Bathroom, Sneak Peek

I said when I returned the bathroom would have painted walls, and here I am, true to my word!

Painting such a dark color over white took three coats. For those of you who missed the inspiration board, I used Arboretum by Behr in eggshell. It was very quick since it was a small space, and the transformation is totally worth it.

Bathroom, Painted

Although the color is super saturated, due to the white cabinet, toilet, and shower curtain, plus the ivory countertop and shower surround, the room does not feel dark. I am so pleased with the transformation, especially considering how quick it was to make a big difference. Someday I would love to change out the vanity/cabinet, and replace the light fixture. For now, I feel that the dramatic color elevates the existing pieces. It looks even better in person. I really ought to figure out how to manually white-balance my camera. Any tips?

Bathroom, Painted

Can’t wait to return with true “after” photos! I have some finishing touches to add (many of them are finished, but I’m waiting for an art print to come in the mail) and I’ll be ready to show ya!

Bathroom Plans!

It seems to be a well-established trend in Blogger-Land that the smallest spaces in the home are the ones tackled first. Going with the trend, the bathroom was the first space on my radar, especially since I wanted to paint something a BOLD color after living with white walls in an apartment for a year and a half. Since I want to stay largely neutral in most of the main areas, we certainly went dark, and it was so invigorating!

The space isn’t done yet but I did whip up an inspiration board as a kind of sneak peek. Making these is helpful to see if certain themes go together well, and makes it easy to swap art art pieces, for example, to find the best fit.

Arboretum Inspiration Board

artwork / elephant hanging / wall unit / turkish towel

bath accessories / paint / floor mat 

The paint color, which is already on the walls, is called Arboretum by Behr. I happened to grab a “color trend” leaflet while in the paint area and the intense dark turquoise immediately grabbed me! I thought it would be a cool way to play referee between the mishmash of white (cabinets, toilet) and cream (shower/bath, countertop).

Since the bathroom has two doors (one opens to the hall, one opens to the master bedrdoom), and the doors remained white, there is actually a lot of lightness remaining in the bathroom, even with a super saturated color. I love it.

Bringing in other neutrals such as the same wooden wall fixture we had in the other apartment was another way to connect the bathroom with other areas of the house. I hope eventually every room has at least one nice wood piece, be it a table, desk, dresser, or something else. I don’t mind mixing and matching wood tones, as long as the styles speak to each other.

Now we’re literally waiting for paint to dry, so we can put back up the hand towel hanger, shower curtain rod, etc. Hopefully next time I check in I should have some great photos to share!

IKEA MOLGER in the Bathroom

Today’s post is a quick one because there isn’t a ton to say on the subject. As part one of our intentional effort to bring a bit of pine into every room, the bathroom was outfitted with an IKEA shelving unit. Inexpensive and very easy to put together, I like the modern lines mixed with the natural wood look.

bathroom shelf

Before hanging it, the brown wicker box that you can see on the top shelf simply rested on the back of the tank filled with bathroom-related items. Now those items are concealed (for the most part) in those cute green tins, also from IKEA. I can’t seem to win with the shaving cream, though. Leave it in the tub? Rust city. Put it in the cabinet? I will forget to use it. So there it sits, easily reachable from the shower, in all its glory.

bathroom shelf

Once we got the unit up on the wall, it seemed way too high (it seemed that way because it was) but I didn’t want to take it down and reposition it. Instead, I decided that what the room needed was a little 3-D artwork. Ever since the steam from a shower made a black picture frame bleed down the wall (at my parents house) I’ve always been a bit gun-shy about hanging actual artwork in the bathroom. Luckily the idea I had envisioned in my head came to fruition with a quick trip to World Market. I got this Indian hanging garland and “swooped” it nicely to fill up the negative space and add some prettiness to the area. It adds such a nice brightness and cheeriness… I love it.

Honestly, the tacky wicker basket on the back of the jon was working out just fine functionally… but it feels nice to dress up the space a bit, doesn’t it? Putting a little intentional effort into a room, even one that is the size of a glorified closet (seriously, that part of the bathroom is tiny) makes a big difference.

