October 4, 2012 by Decorum DIYer
By now, it should be no secret to you that my husband and I are trying to spruce up and modernize our 1960’s brick rancher one room at a time with nothing more than a gallon of paint, some resourcefulness, and an extremely tiny budget. Case in point, our master bathroom. Now, our master bathroom is rarely mentioned because Chris and I don’t really use it. Well, we use it, but mainly for storage.
You see, although the bathroom is conveniently located off of our master bedroom (duh, that would be the definition of a master bathroom), it is the size of a postage stamp. One can fit inside and turn around in place to reach all amenities. It is a 3/4 bath, which is a bathroom with a toilet, a sink, and a shower – no bathtub. I don’t mind that, for now, but the shower has been broken since before we moved in. Except for storage, we do use it as a last resort, if our main bath (and only other bathroom in the house I might add) is being used. Besides being tiny, the master bathroom is unappealing. It is not a space that says, “Welcome, please drop your drawers and do your business”. I realize that isn’t the most eloquent quote I could have come up with, but let’s be honest, isn’t that what you really want your bathroom to say when you need to ‘go’?
When we first purchased the house, the master bathroom was the same, poor-coverage, ‘primer’ white as the rest of the house. I don’t know if someone actually painted the walls with primer or used poor quality paint, but it had a flat finish to it and always seemed to look dirty. The first month we moved in, I decided to spend an afternoon painting the bathroom, just to make it ‘ours’ and to get rid of the ‘primer’ white. Theoretically, I could have painted the master bathroom any color I wanted, as the room was only viewable from my master bedroom. So, any color that jived with Valspar’s ‘Woodlawn Lewis Gold’ would work. However, I also needed to work with the tiles in the bathroom in varying shades of brown, tan, and cream that were everywhere!
Whatever I chose, it had to work with the tiles as they were. Sure, I could have painted all of the tiles. I could have even covered all of the tiles with bead board, or even board and batten, but all of those processes would have taken time and finances that I didn’t have. Afterall, this was supposed to be a quick little project with a gallon of paint just to make things not so dreary. Besides, I sort of have a soft spot in my heart for the original tile. I really thought working with the original, ‘neutral’ tile would make my job easy. I mean, at least I wasn’t dealing with baby pink or turquoise blue tiles, right? On second thought, those colors would have been way more fun. Anyway I skipped off to Lowe’s (the closest big box home improvement store) with no worries. I debated for about two seconds in the paint aisle at Lowe’s. I was between an earthy, clay color and a lighter shade on the same color card that was more of a dark sand. In the end, I decided to paint the walls in this color by Earth Elements, a line via Lowe’s, as it most closely matched at least one of the many tile colors.
I would not have chosen either of these colors on their own, but decided it was best to stick with the color scheme that was established by the tile in the tiny bathroom. After about a year (come on, you know the drill, I don’t have any photos of the before with the ‘Sahara Sand’ paint, nor the ‘before, before’ of the ‘primer’ white), I decided I didn’t like the ‘Sahara Sand’ color, as it was a creepy flesh tone. My walls actually looked like human skin! I had some ‘Pepper Spice’ paint left from my son’s room and decided to stripe the walls for a tone on tone effect. Maybe that would help? I really liked the tone on tone striped paint scheme in my office, so why not?
Sorry that the photos are so blurry but I had two things working against me. Firstly, I am inept with a camera. I wish I knew how to take a decent picture. Secondly, I am only a few inches away from the walls, so focusing the image was difficult. Even standing on the toilet (yes, I am short) didn’t help me get a better perspective. The stripes worked for a while and we even started to use the master bathroom more. Before the stripes, I actually marched myself out of bed and down the hall in the middle of night to go, even at the height of pregnancy.
Needless to say, I still wanted to change the bathroom with one more try. Maybe I just needed one strong color? I did have this toilet brush holder in the bathroom and always liked the mosaic tile pattern and the colors (I know…, CLASSY!), so I took some inspiration from it:
Since my bedroom is a golden hue, I thought why not try orange? After all, autumn is my favorite time of year and I really miss the orange wall that I had in my previous basement. So, the endless parade of paint chips began. I usually just go to the store, pick a color using my gut (well, not actually with my gut), and buy the gallon of paint right then and there. But this color had to be perfect. It had to help the tile look more fashionable and coordinate with the master bedroom. This was a first for me, but I taped up quite a few paint chips searching for the perfect orange-ish color.
I’m not even joking. I agonized for weeks trying to figure out the perfect shade. Finally, I decided upon Valspar’s ‘La Fonda Copper’. (And yes, it makes me think of LaFawnda from “Napoleon Dynamite”.) I painted the walls and the ceiling in the copper color and even used the ‘kitchen and bath’ sheen, as recommended by the paint counter clerk. I should have stuck with my method and used a satin sheen. I do like the orange much better, but think that the ‘kitchen and bath’ sheen may be too shiny and distorts the true color of the paint I chose. I don’t hate it enough to repaint the bathroom just yet, but it does pain me a bit. Either way, the bathroom is orange and it will stay this shade of orange for a little while longer. We do use this bathroom much more, especially since we are a family of five with a potty-training two-year old. Also, having three kids means that we constantly have guests and host our children’s birthday parties, so a second loo is a must! Without further ‘a-loo’ here it is, our orange master bathroom:
MASTER BATHROOM BUDGET BREAKDOWN:
- one gallon American Traditions’ paint: $30 from Lowe’s
- paint for the darker stripe: (free – already had it for another room’s project)
- one gallon of Valspar paint: $35 from Lowe’s
- trim paint for window (free – already owned, as it is the ceiling color of our current master bedroom)
- new shower curtain: $8 from Big Lots
- new light fixture: $20 on clearance from Home Depot
TOTAL BUDGET: $93 (not bad, considering I repainted a few times)
And now I leave you with a little joke that my children have been telling and which served as the inspiration for this post’s title:
(sigh) Orange who?
Orange ya glad I didn’t say banana?
And on that note, ‘orange’ you glad this isn’t your bathroom and you didn’t paint it three times in four years? Until next time, happy painting, and painting, and painting, and painting…!