Little Bathroom Jungle

When I first moved in, my bathroom (okay, okay, the downstairs bathroom) had great bones, but not much going on. I added a new shower curtain, some storage containers, and a painted gold plant stand.  I wanted the room to be full of life though, and as those of you who know about my addiction have already guessed, I wanted some plants! I wanted a bathroom jungle! I’ve been so inspired by pictures like this and this. I admire their bohemian flair, but mostly the liveliness the plants add to the space. Black and white rooms can so often be stark, but the addition of plants makes them feel much more natural. Since I always hit up the garden section of IKEA,  I had lots of things on hand. I picked up several of my favorite containers and a few plants on one of my last IKEA trips. I brought them home and decided to see what I could do to start my own little bathroom jungle. After all, one of my Oma’s plants was already living on the plant stand in there!

 

Because I bought so many, I stuck four of the small IKEA containers in the kitchen window. Now I need plants for here too!

 

Kitchen Window Plants | Land of Laurel

 

Then I went into the bathroom (the original purpose for the pots!) and stuck four more on the back of the toilet. I had plants for these ones! I instantly loved it. Look at all that life! All that greenery! Think of their ability to regulate indoor air-quality! Sold. Now I wanted even more plants.

 

Mini-Bathroom Jungle | Land of Laurel

 

I had just plopped the plants in their little plastic containers into the pots at this point. They looked pretty great there on the back of the toilet, definitely more exciting than a lot of the things I’ve store on here in the past!

 

Plants in the Bathroom | Land of Laurel

 

While I loved the plants themselves, the white pots on the white toilet was a little blah for me. The look was clean, totally fine for some people, but I wanted more contrast, more excitement. You know me, never one for simple! And since I’ve recently embraced gold on an extreme level, I went for it once again.

 

I painted these guys way back when I worked on the Paint it Pink Challenge. It’s easy to spray paint things all at once. Here they are, upside down, in their original state (I decided to paint two of the kitchen pots too!).

 

Spray Painting All the Pots

 

And, after absolutely no prep and my favorite gold spray paint, they started looking much more fun!

 

Painting IKEA Pots Gold | Land of Laurel

 

The plants were still dashing even in their plastic containers! I’m no gardner, so I can’t tell you their exact types, but I chose them because they were all different. The long spider plant on the far right with it’s droopy leaves was perfectly different from the tall round leaved plant on the far left. I made sure it mix it up when I picked these guys out.

 

Picking Plants | Land of Laurel

 

I added gravel to the bottom of the newly golden containers for drainage. Because bathrooms are so moist, I wanted be sure the plant roots would never be soaking.

 

Gravel as Drainage | Land of Laurel

 

Then I just pulled the plants from their plastic containers and plopped them into the pots. Simple, easy, quick.

 

Plants Potted Gold | Land of Laurel

 

I brought them back into the bathroom and put them on the toilet. But four gold pots suddenly looked too stuffed on top of the toilet. So I ended up just using three there and stuck the Spider on the window ledge. Then I faced another problem. While I liked the gold on the toilet top, the gold blended into the window ledge too much for me. Plus, I didn’t like the look of the single plant up there. It looked lonely!

 

Three Pots | Land of Laurel

 

That’s how I ended up repotting the white stripey spider plant, stealing  the white pots I planned on using in the kitchen, and propagating one of the spider plant offshoots from my grandmother’s spider plant.  There. That’s much more balanced looking, don’t you think? I got that little candle from my cousin over the holidays and it made friends with the spider plants, so I think he’s going to live there now too.

 

Repotted Spider Plant | Land of Laurel

 

It’s difficult to photograph the plants on the toilet and the plants on the window sill together because of the crazy light that pours in the window, but below is my best attempt. At least you can see that it’s an improvement from no plants, right?

 

Plants in the Bathroom | Land of Laurel

 

Here is where the bathroom started, no plants, no love. Now, at least it’s starting to get somewhere, cat box and all.

