The Tiny Bathroom Reveal

If you didn’t see the before, check back to last post: Sample Paint Can, because this post is only going to have pretty things.

So first step of course was painting the bathroom with a drop or two of paint to spare. Five bucks well spent. Then of course there was the cleaning up of paint off the floor and elsewhere since I tend to be a bit sloppy. It’s like I know if I take a few seconds longer it will be better, but I just can’t make myself do it. Same thing happens at work. I’ll go into a patient room crammed with crap and sure I could move stuff, but I don’t because I assume that unlike every other time I won’t whack my shin on something trying to get to the IV pole. But of course I bruise my shin. Brett thinks that I bruise easy. Turns out I’m just lazily optimistic. Maybe if I do nothing, everything will shake out great. Maybe I’ll paint really carefully this time so I don’t need to put anything down to cover the floor. Or maybe that will just always be step two after painting…

I also cleaned thoroughly before taking pictures since one is potty training and another  is lazily optimistic that things will land where they should despite inattention and lack of concern.

So with out further ado:


Don’t mind the busyness reflecting in the mirror. The office behind is full of those ‘I’ll bet any moron can paint’ canvases. Turns out any moron can paint, just not well.

This is one of my favorite little moments. I actually bought kitchen towels since I couldn’t find a simple graphic pattern that I wanted, and as a bonus kitchen towels are cheap at 2 bucks a pop.


TJ Maxx has the best and cheapest little fake plants. I love a good fake succulent because they don’t look that different and need zero TLC. I also got this little tray there too and it fits just perfectly there.

Be impressed, I went to Target and looked through all the things from the Hearth and Home collection and only bought one thing, that cute little black house. It is meant as a place-card holder. I have two little messages. One for lifting you up and another to increase compliance with flushing (the other message says: Flush it, Flush it real good) It’s hard with two little boys who think there is only one step to going to the bathroom. The wiping, the flushing, the hand washing those are really extra steps that can easily be discarded if unsupervised.

I’ve always encouraged Levi that he can tell me anything, no matter what, even if someone says it’s a secret. The other day Levi tells me in a very serious tone, “Mom, my friend told me a secret. She doesn’t always wash her hands after going potty.” Well kiddo did you tell her you not only skip that step but most of the others!?

dsc_0078.jpgNotice this trickery? I put some beautiful dried eucalyptus to distract from the drywall bumbling from the sink splashing. It’s in a vase, but I kind of like how it looks like it is growing out of the faucet here. Other tricks: I usually buy the cheapest soap and honestly could care less about chemicals of any kind, but I wanted a little pop of yellow. So now don’t we look fancy-pantsy-loving-the-earth-and-enjoying-our-paraben-free-aromatic-calming-soap.

Across from the toilet is this little cutey. It looks like a cactus waving. How can you not love that. Here you can also see how the wall color can go much more green in low light. dsc_00731.jpg

That’s all from this now cute, but still quite tiny bathroom. What might you be able to do with a sample paint can? The options my friends are limitless, scratch that, likely limited, but thrilling all the same.


Also in case anyone is worried that the projects don’t seem to be taking forever… they still are. We did the bar and the bathroom back in spring/summer and just never got around to the little details 🙂


Sample Paint Can

When I was toying with paint colors for the bar, I fell in love with a moody green swatch. But, having painted whole rooms before, only to end up not loving the result, then harboring a simmering hate for the paint color and then finally after a few years getting the umph to paint the whole thing again, I now sometimes buy sample paint cans. Well it turned out the color I loved, ‘Studio Blue Green’, was indeed beautiful but it also clashed quite wonderfully with the Palladian Blue color the rest of the basement was painted.

So I kept the 1 27/32 US Pint size can. (Also I know this is going to sound un-American. Maybe it’s because I am a nurse and have been fed all the metric system propaganda, but really 1 and 27/32nds of a pint seems a bit like crazy town measurements) Not long after painting the bar I got to thinking one day, we have a very tiny bathroom that I just might be able to cover with just a sample can of paint. Now mind you this is a Sherwin Williams sample paint can which has a handle and is both cheaper and bigger than a Benjamin Moore paint can, I’m just saying.

Here is a little before. My favorite parts? Why the brown of course. Who doesn’t love a paint color very much inspired by the business of the bathroom? Also you can see there is a soffit which already makes part of the ceiling lower than average in an already lower than average basement ceiling. So of course the paint only went part way up the wall. I’ve heard this can make rooms feel cozy… and boy was it working in here.


Just how tiny is our bathroom you might be wondering? It’s so tiny that my nephew once accidentally smeared poop on the wall as he turned around to grab toilet paper.

See all of the spare inches here from your knees hitting the wall while making use of the facilities?


Really all the mainstays in the bathroom were just fine. I’m not sure I’d pick them, but I don’t really dislike them enough to bother changing them. Some of the special features of the bathroom are really experiential and not something that can really be captured on film. For the first 4 years of living in our house if you turned on both the hot and cold at the same time it made this horribly loud clunking noise that rattled the pipes so you could hear it throughout the house. What did we do about this noise? We told people when they came over to choose hot or cold, not both. Turns out a valve was just partially closed. Someone mentioned it to me in passing. Guess how long it took Brett to fix? Two. Minutes. Well really two minutes and 4 years.

