Witness the Transformation of a Grubby Bathroom Into a Moody Powder Room

A skilled DIYer transforms a grubby bath into a moody powder room, all on budget.

Courtesy of Made by Carli.

Early in the fall of 2020, Carli Alves and her husband bought a pretty Colonial fixer-upper set in a yard filled with hostas. It wasn’t their first project house — she’s a practiced home renovator with a strong following on Instagram — but the settling-in period was still a challenge.

“This bathroom was one of the first spaces we tackled,” says Alves. “It was the only bathroom that was really working, and it was gross.”

With one usable restroom for a family of six, they needed a quick fix on a budget. Alves hired a plumber to replace the toilet but they tackled the rest of the renovation themselves, from demolition to design — the foremost element being the sink. Alves chose a traditional brass console sink for her former home and wanted to try it again but, this time, a touch earthier and more modern.


Courtesy of Made by Carli.

“I had a vision of this wooden console base,” Alves says. “I couldn’t find anything to fit the space; it’s very tight, and I wanted it to fit to scale.”

The self-taught DIYer — she began home projects before YouTube tutorials were a thing — invented the fixture as she went along, using pieces of wood affixed to stair balusters beneath a wall-mounted sink. The matte black faucet is from the Better Homes and Gardens line at Walmart.

“I’m not professionally trained at all,” she says. “Just, with homeownership, having to do things on a budget, you want nice things but you don’t have a lot of money. That’s where it all came from.”

The remainder of the mini renovation was aesthetic: grouted vinyl tiles laid over existing floors; shiplap affixed to the walls with liquid nails; and pretty ikat wallpaper that inspired the moody color palette.

“Black is definitely an accent throughout my home,” she says. “No matter what you do, if you pop in some black, it always modernizes it.”

Originally, Alves says, the bathroom renovation was meant to be a quick fix. But, as the family tackled kitchen, mudroom and exterior projects, the moody bath remained the same.
“It’s perfectly fine; I’ve had no issues,” she says. “If anything, I’ll change the paint color because I get bored quickly!”

To tag along on the Hosta House renovation, plus other interior design tips and inspiration, follow @madebycarli on Instagram or visit fwmadebycarli.com.

Inside the Reno

Year built: 1945
DIY budget: $800–$1,000