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.

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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Crafty Things · Decorating · Sewing · Slipcovers

Bathroom Rejuvenation

When you buy a house (not new) your imagination runs wild and free on big plans to remodel or update.  Initially I dreamt of gutting the basement master bathroom, replacing the huge shower, painting the vanity, doing something with the mirrors, maybe change the floor and add a soaker tub.  If I was a true do-it-yourselfer, that wouldn’t be too far out of reach.  That was my initial vision.  As other more important projects took a hold,  my initial plans for that bathroom soon became less important and cost-effective. But there still were a few issues I had with the bathroom.  This bathroom had no windows and felt cold, nothing a little creativity, paint and a sewing machine couldn’t fix.

I decided on a spa theme.  We had put in a hot tub earlier in the year and I thought this bathroom would a great place to change, grab a robe, and some flip-flops and get ready to relax. So piece by piece, issue by issue, I went to work.

Floor:  Since tiling was out of my comfort zone and budget in terms of time and money, I knew finding the right area rug would be a better option to address the plain cold tile. It would probably be the single most expensive fix for this bathroom and if I found the right rug the other pieces of my design puzzle would fall in place.  I found this natural fiber braided 8×10 rug at The Home Store. I love how it lifts up the room, is warm on the feet and pulls in the natural cabinets and blue color (bonus…its reversible!)  And because this rug compliments the vanity perfectly, I was no longer compelled to paint the vanity. reversible area rug

Paint:  Once I had the rug, I knew I was sort of limited in my choices of paint colors.  I didn’t want to go neutral as that would be hard to pick the exact color to go with the vanity/floors.  I really just wanted a warmer shade of blue than what was currently on the walls.  I decided to go with Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue but not after trying out all the different shades of blue that I already had in samples of several walls of the room.

Mirrors:   I never understood the choice of the mirrors over the vanity. The beautiful round mirrors had a rich wood tone that, in my opinion, clashed with the vanity.  So I painted the mirrors the darkest color on the paint strip (2 shades darker than the paint on the walls) and then hotglued a rope around the indent in the mirror.  Instantly nautical and coordinates perfectly with the vanity and rug!  Yay, three pieces of the puzzle were done.

Wall Mirror.  There were still a few things I wanted to do to cozy up the bathroom. I’ve had this big red/gold mirror for thirteen years and love it, but did not have anywhere in my entire house that it “fit”.  While still in my creative painting mood, I decided to paint this piece as well.  So I taped off the mirror with plastic, deglossed the finish, put a coat of the blue paint and then embellished it with some leftover tan and cream-colored paint I had.  Not too bad!  I looks fantastic laying up against the wall as you enter the bathroom, compliments the rug, vanity and mirrors yet doesn’t overpower the room.

Seating.  Besides the toilet, there was no place to sit and change.  The room was certainly big enough to accommodate something.  I stole a black vinyl bench from my daughter’s bedroom, with her permission.  It would be the perfect fit for another big wall in this bathroom.  Of course, the black wouldn’t do, but nothing a slipcover couldn’t cover up.  I looked for the right fabric, got many samples and in the end, used a bleached drop cloth.  I made a floor length pleated  cover  with a separate boxed and tufted cushion.  I am so glad I went a little wild and used a tan ticking for the boxing. It again pulls the tan out of the rug and vanity. It is so comfortable sit down on too while you get ready for the day or the hot tub.

Room Divider.  We had purchased this room divider for another purpose earlier in the year but wasn’t being used to it’s full potential, so I stole it for another room.  By placing it in front of the commode area, you now have a bit more privacy in case there is more than one of you in the room at the same time. It also is great to hang a towel on for the shower, and once again breaks the room up a bit and adds more of the warm  natural tan color.

Accessories.  A few serene pictures, a spa candle, new coordinated towels, sample size products for guests in a pretty jar finishes this room off.   I find myself wanting to visit this room because of the relaxing feeling it gives me. Isn’t this what we want every room to feel like? 

Shower.   The  shower is still big.  Theres no getting around that.  I jazzed it up a little by adding some green glass jars on the shelf to bring the color upwards. For something whimsical, I placed a little mermaid on the shelf (my granddaughter Addy loves).  I stole an idea from Pinterest regarding the shower rod with hanging baskets spring-rodded between two walls of the shower. It worked great unless you overload the baskets.   I really like the idea and so will work on a more permanent solution that is similar.  The last piece of the shower that I would love to do is a smooth stone shower floor.   I have one in my master shower and it is heavenly.  The smooth roundness of the natural stones feels so rejuvenating on your feet.  This will definitely be added to my winter project list. Eventually I will carry this serene feeling into redoing the master bedroom that this bathroom is attached to. I just need to get inspired by something and right now the lake is calling me!

Spa-a-a-a-h.

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