Vixxie’s shower room in scaffolds

Vixxie’s shower room in scaffolds


My bathroom: the second-to-smallest space in my home.

It was one of those compromises that had to be made. When I chose this flat for the gorgeous spacious living room, kitchen, and bedrooms, I had to come to terms with having a shower bathroom without bath tub. And I didn’t really think much of it because I’ve never been the typical soaking-for-three-hours-by-candlelight kind of girl. After 15 minutes of necessary scrubbing, I usually got bored and got out.

Turns out I missed my bath tub. A lot.

And the bathroom never really got much love because I didn’t like spending much time in it. Showering is a matter of minutes at Casa Vixxie, it’s a necessary evil. But I realised that it’s not because I dislike showering, it’s because the bathroom is cold, unattractive, unpolished and strictly functional.
And thus I decided to change it.

Challenge: how to pimp your super mini bathroom on a budget. Not easy ! Note that the property isn’t mine, so I can’t make any structural changes, only superficial and decorative.

This is the notorious before picture:

Yeah :/

I know it’s not catastrophic, but I wouldn’t really use the word charming either.

The plan.

First and foremost, I wanted to create warmth, but without clutter. I first tried to go hardcore minimalist in Japanese tradition. But when you face the kind of limitations I had to work with, it’s basically a utopy to think you can create space where there is … well none. Those towels and utensils weren’t going to shelve themselves. You need storage, one way or another. Open shelves? Beautifully arranged, perhaps, but my bathroom isn’t a showroom model with 1 set of towels and 2 vials of perfume. The medical cabinet breathes clutter and will never be Instagram worthy.

So out with the minimalist, in with the up-cycling. The storage I had in the bathroom before the refurbishing craze, worked fine for me and could easily accommodate two people. So why not keep it altogether? But it bothered me that all the elements in my bathroom were ‘unrelated’. None of the components matched with one another, because all of them were acquired in different phases of my life and from different sources. That’s life, after all.

I eventually settled for a spa feeling with (waterproof) hard-wood bankirai, bamboo and some greenery. But also wanted to make the space optically bigger by drawing the eye vertically up. I had just the idea how to: decals. Since my visits to Portugal and Israel, I’ve been obsessed with ceramic patterns. Ideally I would have tiled the wall in ceramics, but I don’t own the flat. And what goes up, must also go down when I leave. Plus, the water circuit vents needed to remain accessible, hiding behind a panel in the wall. That’s a lot of no go’s. So instead, I designed my own stylish gray stickers decals. Not the real thing, but as good as it gets in the creative problem solving department !

I planned to align and connect the sink with the furniture and the wall by connecting the decals in one long vertical line up. But I especially hoped it would glue the components together. So I attempted to make a cohesive collection of little parts that came together in a beautiful puzzle. Well that was the plan anyway.

The works.

Step 1. Covering up all the dirty floor finishing 5 euro

The previous residents of ‘my’ flat, didn’t really have eye for detail. They painted the walls, and half of the plinths along with it. Paint dripped allover the stone floor, got wiped, dried up, made skit marks… Careless, careless, careless.
  • I started by scrubbing, scraping, scrubbing, and more scraping the plinths and floors to remove paint drips, drops and dirty leftovers.
  • I purchased two rolls of adhesive deco foil. One with wood pattern, one with stone. Cut them all up into bits and pieces, then covered the base of the showertub and connected the plinths all around the room. Ideally the stone foil could have been a bit lighter to match the floor better, but when you’re budgetting, you don’t always have the choice to get your shit customized. I went with a darker shade of gray on the wall than I orginally planned, to match the stone foil better.
  • There is another rarity in this freak show which is my bathroom. There is a wooden casing under the radiator. I assume it’s hiding the radiator tubes and metal works. I truly do NOT understand why people have the need to cover up piping and yet again, I don’t own the flat so I’m not allowed to remove it. In this case, they made it worse by creating an annoying, utterly pointless and lost space.I transformed it into a small tablet for homemade decoration.

Total cost: Stickyfoil from several shops 1,99€ + 3,99€. Elbow grease, free of charge. => 5€

Step 2. The spa bath mat  7 euro  

Ever tried to saw off a piece of bankirai with a small pocket woodsaw? You’ll understand why they call it “hard” wood. Fuck my life 🙂

Chopping off bits and pieces to make it fit + a lot of scraping, grating and scuffing with sandpaper + polishing + anti-slip protection + 3 layers of wood stain = Result ! And approved by Mister Dubio.

And what did the budget think? Well, two 50x50cm bankirai garden tiles for 4€ a piece at Brico (LOVE after summer end of stock sales !). Since I needed only a very small amount of wood stain, I managed to get some for free from a friend with a big garden. That saved me a good couple of euro’s because the massive jars are expensive. The anti-slip protection on the bottom costed me 3 euro in a cheap diy handycraft shop. Total spa bath mat: 7€

Step 3. The furniture make over.  12 euro

I love white. I’ve always loved white and I always will love white. If that whole cabinet had been white, I’d probably not have changed it at all. But it had aluminium finish and handles. And I’m so done with industrial looks, so I used the same wood foil to cover the alu frames and painted the paws of the cabinet in white.
My first paint job didn’t turn out well (as you can see on the picture below). But then I bought deco paint in our one-stop-wonder-shop ‘Action’ and gave it a proper make-over.

