Bathroom Updo

I call this a bathroom updo because I didn’t really tear anything apart other than the seashell tile border. The entire bathroom is tiled from floor to ceiling, and even on the ceiling in the shower. Demolition of all of that was something that I wasn’t ready for. I hadn’t even imagined that I could do something like that without having to hire someone.

In this updo attempt of mine, the goal was to make my bathroom feel less like the Golden Girls had waved their wand in there. I removed the seashell tile border, painted the outdated cabinets white, covered up the mirror that had ‘One Day at a Time’ etched into it and replaced the shiny silver light fixture, and gold switch covers. Later on I also used granite to cover up the countertop and sink combo.

Removing the seashell border was pretty easy. I had to buy a dremel and a grout removal bit. The grout removal bits are pretty spendy and I ended up needing two of them. I think they’re $25, but without that bit the job would have taken me much longer and I would have likely ruined the surrounding tiles.

Seashell Tile Border

Updo Glass Tile Border

The old etched mirror was literally grouted up onto the wall with the tiles. Rather than create a big mess, I just covered it up. The barn wood is sold at Home Depot. The two vertical planks are screwed onto the wall. I placed screws where there were grout lines to keep from cracking the mirror and tiles behind it. See ya later, ‘One Day at a Time…’ 😀


I’d become pretty confident with concrete after having done my kitchen island. I had no idea whether it would actually bond to the slick countertop/sink material, but I didn’t think I had anything to lose by trying. I sanded the countertop before applying the concrete, but that’s the only prep I did. I applied 2 full layers and a third layer in the sink area. After doing a bunch of research on types of sealers, I ended up sealing it with the same sealer that I used on my kitchen island. It held up really well! I could use it and clean it just like any other countertop. No issues with water, heat or cleaning products.

concrete skim in progress


The new light fixture was from Menards and pretty inexpensive at $49.99. I’m using past tense. Remember, this is my Bathroom Updo. The renovation came many months later…



Bathroom Before and After the ‘Updo’


Granite Countertop: Scary Cheap

Waaaaay back in April I was trying to decide what to do about my white laminate countertops. I tried to pull the laminate off of the wood surround by myself. You can see I was successful on the front. I was not successful on the top, though. Laminate is SHARP. If you’re lucky enough to yank a big chunk off, you’ll notice that it comes off in shards. Be careful! Pieces fly off and the edges are as sharp as a razor blade.


I gave up on trying to pull the laminate off and thought about skim coating concrete. I think that’s what I would have done, but I’d found a post on Craigslist for scrap granite in Savage and went to check it out. The pieces looked like this:

IMG_2738 IMG_2739

Most of the pieces were tiny, but I found the big slab and really like the colors. I’d brought my measurements with me and I was VERY lucky. The slab was *just* big enough to do my countertops. They actually had to use the cutout from the sink area for the countertop area on the side of my fridge! I never would have thought of that!


The granite was $5/square foot. You guys, that is UNHEARD of. I paid a guy cash and he scribbled my name on a piece of paper that they taped to my slab. Yikes. A week later I got a call that they were ready to come and measure. They told me that for installation I would need to unhook my plumbing but that I could leave my sink in place. I’d never unhooked plumbing before, but figured it out. The hardest part was the garbage disposal. A quick YouTube video and I had it all unhooked. *Take pics before you unhook anything! That way, when you go to put it back together you remember what goes where.

A few weeks after that they came to install my countertops. They asked me if I wanted a backsplash, but I had planned on subway tiles running from countertop to ceiling.

This was very Craigslist style with a guy and his kiddo helping him and they borrowed my blow dryer for something?

I love it! The countertop installation was THE ONE thing that I’ve done that made me feel like I finally have a grown up house. There were still things to do, but the countertops were the icing on the cake for helping to feel like I was in the home stretch.

Check this out…





There wasn’t enough granite for the kitchen island, but that was totally okay with me! I was going to be completing that in concrete (you can see the concrete island top pre stain and sealer in the above pic). They DID have some left over granite from the slab that I purchased, though…

…and, it was the perfect size for the top of my shelf!


Crazy / Wavy Pano Pic:


Total time from day of purchase to install complete: 3.5 weeks

Total granite and fabrication cost: $600