DAY 27: Toilets and Showers and Wallpaper–Oh, My!

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WARNING: This post might make you cringe. Possibly gag. You may finish reading thanking your lucky stars that your master bathroom looks nothing like mine. If you’ve got a strong stomach, then proceed, oh dear reader who isn’t afraid of seeing my bathroom gunk… LOL

This month my readers and I have been tackling our 30-Day Room Makeover Challenges.

But because of the holidays and such, I gave us the gift of 10 extra days, so it’s now the 40-Day Room Makeover Challenge! 🙂

I’m working on my master bathroom because it was sorely outdated!

Let me remind you of how it looked less than 30 days ago:


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Of course, bad photography in low-light conditions don’t help–but trust me.

It really did look this bad!

That yellow floor was the real deal Holyfield!

Before I continue, let me share with you the rest of these series posts in case you want to check out the entire series.

Removing an Old Shower Stall Door

Shower stall doors are on the same “gross” scale as sippy cups.

If you’re a parent, you know how doggone hard it is to clean a sippy cup. All those little nooks and crannies and you can guarantee Little Johnny has sipped mold at least once in his young life.

Well, the same holds true for shower stall doors: they’re nothing more than a Gunk Fest for mold and mildew.

I’ll never understand why companies create products in which wet things can get into nooks and crannies to become a breeding ground for mold.

So I knew when I took off the old 1970’s shower stall door, I’d find some mold that’s been chillin’ for decades.

This is what the shower stall looked like before I got started:



It wasn’t difficult to remove the shower stall. You only need the following materials:

  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Utility knife
  • Gloves
  • Someone to help!

Here’s a tip most people don’t know:

Whenever you’re unscrewing and removing doors (or other heavy items screwed in), always start removing screws from the bottom and work your way UP.

The reason why is so that by leaving the top screw for last, you won’t risk having the door falling on your head!


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Anyhow, with this shower stall, there was just a screw at the top holding the door on.

Once that was removed, I could start unscrewing the frame from the fiberglass shower, from the botto to the top.

I was left with pieces of the frame and the glass door, which are going to the salvage shop!


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The grossness that was uncovered, under the door frame, was too much to bear.

How in the world are people supposed to clean a shower stall when gunk grows underneath the frame??

I guess that’s why they make caulk….

Anyhow, now you see why this shower stall door needed to go.


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Once the door was removed, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel….One step closer to transforming this master bathroom!

(We’ll likely put up a shower curtain until we can rip out this shower stall to replace it with tile).


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Removing an Old Toilet With Rusted Bolts

I always feel a sense of pride with removing a toilet. I did it once before in my kids’ bathroom makeover, and I did it this time, as well.

But let me tell you–it’s one nasty project. LOL




This (see below) is the reason I opted for a more expensive one-piece toilet in my kids’ bathroom: there are less nooks and crannies for pee to get trapped.

Because otherwise when you remove the tank, you find where the pee’s been hiding.


The space behind the toilet was never painted either because, years ago, I was too naive to know that tanks could be removed for painting. 🙂

Thus, the bare spot behind the toilet.


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When it was all out of there, it felt like I was making some serious progress!




I asked hubby to help, and although he was going to, I decided to be She-Ra and see if I could haul it downstairs myself. LOL




All the rough spots on the walls got a quick sand down with fine sandpaper.




The area behind the toilet needed some spackling, too, along with other parts of the bathroom.

I always use this joint compound for that.




If you’ve ever removed wallpaper and have damaged the walls, you’ll know that joint compound is the magic cure for smoothing walls out.

Just dip your putty knife in there, scoop a dollop, and then just smooooooooth it out, skim coating the imperfections until it’s near perfect. When it’s dry, sand it smooth with fine sandpaper (just be sure to wear a dust mask and keep the doors closed and windows opened because it can get super dusty!










I also cleaned the walls….then painted….


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…and pulled off gross, outdated vinyl baseboards…and then repaired them with sanding and joint compound….


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…and I scraped wallpaper glue off of some areas. I HATE WALLPAPER GLUE!!!

(This is my favorite wallpaper steamer that I have used for every room in this house! Works like a charm and it’s super affordable!)



This is what old wallpaper glue looks like that’s been on your walls for 43 years. –GULP–




I also went on the hunt for legs to create a DIY bathroom vanity!

I went to the Community Forklift (salvage shop here in Maryland) and found these gorgeous legs (or spindles that can be legs…) for the vanity I’m going to build!

They were $13 each with 50% off, for a total of $6.50 each!

I bought 8 of them. They were too delicious to leave behind. LOL


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My plan is to strip them down.

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While at the salvage shop, I also dropped off my old vanity that I removed. The keyword is “dropped.” I literally dropped it. LOL One of the sinks cracked!

Old Bathroom Sink at the Salvage Shop 0 Thrift Diving

…I also went to Home Depot and found my inspiration for my vanity I’m going to build…


…and lastly, I smushed my head up against wet paint in the bathroom, by accident, of course, turning my hair white….LOL!

All in a couple days work.

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Lesson learned: always wear a hat when DIYing….



Those were two very busy days in this master bathroom makeover!

I was rushing to get these things done because the following day (Day 28 of the challenge), Carpet One was coming to install the new flooring!

The last thing I wanted was to get dust and paint all over the new floor!




Stay tuned for the next update on the new floor installation!

Keep Up With the Entire 30-Day Master Bathroom Makeover Series!

DAY 1: The Evolution of a Master Bathroom Makeover

DAY 4: Picking Out New Flooring: Which One Do You Like?

DAY 6: How to Remove an Old Bathroom Vanity

DAY 27: Removing Wallpaper, Repairing Walls, and Removing an Old Toilet

DAY 29: Installing New Flooring in Our Master Bathroom

DAY 49: The Bathroom Makeover That Would Never End (An Update!)

