The Downstairs Bath Is DONE(ish)!

Soooo, I promised myself that I would show you guys the downstairs bathroom after I got “five more plastic wall hangings,” and I got six.  That means it’s time to finally do as I say, and sally forth with those promised pictures!  (Remember, if you’d like to see any of the photos up close, click on them twice!)

I will begin this whole thing with a handful of apologies.  I *do* apologize that they are a little bit later than originally promised, but I hit a few snags this last week.  I got those last few wally-dealies, and cleaned them up for the usual backyard paint job, and it snowed.  Like a lot.  Freakishly.  It was just plain too cold to paint!  I didn’t want to run the risk of mucking up my spray paint coats.  And I’m not doing that inside, no way, this deadline is not that kind of important.

Me In the Mirror-- Man, I Look Short.

Me In the Mirror– Man, I Look Short.

The Back Wall

The Back Wall

The second apology involves these pictures.  There is a light issue, and I couldn’t manage to both light the space and photograph it at the same time, so I had to wait until Pan had time, so I could get some help.  (The seven-year-old, though willing, is too short.)  After figuring out how to finally *get* some decent lighting in there– there are no windows/ natural light whatsoever– there is always the issue of space when doing pictures for a tiny room like a bathroom.  You just can’t get far enough back from it all to show the whole scope of the room.  I’ve resorted to chopping the room kind of into chunks, but I know ya’ll are smart enough to piece it all together.

Seeing it in the final pics, I think it still looks sort of awkward, because that collection is still growing and has just begun to creep out over the solid purple wall.  I know I certainly feel I need *more* crazy-hangie-thingies.  We are never really “done” with these decor things, are we?  But, I also I agree that the room is *done enough* that at least you can get a real sense of where I’m going in there, idea-wise, and how different it is from the way it was when we moved in….

Speaking of when we moved in– here’s the waaaaay old post with the really buh-scusting “before” pictures:
www.lovenestdesign.com/workin-on-the-throoms-downstairs-bath-before-pics/
These  “befores” were actually taken real-real-before, meaning before we even moved in, so it really is full-fledged gross in there.  No TP on the roll or anything!  My after pics are a drastic improvement, simply because the room is clean.  Ah well.  That always makes things better, doesn’t it?

This bath is the only restroom in the downstairs level of our home, and you access it by walking through our laundry room, past the washer and dryer.  *That* room isn’t done yet, I haven’t figured out if I should even TRY and wallpaper in there, it’s such crazyness– but that room is not the point.  It’s another room of it’s own, sortof, and well, I don’t have to show it to you yet!  Suffice it to say, with no windows, and being a room-off-of-a-room, this bath is sort of dark.  Compounding this is the fact that the room doesn’t have one single solitary outlet.  Not one.  Isn’t that the weirdest bunk ever?  What if you had a teen living in the downstairs bedroom and they wanted to dry their hair?  Geez.  They would have to do it in the bedroom, and we just better hope no one is watching TV in the den!  Lack of an outlet makes it tough to get really great pictures too, so again I apologize, I did the best I could with what I had.  (A clip lamp, an extension cord, and one kind husband required.)

*****

So, sit right down boys and girls, and snuggle in, and let me tell you of all the work I have done in this little room:

Above The Sink And Potty

Above The Sink And Potty

*The original wallpaper in there was peeling and water-damaged, to say nothing of hideous.  It was sort of a grey and tan mottled mess, and it did not help the feeling of it being dark in there.  In fact, it had the feel of a dank, underground hole– makes you feel dirty the minute you’re done getting yourself clean, defeating the entire purpose.  I had to change it.  It took me little time to peel and prep, and with the help of my mother, only a few hours to re-paper.

The Mirror

The Mirror

The new wallpaper is a crisp white base with allover lilac gingham pattern, which I found multiple rolls of– just in case I decide to do the adjoining laundry– for only a dollar a roll at Knox Rail Salvage.  I absolutely adore gingham, I have for as long as I can remember.  It’s eternally fresh and youthful feeling, and as a vintage lover, it is one of the few patterns that is completely era-free.  You can use it in a shaker-minimalist home, or in one that’s 60’s mod, and either way it’s appropriate.  How can you *not* love that?  So yeah, this cute paper in the perky buffalo check only coast me a buck.  Okay, and the cost of paste, if I’m being honest.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what a steal that is in the world of decor, but even I could not have made the project cheaper.  As far as the end look– Worth.  Every.  Penny.

