Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Reno round-up


Two years on, from the bathroom renovation - was it worth the time, effort and money, spent? Which wasn't a lot of money, but still. Do you wonder, if I fell out of love with that green feature wall yet? Or did finding the right plant, that survived, seem more like a burden, than it was worth? Did I really achieve the sense of the outdoors, coming inside?  Or should I have just left the whole thing alone?

The answers are coming, but they come wrapped in a story. Our story. For anyone can buy paint and shelves, put them on a wall and feel satisfied it's different. But you've got to truly "live" inside a space, to derive any meaning from it. On the aesthetic front, I still love the green. I love those little pops of colour, all around the bathroom. They make me happy. Worth the cost of a can of paint!

wooden shelf

The narrow wooden shelves I made, became a place for a fake plant (more colour) hair brushes, scented oil, cotton tips and seas shells. These shells were collected from around the yard of our last rental, by our then, four-year old, daughter. Twelve years on, and she's old enough to get a Learner's Permit now. Yikes! With that evolution in time though, came somewhat of an explosion at the sink!

In my cleaning clothes again

Minus the hand-soap, plug and sorbolene cream, this is all hers! She loves to experiment with make up. We didn't actually do anything to the sink in the renovation, except accumulate stuff. Both inside and out. So this is an example of where it was a good idea to stick with the original clunky (maybe now dated) sink. Had we gone for a more petite, modern version of a sink, it would have been a terrible storage idea. You should see what's inside the cabinet.

But enough storage is always an issue, lol.

Vertical space

More gifted stuff, like hair curlers, had to go somewhere. The original robe hook, became redundant, once I installed the narrow shelf underneath. A great place for hanging oversized hair brushes, for her thick and sometimes unruly hair. This particular brush is chunky, with no space left at the sink.

The shelf may have ended the purpose of the "robe" hook, but the vertical space was now more practical for other items. Which are best stored near the mirror too. I'm not happy with the curling iron's position, and have plans for relocating it. Because in terms of storage, I will probably always be working on new solutions.

Everything in it's place

Other narrow shelf spaces, were existing window sills. I spread out the shell collection, and the bizarre accumulation of marbles. This is not ALL of them. But I cannot remember if they were my daughters, or sons' marble collection. Both maybe? They came from somewhere, and I don't remember buying them.

Now they are faux pearls, catching light from the window sill. So I was decorating with items, already part of our story. I don't know how many times, I thought of getting rid of those marbles. But they were better than a coat of paint, and came with a colourful story. They remind me of my kids collecting stuff, and me finding ways to repurpose it.

Practical decor

And a window sill, wouldn't be complete without a candle. It's the perfect place to keep one, when we lose power, and need to use the toilet. Yes, it has happened a few times. I cannot remember where we got this candle from. It used to be green too! But over the years, the afternoon sun, that comes through the window, has bleached it.

Doesn't matter, it still works perfectly fine as a candle.

A gift

The final window shelf, holds a glass paperweight, my mother gave me. It looks a little like water. Perfect for a wet room. Blue happens to be her favourite colour, and why she purchased the paperweight from a thrift store. Actually, on the very first picture there's a blue, stained glass mobile, hanging above the window. My mum made, and gifted that to me as well.

The stained glass, reminds of blue skies, I cannot see outside that particular window (it's opaque) whenever I walk into the room. It might require a bit of imagination, but it does achieve the outdoors effect. All these items, have special associations to our story. My kids, my mother, me...and our creations. We all inhabit this bathroom, with our mark.

We will avenge the plug, if you take it!

I'm not a fan of plastic, or accumulating it. But there are times, the kids receive them as presents. I try to get the most out of them. Like these two bottles of bubble bath, my son received, several Christmases ago. One is empty, the other almost. But they've gotten more use, as play toys, during bath time, than as soap containers.

They're going to be around for many more years, to come. Because let's face it, Iron Man and Spider man's real job, is to guard the plug. It's not allowed to go AWOL. Or there would be no bath time! So whenever I clean the bath, they return to the same space, with the plug.

The obligatory, resident spider in the bath. Spider Man's cousin?
Moving on...

More toys?

These have been rescued from a thrift store, or came inside a Christmas cracker. My daughter started the collection, and my son adopted it. Even the plastic container which holds them, is used as a boat during play time. Why show you this though, when it's not part of the original, bathroom renovation?

It's our story, and therefore involved in us getting the most out of the renovation. Even plant debacle stories. Because whether it's a shelf, coat of paint, or some other fixture you add - the only way you're going to get the MOST out of it, is what meaning already exists in the first place. All these items, accentuated the meaning in our renovation. It's nice to get a new coat of paint, but value is created.

