Seeing It Again For First Time…..

I woke up this morning and this is what greeted me when I walked into our master bathroom…….

I never noticed how the potted orchid echoed the shape of the flower in the photograph.  It struck me as a beautiful composition, so I took a picture of it.  To me this is the essence of what I am striving for as a designer – when the elements of a room “talk” to each other without necessarily “yelling” to get your attention. 

I love being in my home and “rediscovering” aspects of it.  It’s like seeing my house again for the first time.  Now if I could only apply this same philosophy to all aspects of my life! 

So tell me, what old thing in your life have you discovered “again” and see with new eyes?

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Update: Guest Bath Chevron Wall

Last year (all 15 days ago) I started doing some cosmetic changes to our main floor/guest bathroom.  I have never been a fan of it – in fact I would venture to say it is my least favorite room in the house.  It’s basically a big square box with green tile.  But then I am sure you are wonder “What bathroom isn’t a big boring box?”  Well my friends, there are plenty of beautiful bathrooms out there…heck if you had the opportunity to check out the link party over at Centsational Girl’s blog she highlighted over 100 kick-ass bathrooms from across the nation.  This got my motivation going to finish out the bathroom update, but then that little thing called life (and subsequently work…did I tell you I have a part-time gig this month in marketing.  More on that later….) got in the way and this is where I stopped this week:

Not bad, but it can be better.....

There is a list of things that need to happen before I can do a full reveal:

1) Paint touch-ups

2) Trimming out the bathroom mirror

3) Finalization on whether to keep the shower curtain or go with something else

4) Confirmation of artwork above toilet – yeah or nay?

5) Vignette for the sink bureau (yeah, I am annoying like that)

On the flip side, I am quite pleased with my towel selection — found them at Ross Dress for Less.

So let’s recap, out of the 7 things that needed to happen to make the bathroom presentable, I have accomplished two in the last two months, one thing a month.  At this rate, I will be old enough to need a bedpan before I finish the bathroom.  And somehow buying towels doesn’t seem that monumental of an accomplishment compared to all you awesome peeps in cyber DIY land.  Not that I am comparing myself to y’all or anything…….but deep down I am judging myself (but only a tiny bit).

Half Bath Tour…..

Honestly, this isn’t that exciting, but for those of you who asked, here are a few shots of my half bath on the first floor.

The half bath is an extremely small room as it occupies the dead space under the stairs that lead to the second floor.  From a design perspective, it is a perfect use of space that would otherwise have been a closet.  With a small sink and a toilet, is the perfect spot of guests to freshen up upon arrival.  The mirror pictured above is from Ikea and reflects a wall decal from Chiasso.  You can read more about the wall decal in this posting.

Above the toilet is a quick weekend DIY project I did using left over paints and wall spackle.

Here is a better shot of the decal and the wall it occupies.  I love the decal’s scale and how it acts as a large central focus in what is a pretty narrow room.

So that is the half bath…..not blow your socks off exciting I know, but some of y’all asked and I am a man of my word.  What is more exciting is that I have grouped all my room reveals together and have created a new page called Home Tour.  It’s a work in progress but it highlights the different rooms I have completed and photographed to date.  Check it out…….

Inspiration Drain……

I apologize for not posting pictures of the repainted main bathroom, but I am having a horrible time finding inspiration for what the art should be in the room.  I vowed to myself that each room I redo on the condo would have one art piece that I personally created, designed or DIYed.  I think it is important that each room has a piece of the homeowner in some way whether it be pictures, found objects or art.  For myself, I chose artwork as the way to bring “me” into the rooms.

However, each idea I come up with for a piece seems too “crafty”, “smaltzy” or just plain boring.  The cartoon below sums up my feels in a nutshell:

I really want to do something that pulls in a dark green to tie in the existing green tile in the bathroom.  I oscillate between a simple canvas design with birds on a wire (potentially trite and boring), a more daring mosaic project involving razor blades, paint and  cotton balls (may be outside my skill level), graphic design using shiny pennies (silly?) or simply keeping up the b/w picture that already is hanging in the bathroom (cop-out?).

So yeah, I need to make some decisions and do it soon!   I am curious, when you are drifting about on projects, where do you turn to for inspiration?  Would love to hear your secret (well not so secret if you tell me) spots or exercises re-energizing your design mojo!

