Sunday, July 22, 2012

Holy Cats, the Upstairs Bathroom is DONE!

I am ready to call it done, I really am. There are still a couple of niggling details left (aren't there always, when you own a home?), but my husband says I need to stop being such a tease and just post the dang thing already. I was all, "But I want to make the curtain!" and he was all, "Seriously. You can make that another post." And he's brilliant, especially since I'm not the best at coming up with content, so you'll just have to wait for the EXCITING CURTAIN REVEAL at a later date.

I know "exciting" and "curtain reveal" don't necessarily play together nicely, but I have one other word to throw in the mix:


HOO BOY Y'ALL. I am on-trend today.

The bathroom! Let's go there, shall we? Wait, wait, first! A flashback. As seen in my letter to Mrs. Dorothy, what our upstairs half bathroom looked like when we moved in 4.5 years ago:

I realize that this isn't the greatest shot in the world, and it's even hard for me to remember just how awful it was, but let me throw some words at you and let you come up with an image of your own:

Faux wooden outlet/switch covers/toothbrush holder/towel racks.

Very small, very high, very tiny medicine cabinet.

Bald, bright, in-your-eyeball lightbulbs on said oddly-placed medicine cabinet.

Vinyl paneling.

Stick-on linoleum flooring.

Rickety, leaking sink.

General misery.

Seriously, it was bad. So bad, in fact, that it made me crazed and irrational and I demanded that my husband rip out the flooring and wall covering before we were really able to do anything with it, as documented in this post. To sum it up: We discovered that the walls were covered in ancient tile glue (thus explaining the vinyl paneling) and that we'd have to cover them up, lest we want to deal with the monster that is tearing out plaster walls. (PLEASE NEVER DO THIS IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE.) Husband started graduate school and we lived with naked walls and naked floors (seriously, backerboard under our feet) for about 2 years. To be crass, The Professor said it was "like pooping in a warehouse," and I would like to offer a solemn and stately nod and agree that yes, it was in fact like pooping in a warehouse. A warehouse with a sink that threatened to fall on your children on any given day.

This winter (again, all explained and photographed in this post) The Professor did a kick-ass job tiling the floor, and then we found a $45 vintage sink in Chicago. The Professor and his dad (who helps us a here...and here) got one wall of beadboard installed so that we could have a plumber install our sink. So for a few months we lived with a partially-finished bathroom that functioned but was still a little hard on the eyes.

Sorry for all that explanation. I just don't know how in-tune you are with all of this.

Cut to the present. Last week my husband and father-in-law busted their buns and finished the HECK out of this bathroom. I took a few days to clean, touch up paint, and hang some things, and now The Professor says it's time to stop dithering and just post it already.

Okay then. The view from our upstairs hallway:


I'm sorry for the lack of humility, but we totally nailed it. I'm just going to say it. With my husband's and my father-in-law-the-carpenter's skills combined with my vague color and design ideas, it all came together for awesome. A warehouse no more, this bathroom is now a serene, cool, cheerful sanctuary. Yes, sanctuary. You wouldn't believe how many times my husband and I go up there to just chill the heck out. I'll wash my hands for like five minutes just to stare at the walls.

A closer view, as you walk in:


The chair rail shelf turned out great, but more on that later.


The light is a galvanized metal outdoor light from Lowe's. (I can't find it online, I'm sorry!) The cast iron horse (I teased you with it here) was $10, found in an antique store. The yellow mirror was also an antique, snagged for $27. Actually, you'll probably become irritated with the word "antique," because I was very deliberate with the accessories in this room. I wanted as many things as possible to be found, original, and used. That's what we do, and it certainly lends for a more unique look than if I had just gone to Pottery Barn and bought everything in their display bathroom.

When you look up, you can see the light we created that did not cost $350:


The wall color is Acapulco Cliffs from Olympic in low-VOC satin; the color used on the trim (we painted over the trim just like in the boys' room, for the same reasons) and beadboard is Pegasus, also from Olympic, also low-VOC satin. We used this opportunity to put in the new, bathroom-grade outlet, as well as do a lightswitch-switcheroo. I don't know if you noticed it in the original bathroom picture, but the switch for the light over the sink used to be just to the left of the medicine cabinet. I hated it there, so my father-in-law agreed to move it so that there was simply a double switch next to the door, allowing you to choose which light you wanted on as you were entering the room. This ended up being a HUGE deal, resulting in him, I don't know, GETTING TRAPPED IN WALLS and nearly suffocating in our million-degree attic and eventually just cutting a hole in the wall to get the wiring done. I am in awe of him. Dear FIL: I love my lightswitches.

Here's a slightly closer look at the beadboard:


We kept our original toilet, because it works. Also, when we first moved in it was having some trouble filling, and when my dad looked in the tank he noticed the manufacturing date stamped on it and hollered down, "Hey, your toilet is older than I am!" And I just love that story.

Above the toilet, I mounted my favorite picture of our kids using nails, floral wire, and some teeny-weeny clothespins that I found at a craft store many millenia ago.

Also above the toilet: Perhaps you noticed my slightly unorthodox shelf?


