Tuesday, March 17, 2020

mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the thriftiest of them all?

When we fell in love with our quaint little farmhouse, there was one thing we most certainly did not love...

not so fancy! 
The bathroom! Can you imagine this tiny little shower used to serve a household of 10 people?? Different times indeed, and completely unsuitable for Joost and me, who are trying our very best to re-evolve into aquatic life-forms (we take our bathing seriously, folks)

So, we decided to build a proper bathroom in our house.

building a bathroom turns out to be quite a bit trickier than most of the DIY we do..

A long story (that includes a hazardous ride with a trailer full of second-hand slate tiles, and a very steep learning curve on installing water lines) later, we sort of, kind of had a proper bathroom! with walk-in shower, clawfoot-bathtub, handmade vanity and everything..

And true to our style, we decided to use the bathroom before it was even finished.
A few weeks of feverishly building, installing, tiling,grouting and what-not later, we sort of had a bathroom!

One thing however, was missing.. a mirror.

We could have just bought one from the store. But by that time we had gotten so used to making stuff ourselves, that we just thought: 'how hard can it be?'

And after I found this old window-frame online, I came up with a plan!

Pretty, no? 
My first plan was to spray-paint the glass so it would reflect, a trick I had seen quite often on tv-remodelling shows. "Are you sure it is gonna work?" Joost hesitated. "It will turn out fine," I said " that girl from Fixer Upper does it all the time!" Well, it did not turn out fine. One layer of spray paint later, and I was left with the saddest, droopiest pieces of glass that have ever existed, and worst of all: there was zero reflection-action going on.

Not ready to give up my cool window-frame just yet, a different strategy was needed!

So I drove to the nearest thrift-shop and stockpiled all the cheap, frameless mirrors they had. The cashier raised an eyebrow. "are you going to make one of those mirrored ceilings?", he asked.  Uhm no, because we do not live in the seventies, and my house is not a film set for adult movies..

mirror of plenty! 
Back to work! I grabbed by glass cutter, managed to lose it again after exactly ten seconds, and opted to use the tile cutter instead. Professional glass cutters will probably spin in their graves hearing I used a tile cutter for a mirror, but what can I say? It worked...

Then I put on safety gear, told our cats to piss off, which they didn't, so I had to temporarily ground them in the bedroom, and started cutting the glass. Once I more or less knew what I was doing, it was fairly simple..

measuring the size of the frame..

putting the mirror in the tile cutter, and spraying it with WD-40 to prevent the glass from 'burning'

And made the cut! Once to have scratched the glass with the cutter, a light tap on both sides of the line is enough to break the glass.

I have to admit, there were a few mirrors that didn't entirely break as I wanted to (especially thinner glass was difficult) but on the whole, it was fairly simple!

Finally, I simply glued all the different mirror pieces in the frame with silicone kit, and was done!

some fake toothbrushing..

The mirror was very heavy, so I installed it by "simply" drilling thick iron pins into the walls to act as supports (Thankfully, our house has strong, brick walls!)

And now Joost and I can finally have a good look at ourselves, when we stumble out of bed in the morning..

also in this picture: "Barnabus"; our dinosaur toothbrush-holder, that Joost made for me when we had been dating for two weeks, an antique sink that we thrifted for 30 euros, and a hand-made vanity that we build from some old drawers left by the previous owner of our house.

The drawers of the vanity used to belong to an old work bench, that was left in our house, and although I thoroughly cleaned and sealed them, they still have all the old paint spills, and saw markings on them. 

Both our vanity and our mirror as a bit rustic (or to be more specific: rusty), and that may not be everyones cup of tea in a bathroom, but I really love it! It helps that we don't have a toilet in our bathroom, which relaxes my hygiene-standards a little.  And the distortion of the different mirrors can be quite funny in the morning, when brushing your teeth :)

finishing the ceiling is on my to-do list...

Just to give you some inspiration on going second-hand when remodeling a bathroom, here are some price-indications of the second-hand items we used in our bathroom: 

  • Clawfoot bathtub:        60,- ( with some added costs to refinish the inside)
  • Slate floor tiles:            ~100,- for 10 m2
  • Vanity:                          30,- for the sink, the rest was free because we found it in the  house. 
  • Mirror:                         20,- for the frame, about 6,- for the mirrors. 
  • Decoration:              
          • Old whisky-bottles used as shampoo bottles: free 
          • Barnabus the toothbrush-dinosaur: no idea ;)
          • Green glass storage jars: 1,- a piece ( found in France)
          • stool beside the bathtub: 5,-

I have absolutely no idea how much we have saved in totel, but I think it is quite a lot, and most importantly: we now have a bathroom that brings a smile to my face every time I walk into it! 

And on a not entirely unrelated topic: while going through my old school work, I found this drawing that I made when I was about five years old, titled: "Marije in the bathtub". I feel ya, kiddo! 

I'm looking forward to your thoughts! 


  1. Y'all did a fantastic job! Your farmhouse is adorable. It's been wonderful reading your posts and seeing the progress you've made room-by-room. It's always a treat to see a new blog post from you in my inbox. Your creativity is inspiring!

    1. Aw, thanks! I always love it when I your reply's to my blog!