Making Peace with My Interior Decorator

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One of the hard truths I’ve learned about myself since growing up (at 30, I’m allowed to consider myself grown-up, right? Sometimes I don’t feel like it) is that I am a dreamer. And a planner. But I’m not a doer.

That magical juncture of inner vision and hand-eye coordination is NOT my happy place.

The ability to interpret written instructions did miss me. Remember those tests from elementary school where there were, like, 30 questions and the directions at the top of the page said: JUST WRITE YOUR NAME. DON’T ANSWER THE QUESTIONS. (??) The point was to see who would read the instructions before moving on. I filled out all 30 questions (correctly, I might add). I was the only member of my third grade class to fail that test.

I can’t read maps. Cardinal directions are the bane of my existence. My parents once signed me up for tennis lessons because I was so athletically inept they were genuinely concerned I might one day fail a walk-the-line test while sober. For this and other reasons (read: spending guilt), I have always shied away from home improvements. If it’s going to cost an arm-and-a-leg and, quite possibly, my arm or my leg then it just doesn’t seem worth it. This is how I wandered through the first 30 years of life without ever doing much in the way of power tools. And why I married the very able and willing son of a contractor. (Thank you, Jesus!)

But this past week, all that was about to change.

Somehow, I got it into my head that to be happier living in our house, we’d have to do more than, you know, live in it. We might actually want to (I don’t know) improve it. Mark it up. Make it ours. Call me crazy. (I know, this is really novel stuff here.)

About a month ago, my handy-dandy husband and I sat down and drew up a list of all the things we’d want to do over the next five years to really turn our house into a living space that not only functions for our family but inspires us to enjoy our home together and with others. The largest of these projects requires a sledgehammer and checking for load-bearing walls. I figured we could hold off on that one for a bit. Baby steps.

Instead, I turned my attention to the upstairs bathroom.

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In all honesty, it’s not a bad bathroom. It was nice when we moved in, and since then, my husband put in the pretty bead board and the peg board where we hang the kids’ towels, but I was still a little self-conscious whenever we had people over. I’ve been to people’s houses where their guest bath looked nice. Pretty. Planned. “I’m a planner,” I thought. “Why have I never bothered to plan a bathroom?”

And so, Pinterest and I got friendly. Like we do.

And I dreamed up how I would want my guest/kids bath to look. (We live in a split-level. The kids share the main floor bath. Don’t judge me by the frog in the tub. The frog stays. It’s earned its place.)

I wanted something simple. Clean but maybe a little rustic. Enough color to make the room seem bright even on a rainy day (we get a fair few of those here in Seattle), but not too bright because this is a pretty small space. I wanted it to look pared down (a feat with four kids, but I was determined) but also put together.

This is what I came up with.

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Guys, my VISION became REALITY. This sort of thing does not happen. 

I am the girl who tried to make a papier mache chimera (’cause, right? I’m creative inside my brain but when it comes down to it, not so much with the making) and wound up with…I’m not sure there’s a name for what I wound up with. I have less artistic talent in my entire body than a panda has in it’s opposable thumb. And yet…

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milk crates from Michael’s: $13.99 ea., brackets from Home Depot: $7.98 ea. (I used 4 – black screws must be purchased separately), dark walnut stain from Home Depot: $4.78 for a 1/2 pint

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paint Mesquite by Benjamin Moore: $25 for 1 qt ($$$ but worth the splurge), potted boxwoods from Michaels: $7.99 ea.

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shadowbox frames from Michaels: $19.99 ea. (I bought 4 during a buy-1-get-1-free sale) 

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prints from Amazon: $15.43 for the whole book (I used 4 pages on this project)

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hurricane votive holders from Michael’s: $5.99 ea.

Sorry for the poor picture quality. I had to use my phone. My camera lens can’t handle the cramped-ness of the itty-bitty bathroom.

Of course, the handy-dandy husband helped. A lot. He was a very good coach. Very supportive. He also made sure I got my hands dirty every step of the way. (I could see the crazed backseat driver look in his eye, but he reined it in, folks. He reined it in.) Y’all, I drilled. I painted. I SPACKLED!!!

So, anywho, between this, getting our rental ready to put on the market, planning Sugar’s First Communion (2 weeks!!!!), winding down the homeschool semester, and gobbling up some unexpected spring-shine, that’s where I’ve been for the past week. (I’ve missed you!!) I’ve got to say, though, I’m pretty happy with the result.

All told, I spent $173.05 on the changes. For some reason our shower curtain didn’t make it into the pictures. And I still have to buy a little hand towel stand. But all in all, for less than $200, I’m very excited with how this experiment turned out. And the best part? I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty again!

P.S. I’m now in Instagram! Follow me @bakinghumblepie for more wild + crazy antics.

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