One Room Challenge Vintage Primary Bathroom Reveal

You’ve come a long way, baby

She’s here and she’s beautiful! If you’ve been following along with the bathroom renovation that has taken 1 million years, you know this was originally a One Room Challenge makeover. Pro tip: Don’t try to renovate a full bathroom for an 8-week challenge! It’s just not do-able for one or two people. We did tile work, plumbing work, paneling, new flooring, had everything remodeled in this bathroom, and it took a few months to get it right. I plan to participate in the next ORC… and I promise to choose a simpler project!

I’m happy with the result and don’t regret taking the time to get it right. Here is everything I chose for this project and the why behind each decision.

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Stained Black Vanity

The vanity cabinets are the originals! Upon move-in, the plan was to update everything on a tight budget (now my budget increases greatly with each project – oops). I stained the vanity black and had new quartz countertops put in. The quartz is New Carrara Marmi by MSI surfaces.

I stained the cabinets with India Ink, which is supposed to get wood the blackest of black. I opted not to paint because it’s harder to get a perfectly even coat, plus I wanted the wood grain to be visible. The marble countertop pattern and brushed gold handles against the black is such eye candy to me.

That Tile Though…

The most common questions about this bathroom renovation on Instagram are about my tiles! I installed square Cloe tile for the vanity and bathtub areas and the vertical rectangle version for the shower. I was thrilled to finally try my hand at color blocking the shower tile. Spot the contrasting gray Cloe tile.

Cloe tile is meant to look handmade and irregular. It brings character and charm to the space, without looking too rustic. I installed all the way from the vanity across to the tub and partially up the window trim. I wanted it everywhere, but this stuff is almost $11/ square foot, so I actually used a knock-off version for the vertical tile in the shower.

Plumbing fixtures

Of course I wanted brass or gold for the plumbing fixtures! Chrome is a great choice for vintage taps as well, but I’m unapologetically in love with brass, so there.

The tricky part was finding fixtures that matched each other as well as the glass shower door hardware. Unlike black, chrome, or nickel, there are infinite shades of brass. Unless you are buying the same brand, it’s extremely tricky to match metals. I won’t bore you with the details but the rough-ins for tub and shower were different makes! So matching was an insanely difficult task, but I did it.

Vertical Paneled Walls

From the moment I saw this bathroom, I knew it needed either a wainscoting-wallpaper combo or vertical panelling. I chose the more complicated option! This panelling was more time consuming than anything else I could have chosen for a wall.

Gray black and white vintage bathroom with cafe curtains and marble tile floor

We used these 4 x 8 ft nickel-gap panels, however I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are installing on a wall you won’t need many cutouts (i.e. no windows, no doors, etc). We had many of these and the amount of cuts with table saw, jigsaws, every saw was overwhelming. It would have been faster to install individual vertical shiplap pieces. But you live and you learn. I added simple crown molding and it cozies up this bathroom so much, while still feeling clean and bright!

LVT Floors

The original plan was to install an encaustic or herringbone pattern tile on the floor. I ordered so many tile samples and was very dedicated to the idea… until I wasn’t. It would have a lot time versus using LVT (luxury vinyl tile). Basically it’s the floating floor version of tile. I didn’t like the idea of using “fake” tile until I realized nearly all new builds in the Boise area use the same material for most bathrooms. Also we have LVP (luxury vinyl plank) throughout our downstairs, so why was I insisting on porcelain for the floors?

I chose large format marble-look vinyl tiles. I believe the ones I chose are sold out, but these are similar. So far they are holding up well, but I’ll keep you posted on how they wear over time!

Vintage-Style Lighting

Perhaps my favorite thing about this room is the lighting! I’ve always loved the way way wall sconces looked, but I never knew how much wall-level lighting can alter the ambience of a room. The evening I installed the double wall sconce between the vanity mirrors, I noticed the light gave the room a warmer mood. Also, FYI the light is more flattering. Just sayin’.

We also needed a new flush mount light and I fell in love this one on Wayfair – authentic looking and great price. All products can be shopped at the bottom of this post.

Faux Beams

During demolition we exposed the 2x4s used the built the wall between tub and shower. It was very unexpected but I started to grow fond of the 2x4s! The light wood brought some warmth in an otherwise mostly black and white room!

Call me crazy but that was my inspiration for creating faux beams as a finishing touch. I stained the wood to match the wood of the vanity mirrors and the colors all come together. Tutorial coming soon, but you can catch my reel showing some of the process here.

Inset Niche

I can’t write an entire post about this bathroom without mentioning my famous inset, between-stud shelf niche. It was a hit on social media and it has come in handy in keeping the countertop clear. Read all about how I built it here.

Well that’s it folks! This room is done and it’s on to the next one. My foster son’s room is up next!