|I've named my friend on the left "Owl-fro" because that's what his crazy hair looks like.... (It's Selaginella kraussiana or Frosty Fern that I got at Aldi before Christmas).|
I know this is a garden blog, but I mentioned in my last post that I had discovered the wonderful world of houseplants, but that I was limited by finding enough spots with good light in which to grow them in my house. I decided that since many plants prefer greater humidity than the average forced-air-heated house has in winter, I would like to put more plants in my upstairs bathroom -- however, that north-facing room was pretty dark and there was no place to put plants directly in front of the double window in there.
I had been thinking of giving the room a face-lift anyway, as there were some things about the bathroom that could be improved. We had re-done the bathroom back in 2008 when we bought this house, and it was a GREAT improvement over the 1970s-era look that was there when we bought it:
|More powder blue and rustic 1970s style....|
Back in 2008, we re-did the shower with white subway tiles, replaced the toilet and sink with retro-1920s-style fixtures and replaced the barnboard with white beadboard. I painted the walls a medium brown because I thought it would look nice with the dark brown floor, windows and door. Fast forward to a few weeks ago:
The bathroom was not bad as it was, but it still had the water-damaged floor near the shower, some water damage on the window sills and the brown walls often made the north-facing room seem dark.
It occurred to me that painting the room a lighter color might increase the reflected light in the room, making it bright enough for plants that prefer indirect light. And I started noticing on sites like Houzz and Pinterest that many bathrooms looked great in an all-white color scheme, especially all-white bathrooms with green plants as the only decorations. The plants became dramatic focal points in the all-white rooms, while preventing the rooms from feeling sterile and lifeless.
I deliberated on the idea of painting everything white for several weeks before deciding to take the plunge -- I don't take lightly the idea of painting over 1920s Arts & Crafts woodwork, but the wood was not in great shape, and I believe that if this room had originally been a bathroom when the house was built (it was an upstairs sewing room), the wood trim would originally have been painted white, as that was very common in kitchens and bathrooms during the 1920s and 1930s. And, as the 1990s decorating guru Christopher Lowell used to chant: "Just because it's wood, doesn't mean it's good."
It took me nearly two whole weeks of painting every day: primer + 3-4 coats each on walls, windows, door, beadboard and floor to finish the project. (I still need to re-caulk the shower, but I'm taking a little break this weekend....) Anyway, here is the end result:
|I found the three glass shelves on sale at Aldi (my new favorite store).|
I love my new, cottage-decor, spa-like, plant-filled, all-white bathroom! It's so much brighter and cleaner in there now.
As for every housekeeper's big question: Yes, I have noticed that the white floors do need to be Swiffer-vac-ed every few days (as I anticipated) and there are a disconcerting number of mystery splotches on the floor every day -- but those things were on the floor before, and it makes me feel quite queasy to think of how much filth must have been on my bathroom floor all the time before. I'm one of those people who doesn't clean something unless I notice that it looks dirty (or unless people are coming over to visit), so I feel better knowing that my bathroom will be much cleaner going forward, even if I have to do the cleaning more often.
I'm very happy with the results, and I'm also happy that I was able to transform this room for very little money: Altogether I spent just under $220:
- $30 on floor paint
- $30 on trim paint
- $20 on the faux-beadboard wallpaper at Lowes
- $30 on the three glass shelves that I found just when I needed them at Aldi (I love Aldi!)
- $18 on white pots (mostly at thrift stores, closeouts at Lowes and the cute owl pot half off at Hobby Lobby)
- $40 on the large white planter and ZZ Plant from Lowes
- $36 for a new white bath rug and garbage can at Target
- $12 for the large "birds in a tree" metal art above the shower (half off at Hobby Lobby)
- $3 on color copies of botanical prints found online
I already had the wall paint, the picture frames which I spray-painted white, the curtains and most of the plants, which had been in my upstairs hallway in the east window (I think they will like the humidity in here better, especially the ferns, which were starting to curl up and turn brown at the tips).
Anyway, I'm really glad to be done with this project (as is my family, who were certainly getting tired of the hallway outside being filled with ladders, paint cans, tools, etc. and having to shower with the bathroom door open for the past two weeks so the day's paint would dry properly!). Time to take it easy for a while.
I hope you are making progress on your own projects, whether they are home improvement or other kinds of endeavors, and that your winter is going well (December and January down, February and March to go...). Thanks so much for reading! -Beth