powder room before

Powder Room Project | Before

When we moved into this house last August, I remember telling Terry I was going to make a point of going around and meticulously photographing every single room, so that all of the changes we made would be documented, and we’d be able to look back and remember all the different stages the various rooms went through. We didn’t really do that in our last house, which means that every so often we’ll come across a random photo of my shoes or something, and be all, “WHOA! We had YELLOW WALLS? Do YOU remember that?”

As you can probably tell by the very existence of this blog, I’m the kind of person who places great importance on documenting things. I don’t even really know why I do it, to be honest, but it’s an urge I’ve had since I was young, and that’s why I bought this house with the intention of lovingly recording every single change we ever made to it.

Yeah, totally didn’t bother to do that. Which is why the only photos I now have of our powder room (I insist on calling it ‘The Powder Room’, even although Terry insists on calling it ‘The Little Bathroom Downstairs’…) are the ones we hurriedly took (with the owner’s permission, obviously) while we walked through on our second viewing before buying it:

powder room before

So much for that whole “I will document everything,” thing, huh?

Don’t worry, though! All is not lost! I also have these photos, which I hurriedly snapped yesterday morning, right before the workmen arrived to fill in the hole in the floor:

Powder room remodel: before

Er, as you can guess, the giant holes in the wall and floor WEREN’T part of our future plans for this room…

Anyway, bad though these photos may be, the fact is, we haven’t actually done much to the room in the intervening 14 months. We changed the mirror, installed a towel rail and toilet roll holder (oddly enough, not one of the bathrooms in this house had any of those things – they were all totally bare), put up some artwork on the wall above the radiator, and added a few little decorative touches (all of which had to be removed while the floor was being dug up) but… that was pretty much it. I figured I’d  get round to taking decent photos of it (and the rest of the house, for that matter) sooner or later, but, of course, I didn’t, and now there’s a hole in the floor. C’est la vie!

The wall isn’t a huge issue: it’s easy enough to patch up the hole and re-paint it. Which leaves us with the floor. As I’ve mentioned in my many previous posts about this, while the dark grey tile isn’t what we’d have picked ourselves if we’d built the house, we don’t particularly mind it, either. Had this whole ‘Hall Hell’ situation not unraveled, we probably wouldn’t have considered replacing that floor for years, and then only after we’d done everything else we want to do in the house. It just wasn’t a priority.

That’s not to say we were totally happy with it, of course. I did occasionally go in there and find myself wishing it wasn’t quite so stark and unloved, but there wasn’t a whole lot we could do about it – or were prepared to do about it – and that was mostly because we’d been told those tiles would be an absolute pain to remove. That advice turned out to be totally correct, as it happens: those tiles WERE an absolute pain to remove, and even although the workmen only had to take up a few of them in order to access the blocked pipe, it took them a really long time, and created a whole lot of mess.

Which leaves us with two choices:

01. We can cut our losses, try to track down identical/near-identical tiles to the ones that were removed (They’re fairly generic tiles, so I wouldn’t think it would be too difficult to replace them), and just put the room back to the way it was.

02. Given that the workmen have handily made a start on the tile removal for us, we could use it as an opportunity to continue the work, and turn it into our dream powder room. (Er, do people dream of powder rooms? Or is that just me?)

After a bit of thought, we’ve decided to go with option 2. Because why, after all, take the path of least mess, and get your nice, clean house back, when you can drag things out indefinitely? Exactly.

All joking aside, we just figured there’s probably never going to be a better time to do this. The room is small, so it won’t cost a lot of money to give it a revamp: as I said, the only thing stopping us in the past was the thought of taking up those tiles, and now that job’s already been started (albeit not under the best circumstances), we don’t really see the point in going out and buying MORE tiles we don’t love, and putting them down, only to one day rip them all up again. So: the powder room project is ON.

But what to actually DO with it: that’s the question?

