Portland Day 10: Ikea + The Bathroom.

About a week ago, I showed you the IKEA KARLSTAD sofa we picked up for Chandler’s apartment. But that sofa—the very same one that looks huge in my apartment—was basically swallowed by Chandler’s cavernous living room.

Chandler really liked the idea of a sectional from the beginning, and since there’s clearly room for it, Day 10 found us going back to IKEA to purchase a few assorted items to finish up the bathroom and the KARLSTAD chaise add-on. So itty bitty (which is actually a healthy 81″ long already) sofa turned into hulking, awesomely comfortable sectional.

Oh, and see that big brass-i-licious lamp? Thrifted for $8. And it’s a touch lamp. There are no knobs or switches, you just lightly touch any part of it and it turns on and off. I sense witchcraft. Really fun to play with witchcraft.

We’ll be sewing some real pillows soon. The plastic casings they came in are a little too avante-garde for Chandler’s taste.

More importantly, the bathroom got finished, which was pretty exciting. We’d gone several days without a mirror and were starting to wonder if we even still existed. Or more importantly, if we were still pretty.

The before…

And after!

The mirror is the STAVE from IKEA, which I think is a nice size for this bathroom. I might have tried to thrift something vintage , but it’s a really good mirror at a really good price that works well in here.


The other side of the bathroom had a towel rod that hung awkwardly directly behind the door and dingy paint-covered switch plates. And see those three broken plastic hooks stuck to the door? Well, let’s just say they were holding on with a death grip and caused a little damage coming down.

So the door got spackled up and painted, switch plates were swapped for a couple dollars, and I just moved the existing towel rod over a couple feet. It makes about ten times more sense here, anyway, since it’s right by the shower instead of across the bathroom.

And I painted that rubber baseboard stuff! It can be done! Oddly, every wall in this room had a different color plastic baseboard, but I just lightly sanded them, primed with Bull’s Eye 1-2-3 latex primer and gave them about three coats of semi-gloss white trim paint. On one hand I think they look much better, on the other hand I think they might make the floor look sadder.

We also added a little SÄVERN towel hanger from IKEA, which is nicely designed and continues with the chrome theme.

The little art above the towel rod is this paint-by-numbers guide Chandler had already in a RIBBA frame from IKEA.

This whole bathroom didn’t cost too much, particularly factoring in that a couple of the pricier items (like the Simple Human trashcan and the shower organizer) were bought with a gift card at the Container Store, and the paint used on the door and trim was leftover from the living area.

Cabinet Hardware (Rejuvenation): $36
Mirror (IKEA): $30
Towel hanger (IKEA): $10
Shower Curtain Rod (IKEA): $20
Frame (IKEA): $5
Shower Curtain Liner (Bed Bath and Beyond): $10
Shower Curtain Rings (Bed Bath and Beyond): $10
Shower Curtain (Target): $10
Switch Plates (Home Depot): $5
1 Gallon of Wall Paint (Home Depot, Behr “Dinner Mint” in Satin): $24
Total: $160

I would have loved to replace the crappy sheet lino with some black VCT (it seriously would have cost about $25 for a whole new floor, including the glue and trowel), but I couldn’t convince Chandler on the idea. I think the bathroom’s cute though! Clean and fresh, like she wanted.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 1.18.11

    Nice work! Looking good so far! For a hot minute, I was totally thrown off by the pillows….I didn’t realize they were in plastic casings. Instead, my mind substituted what I WANTED them to be, which is those rad types I’ve seen on etsy and such, you know the ones that have vintage tapes, cameras and such printed on the front of them.

    But yeah, definitely don’t leave them as is.

    haha, looking forward to more witchy witchy witchcraft in the near future!

  2. 1.18.11
    secret admirer said:

    what is this black VCT of which you speak? and where might i find some? for my very ugly kitchen floor…

    • 1.18.11
      Daniel said:

      It’s short for Vinyl Composition Tile and it’s sold at pretty much any big-box store… it’s the stuff they use in schools and hospitals. Or houses (like here and here) It’s about 77 cents per square foot and is apparently a super easy DIY, though I’ve never done it.

