Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

Basement Bathroom: Cost Breakdown

Just a follow up to my post on the basement bathroom build and a few more pics of the actual process.

Just so you have an idea of the space as it looked – unfinished. The wall on the left was built several years ago. It separates this bathroom from the office on the other side.


Prepping for plumbing…


Mr. Restyle dug this all up himself…


then filled it and poured concrete.


After that was dry, heused self-levelling concrete to finish it off.


The shower gets started…



So not the entire process but gives you a better idea of the before and after.

basement bathroom

Here’s the cost breakdown. Remember, most of this stuff was either obtained from thrift stores or at significant savings from big box stores (look for discontinued or clearance items or shop the sales for savings!) and various other sources. We search everywhere! In Canadian dollars:

Vanity                     $50
Antique cabinet  $100
Faucet                    $80
Toilet                     $140
Shower                  $900
Concrete                $100
ABS                          $ 30
Jackhammer           $80 (used for concrete floor)
Exhaust fan             $50
Heated floor           $120
Shower valve         $200
Shower tile             $200 (including grout)
Floor tile                 $300 (including grout)
Miscellaneous        $300

Mirror                        $25

Towel bar                    $15

Vanity light                 $40

GRAND TOTAL:         $2730


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Oak Staircase Complete

I did manage to finish the staircase and completely forget to do a post about it. I first wrote about staining/painting the staircase here.

I finished it just before Christmas and this is how it turned out.


The giraffe belongs to the Mr. He won’t let me get rid of it. Not going to lie, this project was a LOT of work. Very time consuming but so worth it, I think.




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Total Basement Bathroom from Top to Bottom

UPDATE: See the updated post on this project with a complete cost breakdown. It’s all right here.

Hello all. There’s been a lot of activity in the household. We built a bathroom in the basement completely from scratch. Mr. Restyle did all of the walls, ceilings, flooring along with the install of shower, sink, toilet and tiling! So incredibly proud of him as he’s never done this much before. There are lots of pictures in this post but that’s because there are several different DIY, upcycled, recylced elements to this bathroom. I hope it inspires someone to do it yourself with existing materials.

This bathroom did not exist as the basement was unfinished when we purchased the house. Hubby installed in-floor heating. I don’t have pics of that part but I’m sure he does. If anyone out there is interested, we can create a separate blog post on how this was done. I love the grey tile we picked out for the floor.


The heated floor is controlled by this:


The ceiling is a drop-down as our house is wired to the max and that requires easy access. The ceiling tiles are actually made from drywall. We opted not to use pre-made ceiling tile in the bathroom. The Mr. cut, primed and painted them himself. The small circles in the ceiling are lights. The 2 large circles in the picture are built-in speakers because, well, he’s insane and wants access to music from almost everywhere. This bathroom is for the boys, so whatever they like, I’m okay with.


Every new element that we use in our renos is sourced at significant discounts. Suffice it to say, we sometimes have to buy things for projects that we don’t plan on working on for quite some time and we have stuff everywhere. I will be so happy on the day we are completely done, if there is such a thing! Shower was his vision. I admit I love it. He did the tiling, lighting, plumbing, everything himself.


shower headshower2.jpg

He’s quite proud of his soap niche-lights and all.


So what role did I play in this room? Well, this! An old dresser turned into a vanity and instead of having a built-in closet, I choose this old cabinet that I painted white.


A large basket of flowers sits on top.



Here’s a closer look inside.


I used to travel a lot for work and I can’t be the only one who brings hotel soap home, right? I thought they’d look pretty in this glass jar.

shell and soap

The fixture above the vanity is a clearance sale item. The mirror is a thrift store find.

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This $5 wicker hamper was another thrift store find. I couldn’t believe how much these actually retail for! I removed the old plastic lining that was inside and used the fabric from a thrift store shower curtain as a new liner. The baskets inside the cabinet are also lined with the same fabric.


Finally, a couple of retro magazine ads that we picked up at a vintage fair last spring. Framed and ready to be hung (sorry for the reflection from the lighting in the next 2 pics).



I am really pleased with how this bathroom turned out and comments from friends and family have been that it’s beautiful and they love the mix of old with modern. This is the best looking bathroom in the house now!


Oak Staircase Makeover

Here’s a peak at what I’m currently working on. My lovely (blah!) oak staircase. This is the original stain. I’ve been working furiously to give it a facelift. UPDATE: see how it all turned out in this updated post here.

stairs before.jpg

Here’s another view.


