Charming Chartreusey Restroom

Amazing Transformed Restroom, Yaaaaaay!

Amazing Transformed Restroom, Yaaaaaay!

Before!

Before!

About a year ago, I was given the opportunity to have the job I always wanted– a sort of everygirl’s style guide– by my friend Tracey.  Tracey had just inherited some furniture for her little girl’s room (which I DO hope to show you very soon), and she couldn’t figure out how to make it work in her daughter’s space.  Fortunately for both of us, she thought of me when she looked around for assistance, and I am SO glad she did.

Obviously, I love all of this design stuff.  And I have always believed that one of my strengths is the ability to re-imagine a room with what is already found in the residence, some creativity, and a tight budget.  So having one of my friends *recognize* these skills, and then trust me enough to do it in her home?  An honor.  And so much fun, I was hooked on the work!  After I transformed that sweet girl’s bedroom, I’ve bounced around to a couple more (awesome) clients, and last month Tracey called me back to work on her hallway restroom.  Structurally good, but visually-speaking, it was in desperate need of some help.

From Within the Bath

From Within the Bath

The room has some really neutral bones, which allowed us to branch out a little bit and add some color and flair.  The buttery yellow faux-tile lino on the floor is clean and has the appearance of being actual tile, until you reach down and touch it, that is.  But it is in great shape, and it was in no way saying, “Heeeey, I’m soooo dated!” so we decided to go ahead and work with it rather than make a bigger mess for something that didn’t need the help.  Work with what you’ve got and save your money, I say.  Plus the color is pleasant, and currently on-trend, not that the homeowner cares about that so much.  (But it does make it easy to shop and accommodate such things, yes?)

The bathtub is one of those full-enclosure units that takes up one whole wall, and then the room has a continuing half-wall surround in the same creamy, fake-marble material all the way around the space.  Again, clean, in great shape, and not visually offensive at all.  (And can you imagine the mess of starting over there?  No thanks!)  My palette to work with in the bathroom is still really neutral, and once all of this is considered, I really don’t have much wall to work with.

What DID need help was the little maple-toned sink cabinet, the wall-spanning mirror above, and the super-dated “makeup mirror” style light fixture.  And those walls.  Oh lordy, those walls.

Corner Near the Sink, Before

I would estimate that the wallpaper in that space had last been changed out in the early 80s.  It was faded, and the pattern was just sort of weird– paisley on top of a geometric grid thingy.  Not fun, really, and even more to the point, it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the comfortable, stylish, colorful home it is part of….  After assessing what stayed and what went, and talking about the use of the space (this bathroom is the one that is mostly used by kids in the home), I felt like I had a good grip on what needed to happen.  That paper needed to die.

The other thing that absolutely needed to go was the light fixture.  We’ve all seen the old-school strip of bulbs often found mounted in dressing rooms, but this one had a twist– square beveled mirror panels in the backing strip behind each bulb.  Holy moley.  It just looked so, so eighties.  And not cool Memphis Group eighties.  Tracey agreed (heck, insisted!  She knew before I said anything she wanted it replaced) and set about shopping for alternatives she liked.

(Oh– and I should also mention in here somewhere:  this family has a cat named Coral, and said kitty destroys any toilet paper that any human has been foolish enough to place on a roller.  They just don’t do that, but it does necessitate some specific organizational accessories, as a sort of tp force field.)

More Of a "Mid" Than Before Or After

More Of a “Mid” Than Before Or After

Once we had decided on a master plan, my first goal was getting down that wallpaper.  Ugh.  This is always a fun job, isn’t it?  Once I got started, I was sooo glad that I only had to do half of three walls.  It could have been a really horrible mess.  (Actually, it WAS a horrible mess, but it was only a little one, so.  I can’t complain.)  I had peeled off that top vinyl layer, and when I tackled that paper under layer, I found that the previous wallpaperer had stripped their old paper for a while, and then sort of stopped mid-project and just plastered over the gap between fully-peeled and partially exposed.  That turned into a fun challenge for me, because I wanted to get it down to bare sheetrock, and I now had plaster to scrape away too.  I also managed to pull up the tape covering the seams in the sheetrock, yaaaaaay.  So after eeeeverything was scraped down, I mudded for days, re-taping, re-plastering, sanding, more plastering, etc., to create some smooth wall I could effectively paint.  This is one of those moments where the perfectionist in me really shines out, I think those walls had six coats of thin plaster in places!

The Ceiling, When I Decided It Should Be Painted

The Ceiling, When I Decided It Should Be Painted

When finally the tiny wall space was ready, I painted three coats of Valspar’s semi-gloss in “Greek Tapenade.”  I looooove this color so much, and I have mad, mad respect for Tracey for choosing it!  My process on it usually works like this:  through talking with my client, I narrow down the range to a few colors (blues/ greens/ yellows in this case), and then I leave a selection of paint chips with them to go through.  Normally I will pick a favorite from these colors, and I compare with the likes and dislikes of the homeowner.  She and I chose the same card, how awesome is that?!  We both ultimately concluded that blues were too commonly used in the rest of the house for it to be the main color again in here, and yellow would just be way to wimpy with all of that conjoining creamy wallpanel.  This paint shade is an especially good choice in that it is bright but not at all lurid, with enough yellow in the tone to pick up the color from the floor.

