DIY : Beginning Of A Guest Bath Makeover

February 28, 2012 08:11 by ehouston

With my million-things-to-do list increasing daily and a large portion of those items hitting deadline at the end of the first quarter I am slightly freaking out with the coming of March 1st this week. Thank God for that extra day in February with leap year, right? Phewwww… Anyway, I am itching to jump into several room re-dos, but promised myself I would at least remove the wallpaper from our guest bath and kitchen before moving on to any upstairs areas. Mainly because, aside from a much needed paint job in the family and guest rooms, the downstairs is in slightly less need than the extra bedroom upstairs. Although banishing the lavender wall color in there before I transition the Little Guy over into his “Big Boy” room, is a non-negotiable. So, I will be getting to that room ASAP. With my last attempt to remove wallpaper and paint being so disastrous, I decided to ease into the process and start with the smaller of the two rooms; the guest room bath. Now is your chance to really have some fun at my expense…literally! Here is where Waverly met the early 1990’s in the worst way possible and you get to laugh at it, with me hopefully more than at me.

In the immortal words of Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, “Let me show you what I’m werkin’ with”.


This first shot is just to give you a basic feel for the shape of the space and to show the wall color of the adjoining guest bedroom. Although the walls in the bedroom desperately need to be touched up the color is a nice pale blue, sort of a hint at a Tiffany’s gift box, and more like the look and feel of the rest of our home. I believe it was the previous owner’s attempt at diverting your attention from the ghastly ‘90’s throwback wallpaper that still lingers in certain nooks and crannies.


For funsies I think we should get right up and personal with that lovely wallpaper. It’s difficult to tell in a photo, especially with the bad lighting in this room, but the walls are striped in deep maroon, hunter green and gold. The stripes have a sort of swirled under pattern that I believe is there to mimic moire’ fabric. MMmmmm…. Then of course, there are the over the top golden swags, embellished with flowers and holding heavily fringed thickly draped fabric. So, bee-uti-fullllll….NOT! What kills me is that this is the only room in our entire house that does not receive any natural light and it has some of the darkest wallpaper imaginable. That = crazy!



Now I will bring you a bit closer to the fabulous vanity. It is actually quite nice as far as the size goes. Deep double sinks with a good amount of space around the edges and in between. For a change it is nice to live in a place where you can set the curling iron down to wash your hands and not risk death by electrical shock. There are three decent sized drawers in between the sinks and below each, a double door cabinet for plenty of storage. While the faucets boast a chrome finish the cabinet hardware is white porcelain, which contrasts nicely with the creamy beige chipping paint and tarnish-blackened hinges.


But I would say nothing tops the cabinets like cultured marble in yet another shade of creamy beige, flecked with deep maroon.


Oh, but wait! There are these super shiny brass sconces perched high above each sink. Not only are they, well, brassy, they give off very little light. Especially for FOUR lights!


At the end of the double vanity we come to the toilet. Pretty standard issue. The only thing goofy with this is that it appears to be in a shade of white, rather than cream or beige like the vanity top. ???


Above the toilet I placed a display shelf shortly after moving in. The little glass shelf was crammed into our powder room, appeared to serve zero purpose and had a bright brass look to the metal support bar. A quick spray of hammered nickel and it worked to camouflage the holes left from the really posh cream colored plastic towel bar that had been hung at an oddly high point behind the toilet.


Oh yeah, here is another look at the circus stripes and around to the shower/bath combo side of the room.


Both the downstairs guest room bath and the upstairs hallway bath have sliding shower doors. At least these fixtures are in chrome, although my preference would be to remove them and just put up a bar and nice curtain. At the bottom of the picture above you can see another lovely color combo of cream colored tile against a white porcelain tub. Again ??????


But no expense was spared in adding accents to this bath/shower combo! No, a lively diamond pattern in pale pink was added to jazz things up. Because, you know, pale pink goes with deep maroon, hunter green and gold. Oh yes, and about six different shades of cream. Right?


Swinging around, the tour ends with a look at the nicely sized linen closet that hides behind the bathroom door, plus you can see yet another shade of creamy beige in the floor tiles. Oh yeah, and if you look closely above you can also see more gold knobs and hinges mixed with a chrome door hook.


Aside from being decorated by a legally blind person in love with the romance of Waverly wall paper and early 1990’s color combinations, our guest bath is the BOMB! I know you are all green with jealousy! (or, maybe that’s the vomit in the back of your throat?)

I cannot wait to get these stripes out of here. My only problem now is deciding how to tackle this project. I could go in so many directions.

