Decorating · Lakehouse

Into the light…a master bath makeover

When we bought our lake house three years ago, the master bathroom was definitely a room that I was anxious to make some changes to. What initially seemed like a sophisticated master bath soon felt like walking into a dark heavy space with the dark wood shades, brown curtain panels, brown tiled shower, dark wood vanity with gold granite and tile. Though the effort was to make it look elegant with the crystal lights around the vanity and in the closet and the decorative mirrors, it was just a bit too much for me and didn’t fit my style.

Your bathroom should be an extension of your master bedroom retreat space and thus should also be a very personal decision on how you approach decorating it. What worked for the previous owners just didn’t work for me. But it doesn’t have to be a complete demolition to bring it in line with your own taste. Here’s how I approached our master bath.

Pros and Cons Assessment

Start by assessing what you have. What do you like about the bathroom and what is an absolute “redo”, keeping in mind your budget. Making over a bathroom doesn’t have to break the bank if you approach it the right way. I loved the shower, especially the river stone floor. Though the tile was dark brown, the light blue/green glass tile insert helped to break up the darkness and I could definitely work with that color. I also loved the seamless glass outside walls of the shower. No changes there. I also liked the light gold large tiled floor just fine, certainly didn’t want to waste money changing it.

The con list was a bit longer. The lights were too fancy and created too many light prisms and reflections on the walls, the mirrors were too ornate, the vanity was very busy looking with the gold vessels and a dark brown finish. The tub seemed liked a big blob on the floor, though having a tub was a must. The corner dark cabinet was obtrusive. The window coverings covered all of the natural light coming into the bathroom. The paint color seemed a little dark to me. Basically this bathroom needed a total lightening up.

The Process

Start with a honest and reasonable objective of what you want to accomplish and feel with your bathroom. For me I wanted to lighten it up, bring the outdoors in and capitalize on the natural light as much as I could. I was going for a cleaner simpler look that would make an easier transition into the master bedroom. After reviewing my pros and cons list, I made a list of things that needed to be done to address the cons that would bring it in line with my dream bathroom that would also be cost effective. My plan would include quite a bit of painting and a few switch-outs of some key elements in the closet and bathroom, some of which I could do myself and some I would have to enlist help.

Paint

I normally would paint myself, but there were several places in the bathroom where the sheet rock tape had split and I wanted to have it professionally repaired so it wouldn’t be a problem in the future. Also, the thought of going around all the shelves in the closet did not appeal to me, so I definitely would be hiring out the painting. That was the easy part, finding the paint color was the hard part. In keeping with my overall objective to lighten things up and bringing the outdoor in, I decided to steer away from the blue green tones of paint. I opted for a creamy white and would use the color for accents to tie it in with the master bedroom. Let me just tell you, picking a white color is the most difficult thing to do.

After painting several swatches on several different walls and looking at it at different times of the day I finally made a decision. I wasn’t there when they painted or I probably would have stopped them soon after they started and changed colors. When I got back to the lakehouse and saw the completed room, I instantly thought it looked a little too yellow creamy, almost green at times. WHAT? Do not underestimate how the surrounding elements will affect the paint color because of reflection. The green leaves from outside and the gold colored floor had a huge impact on my completed paint color. I decided to live with it and hoping that once I put on window treatments, painted the vanity and added other blue/green accents into the room, it might just blend in and I won’t notice it.

Lighting

Lighting is so important. Just the color of the light bulbs can make a big difference. It wasn’t long after we moved in that I instantly removed the chandelier side sconces from the vanity. We also changed out the closet light to something bigger and bright and white with a bit of brushed bronze accent to tie in with the wood shelving. We changed all the bulbs from a yellow tint to a white tint. What a big difference this alone made in the color of the paint.

Cabinets & Storage

When first dreaming about this bathroom I envisioned a sleek stand alone soaker tub. However, before ripping it out and dropping a grand, I decided to paint the bottom to see if it made a difference. I found some leftover paint from another room and after proper prepping, painted the bottom of the tub. Within a few hours, it totally changed the room and convinced my husband that I could also paint the vanity the same color. WOW! I loved it and so did my husband. Big win and it didn’t cost me anything except for a can of bonding primer and a little time. I could live with that.

After cleaning out and purging unnecessary stuff from the tall corner cabinet, we removed it and re-purposed it in the basement storage room for another day and clean out project. I picked up a little white cabinet with the perfect drawers from IKEA (which I put together myself) and put it in the corner instead. What a big difference this little changes made in the overall look and lightening up of this room. We also changed out the gold vessels for white vessels.

Flooring

The only thing I did differently on the flooring was replace the shag taupe 5×7 rug in the closet with one that had the teal/blue colors in a more geometric design. This put back some of the color that I took out and ties in nicely with the master bedroom.