Tiny details

You can add things to a room, which tells your story. Like this pretty earring which lost it's partner. This tells the story, I don't like to throw things away, if I don't have to. I'd rather find another way to repurpose it. Or bring new life to something which seems misplaced.

Can I stretch it to suggest, it feels like a bigger space inside, than before? Like an outside space, coming inside again. Because our story is bigger than this room. The sea shells, plants, the colour blue, and the colour green - all wrapped up in several lives, within a room we get to immerse ourselves in water. And lucky me, gets to clean it all, lol.

Do I think the renovation was worth it, two years later? Yes. Because I didn't spend too much, I didn't waste materials, it was an opportunity to recycle, and even if the colour scheme goes out of date, the memories won't. I can add new memories, with new-recylced items - and find a different way to use the old items. Speaking of which...

Found you pesky marbles

Here's the rest of that marble collection, I was telling you about. More bath time fun. Frogs are from another thrift store rescue, but the plastic plant and container, was part of a mermaid play set, my daughter received from her extended family, many years ago. It's the one item, I dread cleaning the most. All those marbles with soap scum. Are you kidding me?? It requires a lot of patience, lol.

Even though my son adopted it from his older sister, he doesn't necessarily play with it all that often. Maybe I can convince him to sacrifice it for a good cause. Remember what I said about growing plants in a new way, using ripariums? Or semi submerged plant scapes. This container would be perfect. I'd even keep the marbles as part of the substrate for the live plants. Well...that's what I'm tinkering thinking, anyway.

Do you have anything special in your bathroom, that brings meaning to your story?


  1. Your bathroom looks serene and fresh, Chris. I like the way you have explained the meaning behind things in your bathroom, the stories behind them. In our bathroom, I have a painting my once-4year old son did of a boat, a basket of shells we've collected from our days at the beach and an old fish bowl filled with sea glass my son loves to go searching for. I also have a collection of old blue-glass bottles which I've picked up at op-shops and markets and antique shops over the years. I adore the deep blue of these bottles and the way they catch the light.

    We have an older vanity too, and while it probably isn't "stylish" anymore, it is very practical and looks a lot better after a polish up with some olive oil and lemon juice. Meg:)

    1. Ah yes, memories with the kids. They do treat us with some good ones. I'm familiar with those blue-glass bottles. All shapes and sizes, but captivating in their dark hues. I have a fish shaped blue-green bottle, living in my laundry. Wondering if it's better placed in the bathroom?

      I remember when we first built our house, that particular vanity was popular and I thought it was so modern for us. Over the years it has dated, but still got what counts - storage! Funny how the style may go out of fashion, but we still remain loyal to the practicality. I think my vanity would have to be falling apart, for me to replace it. Great tip with the lemon juice and oil. I make a miracle spray that does the trick too. :)

  2. It looks great! I envy your creativity. Only problem is.... it shows up just how dull and boring my own bathroom is. Mine is only small....there's only a shower, a vanity (with window above) and the composting toilet on one side and a linen cupboard and wall with a large mirror on the other. You could swing a very small cat. Doorway on the mirror wall into the hall and doorway into the main bedroom at one end. Nowhere really to put even a shelf....oh, maybe above the toilet, but there's a nice photo of a Sugar Glider there. Ah, but I do have the spider up in the corner.

    1. Thanks Bev, but your bathroom sounds intriguing too. Because it's always an opportunity to get creative with storage ideas. I don't know if you have cavity walls, but I'm looking into installing some built-in shelves (inside the wall cavity). It's in another part of the house though. I figure the wall is already built, so I just need to tweak some shelves into it, lol.

      But you're always ahead with a compost toilet! Such a water saver. :)

    2. Cavity wall shelves? That's an intriguing idea. Do you mean you actually cut the plaster out and install the shelf 'inside' the wall. An interesting feature and a great way to crib some extra space!

    3. Yep, that's right. You build the shelves between the studs, in the wall. You can either put a door on it, and have a cupboard, or leave it open shelves. The one thing you have to be aware of though, is you will lose the noise barrier, if the shelves are open. Like you wouldn't site them on a wall, which may be adjacent to a washing machine (on the other side of the wall) for example.

      So it's best to find a cavity wall, that's not an important noise buffer. I have a few wall spaces, perfect for that. Just Google, "recessed shelving" and see what they look like. Some places sell kits, which should fit the standard space between studs in a wall. I'm going old-school though, and building insitu.

  3. Storage! Never enough of it. It's good to hear you still like your bathroom. It's true a space has to be lived in to be truly figured out. You've done well with yours.

    1. Too true Leigh. Never enough storage, lol. Especially when you're buying extra to save on specials, or canning your own food. The more you can fit, the more money you can potentially save. But then you cannot go overboard either, and break the budget! So it's often slow progress to get the extra space. :)


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