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Bathroom Makeover

I seem to be spending most of my time lately playing catch-up – restocking stores and such.  Translation? I’m still a bit in-between on new projects to share.

So I thought I’d continue the story of my fixer-upper house.

As some of you probably recall my house was built in 1940 and although it had a great floorplan it looked awful.  I have been slowly (really slowly…glacial) trying to fix it up.

I started with the kitchen which was grim but you hadn’t seen bad till you saw the bathroom.

I only have two before pictures (I think I was just too grossed out).

Here is how it looked originally (this is how the SHOWED it!  That’s not my stuff on the vanity.  Clearly HGTV was not on their “favorite channels” list)Bathroom -- before
Not pretty.

But you hadn’t seen not pretty until you looked at the shower:Shower Before

Who wouldn’t feel clean using that?

As it turned out the shower just needed some very VERY intense scrubbing to become….. sort of liveable.

But it was impossible to shake what it looked like out of my mind and, no matter what, it always appeared dingy with its beigey/dirty white tile and dark maroon trim.

So I saved, and planned and finally undertook the actual remodel.  I couldn’t change the layout much but I could upgrade all the parts.

So, once again, the before:Bathroom -- beforeAnd the after*Bathroom Remodel Vanity and Floor

I got the vanity on super sale from the Restoration Hardware Outlet (they were switching over to their current Furniture-for-Giants/Did-Somebody-Die-Why-Is-Everything-Grey? style) and a scrap piece of marble from a local yard.Bathroom Vanity up close and personalI was going for simple and kinda timeless so the shower got some nice, white subway tile with built in niches as well as some glass tile stripes for accent. Bathroom Shower Remodel(they look great except that the ONE glass tile that is crooked is EXACTLY in front of me when I’m showering ).Shower NicheI mounted the wall cabinet my dad made many years ago for my NYC kitchen: and filled it with my childhood toys.Toy Collection Because, of course, what bathroom is complete without Matchbox cars, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang  and a Russian Dictator Nesting Doll Set? (honest to god I have NO idea where that came from but it just cracks me up!  When you take them all apart you get to a teeny-tiny Stalin.  Awesome!)

I added beadboard up to the chair rail all the way around the room and a black and white hex tile for the floor.Bathroom Remodel Tube Wall I need some kind of art or something for the wall above the tub (perhaps a badly spelled Donut Sign?) but haven’t managed to figure out what yet.  It’s only been a few years – why rush?

All in all I’m really pleased with the room.

There is another super-tiny bathroom in the house that is up next for a makeover…and a pantry….and a front path….and a patio..and…and…and……

Have a great weekend everyone!

*I realize I probably should have done a little more “staging” for these photos but what was I gonna put?  Flowers?  Artfully displayed soaps?  I can only go so far in my pretend-home-presentation…….I’m lucky if there are even clean towels within reach half the time let alone folded neatly on the vanity.

** Also, just to be clear I did none of this work myself except the painting.  I designed and bought things but left it to the pros to install….(and fix the ENORMOUS hole that was found underneath the shower floor).DIYShowOffbuttonsmalltodays creativetutorialsandtipsDiamond in the Stuff

Putting the High in Highboy

One of my favorite things about all this is that each piece I have seems to have a story.

I wasn’t sure what to think of this story.

I got a call from an acquaintance who said,

“My ex-husband’s cousin has died and I am in charge of cleaning out his house.  He has some furniture that I thought you might be able to use.”

She didn’t seem terribly broken up about her ex-husband’s cousin’s passing.  And although I was curious about the furniture I was A LOT more curious about why/how she ended up being responsible for the property of such a tenuous relative.  Wouldn’t the former spouse be a more logical choice?  How did her current spouse feel about this?

These questions burned in my head until I actually arrived at the house which was, I am not kidding you, an episode of Horders.

The front lawn was covered with…..lets call them “belongings” and half a boat (half?! How do you end up with half a boat?  I saw Titanic – even if your boat breaks both parts still sink and Leonardo DiCaprio dies – that’s just how the world works).

My friend and her ex-mother-in-law…. (yeah, her ex mother-in-law.  This is one incredibly new-age, super tight post-divorce relationship) had been there for a couple of days and had just managed to clear a path inside the house.