The top shelves got filled with SÅLNAN seagrass baskets from Ikea and home made deco jars.

Result: perfection. Price: leftover foil 0€, 1,99€ for white deco paint, 2x 4,99€ for the baskets = 12€

Work in progress from the floor level

Step 4. Painting and tiling the wall.  38 euro

By FAR the part of my plan that took me the longest to realize but also the part that was the nicest to do. It wouldn’t have taken so long if I would have just bought the items I needed, but I was so proud of my lowbudget project, and I didn’t feel like soiling it with expenses.

I stumbled upon 3D peel mosaique stickers on Ali Express. A kind of technique apparently not commonly available (yet?) in Europe. They were expensive. Even without import costs, they would be over-priced for Chinese merchandise. I gave up on that idea pretty quickly and then started looking for cheaper alternatives available in Europe but didn’t find anything I liked in the 3D department. The first plan was to paint the back wall in lime green as I had done the living room wall and there was nothing that I figured would fit the lime.

Then I found these:

Ooooh so pretty. But a bit too grungy for my zen bathroom. Only 20 euro for 56 stickers! A bit of grunge would be… acceptable?

And then you actually start counting how many vinyl decals you really need, and it turns out you need A LOT. 124. It adds up fast! So I’d need 3 packs. And 20 euro was the price for 2 inch decals. For 3.5 inch (~10 cm) decals, it was 40 euro a pack. Well shit, I wasn’t going to spend 120 euro just on stickers from Portugal.

So what does Vixxie think when she sees something she can’t/doesn’t want to afford? “Meh, I’ll just do it myself.”

Time to put my illustrator skills to work: 3 birds with one stone. Decals in the perfect dimensions + my own design + super affordable. I got 130 tiles printed at Drukland for 30€ on waterproof vinyl sticker. And I like to share, so if you’re blown away by the tiles and you want to give it a try, here is my original vector design. (Have fun and show me a picture when you’re done !)

Somewhere halfway, I changed my mind about the lime colour and chose for a gray-ish asphalt anthracite tint. Unfortunately I had to spend 16 euro on a massive paintjar, when I needed only a small cup. Two weeks later, I was able to sell the leftover second-hand for 10 euro.

But man…. the hours of cutting, pasting, tiling, removing, retouching, recutting and repasting I have done. On a ladder >.>
And the whining about how my butt and thigh muscles hurt after spending hours on that particular ladder.

Step 5. Decorations. 66 euro

Four home-made stone candle holders

Nothing says design like some creative details and decorations.

I wanted to put down some cute tealight candles without setting my shower curtain ablaze. So I chose for LED candles. They costed 2€ in Wibra. The stones were collected from a river bank and drilled with deco punch saw.

Robbing the Ikea

I’m not addicted to Ikea, I swear. I’m just addicted to Scandinavian design. I love Jysk just as much. I don’t discriminate !

I bought a couple of accessories for the finishing touch:

  • A RÅGRUND chair/towelrack combination for 30€. I had set my mind on a Molger stool with integrated laundry basket but just as I planned my visit to Ikea, they sold out and discontinued the item. I was pretty devastated because it had the perfect wooden look to go with the bath mat + the space is very narrow and no other functional stool or laundry basket fits there… Fortunately I found the chair in “Family” promotion. I added a laundry basket from Jysk I had lying around in the bedroom. Good as gold !
  • A ridiculously overpriced RIMFORSA basket for 13€ and a free of charge second hand fake hanging ivy. It’s always the finishing touch deco at Ikea that strangles your wallet, in the end. But since it seemed impossible to find a bamboo basket alternative that wasn’t wider than 10cm, I decided to pay the price for it.

Towel holder

I think everybody has one of these Ikea door hooks in their home. They look as cool as they are functional and they are just extremely wubbable. I have three. But for this project, I gave one a new look with wood foil leftover and some stones I stole from someone’s front drive parking. (Sorry !) :).

Deco jars and bamboo accessories.

I’ve recycled glass pots from carrots, peas and pasta sauce, added some beads and fabric… and put the cotton balls, cotton tissue and ear cleaners on display !

The bamboo soap dispenser and brush holder cup were brought to me from Xenos by a Hollandish work colleague. Sadly Xenos doesn’t deliver in Belgium ! 🙁 They costed 5 euro for both.

Shower rack and Shampoo bottles.

There is a rule at casa Vixxie. If it has a shop label, it needs to be replaced by a Vixxie design. My spice rack is another good example of that 🙂 For this bathroom, I bought recycled 3 shampoo bottles from Kruidvat and acquired 3 very cheap dispensers from Jysk at 1 euro each. I chose a “for him” and “for her” design that would fit the super cute bamboo shower rack I found on a webshop in germany for 13 euro. What a mess to get it delivered at my home though, first it seemed to be out of stock, then they got the delivery address wrong and they advised me to just order it again. Then it got delivered twice on the same day, from a different courier and eventually it took me 3 attempts to return one for a refund. /grayhair. Not likely a webshop I will order from again but okay, I’ve got it. And it’s very pretty !

Total cost of the whole refurbishment : 128 euro. 



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