Accents

New botanical prints on both sides of the windows, a lamp, new vanity and wall mirrors from Kirklands, removing some of the stuff on our sink, an added side bench and a clean closet finished it off.

Window Treatments

Initially these windows had wicker shades however they were inset in the window frames. I wanted to be able to see out and allow as much light into the room as possible so I bought new blinds and had them cut to just outside the window frame. These Levolor blinds just pull up and down….no cords! I found the perfect fabric that was light enough but had some of the color and texture I wanted to pull in from a package of curtain panels in Lowes. I remade the panels, lining them and cutting them down to make the same style of ring pleated café curtains that hung halfway down the window, providing the privacy we need in a bathroom but letting in the maximum amount of light. We are down a long driveway and it is already quite private, unless our neighbors are walking down their long stretch to the lake.

Before and After

Well, what do you think? The paint color settled in for me and I don’t even notice it anymore with all the pieces put together. It’s lighter, brighter, feels bigger, brings in the light and outside view. I think I hit all of my “wants” and it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. My husband even said he likes the coziness of this bathroom now. I think it’s a win.

cushions · Lakehouse · Slipcovers

Lake Stools Makeovers

A couple of years ago I purchased these fixer upper stools from the “Joyous Junque”  yard sale at the Catholic Church in Moneta Virginia.  I think I paid $20 a piece for them, my small part of the over $50,000 they raise and donate to various charities annually (click link above to read their incredible story). They definitely needed work but I saw potential and at the very least they would serve a purpose until I could get something else for my kitchen bar area.  

The first thing I did was spray them with bleach water, hose them down and cut off the nasty dirty vinyl flamingo pink cushions.   I wanted to be sure to start with a clean slate.   I took a wire brush and scraped away any loose pieces. After drying in the sun, I spray painted them with a creamy white. Spray paint was the way to go to make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.   A few paint cans and a sore trigger finger later, I was ready to make new cushions. 

First I made a template of the seat taking in to account the curved back and cut around the front legs.  I traced the template onto my 2” foam and cut it with my handy dandy electric knife.  Fun fact…I used to work at J.C. Penney when we first got married in the houseware department.  I bought it for next to nothing for our first Thanksgiving together and used it for 35 years! It has now been designated for my foam projects. 

img_1328I was pretty happy with they way they turned out but in true ‘Denise’ fashion, I got bored with them and wanted to change them up again.  A few blog posts ago I talked about Inspiration and how you never know when or where it will strike. Well, this past year I binged a bit on the Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie”.  What does this have to do with my stools, you say?  Well, Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) live in a gorgeous beach house in La Jolla, CA.   She had these slipcovered stools that I just loved and I thought, well, I can do something like that!  So that became my next inspiration for phase two of these repurposed stools.

I decided on this high performance fabric from Revolution, called Beauchamp.  It is washable, bleachable, lightweight but provides good coverage and drapes wonderfully.  It was also so easy to sew and work with. My biggest challenge was creating the template to fit the stools and match up the stripes.  The extra time spent on making the template paid off and the fabric had enough give for me to be able to match up the stripes without too much trouble and they drape perfectly.  To help the covers stay in place, I sewed two ties into the back seat seam allowance that tie to the back to side posts.  Invisible.

I absolutely love the way they turned out!   I guess the true test will be when my grandkids are back and they crawl up and down.  See, there is still some life in these old discarded stools.

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Decorating · Lakehouse · Slipcovers

Home Alone

When my husband told me he was going to New Orleans for a week for a conference, I had two choices. I could go with him and kill time around the city (been there, done that), or I could spend the week at the lake house catching up with projects and cleaning that were either neglected or put on the back burner throughout the summer rush and busyness of welcoming two new grandbabies into our family.  Turns out I made the right choice.  It rained every day in New Orleans and it was a beautiful, 60’s-filled and sunny week at the lake, with fogged-over lake mornings, sunny days and full-moon nights. img_8630 I painted, decorated, cleaned, sewed, sat in the hot tub, shopped, and took naps. 

I had my lists of people to call, appointments to make and keep, emails to write, cleaning and projects to start and hopefully finish. I’d say I had a productive week. But as usual in the process of getting things done, I also added a lot of things to my list.

My painting projects included painting the master bedroom from a muted green color to Palladian blue.  The same color looks entirely different in this window-filled room as opposed to the windowless basement bathroom where I also used this color.  It instantly freshened and lifted the room.