Paris-Inspired Half Bath

I meant it last Thursday when I said that a bathroom is a good place to take a risk. And I’m going to take a BIG risk today and do something ultra themey. Many designers turn up their noses at themey rooms, and rightly so, as I believe they’ve had their heyday and today’s rooms lean more towards a cohesive “house-story” (I just made that up but it sounds so HGTV) with nods to certain themes here and there.

But you know what? What’s life if you can’t have any fun, and why do I blog if I can’t put something together like this? It has been bouncing around in my head for weeks!! I can see it really working in a hotel, a rental, a public space… anywhere where people don’t spend long periods of time is OK to go a little more over the top than normal, and make it memorable.

Walls: The paint colors are inspired by what makes Paris stand out among so many other European Cities… the more-or-less uniform paint colors on building façades imposed by the Haussmann renovation. Really, look at most photos of Paris (especially the city center) and these tones will prevail. Not to mention they look so lovely with wrought-iron or other dark metal playing off of them. I don’t have paint color recommendations but look for a smoky purply-blue (but with prevailing gray tones) and something pinkish gray-tan (almost a weathered limestone color). I would paint the ceiling of the room (that’s right! Paint the ceiling!) with the purple-gray and bring the color down onto the walls about 12 to 18 inches. I’d paint the rest of the room with the tan. A purple-gray molding along the line where the colors meet (I tried to give the impression of this on the inspiration board) would be a lovely touch.

Floor: I’d go with your classic small hex tile on the ground with gray grout. Gray grout will hide dirt and prevent the inevitable depression felt when once-white grout looks dingy. Additionally, the gray highlights the white classic hex shape. This style of tile has been around for hundreds of years and is not going away anytime soon… timeless is definitely the right word. And, it is so affordable!

Sink: The pedestal sink was inspired by what I saw when I looked at the bridge in the above picture. I thought, “those thick columns would make a killer sink.” Since I’m impatient, I did not find a sink exactly like them, but it’s close enough to make me happy. (Also, yes, every half-bath needs a toilet, but you’re on your own for that one…)

Lighting: Here I have selected two different lights: a 24-inch sconce for above the mirror, and a hanging mini-pendant one for additional light. You’d wouldn’t want to put these too close together, but I like how they “go.” They are very different styles (square vs. organic) in the same finish on purpose. If you get two that are too similar, but slightly different it will look like you tried too hard and didn’t quite get it right. These two both lean toward art nouveau which helps tie them together. They look like they were plucked out over the years and give a good eclectic layer.

Mirror: The lighting and hooks (and sink and door hardware, if you can swing it) would ideally be a dark bronze or cast iron color, so there’s no need to darken up the space with a dark mirror frame. This one from World Market brings the Marché aux Puces look in. Since this is a half bath, a normal mirror will do; no need for a medicine cabinet. Make sure the mirror is not too close to the wall color. Darken or lighten with paint (a drybrush technique would be ok) as necessary.

Cast Iron Hooks: Anchor the light paint colors with dark finishes like the dark aged bronze lighting and these art nouveau cast iron hooks.

Wastebasket: This cute little French Apothecary wastebasket would fit right in.

Art: Skip the Eiffel Tower nick-knacks and look for some more subtle Paris-themed artwork. Things were starting to look really cold in here. Bring in this warm-toned Camille Pisarro print and have your own little piece of the Musee d’Orsay. can even send it to you framed and matted as shown.

Towels: Dark green is another unofficial color of Paris. From the famous metro entrances to the booksellers’ booths on the Seine, it is a great accent for the tan and gray-purple. For hand towels, stay away from anything too jungle-y, and get the darkest, deepest green possible.

None of the online stores linked to here have provided any compensation for this post; I’m sure they don’t even know this blog exists! 