After some sanding to rough up the surface and taping in prep for new stain.


In progress-stained and white paint started on risers.


I’m not done yet. This is turning into about a 2 week job. I’ve so far gotten all the white risers done and a couple of coats on the spindles. Still have a few more coats to go but so far, I think it’s really brightened up what was a dark staircase. My foyer is quite large and the stairs are one of the first things you see when you walk through the front door. I wanted them to be the focal point. Let me know what you think. I’ll post the final reveal if I ever get this all done!



Reader Inspired Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

I’m happy to say that this post is a reader inspiration! Mr. Restyle occasionally shares our projects with coworkers (I had no idea). He happened to share our kitchen makeover with a lovely lady named Cristina. You can read the original post on our DIY kitchen makeover here.

Cristina shared the post with her husband Dante and they decided to set out and redo their own cabinets using General Finishes Java Gel Stain. Cristina and Dante share a passion for restoring old furnishings to their former glory. Restaining their cupboards is a great way to achieve a brand new look.

Here’s the before of their cabinets. Ah yes, the good ole honey oak!

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Looks like their kitchen was already a happy place to be but look at the after below!


Here’s the after.


Gorgeous! So sleek and modern.


Great job guys! Here’s Cristina and Dante’s before and after for comparison. I am so happy to do be able to share our projects and more importantly, to hear that others can achieve something amazing from them.




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Projects I’m Working On

I hope everyone is enjoying a fantastic summer. I was able to escape on a camping trip “up north” as we say here in Ontario and enjoyed a few days of much needed R &R. Completely unplugged nevertheless! No choice! There was no cell signal where we were. It was a welcome break.

Mr. Restyle is working on building our basement bathroom. So far he’s tiled the shower. He even built in a little soap and shampoo niche with lights I might add and started the ceiling and painted the walls. Doesn’t look like much yet but it’s getting there. It’s been so incredibly hot that most nights we don’t feel like doing anything.


The mister insists on dropped ceilings in the basement. I don’t blame him as he has this house wired to the max and wants easy access. For this bathroom, he’s not using pre-fabricated ceiling panels but making them himself out of drywall. We’ve already purchased the shower doors and the toilet and sink. For the vanity, we will be installing this vintage dresser that I’ve painted white. The top will remain the original wood tone. It will be home to a cute little vessel sink. I cannot wait to show the finished room.


We decided not to build a closet but use a charming antique bookcase to house towels and toiletries.


Here it is after the first coat of white.


There are a ton of projects going on. Once the bathroom is complete, we will begin replacing all the bedroom carpeting with laminate, restaining the staircase, building a tray ceiling in our bedroom, redmodelling the master ensuite and building a system for our walk-in closet, all DIY/reclaim/repurpose style! So exciting.

We saw an antique bedroom set we liked so we scooped that up and I’ve already painted it and it’s been moved to our room. Yes, we do things backward. Not intentionally of course but that is the reality when you are reusing and redoing the way we do. There is no rhyme or reason.

Here’s a sneak peak. Excuse the mess but hopefully you can envision that ugly brown colour replaced with a soft blue-grey with a greyish wood toned floor.

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Oh, and I’ll be adding a diamond tufted headboard and creating a bench out of an old coffee table. I think I have enough on the go for now don’t I? Kinda explains why I never do any sewing or clothing related posts!




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How to Paint Yellowed Fridge Door Handles

Over time, you might notice that the handles on your refrigerator become worn and yellowed or even take on an orangey colour. Scrub as you might it just doesn’t go away. Rest assured this is not dirt. Those plastic handles have a special coating. What you’re seeing is the underside where the coating has worn off.

Mine were so bad it was embarrassing. What to do? I’d love to eventually replace the appliances with sleek stainless but there’s nothing wrong with the fridge and appliances are expensive!



You can easily pop those things off. I don’t know if all fridges are the same but I didn’t have to take the whole fridge apart. It was pretty easy to pry the parts off.

To paint the handles I used a special spray paint made for appliances from Rustoleum.


I couldn’t manage to remove all the parts for the ice and water dispenser so I covered up what I could and just used chalk paint for this area. We don’t use the dispensers anymore so water and ice exposure is not going to be an issue.

Here is the after. Looks brand new. Still not stainless but looking good.


Much better!

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Kitchen Makeover Part 1:1920s Table Base +1940s Table Top

I first wrote about our recent DIY Kitchen Makeover and now it’s time to show you how we put it all together. This is the first in a multi-part series (no particular order to the posts in this series but it will all come together, you’ll see).

