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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!




The Engel Homestead | A Bathroom Before and After!

March 5, 2019

This home post has been a loooooooong time in the making, let me tell you! The search for the restored vanity began about a year ago (in April 2018!) and the actual renovation began in June of last year! Yikes. I know the length of the project is unrealistic for a lot of people but it worked for us.

We were willing to allow the project to take so long for two reasons: the first is that we have two other bathrooms that we/guests could use. While it wasn’t ideal to send guests to our basement to go to the bathroom (as the other bathroom is on our master bedroom), it worked so that’s what we did as we were thinking big picture. We also wanted to learn how to do a lot of the project ourselves so that in the future, we could remodel our other two bathrooms on our own as much as possible (aka plumbing — we’ll always leave that to the professionals!). Doing things yourself just makes it take longer! There is lots of research, fitting it into your schedule, etc. I do have to give a very special shoutout to Caleb’s dad who helped us tremendously with this bathroom remodel. Thanks to him, we now know how to tile (kind of?) ; )

The Style

Since this bathroom is on our main level, right off the living room, this is the bathroom that guests will use when visiting. Because of this, it was important for me to have the styles of the entry and living space be cohesive with the bathroom. We brought in a lot of wood elements and neutral tones to achieve this.


The Work

As I already mentioned, this project took us almost a year to complete. It was very slow (but so worth it!). We began with the ceiling which is inspired by an Airbnb we stayed at while traveling in Hahei, New Zealand. When I saw it, I knew the idea would work well in our home but I had to figure out where.

As soon as we began brainstorming the bathroom remodel, it became obvious this was the room for the wooden ceiling. The bathroom has an … interesting skylight that is kind of like a tunnel. When we moved in, this “tunnel” was made with plywood and had a weird wooden door that could be closed (but only if you had a really tall ladder to open and close it). It seemed odd and it wasn’t very cosmetically pleasing. However, as soon as the tunnel was covered with wood the appeal completely changed! It now is such a fun and unique element to the bathroom space! We love how the wood turned out with all the different elements of the ceiling and also love how it ties into the wooden beams in our living room! A huge thank you to Drew of Capitol Custom Carpentry for doing this project for us!

We installed the ceiling first to work our way down as we did the remodel. That way, the mess of the ceiling, painting, drywalling, etc. wouldn’t land on new floors. The only thing Drew suggested before installing the ceiling was to paint the upper walls so that we wouldn’t have to do that later and tape around the wood!

The next part of the project was installing a new shower. We bought the same size tub/shower that was previous in the bathroom, just in white. We hired a plumber to do this project (who just happens to be my amazing Uncle Norm!). After the tub is in, you will need to re-drywall the area around the tub. Before this, we also ripped out the old vanity as we knew there would probably need to do be some drywall work done in this area, too. Again, we hired someone to do this for us (who just happens to be my amazing cousin, Jason!). A very special shoutout to these men for doing incredible work in our home; we are so grateful for you!

Once the tub was in and drywall complete, we painted the bathroom.

Lastly, time for tile! Caleb’s dad taught us so much as we tiled but when we do it again, I know we will need a refresher via YouTube. There is a lot of steps and it is kind of complicated! It is also very messy. But definitely DIY-able! We have LOTS of friends who have done tiling work in their own homes (floors, backsplashes, etc) using YouTube. This project took us a (long) weekend, and then Caleb spent a few days the following week putting up the trim tile on the wall. The thing to consider with tiling is that you have to wait in between a lot of steps for everything to set.

Once the tile was complete, we were able to install our BEAUTIFUL restored vanity from Cream City Restoration in Milwaukee. They took care of everything for us in regards to the vanity — from helping choose it, to complete restoration, prepping for use in a bathroom, delivery, etc. We did have a plumber install the sink on the vanity.

We kept the toilet that was already in the bathroom and used the same towel bars! Both worked in the space and helped saved us money!

Lastly came decorating! I’m sure I’ll add a bit more to this space as time goes on and I find little things here and there, but for now I just wanted to get this up for you guys to see! I will post details on items throughout the post : ) I’m warning that the bathroom was hard to capture given just how it’s set up with angles and lighting, but I did my best! Enjoy! So happy to have this DONE!!!

The print (above) and rug (below) are both from Rifle Paper Company!

The mirror is from Pottery Barn, restored vanity is from Cream City Restoration, and sink is from MR Direct!

We got the tile from Home Depot and used black grout for the monotone look.


  1. Trish Kachel says:

    Love this remodel!! You guys did a great job! The floor and ceiling are exceptional ????????


  2. T says:

    i absolutely love this remodel especially as i have been wanting to remodel my own bathroom from the day i moved in. i havent a clue where to begin and although most of the projects in my home have been diy, this one has me stumped. thanks for even giving me the thought its possible!

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