Bathroom Rehab

When you live in a city apartment and you have only one bathroom, taking on a renovation of that space can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Add to that a pre-war building (those were made out of concrete and require a special handyman to hang a picture). The picture, in case you are not clear, is that nothing in these types of buildings will be ripped out easily and replaced. Not without a wrecking crew, and if you are in fact planning on continuing to live there, well, you have a problem.

Me, I love a bathroom or I hate it. I want it to be a quiet sanctuary of sorts. I want to go in, close the door, block out the world, maybe turn on some nice music, having a steaming hot shower, dry off with a fluffy towel, and have the ability to turn around without hitting a towel rack, the back of the toilet or the door – you out there reading this, living in tiny places – you know what I am talking about.

While I cannot make my sister Mary Beth’s bathroom any bigger – we can make it feel like a tiny spa, and do it all without throwing the baby out with the bath water. Now some of you might balk at the thought of reglazing – this inexpensive fix will in fact transform your space. No painstaking effort to pry up the existing tile, I don’t even know how they’d get that tub out of the apartment without taking out the door, popping a window out, and have a crane take it down. If you were being bombed, this tub would be the only thing left standing, and you could happily say it served one good purpose. Reglazed – it will serve two.

Patch the tile, glaze the tub and then the tiles, add a new sink, toilet, vanity, and light fixture, and voila – you’ve performed a miracle – and it only cost you about $2500. It’s true. Take that. The last full bathroom renovation I did cost me $25,000. It was only 37sf That’s $675.67 a foot. You know what it feels like to stub your toe – that’s a huge toe stubbing cost.

Stay tuned for the after pictures. It’ll all take place over the course of a single long weekend away.

So many great options from Lumens.com Left: Saber $180. Top Right: Winton Bath Bar $219. Bottom Right: Rondelle Bath Bar $314.

Setting the Table

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Turkish Oushak . RH Home . Woodstock . VT.

I have looked at so many chairs they are all starting to look alike.  I fell in love with two tables – a very reasonably priced Ballard Design Trestle table, and a mid-range Dovetail Campbell table, which I was surprised wasn’t more expensive.  Why you ask?  The answer is simple – I was born with silver spoon taste.  It’s legs are turned, and have a beautiful curve, it’s finish rustic.  The combination is refined without being prissy, coastal without being kitsch.

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Ballard Design . Tatum Trestle Table . $1099.

That’s the trick.  Being suggestive without being overt.  That’s why I have spent so much time looking, looking again, second guessing, and finally making my selections.  Trust me when I tell you – mistakes will still be made.  It’s the nature of the process.  Some will be easy fixes, some will cost a disgusting amount of money to fix.  Ouch.  Those, however, are the ones I will never make again.

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Dovetail . Campbell Dining Table . $1362.50

After all that searching, I landed on chairs from the most unlikely of places.  Will I consider them a mistake.  Time will tell.  I chose a version of the Windsor Chair in a dirty blue.  High backed – arm chairs that will sit at the head of the table.  Side chairs are going to be a simple Parsons curved back chair from IKEA.  Yup.   In the end, frame plus slip cover is just $129. a piece.  The will be used most frequently.  Everyone likes to sit in the “kitchen” – since the dining room is open to that tiny, but incredibly sweet, u-shaped kitchen, I know that is where people will hang out.

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Tick Tock . Perfect accent to play off the gray.

I am going with a Cirque Pendant by Louis Poulsen.  The colors are muted – not the bright primaries you would normally think of for a seaside seeing, but the strips scream nautical and French.  What more could I want?

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Cirque . Louis Poulsen . $314.15

I imagine a red and white ticking stripe napkin, with a gray matte, metallic charger, and a rough hune string, tied loosely around the cloth.  Maybe a sprig of thyme or rosemary tucked into it for effect.  At the center of the table I would have one of Jill Rosenwald’s vases or platters.  Her pottery is perfect.  I might even go for one of her leafier patterns.  Dare to go wild.

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Jill Rosenwald Pottery . South End 

Piece by piece.  Bit by bit.  It is beginning to come together.

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Jill Rosenwald Pottery . South End .

Happy weekend.

That Girl: Keeping it from coming undone

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Decisions . Decisions.

My brother-in-law refers to me as “The Girl”.  You know, the help that’s hired to make things happen, the one in the background, who has no name.  That’s me.  I know I am someone that can get things done. I’ve always been a doer, a producer.  Nonetheless I prefer to be thought of more as “That Girl”, rather than “The Girl”.  Marlo Thomas was so quirky and cute and like Mary Tyler Moore, she was making it on her own.  True one lived in NYC and the other in Minneapolis, and I live in Boston, but still….I’m going to make this thing happen on my own.

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Laying it all out helps to pick a balance of high and low.

This thing of course is The Manse, and like the middle of any good TV show it looks more like disaster is about to strike than it’s ready for the flash bulbs to start popping, but I’m confident.  Sort of…Oh I have a million decisions to make still.  Bed sets to buy.  Dining chairs, lounge chairs, desk chairs, occasional, and every day.  I’ve got furniture to paint, miles to go before I sleep.

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“Chair”ish this time because once you’ve bought it, there’s no going back.

If money were no object.  I wonder if I would have no creativity at all.  It’s a possibility.  Not to worry, right now, I am being forced to get seriously creative, because I have spent WAY too much, and here I thought I was doing well.  By that I mean, maintaining a budget that I never wrote down, but had a rough idea in my mind I was willing to spend. No – that ship has sailed, so now my living room looks like a grade school art project.  All the surfaces are covered with cut outs of furniture, lighting, linens, and all the items I need to complete this place before 28 April.

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Struggling with the right mix of coastal and comfortable.

That Girl will pull it together, and she’ll do it in style.  You just keep the faith.