Powder Room Makeover – Behind The Scenes

If you missed the powder room makeover, you can check that out here. It’s easily one of my favorite rooms in the house, it makes waiting for my toddler to just finish going potty a whole lot more pleasant. The makeover has made the space extremely user friendly for Ari , which means less work for me and more independence for him.

I took tons of progress photos during the entire process, and realized I never shared those with you.

Lets start from the beginning. Here is the before (these first few I actually did show in the original post) :


before 1



The before is what it looked like when we moved in four years ago. Last summer, I decided I would try a tiny update, so I set out to spend only $100. Within this effort, I purchased grey “oops paint” from Porter Paints. Unlike Home Depot or Lowes, Porter Paints doesn’t have an “oops paint” section, you have to ask them if they have it. In this case, they did.  Amazing highest end line of paint they sell, on major clearance since someone had returned it, and light and airy in color. The photo below really doesn’t do it justice.


But then, the pregnancy morning sickness last summer put a major hault to all my efforts. I’m not even being dramatic when I say that looking at the half painted bathroom made me sick, the color grey made me sick, and oh my gosh the thought of actually finishing painting those walls, I just couldn’t. Those walls had to go, I couldn’t live with them because they made me sick. But of course I did live with them, for most of my pregnancy actually. Towards the very end, I somehow found energy and desire to tackle the powder room project, so, I upped my budget a bit and decided to get things done.

Drawing out my ideas:


I also decided on new colors for the space. The upper walls would be “Drifting Snow” by Glidden (the same color as our living room walls), and the lower area would be “Natural Beech” by Benjamin Moore. I chose “Natural Beech” because it was similar to the color of the vanity top, which felt thoughtful and custom, but it was slightly more yellow, which made the vanity top appear brighter and cleaner. Originally, the vanity top always felt very yellow-y to me, and not in a good happy way.


At this point in the project, I was super pregnant. Below is me, at 38 weeks pregnant, in the powder room. So even at 38 weeks, I still hadn’t drawn ideas on my walls yet. Like what is wrong with me. And also, why is this striped men’s Jcrew t-shirt that I found at some thrift store years ago my favorite shirt ever?

38 weeks

Sometimes when you’re at the end of a pregnancy, there is a sudden need to start projects and finish them right away, even when people tell you that now is not a good time. Don’t let that kind of negativity into your life people, if you want to start a project right before your baby comes, then that’s what you need to do.

We chose to use MDF for the board and batten since it was a cheaper material, perfect for painting on top of it. Which I was. My friend David picked up sheets of MDF and cut them into strips. Mike then cut those strips into the exact sizes I needed for each area.

MDF apparently makes a great car track.

mdf train track

But it makes an even better powder room wall.


Caulking is key, it gives a custom look. I spent hours making sure every tiny gap between wood and MDF had a clean caulk line before I painted. My tip here is to use baby wipes to really get a good clean line of caulk once it has been applied.


I gave a light sanding to the vanity before painting. Sanding is seriously so boring, I can’t stand it.


Solo cups make great paint containers for medium sized brushes. I always prefer to use a brush, over a roller. Plus, it’s a great arm workout.


In the photo below, I had finished painting the upper walls a bright white. It is here I began to question if white was “enough”. Deep down, I knew it needed more, but I did not have the budget for wallpaper. Or the time.


While I continued to think about what I wanted to do with the upper walls, I made sure the lower walls were painted with several coats of paint. Some areas of the lower walls remained un-painted until after the baby came, only because Mike was a little overwhelmed about me insisting he spend his time making a bunch of wood cuts. I kept getting the measurements wrong, and he was like “Seriously Lauren why do you keep doing this to me, we are about to have a baby soon, please measure correctly” and I was like “OH MY GOSH stop yelling and make me food..and wood cuts, PLEASE!”



Below is my very last pregnancy photo with Maxwell. Me, at 39.5 weeks, headed to the hospital to go have a baby. The powder room had to wait, for obvious reasons. I’m showing the photo so you can see the timeline of things relative to the progress that was made in the space. I’m so emotional just looking at that photo, if Mike wasn’t on his way home right this second with taco bell, I would take a break to cry and connect with my emotions about this photo, but that will have to wait.


Anyway. Baby arrived, and my maternity leave began, and suddenly I realized that Max was a very different baby than Ari was. I had heard that your children can be very different, and for me this is very true.  I was tired and sometimes very tired, but not depleted or exhausted beyond belief most days as I had been with Ari.  Although some days I was, and some days I still am. During my maternity leave I was able to work on the power room project, while Max was content watching me for hours without much fuss. We listened to music, and talked, and he told me what a great job I was doing along the way.


With some extra MDF, I decided to frame out the existing mirror. I had no desire to attempt removing it, and no budget to buy a new one, so framing out the existing one was the best option. You can see in the back wall, I started on the floating shelves.



I decided to tackle a huge task of hand-painting “wallpaper” on the upper walls. I’m sometimes really impulsive, and in this case, all turned out great. Instead of mapping out everything, I just grabbed a paint brush and made a mark, and went from there. There were some really scary moments though, many days I had to take a step back to make sure I could make it look good in the end. It was hard to tell at these progress points.


Unlike actual wallpaper, mine does not have a pattern repeat. The reason it feels wallpaper and pattern like, is because I used a series of 8-10 shapes repeated over all walls, and left a consistent white gap in-between all shapes.


Shelves were coming along nicely, and the walls began to feel more promising at this stage.


In the photo below, you can see the shelves have a slight gap in-between the shelf and the wall. Caulking was again my go-to for fixing this.


The photo above was my very last progress pic of this powder room. Below, you can see all tasks in completion, and ready to be enjoyed. To see more photos of the finished space, take a look at the previous powder room post.

door shot 2



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