Aug 10, 2007

A little Loo Looking

Some call it "The Throne" some call it "The Reading Room" and my beloved, WWll veteran of a father (God love him) use to call it "The Crapper." And then we have our wonderful British neighbors, across the pond, that refers to it as "The Loo" or "WC" meaning water closet.

Of course there are the familiar terms such as "The John" or simply the "Bathroom" I find myself liking the term that my 3-year old niece likes to use when she must "go poo-poo" and she happily announces that she is going to play music in her "music room." She has a special big girl potty that plays music when she completes her "duty." (Pun intended.)

No matter the name, one's bathroom is the one room in the home that can be completely different, unique, and not have to "match" the rest of the home. It is a room all of its own. It is a room, for many of us, that serves as a place to soak in a hot tub and recharge our weary selves at the end of a long day. If you have children, it is a fun place in which to learn about daddy shaving, mom soaking, how eating soap does not produce bubbles when you spit out water, and that slippery floors aren't as fun as first thought.

When designing my bathroom (photos below), I wanted to give it a worn, but unique look. I incorporated non-traditional elements in a new way. Of course, I use the colors of black, cream and tan. I aged the walls and used an old chenille bedspread for the shower curtain. The bathroom is tiny, but I personally feel that the smaller it is, the bigger the impact you can make. Think about it: if you love big, bold stripe painted on a wall, a tiny bathroom is just perfect. There isn't much wall to begin with, thus not too many stripes. You may not want those stripes in a large master bedroom, but in a small bath, it could be perfect. Enjoy the photos!

As you can see, my bathroom is very small - but I had big plans for it! I wanted a Gothic feel with a little whimsy. It all started with the sink. The sink I made from an 1880's church baptismal font. I painted it (gasp!) and distressed it. I had to special order a small "bar sink" in order to make it fit. I then had antique tin counter top mounted on it. I painted and distressed the tin, then sealed it many times over. I just love this sink! I always wished that instead of it being a baptismal font, that instead it was the fountain of youth. Now that would be one hot seller! :-)

The mirror is actually a church's stations of the cross frame that I found at a flea-market in Belgium. It dates about 1870 and I actually bought two of them. One day, I hope to have a bathroom large enough for two sinks and have them both on the wall. I had a beveled mirror cut and placed in it. If you ever have a super special frame for a mirror, please spend the extra expense to have it beveled. It makes all the difference in the world. In fact, I rarely (if ever) buy any mirrors (old or new) that aren't beveled.

An old French potato basket holds bathroom necessities as storage is at a premium. How do I keep the white towels white in the basket? Scrub the basket with a stiff brush, dry and seal with a polyurethane. No more stains on clean white towels.

Accessories in a bathroom (or any room for that matter) are so important. A room without interesting, or any, accessories is like June Cleaver without her pearl necklace - it just isn't complete! There is a fine line between too much and too little and I don't have a secret formula to give to you to help you decide. It is really just in the eye. But, if you stick with really unique things, they will add to your home no matter how many or how few. Just pick some that mean something to you and something you enjoying seeing everyday. For example: above is a photo so a very old French incense container. I just love it. It contains a couple of small incense cones that were lit on a small dish and "smoked" a scent to mask any oder. I have this on the lid of the toilet along with other items of interest.

On my window sill, I have a photo of my father, born 1916, with his mother. Being the father of five children gave him very little private time....except for the bathroom....the only room in the house that wasn't filled with kids. I am convinced that he would take his pipe and newspaper in there and just read, nothing more, and escape the little circus of a family that surrounded him day and night.

Color and texture are always prominent in all of my designs. Dried flowers, sticks, lace, antique shaving brushes, ironstone, and tin. The different shade of creams, tans, and ivories are relaxing.

An antique chenille bedspread, hung from the ceiling is a wonderfully simple (and inexpensive) shower curtain. A tin valence, painted black, covers the rod and clips. An old Virgin Mary print from Mexico hangs next to the bathtub. The frame is almost falling apart, but I estimate it dates about 1860 or so...very old, and I just love it the way it is.

The walls are aged to look like an old European church. The sconces are simple, French, aged bronze and I made sconce shades out of old French cuffs. A bare bulb is not flattering while applying make-up at my age! I need all the help I can get! :-)

I found a bag full of old porcelain faucet knobs that I just loved and I just simply piled them in an old ironstone dish and set it on the toilet tank lid. A pain to dust, but then again, I rarely dust, so it really doesn't matter now does it? I try to convince myself that dust only adds to the "look" of the place (yeah right).

The window in the bathroom faces the rooftop - not a pretty one at that, but I love light and didn't want to cover the window. So, I simply hung a French table cover on two little nails, and in the center of the window put an old 1880's lithograph of a woman taking a foot bath. It gave some privacy without hindering a lot of the light. I then lined up a few ironstone pitchers on the sill - I just love the different shades of ironstone and the smoothness of the shapes. They blend nicely with the walls without making a huge statement.

Thank you for visiting my little loo and I hope you found some ideas that inspired you to look at your tiny bathroom with big eyes. Don't let a small space dictate your design - use it to your advantage. When you think about it, we do that in life all the time. We all learn to "make do" with our limitations - or do we?
I can't afford a huge SUV, but that doesn't keep me from driving my little Kia Sportage from state to state, now does it? My little 13 pound pug, Lulu doesn't let her size keep her from letting the neighbors' Dalmatian know she ready and able to play. And I don't let my 1939 OKeefe and Merritt stove keep me from cooking as if I owned a Viking either. It is just a matter of perspective. And from my perspective I like to think that "small isn't all", but small is only a bigger things.

May your perspective see the big in the small, grand in the plain, and excitement in the mundane.
from my house to your house,
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