Sources & Secrets from the One Room Challenge

Ya'll are the best.  Really.  
Remodeling this bathroom was so much work, time, and so heartfelt; sharing it with all of you is a bit like walking out of the house in my underwear.  So thank you for your response!  The support is incredible.  My goal was to create a space that was totally me, but for our family.   And I think I did that.  A mix of modern, organic, and new traditional with a dash of vintage and unexpected.  That's my ideal style. 

The Sources
*The white mirror is from Home Goods.  Some locations also carry the same mirror in black.  If you can't find one and you you need this mirror, try the Ballard version
*The dark wall color is Lead Gray, vanity is White Dove, and the inside of the drawers and doors are Caribbean Teal...all by Benjamin Moore.
*The Marquee Towel Hooks and Green Knobs are from Anthropologie.
*Glass vases on the counter are all from the Threshold line at Target.
*Art prints from Minted: Ocean Currents, Out to Sea, Aeonium.
* Light fixture.  The finish is more bronze than brass, but I don't mind mixing finishes.  It looks like brass with a hint of red to it.
*Faucet.  Please note, that although it did arrive in great condition, it did not include a matching drain.  
*Green Seaweed Soap from World Market.  Has the most amazing minty scent.
*Marble & Wood Soap Dish from World Market. 
*Bamboo Rug in front of the vanity from Target.
*Tank Basket in Natural from Target.
*Plants are the licorice plant.  Gorgeous color in person.  We'll see if I can keep them alive. If you're local to West Michigan, I bought them at Horrocks.
*Gold wicker stool from rebel.Reclaimed.  
*Shower Curtain fabric is Ming Dragon by Dwell Studio and found at Tonic Living--sewn by Tonic Living.
*Kohler Toilet from Lowe's.
*Linen like floor tiles: Pearl Essence from Virginia Tile company.
*Tub & Tile paint: not available online, but if you go to your favorite box store like Lowe's and ask the sales person, they can point you to the box kit.
*White Chevron Bath Towel from World Market.
*Drawer liner paper from Home Goods.

Phew!  I think that's everything! 
Let me know if you have any questions.

The Budget
A few of you have asked on Instagram (my most favored form of social media.  I mean, looooove instagram.) if I would share how much we spent on the bathroom.  Our actual out of pocket cost was around $1,500.  But this is greatly because we bought a remnant marble counter top, my tile guy gave us the tile at his cost, and because the sponsors were SO generous: Minted, Tonic Living, Lamps Plus.  I don't believe I could do this same bathroom for that price for a client.  I'd say the bathroom is more like a $3,000 space.  Which is awesome, in my mind, because we recently got an estimate from a well known remodeling company in town to totally gut our master bathroom, and the estimate came back at $15,000.  Totally appropriate for what they were doing, but not what we were willing to spend.  So to transform our main bath at such a low price has been a blessing.  Will the painted tub and tile last?  Who knows.  But at least it buys me time and I'm fine with that.

The Philosophy
I've had a few comments mention that maybe this bathroom is getting a little too nice for little boys. I think they mean it as a compliment!  Thanks!  But I have a thing about design and kids--to me, they aren't mutually exclusive.  I think it's good for my kids to grow up around good design.  To live around quality pieces and respect them.  They aren't walking around on eggshells in this house because nothing is so precious that it can't be replaced, but I refuse to design down to kids.  I did, however, bring them into the design process.  I think it's important that they feel some ownership and buy-in.  They approved the fabric for the shower curtain.  I gave them two choices, both of which I liked.  They approved the art.  I also tried to make it personal--by using their initials on the towel hooks.  The same process was used in their bedrooms and I explain this philosophy to my clients.  My kids are part of the family, but they don't run the family.  Plus, we have a lot of guests stay at our home because none of our family live in our town.  I want our guests to feel special and treated well.  So there you have it!

By "secrets" I mean all those things I didn't tell you.  Dear Lord, there's a list...

I was surprised by how much I actually did on my own.  I'm a rather girly girl and occasionally I'd rather my husband do certain jobs for me.  Like removing a light fixture, or other similar jobs.  Not so with this.  Who has time to wait for that?!  Not when you have six weeks.  So I really did 99% of this all by myself.  Yeah!

The Coach
By this time, you're all familiar with Linda from Calling it Home.  She is the mastermind and coach behind the one room challenge.  She lined up the sponsors, decides who is invited, and really keeps us all on tract.  Before the challenge even starts she is great about giving you a good idea what to expect.  For example, your first and last week will be your most traffic.  That makes sense, and my last post was by far my most traffic, but it seemed like the traffic grew week by week.  When someone gets out of line, Linda graciously reigns us back in and keeps us on task.  I can only image the amount of emails she has to conquer during these 6 weeks and before.  THANK YOU Linda-- your efforts and time are appreciated.

