Hall Bathroom. Revisited.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

stain wood lath wall easy cheap
“Hey, have you seen what I was working on?  I finished it today.”

Mike:  Huh?  What?  No I ....

Becky:  (flips on hall bathroom light)


B:  You didn’t   ....

M:  (staring)  (flips hall bathroom light off)  (flips hall bathroom light back on)

B:  You  ....

M:  (staring)  (flips hall bathroom light off)  (flips hall bathroom light back on)

M:  When....?  How....blrifbhfoireuiblrrrt?  What?!

B:  (starting to panic a bit, omg) Do you uh, do you not like it?

M:  (staring)  (flips hall bathroom light off)  (flips hall bathroom light back on)

M:  I...wha....when did you do this??

B:  (panic now afoot)  Uh, here and there over the last few days?  Do yo--

M:  (cuts me off)  Uh, yeaaaahhhh (turns to me with an incredulous-you-are-nuts look on his face and ambles off in a shocked stupor)

B:  Really, you uh, you like it?  You’re scaring me....

M:  It’s wasted on that room.  Wait, hang on, I gotta go back and look at that (goes back down the hall, pause), I mean, what the.... (pause)

B:  (hears a muffled “wow” and/or “huh”)

B:  (fist pump) (wipes sweat off brow) (passes out)

Must say, that was the most unnerving response Mike’s ever had to something I’ve done.  He did a great job of freaking the daylights outta me, wow.

Ooophfff... Thank goodness he likes it, oh my gosh!  Wheeewwwww....

So, for under forty bucks I transformed a wall and changed the entire feel and direction of the room.

Where is this coming from?, you grill.  I know.  I'm terrible.  I can't leave anything well enough alone.

When I worked in theater, I'd work on a show for oh ya know, eight weeks-ish on average-ish maybe.  Bam, the show opens, move onto the next one.  The pattern so ingrained into my soul.

Or, since it's me we're talking about, I'd be juggling anywhere from two to five shows at one time at any given time in some form of overlap-ness during my freelance years.  At Steppenwolf, the pace much more relaxed at one to three shows at a time.

Heh, relaxed.  Right.

Why do I make mention?  I think because I treat our poor humble abode like a theater project.  Do some stuff, eight to ten months elapse, vvvrrrppp, time to change it.

Maybe I should get out more, see new things.  Maybe I should get back into theater and stop abusing our house.

Whatev's.  Back to the house....

Now the hall bath, I was never, I didn't feel done nor remotely satisfied with it.  Anything I was doing felt like a pile of bandages upon each other and not-right-yet.

No worries.  Time has elapsed, the winning ideas have landed.  Look out.

What did I use for this lil' project?
Yeah, not much.  So between the lath, stain, and a pack o' 1k 1" brad nails, just under forty bucks.  I kid you not.  So doable.

Lath?  Lath, you say.  Why the f did you use ratty ol' inconsistent lath?

Well.  Because 1x2 cedar (my high end swoon) or even plain ol' 1x2 pine were too pricey.  Besides, 1x2 pine has rounded edges, bleeh.

Trust me, it took a while to resolve the look of lath in my head (would it be too rustic?  too knotty?  too rough hewn?  too [ack] country?  too sauna?) but I am not sorry in the least.  In fact, lath was perfect.

The biggest shock (heh, for me) with this project?  I got the math right.  Hallelujah, I got the freakin' math right for once!!  OMG no way!!  Yessssssss.  Cause for celebration on its own, amiright?

Because, see, I took the time to calculate how much lath I would need.  But most importantly, I got it right.


All in all, an easy project, one that can be done in a weekend, or less depending on the speed-of-drying-time stain one purchases.  Or paint, yeah paint would work too.  Or paint thinned with water for a faux stain effect, yeah.

Hot tip:  know that when you handle bundles of lath at the store, it stays all nice and packaged tight but right when you get it to the car and then out of the car?, forget it.  Holy unruly mess.

wood lath bundle
Yeah, you were neat and tidy, then I touched you.
To begin, stain the lath.

