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Monday, April 27, 2009

A Bath's Tale: Changing Yellow to Blue and Morphing into Pretty!

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, before the King and Queen moved in, the bathroom looked like this:

. . . and the Queen was not happy.
"Off with its head!" she commanded.
The King quietly 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 for Metamorphosis Monday and Blue Monday: A Bath's Tale.

Be sure to check at the bottom of this post, for links to lots of other great
Metamorphosis Monday and Blue Monday stories!

Of the seven rooms on our second floor, four are decent-sized bedrooms, and three are very small -- average size 7' x 12' -- and we figure that years ago those three little rooms were probably nurseries, sewing rooms, "hired hand" rooms. One of them 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 anyway, so that was an easy choice.
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 old oak medicine chest we hung a 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 brave enough.

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

One is a washstand, "antiqued" with blue paint and amber glaze by my Mom in the 1960s. It has come 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 -- 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 in 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 once a small bedroom is that it has real closets.
Since we have visitors, I took Howard's sleep shorts off the door hooks. You're welcome.
Can you see the lever on the toilet? Also replaced with dark bronze.

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:

From T.J. Maxx, this seashell holds my many pairs of reading glasses:

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.

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.
I know 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. But I need more things on the walls anyway, so I'll move it then.

There's another room of this size next to the master bedroom. We use it as a closet, and someday it will morph into an en-suite master bath. Someday. . . .

And -- for many more stories of amazing makeovers, visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, for Metamorphosis Monday. You can find her and all the stories here.

And then visit Sally at Smiling Sally, for Blue Monday. Click here for beautiful blues!

Thanks to both these ladies for hosting! I love having a theme to build a post around.

Coming soon, a post about this:

And I'm going to need you to put your thinking caps on for this one!

Have a lovely Monday! -- Cass


  1. HGTV can jump in a lake - your counter is great. As long as it works for you and you like it...that's all that matters.

    I think it all looks divine!

  2. I love that soft shade of blue; it's perfect for a bathroom. The mirror couldn't be hung any lower with that switch in the way, so I'd say it's fine as is. Thanks for sharing. Happy Blue Monday.

  3. Absolutely love your bathroom. I love the washstand and chair in there and I agree, all blues go together. So nice to paint the cabinet and update the faucet and pulls, they are gorgeous. I have a tip for the light. Mine was an ugly sort of brass thing and I bought some ant. bronze spray paint and painted it to match everything else. Looks great and the price was right. Might give it a try. Mine looks new and up to date. Love your new look and I think the bathroom is perfect. Hugs, Marty

  4. GM, Cass another great peek at your beautiful home...I love it when you show us your wondeful ol house...and girl I have that same med cabinet in my master bath and just got it 10 years ago and now I found out its old ha ha!! I can't take my off it installed into the wall...Love your you did with the vanity the blue, love it all...may you have a great day my friend...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  5. I enjoyed the tour of your bath -- I really like the old pieces your Mom did. I have been contemplating painting the vanity in one of my baths black -- I think you have me convinced it's the way to go. And yes, I believe I might do a little glaze of black, or even red, over that gold mirror frame.


  6. I love your bathroom, and thank you for taking so many great, detailed pictures!
    I am hosting 13 giveaways this week. I hope you'll stop by.

  7. Cass! You have done a marvelous job beheading this bathroom and making it just right! I like it!! Happy Blue to you...

  8. Love the metamorphosis. Get yourself some Gorilla glue to hold things in place, using it in conjunction with some masking tape.
    All mirrors are to high for me..5' nothin.
    I really like the wastebasket. Pulls those colors together.
    Well done Cass.

  9. Great redo in the bathroom. I really like that shade of blue on the walls. Being that men are usually taller than us, they usually hang things too high. I've just gotten used to it. Oh, and I like the gold around the mirror.

  10. Cass... you are so funny! You explain everything perfectly and then make me laugh out loud like a goofball ... "He didn't get that memo"... hehehehehe.....

    You're right the counter is fine. Granite isn't necessary to have a beautiful bathroom and that's what yours is... BEAUTIFUL. I love that you have things from your childhood in it and all the details are perfect.

    Oh and I always tell Annie that beauty is pain ;)


  11. Thanks for the kind words today. In reply to your Q about the toile, I doubt it is an active pattern. I have had it for a few years, and when I bought it, it was a 10-yd remnant at a store now closed, which carried closeouts on that type of fabric. The only concrete info I can offer is that it was made by Braemore. I looked at the selvage, and there is no pattern name or number.

    You might look at and some of the other on-line sites to see if you can find some. It really is very cheerful!


  12. Cass,
    I really love what you have done to the bathroom. I love that shade of blue and the K-Mart sheer looks perfect. I love all your cute little decorating touches. Thanks for your great comments and your great sense of humor. cindy

  13. i really like your bathroom alot...i am in an old house {1901--you've got me beat} and i have a blue bathroom with white trim also. we were lucky for it to come with an old claw-foot tub that is beautiful {but maybe a bit impractical} :)
    i'm going back to check out your older posts!
    have a great day.

  14. Cass,

    I like your new bath a lot! Black and blue are the new "in" colors and you can't go wrong! I wanted to mention that I like the flooring in there too. It would be wonderful to have a bath this large.

    I like the washstand and chair your mother painted~and the blue color. I think the velvet towel will make a nice cushion.

    Now if only my husband could keep a budget on "his" bath redo at the lake. I saw the vanity he ordered this weekend and I could use it for a dresser! ;-D

    The picture for your next post looks a lot like one of the four posts of my four poster bed. Am I getting warm?


