Makeover: The Blue Bayou Bathroom

I’ll get back to the downstairs $80 half bath next week. For now, hi, welcome to the Blue Bayou. I think this bathroom has been like this in our house since forever (pictures below). Everything else in the house looks like it was updated at least 15 years ago except this bathroom. Never. Never ever. So bad.

Let me justa givea you the rundown.

The bad: Blue tub. Blue 1″x1″ tile (=SO MUCH GROUT). Blue, water-wasting toilet. Blue sink. Blue floor. No counter space (none). A stupid angled shelf that holds really nothing. Textured wallpaper from who knows when. A bifold door (to save space because there’s not enough clearance into the bathroom or into the hallway for a regular sized door). Old plastic towel bar cemented to the wall.

The good: A window. A medicine cabinet. Lots of storage considering the size of the room. The tub and tile/grout is ugly but still in good shape.

So yes, you can see the dilemma here. Everything is terrible. And we have already made one small upgrade! When we first moved in, the bifold (closet) SLATTED door was on BACKWARDS and so any poor soul walking by while another poor soul was doing their business could see RIGHT INTO THE BATHROOM. So this bifold door didn’t hide sound, smell, NOR SIGHT for the person on the throne. My sister in law and I took it off one day and turned it around, turned the hinges around and put it back on. That doorway is not square at all. It was hell. Then I bought a child lock for the door because we didn’t have a way to keep itΒ  “locked” at all and give our guests SOME KIND OF COMFORT WHILE USING THAT BATHROOM. Ghetto, but it works.

Our only plan really for this bathroom in the immediate future was to take off the wallpaper and paint. Everything else just seemed like so much work. I mean the house is 93 years old. Who knows what we’ll find.

Until we got one particular water bill. It turns out we had gone home for 3 weeks in the summer and our toilet ran for all. three. weeks. We got a call from our water company when they read the meter to see if we had installed a swimming pool. Nope, nope we hadn’t. We freaked. Our water bill was EIGHT TIMES what it usually is. When we came to the realization that it could have been the toilet, we asked and she said yep that’ll do it. So my father in law was coming to visit a couple months later and so I figured I would get him to help me (“help me” means “show me how to do this” and then he tries to do everything himself) install a new toilet. WELL, one thing led to another and, due to a lucky bounce and a couple very, very unlucky bounces,Β  it has become much, much more than that. Join me for the journey.

So let’s get to the before pictures. There are a few indeed.

BlueBathroomBefore1Uh, eww. BlueBathroomBefore2Also, more eww.


and, like, if I haven’t said it, eww.


Get ready!


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Half Bath Shelf & Decor

Now, the finishing touch (really? Is anything ever finished?) on the $80 half bath makeover is the over-the-toilet decor. I’ve shown you a bit of this in the post about the DIY Canvas Artwork but haven’t shown you the whole thing. Ok, so decor first, then the shelf. We went with the $3 artwork that I made, and then bought a succulent on sale at Ikea and a white pot for it. Believe it or not we really have *no* plants in this house. So we could probably do with one.

Then, since we had taken down the inspirational sports wallpaper, I had planned to frame it in whatever ended up being our future bathroom, which is now. I chose a well-framed piece and stuck it in a frame we had upstairs, and then painted it with the paint that I used on the vanity. I didn’t sand it or anything and I don’t recommend going that route. A piece of it peeled off and I don’t think I have any more of that paint because I created the colour myself. Le sigh, oh well.

Half Bath Shelf Decor, all for $9 from www.ispeakcanadian.comAnyway, these three things are enough for me. I only had a $10 budget for the shelf and looked ALL OVER. I didn’t even really find anything in that range, which is absurd to me. A shelf is the most basic thing. Also, don’t buy cheap melamine shelves for however much when you (the handy diyer that you are) can buy a 1″ x 6″ x 8′ board at Home Depot and some cute brackets and you’ve got a way better quality shelf that you can customize as you see fit. So that’s what I did. I bought it for $10 for the long board (which will make a shelf for upstairs too), I cut it and stained it with the stain from the bookshelves. If you don’t have the ability to cut a shelf, Home Depot will do it for you if you ask!

workspaceI bought the brackets from Ikea for $2 each and spray painted them white. You can see them in the pic above. And some sneak peeks at our upstairs renovation – that will take significantly longer than this little makeover because the room has had wallpaper in it for 50 years and has never been painted and is a disaster.

