I have been wanting to share my bathroom renovation with you for weeks! This tribal, New Zealand inspired theme was in my mind from the moment we viewed the house. As the only bathroom on the main floor of the house, it gets used by guests and family all the time. The bland colorless room needed at the very least a good coat of paint – but I desperately wanted to give it a whole lot more than that!
As with most weekend warrior projects, they are not always as fun as you envisioned once you get knee deep in grit and almost always lead to couples therapy. But in the end, this project is something I am so proud of and happy with the outcome.
What You Need:
- Paint (Behr Premium Plus Ultra Campfire Blaze)
- Bamboo Window Blinds (36″ x 72″)
- Dark Steel tack nails
- Elmer’s glue
- White Molding (corner pieces and flat pieces for top trim of bamboo)
- Finishing Nails
- White wood putty and paint
Here it is, in all of it’s ugliness; the “before” picture. Yes, that is the original cheap builders spray paint on the drywall (the kind that comes off if you rub it too hard). This bathroom had a ton of potential, even though it is “just a bathroom.”
STEP ONE: PAINT
First step was beginning with a solid, vibrant color. I used Behr Premium Plus Ultra Campfire Blaze, primer and paint in one. The orange tone of the campfire blaze really brought out the rich brown wood of the sink cabinet and the bamboo I added.
STEP TWO: BAMBOO
The second step was adding the bamboo to the bottom half of the walls. I bought a few of these Bamboo Window Blinds (36″ x 72″), which I found at Big Lots. Everyone is always shocked that I used window blinds, but they are very sturdy, beautiful real bamboo, and very cheap. It will depend on the size and square footage of your bathroom to determine how many you will need. Remove the metal hardware and strings, but not the bamboo rods at each end of the blind (this is holding them together, so they don’t start fraying).
I began attaching the bamboo to the edge of the wall, just behind the door frame. The bamboo rod at the end of the blind had a few holes through it, from removing the metal hardware. These pre-made holes were perfect for nailing some long sturdy nails through, and securing them to the wall.
I then began to gently stretch the bamboo blind across the wall. It will rest right on top of the white baseboard at the bottom of the wall. The first wall I encountered had a low window, which required a custom fit around the window frame.
STEP THREE: CUSTOM ADJUSTMENTS
This was easy enough. I just pulled out my handy dandy scissors, and cut the bamboo in a straight line under the window frame. The bamboo is surprisingly easy to cut. Wah-lah, custom fit bamboo!
STEP FOUR: TACK NAILS
Next I began to tack the bamboo to the wall with these dark steel tack nails. They blend in nicely with the bamboo, and the large flat heads hold the bamboo against the wall. I put a tack nail every few inches at the top, middle, and bottom of the bamboo (about 1/2 inch from the edges).
Here is what the wall looked like after cutting around the window and tacking the bamboo to the wall. Notice how the bamboo sits well on the white baseboard. The contrast between the brown bamboo, the white baseboard, and the orange wall tone is really something. If you have enough bamboo to continue on to the next wall, then proceed in tacking along that wall as well. If you have reached the end of the first blind, then nail the bamboo rod into the corner of the wall and begin with the next blind.
STEP FIVE: TOILET PAPER FIXTURE
The next challenge I had was attaching the toilet paper holder to the wall with the bamboo. Before tacking on the bamboo blind to the section with the toilet paper holder, I measured and marked where it would go. Next I put Elmer’s glue around the section I would cut out, to prevent fraying. When the glue dried, I cut out the two rectangles where the toilet paper holder would attach to the wall. Finally, I tacked the section of bamboo to the wall.
The toiler paper roll fit perfectly on top of the bamboo, and even helped to hold the bamboo in place.
This is how I decided to end the bamboo in our bathroom. There is a small little outlet where the toilet sits, and I decided to leave that small section without bamboo. This made it much easier on me, rather than finagling my way around the back of the toilet. I nailed the bamboo rod to the edge of the small wall before the toilet outlet, giving it a nice clean finish!
STEP SIX: MOLDING
After completing the bamboo, I put white molding around the top of the bamboo and in each corner. The molding must be measured and cut appropriately, so that the pieces line up in the corners. The molding is then attached to the walls with finishing nails every few inches. I then filled in the small gaps with a white wood putty. I also put this putty on top of the small nail heads.
The molding adds a nice finishing trim to the bamboo. It also helps to protect the top edge of the bamboo from snags. I decided to add a strip of molding where the bamboo meets the vanity.
Here is a picture to show how the molding looks on the wall with the window.
I gave the white molding a quick coat of white paint to cover the nail holes and wood putty imperfections. Then I decided to paint the corner molding brown to match the bamboo, so it would blend in better.
STEP SEVEN: FINISHING TOUCHES
I had to complete the project with the “perfect” finishing touches. Going with my New Zealand theme, I used green to compliment the orange walls. I found textured green towels, a vintage green vase with exotic flowers for the vanity counter top, and placed framed pictures of the lush New Zealand terrain on the walls!
I found this translucent fabric with a green leaf pattern that fit the motif, and sewed it into curtains for the window. The bathroom is able to fully utilize the light pouring in from the window, without compromising much needed privacy.
I created a little shelf above the toilet using brackets and a faux book.
One of my favorite pictures of the hokitika gorge bridge in New Zealand illuminates the large previously empty wall when you walk in. Under it I hung a plaque with Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” It inspires me every time I walk in and hopefully does the same for our guests.
Here it is; my bathroom makeover!