It’s no secret that we’re living in DIY chaos around here and for once it’s not because we’ve started dozens of projects without completing any of them it’s because we’re still very much in planning mode and just can’t make up our minds.
We keep jumping from one project to the next and our priorities change on an almost daily basis. We really need to get a grip and actually start a project rather than planning 10 new different ones!
Updating our guest bedroom (you can see the guest bedroom mood board here) is still very much our main priority but I’d also like to paint the living room and our bedroom, finish sanding all floorboards, knock a hole into the wall between our bedroom and (then) walk-in wardrobe, update the electrics, buy loads of new furniture…
You get it, the list is endless and setting priorities when you really want everything done now isn’t exactly easy.
To add to our endless list of projects I’ve now also decided that I’d like another project done as soon as possible and would like our small cloakroom updated – now!
Yes, I know it’s another project and yes, I know I’m contradicting myself here but things would just be too easy if I could actually make a decision and stick to it, wouldn’t it!
Now, you probably think I’m exaggerating about the cloakroom needing an urgent update and you’d probably be right. It isn’t completely awful and there’s no smelly pee-soaked carpet (unlike the bathroom in our last house) that needs removing but there are more than a few issues.
It’s such a tiny space that we’d like to have some fun in here. Even if we end up not liking it at some point it’s so small that it should be easy and quick to change! Life is too short for beige! (everywhere at least)…
We’re planning on giving our guest bathroom a full top to bottom all in makeover so you’d better take a seat – it’s a long list!
1. Rip out everything!
Although the room had an update not long before we bought the apartment, everything has been cheaply and badly done. It works but it could be so much nicer! Ripping everything out is the first step. We’re not ones to waste things so we’ll be putting anything that is still in a good condition up on somewhere like Gumtree. Just because it doesn’t work for us, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be perfect for someone else!
2. Replace the toilet
The quality of the installed sanitary ware is appalling. It’s cheap and nasty. The toilet seat doesn’t properly fit onto the toilet, it’s difficult to keep clean and the wash basin tiny. Randomly, we also still have this WC (it’s Stark 3 by Duravit) in storage! We bought it for our previous home but never got round to installing it!
Without going into too much yucky detail, let’s just say that the builders that refurbished the apartment before we purchased it weren’t the cleanest of people. Leaving bathroom dirt on the toilet seats for around two years takes its toll and burns away the coating of the plastic seat. So, although it’s super clean now, it always looks like there are still dirty marks on the seat.
3. Replace the wash basin
To go with a new toilet we’ll obviously also be replacing the cheap and nasty wash basin. Yes, it’s not that bad but there are so many clever options for tiny rooms like this one, that the one that’s currently there really doesn’t make sense.
A lot of wash basins for cloakrooms are much slimmer and would make much better use of the space. I particularly like the ones where there is some storage integrated. It’s not a room that will be used much but it would still be nice to be able to store a few things in here, even if it’s only an extra toilet roll or some air freshener!
4. Replace the tap
Obviously, we can’t go and replace all of the sanitary ware and keep the cheapest tap the world has ever seen! Given how much we paid for the apartment I almost feel offended that “new bathrooms” was a selling point!
It would be nice to have a bit of fun with this room and I like the idea of an exposed copper pipes tap. Something like these taps we snapped a picture of in Vietnam would be amazing although they might be a bit excessive in such a small space.
The alternative is a standard high-quality tap. Annoyingly, we only have a cold water connection in this bathroom which means that our choice of taps is restricted (or we try to update the connection).
5. Strip and repaint/restore the window
We definitely want to keep the original window and stained glass but it could do with a refresh. I’m not sure that it will need completely stripping and with a bit of luck, a sand and repaint will be enough.
If we’re super lucky a good clean and a can of WD-40 might already resolve any issues. There’s no point in making more work for ourselves!
6. Update electrics
When we first viewed the apartment we were told that the electrics had been updated and they kind of have, just badly. There are 3 sockets in the whole kitchen and the updates in the guest WC aren’t any better.
The light switch could be better placed and I’d still like to update all socket and switch covers (you can read about the covers we’re considering here).
Ideally, we’d like to move the light switch to the hallway and then turn the current switch into a socket (which is totally allowed in bathrooms here in Germany).
7. Replaster the room
Almost all walls in our apartment have been stripped, plastered and painted. Overall it’s a big yay to not having to remove layers of old wallpaper but in the small cloakroom the walls are really wonky and once we remove the tiles I’m sure they’re not going to get any better. If we decide to just paint the room it will definitely have to be replastered but there is an alternative. Wallpaper!
If I could be bothered to plaster everywhere I’d definitely consider a mural instead of wallpaper. I love the laundry room mural by The Shingled House which has definitely inspired me to get creative!
8. Add wallpaper (optional)
I’d been thinking about using wallpaper in the cloakroom even before I knew that the walls were in a poor condition. I’d also really like to have some fun in here. We always opt for really safe design choices but I’d like to go bold in this super small space.
There are soooo many amazing wallpapers to choose from that it’s going to be really difficult to make a decision. I’ve been considering everything from wordsearch paper to glam tropical paper. My current favourite is the Derwent Koi paper by Osborne & Little.
9. Retile everywhere
No, I’ve not lost my mind and I know that a lot of people think I’ve gone mad even suggesting that we rip out the original cement tiles on the floor. Before you all start sending me nasty emails there are a few reasons.
They’re damaged and we probably need to lower the floor a tiny bit so we’ll possibly have to remove them anyway.
Having said all of that, we will still try to keep them. I’m not sure that it’s going to be possible but we will try to take them up, clean them and relay them. It’s not going to be easy and is probably more effort than it’s worth but I just can’t resist an original feature.
I’ll be sad if we can’t keep them but equally, there’s no point in trying to salvage something only to end up with a result that’s not as good as it could be.
Then there’s also the issue of the toilet which is floor mounted which means that there’s a hole in the tiles where the pipe disappears to the floor below.
We’re planning on installing a wall hung toilet and the plan is to install it much further into the room which will then hopefully allow us to rejig the plumbing slightly and therefore hide the hole in the floor.
10. Strip, sand and repaint the door
I’ve already started stripping the door frame to our guest bedroom and am already regretting ever having started. It’s easily the DIY job that I hate most and it always takes much longer than expected!
Weirdly almost all of our doors have been painted in emulsion which, needless to say, isn’t exactly hard wearing. I assume there’s still oil based paint beneath it though so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to strip it with a heat gun. I would always recommend taking doors to be dipped and stripped if you can. It’s really affordable (in the UK), it’s much quicker than stripping yourself and it’s also much safer as old paint could contain lead. Annoyingly, taking doors to be dipped and stripped is really expensive here in Berlin so our trusted heat gun will have to suffice.
11. Update door furniture
We still have some of the original door furniture in the apartment but not every door has an original handle. We’ll definitely be scouring the antiques and flea markets to find original ones to match ours but it may take some time!
So there you have it, yet more plans on our ever increasing list of projects. At least a guest bathroom makeover would be a stand alone project and wouldn’t impact any other areas of our home (we think!).
Do you also have a to-do list that seems to get longer by the minute? What room is highest up on your priority list? What would your dream guest bathroom look like?