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Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Upstairs bathroom reno plans: Week 1 One Room Challenge!

I'm so excited it's One Room Challenge season again! We have yet another bathroom planned for this ORC (I've done two other bathroom challenges--this midcentury modern-inspired one at my friends' home and our main bathroom) and it's not that I loooove them over other rooms, but this house did have two dated bathrooms so now we have to do the second one!


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If you're new to this blog from the ORC site, welcome!! I'm Suzannah, a longtime DIYer and design lover currently making over our 1937 Tudor revival style home, our second fixer-upper. I have a 2-year-old and newborn, but my husband and I have done almost all of the work on our homes ourselves! I've blogged about all of it so you can check out my tutorials page and room reveals to see. You can also follow along with me and my projects on Instagram! I also co-host the Your Home Story podcast!

See all my posts about this ORC here!

Historic Home Half Bath Reno Plans


OMG, I am so glad we are finally doing this project!! It wasn't initially on our 2020 house project goals list but we decided to do it this summer, but then it got pushed back by several things. Jason's study schedule for the PT board exam, baby Lucy coming (and us being more tired than we expected), then finally, the smoke/air quality due to all the forest fires in Oregon in early September. We ordered almost all the materials back in June! They've been taking up space in our garage. I am so excited to get this done!

You may remember we did our main bathroom reno ORC last fall. Possibly the hardest project we've ever done, ugh. I was so worn out after that. Thankfully this next bathroom is way simpler--this should be a piece of cake!

It's our upstairs bathroom and unfortunately it's only a half bath. This house was built in 1937 and from what I've seen from other homes of around that era, that's not uncommon. We have two bedrooms upstairs and two downstairs, but no master bedroom/master suite. We've been sleeping downstairs since we wanted to be near the shower, but now we want to move upstairs and convert the extra bonus space attached to one of the rooms to a nursery, making almost 3 bedrooms upstairs (us, baby, toddler).

We really scratched our heads on how we could add a shower to this room or the hallway outside it, and extend it into the hallway, but you need at least 30-36" square for a shower and we only have 2-2.5' no matter which way you go. So, we'll settle for it being a half bath, but at least it will be really pretty after we finish!


Historic bathroom reno design and before


So here's the before, as you walk into the room from the hall. It's not a bad size for a half bath, and has some room opposite the toilet and sink for a cabinet or some more storage. There's not really room for a real/full depth vanity, just a pedestal sink, because of the corner sticking out from the opposite wall. There's a TON of storage (2'+ deep cabinet, floor to ceiling) behind the door.

(You can see the full before tour of this home here from 2 years ago.)

Before we moved in, we took down those curtains and art and painted the whole room white. I'll share a pic of it as we've been living with it after we empty it out this weekend, before we demo. Those rubber baseboards and elementary school linoleum floor remain, of course!

I wanted to add some interest on the walls, partway up... NOT TILE (I still have PTSD from all the tiling I did in our downstairs bathroom last fall, and there's no tub/shower so don't need it for waterproofing) but wainscoting is traditional and fun. Plus will cover up some imperfections in the wall. I thought about painting the trim and wainscoting a nice color, go for that cool contrast trim look, but we just painted the back of the door and all the trim white before we moved in (it was ivory before) and it's still in good shape, so I hate to add another layer of paint and redo it. Still TBD what I decide on that. I might add wallpaper or something above it? If I can find one I like and if it still feels plain after we get the paneling up.

The really fun thing is I'll be adding interest with this patterned floor tile. It's crazy affordable ($1.38/SF!!!) and yes, a little trendy and more modern than this home would have had originally, but still neutral and not too bold. I think it looks great with the darker elements we'll be adding with decor (black/caning cabinet I just shared here, which we'll move up here, and art).

I think this may be our easiest bathroom reno ever because we're not even changing the lighting and mirror! These are original and while the mirror is a little smaller than I'd like, it's a medicine cabinet style which is useful, and I like that it and the light are original to the home. They're sort of back in style again, even!

I debated a ton over the floor tile and storage cabinets. Happy with this! Here's the final design. Most of this exact stuff is sitting in our garage as we speak!

So here we go, finally! We still have plenty on our plates with a newborn around, so this will be mostly Jason's time and hard work while I watch her and Otto. I think we can get most of it done in a couple weekends, though. Excited to share more!

Thanks for following along! Subscribe to my blog by entering your email in the black box on the right ("GET NEW POSTS BY EMAIL") and see all the posts about this ORC project hereYou can also check out the ORC blog for the rest of the 6-week challenges! There are 20 featured designers plus tons of other guests like me!

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