Here are some of my Concerns:

-No Natural Light

-Sconces and ceiling fan light give off nothing more than a candle flame

-Extra large, overpowering mirror

-Gold mixed with chrome and white porcelain

-Cream and white fixtures (vanity top, toilet, tub and tile surround)

-No budget for new tile

-No budget for new vanity

Here are some of my Ideas:

-Paint the vanity cabinet a fun bright color (light, beachy green maybe?)


-Gel stain the vanity to make it look like dark wood

-Remove the wallpaper and paint the walls a light color (pale taupe to help neutralize the vanity top?)

-Frame the large mirror (it does help to reflect what little light is in there)

-Replace or paint the sconces and switch out the shades for something more stylish

-Paint all woodwork, and doors bright white

-Remove glass shelf behind toilet and replace with artwork or a more substantial shelf unit

-Add art work or large mirror to the end wall of the room

-Change cabinet hardware, door knobs and hinges

If I had a bigger budget, or one day…..

-Would love to chip out the row of pink tiles in tub surround and replace with something more modern in a neutral color combo

-Would love to switch out the cream colored powder room toilet with the white one in here

-Would love to remove the sliding tub door and replace with an extra high bar and long custom curtain

-Would love to remove the large mirror and replace with smaller, individual oval mirrors

-Would love to get all new lighting

-Would love to remove vanity completely and replace with a higher cabinet (this one hits below my mid-thigh) and a Carrera marble top

Now that I have put it out there, I guess I better get busy, right? What DIY projects have you guys been working on lately? Any suggestions for our space? Remember we are on a super tight budget and will have to make due with mostly paintable changes right now. However, all suggestions are welcomed!

Kitsch Krafts

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So Cheap!

July 1, 2011 01:21 by ehouston

As you know from recent posts I have fallen back in love with the local library.  It’s not that we really had a falling out or anything, I just got busy with life and kind of forgot about him.  We are hanging out regularly again and he reintroduced me to the thrift store.  Yeah, I was still visiting with thrift store from time to time, but our usual weekly meetings were few and far between.  Again, life, and the tiny budget, took over.

You may be saying, well if you have a tiny budget than the thrift store is where you should be!  Let’s just say that I can make a wreck of my bank account even at a thrift store.  It’s great to have an eye for the potential in so many of the discarded things in a junk shop, but the inability to bring just some pieces home with me and leave the rest for others has been a problem for years.  I have written before about how I frequently have to wean myself off the “junk” because it’s taking over my time, closet and garage space life.  Well, since getting back on the library kick and introducing the Little Guy to this world of books, I noticed he is becoming very attached to some of what we borrow.  I have been allowing a couple of movies that we typically watch just in the car while running errands and as many books as he wants.  Our haul from two weeks ago was so good that I decided we would take the movies back, but keep the books for a second week.  That way he could continue to enjoy all the fun stories he picked out.  I am afraid of the meltdown that is coming this Saturday when we go back and drop off the current stack.  I plan to let him take his books up to the counter so that the process sets in and hopefully he makes it through without any trauma.

But, opening up my heart again to the library and now seeing the same thing happen with my son brought me to the decision to allow more frequent visits to the thrift store so he can get more reads.  I learned that the local Salvation Army has a 50% off discount on all items each Wednesday, well…except the furniture, unless it’s been there for 30 days.  Which is probably for the best because we would most likely be on our third armoire/dining set/side chair/couch…oh you get it.  I have an illness.

So, Wednesday we made the trip over to the Sal Army and picked up quite the load in just under 15 minutes.  I will admit to ulterior motives initially.  A week ago I spotted the cutest little blue upholstered chair that I thought would be perfect for our upstairs landing.  Being the frugal lady that I am, I passed it up because it was just a week shy of 30 days in the store.  I was convinced that no one else would think it was cute and I could get my score on Wednesday for a whopping $14.99.  Yeah, that’s right, I was too cheap to shell out for a $29.00 chair!  The thing is, I don’t need it at all.  It would just look nice, make the whole upstairs flow better and give us a good spot to read or chat on the phone…but, I didn’t truly need it.  So, I could really only justify pulling from my nearly non-existent budget if it was super cheap.  Wah-wah….it was gone when we got there.

BUT, the Little Guy did score 9 new books for his own growing personal library. 


I got a wall basket to use in our master bathroom,


and I also picked up a chrome set for the guest bathroom consisting of a towel ring, towel bar, toilet paper holder and door hook. 


The best part about this haul was that it totaled $6.49 for everything.  I have a ton of plants needing a home right now, so I figured I will put that basket to use.  And, the plastic towel bar that was in the guest bath has been making me crazy since we moved in, so this set will be a nice addition.  Books for a quarter!  Yeah, I can spare the change for the Little Guy to have an enormous library of books if he wants.

What have you guys been finding this summer during your thrift shop trips?

Kitsch Krafts

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DIY and The Pink Bathroom!

