I knew I was going to hate it before we even moved in. The powder room.
If you’ve been through the hours-long process of “picking colours” when building a new home, you’ll know the anguish that comes along with seeing 47 different types of beige tiles. One sort of just gives in after a while, throwing all sense of design to the wayside in favour of just being done already.
Even when we lived in the city, I had a very clear vision about my dream powder room. It always involved intricate tile on the floor, lots of white and a dual-flush toilet.
When we were picking our colours, there was no tile in sight smaller than 12-inch squares and no choice of toilet. When I said out loud that I wanted a white bathroom, the rep “helping” us seemed so in shock that I didn’t want the tile to match what was in our foyer that I did something I don’t do very often: I second-guessed myself. And I went with the matching tile.
But, honestly, it’s just a powder room, right? Nothing more than 30 square feet, right? So wrong.
We have four bathrooms, but our powder room is our most-used out of all of them. We potty trained in there; we do those you-have-to-do-a-pee-before-we-get-in-the-car (or eat a meal) bathroom trips in there; and it’s what any guest in our home generally uses, too.
And you know that feeling when you’ve had a picture in your head of what a space should look like and it just never has? It’s a pretty annoying feeling. I’ve had that feeling for three years and eight months. Since the day we moved in.
Thank goodness The Home Depot Canada is on a mission to help free me of Powder Room Hatred. I was ecstatic when the PR goddess there agreed that this small space could use a major facelift.
The timing couldn’t be better. I mean, I’m pretty convinced that people only continue to do renos so they can impress guests. I know we use upcoming family visits and holidays as serious motivation to get things looking great around our house. So with the holidays approaching (my favourite time of year!), getting this powder room made over is the perfect project to set us up for some fabulous entertaining over the coming weeks.
- What: main-floor powder room, approx. 30 square feet
- Budget: mid-range, approx. $2,000 in materials
- Time investment: about four (long) days
- DIY handy-factor: intermediate to advanced, depending on tile and plumbing choices
- GLACIER BAY All-In-One Dual Flush Toilet ($279)
- MAGICK WOODS White Adrian Vanity ($299)
- HDC Grayton Collection Semi-Flushmount Light ($129)
- DELTA Arzo Bathroom Faucet ($355.29)
- DELTA Arzo Single Post Toilet Paper Holder ($78.84)
- DELTA Arzo Towel Ring ($92.81)
- DELTA Arzo 24-inch Towel Bar ($99.80)
- SASSI Bianco Polished Basketweave Mosaics ($14.99 per sq.ft.)
- SASSI Bianco Polished Brick Mosaics ($14.97 per sq.ft., used for border)
- BEHR Premium Plus Ultra paint ($48.97, in “Polar Bear”)
- GRAHAM & BROWN Darcy wallpaper ($70 per roll)
- AMEROCK T-Knobs ($8.36 ea., x 2)
- TANGERINE Dream White Gloss Mirror ($79.96)
- DECOR GRATES CLASSIC 4×10″ Cast Black Scroll Floor Register ($12.64)
- Plus some trim paint, sub-flooring, replacement baseboards, caulking, drywall plugs and other incidentals
Overall, I’m beyond thrilled with the makeover. The only disappointing moment came at the very end when we mounted the light fixture. It was the PROGRESS LIGHTING Calven Collection Forged Black Semi-flushmount Light and it was gorgeous. But as soon as we put lights in and turned them on, the drum shade took on a really yellow hue, which just seemed so out of place in all that white. So I raced off to The Home Depot, grabbed about five different lighting options and we roughly tried each of them until we chose the one you see. It wasn’t at all what I had in mind, but it works.
For this project, it was all about the details. And without consulting a designer, I was so nervous that all of the details I saw in my head would end up looking like a jumbled mess. I’m so glad the picture in my mind translated into this:
I pieced together the overall look of the powder room based solely on the floor. There’s nothing like the intricacy of a mosaic tile like this to add serious wow-factor to a small space. In fact, as soon as the floor went in, the room felt so much bigger.
Word of warning, though: marble mosaic tile is not for the novice. You need to have the skills to cut marble, which is quite brittle, and lay teeny tiny tiles in perfect soldier formation. If you’re pretty handy but have never laid tile like this before, it might be a good investment to hire someone just for this portion of the project. You’ll also need to build in extra time if you choose flooring like this because you really have to give it time to cure and then you also need to give it a couple coats of sealer and let that dry. All said and done, this was easily the most time-consuming part of the job, eating up two full days.
We use our main floor toilet more than any other in the house, so getting a dual-flush toilet was a must. I love the profile of this one from Glacier Bay because the pipes are hidden, which gives it a really clean line and makes cleaning it a lot easier, too.
I can’t say enough about the Arzo Collection from Delta, in which we went with the stainless option over the chrome. This is where you might want to blow your budget because a fabulous faucet can completely change the look of your vanity and the entire room. In fact, if you want a quick facelift for your powder room, consider just replacing the faucet! This one is classic enough that I probably won’t get an itch to change it out for another 15 years, but modern enough that it balances out the traditional tile and the Victorian-esque mirror. Getting that single-hole faucet look when you buy a $299 vanity/sink combo (deal of the century) that comes with three holes already drilled is tough, but this cheater plate that came with the Delta Arzo faucet gets it closer than any other option I could find. It was a surprise and huge bonus that the faucet also came with a stainless sink plug, too. Matchy-matchy!
Something I like doing to turn a steal into something that looks like a splurge is to simply change hardware. On a cardigan, this could mean replacing cheap, boring buttons with vintage ones that are all just a bit different. In this powder room renovation, it was replacing the chrome door pulls that came with the Magick Woods vanity with stainless steel T-knobs. It pulled together all of the stainless accessories from Delta and instantly made the vanity look more high-end.
Before the makeover, I often kept the powder room door shut. It was nothing special and we’ve put so much effort into our main floor that it paled in comparison. Now, though, I keep the light on in the powder room (sorry, David Suzuki) and the door wide open because it’s the star of the show. It’s everything I wanted and didn’t get when we built this house. And I’m as in love with it as one can be with a space and the inanimate objects in it.
DISCLAIMER: The Home Depot Canada provided me with most of the products used for this makeover; Masco Canada provided me with the Delta products and is a client of the firm for whom I work. All opinions expressed are, as always, 100 per cent my own.