The $1,500 Historic Modern Bathroom Plan | One Room Challenge Week 2

Last week we announced our plans to remodel the bathroom our entire multi-get family uses, with all the ugly photos. We did a previous bathroom remodel upstairs for our Airbnb Suite this past year. Now we need to make the other full bath function well for our families needs on a tight budget!

Find us through the ORC? Nice to meet you!! We’re Susie & Mitch a couple of DIY lovers who have been updating our 1847 Historic Colonial in Western Mass for the past couple of years (a craftsman bungalow before this). Find out more about us here.

Catch up on Week One Here!

The $1,500 Historic Modern Bathroom Plan with black hexagon floors, ikea vanity, and modern matte black lights |  designed by DIY & Home Bloggers This Giant Life #moodboard #bathroominspo

The Plan

Last week I talked a bit about how we had back burnered this project for two years, knowing all along the shower needed some serious maintenance. It can’t be put off any longer (which is pretty obvious if you look at the shower in the before pictures). So we’ve decided to do a Phase 1 makeover on a tight budget of $1,500.

The house is in the Historic District and was built in 1847 so we are shooting for a timeless design with a modern twist.

I have a BIG thing for Mid-century modern mixed with classic traditional design to create an eclectic look. Here is our current living room design for an example!

The Walls

I’m so excited to add paneling to this bathroom like we did in the upstairs. This time with a shaker peg rail for all the towels our multi-get family creates in this small bath! I’ve found a few tutorials that I will link when we get going on this project, but I’ve already decided to create my own rendition.

In the living room we have bright white walls with off-white trim, I knew right away we would do the same here in the bathroom.

The $1,500 Historic Modern Bathroom Plan with black hexagon floors, ikea vanity, and modern matte black lights |  designed by DIY & Home Bloggers This Giant Life #moodboard #bathroominspo


Upstairs in our short term rental, we used penny tile for the floor. It turned out wonderful and our guests seem to appreciate it.

Weird little old home note: You can’t really get period appropriate tile for a bathroom this old, because when this home was built, there wouldn’t have been an inside bathroom. When picking “old” styled tile you can choose tile styles from the 20’s, since that is the era when they would have put a real bathroom in this home.

Currently, this bathroom had sheet vinyl floors from 1970 as far as I can estimate. Its honestly held up well for the age, and the pattern was probably the best anyone could hope for at that time.

We are actually replacing it with more sheet vinyl. I know, I know, its no where near period appropriate for our home, but it is durable , easy to clean, and easy to install ( I hope).

Keep in mind this is a phase one makeover. The kids are very young and this bath will be used none stop over the coming years. Durability (and budget) were big factors in making this design decision.

One day we will replace with real tile, until then we picked a tile look we love, in a classic color! Black hexagon tiles will blend seamlessly with the other black we have in this house (like the painted black floors upstairs in the airbnb).


This was the easiest decision, use the same vanity as upstairs. Why change it if it works great up there. We need to replace the vanity because it’s too low for us and the cabinetry provides little to no useful storage.

Believe it or not replacing the long vanity with a smaller IKEA vanity and ceramic top/sink will provide us with more useable storage space.

The $1,500 Historic Modern Bathroom Plan-2690.jpg

We had planned to paint the vanity above but guests started arriving and it looks great like it is! So, in this bathroom we will be modifying the door front for a different look, and painting the vanity green.


As I’ve said before the shower needs maintenance, we have some water damage around the tiled opening and its time for the door to be removed.

We won’t replace the door but will use a shower curtain that can easily be washed and re-hung just like I do in our short term rental.

I’m not finalizing the design until we take a look at what’s going on, and how much repair is necessary. here are the two avenues I have.

Framing the opening, matching our existing window frames:

Framed Shower Opening Designed By Mccall Designs


Or something more streamlined like below (without the door):

Shower Designed by Alison Giese Interiors


The reality is the shower could be a much bigger issue than just maintenance. We have our fingers crossed it will be fine, but if not we will need to address the entire shower. Something we hadn’t wanted.

All the beautiful things

The $1,500 Historic Modern Bathroom Plan with black hexagon floors, ikea vanity, and modern matte black lights |  designed by DIY & Home Bloggers This Giant Life #moodboard #bathroominspo

I found this very cost effective mirror and fell instantly in love with it, something about the arch, and a little shelf for the kids tooth brushes, bonus!

We will have some brass accents like this faucet and a TP holder I already have, iron pulls for the vanity, and a couple other vintage touches.

The space already has sconces on either side of the mirror which are always my go to if I have the option! Overhead lighting casts shadows on your face that make it hard to put on makeup.

Project Reality Check

Although this is bound to be lots of fun, we aren’t even starting until next week (we’re taking the camper out this weekend), and this is a huge undertaking. Wish us luck, and go check out the other One Room Challenge Participants!