a thing of beauty

"a thing of beauty" quote in frame“A thing of beauty is a joy forever:

its loveliness increases; it will never

pass into nothingness….”

-John Keats, Endymion

So reads my bathroom wall now, and yes, it is a joy! (Forever, though? Maybe not.) I’ve struggled a great deal with bathroom decor. Two of the bathrooms I’ve had to decorate have been teeny tiny; the other was enormous; none was easy to prettify.  Our current bathroom has been through a couple transformations (here and here) but hasn’t been completely right until now.

two frames, candle holder, pinecones

The elements I’ve tried to unify this entire time have finally coalesced in this scheme, which boasts: a color palette that doesn’t draw too much attention to the white toilet/ivory counter clash and the dated wood cabinets; decor items that don’t feel too fancy for a room with such a humble purpose; and an overall effect that, while understated, is nonetheless pleasant to look at.

It all started with this bottle.  I saved it from the recycling bin, sure I could find a use for it.  I scraped off the label and stuck in the branch, then walked around the apartment looking for a place to set it.  Every place I thought of had eye-poke issues or interfered with the freedom of movement in seating areas.  No good.  “If only I had a shelf above this towel hook,” I thought as I stood pondering the branch’s potential in the bathroom.  Then crazy-me said, “Why do you need a shelf?”

knot and ribbon around bottle neck

With one long piece of ribbon (which I received as part of a present’s wrapping last fall) I tied a loop “behind” the bottle neck and wrapped the rest into a bow in the “front.”  I hung the loop over a nail and called it good.  Then Lovey came home.

wine bottle and branch

He liked the look but suggested that the trifecta of glass, satin, and shower-generated humidity might be a slippery combo, and right he was!  The original solution we agreed on was to dab hot glue between ribbon and glass, but after the first morning shower the glue dislodged and I found the bottleneck a fraction of an inch from sliding free of its satin noose.  So I removed the ribbon and put a wide rubberband around the bottleneck, then added glue and ribbon the same way as before–except before tying the bow I wrapped the ribbon around the bottle twice instead of once.  That’s holding well a week later.

bathroom with nature-inspired decor

I can’t promise this is the last picture of my bathroom you’ll see, but we’re probably getting close.  I just have to figure out what, if anything, I want to hang over the towel racks on the opposite wall.  For now, though, I’m pleased.  This update involved just one purchase: the candle and candleholder–$6 at T.J. Maxx! A year ago I was drooling over similar candleholders at Ten Thousand Villages but they were just too expensive for me.  When I saw this one I went for it, knowing I’d find it a happy place.

Everything else:

-frames—already had (see previous bathroom pictures)

-quotation and botanical print—from oversized art books purchased at the library book sale (see other pages here)

-pinecones—local park

-silver dish—wedding gift (it’s a bread dish)

-wine bottle—okay, technically this was purchased (Pink Moscato!) but the container would have been recycled if not redeemed for this purpose

-branch—local park, gathered on a walk with Lovey (We set set out after dark, with a small flashlight, because I had to have a branch likerightnow for decorating the living room last year.)

So I guess you could say we’ll find ourselves enjoying nature when nature calls.  Do you harvest bits of wild this-and-that for your home decor projects, or am I the only weird one?  I drew the line at bringing home a bird’s nest this week, just so you know.  It was lying empty on the sidewalk in front of me, and it had probably been at or below freezing for several days, but I still couldn’t hush the doubting voice that warned, “Parasites!” so I walked around it. Sticks, though, are totally okay in my book.

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skip to my loo

Glowing living rooms? Check. Cozy kitchens? Check. Sweater-pillow-laden beds? Checkity-check-check. But what have we not seen amid the hundreds of home holiday-decor photos popping up on our screens and in our magazines?  Might it be, perhaps, the humble (whispers) bathroom?

little bathroom

Why not?  Why not brush my teeth in the presence of gold glitter?

glitter hurricane

Why not part my hair next to a citrus-bright picture (cut from the cover of a magazine)?

citrus picture, gold ornaments, green bow

It’s the little things that make life sweet.  Like the unexpected delight of a powder room prettied for the holidays.

tank and wall

open house

~ Our (New!) Door is Open ~
Main Street #1; Washington, D.C.
Drop in on Saturday, October 1st
between 4 and 7 pm
for chit-chat, cookies, and cocoa. 

Can’t make it? Visit virtually: myfourwhitewalls.blogspot.com.
Clearly the invitation above underwent alterations to all the specifics…I’m posting this on the internet, so I figure I might as well not be stupid.  But there you go: you’re invited to the little shindig we hosted at the beginning of October.  Come, have a seat.

Even though a bit of over-optimism about my preparation schedule left me “arranging” flowers in about ten minutes, I felt like a million bucks having them in every room.  The coffee table vase held roses, seeded eucalyptus, and hypericum berries.

Another small green vase held strips of paper with typed conversation starters.  I wasn’t sure if they’d be necessary, but someone started reading them and they led to a few rounds of sharing on random topics.  (These prompts were actually the serious questions I wanted my Mr. to answer before we delved into a serious relationship, mixed with totally silly questions to lighten the mood.  These include, “Do unicorns really exist?”  More weighty questions are along the lines of, “What is one question you struggle to resolve? How long has it bothered you?”)

In the kitchen, sunflowers and spray roses played nice with more eucalyptus and berries. The apples were a legitimate part of the refreshments: alongside the cocoa promised on the invitation, we offered “apple spritzer.”  I have to admit it doesn’t have the kick its name suggests.  It was just apple juice, club soda, and apple rounds combined in a pitcher.  I got the idea from a spa we visited.  They had big chilled-water dispensers with rounds of apple and orange floating in them.  The water had just a faint, fresh fruity flavor.  (And then everyone died of abundant alliteration.)

Moving on.  Even the little water closet got some floral adornment.  It smelled seriously lovely.  The “designer” vase/Ford water bottle held salal tips, white stock, and pink larkspur.

Sorry I don’t have party action shots to share.  I’m sort of shy about asking people if I can take their picture, not to mention busy talking and filling cups and enjoying the transition from planning the party to enjoying it.  So just imagine yourself here and have fun!