*The wickery framed mirror is actually plastic or some similar lightweight material, and was a lucky snag at my favorite local thrift shop for only eight bucks.  In fact, I wrote a little back story about finding it here–  www.lovenestdesign.com/score-of-the-week-6/

If you went over to look at the original bathroom pics you will see that this large oval mirror replaces a damaged wall-mounted number, and I think this one simple change adds so much more charm to the room.  I have the old mirror stored in the garage along with its hanging components taped to it, in case the homeowner wants to put it back up.  But it is likely I will also leave this replacement when we move, as I bought it for the spot, and the price is low enough I won’t feel any loss after years of use.

Of course I like this oval one because it goes soooo well with my little oddball wall decor collection.  Meant to be!

Another Angle On It

Another Angle On It

*The oddball collection in question is of course those vintage 70’s and 80’s plastic (and in some cases, styrofoam) moulded wall hangings.  I have gravitated towards birds, butterflies, bows, baskets and one little ballerina.  I started this wee little collection by picking up a few here and there, just for a dollar or two, whenever I found them and thought they were interesting.  (I have passed up a few resembling piles of sports equipment or depicting flying eagles and the like.  You can choose only what you love and, I just want cute.)  Anyway, I also began ruminating on them by pinning any I ran across on the internet via pinterest.  Noticing my interest, my dear friend Adri sent me an amazing box filled with fifteen butterflies and a true collection was born!  I was off with an enormous lead….

Now, the really fun thing about these thingies is that usually when I find them, they are kinda ugly.  Typically these come to me dirty deep into their crevasses, often dark and dreary in color, and more than a little sad.  I scrub them down really well– I’d recommend a magic eraser, does *wonders*– and then take the wall hangings out back and hit them with a couple of coats of pure color.  Something about straight-color is transformative to these guys…. they become so sculptural and interesting, I think.  I’ve chosen a limited range of tones that are reflected in my shower curtain, well that, plus blue.   (Because I wanted some blue.)  It’s sort of silly and odd, but the collection works somehow.  In a grouping, they are charming and funny.  To use a word that is commonly attributed to my taste– whimsical.  Good by me!  In my opinion, the thing a windowless little basement hole needs more than anything is some whimsy, fer shurez.

If you are interested in purchasing some of these plastic wonders, they were made by many companies, but the following manufacturers names should help your internet searches–  Burwood; Dart Industries; Hoda; Homco; Syroco; Universal Statuary Chicago.  Even more fun is simply watching your thrift shops for them, the price usually caps in the three dollar range around here, and I see them often enough that I can stand to be picky about which ones I bring home.

I Like HGTV Magazine.

I Like HGTV Magazine.

*The back wall to the bathroom had not originally been wallpapered, and in the spirit of not papering anything that wasn’t to begin with, I opted to repaint it.  Unfortunately, it was in horrible shape.  Sort of peely and scaly, as if it hadn’t been properly primed before it had been coated with dingy blue.  I probably should have sanded and mudded it.  Thank goodness Benjamin Moore paints are awesome, I skipped that stuff and just used the remainder of the gallon bucket of “Crocus Petal Purple” from our master bedroom on that wall, and it looks pretty great with just two coats.  It didn’t miracle-cure the ailing wall or anything, but it sure disguised a lot of the ugly, you really need to be up on it and staring at it to see its issues now.  (And how could you possibly see past my plastic fun wall crap?!)  Since I’m renting, that is *all* I care about.  If the homeowners didn’t see fit to do the necessary work before now, I’m not going to undo their thing.  No thanks.

Oh, and that color *just happened* to be amazing with the gingham wallpaper and shower curtain.  I know that’s a case where people will look at that wall and think, “Oh, big whoop, she matched a paint chip to some wallpaper!”  BUT NO.  I painted the master bedroom that shade the week we moved in, I bought the cheap wallpaper months later.  I am clairvoyant.  Or colorvoyant?  That’s more likely.

The Shabbied Sink Unit

The Shabbied Sink Unit

*On the subject of the things I’ve painted in this space, I also took all of the chromey hardware off of the wall– two towel bars, the AC/heating vent, and the TP roller– and spray painted them a really high-quality glossy white.  They were heavily pitted and starting to get rusty, and the towel bars just snagged my towels and stuff in a way that made my skin crawl!  Could.  Not.  Deal.  So they all got a revamp, and it was quite easy.

If you try this, I will give you my Dad’s tip:  back the screws out of their tightened spot in the brackets, but don’t remove them from the hole completely.  Then when you paint, go with the light coat system, getting the screw and all, taking a minute to do a quarter turn or so between coats of paint.  When you go to put them back, the screws won’t be a different color from the rest of the unit, and you won’t have to fiddle forever trying to get all of those correct holes aligned.  This tip worked really well for me.  (Just be careful that you mist with the paint coats, if you glop it on, you run the risk of gluing the screws into their holes where they are.)

