Tuesday, September 01, 2009

And The After

Yesterday I showed you the before photos of my guest bathroom. It was an ugly mess, I admit. I decided to challenge myself to see if I could do a few cosmetic things to make the bathroom look better without having to embark on a redo.

I chose to paint my walls a dark shade of navy blue in order to create a jewel box-like effect. I figured dark walls might draw people's eyes away from the ugly bits. The walls are now Benjamin Moore Soot in semi-gloss, and the trim and door are painted Ben Moore's Gentleman's Gray in high-gloss. (A hopeful name...do you think it will send any gentlemen my way?) After I stripped the walls of the bad wallpaper, I found that my walls were not in great shape. I blamed previous workmen, but I'm starting to believe that I'm the culprit. A set of early 18th c. prints were hung to hide the wall's flaws.


Soot on the left and Gentleman's Gray on the right



What made things easy was that I chose to treat my guest bathroom as a powder room instead. I didn't have to worry about the shower as no one would be using it. (That's the beauty of living in a building with guest suites; you can put guests there rather than having them stay with you.) So, I chose to hide the shower behind some greek key curtains in navy and cream from Pottery Barn.




In order to hide the vanity, I whipped up a tailored skirt using Stitch Witchery. I went with a pale blue cotton/linen fabric from Lewis and Sheron, and hot glued some tape trim at the top. It's kind of a pain when you need to get underneath the sink as you have to flip the bottom of the skirt up over the sink, but hey, I'm not down there very often.


Lighting became a bit of a problem, especially as the dark walls made everything, well, dark. I put two column lamps on the vanity to help with lighting and to help distract from the medicine cabinet behind. I had to go with off-white shades, something which I normally don't use, in order to maximize the light. That said, I like to use only the lamps for lighting in there to keep things a little moody, a little dramatic. The medicine cabinet actually came in handy- it gave me a place to shove the lamp cords.

I really got stumped about what to do with the hideous fluorescent light fixture above the mirror. With the help of my sister the artist, we came up with a wooden valance to hide said fixture. The design was inspired by a bedspread from a 1940s bedroom. The nice thing is that you can still use that light, but it's been toned down considerably.





Now maybe I'm kidding myself, but I do think that with the dark colors, the pattern, and the lamps, you don't notice the bad stuff quite as much as before. I think that there is enough there to catch one's eye, perhaps even preventing them from paying attention to the vanity or the mirrored thingamajig. And I was amazed at how little I actually spent on the whole thing. My goal had been to create a temporary fix for the guest bathroom to buy me about a year until I was ready to forge ahead with a renovation. Now, I'm actually liking the powder room and may not even bother with redoing it. If only someone could help me come up with a solution for the french fry lamp in my ceiling.

78 comments:

  1. Jennifer! Brilliant, just brilliant! Congratulations. The dark color is stunning. I love all of the details.

    You've inspired me. Kudos to your sister too.

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  2. Thanks Courtney. That means a lot coming from you!

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  3. What a transformation! It looks great.

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  4. Brilliant! Simply gorgeous. I am really taken with what you've done. It's so elegant.

    xoxo

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  5. Absolutely love it! The grouping of framed etchings on the wall is classic!

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  6. well done you, its so satisfying to do things yourself and so well on a budget - congratulations

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  7. The valance is just so good.

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  8. It's terrific! No one would know it was originally intended as a band-aid. And, I agree, the valance is fab.

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  9. Brilliant makeover! Loving the dark color, etc. Re: said french fry lamp - maybe you can affix a decorative floor vent over it - painted to match the ceiling. Then, if you wanted to turn on the light, it could withstand the heat and provide some kind of obscured, patterny look? Or, you could even remove the lamp altogether and just cover the hole with a decorative vent or something.

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  10. Bravo! I love your concept and the results. I am right there with you on dark colors and fabric. Create drama—and you did. I think it is timeless, sexy and yet very usable.

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  11. Like the look ..... modern & chic!
    Leslie

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  12. Wow - should you happen to be in London in the near future.............

    What about a small alabaster dish light fitting - the circa 30's/40's French or italian versions that pop up in sales lacking their metal-work. You could mirror your valance pattern around the edge and you need not alter the existing fitting as it would glow through.

    Bravo!

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  13. It looks great! I can totally see your design style shining through. I love the lamps, the color and the graphic details. Nice work!

    (I can't believe you have already gotten yours done. Mine is still as sad as ever.)

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  14. * STUNNING VISION/FORESIGHT! It looks MAHHHHVELOUS~ so "RICH" in color & style!!!

    AM so glad you shared this!!!

    Thanks!
    Linda in AZ *

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  15. Wow! If I ever need a boost to my self-confidence, I'm coming to all of you!!

    Great ideas, too, about masking the light in the ceiling. Super ideas!