How did I pick Golden Mahogany?  I know, seems an odd choice given my usual bent.  I dunno, I found a mini can in my stash. tested it on a strip, dashed upstairs and it yeah, looked good.

Oddly, it matched the Target shelves I had purchased eons ago, like wow, so many eons so I thought it might be spiffy if it all blended together.

Now, I tested the quart can and it was coming out darker so I made my own mix.  Do not ever be afraid to change the color of something coming out of a can.  Just don't mix oil and water based together and expect them to blend.

wood stain golden mahogany test strips
Original test strip on the right, the new quart on the left.  Hm, darker.  Don't forget, things will dry to a different shade.  Always test, my friends!  
The winning look was a combo of fifty/fifty stain to paint thinner then a rag wipe immediately.  Matched my sample stick, matched the shelves, good to go.

staining wood lath strips
Aaaaamd here we go!  Three done of uh, um, uh, how many?
So it was a stinky process.  Which is not good when the weather requires you to keep the windows closed.  And it was a lengthy, tipping into tedious process.  Took a few hours here and there over the course of a few days.  Make sure to hit the edges and ends.

All ya gotta do next is tack 'em to the wall.  Easy, right?

Before I got to that though, I had some paint touch up's and a sink unit to remove.  Done, done, go time.

hall bathroom before
Wall before.  Well, before touch up's and sink removal.
mark water lines red and blue tip
By the way, nifty tip:  use red and blue Sharpies* to mark which water line is which temperature so you'll always and forever know.
As the chosen wall is about eh 6'-5" wide, the thought crossed my mind, should I, how should I, should I line things up or no or what or.....Winged it.  I did know I wanted an eighth inch gap between each strip horizontally.

The best way to consistently (well, -ish enough considering lath is kinda wonky) hold that gap:  paint stir sticks.  Yep!  Sweet!

installing wood lath paint with a paint stick spacer
Paint stir stick, a perfect 1/8" thick spacer.  Sweet!
Mmk, power up the compressor in the hall bedroom, run the air hose into the bathroom, shut bedroom door because Finn is unhinged over the noise, and it is on, people.

(Hey, by the way, if you don't have a compressor or a nail gun, don't be sad.  Borrow from a friend, rent from Home Depot or wherever.  See?  Problem solved.  Or you could, oh!, use like extra long upholstery nails* for a cool look!  Do they make those....?  Yeah I dunno.)

Right off the bat, I gotta contend with the water line to the toilet, neat.  Ok, cut short piece, wedge it behind the metal cover ring thingamajig, tack tack, move on to full four foot piece.

removing tag from toilet water line
I finally removed that dumb tag too while I was back there, heh, four years later. Lame.
For the next horizontal row, I rested the paint stick on the lower strip and pushed the lath in my hand down tight to meet it, tack, sliding the paint stick between across as I went.

In some areas, I randomly cut the lath to break up the pattern of vertical joint lines.  In others, I didn't.  And up the wall I went.

finishing up day one status
Day one stopping point, two hours in.
For the outlet...because I never remove switch plate or outlet covers when I paint a wall (which I get incessantly derided for over on Hometalk, eye roll) (I usually miss the covers I've been painting for so long but if I don't, holy bejebus, the paint scratches right off people, goodness) (I hate wasting tape and money and time and I don't want to get a wet paint brush near hot electrical things, jeez louise) (Don't get me wrong, I love Hometalk.)..........

Ok, for the outlet, because I hadn't removed the cover, the paint outline was a perfect guide.  (See?!)  Otherwise trace a line around the cover with a pencil before removing it.

wood lath around wall electrical outlet
See?  See?  Knew exactly where everything was.  Mmm hmm.
I cut the lath in such a way as to sit behind the cover but far enough away from danger zones.  I later purchased more of those spacers* that I used in the kitchen after I installed the funky backsplash to bump the switch and outlet out.  Foam sealers went back on too, yep.

