just a tweak

We have the world’s smallest hall bathroom. When my family came to visit us last year I told them to be sure to use the bathroom on the airplane before they got off because it’s the biggest bathroom they’d see in the next week.

The truth is though, it’s perfectly okay for us. We have a second bathroom in the main bedroom so this hall bathroom serves its purpose just fine. No walls needing to be knocked out.

But I did want to do a bit of tweaking recently. Change it up a bit. In the ‘tweaking’ process we found The Greatest Spray Paint Known to Humanity (primer and paint in one.)

Hyperbole, perhaps, but not by much.

(Quick note: this is NOT a paid endorsement or sponsorship. I’m merely passing along some things we’ve used and liked.)

Here’s a quick picture of our bathroom when we moved in:

Not long after moving in we put up a different mirror and light fixture. We took off the shower doors in lieu of a shower curtain. Small, simple changes.

But then I fell in love with a faucet and we tweaked things again a few weeks ago. In the process we took the perfectly fine, brushed-silver knobs off the vanity as well as the bronzed door knobs on the bathroom door and sprayed them with The Greatest Spray Paint Known to Humanity (… there should be Stars Wars-level music that occurs every time I write that *only slightly* exaggerated phrase…) It’s been about a month now and the finish is still looking solid.

Scott installed the new faucet. I am DEEPLY thankful Scott is so handy around the house (the project doer to my project dreamer) and I also find it fun to learn new cuss words every time he gets knee-deep into the process. 

And voila!, some small changes for a small tweak-of-a-look in the world’s smallest bathroom.

Truth be told, I have a number of these wooden pegs around the house – I love them! And they’re very easy for Scott to make. I also love these amber pump bottles. I have one in the kitchen too.

Do we need new flooring? Sure. Am I DYING for it? Nah. Sometime…eventually. Maybe. Meanwhile, I am loving the Navajo-looking towel peg, jet black sink faucet with a ‘raining’ water spout, the vase of dried weeds that I snagged from the WELCOME TO NAPA VALLEY sign off the road when family was here last year, and mostly, the discovery of a new spray paint that, if you’re sitting still too long I will give you a once over too. It’s my new go-to paint!

The toilet paper holder has a shelf on top for your phone. (ewwwww…but yay!) I wonder if President Trump has one of these??? 

I mean just LOOK at that handle?! Gorgeous, no??!

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That water spout. I feel like it’s a small bathroom in a Tibetan monastery in a remote, hillside jungle where monks say their morning prayers while…wait. Surely monks don’t do that second part. The number two part.

This has suddenly gotten super weird.

 

A bright, sunny little bathroom. Making a home wherever you are. Being finished would be too boring; it’s the tweaking and settling in that’s the fun part.

Welcome!

Our home project this week was to tackle our home’s entryway. I struggled all last year to figure out what would work best in our ‘entry room’.

The front porch is a covered area that has been challenging to decide between plants or furniture. Plus there is a fairly wide ‘wall’ that was screaming for something, but I wasn’t sure what.

And also..the color. This wouldn’t have been my primary choice, but since we rent, painting the outside of the house pushes even me over the limit. I am an avid painter (and re-painter!) inside the house, but I have to draw the line at exterior painting. And that’s okay! The bigger the challenge – the more fun! And I don’t hate this blue-grey color. Not at all. It’s just not a color I’m used to working with.

Let me pull back and give you a wider view…

Here’s our little California 1970’s ranch. We have done VERY little to the front of the house since we do all of our outside living in the backyard. But I wanted to do something with the entry area.

I grabbed a few pots and succulents and went to work.

As an aside: If you are doing a big succulent project, opt for these ‘decorator’ pots filled with succulents that someone else has put together for a grocery store, etc. I bought these at Home Depot or Lowe’s. You don’t have to keep them as is (I didn’t), but buying individual succulents cost about $4-5 each plant. Each of these pots cost $12! Obviously, that’s a MUCH better deal! You can take them apart and arrange them to your taste.

Since these were big pots (a size needed for the entry space) and I was planting succulents with small roots, I threw some nursery pots into the larger pot to take up some space. Why waste the potting soil filling the whole thing?!

Arranging the pots was 99% of the fun. Since these weren’t going to be seen from all sides, I gave them a tall back and worked the succulents from there.

Can you see that gorgeous variegated succulent below?? I put in an agave cactus in the middle and some fun sanseviera cylindrica (variegated ‘snake plants’) in the back…

I moved some of my prayer plant varieties, peperomia and calathea from inside the house to one of the pots. These are somewhat picky plants but like a frustrated mother, I needed them to go play outside for awhile! They’ll like this area because it’s very bright and has a good view of the sky but has no direct sun. Ultimately they will like the humidity this space gets in the summer.

I was going for a big impact with the large double doors, but needed to use plants that didn’t need direct sun, like a tree or ornamental grasses would.

Stage One of this project was going well.

But the open ‘wall’ was still glaring at me.

I found a similar project on a midcentury site online and liked the idea of a) Scott building something to fit the specific dimensions and b) something we could also use for climbing plants.

Stage Two: Scott and I worked over designs and he built this awesome ‘trellis’ / ‘artwork’.

I picked some Sansevieria zeylanica (commonly called Bowstring Hemp) to plant in the white rocks. I love their blue-gray color next to the house. They are a cousin to the Snake Plant (we always called them Mother-in-Law Tongue plants.) And I added a new aloe vera plant.