Did I Ever Tell You My Bathroom Reminds Me of Molly Ringwald?

As you all may remember, I really wanted to redo the main floor bath and bring it up to the level of the other rooms on the main floor.  The main bath is definitely the “homely brown-haired girl” in a class of rather popular blond cheerleaders.  I am positive that just like in every 80’s movie starring Molly Ringwald, this room will emerge a beautiful swan from its ugly duckling stage.

Molly Ringwald = Main Bathroom

However, all good transformations need the “architect” or catalyst for change.  In Pretty in Pink, the prom was the catalyst that spurred Molly’s transformation.  Well for me, the spark is that I have a week off from class.  Great!  But, The Partner and I have a trip planned for Thursday – Sunday to Southern California.  Then I am right back to school come Monday afternoon.  Now add in the dilemma that I don’t get another extended break until Thanksgiving, but we have house guests potentially coming during that time frame.  So this week is only time I have available to complete the bathroom if I want it ready for our holiday guests.

Whew.  That was a mouthful.

So with all that said, I have spent the last 3.5 days working diligently on the bathroom.  Sunday afternoon, I made the rounds to the discount marts, antique shops and home improvement stores to get my supplies and accessories.  Monday, I taped and primed the walls.  Tuesday, I painted…and painted…and painted.  While painting isn’t my favorite thing, it is a cheap way to get maximum impact, but it is time-consuming.  Things got really bad today and I found myself having an out-of-body experience from pure boredom.  Fortunately, while I was drifting off to nothingness, I found a spot on the wall that I missed and that brought me right back to reality….seriously, it totally did.

I think the real issue with the bathroom is that I spent a better part of Tuesday painting it off-white…maybe the color of the foam on your latte.  It’s a great color but it is about two shades darker than the white that was previously on the wall.  All I kept thinking as I painted yet another coat of on the wall was “You are sick.  Seriously….you are painting an already white room, a darker shade of white.  Courtney, you need help.” And thus was the conversation I had with myself for the next three hours as I painted three walls and the ceiling “Latte Foam”.  And here is the kicker- Latte Foam”  isn’t even a color.  I made it up!  It is actually 2/3 tinted white primer and 1/3 Dutch Boy “Trenchcoat” both from previous projects.  Again, it’s a great color (and I may market it some day) but the idea I am painting a room a creamy shade of white is getting to me.  Thank goodness that I got to break up the monotony and paint my accent wall in the “Trenchcoat” by Dutch Boy.  It is a khaki with a reddish/ruddy undertone… was my second choice for the guest room, so I am happy to be able to use it in the bathroom.

Trench Coat Khaki by Dutch Boy

It is the perfect background for the chevron stencil I painted on Wednesday.  I waffled on whether the chevron will be too “loud” and clashing with the rest of the house.  My head said yes, but my gut said go for it.  So I slept on it and decided to move ahead full steam.  Now all I need to do is a bit of accessorizing and I think I am golden.

I hope to be able to debut the new bathroom in the coming days but until then I think I am going to pop in my Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club DVDs. 

I Heard It Through the “Grape Vine”…..

At the beginning of September, I made the decision to” redecorate” the main floor bathroom.  It is the final room on the main floor that is left to be touched now that the roomie has moved out.  For the most part, aside from a new shower curtain, it has not been touched.  I had grand plans to paint and add a frame around the builder’s grade mirror.   Then school got in the way of my decorating plans and it all got put on the back burner.

Last week, I made the push and went to look at paint colors for the stencil I want to do on the wall.  I am a bit tied to the colors I can use due to the green tile in the bathroom.  While not bad, the tile color is not something I would have selected for the room.  While I would love to simply rip it out, the budget doesn’t exist, so I need to work with it.  After looking at a couple of color options, I am pretty sure that I will be going with Behr’s Grape Vine in eggshell:


Grape Vine by Behr Paints


It is a great compliment to the tile and I think will great as the accent color in the chevron pattern I want to paint on the wall.   I know that many people like to just jump in and go see what happens, but I am a huge believer that a little prep will save you from a load of pain.  So this weekend, I am off to grab a sample pot and a test board to do my standard trial run.

Fingers crossed that the color and pattern will work well together!