Then moving right along, up the wall, ho-dee-ho.  Some of the lath was warped or curled or bowed or whatever so those got tossed aside temporarily, cut and used as smaller fill pieces thereby taming their unruly shapes.

Be sure to bring along extra stain or whatever finishing you used to touch up cut ends or edges before the strips go on the wall.  Yep, you're welcome.

nail gun, hand saw, and wood lath pieces
Lovin' that nailer.  Won that saw from Instructables thanks to you guys!
Seriously, how Mike missed all this, I dunno.  He walks past here every day.  Well, that's ok.  I still love him.  Worked out though because I got a good surprise in on him.  Unless....unless that was an Academy Award winning performance....he is sly like that.  Hm...

wood lath on wall end of day two
End day two, hour and a half of time.
Second to last obstacle was that recently-ish installed Ikea light, my goal to work it similarly to the outlet.  Remembering that it was a smidge of a hassle to install thanks to my blog post, I loosened it as much as I could from the wall without having to take it down.

By the way, turn off the electricity when you do these things, mmk?**

Freehand measuring and cutting and trimming and nipping, I got lath pieces wedged behind the fixture without getting too close to scary parts.  Tighten the light back on and bingo, ho-dee-ho, up the wall I went.

Last obstacle was the final horizontal row.  A quick measure in a few spots, a dash downstairs to the band saw with two lath strips in tow to cut the full length across, and I was set.  But duh, of course the ceiling isn't square and true so it's a wee bit albeit unnoticeably off.

Last skinny row left to go!  Woo hoo!  So but yes, to answer your question, my stupid shoulder is at about 97%, or enough that I can do things like this again with zero issues.  Finally.  Thank goodness.  Stupid shoulder.
Tack tack tack, done!  Step back, oh wow, yeowza, damn girl, right on, that's kinda righteously cool if I do say so myself and I will.


Boy, was I ever pleased.

stained wood lath on wall
New chrome outlet cover.  Not sure yet if it's gonna stay or the white will go back on.  Or get a wood one, hmm.
In the end, I had five full strips left and a handful of cut pieces.  *Cha-ching* with the math, baby!  Woo hoooo!  Oh yeah, go Becky, go Becky!

Later that night, the finished wall was revealed to Mike, as you read above.  And he likes it, yay, he really really likes it!  Butt wiggle dance!

"You outdid yourself on this one.  I don't even know how you're gonna to write about it," he said.  Well.  Babe.  Heh.  Goodness.  *Blush.*  Thank you!

stained wood lath on wall
Who knew the stain would match the mahogany of my quick and easy picture hanging thingie?
This is not the end for this bathroom.  Oh no.  More is gonna happen.  Oh yes.

Currently I'm battling with stupid flipper sh*t getting in my way, namely the cheapo dumb shower crap is kinkin' my plan, namely the seemingly permanently affixed stupid tub filler.  I do not take no for an answer soooooooo.

shower faucet handle
You will succumb to my wishes, you pile of sh*t, oh yes you will.  And it will surely be ugly.
But regardless, more is on the docket, stay tuned!  Dancing away....

(Jump to the next in the bathroom series here!)

*The Golden Mahogany stain and nail gun are Home Depot affiliate links while the brad nails, hand saw, Sharpies, upholstery nails, and electrical spacers are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

**Disclaimer:  Electricity is dangerous.  It can hurt you.  It can even kill you.  Always always turn off the electricity at the breaker box before ever opening up a light switch cover, outlet cover, or messing with a light fixture.  It's best to hire a qualified electrician if you don't know how to deal with wired things.  Do not electrocute yourself or burn your house down.


  1. Love the way you write, so much fun to read! And love how the bathroom turned out too =)

    1. Thank you so much for all the nice compliments!

    2. loved your reno... speaking of risk of electric shocks, I quit watching one of the hgtv reno shows where people would take a half day off of work to remodel their kitchens. It got so stressful wondering which of them was going to cut through the 220 feed from the electrical pole that I just had to turn it off... lol

    3. Thank you very much! Oh I know, right?! That whole premise is too stressful, let alone wondering which one of them is about to zap themselves silly! Half day off....hahaha... Thank you!