 

Move in Bathroom

 

A bit grainy from the crazy lighting, but moving slowly in the direction of bathroom jungle… One step at a time, people, one step at a time. Now I just need more plants. Or help with my addiction. Is there a twelve step program for plant addictions? I should enroll…

 

Happy Bathroom Plants | Land of Laurel

 

So here I am, making strides in my bathroom jungle. Up next? Plants for the vanity counter! Plants hanging from the ceiling! Plants growing in the bathtub! Just kidding, I need the bathtub to shower… 🙂 These guys here are still alive, but I managed to kill the happy Paint it Pink plant… overwatering? Sad Laurel.What do you think of plants in the bathroom? Do you have any in your bathrooms? Or do you have a black thumb?

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Glitzing Things Up with Gold

My goodness, it has been a while. Sorry, my friends! I’ve been having a crazy January! Lots of things going on personally and professionally. I’ve been falling into bed totally exhausted all month long. I have lots of blog posts planned though! Yay! Now I just need to write them… but I will! I will! I promise!

 

So, do you remember approximately 50 thousand years ago when I made over a nightstand for my friend Hannah? And I showed you all the prep process and never showed the final thing? I promise that I will – I just need to get myself into San Francisco in the daylight to style it and take some pictures… any day now…  Anyways, you may recall, that when I found that nightstand I also found some ceramic lamps. They were a hideous brown-purple color, but they had an excellent curvy shape that I knew would look fantastic in a different color.

 

Thrift Store Lamps and Nightstand

 

You may also recall that I already have two perfectly good matching lamps in my room. They are a bright apple green color and are Robert Abbey. Basically, they’re great, but they don’t actually function. They need to be rewired and I just don’t love them enough to get on that. I also think they need to be a different color. But because they’re so nice in the factory finish, I’m having difficulty getting myself to re-do them. I think I will eventually, but right now, I’m happy to tuck them away in the attic. Maybe they’ll have a new life in navy blue in my parent’s family room. Or maybe they’ll live in attics for ten years, because I am a hoarder at heart. 🙂

 

West Elm Bedding | Land of Laurel

 

Once I banished them, it was really time to get a hop on the thrifted lamps though. I got the lamps from where they’d been living (the corner of my bedroom!) and brought them outside to our courtyard to take inventory.  They were in pretty awesome shape considering their misfortunate coloring. The finish was still shiny and in good shape, they even worked when I plugged them into the outlet! Working lamps from the thrift store for 10 bucks each?! What is this victorious feeling? Thrift store success! Let me tell you, it’s a real high. 😉

 

Inventory of the Lamps

 

Now that I new these lamps did not even require re-wiring, this make over got super easy. All they needed was a quick coat of paint! We all know how much I love to paint. But what color should they be? My first thought was a nice dark green, since that was my go-to color for my bedroom in the beginning. But then my new bedding incorporates so much of my true life long love: the color red! I was in a bit of a conundrum. I like design conundrums though. I get to sit back and think about things for a little while. So after letting this cook on the back burner of my head for a bit, things became clear. Around this time I was also redoing my bathroom plant stand and then a little while later I stumbled upon my gold sequined pillows; things suddenly became very clear. Am I obsessed? I’m still undecided, but as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I decided to go with the gold again! Time to get cooking! I got out my trusty canvas painter’s cloth and began my prep work.

 

First  I taped off the electrical where the light bulb sits and then the plug itself. Because these were fully functioning lamps, I did NOT want to mess with these bits! Every thing else though? Go for the gold! I even decided to try spraying the brown cord. I figured the worst that could happen is it would flake off and I’d be left with a brown cord again. Since I intended to fully hide the cord, I couldn’t think of a reason to not give it a try.

 

Once things were taped off, I wiped down the entire lamp with liquid deglosser. I know a lot of people skip this step, but since I already have the liquid deglosser, I figure it can’t hurt. Once I’d checked that off the list it was time for my favorite part: paint!