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  16. Looks awesome. Ceiling lamp...a paper umbrella (cut off the pole)to mimic Fortuny style...maybe could get white and add Greek images...ala Wedgewood Jasper ware. A frosted glass shallow bowl if you could drill holes on 3 sides for chains to hang?

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  17. Jennifer,This is inspired, Very chic and classic. I love the Soot-I must try it (try painting the light cover)
    I have used Gentleman's Gray a number of times, on doors in a high gloss too (no Gman ever appeared in all those times-of course I did not try it in my bath, good luck with that) Wonderfully talented sister and an impressive website. Bravo.

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  18. Check out www.lunabazaar.com for paper umbrellas.

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  19. Gorgeous! You did a fantastic job and I love it! I love the drapes over the shower doors, the cover for the lighting over the mirror, everything. I think you covered up those things you hated very well.

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  20. Anonymous11:14 AM

    Gee you're talented. Lost in admiration here.

    (Please tell me you had a ground-fault interruptor (GFI) outlet put in the bathroom for the lamps. It's a super-easy switch out and is much safer in a bathroom than a regular outlet.)

    pt

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  21. Wow... very brave to try such a dark color but with all the mirror and white to balance it, you totally pulled it off! Love the framed prints and the classic patterns on the shower curtain and valance. Beautiful job.

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  22. Looooooove this. Love it, love it, love it. I too am living in a super 60's space with *interesting* bath situations. My unfortunately colored tile prevents such a chic makeover (make that three different colors of green tile in one bath and mauve in the other). I think more than just mask a problem space you created something really lovely. I'm working on a blog post about black(ish) paint. May I use your images? Bravo!

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  23. You did a marvelous fix here--it is lovely and now you can spend your $$$ on something more exciting.

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  24. Thank you!!!

    Lauren- absolutely, feel free to use the images.

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  25. Loved everything about how you approached this challenge, including the end result~ but above all, how
    beautifully you've told the tale.

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  26. Brilliant!! That were the first words from my lips as well!! It just oozes class and elegance---what a transformation and quite inventive it is!!

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  27. Jennifer- It looks stunning. Fabulous work and I love all of the details. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  28. Very handsome, very nicely done. I liked reading the through the thought process. "Gentleman's Grey" is a wonderful color. I've been wanting to do a darker trim color in my powderroom -- this may be the one!!

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  29. Your bathroom looks absolutely fabulous! I love your series of framed prints against that deep, rich blue.

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  30. Beautiful transformation, Jennifer! Very dramatic and absolutely adore the valance. Very chic.

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  31. Can I come live in your bathroom/powder room? It is amazing! Love the colors; so rich, yet neoclassical.

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  32. Stunning, simply stunning! What a huge transformation. It just goes to show you can do a lot with a little when you have vision and great style. Bravo, Jennifer!

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  33. That looks wonderful! Well done you. :) I am also a fan of dark paint and painted my old apartment entirely in dark peacock blue and various dark greens and it was divine. You need to break it up as you have done with prints or it becomes overwhelming - I also love the geometric patterns.

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  34. It's awesome. Classic.

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  35. Beautiful The color blue is an all time favorite. You did a wonderful job with the guest bathroom no need for renovation.

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  36. What a dramatic makeover! I can't even see any of the bad parts any more---you're done such an equisite job. I especially like the paint colors you used, so very handsome! Thanks for the DIY inspiration!
    XX Kate "the NEO-trad"

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  37. Couldn't wait for you to post the "after" today. Brilliant. (Never would have guessed you own a glue gun.)

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  38. Adding to the chorus. Its really brilliant. I think the valence over the lights is the perfect thing.

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  39. I love it, such a great example of dark paint done right! Oh and the valance over the light - I saved that picture to a file for me!

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  40. lecaro5:36 PM

    No need to redo anything now. It looks smashing. You're right -- total jewel box.

    I once did a similar redo to a '60s bath in a house I was selling. I'd already spent too much renovating the rest of it and this guest bath stuck out like a sore thumb. It had peach wall tile and pale yellow cultured marble counters and a peach and yellow tile floor. I found some beautiful striped silk panels with peach, yellow and dark brown (on sale) and used them as curtains to enclose the peach tub, painted the walls dark brown and used some other chic accents, and it looked very dramatic. I got more comments about that bath than anything else in that house, which was studiously neutral. I almost felt sorry for the new owners, because I had excluded all the accents from the sale and the bath they got was very different from the one I had staged. I want to use those panels again someday.

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  41. I was initially surprised you were deciding not to renovate (not that my bathroom looks better than the before, but you are the peak of chic....). OMG! This transformation is amazing. Very inspiring!

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  42. Anonymous7:52 PM

    Great story, and use of budget oriented work; however a little too David Hicks which is very 2000's and really over done and cliche?? sorry....but congrats

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  43. Thank you all! I think I had one DIY project in me, and this was it. Who knew a glue gun could be so much fun?