  2. Your funny, Becky. Thank you for sharing this stunning makeover and I love how inexpensive it is. Thank you for sharing at Dishing it and Digging it link party and you are one of the features in this coming Sunday party. Thanks again for sharing.

    1. Aw Vanessa, thank you much for all the super nice compliments and the feature! I’m thrilled and will be sharing it next week! Thank you!

  3. Love that look, very nice job! Are you in the states? I don't recall ever seeing bundles of lath,but would love to have some...where did you find them?

    1. Thank you very much! Indeed I am, I'm in Chicago. I purchased the lath at Menards but any Home Depot, Lowes, or lumber yard will have them. Very handy little strips of wood they are so I hope you're able to find them easily.

  4. "Just don't mix oil and water based together and expect them to blend." Made me laugh outloud. Amazing job. Bathroom looks very "Hi end". If the rest of your house looks like this, Wow.

  5. Becky, I seriously hope you will write a light hearted novel on the order of the cat who series by Lillian Jackson Braun. You could make a mint !

    1. I'm going to look into that! Heh, thanks so much!

  6. Becky, I seriously hope you will write a light hearted novel on the order of the cat who series by Lillian Jackson Braun. You could make a mint !

  7. Info for future electrical box work when someone is making the wall thicker: There are plastic box extenders available at the home improvement stores. They can extend the box from 1/4" to about 1 - 1/4". Find them in section with all of the electrical stuff. Kill power, unscrew switches/plugs, pull them out, put extender box around the electrical part and wires and into existing box. This will extend the original box to your new wall surface. Push plugs back in and tighten. They will now be as secure as before. No jury-rigging needed.

    1. Those are the exact things I used for the outlet here and in the kitchen. I did make a super quick mention of them but thank you for expounding and sharing more info about them. Super handy bits of plastic for sure. Thanks!

    2. The finished product looks wonderful. BUT.....you have created a fire hazard. You have pulled the electrical devices out of their boxes ,part way, and surrounded them with wood (guess what wood burns). All electrical connections are to be made within an approved box. No short cuts allowed for any reason. Spend a couple of dollars and a bit of time and do it properly. The previous comment explains what needs to be done. Admittedly chances are not great for a fire but don't chance it. If there ever was a fire it would be hard to find an insurance adjuster that would overlook such shoddy work.

    3. Thanks, I appreciate your tips and suggestions. You've undermined your helpfulness though with your impoliteness. Thanks for taking the time to come by for a read and leave a comment.

    4. great response!! Isn't it lovely how "anonymous" folks think they can spew "impoliteness" wherever they please. That was YOUR nice way to put it, I don't think I would have been that kind!

      AND, GREAT JOB, btw!!

    5. The internet can be an needlessly tough place to be sometimes but, Terry, it can also be outstanding when folks like you swing by with super nice words! Thanks so much for your awesome comment, compliments, and taking the time to leave a note!

  8. I absolutely loved reading this. In fact I reread the "reveal" a few times. I was laughing so hard I woke up hubby. (I work nights) I would definitely read any book you wrote

    1. That’s so awesome, ha, thank you very much! You made my day!

  9. General rule is "hot on the left, cold on the right", BUT, in the case of back to back bathrooms, one side will be reversed, because the pipes go straight through, instead of crossing in the wall. Or the plumber might have just screwed up and got them backwards. So, yes, all my water supply valves are marked. As are the hoses going to them.

  10. Noreen Floyd-RylanderWednesday, September 04, 2019

    I SO enjoyed your writing style!I bet you write just exactly like you think! So funny & straight-forward!Please write a book!
    Your bathroom wall is gorgeous (& probably changed by now, as I just found this 2-yr old post)!! I live it & thank you for sharing it.