I also started the process of repainting a used hutch I bought for our basement redo.   It’s a work in progress.  I don’t have a lot of experience using chalk paint and finding the perfect color can be tricky and expensive.   For instance, this Shiplap color I picked up at Target looked a lot more creamy on the can and but when I  painted my piece, it definitely was more white.   I think I need to get further along in the basement redo to finalize the color but for now I’m leaning on a Shiplap white for the inside and a linen color for the outer parts.

 Several years ago I snagged this old brown antique desk full of drawers with dividers and a glass top at a flee market in Raleigh.  I’ve always wanted to paint it as it traveled from room to room in this house, switching colors I thought I would paint it, from a distressed creamy color, to a Robin’s Egg with silver top and even barn red.

Now that I am pretty sure it is in it’s final place, I settled on a “Weekend” color of chalky paint from Magnolia Market.  This dark teal color finished with dark brown wax gave it depth and an updated aged  look.   I love it and it ties in so nice with the rest of room but keeps the richness of the dark wood.  

In between coats and during drying time on my paint projects, I cleaned ceiling fans, blinds, floors, and closets, and switched to my winter clothes.   

I took a break from painting and cleaning to also make a couple of slipcovers. As part of freshening up the basement, I had ordered a linen blend two-tone stripe tan fabric for the two table side chairs.  I just love how a little bit of new fabric can completely change the way a room looks.  It’s like getting new furniture.

With the falling temperatures and lots of falling leaves, we spend a little more time inside the house.  And with the holidays fast approaching, I of course, start thinking about where the trees will go, which then in turn leads me to “rethink” room arrangements which in turn leads to a mini makeover.   Actually it has just taken me over two years to figure out how to use my “rooms” in this open floor plan.  But I am happy and relieved to say that I have finally settled in on an arrangement….but my husband doesn’t believe it.  Bless his heart!  He is patient and goes with the flow and lets me exercise my creative spirit.  I’m lucky that way.  I look forward to the day when all my projects are done and I can just go to the lake house and not have an agenda.

Until next time,

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Decorating · Lakehouse

Master Mini Makeover

It’s been almost a year since I updated the basement master bathroom (see Bathroom Rejuvenation     to refresh your memory). I typically put home projects on hold during the summer and get busy during the winter months on house projects.   One of my projects this past winter was to redo the basement master bedroom attached to that master bathroom. 

I started by repainting the cool blue walls. Instead of starting from scratch on what color to use, I  considered the colors that I already had in the house.  I decided on a warmer “Hot Springs” which was also a color used in the upstairs Master bathroom.

 The color goes well with the basement bathroom and blends well when looking into the room from the basement living area next to it.  This paint color also pulled out the colors in a some of the pictures that were in the room.

Once that was decided, I focused onto the bed. I found coral colored sheets that matched perfectly with the lake picture, my initial inspiration for this room.  Though just a picture, it really reminds me of Smith Mountain Lake.img_0044

 With that I went shopping for other inspirational elements. I found two pillows that I fell in love with for their texture and design at Homegoods.

For bedding, I wanted something washable, non-bulky, and neutral in color.   I got a steal of a deal on this quilted coverlet (under $15!).  Threw on a matching linen bed skirt and shams.

To add some luxury and height to the bedscape I opted for a couple of Euro pillows. Euro’s are a big square pillow usually 26×26 or 28×28 that you anchor in the back of your bed next to your headboard or in front of your sleeping pillows.  I found this fabulous textured velvet creamy fabric on a remnant table at The Fabric Place Basement in Alexandria.  At the time I didn’t know what I was going to use it for, but I knew I had to have it.

They were perfect for my new pillows with the right body, texture and color to lighten the bed. You can find inserts for Euros at most stores that sell home goods probably cheaper than buying the actual inserts.  These happened to be down filled Tommy Hilfiger’s and cost the same if I were to buy only the inserts.  So it was like getting two sets of pillows for one price!

I made a bleached drop-cloth slipcover for this Ethan Allen chaise chair and ottoman (to see the before picture on this see New Love for an Old Chair).  It had to be washable. I wanted it to be fresh looking and comfortable.  I love my “LOVE” pillow and it pulls in the dark blue accents from my bed pillows.  

The windows were already were covered with white faux wood blinds but they needed to be softened a bit.  Initially I thought about cornices but decided the room needed something with softer lines. 

I again wanted something neutral just in case I wanted to change things up later on, cuz that’s what I do. This was the perfect place to try the roman shades from cheap mini blinds Pinterest project.  I have to say they worked out pretty good and were a quick fix.  The tone on tone khaki stripe fabric was found at The Fabric Place Basement for five dollars a yard! I love a good deal, especially on fabric.  

The lamps were replaced with something a bit more sleek and modern. I just love the pull chains to make it easier to turn on and off from the bed rather than fiddling around to find a little knob.