That was a memorable find. I knew I wanted some sort of open shelf (or two shelves) above the toilet, but I didn't want to just walk into a big box store and buy a mass-produced one. Not only did that seem in keeping with my ideals, it was also an expensive option. I toyed with the idea of asking my husband to make one, but I knew that, what with all his other projects, it wouldn't happen as soon as I'd like. Then I went to a garage sale on a whim and found this antique tool box for $8. We mounted it on its bottom and it has proven perfect for this space.

Then I found an antique abacus.


All right, y'all, the shelf! This might be my favorite feature in this room. I'm sorry this photo is sort of grainy, but I wanted to give you an idea of its depth.


As I understand it, they bought crown molding and then enough wood to top the molding and make the shelf, all after installing the beadboard. It's also caulked. This shelf ain't going nowhere. It's awesome for not only holding lots of things (I'm sure I'll have it ridiculously cluttered in time), but also for adding a neat, unusual architectural detail. My FIL did this in his own bathroom remodel and I asked him to simply copy the design in here.

Just below that hangs something you might miss without me pointing it out: the toilet paper, which is mounted to the wall in an unusual way. Another goal I had when buying antiques was using objects in ways that may not have been their intended purposes. For instance, the toilet paper holder is actually an old, wall-mounted receipt holder.


Again, I didn't like the look of big box toilet paper holders, so when I found this bad boy, I just knew it would work. My husband bent the wire slightly (sorry you can't see it) to accommodate a double roll and filed off the sharp point. I now have a funky, antique roll holder for $5.

Let's shift our focus to the right a little bit. When you first walk into this bathroom, the very first thing you'll see to your right is a bank of built-in shelves. They were covered by a crappy plywood door, but at my request, my husband took off the door and hardware and painted everything inside Pegasus white. Of course now this means I have to make sure they look nice, something I'm still working on. So far I'm using a wire basket, an apothecary jar, an antique choo-choo bag, and an antique milk bottle basket for storage.


For some reason I loaded another shot of the sink. So I'll just tell you that the hand towels and wash cloths are from Target. We went with plain white for the big towels, and the pop of yellow was an unexpectedly nice treat against all the white, blue, and black.


Another fun thing I found at an antique store was a vintage stool. (This is, after all, my kids' bathroom. They tend to be short.) I've had my eye out for one like this (with the fold-up steps) for years, and this off-white one was only $25.


I also think that's a nice shot of the busy cohesiveness of the yellow rug (also from Target, in the same line as the towels) and black-and-white tile.

The only thing left to see is the wall opposite the sink. We found black cast iron hooks at Hobby Lobby ($8 total) for towels and hung them on the beadboard just below the shelf. I wanted the wall space to feature family photos (remember: kids' bathroom), but didn't want to deal with individual picture frames. (Expensive and also: not fun to hang in plaster. If you can't screw it into a stud, it will probably fall down. Also, Command Strips don't always work well.) I chanced upon a $5 window and remembered--wait a minute!--that I had done this very same thing in our first apartment with some of our favorite pictures. Duh. Such a cheap, easy solution.


(And in case you noticed: Yes, we are missed a piece of crown molding on that wall. Lowe's ran out! We have since bought some more and are waiting until my FIL comes around again to install it.)

A closer shot of the window:


So that's it! That is our bathroom. I love it, you guys. I can't stop going up there and marveling at the color, the shelf, the punch of it all. I have really been stretching my color muscles lately, as well as my use-things-in-unexpected-ways muscles, and I think I managed to pull off a fresh, cohesive design that complements without being too matchy-matchy. (Matchy-matchy is my sin in the past. Don't judge, I'm taking baby steps.) My goal for any future pops of color in here involve orange, more red, navy blue, green, and, if you argue persuasively enough, perhaps dark pink.

C and H love it too and we would like to let you know that this photo is called "Bathroom Happy":

(Subtitle: "Scalping My Daughter Because She Will Not Stay Still")

That is our half bathroom, in all its non-warehouse glory! I hope you enjoy, and thanks for your patience with my dithering.

Now I'm going to go wash my hands for an hour or so.


Mindy said...

Christine this bathroom is amazing! I am so jealous and inspired all at the same time. I love the colors. They are amazing. I am most jealous of the beadboard and the shelving above it. This room is so perfect! I sincerely love it. What a great job!!!!

Tara said...

This is incredible! I love it! Job well done

Anonymous said... totally nailed it! This is such a fabulous family friendly, space. I am also a gigantic fan of the beadboard. Congrats on your patience to collect all the perfect accessories...and on picking a super handy husband with a super duper handy father! I am also trying to break a bit from the matchy steps. Well done!

Gallo Pinto2 said...

beautiful! love the yellow accents! I also love all the pictures of the kids of course! great job as always!

Tracy said...

Amazing job! I love how you used the unexpected pieces!

Raechel said...

Um, where do I start? Friend, you are amazing! I love your creative eye for using things in unexpected ways. The toolbox-turned-shelf! The chair rail shelf! And that basket to contain spare toilet paper rolls? I will have one of those for myself, thankyouverymuch.

most of all, you nailed the colors AND made it your own. You are amazing and so is your happy upstairs bathroom. Bravo, sista!