Day 52: How to Remove a Toilet Yourself

DAY 57: How to Install a Toilet Yourself

DONE! Final reveal: My Lavender Bathroom Makeover: BEFORE & AFTER


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  1. Stephanie says:

    Hi Serena! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog! I love the color you chose for the top portion of the bathroom walls. I am looking for a color like that for a room that I want to give a β€œFrench” look to. Is it a Sherwin Williams color by any chance?

  2. Reading your posts are always fun and inspirational. You also make us smile and laugh, because at times you keep it too real and it’s funny. If this doesn’t work out there’s always stand up comedy. Long story short, we love what you do and how you do it. You definitely give us the confidence to tackle DIY projects we would have never considered doing. Thank you!

  3. Gwen Condit says:

    I too am in suspense!!! I was on a roll and got sick. Feel worse tonight–shhh–I’m trying not to tell! So I’ve gotten nowhere beyond last week. And ALL you did in a couple days ?!!! Mind boggling. Does it count that I took my fall stuff out of mini gardens?!! That I hung my Christmas wreath? That I cleared off my entry table and decorated s cute wire shelf but every single inch of my house seems in disarray. All at once. I don’t like how I can’t manage extra stuff anymore. That’s why I get so proud of you.

  4. Your bathroom will look spectacular when your done. I can’t wait to see it. . Love those spindles so best of luck with your vanity.

  5. ohhhh all of those spindles! πŸ™‚ I love junk!

    whoa girl! you are working like a crazy woman. Your bathroom is going to be awesome.


  6. Ahhh, Progress! Such a nice feeling! It’s beginning to shape up nicely and I can’t wait to see the finished project. It’s going to be awesome! The board and batten is going to look so nice; just like the boy’s bathroom! Love that look. And your colors. Sea green is going to be my main color, but lavender and white are going to fit in there too. And now I can’t wait to see the flooring go in! This is so exciting and inspiring. I love seeing how you make a room come together. There’s always an idea to apply to something I’m doing . . . granted, on a much, much smaller scale.

    My unofficial “make a home out of this place” project is coming very, very slowly. Parts of it are totally overwhelming since I have so much stuff and it’s sheer agony to let go of it. But the bottom line is I absolutely cannot keep it all and have any kind of decent living space, so it’s a grindingly slow process as I force myself to keep moving stuff out. I can actually move around in my “junk” room now, but still so much to go through and get rid of. Ugh! Why do we hang on to so much stuff as we go through life? It’s crazy because we totally can’t use it all. Most of it sits in drawers, closets and in corners. How silly, and how human!

    The one good thing is that I have lots of time to consider how I want to decorate and how I can incorporate some of your ideas into my overall picture when I get the excess out of here. And it keeps me out of other mischief! Ha! Ha! You are a great inspiration to me. I keep telling myself, “If Serena can do all of the projects she does and inspire all of the people she inspires, then surely I can let go of a few things and clean this place up.” So thanks and I’m really excited about seeing the finished bath and garage!!

    1. Aww….I’m so happy that I inspire you, Teckla! I agree with you–we hold on to WAY too much! It’s okay to let it go. It just takes a long time. I can’t wait to see what you do to the place! Are you trying to tackle one space at a time?

      1. Yes, and no. This second bedroom is maybe 12 x 12 and it was literally stacked wall to wall and ceiling high, including the small step-in closet. That’s why I had to move half the stuff out into the living/dining area and my smaller bedroom. Those rooms are already overloaded, so adding more stuff just makes it look like I’m not making any progress. In addition to my office bookshelf, computer table and printer, I’ve got 3 storage cupboards and 4 4-drawer cabinets, 2 sewing machines and cabinets and a serger, pictures, decorations, craft supplies, and an excess of sewing (20+ totes of fabric alone + tools), quilting (a dozen? + tools), knitting (23 totes of yarn) and cross stitch supplies to pare down, organize and arrange in some kind of working space. And that’s not everything. I really have been a pack rat! Some things can go in the garage, but most is stuff that needs to stay indoors. I know I sound like a stuck record, but the key to everything is letting go of things. That’s been really hard for me because as a retiree on a fixed income, I worry that I wouldn’t be able to replace that stuff without difficulty. So sometimes I just plain get hung up for a while, literally and emotionally, which is why it’s taking so long. It’s also why you are so important to me right now as my model/inspiration. It’s kind of like a mental competition. When I get stuck, I keep telling myself, if Serena can do what she’s doing, I can do what I need to do! Not complaining. It is what it is and I’ll work through it even if it takes a while.

  7. Omg!! So exciting! You’re like the Tasmanian devil. <3 <3 I cannot wait to see what it's going to look like, but now I'm itching to finish up my bedroom and finals are coming up. =( Your blog is so inspirational it's a curse.
    I admit… I love that pink. And the gold shower stall door. Is the pink going white, too, or are you going to do a tall faux wainscoting sort of look? The vanity you build is going to be gorgeous. =D

    1. Hey, Zovesta! Your comment put a smile on my face! πŸ™‚ I love when people are as excited about things as I am! πŸ™‚ You guessed it–I’m actually doing board and batten! I love the look of how it turned out in my kids’ bathroom, so I wanted it for my own. I should be finishing that up this week, so I’ll post about that when it’s done! πŸ™‚ The lavender color will be at the top and the white at the bottom. Can’t wait to show you! Thank you for commenting!

      1. Ooh, that’s going to look great! This is going to be one elegant room. <3 <3 Don't leave us in suspense!! =D

        1. That’s so funny because I also leave myself in suspense trying to put it all together! HAHAHA!

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