Well, it turns out doing All Bathrooms All the Time is good for business! My last blog post about the first in a three-fer bathroom renovation in my old suburban home got more hits than any post I’ve written thus far including the Ode to Yoga Pants and my 25th High School Reunion Fashion Review (to be fair, those people almost had to read it, to see if they made the cut…). I’m sure there’s another reason writing about Bathroom Design is of interest to so many people — it’s EXPENSIVE and tricky to get right. Bathrooms are teeny tiny rooms with very specific….um, functionality and not something you can change on a whim, even if budget isn’t an issue.
Well, budget WAS an issue in my home, due in part to the fact that we weren’t planning on doing three at once, and due in part to….I guess just life. We are at a stage in our home ownership and our lives where we see the end game. Not death or anything, but the hallowed word of all empty nesters, RESALE. We likely have about 10-15 years left in our home before we shuffle off to wherever we shuffle off to (He says, country, I say city – Zsa Zsa’s got nothin’ on me). So when we asked our intrepid Contractor to “throw in the powder room” for a nominal fee because why not (and because it was old, ugly, and in line with the corrupted plumbing stack– but technically not 100% “necessary”), I knew I’d want this former servants stair case-come-closet-come-powder room to have some STYLE.
The trickiest part of the room is that the floor measured exactly three feet by four feet. I know this because 17 years ago I stuck peel-and-stick vinyl tile over whatever God awfulness was there and it took exactly 12 tiles. The second tricky part was the odd shelf behind the toilet. Way before we purchased the home, there had been a stair case there that lead from the kitchen directly to the third floor, like an express elevator for whomever did the cooking and cleaning heading up to their living quarters. The shelf represented a bump-out on the outside of our house that we didn’t want to change, despite the ugly cabinet on top of it (that I hid with a tension rod and curtain). The third oddity in this tiny WC as that the fixtures were PINK. You know, that 1940’s pink–both the toilet and the matching pink sink….AWESOME!
This room is right off my kitchen and front hall, so there was no passing this off as a sweet, little girls bath. What was a young bride in a new (old) home to do? Well, I painted everything pale yellow, and embraced the girliness with chandeliers and vintage accessories. I kind of loved this room for the first 5 or so years. It made me smile. In 1999. But now I LOATHED those pink fixtures, and my clever (at the time) fixes for them. I wanted serene, but impactful. Modern, but classic. I wanted all of the bathrooms to be done in a way that all any new homeowner would have to do is change paint color and accessories and they would be THEIRS. Think of it like Design Karma. Leave you world (and your hard finishes) in better shape than you found them! I think this is an improvement….
We removed the cabinet on the odd shelf and I tiled it in the same slate herringbone that’s on the floor. The sink was a weekend-long Google Fest with dear friends who are also passionate about home renovation and design. The oversized mirror and light fixture make me so happy I sometimes just open the door and stare at them. I love putting oversized things in tiny rooms. It’s not as if a smaller light fixture would give you more room in this tiny space.
This room fit our budget, and feels like a tiny jewel box to me. Whomever buys our home would simply need to change the paint color and the accessories if they didn’t care for my design. I feel a tad sentimental towards my pink Pepto Bismol nightmare, but really, I know I put some money in the Design Karma bank with this one. Stay tuned for door number three!