The Plan
Can you believe that back when I first started this bathroom, I was planning to keep the shower doors, counters, and floors?  Eek?!  It wasn't until I got the email from Tonic Living that I decided to go all out and remove the doors, paint the tub & tile, and hopefully change the counters and floors.  I hate to imagine the uninspiring bathroom this would have been if I hadn't gone all out in my efforts.  I think it's common for a room to evolve over time and for your plans to change.  When I'm working with a client, that's not always possible because they have a specific amount of time to finish the job, but when it's my own house, there's more room for flexibility.  

The Faucet
Let's start with the faucet.  It was only $55, so I had low expectations.  When the marble guys showed up to install, they broke the news that for some reason, there was no shut off valve to the sink, so the whole house would need the water turned off.  Of course this was like an hour before a babysitter was coming over and we had to leave.  I can hardly breeze out the door and tell the babysitter "Good luck with the boys!  Don't use the toilets!"  So I ran to our local Ace Hardware and the salesman showed me exactly what I needed and I went home and fixed the problem myself. Boom.  

The Tile Floor
I was super excited for our tile guy to get started.  He has been in the business for a long time and has worked for my past client and done million dollar homes.  But our experience? Not so good.  He put a huge, and I mean HUGE scratch in our brand new marble counter.  He also left blood splatter on the tub after demoing our old floor.  Then he tried blaming me for the scratch because marble is "so soft it's a nightmare."  The reality is he shouldn't have set his tools or materials on our new counter, and should have done more to protect it.  So although you couldn't see it in the photos, our counter is ruined and it's going to cost time and money to have it fixed.  (wipes away tears)  And if I'm going to get nit-picky, the tiles aren't exactly evenly spaced, and the grout is different shades in certain places. Overall disappointed.  But the tile itself is SO PRETTY!  You really can't tell from the photos, because it wasn't a focus of our shoot, but it has a very subtle sparkle to the linen finish and is just lovely.

Painting the yellow Tub and Tile
Painting the tub and tile was so much work.  I'm not whining, I swear.  OK, maybe a little bit, but because of the silicone caulk left over from the shower doors, the job took hours.  If you buy the tub and tile kit, please be sure to read all of the directions before you get started.  Especially regarding the cleaning process.  For this particular kit, they provide a packet of chemicals to mix with a gallon of water.  You need to wash the tub and tile with this solution.  Rinse with water.  Dry thoroughly.  Scour the tub and tile with extra fine steel wool.  Rinse with water.  Dry thoroughly.  Wash with soap and water.  Then you do this whole cleaning series two more times.  This took hours.  As soon as I was about to start painting, the faucet on the tub began to drip water.  Aaaagh!  Thankfully my hubby fixed it, but I think it's probably a temporary fix, so we have yet to actually use the shower.  Also, set aside a whole day for the painting process.  That alone takes longer than you would think.  Then in 2-4 hours you can apply the second coat.  If you don't apply the second coat within that window then you must wait 72 hours.  Nobody has time for that!  I did two coats of paint on the tile and three coats on the tub.  YOU MUST BUY THE RECOMMENDED MASK to protect yourself from the chemicals.  They are strong.  I made sure the boys were at school and I had every window in the house open.  Of course it was 40 degrees that day and the paint must cure at 72 degrees, so I had the heat cranked and the windows open. Ha!  What a circus. ;-)  My son and I slept in the living room that night, because his bedroom is close to the bathroom and the smell was so strong for at least two days.  So...the ideal situation would be that you paint your tub and then leave the house for a couple days.  Overall, it was worth it.  If I had to choose between marble counters or having a pro come in and spray the tub...I choose marble.

The Painted Drawers & Liner
I know what you're thinking.  This is the case of someone who has too much time on their hands.  I can assure you, that's not the situation.  The truth is the drawers were lined with contact paper, and what was underneath the contact paper was disgusting.  So once I removed all the contact paper that had been installed by someone else, I had to use a razor blade (which I am now a pro with) and sand paper to get all the dried up shaving cream of the drawers.  Yuck.  Why didn't I do this when we moved in?  Oh, maybe because there was so many other rooms to conquer first.  I also panted the insides of the vanity doors and the inside walls of the vanity Caribbean Teal.  The floor/shelves of the vanity are white, but the different hits of color help to clean it up and make a the 70's vanity feel more custom.

The Shower Liner
Many of you have asked about the shower liner.  So...because the valance is mounted on an actual wall above the tub, it hangs down a couple inches longer than the wall (but not covering any of the window) so that it conceals the tension rod that holds the two panels. They hare tab backs, so that the panels hand nicely with the folds.  I then have another tension rod slightly below that with one shower curtain liner that hides inside the shower but behind the drapery panel.  I hope this helps!

The Friend & Confidant
The One Room Challenge takes up quit a bit of mind space, along with time.  I'm not sure how I would have finished if I didn't have a fellow designer friend to process and debate the details with over the phone.  My husband can only get so excited, and my friends who aren't into design...it's just not the same.  So if you decide to do the One Room Challenge, find a buddy.  You'll need someone to encourage you to keep going when you get exhausted.  Carol's great at that.  