While it’s definitely shaping up, there are a few other things I want to tick off including (*but not limited to) painting the front doors and frame a magnificent mustard yellow.

The below Kangaroo Paw Fern has been a dreamboat of a plant. I highly recommend them. And ever-so-slowly, the Japanese Aralia – is starting to expand.

I love a fun, unusual, exotic plant. But you really can’t beat a reliable ol’ airplane plant, can you? As soon as it produces a baby, I put them directly back in the pot to fill out the top and keep it full.

Two super awkward situations about this entry way. Imagine, if you will, standing at your kitchen sink, making coffee, staring blankly out the window when suddenly (…I should write that SUDDENLY!…because that’s how quickly it happens…) the postal worker (…ours is a man, so can I say ‘mailman’??…) comes around the corner to drop the mail in the box. An awkward grin is the least of my worries as I pray he didn’t see anything untoward as we stood facing each other through the glass pane. -ha!

Secondly – is that a laundry vent behind your azaleas, Greta?, you ask. Why yes, yes it is. Welcome to our home. We smell like fresh laundry. Meh. There could be worse things, right??

I think my Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera obliqua) will enjoy dancing up this trellis.

Besides the succulents, all of the plants on the porch love humidity. Watering the white rocks adds humidity to the air. The fact that this is a somewhat enclosed area, the humidity in the air and the heat of California hovers in this small place – making these tropical plants extremely happy. And they get to enjoy it all without the harsh sun rays beating down on them all summer long.

I think we might have a winning combination.

Thank you, again, Scott. Although this project looks relatively easy, there was math involved which is where I get off the boat and leave Scott to figure out the angles on his own.

Another week, another fun project checked off our list!

Rethinking Small Bedrooms

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed I’ve been moving around my ‘library’ and reading corner recently. I’ve tried it in a couple of different areas (always built around natural light options), but I had a little bit of an aha moment (aka: DUH! moment) and wanted to share it with you – definitely still a work in progress.

We live in a smallish house in northern California. We love our little spot of the world, but there are challenges with space sometimes. If you have a large home, this post won’t click for you much, I would suppose. But if you are a small-home-dweller, maybe something like this will help you too.

Enter our three bedrooms. They are smalllll bedrooms. What would be considered the Master Bedroom is only a few feet larger than the others so I came to a conclusion: Since the rooms weren’t vastly different, why was I giving the largest of them all the ‘time of day’, if you will, but only sleeping in it at night?? Who says this has to be the main bedroom for sleeping?!

So we pulled everything out of the ‘Master Bedroom’ and swapped it with a smaller room across the hall where ‘The Office’ once was.

I’m pretty minimalistic anyway with bedroom furniture and decor.

We didn’t finish painting before completing the move, but it’s just going to have to wait until we get back from vacation next week. Besides, you can see how the bedroom is evolving from a nice gray (which was too dark for this room) to a bright white that plays nicely off the very sunny window.

Scott built us these floating shelves a few months ago and I can’t recommend them enough! Easy cleaning and forced simplicity. Win win!

These mirrored closet doors are soooo seventies. Initially I wanted to take them out and do something different with the space, but I do really like the way they double the natural light in the room. I think they’re staying put for now. I lay in bed in the mornings and watch the palm trees swaying and the birds coming and going – all through the view of the mirror. I’m kind of digging it.

Some black and white decor via 1967. You’ve gotta love the arts and crafts that stand the test of time! 🙂

We’ve got our air-purifying snake plant next to the bed for all the extra good juju breathing we can get.

I don’t know what i’ll do with the shelf in the room yet (something clean and simple though) but for now, this calathea is enjoying her spot in the bright but indirect sun.

And now what was originally the master bedroom is the library/reading and writing room.

A quick word about this majesty palm… I had it in the wrong place last summer and it got dried out. I was ready to get rid of it but decided to make some drastic cuts to it. There was one new palm growing in so I cut off ALL the older palms. In the past few months two more new palms have grown in. I put a humidifier on it a few times a week and make sure it doesn’t get dried out (but not too wet either.) It seems to like it’s new lease on life. My PSA is to try drastic measures if you’re going to be throwing a plant away anyway. Similar to ctrl-alt-del, sometimes cutting a plant down to nothing and letting it start over again is a viable solution. We all kind of desire that fresh start, don’t we??

This big window is where all the cool plants wanna hang out. It doesn’t get the harsh sun from our backyard but is bright and cheery with big views of the sky. It’s also a wonderful place to sit and write to you from my laptop…

So what happened to my cozy reading corner? Scott and I are jokingly referring to it as our ‘Mud Room’. I set up a desk in there that holds essentials. It’s where we throw our canvas bags after using them before they go back to the car. Our car keys, sunglasses, you get the idea. The door to the right goes out to the laundry room and then the garage and with all the winter rains we are getting, it’s the perfect place to take off shoes, etc. I’m looking for just the right durable rug to go here as well.

Lots of room switching around (per usual for me) but we’re both happy with the results. Now for the Big Painting Project of 2020 where all the house will change from gray to WHITE! I love the blank canvas that white affords.

Are you working on any last minute home improvement projects before the decade begins? I can’t guarantee it, but I would bet my first project of the decade was painting something white. -ha! I guess I don’t deviate from a good thing, do I?