 

Prepping the Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

When I spray paint, I like to look like a deranged college student/clown. I wear my hair up, I wear eye goggles, I wear an intense mask/respirator rated for spray painting. Spray paints still have VOCs. VOCs are terrible for you. It’s important to take safety precautions. This is another reason I always spray paint outside. May the internet forever treasure this photo of me. Also NESCAC represent!

 

Spray Paint Precautions | Land of Laurel

 

Once I’d donned my safety equipment, I grabbed my favorite primer and went to town.

 

Rustoleum Primer | Land of Laurel

 

After the first coat things were looking pretty rough. I always like to show you these in priming progress shots, because spray painting is all about thin coats! It doesn’t happen magically all of a sudden! It definitely takes patience and many coats to get a nice spray paint finish. I could definitely use more patience in this arena!

 

Priming the Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

You can see that everything totally looks crazy town for a minute or two. But, don’t worry! Another coat of primer and they start to look quite dashing! Now, at this point I always start to doubt myself. Do I really want to paint them a different color? White looks so good!! I think white is classic, elegant, just lovely. You know what white isn’t though? Me. White isn’t me. I don’t handle white things well… In fact, I usually destroy white things. You should see the mud stains I have on my formerly white jeans. I just can’t be trusted with white! But I do have an appreciation for all that class! If you look closely though, you can see that the original color peeking out under the priming job. It doesn’t matter, because what comes next is even better.

 

White Primed Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

To no one’s surprise but my own, I grabbed my favorite gold spray paint and had a little fun. The first coat went on and things were back to crazy town, but this was Vegas-crazy-town! Glitz! Glamour! Gold! Okay, I freely admit to being obsessed now… 😀

 

First Coat of Gold | Land of Laurel

 

After two more coats, my lamps looked fantastic! Everything I imagined when I saw them at the thrift store after work that first evening. This is the kind of thing I get excited about people, seeing my projects come to fruition. Even if it does take a century and a half for me to get it done. It’s better than chocolate cake. And I love chocolate cake.

 

I let the freshly painted lamps air out in the little shed off our house for three or four weeks. Because they were going into my bedroom I wanted them to have plenty of time to off gas. No one wants to smell spray paint when they’re going to sleep at night. Nuh-uh, no way. I am particularly sensitive to smells too. Another reason they sat out there for so long is that I got busy and forgot about them. But shhhh! The off-gassing is a much better (and very real) reason!

 

Once I brought them indoors I stripped the white lamp shades from my old lamps and plopped them on my new gold ones. Cue the excited squealing! I become about five years old when I am happy. It’s glorious if you enjoy small children. Once I had my lampshades on I placed the new lamps in the center of my nightstands and boy had the view changed. Goodbye apple green.

 

Green Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

Heellloooo gold!

 

Gold Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

Okay, maybe it’s a minor change. But whatever. My lamps are gold, people! I think the curvy shape is much more pleasing to the eye and the gold pops against the white shade similar to the gold sequined throw pillows against the white standards. While repetition isn’t a design requirement, it’s usually a good thing. Just like that things were coming together. My nightstands were looking better too. Just in time for me to get new ones… still need to find those!

 

On the left side of the bed (the unused side of the bed), I keep a picture of my dear friend Hannah and my grandmothers comb, brush, and mirror set. I love having the latter, it’s something I remember seeing every time I walked into her bedroom. Now it’s in mine. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, having little memories of my Oma scattered around my house makes me feel connected to her even though it’s been almost two years since she passed. That woman meant the world to me. And now I’m crying. Pheww. Deep breath and back to design. Since I never use this nightstand, it’s the perfect place to display things.