The Cost

Shelf: $5
Brackets: $4
Canvas: $3
Plant and Pot: $5

Total: $17

Moving along. Here we are.

Half Bath Over-the-toilet decorHalf Bath Shelf Decor, all for $9 from www.ispeakcanadian.comHalf Bath Shelf Decor, all for $9 from www.ispeakcanadian.comI grabbed that basket from upstairs and put a few Style at Homes and a few Esquires in it, and an extra roll of toilet paper.

What do you think? Improvement?


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DIY Orb Pendant Light Fixture for $30

Hey! Today I’m continuing with the (you think never ending, don’t you) $80 Half Bath Makeover. Next item up: the light fixture.

Ok, our house is from we think the 1920s (or earlier?). Bits and pieces of it have been updated at different times, but as far as we can tell it hasn’t been given a *full* renovation at any one time. This bathroom was definitely an addition to the house, probably because the tiny bathroom upstairs is horrible. This gold, octagonal flush-mount light fixture, I imagine, came when the bathroom was added to the house. I lost my before pic so I had to take a picture of it in the basement. Sorry!


I’m sure it had some kind of makeover potential, but I didn’t really like it even to preserve so I wanted something completely new and, of course, cool. I only had $40 to contribute to this fixture and did NOT (I repeat, NOT!) want to buy a boob light fixture from the store and nothing at Ikea was catching my eye. I combed Kijiji for a bit but didn’t really find much.Β  I did, however, find this post from Lovely Etc where she zippity do dah whippety whipped up an AMAZING light fixture for like, nothing.

DIY-light-for-just-20-and-one-hourI thought hey, I want to do that. I want to do that. exact. thing. She had the innards of the light already attached to the ceiling, as you can see, and just worked with that and attached the orb, but I did not. So I changed what I was searching for and headed over to Marshall’s in the hopes of finding a decorative orb. AND I FOUND ONE, MIRACLE OF THE CENTURY. I don’t have any before pics of that.

Then a couple days later I ended up visiting a garage sale that was on a side street while I was doing some pedestrian shopping one day. That’s when I saw this repulsive gem which the owner wanted $5 for. I *never* would have wanted that thing if I hadn’t previously read her post.

How to makeover this lantern with a can of spray paint and a decorative item.

So I put this relic in a hazmat bag and skipped home with it, my husband looking on quizzically. I took it apart and *discarded* the outside and the bulbs, because eww. I spray painted the entire thing with Oil Rubbed Bronze. I think I had to do two coats.

We had to make a trip to Home Depot to buy a plate for the top that would cover the hole in the ceiling as my garage sale find didn’t have that. It was $5. Then my father in law was in town and he removed two of the links in the chain (because the ceiling in the bathroom is only about 8 ft) and changed out the fixture (I currently don’t touch electricity).

Round thing on top and shortened chainI had to take out the bulbs to get the fixture through the biggest triangle on the orb. Once the fixture was hanging, I just slipped the orb up onto it, then attached two of the doodads that held on the lantern and they hold up the orb marvelously.

doodadsAre you ready?



She made this DIY pendant light fixture from a decorative orb, a garage sale find and some spray paint. It was $30 total.

I love it so much, it MIGHT be one of my favourite things I’ve ever made. It hangs a *little* low so people in our house taller than 6’1″ have to manoever it a bit, but I DON’T CARE. It’s so cute. What do you think? Leave me a comment!

She made this DIY pendant light fixture from a decorative orb, a garage sale find and some spray paint. It was $30 total.


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Easy DIY Abstract Art for $5

While doing my $80 half-bath makeover, I wanted to add some colour via canvas art to the room, but obviously wasn’t about to drop my entire budget (times five) on a real piece of canvas art by a real artist. So I made one.

I’ve done it a few times before with varying levels of success so why not do it again? I found a tutorial online where she had used artist spatulas (probably not what they’re called, but whatever) exclusively. Of course I can’t *find* that tutorial now to share with you.

I found a pack of four in different sizes at Dollarama for $3 (although I’m not counting that in my bathroom total because it’s a supply I’ll use again and again). I also used the acrylic paint from Dollarama – black and white I already had, then I grabbed a bottle of light blue as well. That was $1.25. I *also* used a canvas from Dollarama, and no they haven’t sponsored me, I just want you to know where to get this stuff. That was $1.25.