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  44. I love everything about it and wouldn't change a thing. The color is perfection and I'm just dying for your vanity.

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  45. Anonymous9:52 PM

    Job Well Done!! I think it looks a 100 times better!!!

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  46. I hate anons. I really do because this is so fabulous mr drucker should put it in his magazine. The light fixture is the best part. Pure genius. I love the color and the prints. Use it in good health and much happiness!!!

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  47. I am floored. This job really does have the WOW factor.

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  48. I love your bathroom re-do! The valence is my favorite and what a perfect idea!

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  49. Bravo! It is even more lovely than I imagined!

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  50. The valance is fantastic. What a creative and visually pleasing way to cover the light!
    It all looks great!

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  51. Back again. What about doing a close up of the art you chose for this room. So glad you are feeling the love 48 out of 49 is super duper!

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  52. You worked wonders with the space, I love it!

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  53. Home before dark- Will do..I'll post pics of the prints in the next few days!

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  54. Anonymous3:02 PM

    I've never seen a single HGTV redo that turned out this good. Not one.

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  55. We don't call you The Peak for nothing!

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  56. Anonymous5:51 PM

    I suggest you find out the name of the manufacturer of the light fixture (it should be stamped inside) and see if they sell paintable covers. They're usually plastic. Many companies sell replacement covers.

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  57. Glamourous,sexy,dramatic! Great job!

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  58. A really stunning job. My home is circa 1960 and I did not gut any of the 4 bathrooms. I am not a fan of the white and beige bathrooms in vogue now, so I embraced the strange color tiles in mine, choosing gorgeous grass cloth, Chinese toile, and French toile wallpaper, beautiful framed art, and custom window treatments. Very much like what you did here. Nobody even focuses on the older tile and fixtures. Thanks for showing us your work-I sure hope we get to see more of your place as you finish rooms.

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  59. okay, that's frigging amazing. you're wonderful! :-)

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  60. Anonymous12:05 PM

    You could also prime the plastic housing of that overhead fixture and then paint it the same color as the ceiling.

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  61. Unrecognizable! What a fantastic job you guys did. Absolutely love your color choice, the two lamps, and that valance is out of this world.
    Absolute YUM.

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  62. That valance is fantastic - and I love the wall arrangement, curtains, and lamps! A stunner. Congrats!

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  63. I am speechless.
    It is DIVINE! It is a whole new space and the lamps on the vanity are a great idea! Love what Laura did too!
    You should be SO happy! Does Alfie like the changes?

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  64. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Definitely a dramatically changed space! One thought - couldn't you sand and paint the sink cabinet & change the hardware if you're not happy with it? A cheap fix without the inconvenience of the skirt...

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  65. I love the colors you chose! Soot is one of my favorites, so rich and deep. Thanks for sharing your talent!

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  66. That has to be the best solution I've ever seen to cover a bad light fixture. Now I just need someone with talent willing to create one for me.

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  67. Blimey! You are making me wish I had a home in New York - ratehr than a storage container. LLGxx

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  68. What an amazing transformation! One of the very first 'design' things I remember registering as a child was a bathroom at a friend's house. It was done in all dark chocolate tones, and I remember being struck by the beauty and coziness of the room. I loved it. I had the same feeling looking at your new bathroom - it is rich and dark and cozy. Great job!

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  69. Unbelievable . It looks terrific !!Thanks for sharing

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  70. oh just over from the Skirted Rountable & love what you've done!!!! can't believe it's the same space with no construction at all!!!! love it!!!! :)
    -lauren@ pure style home

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  71. oh, and I also once painted a powder room a dark dark color for that effect & I agree, it just made it feel so much more private in there for guests!!

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  72. So agree with you Lauren about the dark color! Thanks for the comment :)

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  73. Clever transformation. I love the use of the Greek key motif - always classic and beautiful!

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  74. Love the transformation! It looks deliberate, and not like you were trying to make do!! I feel for you with the heating unit on the ceiling.. maybe you could use a wall register such as the strathmore wall register form signature hardware in polished nickel, I am not sure how big of a unit you have to cover but I am sure your contractor can figure out how to hang it even if its suspended on 2 chain links with eye hooks so it hangs below the heating unit , yet covers it when you look up.. just a thought.. everything else looks very sharp!!!

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  75. TC- That's a great idea! Thanks for the suggestion :)

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  76. I came over after hearing your charming interview on SRT. I had to see this bathroom transformation, and I'm so glad I came to see it! What an amazing difference! All of it is absolutely beautiful. I'll be back to visit often now that I know where you are. Beautiful blog. laurie

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  77. Found your bathroom redesign through the Beach Bungalow 8 post today. Love the re-do and the inspiration it gives me for our bathroom.

    Also, saw your hint about being single. When you have time check out my blog - www.DatingWithAPurpose.com - and see if it might help support you.

    Thanks, Travis

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