Speaking of the faucet that brings me to the next feature. The hot and cold are mixed up. This is going to take longer than 5.5 years to fix at this point. The faucet leads to the third and final feature: The shape of the sink bowl sprays water with force directly on the drywall. Which the drywall doesn’t love or maybe it does because it gets so delighted it makes bubbles on the surface of the drywall…

Ohh I forgot, one more special feature and a sneak peak of the paint color. This little door leads to one of our outside water shut offs and is open to the crawl space. The idea here was to make it go away and hopefully have the kids not notice it. When we bought the house it didn’t even have a door, it was more of a open concept, bring the outdoors in kind of thing.


Spoiler alert: the sample paint can totally covered the walls.I’ll have all the pretty afters up real soon!

The Bar is all ready for its close-up

I found a better before of the bar from Zillow. Weirdly enough all the real estate photos from when we bought the house 5 years ago are still up. It makes me think I should have them taken down, but it’s kinda fun to look back and see what’s changed. Could I copy all the pictures and put them on our computer, sure, but I haven’t and instead typed this all up, so I probably never will…


So what did the bar have going for itself? The brick wall and all the necessary functional things. The downsides: It was ugly and never used. One of the contributing factors to never using it was that we never bought bar stools. The other being we used it as a dumping ground for our trash and recycling. There is something about an ugly space that makes me physically unable to keep it clean. Why go to all the work of cleaning it when the end result will still be ugly.

It of course had some perks, which include being largely functional. Clearly it wasn’t a huge priority to tackle when we first moved in. Actually we don’t really make priorities, it’s mostly whims. Usually the things we tackle must first start annoying us, then make us slightly crazy and only then might we be inspired to tackle something that will require a certain amount of labor or effort. My main motivation here was, Brett was pushing hard for Harry Potter bar and I didn’t want him to screw it up. Aha motivation!

So with out further ado… The final product. Let’s start with a good side by side, before and after:

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From dark and sad to happy and Harry!

The wall color change alone would have made the room significantly better. I am a sucker for any blue green shade and the Stratton Blue hit the spot. (side note: spell check did not like Stratton, what did it suggest instead? Castration. Now I’ve never named a paint color, but somehow I don’t see Castration Blue flying off the shelves.) You might notice we also bought some stools, for sitting. I found them at Home Goods after having been eyeing some much spendier ones for a long time. They are quite stable and the perfect mix of warm with the wood and the metal base lending itself to a bit of an industrial feel.


The other biggest bang for our buck was replacing the bar top. The light natural wood tone of the butcher block helps lighten up a basement room with zero natural light. And it’s pretty. Now I don’t know if it’s true, but I think natural wood tones never go out of style. Trees are pretty much always cool, making wood pretty much always cool, so as long as you don’t mess with the wood tone and make it too orangey or in the former bar state- too poop brown, I think it will always look timeless.


Here you can see the base cabinets painted a nice matte black. They are slim with what I think is a soapstone counter top, but I’m mostly making that up. It’s sorta odd to me that the whole top row is fake drawers. I mean I get the fake one under the sink, but who really needs four fake drawers. Not me.


I used a stencil to trace the words trash and recycling, which surprise, holds our garbage and recyclables. I just did it with a white colored pencil and it hasn’t really come off. The funny thing is I did it in the hopes the kids would clean up after themselves and put things in the right spot, except for the small problem that they don’t know how to read yet… We often hear Levi yelling “Gideon put it in the one that’s has more letters!” The cute little leather pulls are from IKEA. Nothing like black and leather to really man up what could be kind of a nerdy space.


The shelves hold all of our glassware. I used to make fun of Brett’s shot glass collection, but now we just have a slightly more grown up version with collectible wine glasses and other glassware. I kinda like the nostalgia of it all, wineglasses from anniversaries, little beer glasses from Germany when we took the kids on an underground cellar tour in Nuremberg, glasses from the Guinness tour and of course Harry Potter glassware from the Harry Potter theme park.


Surprisingly, Brett was able to buy a bunch of Harry Potter stuff, despite his meager Target salary back in the day. He and Noble Collections (the place where you buy themed crap I mean- memorabilia) were quite close. Not so surprising, Brett bought all these treasures pre-marriage. When you know you found the love of your life young, you know you better spend what little money you have to buy all the glorious Harry Potter things, cause goodness knows your wife will be a real tightwad when it comes to collectibles. If you are wondering, of course the Marauder’s Map case opens and you can look at it up close.

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That little strip of white on the left is the doorway to the laundry room and to the right is the opening to the living room. You can see at the tippy top of the picture where the wands start along the soffit (see previous post for all the how-to wand hanging you’ve been dying to know). This part of the bar is the slightly less subtle section. But it’s also only visible when you are in the bar already. It feels more like immersing one’s self in the culture and less like something screaming HARRY POTTER to the whole of the basement.




And now for some cute little vignettes where I stole some decor from around the house. Have no fear the theme runs deep through every facet of the space.




I leave you with my two favorite kiddos having a snack at the bar.


I will say I find it quite a happy / useful space to be in now. The other thing I like is that all the mainstays aren’t themed. It’s all just decor, so if Brett’ love for all things Potter ever wavers we could come out okay.