on either side.

As for the faucet, we wanted something that had a high neck so we can fill a water pot or bucket if needed – remember, “utility bathroom”. At the last minute, literally, 10 minutes before the plumbers showed up, we ran to Lowe’s and picked out this faucet (for $128). Ideally, I’d love to find a faucet that was small (not kitchen size), a tad tall, single hole, with sprayer. This one is the closest thing we could find with that wish list, so thinking we could always get a simple spray adapter to use for the “utility” needs, we decided to go ahead and buy it.

So, basically, as something was done to the kitchen or laundry room, we just put in a tad more work and money, and tacked on the half bath. When it’s all said and done, the final price tag on the entire half bathroom will probably end up being less than if we were to do the bathroom at another time when we weren’t in the thick of a kitchen renovation. Saving money is always a good thing.

Obviously, the half bathroom isn’t “done done” (as Greg calls it) just yet. We still have to find a mirror, light fixture, window treatments, wall art, a toilet paper holder of some sort, and accessories. AKA: the fun part!

As for wall art, my mom bought me this set of book cover post cards from Anthropologie a while back and I’ve been dying to use them in the house somewhere. My first thought was in the guest room, but I think they would look really cool framed in simple black frames in a grid pattern on the wall behind the toilet.

Now the hard part is going to be narrowing down the 100 postcards to 9! As for the rest of the decor… the framed book covers will add some quirky fun and serve as a great pop of color. I want to find a mirror with a thin(ish) black frame to tie in with the frames I’m planning to use for the book covers and the dark cabinet hardware. A black mirror will also really stand out against the blue walls.

Even though this bathroom renovation is guilty by association, we’re really happy about how things are shaping up. It’s already done a complete 180 from what it was, but just a few more details and we’re well on our way to yet another “done done” bathroom.