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We recently finished renovating our small ensuite bathroom, and we're really happy with how it turned out. Believe it or not, my fiancé Nick picked out all the finishes before we were even dating, so I didn't have much to do with the planning part. But over the past few weeks, I watched on with a sideways head tilt as he completely gutted then rebuilt the vanity. He also did all the wall tiling himself (yes, he's a keeper), but I did choose the new paint colour. What was a dated and dingy bathroom is now a calm and contemporary ensuite. It's quite small — just a stand-up shower, toilet and small vanity — but it's perfect for us. Have a look at our process:

Before: Builder-basic vanity that encouraged counter clutter (cringe). And the wall colour was, well, unflattering to say the least.

We also didn't like that the towel bar was on display.

The storage cabinet above the toilet didn't do a very good job of concealing clutter, either. On the right is the stand-up shower, which Nick didn't re-tile since the door is mostly closed anyway.

And so it begins. Not only is Nick handy, but he uses a level, too. He found this vanity frame as-is at Ikea. He then built a support for it with two-by-fours.

The sink was a steal as well, ordered online from the U.S. The marble countertop was custom-cut to size (with two holes drilled for the sink and faucet), and then Nick mounted it by cutting into the drywall, attaching L-brackets and supporting it with wood planks.

After: The vanity transformed! He picked up three of Ikea's glossy white Abstrakt cabinet pieces in the as-is section for the top and two doors, then cut them to size and affixed them to the cheap vanity frame. He screwed a new faucet on there, rejigged the plumbing, and there you have it.

We didn't want pulls or knobs on the vanity, so we found this towel rack at IQ Living and it also helps open the doors. He chose a white mosaic with small glass, marble and porcelain squares for the lower half of the wall, and a border of nickel, stainless steel and glass tiles.

I think the border looks great against the marble. I found the faux stone soap pump and toothbrush holder from CB2 — the price was right.

And here's the other wall. There are a million pricey versions of this grey bathmat, but I found this one for $3 up in Toronto's Annex area. Plus, it's small enough for this nook, whereas several others would have to be folded in half.

We mounted an Ikea Godmorgon cabinet — also in glossy white — above the toilet. It has loads more storage space than the older one, and no more frosted glass doors! A new light fixture from The Home Depot — on sale, of course — was the finishing touch. I painted the walls and ceiling in Martha Stewart's Dolphin (MSL263), a soft grey that's light enough for a small space.

All in all, it was a really affordable makeover. It's amazing what you can do with a little bit of elbow grease and a few trips to sale sections.

What do you think? Share your own before and after photos in our Forums!

For more bathroom makeovers, see our photo gallery.

Photo credits:
Gwen McAuley

Author: 

Gwen McAuley

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