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I’ve had these unimpressive, flea market find nightstands for about ten years. They were just begging for a makeover.  So I painted them with Lowes cabinet paint.

I taped off the parquet border on the original drawers, and updated the pulls.  I added a couple of books, plants, pictures and other knick knacks.  Perfect. What a difference a little paint makes.

With the neutral bed and neutral colored Berber carpet, the room still needed a colored rug to anchor the bed and set it off.  I found these southwestern inspired runners at Target.  Instead of anchoring one larger rug at the foot of the bed, I opted for a runner on each side of the bed.  img_0008

It  had all of the colors in the room and just what was needed to pull it all together.

Of course I have a crib stashed in the walk-in closet ready to roll out for my new grand babies on the way.  Yep. I said babies…plural.  My daughter is having a girl in July and my son and his wife will welcome their first in October!  OVER THE MOON!

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Decorating · Lakehouse · Sewing · Slipcovers

Bonus Chairs in Boucle’

I found these two chairs and ottoman for $100 with the intention of slipcovering them for my  soon to be finished bonus room/workroom/she-shed/study/escape room at the lake.  I was looking for matching club chairs that wouldn’t be too big but would be comfortable enough to snuggle up on and were in good condition.

Almost immediately after I got them home, I started to doubt my decision.  They “looked” stiff and uncomfortable.  I considered reselling them and starting over before I invested any more in them, but after further “comfort testing”,  I decided it was probably the  dark and “office-like” fabric that was getting under my skin.  If I found the right fabric, they might just work.  Since I’m a hands-on kind of person, I went fabric shopping so I could actually feel the fabric and drape.  I found a knobby textured yet soft boucle fabric.   It reminds me a little bit of terry cloth, but not snaggy.  Normally I don’t recommend upholstery fabric for slipcovers as it is harder to sew, doesn’t have the drape of natural fibers, and isn’t machine washable.  Since these chairs had very simple lines, would be in a room with very little traffic and I wasn’t planning on removing them to wash them, I didn’t think this would be a problem.  I planned to Scotch Guard them as well.

I chose a neutral color so I could accent them with pops of seasonal colored throw pillows.   A tan velvet piping  and two-inch velvet band on the bottom gave the chairs even more softness and elevated these chairs to another level.  I LOVE them.

I think they turned out great and now meet all my criteria….matching, comfortable, soft and versatile.    My plan was to use these as the fall/winter slipcovers and make something lighter and “lakey” for the spring and summer (stay tuned).   That’s the beauty of slipcovers.  You can actually change your mind and recover them if you get tired of the fabric or just want to change things up by the season or your mood. 

If you are trying to decide if slipcovering is right for you, checkout one of my favorite blogs and inspirations,  The Slipcover Maker to know when it is a good idea to go with a slipcover and when it is not.  detailsbydenise_3x5-smaller

 

 

 

Decorating · Lakehouse · Sewing · Slipcovers

Wings & the Test of Time

I never considered myself the “wingback” type, but for an affordable $35 it seemed like a good buy and would help fill an empty room in our new home twenty one years ago.  The seam on the pink cushion is busted but other than that it doesn’t look much different today than back then.   The chair served us well for the next twenty years by just moving it around from house to house and room to room whether it be a bedroom corner, a music room, a study, or a nook in my kitchen.  But over the years, my taste in color, style and fabric also changed.  

This chair had been through the sea-foam green and dusty pink decade and then with the help of a slipcover, went on through the gold and burgundy years .  It would not only be my first piece to slipcover but later served as my inspiration for Details by Denise.  I found an inexpensive home décor fabric, a slipcover pattern, some self-motivation and eventually finished it.   These days I am feeling a lot more neutral…with a touch of blue.  So, with a new spot for it in a corner of my lake house bedroom, it was time for a new slipcover. 

I have always wanted to try a fabric combination and wingback chairs are perfect for this concept.  I picked out a two-toned brown striped linen, and a blue and brown plaid.   I had two challenges…. dealing with stripes and matching plaids.  I made the cushion with plaid on one side and stripe of the flip side to change it up if I wanted to, but I really like the look of the plaid.  I only have one wingback but I am sort of partial to it.  I can’t bear to part with it, so I guess I will keep reinventing it as my mood or colors changes.

You can never go wrong with something neutral for slipcovers for the most versatility, but sometimes you just want it a little unexpected and interesting.  You could consider using old quilts, chenille or matelassé bedspreads, ticking or drop cloth for parts or all of your slipcover.  Pinterest is a wonderful place to search for ideas. 

If you have ever wondered about slipping a piece that needs an update, I would love to help you design it and make that thought a reality.  Now is the time if you want it done before the end of the year.

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