The Upstairs Bathroom

comments: 163


It's done! And I looooooooxoxoxoxoxoooooove it!


I am a happy lady with a working bathroom these days. Fixing this bathroom has been a great experience. It is really the first time Andy or I have ever had anything in our house truly remodeled, save for having our front picture windows replaced with casements a few years ago (and that was awesome, too). I would say this was a very small and simple "remodel" by remodeling standards, since everything stayed in its place and no walls were eliminated or anything like that. But for us it's been huge. And seriously wonderful.


It's a small room — less than 7' x 7'. For many — too many — years, the shower in the corner (behind the door) leaked through the floor somewhere and into the downstairs bathroom. So since we had another shower downstairs we just stopped using this one, knowing that replacing it would necessitate a whole big re-do, since the flooring was ruined and the room really needed to have a fan/light wired in. Neither of our bathrooms had fans, and the downstairs one doesn't even have an exterior window anymore; it was obvious that if we did one we'd really have to be doing a remodel of both bathrooms. So it has taken us a while to get here, but here we are, halfway done! It's been so worth the wait. Because look how pretty this new shower is:


Isn't that pretty? I know, right?


Here is the shower in the mirror. We wound up needing to replace the shower, the toilet, and the flooring. We kept the sink and faucet and the wall shelf that we had, and the medicine chest is original. When they installed the ceiling fan (which also has a regular light and a yummy cozy heat lamp), I also had them wire in new places for sconces on either side of the medicine chest. We also had wainscoting added, since (oddly) there was a chair rail already in here but no wainscoting beneath it. I have always wanted sconces and wainscoting, and I think these additions have really finished this room properly.


For accessories, I happened to have had these two little wire tables (the other one is next to the shower) from back when I used to have my boutique, and they have been just right in here. I really didn't want a big solid floor tower or whatever; I needed a few shelves but I really wanted to keep things light. In the hall just outside the bathroom is a built-in linen cabinet with three huge drawers and two big shelves. The shelves hold all of our sheets and towels. The top drawer contains all of the un-pretty bathroom things that don't fit in the medicine cabinet like the hairdryer (which I almost never use anyway) and bottles of cough syrup and bandages and that kind of stuff. The built-in linen cabinet was a major selling point of the house, as far as I was concerned. I remember doing a jig in the hallway when I saw it. To be honest, I'm quite shocked at how little we actually need in the bathroom itself. A lesson to me.


The floor — I got my gray. It's kind of old-school (literally — I think we had this floor in my old school) and I think it is nice and classic in here.

Wanna see the before photos?




Not the worst, but not great. And by the way, the paint color in the old bathroom was a very bright turquoise. The new paint color looks a bit different in each of the new photos, but it is much more gray and subdued than the "before" color. I took the new photos on two separate days and I think I had my white balance set differently each time, so it doesn't appear consistent. But I would say it's a warm bluish-gray. I really love the new color. I am so happy with the navy gingham curtains, too. I used to make all of my curtains, but after making a curtain for every single window in this house I vowed I would never make a curtain again unless I really, really, really wanted to. And so far I haven't even remotely wanted to.


My decorating inspiration in here was kind of a traditional Swedish-country feel: mostly creamy white, basic chrome fixtures, a little bit of gray and a little bit of blue, navy gingham, and a bit of warm wood (and by the way, I am working on putting together a list of my favorite Scand-inspired books and blogs for you soon). When in doubt, I left it out. The result is, I think, a room that fits in with the era of the house (1927) and our simple style. Like so many of you told me it would be, this project was so worth it. The day the bathroom got finished, I went up and sat in the corner of it, on the floor, and felt so peaceful and happy. I just marveled at how inspiring it is to watch something go from being a space that was halfway unusable to becoming one of the nicest rooms in the house. I'm so pleased with all of it! Should you have need, here are the details:

Paint: Wall color: Wedgewood Gray by Benjamin Moore; trim: Floral White by Miller Paint
Shower: Tigris Round with Walls by Maax, from A-Boy Plumbing (it's the one on display in the stores; the fold-up seat was special ordered there, but I don't remember who makes it)
Light fixtures: Kent wall bracket with Streamline Clamshell Opal shade, by Rejuvenation Hardware
Floor: Connection Corlon in White Cliffs by Armstrong from Contractor's Furnishings Mart
Curtains: Cabin Check Tier Curtains in Navy by Country Curtains
Wire tables: America Retold (these are several years old now, so I don't know if they still make them)
Wooden vase and candle jar (with flameless tea light): West Elm
Fancy candle and medicine-cabinet knob: Anthropologie
White glass soap dispensers, bath rug, wastepaper basket, towel holders, and towels: Target
Stripey wooden brushes: World Market


Gosh it's great! Our home was builtin 1925 and has that very same chair rail with fake tile/wall board underneath it, and an identical medicine cabinet. We have a huge cast iron tub that is also original to the house along with the tiny hexagonal white tiles on the floor. Love that color paint - need that in my bathroom re-do soon. The curtains are great, too!

looks gorgeous you two ... enjoy!

Beautiful! And also - I can't wait to see your list of Scandinavian blogs!

Jacqueline Oostdijk says: November 09, 2010 at 01:03 PM

I totally digg the black and white checker curtains in combination with the bleu and white! I approve this bathroom!

Looks beautiful and calming, but I think you left out the most important detail: tell me about that delicious little oval rug! Did you make it? If not, where did you find such a cute little rug??

Dear, dear, wonderful Alicia. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites to read - especially during the holidays. The Scandinavian inspiration alone is so swoony that I actually stopped reading because alas, we are in an ugly apartment and had no home of our own to decorate as lovely as you do yours. But yay! We are finally homeowners and will be moving next month and I decided to come on over and check your blog for some Christmas decor inspiration. How happy I am to see you're REMODELING now too! Just in time to inspire me in my own remodeling adventures. So yes, please do post your favorite resources!

Hi Alicia,
Oh what a pretty new bathroom!!
I really love your color choices and
the curtains from Country Curtains.
I have ordered from them many times
and always like their products.
Great shower too!!


(& i am really looking forward to that list of Scandinavian blogs)


Esther Sunday says: November 09, 2010 at 04:59 PM


L*O*V*E* I*T*!!!!

Absolutely beautiful re-do! I love all of the choices you made. It would be nice if our re-do would be so easy. We're in the same boat: have to do one bath before can do the other. Thank you for the inspiration, Alicia!

Absolutely perfect! I'd love a walk in shower-would make bathing the dogs much easier. The gingham curtains are really cheery.

Ingrid Servold says: November 09, 2010 at 09:17 PM

Very nice reno! Scand blogs? I'm in.

So classic and pretty, but good substantial elements like those gorgeous clam shell light fixtures and the shower bench. The gingham curtains seal the deal; so perfect!

Such an awesome room. You two deserve it and can't wait to see the other one when it is finished.

That is exactly the bathroom I want (everything is broken in mine - but my house is the size of a peanut and I only have one bathroom).

Wow, we just redid our bathroom and added white wainscotting and used that exact color of blue. Love!

It is BYOOOOTIful!!!! And so in keeping with your style! May I add-- how lucky are you to have a husband who is also so in keeping with your style? :) And who helps you cut felt? :) OK, now I'm looking around my bathroom trying to figure out how to make it that gorgeous when this is a little 1980's tract home. :)

Gorgeous! So, where's the darling bathmat from?

it looks sooo great!!

it turned out great! i love the wainscoting. i've always wanted to add it to my bathroom.

Are you living in my house? We have had exactly the same issue. Well almost exactly. The upstairs bathroom shower leaking into the room below (our family room) and therefore we just stopped using the upstairs shower ... 4 years ago! My husband has just finished demo on the bathroom ... in our case right back to the studs and we're about to start picking the pretty stuff!! Your wall colour is the same one that I picked (Wedgewood Blue)! Our house is much newer though (1970's) so I think our design will be different ... more suiting the era of the house.

Your reno is awesome!

PS. I want to do the kitchen next too!

I think you may love Swedish style as much as I love French style. It's interesting how people are drawn to different styles of home decor.

I also believe in Rachel Ashwell's philosophy of "Less is More" when it comes to designing or a redoing a room. A certain amount of restraint is needed when creating Swedish-style interiors. You've achieved that with this bathroom. It's bright, it's clean and it's inviting. I love the shower! It's perfect for that bathroom!

this is a dream!!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at