Getting the Most out of a Small Bathroom... {Making Progress on this Home}

We love the challenge of getting the most out of a small space.

So when faced with a less than ideal bathroom storage dilemma, we accepted the challenge. We really need this bathroom to work hard for us because it's our only one for two adults and two children. This above photo shows our unfinished progress, but a great shot of how we are using almost every inch this small bathroom has to offer. 

Here's what we were working with before.

Do you see all of that unused desert space? It's even sandy brown to add to the effect. So we sold this medicine cabinet at a garage sale for about $5... although not great for us, a good steal for someone else. 

And my handyman built this custom storage piece, his first ever, with the help of a carpenter friend. 

I revealed to you our paint colors here. We transitioned from sandy brown walls to Bleached Linen in satin which covers the ceiling and above the wainscoting. This new paint color really brightens this small space and makes it feel clean (my bathroom dream). But we needed a small punch among all this neutral, and so we chose Lemon Drop in satin for behind the cabinets (not orange, the original color of this bathroom when we moved in three years ago!).

The handyman painted behind the cabinet before he installed it, so he was able to do this quite quickly and efficiently... as you can see, he roughly taped off the dimensions of the cabinet (with a little extra so that we wouldn't be stuck with unpainted wall behind the cabinet).

When it came to building the cabinet, this handyman choose to use poplar wood given how affordable it is, and how well it takes paint. We knew we would want to paint the cabinet the same color as the walls (but in a semi gloss so it's more wipe-able). 

He attached the pieces of poplar wood by drilling holes at each connecting point for dowels. Using wood glue, which he squeezed onto wax paper, he dipped the dowel into the wood glue and inserted it into the hole and squeezed wood glue directly into the other hole, and using a finger he smeared glue all around the outside of the dowel holes before pressing the pieces together.

Using clamps we borrowed from the father-in-law, he attached the clamps providing just enough pressure to see all the gaps close... if any glue was pushed out, he simply wiped it with a damp rag. You will notice in the pictures above that he used scrap wood for the clamps to press against in order to protect the cabinet wood from any impressions due to the pressure. 

He clamped the wood for about twenty-four hours before he painted them. 

With a small roller brush, he did two coats of primer and two finishing coats. We can see some of the grain come through, but we like it that way.

In order to attach this cabinet to the wall, the handyman cut three small pieces, which he painted the same semi-gloss Bleached Linen, and he screwed the cabinet into these small pieces before then screwing them into the wall. It feels very sturdy. 

The main lower cabinet was attached first, and the upper cabinet followed. You'll notice there are gaps close to the ceiling and wall which we plan to fill with narrow pieces of wood. 

So here's that storage dilemma again (so you don't have to scroll all the way up).

 And here's our progress.

Much better use of space, right?

Thankfully, the handyman and I are both on the taller side... he's 6'3" and I'm nearly 5'7" so we actually have no problem reaching those upper cabinets. But we've slipped a stool under our new floating vanity (can't wait to show you), so I could use that if I was feeling lazy.  

It's just great to have storage again. We had a few unfortunate weeks where our toiletries were mostly at ankle height. 

Double thumbs up for progress.

So we've been busy, and I look forward to showing you...

- The rest of the gray bead board
- Our brand new floating vanity and faucet
- How we solved a plug problem
- And our new energy efficient toilet

We still need to...

- Center the mirror
- Put in the new light fixture (which has been purchased)
- Complete baseboard /trim /casing
- Find doors for the main cabinet (I would love to find worn shutters from the Habitat for Humanity re-store)
- Put up our whimsical hand towel horse hook
- Find a toilet paper holder

What do you think of our bathroom progress? Have you been up to any small space solutions?