Before & After Renovations

Before And After: Charcoal Bathroom Makeover


OK, so nothing was wrong with the second bathroom in our new place – not technically, at least. Our condo is a new build – the original structure burned to the ground in the Woolsey fire a couple of years back – so everything was in great shape, but it just felt like…a hotel. You know, what with the large flat mirror, the nickel-plated lights, the white walls. It was one big “meh.”

You know what I enjoy, though? A blank slate. Give me a boring room, and I am a child on Christmas morning.

dark grey bathroom wall

Ta da!

The possibilities for this bathroom were endless, but I definitely wanted it to have a different vibe than my uber-feminine Blush and Bashful primary bath. I’ve always been big on decorating with color, but I tend to gravitate towards a very specific, light palette (soft pinks and mint greens and such). Dark accent walls have never really been my thing. But then Pinterest got ahold of me, and all of a sudden I was obsessed with deep, moody greys.

The first step was to pry off the mirror, because I hated it. I had this idea that I’d do the prying myself, and then I realized that yanking very large pieces of glass off a wall is not a good idea for yours truly, and I hired a handyman to help (and then patch the holes left behind by the adhesive).

Next up was the paint, which was tricky to select: I knew I wanted a dark slate grey, and one with blue (but not too blue) undertones. I went with Glidden “Mysterious,” and then – because I am a glutton for punishment – I decided to do this very dramatic paint job myself. You can see some issues with the edging along the side of the bathtub, but overall I feel pretty badass about this project.

My favorite part: That glorious light fixture. Guess how much it was?! Go on, guess!

$82. Really.

My strategy for purchasing light fixtures is to go on expensive, fancy websites, figure out what I like, and then buy a knockoff version from Amazon. I cannot tell you how much success I’ve had with this tactic. For our San Jose house I bought super-expensive sconces for one bathroom, and then a knockoff version for the second bathroom…and I legit liked the knockoffs better. Maybe some people can suss out quality differences there, but I’m not one of them.

I mean, how pretty is that?!

Final touches: This gorgeous rattan mirror, which warms up the dark grey wall, and (again, knockoff) brushed brass drawer pulls. Oh, and one of my beloved Gray Malins, of course.

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