A few weeks ago I set out to brighten up our upstairs bathroom. Fortunately the previous owners had done the hard (and expensive) work for us – they hired terrific local contractors to add the bathroom to the house in 2006 – so I didn’t need to tear anything out or build anything up (which, considering the piles of construction debris in our laundry room and guest room right now, was a huge relief).
The angles of this bathroom, with its window seat and skylight, are beautiful. I really like the materials they used in the room – the slate has lovely texture and color variation – but the combination of grey tiles with the fir built-ins and trim made the room skew pretty masculine and serious, and I felt like the yellow walls competed with the color of the wood and tiles.
My goal was simple: to make the space lighter and brighter without spending much money. The first thing I did was polish up the cabinetry and trim with my favorite combination of neutral Restor-A-Finish and Howard Feed & Wax. Then I painted the walls white (Mountain Peak White by Benjamin Moore), which brightened things up immediately and really highlighted the beautiful clear grain fir woodwork.
This room was a bear to paint. The high ceiling and multiple angles meant that my wildly optimistic estimate of a half day project (which impossibly included dry times, mind you) extended out to two and a half days. By the time I was finished my painting hoodie had Mt Peak White on every side because I couldn’t seem to turn around (or move a ladder) in that room without brushing up against a freshly-painted wall. It took three coats of paint to cover up the yellow, and even now I obsessively run my eyes over the walls looking for any hint of that ‘suntan yellow’ trying to make its jaundiced escape.
We have a lot of plants in our house, if they ever go all ‘Day of the Triffids‘ on us, we won’t stand a chance. Laughing in the face of danger, I brought a number of plants into this room too. I love plants in a bathroom! It’s easy to water them and they bring such a fresh and vibrant feel to the room.
Oh those tassels! If you remember, I had fallen hard for this Anthropologie shower curtain that I couldn’t afford. My version lacks the elegance and *ahem* uniformity of the Anthro curtain, but it’s festive and playful – just look at those riotously colored ghosts marching cheerfully along – and that suits me fine. My shower curtain knock-off – after purchasing the plain white curtain and the embroidery thread – rang in at about $30, a savings (spend to save folks, spend to save) of almost $90.
This room has plenty of storage, so it’s nice to use the open shelves to display a few of my favorite treasures, relatively safe from the destructive and ardent affections of Fat Bunny (Dean) and Tiny Tiger (Carl). The little clay box is vintage, my friend John carved the raven for me and those are shells from a gumboot chiton taking wing up the wall I have mixed feelings about the fact that one of my favorite vignettes in our whole house is on the back of a toilet. The striped planter, the little yellow vessel and the weirdo hand-painted fish plate are all vintage from the thrift store.
The succulent planter is from a thrift store and the turtle goddess was a gift from my mom when she and I took a trip to Crete together last year. I sewed this curtain from a curtain I hijacked from our guest room which in turn was made from a shower curtain we used at our previous house. Who knows what its next incarnation will be? Probably something with tassels.
I’ve been coveting these towels for a while, for reasons both aesthetic and ascetic. You see, because we’re cheap (thrifty) – and also because most of our living takes place downstairs – we pretty much refuse to heat the upstairs of our home. Now, I can bravely soldier on through brushing my teeth while standing on glacial tiles, but I can’t abide a towel that doesn’t dry out all the way between uses. These Turkish towels – called peshtemals – are, despite their thinness, very absorbent, yet they dry really quickly. They aren’t inexpensive, but we’ve been using them about a month now and I’m a total convert.
Thanks for reading this post! Have any of you given a room a little facelift recently? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!