 

Left Nightstand | Land of Laurel

 

The other nightstand is a bit more functional. The rightstand usually has a glass of water, an empty tea mug, and receipts laying on it, but I decided to clean up a little for the internet. 🙂 I keep my journal either on top of the night stand or in one of the drawers. I like to write from bed, so it’s good to keep it handy. Writing in it calms me down and it’s a great de-stressor. Which makes this the perfect before bed activity. My plant addiction means I usually have a plant or two stuck somewhere on the nightstand as well. I have plans to go to IKEA later this week, I’ve already told my shopping companion to blindfold me past the garden section. I have literally no will power people! There’s usually a framed picture of my friend Claudia on here too… but it’s run off somewhere. I think it’s having a love affair with one of the pictures in the living room. Gosh, I wish Harry Potter was real.  🙂

 

You’ll see too that I have a small framed book above my lamp on this side. I’m experimenting with the idea of having these above the lamps… but I’m still not committed. What do you think? Good? Bad? Ugly? There’s so much wall space… matching mirrors would be great, but I don’t want plain ones or more IKEA. The idea of thrifting matching mirrors is a dream only, which leaves me with buying. Since mirrors get pricy quickly, I’d like to find another solution. I’ve been eyeing pinterest to see how others have managed this. No lightbulb moments yet! Unless – I go all out and hang plants from the ceiling in both corners… 😀 I like that idea!

 

Rightstand | Land of Laurel

 

Over all, I’m loving my new lamps. They actually work. Which is mind boggling. I can now get into bed after turning off the overhead lights without running into my trunk, tripping over piles of clothes, and falling on my face. It’s pretty life changing. I mean, I still usually stub my toe, but clumsy can’t be helped. Sometimes these little things make such a big difference though. Convenience is everything. Plus it’s much better reading light. And mood lighting. 😉

 

Now I still have quite a few things left to do in here, but I’m getting happier and happier about where it’s heading! You can see I finally hung some art in here too. Guess what? It’s more Oma memories. More on that soon! In other news, I want to buy a quilt. My new comforter is still too hot in this room. Dang insulation is doing it’s job too well!

 

Gold Bedroom Lamps | Land of Laurel

 

Can’t wait to tell you more about what’s going on in this space! Lots of exciting changes underfoot! Have you painted anything lately? Dealt with the empty space by your bedside table lamps? Give me your advice! How’s your January been? Can you believe it’s already February? How did this happen so quickly?

Going for the gold!

Sorry for the long absence! I got the cold of death right before Thanksgiving and barely survived! Or at least that how it felt… The cold is mostly gone though I’m still fighting off a nasty post-nasal drip. Aren’t you glad I told you? I ended up taking a few days off work and lying in bed all day and as much as I wanted to be productive here on the blog, watching re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix was pretty much all I was capable of! And then it was Thanksgiving! My goodness how fast November went by! December should be a good month though. I have some fun things planned and have been getting crafty with my family! Get ready for colorful garlands and festive Christmas trees! Until then, let’s get back to my bathroom.

 

So when I first moved into this house there were a few things I immediately bought: sheets, towels, contact solution, a shower curtain. You know, the essentials. Standing in the aisle at Target that night there weren’t many options. And it was 9:30pm. And I’d spent the entire day moving boxes of books into the house and putting furniture pieces back together with nuts and bolts. I was exhausted. I grabbed the first shower curtain that looked decent to me. It was white and yellow and had a bold chevron pattern. Yellow would look good, I thought, the walls are yellow after all, and the countertop is yellow, and mustard-y yellow looks good with burgundy red. You remember my shower curtain right?

 

DSC_0241

Well, it’s not mustard. Or yellow. When I got home I realized that the florescent lights of Target in Emeryville had hidden a key item. The metallic sheen. My shower curtain was gold. I was upset for all of five seconds before I realized I’d made a fantastic mistake! You know the saying “There are no mistakes, only changes in plan”? It’s dead on the nose correct. My plan changed and the space is better for it.

 

Gold. That was what I decided. Gold accents in the bathroom. Sure, the door knobs are oil rubbed bronze and the bathroom fixtures are chrome. Whatever. Metallics are in. And this is the season of gold. Suddenly gold is everywhere! Aged brass, brushed bronze, unlaquered brass, call it what you will. The 80’s fave is trending again. Bring on the gold! Look at a design magazine, they’re starting to pop up more and more. People are embracing gold! Gold is warm! Gold is friendly! Gold is new(?)! Or at least new again… Ha!

