my new loo

one of the few areas of the house that was untouched by the scorched-earth upgrade war we have waged over this past year was the master bath. or, as it shall henceforth be known: "my bathroom" because jesse was exiled to the guest bathroom a few months after marriage as a relationship-preservation measure. 

turns out i am a psychotic morning creature and cannot get ready with anyone closer than 5 feet from me. also, walking unprepared into the after-air of a grown man's bowel movement is apparently my hulk-trigger and turns me into a hate monster who wont stop until hearts are broken. 

well, the bathroom's ability to be good "enough" to escape my new eye for upgrades finally fell short last month. like most of the stuff in our house,  it wasnt that bad, as you may have seen in many a stitch fix self-photo post. here she is:

the room was wallpapered (i die) when we bought the house and we havent the cajones to take that stuff down correctly, so we just painted it grey (i think this is a deadly sin in the DIY world, maybe?) back in the year of our lord 2006 as newlyweds and called it a day lifetime. 

in addition, this room has 20 ft ceilings and a trapezoidal window way up high so painting, much less de-wallpapering, wasnt something we wanted to relive as 30 year olds with 2 kids.

so the grey would stay (which obviously was fine by us since almost our entire house is grey-walled) and the upgrades would work around that.

more before:

i loved the red/navy/grey combo of the original decor when i was a blushing bride, but now it just looks like a yuppie 9th grade boy's bathroom to my more mature, classy 30 year old retinas.

more stuff i hate: the cluttered look of all those bottles and labels, the slightly off-white sink, and the 4th grader painting i made which is the room's only "decor."  

oh, actually, i am just now remembering that in august of 2011 i did have a brainwave that was prophetic about how much i hated the original cherry cabinets in the bathroom and so we painted them. here's the true before:

painting these white was a trial run for seeing how hard painting the kitchen cabinets would be (answer: hard enough that we delayed THAT process until june).

but like a raging dingleberry i didnt use true white paint. i was a little gun shy about going full on #FFFFFF and so i picked a slightly warmer tone. BIG mistake. huge. the cabinets were no longer wood colored, but they also were clearly a darker white than the white counter, the tile and the sink. failbot. every time i sat in the tub and stared across at the 6 different shades of white staring back i me, i had to fight off a rage-seizure with everything in me.

another hideous before detail:

apparently satin nickel AND brass were sexy hot back when this was installed and the builder just couldnt bear to choose BETWEEN them. so that mofo doubled down with this monstrosity. dont ask me how this escaped my wrath for 6 years. and the complimentary two-tonedness of our bulbs really finishes the look.

and the real belle of the ball:

seems like a great place for a little attempted murder.

so with all of these BEFORE situations, i made a list of general problems i had with the room and set out to find the cheapest and easiest way to fix them:

1. the room has no soul or personality (much like a 9th grade yuppie boy)
2. the room is too dark and heavy
3. there is no pretty or even functional storage (remember, the maximization of vertical space is my love language)

so the first step was repainting the cabs ultra white. this was really easy since the color i was painting over was already a shade of white. that was like a 1 hour project and made a HUGE difference in the look of the room and in my cerebral integrity.

next was a pinterest project i have had my eye on for over a year. $18 bucks at home depot later and some sweet-talking of jesse into doing it and we had a framed out mirror! (heres the tutorial we used).

once the mirror frame was in, i felt a huge difference starting in the room. it just felt more expensive and more like a quality space, rather than just "cookie cutter bathroom version 2C96H4." 

the only other thing i knew for sure was that i wanted this shower curtain and would build the rest of the scheme around it, trying to avoid going too nautical. 

eleventy billion trips to target and home depot later, this is what is in now effect and making my swoon every time i enter:

and of course, after i took all of these pictures, i finally talked jesse into letting me get a new sink basin. so this isnt even the true AFTER.

the old one was beige and had been cleaned so many times with really abrasive cleaner that it had lost its enamel coating and was just so porous and rough that it was impossible to keep clean and repulsive to touch (think fine grain sandpaper). a shiny glossy white new one from HD was only $29. 

and rather than spring $60 to replace our faucet, i thought i would give my lover, oil-rubbed bronze spray paint a try at the job, and he CRUSHED IT!

here is the real sink. superimpose it over the old one in all of the following pictures, please.

so can i show you around some more?

i finally decided on "curry" as my accent color to go along with the gray and navy. target has a nate berkus collection with this color right now that provided the bath mat and hand towels with a rich pop of color for just a few shekels.

another target bathmat by the potty for some texture and more grey variation

i just couldnt make myself buy 2 new trashcans (theres another behind the toilet) just to throw out my current ones. they may have been fire engine red, but they held trash like allstars! a little tape and a can of navy spray paint and its new!

here you can see the bright white cabs and the oil-rubbed bronze spray-painted light fixture. 

plus a new medicine cabinet for storage and visual interest (the 2nd hand towel holder i had over there before made NO sense and accomplished nothing for that space) relieves a lot of the storage pressure on the tiny closet which had just become a constant avalanche risk for anyone who opened the door.

i'm artsy to show you this one. i just wanted a good snapshot of my color/pattern/texture inspiration.

again, i couldnt bear to spend $10 on new curtain hooks, so i sprayed the old ones.

a much more friendly and happy toilet alcove. the new cabinet is stuffed with about 500 tampons and 10 rolls of toilet paper.  i still need some more flair for the shelf. TBA. and $4 fresh mums in my 50 cent yard sale vase make me feel like a rich oil-baron's trust fund daughter (i dont have fresh flowers in the house very often, so that may be going too far).

oh my countertop accessories make me so giddy. they are all from target except for the striped tumbler from west elm.

again, the tissue holder was red until it got the ORB spray paint treatment. a $5 target basket holds the extra hand towels and washrags. the gilded urchin (can we please start calling me that?) and frame and nate berkus  from target too. they were more than i wanted to pay but i love them HARD and they carry on the yellow and stripes thing without being matchy matchy or literal.

i solved the bottle issue in the corner by putting them all in a dark brown basket that came lined with a pretty gray and white floral fabric. you can still see the bottles, but not all the busy labels and shapes. and if the duchess of canterburyshire stops by and i need it to look super classy, i can just stick the whole she-bang under the sink lickety split.

the towel holders (over the door and wall-mounted) got painted and i got the white with gray accents towels at walmart for $4 each. i was thisclose to springing for really nice white towels (in the name of investing in quality things for once) but realized i needed to know myself and our family a little better. a plush $20 bright white towel could never survive in the dukes jungle and would just make me crazy until it got stained or torn and then bitter every time i looked at it afterwards.

i love this room so hard now. and i am kind of proud that i came up with the general look of it on my own rather than using a pinterest photo to start from (which i almost always do). it gives me hope that some little creative seedling in my head is taking root and that i can actually bring to life something that i love using my own brain! it's in there somewhere.


  1. Yay you!!!! I love the colors you went with. You Grey Lady.

  2. 1. How do you take a picture of a mirror without getting yourself in the picture (seriously)?

    2. Does oil-rubbed bronze spray paint really work well on a faucet? It's not coming off? What brand of paint did you use?

    3. This is so cute!! I'm pinning so I don't have to come up with MY own ideas...

  3. Love how you mixed and matched the accessories. They go great together and that tumbler is awesome!

  4. I'm drooling over a bathroom. This is a first.

  5. WOW. I absolutely LOVEEE it. Stunning!

  6. I love it! You guys did an awesome job :) Don't you love that you can do this kind of stuff yourselves? It makes me feel like such an adult to walk through Home Depot and then do something around the house.

  7. you are hillarious, i love the comment about the mofo contractor. lol