The Plants & Rug
My mom is amazing.  Really. She gets a gold star.  She came to visit me for the day of the reveal, just because she was so excited she wanted to be with me when it all went down.  How sweet is that?  I found the basket for the toilet on a whim at Target. (Isn't that how everything is discovered at Target?  You never knew you needed it?)  I was originally planning to hang art above the toilet, but once the mirror was installed I knew the eye needed a break, so the art got moved.  Originally I had rolled white towels in the basket on the toilet.  Took a photo of the whole room.  Texted it to mom.  She replied that she doesn't love the toilet paper in the basket.  So although it wasn't TP, in the picture, you couldn't tell the difference.  I'm so thankful she said that, because really I was just being lazy and not creative.  That's how I came to decide on plants in the basket and I think they added a lot to the overall vibe of the room.  Design is in the details, and I don't want TP as a decor item. ;-) Thanks MOM!  And just because I work best under a deadline...the photographer was scheduled to arrive at 1:00 and I found the plants and bamboo rug at 10:00.  Nothing like cutting it close!

The Photographer
Because of the large window, glossy walls, and tight space, I knew I needed a professional to capture the room.  My photos on my cell phone would do this bathroom a disservice.  Plus, I had promised Tonic Living I would have their beautiful curtain photographed professionally by someone who does interiors.  Meet Ashely of Ashley Avila photography.  You can see the gallery of interior photos from her portfolio here, and read her blog here.  I was amazed, when she arrived, by how much gear she had.  Lighting, in interiors, is so dang important.  Our house is surrounded by trees...And we live in Grand Rapids, MI where there isn't always a ton of sun.  Ashley did an amazing job and I'm so happy it worked out the way it did.

The Stool
I did not paint the stool, I bought it this color gold.  My recommendation if you want to know the spray paint color, is to follow @rebelreclaimed on Instagram and ask them.  This may be a custom color, I'm not sure.

The Next Project #formy70sranch
Our master bathroom is next.  It's truly the worst.  The counter is made out of marbles.  Not to be confused with marble, the natural stone occurring in nature.  Someone spread grout over the counter and then dropped colorful marbles/ garden stones (?) into the grout.  It's actually pretty, but impossible to clean.  This will be a much bigger job than our main bath.  Think custom vanity, new floors, new walls, new lighting, newly tiled shower--it's going to be major.  I hope you come back to see!

If you have questions about any of the sources, the process, or really anything...email me at abbyminteriors@gmail.com. 

I only have one more thing to say:
{photo taken by Tracy Anne Photography, flowers arranged by me}

Whether you're near or far, I would love to work with you to create a home you love.  Email me at abbyminteriors@gmail.com for more information on my local & e-design services.


  1. What a great post on the reality of it all!! I am still amazed we did not get charged extra on our cell phone bills for all the discussions we had on both of our spaces ;-) Thanks for the sweet shout out on our friendship.xx And, for all of you debating whether or not to hire Abby for your own home, I can tell you that you will never find a better quality person (for lack of a better way to say it), to trust with the place you call home.

  2. Phew!! First of all, how amazing are you for keeping so many challenges to yourself through the process?! I'm impressed with how focused you remained, despite some serious obstacles! I love the idea of the creative process, and how your plan evolved at each step. Amazing that the shower curtain (my personal favorite!) wasn't even part of the original plan! Thanks for your honesty and transparency…and great job!!!

  3. This was one of my favorite transformations! Thanks for all the details. What an amazing job you did. I love the fabric, the paint you chose and that mirror! So glad you shared how it went for you through this process. Creativity is an interesting road that leads to beautiful results.

  4. Beautiful job Abby. I must say I was so worried when I saw the tile man with his tools on your new marble. Thanks for all your sharing..

  5. Abby....I am so glad I started blogging....because if I hadn't then I would not have met people like you! I can remember the help you gave me....I just could not believe that with so much on your plate...husband, kids...etc you took the time to do that. In my opinion you are pretty incredible....you have nurtured your talent and it shows. I think it is the way you interact with your readers....the ups and downs you share with us that makes you so darn relatable! I love your makeover so much....and hopefully the blemishes you see will be reminders of all the hard work you put forth.....in this journey of life. Have a wonderful Mothers Day.....because you so deserve it

  6. this bath turned out absolutely gorgeous thanks for all the secrets!

  7. Beautiful space. I want to paint our shower/tub/whatever. Thanks for the heads up that it'll be a time consuming process. :P Not that I had any delusion that it would be in, out, simple as that. :)

  8. I just scored this exact Mirror at Home Goods yesterday! I am super excited and will be using this ORC as inspiration for a remodel in our new house. The mirror I purchased is by Cynthia Rowley and also came in Black and a Distressed White. Love this bathroom!!!!

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Abby Manchesky Interiors is a boutique design firm based in Grand Rapids, MI. Combining the new traditional, vintage and a dash of the unexpected is her ideal. Contact Abby Manchesky Interiors for more information on available interior design services for clients near and far. abbyminteriors@gmail.com | 616.719.9400


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