*The sink’s cabinet had been painted at some time before me with the same super-pale blue flat paint as the non-papered wall.  This was unfortunate, because the flat paint had worn reeeeeally badly on the sink.  It was really grody.  I used an entire afternoon using soap, water, and a whole magic eraser scrubbing, followed by several days of sanding to get what you see here.  My intention with all this work had originally been to simply get the wood ready for a few more coats of paint (likely white), but in the end, this feels smooth and it looks sort of funky-shabby, in a good way.  If you look closely at the thing you can see some worn clean blue, the original bright white, and some honey wood tones, and all together it’s weathered and pleasant.  I didn’t see any reason to go any further.

My Butterfly Shower Curtain

My Butterfly Shower Curtain

*Now I will just go ahead and say that normally I am a fabric-over-plastic shower curtain person.  I like fabric, you all probably know this about me already.  But when I found this shower curtain, I felt COMPELLED to get it, as I was already collecting and spray painting things like butterflies in those colors.  And I needed a shower curtain.  AND it was cheap.  That’s the kind of serendipity that you cannot deny!

The shower is the entire right wall of the bathroom, from corner to corner, and to further add to that ‘burrow’ feeling, it is a step up into the bathtub.  I didn’t like entering the room and being able to sort of see up in to the tub, so I got a second plastic shower curtain in a pastel purple and backed this frosted one with it.  It adds to the cohesive feel of the tone of the room (ooooh, puuuurrr-pa-leeee!) and blocks the view so I don’t have that creepy depth-perception problem I had before.  Added bonus seems to be that it classes up that plasticky-tacky a little bit.  I dunno why two layers of plastic would suddenly be better than one, but thereyago.

*Now ya’ll, let’s talk about the floor.   I hate this floor.  It is considerably better looking than it was when we moved in (again, yayyyy magic eraser, I will advertise for you any day!), but it is still not good.  It’s the kind of situation that where even freshly-scrubbed-Cinderella-clean, it looks dirty.  I have done those peel-and-stick lino floors in past apartments– in fact, that is the type this current one is– and I have even found the preferred black and white checked one that I love the most for cheap at the aforementioned Knox Rail Salvage.  Buuuuut:  I would also have to do the adjoining laundry room;  I can’t just stop, and there is no door or anything, just a break from one room to the next, sort of a sliver.  *And* that step down from the shower will always, always be another contrasty ceramic tile because that’s how somebody did it, and I can only do so much.  So I am not eager to re-tile this floor, I’m sayin’.  Even though I hate it.

Glamour Shots

Glamour Shots

Foxy!  (Headed Toward the Laundry)

Foxy! (Headed Toward the Laundry)

The bath mats help.  I got this apple green duo at Target on sale, they are fuzzy-divine.  (If I were a drag queen, my stage name would probably be “Fuzzy DeVine.”  You know, if I were a dude and junk.)  They are small enough that I can easily throw them into the washing machine together, and they cover a multitude of sins.

*The last thing I will mention is my large wall decals, purchased for cheap at JoAnn’s.  I got four or five strips of them when I saw them, and I have divided them between the laundry area and the bath.  These things are made to be removable decor, so I have no problems with using them in a rental home whatsoever.  I especially urge you to think outside of the box with them a little, and maybe use them on some places like bathroom cabinetry or  on your toilet seat and tank.  They can withstand the wiping of a soapy rag, and when we move, they can easily be removed along with my things.  My little woodland critters are scattered in some more hidden areas of this room, to add touches of the unexpected.  (Do you see the pink hedgehog hiding in the pic below?*)  During our last huge party, I had a small child come find me in the kitchen during all of the hubbub.  I crouched down and asked, “What do you need, sweetheart?”  She said, “I want to tell you there is a cute cartoon fox that watched me potty in your pretty bathroom.”  Haha, oops, I hope she didn’t feel like her privacy was invaded!  (I heard later that those girls loved it over our house, despite the peeping kit in the downstairs bathroom!  And that makes sense, as my style is so bright and silly, children often love my home– and I always take that as the best kind of compliment.)

Baskets Hold Extras

Plastic Wall Baskets Hold Extras

I hope that there is some sort of fun takeaway ideas for you here, we certainly enjoy living in a home where we have bathrooms on both levels.  They might not be the ideal spaces, and I may be limited in what I can do with them, but it’s my desire to show you that something can be done to elevate them, no matter the circumstances or your wack-ola taste!  (Or, er, MY wack-ola taste, I’m sure your taste is elegant and dignified!)

*****

Oh, and if you loved this post about my unconventional bathroom, I ask you kindly to go and see what I did in our super-fun but slightly more mature, mint green tiled, master bathroom:
www.lovenestdesign.com/i-mastered-the-bathroom/

(* Oh, and the hiding hedgehog is reflected in the mirror!)


 


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