 

I embraced my happy accident. I decided to go for it. And no, I’m not changing out my beautiful fixtures or painting them or anything crazy that will prevent me from getting my security deposit back. I am going for mixed metals and giving gold a big ol’ welcoming hug complete with back rubs and a gentle squeeze. Heelllloooo gold!

 

First things first, that black plant stand? Going for the gold! The plant stand is the perfect place for stashing my watch or my hair ties when I shower or my book when I’m getting into the bath. It’s super convenient and I love it. Err… Correction: I love the functionality of it. The actual stand itself? Hideous! I got it for free from work when we cleared out the warehouse last summer. It’s chipped and rough and not fantastic in anyway. Guess what? I changed that. I switched things up! I went for the gold! Here’s how it was looking the other day when I pulled the plant off the stand and carried the stand outside.

 

Land of Laurel

 

After looking at it’s sad, sad state, I gave the entire thing a good sanding with some rough grit sand paper. I wanted to be very careful to get off anything looking rusty and anything that looked like chipping paint. I spent quite a bit of time sanding this actually. I wanted to be sure that the gold with stick! After a good while it was looking more like this and ready for some paint.

 

Plant stand sanded | Land of Laurel

 

Once it was sanded I was especially careful to wipe the entire thing down and dust off the area it was standing in. I wanted to be sure there wasn’t a single spec of sanding dust on that stand. Spray paint is durable, but it needs to be properly applied. In a wet environment like my bathroom? Worth the extra effort to get this right. Dampness can definitely affect a coat of paint. Once I was sure the stand was good and clean, I took out my primer and went to town!Plant Stand Primed | Land of Laurel

 

Primer does wonders for holding on to a coat of paint, so I gave the stand a few coats. Unfortunately, painting something as thin as this is a bit wasteful. The stream of paint goes on wider than the tiny bars of steel. I needed a second coat for sure. Plus, after the first coat I looked it over and realized I’d forgotten to paint entire sides of the bars. You guys, there are so many sides on this stand! I was sitting and crouching and peering over the top at it trying to get a coat of paint on every surface! So. Many. Surfaces. No wonder geometry is so difficult!

 

Once I was done with the primer, I moved on to paint. Guess what color? Just kidding, you already know I went for the gold! This Rust-Oleum color is such a nice gold. It’s not too yellow-gold if you know what I mean. It’s a tad more neutral and has just the right amount of metallic sheen. It’s a very modern take on gold. I luuurve it!

 

Gold Paint | Land of Laurel

 

Ooops, there’s a surprise project hiding in the back of that photo too. It snuck it! Promise I’ll share the deets soon.

 

Anyways, the gold looked good! But boy did I use a lot of paint. SO. MANY. SURFACES. Did I mention that??

 

Plant Stand Gold! | Land of Laurel

 

And that’s just after the first coat! See how it’s a bit patchy in places? I needed to work to get good coverage on all. those. surfaces! So many sides, people! So many!!

 

I love the stand in gold! It just gleams! It’s like a gold medal platform for my plant. Just perfect. It’s great for stashing last minute items before I hop into the shower or for keeping things dry, but in reach when I take a bath. It’s pretty convenient. And now it looks great too! I stuck rubber furniture pads on the bottom of it to lift it slightly off the floor in case things get a little wet. Better safe than sorry! Hopefully that helps keep the paint looking fresh down the line!

 

Plant Stand Gone Gold | Land of Laurel

 

I turn the stand at an angle in the bathroom — following the curve of the bathtub actually — so the shower curtain slides behind it more easily.A simple, quick fix, but it feels so much nicer! I popped that plant on top and stuck my watering can beneath it. I stick the watering can in the shower when the water is getting hot, so I like to keep it close by. This seems to be the perfect spot! Plus Malary likes to sip out of it. Gotta stay hydrated right?

The stand is a bit more of a neutral gold than the slightly more yellow-y shower curtain gold, but they work fine together in my opinion and I prefer the more neutral color.

I’m slowing checking off the boxes of the to-do list in here. Closing in on having this space almost complete! Just need a bit more time. I’m excited to have one room done, done, done!