Thursday, January 29, 2015

Facelift Takes Years Off a Bath

Before Christmas we decided to give our master bathroom a facelift, nothing major, just a nip and a tuck. The makeover began, as they all do, with the modest intention of a minimally invasive procedure: merely a paint job.

However, when I looked at the room with a critical eye, I had to admit the once-classic-beauty had the design-equivalent of drooping eyelids and a sagging jaw line. Now mind you, I did not want to spend the price of a real facelift :).  I just wanted to tweak the room without breaking the bank. How much would it take to refresh the lady?

Ferreting ideas from Pinterest and Houzz, I embraced the makeover maxim: subtraction before addition. First, off came the peeling wallpaper. Although I loved the paper when we built the home, the surfaces had steamed for twenty years producing a not-so-youthful glow.
Beige and mint wallpaper was definitely over-the-hill.
Next, I studied the room's bones and realized that, whereas youth is streamlined, this lady was--well, shall we delicately say--embellished.  Soffits above the double sinks and cabinetry around the mirrors crowded the space. 
Away they went.
A new face emerged.

Losing the excess was so freeing, we also eliminated the upper door of the corner cupboard.
Ah, less is more!
With the nips & tucks behind us, we were ready to contour a youthful vibe. I had the walls painted a Benjamin Moore Color Stories selection called "picnic basket", purchased a pair of gilded mirrors from the 1940s, and lighted the vanity with three Circa sconces.  

The old embroidered cafe curtains were country, not cool.

I replaced them with sleek Roman shades. 
(Drapes made by Pat Martin of Going Home Interiors.)
Now we step, instead of onto the needlepoint Victorian runner,

 onto a contemporary dhurrie rug. 

I love how the fleur-de-lis rug pattern acknowledges the Napoleonic motif on top of the mirrors.

 Finally, I splurged on a lighted makeup mirror (since I am not getting any younger myself)...
 and a new shower head for my husband.

Actually, the master-bath face lift didn't break the bank. We kept our flooring and countertops and  didn't move or replace any plumbing fixtures. Yet, I think you'd agree, she looks years younger!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Best After-Holiday Return

A local greenhouse has an annual return-your-poinsetta-and-get-twenty-percent-off-a-house-plant sale. I try to take advantage of the deal, because by late January I am ready to be done with Christmas decorations.
  This year, I replaced the poinsettia with a white cyclamen surrounded by white-tipped ivy.
Besides the new centerpiece, I also got some new plants for around the house to replace ones that had shriveled from lack of care. These are white speckled plants called a Domino Peace Lily.

 They don't require light, but they do need a drink regularly.

I have a personal aversion--no matter how realistic looking--to fake plants--be they plastic or even silk. If it isn't real, I would rather not have it. The only exception to this is glass or pottery blossoms, but even they too aren't as good as the real thing.

However, I don't have a particularly green thumb so I have to be careful which plants I choose. They can't be finicky or require careful monitoring. So, here are my tried and true favorites: jade plants which don't require much water,

succulents, and mini-palm trees thrive when they are ignored.
And perhaps, the most foolproof "plants"--curly willow twigs. They don't require light or water, but then they don't bloom either.

Every once in awhile I succumb and purchase plants that require care. Why? I guess, because "hope springs eternal in the human breast."

Two plants I have been coddling are these fiddle-leaf figs. They like lots of light and weekly watering. After I got them, they each lost a main branch of leaves and only recently have each sprouted another branch. The verdict is still out as to whether these will survive my black thumb.

I encourage everyone to splurge on blossoms this winter. Even if they won't last more than a few weeks, their fresh beauty will brighten your days.