This part’s a little confusing. We had a 1920s table and chairs in our dining room but we found a 1940s set where the chairs were in much better condition (I’ll do a post on how we transformed the ’40s dining room at a later date). By the way, the cost of the 40s set=$50. That’s table + 6 chairs! The cost of the 20s set=$100 for table + 6 chairs. Bear with me on the following pictures…The first 3 pictures are all from the same Jacobean style dining set, manufactured by Hanover Cabinet Makers in Pennsylvania. Originally, this would have all been a dark walnut colour.


Table Base from the 1920s-Walnut/Sweet Gum

1920s table top

1920s Table Top-Walnut Veneer

1920s chair

1920s Chair-Walnut Veneer/Sweet Gum

As you can see above, the chairs were in some rough shape. What you can’t see is how wobbly the base of the table is. More on that later.

Below are pieces from the 1940s set. The manufacturer escapes me at the moment. I’d have to crawl under the table to have a look.


Table Base from the 1940s-Walnut


1940s Walnut Chair


1940s Walnut Table Top-This poor table was in REALLY rough shape. I don’t think it had seen a tablecloth, a placemat or a coaster in years!

We ended up donating the 1920s chairs because so much of the veer was damaged. We refinished the 1940s chairs and now they reside in the dining room.

What we did with the rest is swap out the 2 tops (or bases, depending on how you look at it). Taking the 1920s base and putting the 1940s top on it. Taking the 1940s base and putting the 1920s top on that. Confusing right? And you’re probably thinking why would they do that? Simple reason being that the 20s tabletop extends much further and we need a big table in the dining room. The other table was going in our kitchen. So far, we have 2 table tops, 2 bases, and a set of dining chairs (for the dining room) but nothing to sit on in the kitchen. Our previous table was counter height and Miss Restyle has already placed dibs on those for when she moves out. Cue, these tufted chairs we picked up from the Habitat Restore.


Tufted Dining Chair COVERED in oily stains-yuck! How did I fix this mess? With Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!

So now you’re probably thinking who the heck puts such an old table into a modern looking kitchen? Well, we do, because we like the look of mixing old with new. There’s nothing wrong with that. Not everything has to look like it came from the same place. This is how you can let your creativity really shine so that you end up with a room that nobody else has and somehow, it all comes together.

Here’s what we did:

That rickety 20s table base really needed some work. Mr. Restyle had to remove all the reinforcing wood pieces from the underside as well as the legs and reinforce and reglue everything. He had a little help from our youngest son, Jacob.

That table top was completely sanded to raw wood. Something to note about tables of this age-the tops are most likely veneer. This is not a bad thing. It’s just the way they were constructed at the time. When sanding veneer, just apply a light hand so that you don’t create any gouges. You can see here how badly it was damaged when I started.


Using an orbital sander and gradually moving from 180 to 220 grit paper, I got to work.


Wow! What a difference! The bottom part of the picture is the sanded part. The top is just starting to get some work done on it.

I have to say this about the sanding process-it gave off a weird smell. I don’t know if it was the stain they used back then or years and years of grime and filth or possibly cigarette smoke but it was awful!


Left: sanded, Right: unsanded

It was really looking gorgeous the more I worked on it and I seriously wanted to leave it the colour it was naturally but I knew that it wouldn’t work for the feel of the room. I love sanding as much as I love ironing clothes. Yes, I’m THAT weird!

You will know that you are finished sanding when it feels buttery smooth against your hand. Time for stain! I used General Finishes Gel Stain in Antique Walnut. I love working with this stain. It is simply amazing. I am so pleased with the result.



I stained the table base as well. I only lightly sanded it first. This is why I love this stain. You do NOT need to strip the piece down to bare wood if you are staining a darker colour. If you would like more information on this stain and the process, I will do a tutorial as our kitchen cabinets were also done with General Finishes (Java Gel Stain). I also plan on doing the bathroom cabinets the same way and could write a tutorial on that.

After staining, I applied the General Finishes High Performance Top Coat Satin.


For the chairs, I tried everything to get those stains out and I mean everything from homemade concoctions to heavy duty stain removers to steam cleaning. All combined, these methods only slightly improved the situation. I finally gave up and used chalk paint in Paris Grey. For more information on how to use chalk paint, you can visit one of the very first posts I did on chalk paint called Not So Pretty in Pink or do a search (posts are under the Furniture Makeovers category).


