June 14, 2013

Before and After Envy: Half-Bath Remodel

Half Bath Makeover | Tried & Twisted #beforeandafterenvy

The Ugly Duckling...

When decorating a home, there is always a risk that your look will one day become dated. This problem is only made worse if those decisions were made by the previous home owner and if those decisions involve white ducky wallpaper.

Today, we're joined by my friend Shannon Hemauer as she shares her journey of ridding her half-bath of the dreaded duckies.

Shannon recently started her own blog, Blog: In Focus, and writing/editing freelance business, so please stop by and check her out after reading up about her home renovation project.


First, I must give my husband credit for our half-bath remodel. He’s talented using power tools, rewiring lights and electrical outlets, and installing sinks and toilets. These are skills his father taught him over the years, skills that come naturally to my hubby.

We bought our house in June 2009. Newlyweds, we wanted a place to call our own. For several months before the home purchase, we watched HGTV and "Property Virgins," where we learned the importance of looking beyond the cosmetic flaws of a house—outdated d├ęcor—and instead focus on the bones of the house. So, we weren’t fazed by the original 1984 duck wallpaper in the half-bath when touring the house.

Nope! Didn’t faze us at all. In fact, I think my hubby was excited—perhaps too excited—to purchase new tools for the remodeling project.

Originally, the plan was to remove only the wallpaper and paint the walls. That quickly expanded to us updating the sink from the boxy cabinet to a sleek pedestal sink, replacing the floor to a more-modern tile, and updating the toilet to something that wasn’t stained.

At the time, I was 17 weeks pregnant with our first son, so wanting to get the room completed before his arrival was a driving force for my husband. He spent about two weekends’ worth of time on the renovation, doing everything himself except paint. Painting is my area of expertise (don’t worry, I had lots of ventilation going!)

OK. So enough on the history of the WHY…let’s share the HOW.

Here are the before shots. This bath begged for an update! (Side note: Why would the previous owner use a goose-themed wallpaper border in a bathroom? Did they stand in a store, look through the samples, and think, ‘OH! This one shall go perfectly in the bathroom! I’ll take 50’ of it.’? I haven’t a clue. I guess this ranks up there with the unanswered question of how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop. We’ll just never know.)

Half-Bath Renovation: the ugly duckling before | Tried & Twisted

 Anyway. Where was I? Yes! Out came the boxy sink, down came the ugly light, so long geese, and good-bye outdated tile.

Here’s an action shot of hubby breaking up the tile floor. No turning back now.

Half-Bath Renovation on Before & After Envy Series | Tried & Twisted

Once the floor was demolished, we painted the walls an olive color and added a fresh coat of white paint to the ceiling.

Please, “Oh” and “Ah” as much as you’d like.

Half-Bath Renovation on Before & After Envy Series | Tried & Twisted

Then came the fun stuff! Putting down the new tile. I’ve outlined the easy-to-follow steps in the photo below. Take note in the final photo the color of the grout. Did you know they make colored grout? It doesn’t just come in white. Man. What will they think of next?

Half-Bath Renovation on Before & After Envy Series | Tried & Twisted

The last, and perhaps most important part of the remodel of the half-bath, was installing the new toilet. Hubby is originally from Wisconsin, so we made sure to go with a Kohler brand, to support his hometown’s economy.

Half-Bath Renovation on Before & After Envy Series | Tried & Twisted

Sadly, all during my morning sickness months, I was using the old toilet. I really think those first few weeks of pregnancy would’ve been better had I been able to get sick in a nice, shiny new toilet!

OK…drum roll please! I present to you, dear reader, the finished project!

Half-Bath Renovation on Before & After Envy Series | Tried & Twisted

New light fixture, new mirror, new sink, new floor, new toilet, and new wall color. For a while, this was the best room in the house!

I don’t know if we saved money by doing the renovation ourselves—hello tools!—but the pride in my husband’s face when he shows off his handy work is worth any money we would’ve saved. Since then, we’ve gone on to update our family room, our sons’ bedrooms, the office, and most recently, the formal dining room where hubby cut and installed bead board

He always tells me, “If you don’t find ‘em handsome, at least find ‘em handy.” I say, I’m one lucky girl to have both!

Shannon Hemauer is owner of SME WRITING SERVICES, a freelance writing consultation business that collaborates with photographers and photography studios to write, edit, revise, and revamp content for websites, blogs, newsletters, and printed materials. In addition, she earned her BA in professional writing and has over five years of experience editing technical manuals for the US military.


  1. Thanks for letting me write this article! Fun!

  2. Oooooohhh! Shannon, I love it! Your hubby did a lovely job. I always wanted a duck themed bathroom, but.....definitely not the way it looked in your bathroom before. Hmm. ;)
    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Oh my!! That geese wallpaper would have been something I would have found in my Grandmother's bathroom when I was young. Great bathroom reno! High fives to your hubby!!

  4. Wow! It doesn't even look like the same bathroom! You guys did a great job!

    I'm visiting from Say G'day Saturday. Hope you're having a fun weekend!


  5. Shannon, the re-do was even more spectacular in person. So glad I was able to see the before and after in person. Guess that comes from being a friend and client for so many years.

    You should have also mentioned that you hung a piece of art over the toilet that adds to the class of the room so much.

  6. I'm popping over from Say G'Day to say Wow! Love the after pics! Don't you just love a fresh new bathroom! :) Great work!

  7. Great makeover look nice...Thank you for sharing at One More Time Events.

  8. Looks amazing! I was wondering if, when remodeling, you ran into any leaks?


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