Spruce Your Bathroom

Yesterday I shared what my bathroom looks like (when it’s all cleaned up). I’m blessed with a large amount of cabinet space on the left when one first walks in, which allows Doug and I to have a shelf apiece(!) and also space to keep more than just bathroom items in it–stuff like extra queen-sized sheets and a huge metal toolbox). That said, I know that a lot of bathrooms don’t have as much storage as I do and sometimes things must live on the counter. Here are a few things I’ve seen around blogland that can help decrease the clutter factor and increase the cute factor… all on a budget!! 

A Fun Shower Curtain: Okay, this is hands down the easiest thing. If you are stuck in a boring beige and white and tan bathroom, you can push the limits of shower curtains. Explore options like normal curtain panels, big Urban Outfitters tapestries (use these with curtain clips instead of regular shower curtain rings), or making something yourself from fabric found at a thrift store. Image from Urban Outfitters.

Make Storage Work for You: If all you have is under-sink storage, putting things in caddies is super helpful. You can pull the whole caddy out to find the item you need, and better yet–they will prevent items from getting pushed all the way to the back. That is, the pipe zone. The danger zone. I don’t know about you, but under-sink pipes give me the heebie jeebies. Image from The Container Store.

Color: If you are able to paint, choose a great color and stick with it. In a small room like a bathroom you can take a chance you wouldn’t necessarily consider in a large or more prominent room. Try a moody dark gray, navy blue, or a saturated teal paired with a bright white shower curtain and fluffy white towels. Be careful when considering yellows and reds, these colors can bounce around the room and make you look a funny color (just try doing makeup if your face is a weird greeny color!) Painting test swatches is a good tip in these situations.  Image from a Young House Love house crashing post.

Paint the cabinetry: Again, for lots of people this isn’t an option, but then again it makes a huge impact for the dollar spent. In this example, the plain-ole plain-ole cabinet base got a pretty coat of pale blue which immediately took it from “snooze” to cute. Photo from Katie at Bower Power.

Cute storage containers: Personally, I keep all my jewelry in my bedroom, but I know lots of people who keep it in the bathroom. Free up drawer space for your makeup or hair products by using something small and unobtrusive like this cute little wooden set of drawers on the counter. Larger wooden containers can also be used to corral straighteners, curling irons, tubes of toothpaste, etc. Image from Carrie at Dream Green DIY.

Frosting the window: The mini-blinds in our bathroom were seriously nastytown, but at the same time I’m also not crazy about using fabric to dress the window in a room that gets so moist. So, Doug and I took a cue from  Young House Love and frosted the window. This eliminates the need for a window treatment, but still ensures privacy. It also diffuses the light nicely. Image by me.

Bling it out: Pretty hardware can add up, and fast, but if you only have one or two cabinets (like many apartments do) you can splurge for something fabulous. Save the old hardware in a ziplock somewhere safe and put it back on when you move out. But don’t drill holes if there weren’t preexisting ones. That’s just bad form. Image from Anthropologie.

I know this list is by no means exhaustive. Every bathroom has its own particular solution. Got any tips? I would love for you to share them in the comments! 

Bathroom Mini-Tour

It’s a mini-tour because the bathroom is pretty small and straightforward.

Thought I ought to hop back on the room tour train, since I left off after showing the guest room and the bedroom, so here’s the last piece of the west part of the house. The bathroom. It’s really nothing special, but it’s an awfully important room in the house to have, for obvious reasons. And it definitely could be worse. After having a bathroom tiled in Easter egg colors (right off the living room where everyone could hear your business) this bathroom is a MILLION percent upgrade. Except the other one had a bigger/better/deeper tub.

Let’s get started! Mostly I wanted to show off some items I got at a design swap one of my gal pals hosted a month ago (it has been a month already! sheesh!). The colorful placemats you’ll see here are in the bathroom mostly because there were only three instead of four. If there were four I would use them in the dining room for (duh) placemats but I got creative and I love how they bring a little bit of pink in and really perk up the room. They also make it easy to tidy up. They help me tell myself, “Objects do not belong on the tan section of the counter! Hide them in drawers or cabinets!” It’s a little strange, but it works.

