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Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Bath's Tale, on Sunday Favorites

It's Sunday, and I'm taking advantage of the Sunday Favorites blog party -- and re-posting a blog from April 2009. This one's about our upstairs hall bath.

My Saturday post (here) was a tease about some Thrift Shop finds from a Friday trip, and an invitation to visit That Old House on Monday, to vote on some fresh decor for my parlor fireplace. I'm looking for your opinions on Monday!

But for today, thanks to Chari of Happy To Design, for hosting Sunday Favorites!
Click here for more summer re-runs!


Once upon a time in a Kingdom far away -- if by "once upon a time" we mean "this morning" and by "a Kingdom far away" we mean "New Jersey" -- there was a bathroom that looked like this:

A year ago, when the King and Queen first owned the palace, the bathroom looked like this:

. . . and the Queen was not happy.

"Off with its head!" she commanded.

The King wisely pointed out that a bathroom does not have a head,
unless it IS a head and is therefore on a boat.

Thus begins our saga.


Of the seven rooms on our second floor, four are decent-sized bedrooms, and three are very small -- all about 7' x 12' -- and we figure that years ago those three little rooms were probably nurseries, sewing rooms, "hired hand" rooms or "box" rooms.

One of them became what is now our only full bath, and a hardworking room it is.

Turning this room into something I could live with, and love, was really simple.

First, paint:

The color is Wythe Blue, a Benjamin Moore Historic Color. I love this color; it's not a wishy-washy blue, and it is changeable in different lights -- nearly aqua, nearly not. Most men "read" it as green, most women as blue.

Next to go, the chrome faucet. It leaked.
The bathroom was already tellling me to go dark, so we installed this:

Then, the medicine chest. Howard liked it because it was convenient,
and leaving it would mean that he didn't have to pull out the dreaded tool box.

We know who won this one, don't we, girls?

In place of the oak medicine chest we hung a big mirror I found on Craigslist:

And do I have a volunteer who will tell my husband and brother-in-law that the mirror is hung about 1-1/2-inches too high?
I am not that brave.

I have two things in this bathroom that came from my parents' home.
Both used to be in the bathroom that I lived in as a teenager.

One is an old washstand, "antiqued" with blue paint and amber glaze by my Mom in the 1960s. It comes by its chips and shabby chic-ness honestly:

(Can anyone answer how I managed to take these pictures,
and not notice I hadn't closed the drawer?)

The other piece is a wire ice cream parlor chair, also painted by my Mom in the 60s. It is very distressed -- maybe too much so. I may paint it. More likely I will just sew a cushion for the seat to cover the worst of the chips and scratches and stains:

The 60s blue isn't a great match for the Wythe Blue walls, but as Queen of this project I have decreed that all blues go together. It's a decorating dictum that I just now made up.

My biggest project was the vanity.

It told me in no uncertain terms that it was fed up with being naked oak, and it needed it some chic. Well, what is more chic than black? Bone Black, by Ralph Lauren Paint.

But first, a $3 applique -- glued on at great pain to myself, since I had to stand and hold the danged thing in place forever, because it was a) broken into 3 pieces and b) warped. Explains the $3 pricetag, and as my Mom used to say as she combed out our hair, "You have to suffer to be beautiful."

It was worth it. I also replaced brass knobs and pulls with dark bronze.

One of the joys of having a bathroom that was probably a small bedroom is that it has real closets.

Plenty of towel room. I love a nice linen closet, and use my Mom's trick of keeping unwrapped soaps on the shelves; it smells lovely when you open the door, and the scent lingers on the towels.
Since we have visitors (you!), I took Howard's sleep shorts off the door hooks. You're welcome.

This little narrow closet next to the door to the hall holds all our toiletries.
Believe it or not, I cannot remember what is in the little ceiling-height cupboard!

Some details:

Above, one of my little Limoges plates, a sweet spot to park a favorite bracelet and watch overnight.

A big Home Goods flowerpot, doing yeoman's duty as a wastebasket:

Hanging on the back of the old washstand, a blue and brown printed towel from T.J. Maxx -- it's a thick velvety terry, lined with plain brown toweling. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it may end up as a cushion on the ice cream parlor chair, or even as a couple of big pillows on my bed -- the fabric is a ringer for velvet! Meanwhile, it has a home here:

Things still to do: light fixtures. Did you notice them? They are not attractive, but they work. Someday . . . .

I'm sure HGTV would tell me to replace the "faux" onyx countertop, as it is certainly outdated and un-cool. But -- it's in good shape, this is a working bathroom, and this countertop works. I'm not going to get my knickers in a twist over a faux stone counter. I like it!