I also decided on the spur of the moment to paint the ceiling, and shot off a text asking Tracey’s permission.  Her response of “I trust you” meant that had received a coat of green within the matter of minutes.  It seems like an insignificant detail, but here’s why I thought it should be done– again, the room is riddled with cream.  It’s another place to put that pop of color.  Plus, because the ceiling is trimmed out, it looks crisp and fresh now that it’s done.  The house was built in the sixties, but this family lives in right now.  This touch, while SO simple, says that in such a strong way.  It’s just plain modern-looking.

Sink Cabinet, Before

Sink Cabinet, Before

There is a lot of wait time involved in the de-papering and re-plastering of the walls, so while that was happening, I alternately worked on the cabinet sink unit in the bathroom.  The counter top in there was still part of the continuing motif of creamy-fakey-marbley, in good condition and nice.  The lower half was tired light wood, almost pickled, with horrible “golden” pulls (while the taps and towel bars very silvery-chromey), but structurally great cabinets in a really traditional design.  Tracey had been given a kit that she wanted me to use, Rust Oleum Cabinet Transformations in Espresso.  (I’m not paid to endorse them or anything, just want to give all the correct info I can!)  It was really easy to execute, they gave complete instructions, and most everything is included in the kit.  Yes, it was something like five steps total, but still really quite convenient with the way they put it together and the ease of use.  We discussed skipping the glazing coat, where you add in a little dimension to the grooves with a darker color.  But then I did a sample on the inside back of one of the doors, and she told me to go with my instincts.  My instincts said, “GLAZE!”  Glad I did, I think the end results look very chic and help bring the room up to a much more current feel, which it needed.  You may note that the previously light-wood toothbrush holder also got painted during the cabinet’s process.  Tracey selected brushed nickel for the replacement door handles to complete the look.

Sink Cabinet, After (I'm sad I didn't get a sharper pic)

Sink Cabinet, After (I’m sad I didn’t get a sharper pic)

The original mirror in the restroom had spanned the entire right wall, and was not at all decorative.  Just huge.  The homeowner and I talked a bit about working with it, framing it out with wood trim and making it more impressive, but the truth was it was just so BIG.  I kept thinking about getting out of that shower and not being able to escape my reflection.  (Or poor dudes, watching themselves pee.  Ewwwww.)

Tracey and I agreed that there already wasn’t much area to make a big, visual impression, and that we could create bigger impact with something else using that space.  So the large wall-spanner was taken down to reveal… a giant hole.  (You can see it in the “mid” picture, above.)  Ah, life’s all about surprises, isn’t it?

After she had run several trips to different stores, purchasing items she loved when she saw them (draperies, curtain rod), we went together to buy the final details.  She chose a new light fixture– once again highlighting the chrome in the room– and her husband, Shane, was kind enough to switch the two out.  One of the two old towel bars was re-hung on the largest wall, this time low enough that four-year-old Willie can potentially hang her own towel up.

Restroom Mirror, After

Restroom Mirror And Light Fixture, After

The Shower/ Bath, After

The Shower/ Bath, After

Together we selected the mirror for the space– found at Tuesday Morning– a heavy wooden-framed piece painted out with a band of teal and again hitting the silvery metallic found throughout the room.  I re-oriented it for her (they had done it so it was intended to hang vertically), and it fits its new space perfectly.  I just love that punch of blue on top of the green!  I also tucked a little blue birdie up on top of that mirror’s wide frame, as an unexpected fun little kick– this IS the bath most frequently used by the kids– and because Tracey and I have a running joke akin to Portlandia’s “Put a Bird On It!”  It needed a bird SOMEWHERE.  (Again, not trying to advertise for them, but the mirror, basket for tp, drapery panels, and the fun grey and white floral towels were all snatched at Tuesday Morning.)

Redone Wall Art

Redone Wall Art

One of the most sophisticated and high-impact parts of the finished room ended up being one of the easiest.  Already hanging up in there was a simple cream white-on-white textured stripe shower curtain.  Really nice, still useful, but not saying anything much either…  sort of a wasted opportunity.  Rather than pull it down and buy some big graphic shower curtain, we opted to instead hang a standard curtain rod above the whole thing and just put regular, tasteful curtain panels on top.  The draperies that Tracey chose are a hip grey and cream design, and the circular grommets add to all of the chrome details in the room.  That whole side of the room just looks smashing.  And you’d never have any idea how many tub toys and hair products are back there.

In a lot of cases, we just kept (and highlighted whenever we could) what was already there.  The trash bin was chocolate colored, so I cleaned it up (after getting wallpaper gooping and plaster on it, oops) and placed it back in its corner; the previous plushy floor mat the same turquoise as other touches in the room got spread back out in front of the tub; their brown soap and lotion dispensers already chic and attractive on the counter…  The best example of this is perhaps the hanging wall art.  I hope to do a separate blog post on it, but in essence: I took what was there home with me and gussied it up.

One of the best things about this transformation is that it is fresh and youthful enough– with the use of bold colors and whimsical touches– that it doesn’t feel like the children that use it have been overlooked.  However it doesn’t have the slightest whiff of being too juvenile.  It is also good proof that concentrating your money in a few specific areas is often all you need for a big finished impact.  Nothing about the structure of the room was changed, but now it feels like a completely different space.

Bathroom From the Doorway, After

Bathroom From the Doorway, After


 


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