The third placemat got tucked into my open shelves and injects a much-needed little perk. The little sake bottle is from who-knows-where, and is cracked. The jar with sand in it is from our wedding (we did unity sand instead of candles)! My vintage train case made its way to the bottom shelf (much easier for short little me to get it out). The wicker basket (from Target) moved from the bottom shelf to on top the tank:

I was wary of putting anything on the tank because right when we moved in I had put a candle there and one night it slid off and shattered. However, seeing that this is much larger and less slippery, not to mention nothing in/on the basket is breakable, this has worked well so far.  The art in the little frame says “Happy Day” and was made by Libby as a housewarming present. :) There is a series of holes next to the toilet paper holder that need to be patched, but does it make it any better if I say they were there when we moved in? Maybe not, since it means we’ve lived with it like that for 8 months… (has it been 8 months already!?)

Here you can see the arch that I’m not crazy about, but everyone who comes over comments on how much they like it. Personal preference, I guess. It does tie in with the arched ceilings in the living room and dining room, but personally I fell that closing in the top of the shower like that makes it feel a little claustrophobic.

Last I’ll share two more little details. We have towels practically coming out of our ears, so we have an extra little storage basket (also from Target) below the counter, along with my scale (don’t remind me) and a step stool:

And I really like the art I have in the tall black frame (it’s from Target) so I thought I’d share it with you. They’re photos cut out from a semi-recent Conde Nast Traveler magazine, and all the photos are of spas in the Middle East. It reminded me of my hammam/Turkish bath experience in Morocco and felt appropriate for a bathroom.

Oh, and the paint color is Valspar’s La Fonda Mirage, the same color used in the kitchen, to not only bring in the Southwestern element of the house, but to save money by only buying one gallon, and to create a sense of continuity within different rooms.

There you go: the bathroom. Short and sweet for what I think is kind of a sweet little room. Did I mention it’s narrow and therefore super hard to photograph?

Remember, you have until Monday July 16 to enter the Scentsy giveaway! 

Hasta La Vista, Juan

For all that our lot lacks in width, it makes up for in depth. Just take a gander at the space we have available for our upcoming backyard rehab. I’d estimate that the lot is at least three times deeper than it is wide. This is great! Except for the fact that our bathroom window looks directly into our neighbor’s carport/side door. Creepy.

So here we have the bathroom (photo lazily plucked from my home tour), note the nasty yellowish mini-blinds:

When we moved in, there was a ton of very tall and thick bamboo (some of it sickly/dead) that grew well past the window and blocked any visibility. But during the house-painting process, we weeded out the sickly pieces and the bamboo got chopped fairly short. One day we arrived at home to find out that our neighbor had removed it altogether! (Pretty sure it was on our property… but whatever…) We were left with nothing but extremely dirty mini-blinds to prevent any kind of peep-show from happening. We do not want to build that close of a relationship with our Spanish-speaking neighbor.

(Ah, now the post title makes sense…)

This photo not only shows how terrible the artificial light is during a cloudy day (in our case, last Saturday, you may have heard about the day when 100 tornadoes touched down in Kansas. Luckily our city was spared) or when it’s dark outside, but… “Oh, hello there!” You can see all up in our neighbors’ business.

As I mentioned before, the mini-blinds were dis-gus-ting. They had to come down. But we had to come up with another solution. So, as an alternative I took my inspiration from Young House Love (as usual) and got some window-frosting film from Home Depot. Following their hilarious photo-based instructions here we successfully applied it to the windows. Let’s just say it wan’t HARD, but it was no piece of cake either. But these two small panes were a great opportunity for our first shot, and it turned out OK.

Now, the mini-blinds are stored in the basement, with all the hardware attached in a ziplock baggie, just in case someone wants to put them back up someday. I surely won’t.

Doesn’t the room look nicer without all that junk off of the window? Let me tell you, it is much less claustrophobic. Still needs to be touched up where I removed the hardware. The paint can is literally sitting in the bathroom, I just have to do it. I’ll probably take care of it this weekend.

Now if only we could do something about that horrific lighting fixture above the sink… Naturally… I have my ideas for it…