Er, I’m going to have to pass on that one, actually. We know we want to re-tile the floor, and possibly some of the walls, but we went to look at tiles yesterday, and, as is my way, I found myself absolutely paralyzed with indecision. So many possibilities! So many opportunities to make an expensive mistake, which we’ll then be stuck with forever more, because the new tiles will be just as much of a pain to remove as the old ones! It’s the smallest room in the house, so technically it should be an easy win, and super easy to remodel. Because I hold the title of World’s Least Decisive Person, however (Honestly, it took me AGES to decide on that title: I just kept changing my mind!), I will now go through agonies of indecision, before finally settling on an option I will surely hate in six months time. Hold me.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to photograph every single room in my house, because you just never know when someone will come along and randomly start knocking holes in it…

books by Amber Eve
  • It’s scary making this decisions. I’m lucky in that I’ve seen the sort of bathroom I want so when we move and can remodel, I’ve got it all set in my brain what I want. Light gray floors, heated, with another shade of gray walls. Pedestal sinks, claw tub and rain head showerstall. That’s my dream bathroom.
    I can’t wait to see what you choose for this bathroom.

    Fashion and Happy Things

    October 14, 2014
      • That’s really brilliant. I would have never thought of photoshopping it in to see how it looks.

        October 14, 2014
  • It definitely seems like a good idea to change things whilst there is repair work to be done, but I agree – after my flat flooded it was impossible to decide on tiles and wallpaper and things – nightmare.

    October 14, 2014
  • Myra


    I would have to challenge you for the title of World’s Least Decisive Person, as Raymond will testify to, having watched me take an hour to choose a single ball of wool lol, so you can imagine how long it takes me to make an important decision. House hunting is a nightmare: we are now into dozens, and even though I have found a favourite Raymond doesn’t like the location, so back to the drawing board 🙁

    October 14, 2014
  • This is the kind of decision that literally keeps me up at night… hence why I’m again (I keep coming back to this) for now glad I’m in a rented property and can’t do anything whatsoever about my also currently dark grey lino (erg) bathroom floor. But if I could, all I’d say is the smaller the room the lighter everything should be..! But apart from that, I’m as much use as a chocolate heated towel-rail.

    October 14, 2014
  • TinaD


    The good news is that it’s a powder room, so unless you tile in teal-and-burgundy checkerboard or a giant dogs-playing-poker figural mosaic (I haven’t searched for it, but I bet you can get one. The Internet is sophisticated like that.) you are probably okay whatever you choose. If your zeitgeist is white and minimalist, I’d suggest maybe a large, light grey marble-look porcelain tile (or real marble, if you are in that kind of mood), or maybe a lighter shade of grey slate sort of thing, with grey grout. Easier than white to maintain, not too much busy-ness in a small room. Save your angst for organizers. (We move every three years religiously, so I’ve redone lots of bathrooms. And kitchens. And front rooms. The important bit is not the tile, it’s the number of towel hooks and adequate storage for backup rolls of loo paper. Because if your significant other has to climb three flights with his pants around his ankles because he discovered too late there’s only a sheet and a half left in the whole bathroom, you will be blamed. Bitterly and often. Ask me how I know.)

    October 14, 2014
  • Fran


    Well, I am glad at least something good is coming out of the piping problems! And I absolutely understand about not knowing how to make your mind up about things. I am currently renting so one of the very few things I could decide on was the cushions to spruce up the sofa…and having a serious cushion addiction, naturally I turned it into a three hour long marathon between Primark and M&S comparing pictures of the curtains, the carpet, and the sofa itself…I cannot imagine what it would have been like choosing something as permanent as bathroom tiles, so you have all my sympathy :p

    October 14, 2014
  • Kathryn


    Our kitchen tiles also fell under the pain in the rear to pull up box. Instead the tilers just put the new tiles on top of the old ones. It saved loads of time and money. And there were no consequences from the short cut. In fact, the floor is now level when it wasn’t before.

    October 14, 2014
  • I appreciate your simple work in the powder room. Small changes will give totally a different look keep up the good work.

    July 25, 2015