Renovation Revelations - The Bathroom Door

How a Simple Coat of Paint Potentially Saved Me $25,000

For the last few months we have been undergoing a renovation. Nothing big like moving walls but we did lots of ripping out of things like baseboards, tiles, bad hardwood, carpet, a fireplace..

It was an eyeopener to be the patient instead of the doctor. I’ll be sharing more about my reno later but right now I want to share my master bathroom.

When we started this renovation I had it in my mind this was going to be phase one of a two-step process. Redo the master bedroom now and my ugly ensuite bathroom would be on next years rip list. I was so resigned to this I was making decisions based on the assumption I would be gutting the whole thing next summer..

My ensuite bathroom is ugly in the blah builder-bad kind of way. Boring 12 inch tiles with a bad aztec diamond accent tile; a one-piece shower/tub unit; single sink vanity (the horror) the toilet room (just Googled that to confirm that’s what they are called); a huge unframed mirror; all nicely assembled with a large open entry into my master bedroom – which is code for no door.

Whoever started the trend of open concept ensuite bathrooms wasn’t married. Unless you don’t require any plucking and the bubbles in your bubble bath never disappear – bathrooms should have doors.

.When we first bought the house, I knew nothing about undertones. I randomly picked a colour from the fan deck. I think it was Benjamin Moore Classic Gray but I can’t remember. In any case it sucked.

It sucked because it related to nothing in my bathroom or bedroom. It was just a boring greige with the wrong undertone that made my tiles and counter scream yellow and the carpet in the bedroom look dirty. Because of that nasty no-door thing the colour also wrapped into the master bedroom. All adding to more blah.

But that also meant there was now an upside. My bathroom was going to get a colour change as part of the bedroom renovation. My bathroom would look a bit nicer until its doomsday next year.

I put a bit more thought into choosing a colour this time around. The inspiration for my new master bedroom comes from one of the very first places I went on vacation with Warren. Strawberry Hill in Jamaica. It’s where we fell in love with Jamaica and hip boutique hotels. Our room at Strawberry Hill looked like this. Seriously.

.My goal is to have our new master bedroom take a nod from Caribbean. Lots of white on white, dark wood and painted out wood trim.

The trim colour is Benjamin Moore Simply White (OC-117) and putting it on the walls would have worked but it would have been a bit stark and it also would have made all my new wood trim fade into the background. Painting the walls a slightly creamy colour allows all the trim to pop. The very talented interior designer and lucky me – my friend – Jil McDonald from Jil Sonia Interiors came over while we were under construction and looked at the two samples I had up on the wall – Benjamin Moore Soft Chamois and Benjamin Moore Ballet White.

Honestly, either one would have worked but Ballet White was bang on to the tile in my bathroom and since I just wanted my bathroom to disappear for a year, we chose Ballet White (OC-9).

Once the colour was on the walls in my bedroom I had a moment of panic. Was it too yellow? Was it too dark?

I’ve seen this happen with so many of our clients. They stand in their newly painted room and freak out. It’s not what they expected. It looks different. They second guess. Here I was doing the same thing.

I tell my clients “Relax. You can’t judge a colour without context. Wait until its finished and your belongings are back in the space.”

I took my own deep breath and trusted our decision.

The colour is perfect. Including in the bathroom.

The match was perfect to the lightest tone of my tiles on the floor and wall and an exact match to the tile trim around the edge. I still can’t get over how perfect the colour match is to the trim on the tiles.

But more so, I can’t get over how the right colour made me unhate my bathroom.

Ballet White might just have saved me upwards of $25K.


It’s not like I suddenly have a door on my bathroom but looking into the bathroom no longer makes me cringe. Now that I don’t hate the colour, I can look at the space more realistically and consider whether or not ripping apart that bathroom is a good investment.

It goes to show how much the right paint colour can influence how you feel about a room. And how much the wrong colour can make you think everything else is wrong.

No, my bathroom isn’t a stunning spa oasis but it is functional and it is big. And its a whole lot prettier than it was two weeks ago.

So for now, I’ve replaced the really ugly light fixtures, changed out the baseboards to match the rest of the house and I painted the toilet room a funky colour. I also bought these awesome remote control flameless pillar candles from Restoration Hardware along with a new bathmat and some new towels and all of a sudden I have a much prettier bathroom.

I am contemplating painting the diamond accent tiles. Probably in Ballet White as well so they just go away as much as they can.

Maybe I will still gut my bathroom next year but if I do, it won’t be because I think my bathroom is ugly, it will be to get a door.



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