  15. Love it! Your paint color is very similar to mine and I also matched it with black, but in my curtains and shower curtain (toile to be exact).
    You know, if you aren't happy with the light fixture, you can take it down and paint it to better match what you have in the bathroom, until you can get what you want. That's what we did and it's held up well!

  16. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your bathroom colour! One of my all time favourites. Your bathroom is lovely; good job!! Happy Blue Monday.


  17. What a beautiful metamorphosis! You've truly done a great job. The bathrooms in my house are in terrible shape and need make-overs badly. Your post has been an inspiration!

  18. First I love your old house! It is my dream home! And I love that color blue in your bathroom and then with the black. It looks great! Have a great Blue Monday.

  19. I love your bathroom! I think it all looks great!

  20. What a wonderful transformation!!! Every detail is lovely!!! Th e little bistro chair is my favorite...I have a chair fetish;)!!! Gorgeous BLUE!!!

    I hope you are having a wonderful day!!!

  21. How lovely! Happy Blue Monday!

  22. Darned if I didn't enjoy the whole post! I can relate to the point about the mirror being too high. I am 4"11 the husband 6"4 when we moved to our new home 2 yrs prior we had an obvious problem in the bathroom but it only took he a few weeks to figure it out and fix it and it has been good ever since.
    I hope your hubby fixes your for you!
    Also I love the color in your bathroom it is quaint and harmonious even the clock fits in.
    happy Blue Monday.

  23. Great post, and I read the whole thing!!
    Looks good! I have one of those wood thingies on my fireplace, ..It wasn't warped, or broken but I remember holding it in place for a LONG time.

    So how does the paint hold up on the cabinet???

  24. Oh heavenly blue. I LOVE your bathroom makeover. It is so gorgeous. Perfectly lovely.


  25. What a lovely shade of blue! Great job, it all looks great!


  26. You are so blessed to live in and old house. A lifelong dream of mine. I love your bathroom. I agree about all blues going together, otherwise we limit ourselves to what colors to use when decorating. I say never be afraid of color.


  27. Beautiful.. I love that blue and the wash stand from your Mom.
    Thanks for sharing.

  28. Hi Cass,
    Love the room...I think the color of the walls is perfect!

  29. No reason for a hard-working main bath to be plain-Jane. You've done a nice job with this metamorphosis, and it looks lovely!

  30. your bath redo! What a beautiful color of blue. I love yellow but I really like the blue much better! Love seeing your Mom's pieces...very sweet. And I like that decorting rule about all blues going together...can that work for greens or reds or other colors when needed? :-) Your commentary was great...your posts are sooo much fun to read! :-) Susan

  31. Cass,

    I love your Met Mon. post and this is the first time I have visted your bolg but I was stopped in my tracks when I read your profile. First of all I LOVE your blog for so many reasons BUT what stopped me cold was the fact that you have not one but two Caveliers. I also have a tri-color Cavelier and her name is Miss Scarlet. This is my first Cavelier, she is three years old and I am in love with the breed. I was getting ready to look for a male, Rett of course, when we inherited a beagle. Long story and I do love him but have not given up on finding another Cavelier. Owners of Caveliers are SPECIAL people. I just took Miss Scarlet to the groomer today and they absolutely adore her. I will post some pics of her soon.

    Carolyn, N FL

  32. Its' a very romantic and beautiful bathroom !

    Have a nice day !

  33. Hi Cass...I love your home & your blog is so fun to read! Your changes look fabulous...I'll be anxious to see your next post..
    ;-) Bo

  34. What a lovely bathroom. Your colors are divine.
    Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

  35. You did a fantastic job making over your bathroom!! LOVE the dark vanity and oil rubbed bronze hardware. And the mirror was a great find. If you want to tone down the gold, maybe try dry brushing it with a little dark brown paint.

    I actually like your countertop and think it works really well with the dark vanity. If it does the job for you and your family, that's really what matters most anyway :-)

    I love the fact that you have a phone sitting on your blue wash stand :-) Don't worry about the drawer, I do the same thing -- I take a picture and then realize there's something in it that shouldn't be there. Like a vacuum hose, for example. Oops!!

    Thanks for checking out my Met Monday post. Definitely NOT my kids in the last picture -- which is why I think it's so funny!!!! :-)

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  36. I love the transformation! Paint really does do wonders - by the way, I think the blues work very well together! I can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve for that bedpost.

  37. I love your bathroom...actually. The faucet and cabinet look wonderful. The accessories pull it altogether. Job well done!

  38. I could see myself dilly-dallying in that bathroom for sure:) I found the color to be so relaxing.

  39. You are a hoot! I laughed the entire time reading this post. I love your bathroom makeover. Did all moms paint every stick of furniture in the 60's? My mom sure did, and even the closet doors. Then she antiqued everything. Then in the 70's we had to strip every piece of furniture of it's paint. Now we are again painting the furniture. Too funny. At least yours is still painted & you don't have to do it again. And of course, all blues do go together (so says the queen). lol!!! Thanks for the laugh & for sharing your nice looking bathroom with the faux onyx counter (I have the same thing).

  40. My oh my.....that bathroom is beautiful! It inspires me to go and re-decorate out bathrooms. I LOVE the color and all of the details are just perfect! You are very creative and have excellent style. It was so much fun to tour!!

  41. Lovely all around. Can you tell us the name and brand of the white paint you used in the bathroom and for the trim in your master bedroom as well? Thanks!

  42. To Anonymous, above -- the white paint we used throughout the house for woodwork and trim is Benjamin Moore's Dove White.
    I also used it for furniture in our beach house -- it's a lovely soft white.
    Thanks for visiting! Sorry I have no other way to contact you, so I hope you check back for an answer.


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