Pro (haha) Tip: GO EASY ON THE BLACK. I did one of these for our guest room (pre-spatula days) and put it in there and immediately was like “annnnnd nope” and took it down. I had over-blacked it and it looked too harsh. That’s a re-do for another time. So I squeezed some dobs on the canvas…

How to make your own (DIY) painted canvas abstract art for $5.

…and smoothed it out (but not too much) by using different spatulas in different sizes, different angles and different directions. You can see my workspace here on Harrison’s playmat while he was in bed for the night. I just taped it down with masking tape.

How to make your own (DIY) painted canvas abstract art for $5.

I was conscious about where the colours met because I wanted mostly crisp colours instead of a bunch of wet paint just blending into one another. I let them dry (my husband was watching Wild at the time, so I sat down to bawl my face off and let the paint dry a bit before resuming the project) and then stepped back and looked at the canvas to see what was missing. I was conscious that I’d be placing it at the back of a shelf with something covering part of the canvas, so I took that into account when choosing the negative space.

Once things were mostly dry (the next day), I went back in and did my blending between the colours and added a bit of metallic blue (a mixture of white metallic and flat blue). Then just freshened up some of the edges and added a bit more here or there until it was what I wanted it to be.

And voila. For $5 I had a fun canvas art for my bathroom and I didn’t even have to search forever to find one that went with the decor.Β  I love how the spatula made the paint look and I was sure to leave a bit of texture in there instead of smoothing it all out flat.

What do you think? Have you done anything like this??

Add a splash of colour and class to your house on a SERIOUS budget with your own DIY canvas abstract art.


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How to quickly make stain and wrinkle resistant curtains from tablecloths in less than an hour.

DIY Curtains from Tablecloths

Happy Monday! I know, right? Ugh. Well, let’s get to it.

Sorry for the crappy pictures in this post – I am writing it long after the fact and had to scour my crappy archives for photos of the process.

The ceilings in our house are nine feet tall, one foot taller than the ‘standard’ home. Related, our windows are taller than the usual windows as well. Great for light (although our house isn’t particularly bright), but terrible (terrible!) for budget-friendly curtains. We have blinds on every window and then Ikea curtains on the ones that required them. I don’t love them and didn’t want any from Ikea in the baby’s room as I didn’t see any I liked. But there are so few options! Another store had them long enough (96″) but they were, no joke, $100 EACH. WHAT. $200 for curtains when I’m trying to do the entire room for $500?! No deal, friends. So I looked and looked for something budget friendly when I came across a great patterned long tablecloth at Marshall’s by the designers “Colin and Justin.” The tablecloths came in royal blue, turquoise, orange and yellow – from what I can tell, and were in three different lengths as well as round. At $20 apiece I *obviously* had to bring them home to see if they worked. I chose turquoise. After visiting a few stores to find the matching one, I picked up a yellow one as well.

I folded them over the curtain rod and clothes-pinned them, although safety pins definitely work better. Then I left one turquoise and one yellow up for a week to see which I liked better. I *really* liked the yellow better and scoured the entire county for another one but was unsuccessful, so turquoise it was.

DIY Tablecloth Curtains - pin them onto the curtain rod to see if you like them

So I folded it over the rod, as I said, and safety pinned where the “pocket” would be that the rod would go through. Then I went downstairs and sewed a single line in that spot, cut the excess off and sewed another line to hem the excess flap. I hung it up and put up the second one, eyeballed it to make sure it was the same length and did the same thing. Super easy for a super lazy sewer, and they look great (albeit not EXACTLY the same length but I don’t care).

How to quickly make stain and wrinkle resistant curtains from tablecloths in less than an hour.

One unexpected advantage of this little project was that, since they’re tablecloths, they’re totally stain and wrinkle resistant, so it makes them that much more perfect for a baby’s room. Not that he’s really in there drinking juice and eating chocolate but whatever. Another unexpected advantage is that these things came in smaller tablecloths, placemats and in other colours so I could buy up a couple and use them to cover things in the room to match the decor… which I did *not* do, but it was nice to know it was an option. I never returned the yellow because I passed the allotted time allowed (oops), so I think I’m going to make a rail cover for his crib as he chews on it now. And then use the remaining fabric as… a tablecloth. *sigh*

How to quickly make stain and wrinkle resistant curtains from tablecloths in less than an hour.

One thing they don’t do very well is block the light. We already had a shade on the window that we pull down for nap time (the shade plus the curtains was still less than ONE long curtain from the stores I looked at), so we didn’t really need blackout curtains, just something decorative to make Mom happy. And happy she is.

