The First Project: The Half Bath

I have big plans for our current house but big plans often move very slow when you’re fitting them in between full-time jobs and a kid. Over the last 2.5 years, my husband and I decorated and renovated a few different spaces but the house is definitely still a work in progress. The first project that we tackled was the powder room. It’s located on the first floor, gets a lot of use and is very small, so it seemed like the perfect starting place. 

The great thing about this room (and the rest of the house, really) is it was just fine. It functioned great and it looked okay, so I could take my time to decide what to do with it. When I started to evaluate the room I found that I didn’t really want to change out the toilet or the pedestal sink. I liked both of those things. The mirror is a standard octagon builder-grade mirror that is glued to the wall. I wasn’t too thrilled about the mirror at first. Although I liked the Octagon shape, I hated that it didn’t have a frame. I contemplated removing the mirror but was terrified that in the process of removing it I would create a huge hole in the wall. So I put the mirror on the back burner and put off deciding on what to do with it. 

The flooring was a sheet vinyl and I knew I wanted to change it*. Initially, I thought we could put hardwoods (or some variant) in the bathroom. But I wanted the hardwoods to match the rest of the house and we just were not in a position to do the entire first floor at that time. So, we moved onto tile options. I played with several different ideas but I knew I wanted something that would be classic and stand the test of time. I ultimately landed on a white honeycomb mosaic tile. It feels versatile and traditional. 

The room was painted a neutral beige. Now, I am actually a fan of beige as you’ll probably see in other parts of the house. I enjoy having light, neutral colors in the main living spaces. But I see small spaces, like the powder room, as an opportunity to do something fun. For me, that means dark walls. I debated between two main wall colors: Sherwin Williams Domino and Sherwin Williams Caviar. Either color would have been fine and I can’t even remember why I decided on Domino, but I did. No regrets on the color. 

Final Mood Board

The light fixture, faucet, and accessories (towel bar, toilet paper holder) all felt dated. The original towel bar perplexed me. Why in the world would I need such a large towel bar in this little bathroom? Perhaps I would one day try to bath myself in the pedestal sink when all the other bathrooms were occupied? Maybe it was so large to allow each family member to have their own hand towel displayed on the bar. I don’t know but I quickly told my husband we were getting rid of it and putting in a small hand towel ring near the sink. Now, after living with it for a while I can’t even imagine walking into the bathroom and having it any other way.

A crappy phone photo before we painted. This gives you a good view of that 90’s light and basic faucet. As you can see in the picture, the humongous towel bar was removed and the towel ring was installed.

The light fixture was a 2-light brass number that reminded me of the ’90s. It looked like every light we had in the house I grew up in, so you know that meant I needed to change it**. I always loved schoolhouse light fixtures, so I found a bathroom version that would fit in the space. I considered several options – three-light versions (too big), some with slightly different globe shapes, some frosted and some clear. I ultimately chose a classic frosted 2-light version. Again, since I’m writing this so long after I bought the thing I can’t remember exactly why I choose this exact fixture. 

The faucet was a spur of the moment purchase. At that time, I had already put together some rudimentary mood boards and had a general idea of what type I wanted. My husband and I were strolling around Lowe’s looking for something to buy, as one does, and he suggested a new faucet for the bathroom. I quickly agreed and pursued all their options. I landed on a one-handle, single hole brushed nickel faucet. It was pretty and it would do the job. Honestly, it was a great upgrade. It feels sturdy, heavy and works like perfection. It was exactly what the sink needed. 

The one bogey in the room was the cabinet above the toilet. I liked the function but wasn’t sure about the aesthetic. Wouldn’t a pretty picture be better? I huffed and puffed a little bit about the cabinet but ultimately I couldn’t get rid of it especially after living with glorious storage for several months. I played with the idea of getting a newer, prettier version of the cabinet. I looked around but nothing really caught my eye. I decided to just update the hardware. I’m open to replacing it one day but I have to say I’ve grown to appreciate that little cabinet. 

1.Tile: American Olean Sausalito White White Ceramic Honeycomb Mosaic Floor and Wall Tile | Source 2. Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Domino, Color Matched Behr Paint | Source 3. Trim: Behr Ultra Pure White  4. Mirror (inspiration): Octagon Mirror | Source  5. Door Handle: Schlage F40 V Lat 622 Latitude, Privacy lock Lever, Matte Black | Source 6. Light Fixture: Schoolhouse Bathroom Light Satin Nickle 2 Light | Source  7. Woven Box: Small Water Hyacinth Storage Box with Hinged Lid | Source 8. Woven Trashcan: Seagrass Waste Basket (similar) | Source  9. Cabinet Pulls: Black Square T Bar Cabinet Pull | Source 10. Faucet:  Moen Boardwalk Bathroom Faucet | Source 11. Frame: Wood Gallery Single Opening Frame | Source  12. Print: Whale Print | Source  13. Hand Towels: Herringbone Turkish Hand Towels, Gray | Source  14. Cabinet (similar): Over the toilet bathroom storage wall cabinet | Source 15. Pedestal Sink (Similar): Retrospect Pedestal Combo Bathroom Sink | Source  16. Toilet (Similar): Reliant 2-Piece Flush Round Toilet | Source  17. Soap Dispenser: Oil Can Soap Dispenser | Source

After slowly making all the changes described above, I realized that the bathroom felt a little stark. It needed some warmth and I am a huge fan of natural textures and elements.  If I could, I would put wicker, rattan or sea-grass in every room (it will probably happen). Anyway, I decided a little wicker box on the toilet would give the room some warmth and matched a woven trash can to it. I thought a nice wood frame would also help tie the natural elements together. This is also about the time that I decided that the bathroom mirror, the one I had put on the back burner, would need a wood frame. I found a walnut trimmed octagon mirror on and love it, but I was/am still scared of creating huge holes in the walls, so I’ve told my husband we will frame the mirror out to make it resemble my inspiration mirror. We have yet to do this but we’ve purchased the materials and plan on doing it soon. I’m excited to see how it turns out.  

Hopefully, in the next week, I’ll write up and take pictures of the final bathroom (and complete the mirror). I’ll then tell you the riveting story of the toilet and how a two-day project turned into a two-week nightmare. It’s a little sensationalized but the broad strokes are correct. 

* I like vinyl sheets and have lots of thoughts on them. I have a proposal for the vinyl sheet designers/manufacturers–One day I’ll write that up.

**I have a theory that the decor/styles that we grew up with as children influence our design choices as adults.  It’s probably a very-self reflective theory but may hold true for others.

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