It is becoming a habit to share my latest re-do of stuff I already have. This time it’s the bathroom “stuff”. We are going to paint in there as well, but probably not for another month or more, as hubby now has the long commute and a lot less time.
Going with my motto of “if you don’t like something, change it”, I did several changes.
First off, we have an ancient steel tub. We have had all of those bath fixer-upper companies come in and give us quotes. The prices were as high as six grand, just to put a new “shell” over the old tub and new surround over the tile. I finally discovered a newer technique called the “Miracle Method”. They strip off the old powder-coat (which requires firing to set it, so, can’t be done again without taking the tub to a facility) and in our case, also stripped the three D.I.Y. coats of Rust-Oleum Tub and Tile paint we had applied over several years,, and then apply about three, very fine coats of new enamel, letting each dry completely before the next one. After living with a pocked old tub so long, and missing grout, and loose caulking, we now have a “new” tub/shower. I just about cried. Seriously!
But that, though much cheaper than the “drop-in” shell kind where they “laser-measure” your tub, then make a custom shell “exactly like it”. The others were in the six grand range. The Miracle Method takes two or three days, depending how much they have to strip and how bad your tile is (all our tile was intact, no cracks, just had to fix the areas where grout was missing) and we have only the one bathroom, and it is not an operation which the worker can vacate the bathroom for your use, either, because they have to mask off EVERYTHING, and run a giant tube out the window with a fan drawing out the fumes. That part isn’t fun, the not having elsewhere to go without leaving the house, but with me being the only one home, it wasn’t too bad.
Anyway, since that was a significant investment, the rest of what I wanted to do needed to be super cheap. So I chose to fabric-decoupage the two cabinets in there, and snagged a really huge and gorgeous peacock painting that will go up after we paint, for only twenty dollars at Family Dollar Store. It’s one of those mass-produced things but in a bathroom without great ventilation, putting anything expensive in there, art-wise, would be foolish. The “painting” was in fact my “inspiration piece” that decided we’d go peacock. I like Peacocks, but I love the color (teal, blue-green) peacock! I had two old pressed-wood type pictures about 14″x11″ that I picked up cheap and already had in the bathroom, which were sort of an Italian Portico vibe, in very muted greens, pale blues, and neutral tans. I always thought that the only thing missing from the pictures was peacocks. But until recently, I didn’t go around altering other people’s art. I winged it on the size/dimensions, and painted peacocks on my nice canvas-paper, cut those babies out, and pasted them right onto the pictures.
The tall (stacked el-cheapo) cabinets were a sort of “flesh tone” when my neighbor gave them to me. Not appealing, but pretty neutral. Well, ya’all know by now, if I’ma do something, I’ma do it with COLOR!!! So I got some fabric remnants, and went to town with them. I put up a new shower curtain. The old “theme” if there was one, was some butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, white eyelet lace for the shower curtain, and some random “cottage-ey” wall hangings with old claw foot tubs, etc.
I am keeping a few of those things. Peacocks themes often include butterflies and dragonflies as well. Not sure why. Part of the whole Victorian thing.
As you’ll see in the pix, the bathroom is very long and narrow, especially once we brought in cabinets. There is no vanity, no surface to set things on otherwise. So I like a lot of mirrors on the wall to make it less claustrophobic. I plan to do more with some acrylic “mirror” stickers, but we still have a couple of the 12×12 mirror tiles up in there that were so popular in the seventies. Cheap. And I have done various art on them, and when time to change the theme, I scrape it off with a razor blade, and do something new.. I did that with the ceramic tile too, actually, but just the top row. It lasted really well using just acrylics and a coat of acrylic enamel. Yet it scraped off easily with the blade when I was ready for it to go.
So, anyway, the mirrors are sort of losing the silver at the edges, corners, and places where the wall is uneven and presses more against them. So in the past I got other little mirrors and actually layer them (glued) over the stripped areas of the mirror. Can only do that so much, so this time, I did a mosaic frame on one, using the DVD’s and C.D.s and data disks I had that were old and needed to be destroyed. I mean, who wants to throw them into the garbage for someone to glean who-knows-what off them? So I cut them up and when you turn the pieces all different directions it makes a cool Aurora Borealis or iridescent effect. Killed two birds with one stone there, I did!
Speaking of which, birds besides the peacocks are part of my theme.
The tile in the bathroom is that stuff from the sixties. Almost a Mint Green. With a mix of smaller dark green and lighter green and beige/tan in the 1″x1″ floor tiles. Again, tiles in great shape, floor and wall, but I have always hated the color. Now, though, I made that stuff look good, baby!! With just the right (in my taste anyway) combo of shades of the same colors and split complementary colors, with a little contrast here and there, for me, it works.
I had fallen in love with this peacock valance from “Collections Etc” but I wasn’t about to pay nearly thirty bucks. I found it for nine bucks and four dollars shipping on eBay, and then I added some shiny tone-on-tone teal paisley fabric to the valance to extend it into more of a curtain. I had stained-glass privacy film on the window before, but it had orange in it. So I switched that out for one with peacock-ish colors and a more classic stained glass sort of pattern.
The round mirror came from my husband’s grandfather’s house. It’s the old leaded stuff. Kinda heavy. It had some white nondescript etching on the bottom edge, but otherwise was so plain! So I remedied that with decoupage, using Punch Studio®™ paper napkins. The cloth decoupage is actually easier than the paper. Because I was able to use a straight edge thingy to smooth it out perfectly (a credit card also works for that). I didn’t try to wrap the edges on the tall cabinet. I just painted the portions that I wasn’t going to cover with fabric. The smaller cabinet, though, I pretty much covered all of it except the underside of the top shelf, and the back of it.
I used up a whole bottle of Allene’s® Tacky glue, and almost a whole large bottle of Mod Podge® on just the cabinets. And I still plan to apply a few more coats of that when I can get some this weekend. That will make it easy to keep clean. These cabinets are the pressed wood laminated with something like contact paper, that you can buy at Roses, Wal-Mart, Big Lots, etc. They are heavy, but let water get into the “wood” part, and it swells up like a Cheerio in dishwater. That stuff is just a mixture of sawdust and glue anyway.
So, for less than eighty bucks, I did all this (aside from the tub refinish, obvi), to give my bathroom an update. If only I could do this to other people’s houses and get paid for it! The thing is, it takes me sooooo long to do anything. Literally more than a day on the tall cabinet, with lots of stopping to rest my back and un-cramp my wrists and get feeling back in my fingers. It is fulfilling to take something a lot of folks would just throw out, and make it into something that people admire and think is some “expensive piece”. HA!
Ok, so, here are pix:
And here is my “inspiration piece”. This thing is a whopping 28″x 38″. (We have very high ceilings in this old house. And they are different heights in each room!)
The top of the wall above the tile will be Olympic Paint “Aqua Sparkle” which is a very pale aqua that leans one degree more to blue than green. It contrasts enough from the shade in the tile, but not so dark and heavy that it will make the whole room look one color. The ceiling and trim will be Atrium White, which is a white-leaning-pale yellow. The upper part of the wall is yellow now, but this new color will be very much lighter. I may leave the trim white. Not sure yet.
I have a few more items I am going to use. Two are book cover art, and a couple of wire-figures I want to make. Will try to remember to do more pics when I get those done.