Downstairs Bathroom: Progress + Plans

By Kate Riley September 17, 2014

When we left Las Vegas a few weeks ago we had made some changes to the downstairs bathroom in the house. Here’s a picture of the space from when we bought the house back in June and before we started any improvements. So.Very.Blah.

original bathroom

There have been several changes since then, first we removed the vanity, countertop, and mirror and donated them to ReStore. I’ve written about the new tile floors and smooth textured white walls, both made a huge difference. The addition of a new vanity and toilet have also transformed the space, but we’re far from done! 

This Madeline vanity we chose with a plain white solid surface top is from Home Depot. It’s taller and only 48” wide instead of the 60” builder grade vanity that was there before, so the proportions are so much better, allowing space on both sides for a trash can and more leg room around the toilet. I shopped everywhere for a new vanity and settled on this one because the price was right and I liked the curvature of the front of the cabinet, also the legs sitting on top of the tile feel fresh and modern. 

downstairs bathroom progress

We also replaced the old toilet with a thinner taller one, more comfortable and more contemporary, also from Home Depot. The sides are sleek and don’t have that ceramic pipe shape along the sides that you see with other toilets. Little details like that make me smile, even if it is a toilet I’m admiring. :)

One thing I’m happy we thought ahead about was ripping the top of baseboards with a table saw before installation so they have a flat top since I plan to do a board and batten wall treatment in here. (Baseboards with a curved lip on top don’t match up to flat bottom battens, see this post from 2011 on installing board and batten wall treatment). I’ve ordered a pretty wallpaper to install above add color and pattern to the space.

I’m feeling the color green in here, so the plan is to do a mix of soothing monochromatic shades of that hue mixed with white painted board and batten below and featuring touches of brass with oil rubbed bronze hardware/lighting. These are some of the products I’m considering …

downstairs bathroom plan

I already bought this Franco wallpaper by York and this Chinoiserie style mirror from Ballard Designs for the space. I’m thinking of painting the vanity and I’m leaning toward a favorite: Kennebunkport Green by Benjamin Moore. Or perhaps a semi gloss black. Or I might leave it stained dark wood, I’m not sure yet, I want to reevaluate when the wallpaper goes up on the walls.

I’ll share all the sources in the final reveal. I’m headed back in a few weeks to continue working on this space and others, it will be so pretty when complete!



  1. Just changing the floors made such a great difference. You mentioned board and batten for the walls, so I’m taking this opportunity to ask about that. It seems to me that keeping something like that clean would be especially challenging in a bathroom. All those little ledges! Where goo and crud can collect! Am I totally off-base, or has anyone else thought of this? I love the look of b-and-b, even in a bathroom, I just don’t like the thought of keeping it clean!

    • Hi Peggy, if you use a semi gloss or gloss paint on the board and batten, it wipes down easily. It’s up on the walls in my little boys room where it gets hit with “all things boy” and so far still looking good! Same with beadboard or any wall treatment, two good coats of semigloss paint keep it practical and easy to maintain. :)

  2. I love the direction you are going with this room! I just beg you—please don’t paint that vanity. It is gorgeous as it is!

  3. I LOVE that vanity!!! It is the perfect balance between traditional (me) and modern (my hubs)! I love the curve. It’s amazing how just a few simple changes can really transform a space. If you did nothing else to that bathroom (like paint the vanity…), it would still be spectacular!

  4. OMG I HATE that little pipe thingie on toilets too. It just looks like intestines to me, and I’d rather not think about what’s happening in my toilet’s bowels (badum dum chuh).

    I love the vanity you chose. Those few changes already make this bathroom a bazillion times better.

  5. I think it looks great, Kate. Love the vanity choice. I think I’d keep it just the way it is if I were you, but you’ll know for sure when the wallpaper goes up. My inkling is that there would be too much green if you painted it. The mirror is perfect!

  6. Hi,
    I love the choices in the bathroom! Can you tell me about the new flooring? Is it tile? If so, where did you find it and who is the manufacturer and what is the name of the color? Thanks!

