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See what this drab bathroom looks like after a $400 makeover

Living with six kids is kind of like opening your windows during a hurricane. In the blink of an eye, all your stuff gets strewn about and the walls get damaged.

That was the situation for Ronda and Les Batchelor, whose six kids had to share one bathroom for a number of years. That meant the space got a lot of daily wear and tear, especially moisture damage from all the hot showers. “It was one after the other,” Ronda says. “It didn’t have a chance to dry out very well.”

Just as she did with her stunning laundry room transformation, Ronda got to work, hitting up her local ReStore and secondhand shops for cast-off building materials and things like cabinetry, lighting fixtures, mirrors and more. Then she did all the painting, building, decorating, wiring and installation herself to create a functional, beautiful bathroom for around $400.

With two of the kids now gone from home, and a renovated basement that added more bedrooms and a bathroom for their two boys, the Batchelors turned their attention to making the damaged upstairs 9½-by-5-foot bathroom a better fit for their twin teenage daughters who share it.

Apart from being stylistically “boring,” Ronda says, the original fan didn’t do much to combat all the moisture, which was causing deterioration on the drywall around the shower window.

Ronda, who chronicles her projects on her website, Batchelors Way, knocked off the damaged drywall around the window, cleaned it up with a wire brush, then went over it with drywall mud. After that dried, she used a double-sided sticky-mat product (similar to Bondera) to which she affixed inexpensive subway tile and gray grout around the window and all the way to the ceiling for a more dramatic look. “I did it in one day,” she says.

She kept the one-piece fiberglass insert to keep costs down but also because she prefers the design. “They don’t have grout, and the corners are easier to clean,” she says.

While putting in a new, more powerful fan, Ronda wired in some LED lights for the shower. And to make sure her girls used the fan, she set it up so that when you flip on the lights for the shower, the fan comes on too. “That way if they’re taking a shower, the fan is on,” Batchelor says.

Lack of storage was a serious problem for the teenage girls and all their makeup and accessories. Ronda found a 7-inch-deep medicine cabinet at ReStore and recessed it into the wall. “Les wanted to cut the back off so it didn’t stick out, but we decided to leave it deeper to have more storage,” she says.

She added the trim piece to the top so she could mount a secondhand-store light fixture that stuck out far enough from the wall to provide adequate lighting. She then painted the cabinet an off-the-shelf white.

Though it’s hard to tell, Ronda faked the wainscoting to save money. She attached trim pieces to the drywall and painted everything white to create the appearance of raised wainscoting boards.

For the walls, she created a special color mixed from leftover paint she had in her garage. “That’s just one of the ways I save money,” she says. “I pulled some gray paint off my shelf and added white until I got what I liked.”

She wanted to replace the countertop, but since there was nothing really wrong with it, she updated it with an epoxy faux-marbling technique.

She used more of the double-sided sticky-mat product to adhere 1-by-2-inch glass tiles for a backsplash.

For the cabinet space directly in front of the sink, she converted faux drawer fronts into flip-out shelves for bobby pins and hair accessories.

Labeled bins keep makeup and other products for the girls organized.

Ronda wanted to extend the shower curtain all the way to the ceiling for more drama and to create more visual space, so she sewed gold material to a blue and white striped curtain to lengthen it.

Metal supports from a secondhand store that Ronda spray-painted an oil-rubbed bronze color hold wood shelves that she found lying around her garage and stained. “They were beat-up and had character to them,” she says.

“I like things to look pretty, and I don’t have funds to justify spending huge amounts on things,” Ronda says. “I just want to have a home that I think is pretty, that makes me happy. I want to walk into a room that makes me smile.”

Budget Breakdown

  • Medicine cabinet: $10 ReStore
  • Wall tile and grout: $61
  • Keracolor warm gray 93, Lowe’s
  • Backsplash tile: $24, Delano Blanco mosaics, Home Depot
  • Exhaust fan: $56, Lowe’s
  • LED lights in shower: $55, Lowe’s
  • Accent rug: $24, Walmart
  • Shower curtain: $15, Target
  • Miscellaneous materials, knobs, paint, accessories: $159

Total: $404

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