How to quickly make stain and wrinkle resistant curtains from tablecloths in less than an hour.

How to quickly make stain and wrinkle resistant curtains from tablecloths in less than an hour.


Each tablecloth was $20, so $40 total for those. Then the pull-down blind was $20, so $60 to dress the window all in total.

What do you think? Leave me a comment!


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DIY Herringbone Painted Bathroom Vanity

Our bathroom downstairs is REALLY bright and actually quite spacious for a half bath, but definitely not without its flaws. First, the HUGE window looks out onto the deck. Even with the blinds closed, I’m sure our guests are a bit uneasy when they’re in the loo and we have people in the backyard. Second, it has a sliding door that isn’t a pocket door and has no. lock. Yes, this makes TWO OF THE TWO BATHROOMS IN OUR HOUSE totally unlockable. Again, not optimal for guests. But other than those two (uh, pretty major) things, this is a great little space with a ton of potential.

So, let me introduce you to my little project: give the guest bathroom a small facelift with less than $80. The toilet is fine and the sink is… fine… (although we really could spend the $150 and change it and that would be smart). So I’m trying to paint, decorate, organize and also change the light fixture for less than $80. Most of this is using materials I already have. Anyway, there’s a smaller project here. I wanted to spray paint the vanity doors to make them a bright, glossy white. It didn’t turn out how I had hoped… in any way… they actually didn’t even look remotely better. So here they were:


Drab particle board. I bet this vanity was $6 like, 5 owners ago. So, since we figured that if I screwed it up, we’d be happy to replace it, I thought of tackling it with a chevron pattern. I attempted to tape that off and even do the measurements but none of that was successful – that’s putting it mildly. Then I was going to switch to a diamond pattern and nearly threw the entire vanity out the above-mentioned window. Then I figured I could do somewhat of a herringbone without losing my mind. So I went out and bought *more tape* and went to work. Here is my work station. Yes that’s Harrison’s baby-sized Adirondack chair. It worked great.

The doors are 11″ each and the tape is an inch wide. Part of my frustration with the previous taping plans was that I wasn’t accounting for the width of the tape. So the tape is 1″ wide and I marked one edge at 5″ and one edge at 6″, then marked the bottom and taped straight down.

Then I marked at 3″ intervals all the way down the edges of the doors and the middle along the vertical tape. Use a pencil, obviously. I wish I had done 4″ intervals but, again, I wasn’t accounting for the width of the tape roar!!

Pro (haha) Tip: You are probably better to take the doors off but I had already done that once (see above, re: failed spray painting) and didn’t want to do it again. I also wanted a crisp “meet in the middle” based on how the doors naturally hang on the vanity, not based on them lying side by side on the floor. I guess my advice here is to tape (make sure to wrap the tape around the edges to the back) and THEN take the doors off to paint.

How to transform your drab vanity with a herringbone pattern from @ispeakcanadian.

So then I ran over the tape with a ruler (you can use a credit card too) and then painted with a *foam* trim roller over the doors and used a tiny artist brush to do the edges of the doors. I learned AFTERWARDS that it’s a good idea to paint over everything with the colour that’s already there (so in this case it would be white) to seal the tape. I should have done that.

I made this colour from a combination of the wall colour and the black paint that we have in the office and the navy paint in Harrison’s room. Start light and gradually go darker. Don’t overdo it! Also make sure you mix an AMPLE amount to do two coats because it’s very hard to duplicate a mixed colour unless you’re very meticulous when you initially mix it. I mixed *too* much with this in mind, which is fine because if I want to paint anything else in the room to match, I can do so.

How to transform your drab vanity with a herringbone pattern from @ispeakcanadian.

I painted two coats in the same evening then peeled the tape off only about 10 minutes after the second. I had some bleeding under the tape which I cleaned up with an exacto knife.

How to transform your drab vanity with a painted herringbone pattern from @ispeakcanadian.

What do you think? I like it, but without anything else in the room it looks SUPER BUSY to me. I’m sure I’ll get used to it though. I haven’t put the hardware back on because I haven’t decided if I want to put the old knobs on or if I want to upgrade it.

And a before/after:

How to transform your drab vanity with a painted herringbone pattern from @ispeakcanadian.


The total cost of this part of the project *would* have been $0 because I already had the paint and the tape but I screwed it up so much that I ended up forking over $10 for the spray paint and the new roll of tape. Amount remaining: $70.

How to transform your drab vanity with a painted herringbone pattern from @ispeakcanadian.


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