  3. 1.18.11

    I wonder if the touch lamp would still work if you decided to paint it?

    Anyways, I love your recent posts from Portland. I’m about to move to my first real apartment for school. With the typical college fund, I was doubting I could actually get a decent enough looking apartment. I might just get a KARLSTAD in the near future.

  4. 1.19.11

    Everything you guys did in the bathroom is a vast improvement over what you started with. Great job!!! It’s amazing what a coat of white paint can do. Seriously.

    And the sectional couch just makes so much sense with the vast amount of space being offered up in this apartment.

  5. 1.19.11
    Mich said:

    wow! The bathroom looks fantastically better- what a great friend you are to spacklet, prime, and paint. Ahmazzing!

  6. 1.19.11
    Monica said:

    I have a KARLSTAD too and now understand the hugeness of Chandler’s living room. Love the sectional, the lamp (my dad has one in his office and i love working its magic), and the coffee table. What is the art installation on the wall behind the sofa? The bathroom looks great and I am loving the mirror. Am totally with you on the black floor. Would look awesome.

    • 1.19.11
      Daniel said:

      The art is a really cool photo project that Chandler made this summer in Berlin. It’s not quite finished, since these little key rings link the photos together, and she needs about 2123709873 of to finish constructing it… we’ve cleaned out the supply of several Home Depots at this point and still need more!

      (I should have closer photos later on!)

  7. 1.19.11
    Megan said:

    you’ve been there 10 days and you have done more than I have done in 10 months, and you were sick. I can only imagine your superman powers when you’re healthy.

  8. 1.19.11
    Lena said:

    Pity she doesn’t want the VCT stuff, but the bathroom still looks tons better than before, its now really cute.

  9. 1.19.11

    You did an awesome job here! For $160 this is a million times better, and I think it’s a very appropriate amount to spend on a rental.

  10. 1.19.11
    ModFruGal said:

    Sectional = smart. That touch lamp is a sweet score…want it…and I really, really love the framed PBN guide. Nice job on all that painting too!

  11. 1.19.11
    Nicole said:

    You might have inspired me to bust out a couple of gallons of white paint in my new rental. They repaint every time someone moves out… surely they won’t mind too much if I go over their ugly flat off-white with some shiny white… right?

    =/ Or maybe painting over semigloss paint will be enough of a pain for them that they’ll complain. I love wipe-down walls though. So much.

  12. 1.19.11
    LaDonna said:

    The bathroom is awesome. In February I’ll be moving across the country to a new apartment that I’ve never seen in person. This is very inspirational. It is always fun decorating a new place.

  13. 1.19.11
    kirsten said:

    I’m with Lena–black VCT would take the bathroom floor up to the new level of the rest of it. I am so impressed with how thorough you were in sanding, then priming, rubber molding. I would have slapped some white paint in and then become disgusted at how lousy it looked.

    Great work! Totally inspiring!

  14. 1.19.11

    omg, that brass lamp is KILLING ME.

    and I totally support your vote for a black floor in the bathroom. it’d look amazing!!

  15. 1.19.11
    Cait @ Hernando House said:

    Looks great! I was always too scared to do anything clever in apartments.

  16. 1.19.11

    I swear, you are the apartment whisperer. And a very, very good friend. I’m curious to see what you did with the old hardware…

  17. 1.19.11
    Georgia said:

    Looks lovely!! Great job again! I love the picture in the bathroom, clever idea!

  18. 1.19.11
    RebeccaNYC said:

    when photographing bathrooms, it is always nice to lower the toilet seat.

    And can I just say that bathroom is just beautiful. I’m with you on the floor. But cutting around the above mentioned toilet will be a real pain in the ass.

    • 1.19.11
      Daniel said:

      I know! I realized it was open when I’d already taken most of the pictures though, so I just closed it and moved on (see! it’s closed in the last shot!).

    • 1.22.11
      RebeccaNYC said:

      yeah, I did notice that. Great job in this apartment…when are you coming over here to fix mine up!?

  19. 2.8.12
    Alli said:

    LOVE it! We have a Karl, too! Hope you get lots of great use out of him :)