It took them two days to clear a path.

They showed me through the house (down the “path”)  to a back bedroom and a really, really nice highboy dresser which was, inexplicably, in very good shape unlike the wall it was in front of or the floor it sat on or the ceiling it was under.


They left me to examine it and that’s when I found the baggies full of a “mysterious” dry, herb-like substance in the top drawer……..

I wasn’t quite sure what to do.  What is the etiquette in this situation?

Does one just place the baggies on a nearby surface and move along?  Do you tell the clearly not grieving friend that her ex-husband’s cousin seems to have left some “stuff” behind?  And, perhaps even more importantly, do I continue to open drawers?  Might the highboy be in such good shape because it was some sort of, I don’t know, filing system?  Will the subsequent, larger, drawers yield more “supplies”?

I decided it was best to be straightforward and made my way to the kitchen.

My news was met with a sigh and I was directed to “the pile” which consisted of several similar baggies, a lot of cash aaaaaand a gun.


“The police are coming shortly” I was told.  And really, who could argue with that plan?

The rest of the drawers were, happily, empty.  I never quite got the reason why she was stuck with this task and the police did eventually come.  They were very nice and one of them helped me carry the highboy to my car which was thoughtful but made the whole experience just that much more bizarre.

So here is the highboy after being released from custody

See?  It really was in pretty good shape just some trauma along the top and some wonky (empty!) drawers.

And after some sanding and priming here is its angelic, white incarnation (Restoration Hardware Cloud White – it just seemed so appropriate).

I couldn’t even bring myself to distress it as I thought it had probably already been through enough, you know? 
Shall we link?

Restoration Hardware Inspiration

Little Girl's Desk Makeover project Cheltenham RoadThis may not be the best way to follow up my “I stole from the Salvation Army” post because now I seem to have done a similar thing at Goodwill and you’re going to start wondering about my moral center.  But I swear (again) it wasn’t intentional!

A friend tipped me off that there was a Goodwill outlet nearby.  I had no idea that Goodwill had “outlet stores” and I must confess the idea of a place filled with items that are so bad that they didn’t sell in a regular Goodwill didn’t sound all that promising but I had to check it out.

It turned out to be a warehouse  filled with unsorted piles of clothes with  a small area of housewares and random furniture.  And I saw this:

Bad paint job, lots of dings and scratches and whoever had owned it was a big fan of chewing gum (previously chewed and “saved” portions were in every drawer and under the top edge).  They were also waaaaay into the Little Mermaid with stickers of Ariel and friends everywhere.

But there was lots of potential!  It was solid wood with dovetailed drawer joints.

However, there was no price on it or, in fact, on anything in the store.

It turns out that, at the outlet, the check-out people call the price based on some secret rubric that only they know.

A woman ahead of me in line held up a chair and was told “three dollars!”  The next woman’s basket of mis-matched glassware went for “two dollars!”

It was my turn and I pointed at the desk and the cashier said “twenty five dollars!”

It seemed like a good deal to me but I’m a little math-challenged and I had to take a second to calculate if, in the end, that price plus the work it needed would work for me.

But the cashier confused my “math-challenged” face for my “that’s too expensive” face” (totally understandable as both involve brow-furrowing and a general appearance of unhappiness) and she immediately countered her own offer by saying “ten dollars!”

Startled, I tried to explain that I wasn’t actually trying to haggle with Goodwill (which seemed like it would be another bad-karma move) but she just repeated “ten dollars”  in a kind of adamant way so I paid and hightailed home.

I had first imagined the desk covered with maps or maybe Hardy Boys book covers but the more I worked on it the more I came to feel it was more of a little girl’s desk.  And after seeing this in a Restoration Hardware catalogue

I decided to go with a classic pink, white and brown scheme.

I thought the drawers needed a little more dimension so I added some wooden plaques from Michaels to the fronts along with some pink crystal knobs.

And it came out like this: 

I thought it would look good in some little girls room but, surprisingly, I sold it to a grown (albeit tiny) woman whose only real concern was if her computer monitor would fit.  You just never know….

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