September 3, 2008 10:46 by ehouston

I just received a message from a FLICKR Group dedicated to saving pink bathrooms with a request to add some of my pictures to their pool.  I am honored to be a part of this retro home revival group and plan to check back often so I can take a peek into other people's homes.  My voyeuristic interest in to where other people live is a sickness that started back in high school when I attended my first estate sale.  It continues to this day, by an unseen force that draws me to spend a Sunday afternoon visiting open houses when I have no intention of moving.  I love getting a look at how other people decorate their spaces and the fun of coming upon a time capsule of life from bygone eras.  The chance to see how these homes were originally decorated is so interesting in contrast to how homes are often portrayed in movies and on television.  It's weird, I know, but somehow very thrilling when you discover something in pristine condition.  It's why I am also obsessed with shows like Leave It To Beaver and Mad Men.  I cannot get enough of the rooms in the homes and buildings on these shows.  I always end up annoying other TV watchers around me with quips about the neat couch or cool lamp in the background.

I recently attended an estate sale just down the street from my home and I wandered around looking in sheer amazement at the amount of wallpaper they had used.  Their home is a split-level too, as are many of the homes in our 1950's-1960's neighborhood, and I really liked the layout of all the wallpaper coated rooms.  One odd area that caught my eye, though, was the staircase to the upper portion of the home.  It sat right by the front door and twisted at a strange angle toward the bedrooms.  It seemed awkward when a straight set would have made perfect sense, but I believe the point was to give a more grand affect when viewed from the front entry.  The funny thing about split-level homes is that "grand" was never a part of the equation for the interiors and it always cracks me up when the owners try to go that route in their decorating.  ...But, I digress....what really caught my eye about the staircase was the flashy wallpaper that lined the stairs and then the upper hallway.  It had a busy, almost life-sized bamboo print in shades of metallic browns.  It was so out there that it had come back again and I have even seen similar patterns in new design mags lately.  The best part about this was that the master bedroom had another version of bamboo wallpaper, top to bottom, all four walls and so did the BATHROOM!  In fact, the over-zealous decorator had even created a shoji-screen style window covering to add to the Asian appeal, and they had continued the wallpaper right across the screens.  It was so awe-inspiringly gross! 

The ingenious decor continued with real bamboo molding.  It had been cut in half, wrapped around the top edge of the tiled walls that are typical for that era, and they had been stained a dark brown to match the dark stained vanity cabinets.  You could tell the remodel had happened in the 1970's or early 80's because of the colors and how over-the-top they had gone with the theme.  Even with the dizzying pattern overkill, these areas of the home were still sort of cool and made me want to try to salvage some of what the owners had been trying to create.  But, alas, the home has since sold and I am sure the new owners will rip out all remnants of this home's past coolness rather than working with the good bones and keeping some of the quirky decor.  Maybe I should slip some of my design mags under their door with the cool wallpaper pages marked for them?  

I really should not give anyone a hard time about ripping out and replacing anything in their older home.  There are many aspects of ranch and split-level homes of the 1950's and 1960's that I love, but sometimes that love does not stay warm in your heart once you have lived with something kitsch for a while.  Take for instance the room that got me the invite to the "save the pink bathrooms" group.  Below is a before shot of my lovely pink bathroom, complete with the old owner's ruffled curtains and seashell wallpaper.


We lived with that window and the matching shower curtain (see it reflected in the mirror?) for almost three years before the final breakdown.  There were other rooms in our home that definitely needed more work and were much harder on the eyes, so we gave them what I call "the mini makeover" treatment first.  Basically, a thorough cleaning, new paint, switched out hardware and pulled up carpet to reveal hardwood floors.  The easy stuff that makes an impact and helps you keep your sanity while living in a cosmetic fixer-upper.

After much thought about what to do with this space, everything from a simple spruce up, to taking the seashell theme to new kitschy heights, to just ripping all of it out and starting over.  We ended up deciding that it did not make any sense to rip out perfectly good tile and fixtures and a simple spruce up was all that we needed.  I spent a week pulling down the wallpaper, resurfacing the marred walls, priming and painting in a subtle shade of gray, to pick up on the contrasting band of gray tile along the floor.  We added a new, but vintage inspired light fixture because the old one did not cast enough light and we changed out the only broken element, the sink faucet.  New towels, shower curtain, refurbished wooden shutters and a "frame" set around the mirror and we were in business for a fraction of the price that most people pay for a modern makeover.  No, our bath does not have luxurious real stone tile, or a multi-spout shower head, but it does have a nice sized space, a more subdued palette and it still matches up with the rest of the home.  Plus, after all these years of doing my makeup in this room I have realized that pink really is my color!


KitschDesigns' DIY-Pink Bathroom photoset KitschDesigns' DIY-Pink Bathroom photoset

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