Not too sure about the frame around the mirror.
Should I tone down the gold with an over-wash of black?

And the window. Mini-blinds were in place already; I added K-Mart sheers for softness.
This isn't a permanent solution, but I'm still in the "what do I want here?" stage:

So, that's it. The hall bath.
Nothing fancy -- and a cheap and easy metamorphosis if ever there was one.

Do you see the clock on the wall? My sister and I always put clocks in bathrooms, a habit from when our kids were dilly-dallying in the mornings before school.

You know that decorating rule about not hanging things too high? Howard didn't get that memo.

There's another room of this size that connects to the master bedroom; I think it must have been the nursery once upon a time. We use it as a closet, and someday it will morph into an en-suite master bath. Someday. . . . -- Cass


  1. Can't tell for sure about the color, but if the Topper/Valance in the "First Bath" photo is black and white, I think it would look GREAT with the "Second Bath". You could add a fringe or second little fabric addition to the lower hem with a blue color in it, if you didn't just want the black and white. Anyway, just an opinion offered from afar... :-) :-)
    Love the bath! I am hoping to do an upstairs hall bath in black and white and was going to paint my oak cabinet black too. Your idea about the applique is inspiring me!!!!

  2. I really like your redo on the bathroom. I have thought about painting the cabinet in my full bath black and like the way yours looks.

  3. I remember this room - nice re-do! Isn't it lovely to have a bathroom big enough for a piece of furniture?
    The Great Dane, like your Howard, never read the memo about not hanging things too high. I stealthily move things - and the effort is worth it, as he's 6'2" and thinks he should be able to look at anything at his eye level.

  4. I remember this post and really loved what you did with the bathroom. As always it is great to have pieces that were in your childhood home in your grown up home too.

  5. Hi Cass--
    Lovely re-do. I love HGTV but
    sometimes they go overboard
    with their ideas. I think your countertop works!


  6. It's vintage. It's beautiful. I love it!

  7. Very nice make over. My master bedroom needs on in a bad way!


  8. Great redo!!


  9. Love the transformation of the room! You did a great job. I'm going to have to check out that paint. Sounds like the color I've been looking for. Going to re-do the daughter's room while she is away at college and just bought some lovely toile that has a blue/aqua background. Sounds perfect!

  10. Oh my goodness gracious gorgeous, Cass! Thanks so much for stopping by Armchair Housewife and leaving a comment. Consider me your 167th follower, I love what you've done here to share your lovely home.


  11. Beautiful bathroom. Wythe blue is one of my favorite colors. I also like saybrook sage, which looks more blue than green when it goes on the walls.

    I would volunteer to tell your hubby that the mirror is too high, but to lower it to where it really needs to be, he would need to move the plug and the light switch. Is he up for that?

  12. This is excellent! Something that we could actually DO and like it...and affordable.

  13. Mornin' Cass...

    How are you this fine Monday morning? We got in from our little mountain getaway about 7 last night...had a fabulous time! I may post a few photos later today!

    My friend, so happy to have you join in with Sunday Favorites again this week!!! I loved this post...of course, I always love coming to visit That Old really is one of my most favorites!!! I love what you did with this bath...ohhhh, those blues walls are absolutely gorgeous! And...I love the mix of the blue wash stand and parlor chair with the blue wall color!!! Love, love, LOVE how you refinished the oak vanity...the black is gorgeous and I love the ornate details that you added to it!!! I also love the mirror and I wouldn't change it...I think the finish of the frame is perfect with the vanity and room!!! Ohhhh Girl, what I would do for that pretty chippy blue wash stand!!! It's gorgeous and I think it just makes that bath!!!

    I really, really enjoyed this post! Thanks again for sharing it with us for Sunday Favorites!!!

    Warmest wishes,

  14. Cass, If hubby does not want to move those oddly placed outlets below the mirror, would you consider a smaller width rectangular or oval mirror that would fit between them at a much lower level? However, doing that may make the existing light fixture too high. But that would be the case even if he moved your existing mirror lower. Was the original fixture in the same location?
    What is it with men and hanging things so high?! LOL I think you should move the clock yourself. Just patch the little nail hole and touch up w/paint. See if he even notices... tee hee
    I love your sink faucet in that bronze finish and painting the cabinet black was a smart and economical idea. You're lucky to have enough room to place both your chair and that chest in there.
    The room is cute and vintage. Who needs granite everywhere?
    :-) Sue


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