I love how the chairs turned out. Supple-leather smooth!



Close up of the tufting.

The last step was to paint the chair legs in Old Ochre chalk paint. They were originally a dark brown that just didn’t work with anything in the room. Mr. Restyle is not too fond of the painted legs. I quite like them as they go with the island.

chair leg.jpg

Here is the set in the room.

table chairs.png

table chairs2.png

Thanks for sticking around. I know that was a LONG post. More to come…

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DIY Kitchen Makeover

This post has been a long time in the making. There are so many elements to write about that I am splitting them up in a multi-part series to cover everything we’ve done in our kitchen over the last several months because there are so many different things we did in here and each of them deserves their own post so I can tell you all about how we did it.

Here’s a look at the before.


Our house was built in 1990. We purchased it in ’97. We sold our previous house in one day due to a bidding war and didn’t have much time to find another. Our daughter was 3 years old and we  were expecting our first son. We moved in when he was 2 weeks old.  Call us crazy. This house was our dream home at the time. It was big, or at least it seemed that way then. Well, 18 years later and we hadn’t done anything to this room expect for some re-staining of the cabinets years ago to this reddish hue. It was an ugly yellowy-oak colour to begin with.

Notice there’s no backsplash and that drives me crazy! The countertop is that cheap builder’s laminate. The tiles, while not really in style anymore are not all that bad. They’re white with grey streaks and grey is in now so hey, who cares? Would I like to replace the floor? Sure, but realistically, we are getting to be empty nesters. Two of our three children are away at school. The plan is to downsize in a few years so I don’t want to pour too much in here before we list it but I do want to bring it up to date.

Here’s the after.


What we did:

  1. Restained the cabinets using Java Gel Stain from General Finishes and added new hardware. There were 30 of them!!! I did this part.
  2. Replaced the countertop with butcher block.
  3. Replace the double sink with one big apron sink. LOVE! I wasn’t sure how I would get used to having only 1 sink but I love it even better than the double. I don’t miss the old one at all.
  4. Replaced the faucet and water filtration system.
  5. Replaced the kitchen island with the refinished early 1900s sideboard. I wrote about this piece here.
  6. Added a new glass tile backsplash.
  7. Installed 16 new potlights.
  8. Replaced the chandelier and ceiling fan with a new chandelier and the lovely pendants.
  9. Refinished a 1940s tabletop and added that to a 1920s dining table base.
  10. Chalk painted some tufted dining chairs.
  11. Added new drapery to the sliding door.
  12. Painted over that ugly yellow paint.
  13. Replaced all the electrical outlets.

AND…we did it all ourselves! How much do we love DIY? We are very lucky, Mr. Restyle and I. We work extremely well together. We are like a powerhouse when we get moving. Lucky for me he took these pictures on his phone without my knowledge. My hands were usually covered in stain or paint during this makeover and of course, I didn’t take any pictures. The separate posts will have better quality pics, I promise.

Kitchen B&A.jpg

Some more pictures.

View of the pantry before. Yes, I still have white appliances and all those crazy magnets all over the fridge!

pantry before

Pantry after.

pantry after.jpg

The refinished walnut table and chairs made over with chalk paint.

table after

stove after







Everything AND The Kitchen Sink

Here’s a fantastic little DIY for an outdoor sink and counter made from old pallets. Mr. Restyle and I had this idea to find an old sink and create a fully functioning place to wash fresh veggies from our garden without dragging dirt and mud into the house every time. It also makes for a great area to pot plants and wash hands. Conveniently located right next to our BBQ. I do realize that some people might think this is a crazy idea. Never one to worry about what others think, we just went for it.

Found this old industrial looking sink which we think came from a restaurant.


A fabulous find ready to become our new backyard sink.

I love that it has a prep area in the front. It was a bit rusty and dirty but nothing a little elbow grease couldn’t take care of. I have been doing so much sanding and bending lately that I’m actually starting to tone my biceps and my thighs. Yay me! Out of 2 pallets he constructed this.


Sink surround and counter constructed from 2 old wood pallets.

I like the rustic look but it had a couple of different wood types so I decided to give it some stain from the little bit I had left over from another project.

Here it is after just a quick coat of stain.

A bit of stain later...

A bit of stain later…


It’s so cute, don’t you think?

And the best? It really, really works!

Cold running water from the attachment to the garden hose.

Cold running water from the attachment to the garden hose.

outdoor sink

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