    1. Oh my gosh, you've made my day! Thank you so much! Thank you on the wall too -- shockingly, heh, it is still the same! Totally fair point though, I do have a change-it problem! Thanks so much for taking the time to write!

  11. My first thought when I saw that wood, and how rough the surface seems to be, is that it will be impossible to really clean it from the inevitable liquids splashing on it. In a few years, I would expect it to be stinky again, but from a different source, purely organic.

    1. We rarely, if ever, use this bathroom so we're all good here. While I didn't seal the wood, it can be sealed which would make cleaning very easy. Thanks for your thoughts!

  12. despite most of the naysayers....you did a wonderful, economic job...just wrap the electrical items well with elec.tape and shove them back in the wall....BUT... i would LOVE to see a pic of the room " dressed"! With a mirror and finishing touches! very cool project- glad you put a dark color behind it too. cheers!

    1. Thank you so much! So glad you stopped by and commented -- I do need to wrap up with the finished room and updates! Thank you for that reminder, much appreciated! Thank you!

  13. Ok, wow! I just realized this was an ‘old’ post. Absolutely fantastic! I need to do my 3 yr. old grandsons bathroom as it’s kinda baby. I was looking at the contact paper as the bathroom really doesn’t get steamy, but then I saw what you did! I think you’re amazing and I think that people that write negative comments should not bother to write a comment in the first place. Whatever happened to ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’? Nasty. Thank you for sharing! Do you make house calls? I’m not too sure about the nailing gun thing🤔. It might be too fast for my brain to keep up. How did you keep it level?

    1. Aw thank you so much! I would house call but I have confidence that you can do this! Using a nail gun is easy and it won’t shoot until you trigger it. Test one out, you’ll see it’s very manageable.

      I leveled the first one and checked every so often going up. Keeping a consistent gap with the paint sticks helped too.

      Let me know how your project turns out and thanks so much for your comment!

  14. I love this and going to try this in my bathroom. I'm a newbie, so is it safe to assume that tacking the lathe with brad nails is all that is needed to secure this? (Wall is drywall, so do I only tack over 2x4 studs?) Thank you!!

    1. Oh yay! That's exactly all I did, used brad nails to tack the wood lath to the drywall and wasn't concerned about studs. I used short nails, enough to get through the lath and the drywall but no longer so it'll be easy to remove if need be. If you're looking for a more permanent-ish installation, then yes, use a stud finder to find the studs and longer nails then tack only where the studs are. But, just through the drywall has stayed on the wall this entire time here.

      Thank you, I'm excited for you! Hope it turns out fabulously!

  15. Oh fabulous!! Yay! And oh, thank you so much! I'm completely thrilled you shared this with your husband and super excited that this idea is perfect for you! Hope you have a great time installing it and feel free to email me photos, I'd love to see! Thank you so much!

  16. I absolutely LOVE your wall, and I really enjoyed reading your blog!! I was looking for ideas to do some wainscot or something on one living room wall, and after seeing laths at Lowe's, I Googled what is a wood lath? Then your wonderful wall popped up!! Since I had already purchased enough tongue and groove rustic wall planks for a full wall, I am going to use half for wainscot on the bottom of the wall in the living room and the rest in the dining room. BUT...I am going to use your lath idea to put on the top part of the living room wall! I can't wait for my PTO week and get this going. I've never done anything like this before, but you explained everything so well, I believe it will turn out fine. Thank you, Becky!

  17. Oh Kim, thank you so very much! I’m thrilled that your curiosity about lath brought you here! Even more excited that you’re going to give this idea a whirl! I have every confidence in your ability to do this and I will be cheering you on! Thank you so much for your wonderful words and I hope your project turns out fabulously!

  18. I love the look! Great job. I appreciate all the tips and suggestions and can't wait to try this in a nautical theme for my two bathrooms! Thanks for posting.

    1. Terrific, thank you very much! I hope the project works out fabulously for you! Thank you!


Please no spam or links, thanks!