Before & After: The Boys’ Bathroom

I had dreams, big dreams, of beginning renovations on our master bathroom.

Enter: toilet paper and a fiesty 7yo.

Spoiler alert. That never ends well.

To make a really, really long story short, Master Luke thought it would be fun to shove toilet paper down the bathroom sink. Not only did it clog the sink, but it backed up the A/C unit that drains through that same pipe, and then proceeded to flood the bathroom cabinets and leak into the kitchen ceiling, just below the bathroom.

Fun. Times.

Fortunately, we caught it all before it got crazy town, but not before it destroyed all things in its path. Most of our dollars went to restoring and fixing non-fun, but essential, things like pipes, drain pains, venting and duct work. The rest of the money went toward a new cabinet system and the granite top. And, because I just can’t leave well enough alone, we decided to rip out the big mirror and the faucets (they were one solid yank away from falling apart anyway) and really do it right.

I’m so glad we did.

Praise all the things that my husband is *super* handy and could assemble, level and install the new cabinets. The boys learned some valuable lessons through all of it, too. Bonus! We were able to salvage the flooring and the light fixtures. That leftover paint worked pretty great for touch-ups, until we realized that we needed a little more to cover the space the big mirror left. The new gallon didn’t match (of course, because that would be too easy) so we had to paint the whole dang thing THE SAME COLOR again. We were pretty happy about that. {sarcasm font}

As Mr. Whitaker says, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Here’s your before, before. The left is the hideous yellow we painted back in 2009, then the “before the flood” on the right.

And here’s your after. Cue the happy dance.

I wish y’all could’ve been with me and the kids during our Target trip to find those soap dispensers. It was part horrifying, part hysterical. The former for all the other shoppers, the latter for us. We scared away – legit scared away – three different shoppers in the bath section. We laughed so hard. These are the moments when I’m glad I have a traveling circus. We are a party no matter where we go.

Anyway, back to decorating.

The granite was an over from another customer’s order. We just stopped by the granite yard (they installed our kitchen counters about seven years ago) and I spotted the winner immediately. Took me less than 5 minutes. I guess I knew what I was looking for – something clean with a little sparkle. Because we were a small job, they were able to cut and install in less than four days. Color me thrilled.

While I didn’t have “renovate boys bathroom” on my to-do list, I’m grateful we took the time to do it right. We didn’t go over-the-top fancy, but we did purchase durable items. The boys are older, so I don’t have to worry about a toddler demolishing the space. That definitely helped us make some design decisions.

Because I do so love the cabinets now (what was there before was poorly crafted particle board/MDF that literally disintegrated), I opted to cover the back of the step stool in felt so we can keep them looking pretty for years to come. Just use hot glue to affix to the back and voila!

Many high fives to all my IG followers who helped me pick out the *just right* bathroom knobs. We went back and forth, but ultimately went with something that was easy for the boys to use and seemed to fit the look of the space and our house. And, yes, I bought extras. Kids!

Those towels are just regular ‘ol white towels, embroidered with my kid’s numbers and colors. Each child has an assigned number (birth order) and color (of their choosing) which makes identifying things super easy. A must in a large household.

The linen closet is the only one we have upstairs, so it stores all the kids’ swimsuits, extra toiletries, sheet sets and towels. Two pro-tips, courtesy of Martha Stewart I learned long ago: 1) put your flat and fitted sheet inside the pillowcase and then fold so it’s all together and 2) fold your towels so the smooth part faces out and the closet appears cleaner. That Martha, she’s so smart.

Because I believe every space should have some inspiration, I took the opportunity to capitalize on the space between the mirrors and challenge my boys to be a force of good in the world.

Let’s take one last look.

Mr. Whitaker is certainly handy and he did the following: all the demo, assembled/leveled/installed the cabinets, hung the mirrors/artwork, installed the light fixtures, painted, crafted/hung the towel rack and installed the knobs. We hired the professionals for the granite install, the plumbing line replacement and the vent/duct work replacement. I just did the shopping and dreaming.

And that’s it, y’all. We are tha-rilled with how it turned out. Now, to get to saving for that master bath reno. That’s one I can’t wait to start! I have big (of course) Portuguese-inspired plans for that one.

Vendor List
“Do Good” sign: Barn Owl Primitives
Soap dispensers, trash can, shower curtain, bath mats: Target
Mirrors: Wayfair
Faucets and light fixtures: Lowe’s
Cabinets, knobs: Home Depot
Paint color: Sea Breath by Valspar


  1. LeAnna on September 8, 2017 at 1:45 am


    It’s so elegant but also incredibly masculine.

  2. Ann-Marie on September 8, 2017 at 8:30 am

    It looks great! I love the saying between the mirrors.

  3. Andrea on September 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Love it! My bathroom is also a hideous yellow that makes me look like a corpse 🙁

  4. Nicole on September 8, 2017 at 9:01 am

    It looks amazing! Love that granite choice. And brilliant idea to back the step stool in fabric. I am definitely stealing that piece of wisdom. Well done!

  5. Aileen on September 8, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Beautiful! Simple yet perfect for a boys bathroom. I’m looking to redo my master bathroom but I don’t want a big expense. I need to do some research.

  6. Verdina on September 8, 2017 at 10:21 am


  7. Jenny on September 8, 2017 at 10:43 am

    That looks amazing. The granite is perfection. (And great tip on the numbering system – I think my growing litter of puppies warrants a transition to numerical IDs too!)

    I think a white shower curtain would look amazing with the rest of the room, but maybe that’s too girly for this room’s purposes. Maybe a bold blue and white nautical stripe? Just my OCD opinion.

    • Kathryn on September 29, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      Those numbers are GAME CHANGERS. You can thank Sarah Richardson and HGTV for that tip. Girl, I SO wanted to put white in there, but my boys will pee all over it. The key here is misdirection. Someday, they’ll aim right, right? j/k

  8. Bonnie on September 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Looks great, Kathryn! I love that paint color!

  9. Katina on September 8, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Very nice! We’re in the middle of exactly the same remodel, with a less exciting start. I love the choices you made!

  10. Katina on September 8, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Quick question about the mirror. Do you think going from the single full-wall mirror to the two individual mirrors made the room look smaller. We’re on the fence about framing the big mirror or replacing it with two mirrors.

    • Kathryn on September 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      I actually love the space more without that huge mirror. It feels about the same size to me. I think you have to do what fits the budget!

  11. Melissa on November 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    THANK you for the felt tip on the step stool!! We just got a white vanity and our blue step stool is leaving marks. Genius!!

    • Kathryn on November 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Yay!! So happy it helped.

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