The Brown Bathroom of Doom

I should probably be sorting Tupperware or something, since the packers come in LESS THAN 72 HOURS but you know, a person can only sort so much junk before they start seeing double and babbling incoherently. So, it’s a good thing I have this outlet for my ramblings. (It sure does feel good to sit down for a while, too.)

About bathrooms. They should have two things: light and ventilation. And, particularly if they are tiny, with 7-foot ceilings and no windows, they should definitely never, ever for any reason, be painted brown. Or should I say bronze? Whatever, it is not good.

Not Good.

We found the culprit in the utility closet.


Thank you so much for painting not only the switch plates, but the actual switches, outlets and heat vent with this bombproof goo…

Better already after two coats of nasty primer and the addition of a ceiling light…

First, as everywhere in the house, a lot of primer was required. Two coats of the serious stuff.

An electrician installed the ceiling light and a powerful-but-quiet vent fan (this bathroom is in the attic and can get pretty stuffy).

Then I made, as my daughter’s friend said, an “assertive color choice” and painted the walls coral pink (three coats). Hey, it’s very flattering to those of us of a certain decade–some woman is going to be seeing herself first thing in the morning in that mirror. ’nuff said. And the ceiling is now glossy white, not brown.

Better still!

A new vanity, mirror, sink and toilet and my work was almost done.

Oh yeah! Almost done!

The floor had to GO. It might not have been so bad if they had used the same color grout all over. But they didn’t. And it was yucky. So, I leveled it as best I could, then covered it with a $25 vinyl floor remnant, replaced some moldy baseboard from where the original toilet had been leaking (tons of caulk does not solve this problem, people) and replaced all the shoe molding.

Bathroom archaelogy.
Leveled and ready for a new floor.

Later on, we want to pull out the old Jacuzzi and have a big walk-in shower put in, along with a new ceramic tile floor and possibly a skylight. But this is already a huge improvement for very little money.

The first-floor bathroom was almost as bad. Remember the dark, depressing gray in the bedroom? Yep, the weird Goth vampire people liked it so much they painted the bathroom that color, too.

I had a light installed and it just made it look worse…
Beautiful blue!
New mirror, light, and fixtures…

The laundry closet is located in this bathroom. I took down some rusty old bifold doors, replaced the sagging particle-board shelves and gave the washer and dryer a good scrubbing. A person could actually do laundry in here now without having flashbacks to their college dorm laundry room.

Nice, clean laundry closet with new adjustable shelving.

And that concludes this story of the little house that could! Just got it done this week, leaving me with about five days to prepare for packout. Which is nuts, but then so many things we do are insane, so what’s one more? I’m getting by on coffee and Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups for the moment. I’ll rest when we get to that luxury hotel on per diem–thank you taxpayers, and I do mean that!


  1. WOW! Well done! I can’t believe how much you accomplished; you have truly earned that break you have coming!


  2. Hi Kelly, Not sure if you remember me. We served together in Salvador (I think???). Just found your blog last night and am enjoying your honesty and great humor. I was actually self employed in our last post (Mexico City) giving support and parental relief to kids who struggled in the host country school(s). It was great!!! I have lots of positive stories to share if you need a pick up. On another note… we just purchased a fix up house in Alexandria and could use some advice for contractors. Probably need to change out some tile, tubs, sinks as the previous owners were hoarders who for some reason had an aversion to cleaning. Any recommendations are appreciated. Good to reconnect.


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