A Year of Change {July Reveal}

TGIF! July was a sneaky month, wasn’t it? Throwing the last Friday of the month in so early made for some late nights finishing up this Year of Change Challenge! Our challenge for July was to turn our attention to a room in our house that hadn’t received its fair share of love. Or to finish off those last items on the list for completing a room. Really just some incentive to get @#$& done! And we were joined by our guest designer, Paige from The Pink Clutch Blog!



{Erin’s July project}

Picking one room to focus my attention on was more of a challenge than I thought. There are lots of areas in my house that could use some help, like the laundry room or say this room:

bonus-room_2And while I would have loved to actually say, furnish this room for July’s challenge, I’m still not sure what purpose I want this room to serve. And the plans I had for the laundry room couldn’t have been completed in a month’s time. The whole idea behind the Year of Change Challenge is to take small steps towards making your house a place you love. And showing you guys how we revamped a room in just one month isn’t relatable since how many of us really have the time or money to just totally re-do a room in that amount of time? What I’m trying to say in as many words as possible, is that I made some small changes to one of our upstairs bathroom this month. Before I started the space looked like this:

IMG_5665Things I didn’t love about the space included the beige floor tile, the dark vanity cabinet, and the light fixture. Projects I had planned for this month then included painting the floor tile (and we all know how that turned out!), painting the vanity cabinet, putting up a new light fixture, and coming up a with a fun way to hang towels. All totally doable in one month’s time.

First, a little before and after of the space (which is the hardest to photograph so apologies for the crappy pictures):

before and after of bathroom // suburban bitches

For the vanity light I ordered this light from Restoration Hardware. It’s really hard to find good bathroom vanity lights! Ideally I would have a three bulb fixture in here but I couldn’t find one that I liked so I went with this two bulb one. So yeah, it’s kind of darker in the bathroom than I like and there is that golden glow from the vintage lightbulbs- I wouldn’t recommend this space for putting on make-up!

Restoration Hardware vintage bathroom light // suburban bitchesOnce I got that light up I realized that the current mirror wouldn’t work with the light. A round mirror would be best in the space so I spent a lot of time looking for a reasonably priced round mirror. In the end I went with the Stockholm mirror from IKEA whose price can’t be beat. It’s big, maybe too big, but ain’t no way that I’m putting any more holes in the wall for a new mirror after filling 12 holes from previous mirror-hanging experiences gone wrong.

Ikea Stockholm mirror // suburban bitchesThe vanity got painted an off-white color (Whispering Birch by Kwal Paint) and I have to say that I’m really happy with how it turned out. The finish turned out well and I much prefer the lighter color of the vanity cabinets now.

white painted vanity cabinet // suburban bitchesNow for my favorite part of the room, the reclaimed wood towel holder. I can’t take credit for this though as Tricia had made plans to put this type of towel rack in her condo bathroom. For this reclaimed wood towel rack I took some whitewashed wood planks from E & S Tile and put a row of two on the wall. I picked up these galvanized hooks from Crate and Barrel and nailed those into the wood planks. And now that I made this I wonder why we ever use towel bars- seriously might be replacing all of my towel bars which something that actual has some visual appeal!

reclaimed wood and galvanized hooks for towels // suburban bitchesreclaimed wood and galvanized hooks for towels // suburban bitches

And I’ve got plans for replacing the floor tile, especially after I’ve lived with the painted tiles for a few weeks and realized that they stain with everything! Once the new floor tile is down the space will be done and maybe, just maybe I’ll actually get something done with that bare and lonely bonus room!

stockholm mirror in bathroom // suburban bitches


{Tricia’s July project}

When we started the Year of Change challenge it was with the idea in mind that in a month’s time you could take on a project and transform a room one project at a time. That’s precisely what I had in mind when I started working on my Alice’s room. She needed something that was a little less little girl and something a little more suited to a bigger little girl. I wanted to create a beautiful space for her that, god forbid, she might actually want to keep clean.

We both loved the wall of patterned paper wallpaper I created for her but it was a little too cutesy to stay.

This is what that wall looked like last month & you can see more of the room in the original post

little girl's bedroom // suburban bitches

And here’s the big reveal. This is what it currently looks like –


This is what it looked like in between –



What? You’re not seeing this as a big improvement? Well, the truth is, I didn’t either. In fact I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t have a big pretty picture to show you. But then I thought back to the point of this project – inspire people to take on projects to make change in their homes. This was an all around sucky project. If I didn’t have the goal in mind of taking on a neglect area of my home – in my case, a project that I kept putting off because I knew it was going to be seriously unpleasant – I would have just kept putting it off. She would have been on her way to college before I actually tackled it. In that regards I putting this down in the books as a win because I did it. It took the almost 20 hours to get that damn paper down. The challenge is all about inspiring people to do and I did.  So I’m going to give myself a pat on the back – even if I don’t have a pretty picture to share. The patterned paper is down and I’m ready to get rolling on her room. Very soon I will have that pretty picture to show you! Plus I’ve learned quite a lot about wallpaper removal.

Inspired by this post on Young House Love here’s what I’ve learned.

NEVER use scrapbook adhesives on your wall. That was how I originally tried to put the patterned paper up and it wouldn’t hold. So I resorted to the wallpaper paste. Now, ironically, it’s the scrapbook adhesive that’s the bitch to get off.

A clothes steamer can make the job of removing wallpaper easier. However, if you have textured walls with cheap contractor grade paint I would avoid this technique as the steam seems to soften the paint and the walls and removes the wallpaper, the paint and some of the texture.


The spray bottle with vinegar and water did very little to get the wallpaper off. I had much better luck with a spray bottle of dish soap and water. I used a wallpaper scorer first and then applied the soapy water. And then I did it again and again and again.


Once I removed the bulk of the wallpaper it took a bucket of soapy water, a scrubby sponge and a whole lot of elbow grease to get rid of the remaining residue.


I will never again use wallpaper or anything approximating wallpaper on my walls without first sizing the walls.

I will pay someone lots of money in the future to remove wallpaper for me!

I had several comments on my original post on the wallpaper asking how hard it was to get it down. This goes into my top ten of horrible DIY projects. My recommendation – not worth it on any level.

My goal is to keep my ass at home in August and, along with our August Year of Change Challenge project, to get this one done too!

Be sure to check out the July projects done by our collaborators at Rosa Beltran Blog, Commona My House,  The Pink Clutch Blog, and Life on Virginia Street!


Related posts:

A Year of Change Challenge {March reveal}
A Year of Change Challenge {April reveal}
A Year of Change {November Challenge}
Year of Change Challenge {February - Get organized}
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11 Responses to A Year of Change {July Reveal}

  1. Sarah says:

    Such an improvement. I love the whole space and that towel rack is genius!!

  2. I absolutely love that towel rack. what a great idea.

    And this is why I won’t use wallpaper…ever.

  3. Pingback: A Year of Change {July Reveal} – Suburban Bitches | Iconic Form

  4. Louise Adkins says:

    I like the towel hooks in your bathroom. You linked to Crate and Barrel but they don’t show them. I was hoping maybe they were from somewhere else. I’d really like to get them.

  5. Carla says:

    I too love the towel rack. Can you tell me the width and length of the individual planks that you used.
    Thanks so much

    • Erin says:

      The width of each plank is 4 inches. The planks were 18 inches length but I had to cut some of them down to fit across the wall.