Monday, February 17, 2014

stripes, polka dots & presidents

I know I've been neglectful about showing before & after photos of the house. It's the perfectionist in me. I want the big reveal to be final, but after 5 months of living here (I can't believe it's been 5 months), not one room is complete. This bathroom isn't complete either, but it's pretty darn close, and I'm too excited about the progress we've made not to share it. 

We marked off President's Day weekend for project basement bathroom. It's a smaller guest bathroom that lacks sunlight and character. Here's what it looked like before:

Not terrible, but not great. The mustard-y paint color just didn't work in this sunless space. I also hated the hardware, wood toilet seat & switch plate. They all made the bathroom look more dated than it really is.

Phase one of this project was painting the bathroom a fresh coat of white (Oxford White by Benjamin Moore if you're curious). We hired a painter to do this a few months ago. Since then, it's sat bare, empty & sad. It was time to show this bathroom some love.

You'll notice we also ditched the wood toilet seat and switch plate. Better, and much brighter, but still pretty boring. When I chose to paint the bathroom white back in November, I had plans to add color eventually. Since then, I've gone back back and forth between polka dots and stripes. I finally settled on both. Always both. The colors were easier to pick. I wanted navy & gold. Navy because it's a great bathroom color, and I love the clean, crisp contrast of navy & white. Gold because it's fun, preppy & the perfect accent for navy & white. I wanted a nice blend of classic and playful.

So let's get to it. Phase 1 of this project took place on Saturday. It involved math, measuring and meticulousness. Jon and I don't excel at math, but we proved to be solid in the measuring department, and it's no secret that we're both pretty meticulous.

We lucked out because the walls were exactly 81" from ceiling to baseboard. That made for an easy calculation of nine 9" stripes. We wanted to do 5 navy stripes & 4 white stripes, but that complicated matters around the window well, and quite frankly, we didn't want to deal with taping off the ceiling & baseboard. So 5 white stripes & 4 navy stripes it was.

1. gather your supplies in the most haphazard way possible.
2. measure. and then measure again.
3. level, mark & tape
4. tape some more - we taped inside the lines we weren't painting.
 it seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how confusing it can get.
4. paint. painting over the tape with oxford white helped seal the tape & prevent the navy from bleeding through.
5. watch paint dry.
6. paint again. this time navy.
7. watch paint dry. again.
8. tear off tape (while holding your breath). admire your work. 
We have a few spots to touch up, but overall, we are pretty darn proud of ourselves. It's amazing how much impact you can make with 1 quart of paint (Benjamin Moore Hudson Bay 10% darker), and a little sweat equity. [Please excuse that untidiness below the window. We decided to ditch the piece of trim that was there, but we haven't had a chance to patch those holes yet.] Whew. Stripes down. Dots to go.

Today, we moved on to phase two. What better way to celebrate President's Day than with some gold polka dots? Gold seems very presidential. Polka dots, not so much. 

I ordered the 2" gold dots from Walls Need Love. They cost me less than $25, but they definitely make more than a $25 statement. This phase of the project also required the 3 Ms - math, measuring, meticulousness. 

The dots were a little more trial and error. We measured, leveled & marked the top center spot for each dot, but we still had to do a bit of eyeballing. Good thing I have 20/20 vision. ;)

1. throw some dots on your wall and hope they look ok. 
2. brandish the giant roll of dots while looking really excited about spending your day off adhering dots to a wall. 
3. add some more dots. 
4. keep adding dots.
5. when in doubt, eyeball it. 
6. add dots to the other wall. admire your work.
By the end of the weekend, our plain, boring bathroom was no longer plain or boring.

We still need to add new hardware and finish off the room with towels & accessories. We'd also like to eventually paint the vanity (navy) & trim (white) and replace the lighting. But, for now, I'm happy with the facelift. I'm affectionately calling it my Kate Spade bathroom. If you're familiar with that brand, of which I'm a big fan, you can probably tell why. :)


  1. I love it! I was thinking of stenciling a small wall in our bathroom, but I like those dots! Thanks for sharing...I may steal this idea. :)

  2. OMG... LOVE LOVE LOVE!! Those dots... fabulous!!