  7. Love where you are going with it, Kate! I’ve had a thing for green lately! Been thinking about painting my kids bathroom vanity green. I’ve got the white board and batten installed in there. Either green or a gray with greige undertones. Look forward to seeing how it all comes together. I’m sure it will be stunning! :-)

  8. Thanks for the update. I LOVE it so far! and I love looking at the planning board. I’m still trying to get one of those together for my latest project. I totally understand how a monochromatic color scheme will make the room feel larger. Please consider waiting to paint the vanity until last, as it looks so great now, you may decide against it. (or not) Thanks!

    • I’m waiting Loretta and Tamara! I’ll dress it up with some brass pulls for now, I think if we were keeping the house forever I’d paint it but since it will be sold in a year or two the darker stain will have more appeal…. but I’m still tempted !!! :)

    • Hi Jessica, I like beadboard for more cottage or traditional homes, this home leans contemporary so B&B feels more appropriate or a grid pattern wall treatment painted white.

  9. I think the vanity color looks lovely as is. Actually I cringe at the thought of painting it green from a buyer prospective. I’m all for painted vanities when the space is right, but I think here the existing darker wood makes a nice contrast. My vote is leave it!

  10. Thanks for responding Kate. That answer makes sense & helps me decide which direction I need to go in our bathroom. Thank You!!

  11. I’ve been following your work on this home with such delight. To say I look forward to every post is an understatement. I am so intrigued with the tile (looks like wood) floor treatment. Love all your choices Kate. Thank you for including me in the project. Vikki in VA

  12. I love the green color combination you’ve chosen! I tend to stick within my color bubble of colors I love, this is a great palette though, I may have to step outside my comfort zone soon! Love all the inspiration!

  13. I love the vanity! I about dumped my coffee when I read you wanted to paint it! Can’t wait to see the big reveal.

  14. What kind of prep would you have to do to paint the vanity, any sanding? I am alway torn about painting cabinets , brush and roller marks. How do you get the professional look? Seems to be the fashion to paint over wood cabinets these days but to get that smooth professional finish, is it possible without paying a professional?
    Love the redo so far!

  15. Another “Centsational” room in progress! Question: what type of toilet is that? I am also in the market for a new toilet with the trap hidden. Thanks very much.

    • Hi Mary, I don’t recall the brand for the toilet (I’m in CA now so I can’t check) but I found it at Home Depot, they have them in the toilet section there.

  16. What a wonderful transformation already! Can you provide a link to the light fixture in your mood board? We are in the process of redoing our master bath and I have not been able to find a light fixture that I like anywhere!

  17. I’m loving everything you have picked out so far. The shape of that vanity is perfect for that space. Can’t wait to see the rest of the pieces in place!

  18. It seems silly to be so enamored with “designer toilets” as they are called…love the smooth sides…so easy to keep clean…what a thought….easily found at Home Depot and Lowe’s

  19. I love the direction you’re going with the green. The vanity is very pretty but frankly looks “heavy” in the room to me. Keeping it dark because one thinks buyers will like it better is tricky unless you’re planning to sell soon. A couple of years from now, trends may have builders moving away from dark kitchens and bathrooms and existing houses will look dated. Even if you keep the vanity as is, a future buyer may hate the wallpaper, so it’s hard to win. Unless you’re planning to flip right away, I’d go for classic and good bones throughout but not be afraid of touches of whimsy and surprise where they can relatively easily changed. I’d love the vanity in green; however, I think you’re smart to wait and see, and, when you do get to a decision point, it might be worth it to paint a very large board in the green and stand it up against a portion of the vanity or find a piece of fabric or curtain panel in a similar green, wrap it around the vanity and live with it for a few days.

  20. Please don’t paint the vanity! I think the dark wood will be a great contrast to the white and green!

  21. I have the exact same concern as Judy! Please advise on how to paint a vanity and get a professional look while DIY. Love the brass hardware, BTW.

    • Hi Lana and Judy, professionals use a fine mist nozzle, I use a spray primer and follow it up with a good leveling enamel or oil based paint designed for furniture applied with a high quality brush in thin coats. Ben Moore Advance is my favorite for that kind of project.

  22. we have board and batten with green (a bit darker, though) in our bathroom too. love it. it will all look so good when it’s done!

  23. I think the vanity looks wonderrful, as is. I’m a paint retailer, but not everything needs to be painted!

  24. I guess I’d vote for keeping the vanity dark. The darker fixtures play so well off it, and it looks so very contemporary with the green wall accent and the mirror. Lovely vanity btw.

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