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Adding some personal touch to the bathroom

November 29, 2010

Our bathroom was the average 1930’s boring, white tiled bathroom. In my opinion very boring.

I wanted something that would make me feel more like I was in a Spa.

Or at least not in a white, boring tiled 1930’s bathroom.

I could not decide whether this was going to be an Arabic, Indian or Moroccan looking bathroom so I went for all of it in some sort of combo-look. Since my favorite color is purple I thought this would be the ideal place to try this out. Usually small places are great for new tricks and ideas.

After covering the small little narrow bathroom in a nice deep purple I realized that my small and narrow bathroom was now yet smaller and more narrow.

So back at the hardware store I invested in a pint of prime. Prime helps to cover dark colors well and it also help new paint to stick better.

Prime, prime, prime and then I gave it another shot with lighter lavender that had the most romantic name: “pixie wing”.
So with Pixy wing I felt a lot happier and the bathroom looked cleaner and brighter.
There is an old white wood cabinet in the bathroom that I decided to strip and gold leaf… I could have just painted it gold but the leaf makes it so much more shiny. If you have never worked with gold leaf I should worn you that it can be a rather challenging project as you are working with very thin squares of gold leaf and they tend to stick to anything and very easily fall apart. It does look pretty but again – not for anyone in a hurry or with limited resources of patience. To get a more antique look then I painted it with some reddish brown paint diluted in water and changed the knob…

…the tub was also painted purple and then got some royal gold lines…
…I then stenciled some Arabic one the wall…
This was done using an old poem by Rumi that a friend of mine translated into Arabic. I copied his handwriting and traced it using transfer paper onto the wall.
It seemed to be impossible to find a shelf that would hold our towels so I spray painted an old wine wood box and drilled it to the wall.

We buy toilet paper in bulk and I finally realized that you can store 36 rolls of toilet paper above the door by just putting up a small little shelf (as you can see we are running low here). Because it was high up and I don’t like to see the supporters I put them on the surface side of the shelf instead.

The floor was white tile that would never ever stay clean, which has a lot to do with having a cat. I painted it a grayish purple mixing a few leftover paints together. I think floor paint would probably had been the way to go here but with so much paint left over and not wanting to spend on more it just had to work with latex paint and regular touch ups. (see picture above)

I reframed an old Indian painting in a frame I had found back in the street and let these bunch of Indian ban players stand on the top
The final touch was an old wall molding I had found in the street. It weighs a ton but I felt it helps to frame the bathroom a little bit. I hung it above the window.

How to control clutter from taking over

September 24, 2010
This is the perfect place to drop my keys as soon as I get in the door but before I
have time to lose them

I seem to constantly be waging a war against clutter in my apartment. And at times it feels like it is just one step away from full chaos to break out and that I will lose the battle – can anyone relate?

Between one husband, one cat and myself we all add to the piles of stuff – clothes lost in space and time, shoes scattered around making the place nothing but one big obstacle course – not to mention the random mouse toy or rattle Aycha drags around, magazines that mysteriously take up any surface to be had, mail – arghhhh – why do we need to get mail? It is all just a day away from get pushed over the edge, which means the walls would fall out and we would live in some sort or reality show dollhouse.

So part of my new years’ resolution this year – I don’t really do New Years resolutions but this one was desperately needed – was to get more organized. After a Iot of strategizing this is what I have come up with:

1. Sort through all of my stuff  – even if I can only do that for ten minutes a day I have to start somewhere – and make sure I really like what I keep, or that it has some sort of important function to fill (impossible to ask Mario to take part in this as his modus of operandi is: “you’ll never know when you might need this”, which translates into that nothing can be thrown away). But with my approach I can justify one orange squeezer but not two. One toaster but no two. All the towels that I do not like have to go and anything chipped or broken that I am supposed to fix but never realistically will fix anyway – see you later. It all has begun to pile up.

2. Next has been to find a place for everything where it makes sense – not where it looks pretty. I know this one is dumb but instead of keeping a box of matches with the candles, another by the stove and one in the bathroom where I like to have a candle – I thought it was better to keep them all in a little pile. No more – my dictator rule is “it has to make sense”. Everything now has to have a home or it gets donated or put away. Thats the harsh reality of being “stuff” in my place. Be useful or our you go! Unless I happen to be in love with you:)

Every document, every magazine now has a home

3. Then I started “operation last sweep”. Every night before I hit the sack I walk around and put everything away – dry dishes, lost shoes that are just waiting to trip me up in the morning, Mario’s keys that are always lost and all other left-over junk  – and finally myself 🙂 But I am rewarded in the morning as it looks somewhat decent.

This organizer is from the Container Store baby, the Container Store – love it!

And actually amazingly this has kind of worked. We have a lot less stuff, and a lot less mess. Funny how those always go together… What I very much liked is that some  of the stuff we don’t need we sell at our yearly yard – sale (if I can keep my strategy we may not even need one next year 🙂 – but a lot of the stuff we actually donated for causes where it was put to good use.

I compiled a list of every place I could think of where you could give your stuff away instead of throwing it in the garbage (a lot of these resource come from the wonderful Domino Magazine that unfortunately no longer exists). Isn’t it so much easier getting rid of something knowing someone else will benefit from it?

If you know of an organization that is not on the list please send it to me so I can add it. I’ll make a permanent tab for all of these in the navigation bar so that we can all do our part.

How to add a Moroccan touch to a nook

September 22, 2010

I love it when people bring out their creative juices and just go for it. My friend Sarah is an artist and also loves Morocco. This is what she did to a little nook in her apartment. Isn’t it gorgeous?

This is how she did it:

Gathered pictures of patterns and design for inspiration
Then she created an idea board where she sketched various
ideas on how to design and color
As you can see she is about ready to design on the Taj Mahal
It is traced to the wall with tracing paper
and then the colors if filled in one at a time
…and the final result is AWESOME!
Thanks for sharing Sarah – it is absolutely beautiful!
What do you think? I am thinking I may have to steal some of those stencils and add some more to my walls. As always, if you have some fun or inspirational projects you have been working on – send it in – I’d love to put it up!

3 things can you do to make your place nicer in one day

September 19, 2010
Motivational level is key…
My friends sometimes complain that they don’t know where to start with all this design stuff – and how are they supposed to find the time for it anyway – and what if I just came to their house and did it…
So here are a few things you can probably accomplish in a few hours – I guess depending on how motivated you are 🙂
Five dollar bouquet that gets taken apart to spread joy all around the house…
Get yourself flowers! I get myself flowers every week. I usually tell Mario they are for him – but the fact of the matter is that I love flowers and they add so much  – fragrance, color and just looking pretty. If you buy a mixed bouquet you can take it apart and put one flower by your bed, another one in a little glass on your sink in the bathroom – and a small little bunch by your entrance.
Gold leafed handles that did not work with this dresser
Exchange knobs. There are lots of pretty knobs to be had on the internet or even at the Home Depot – just switching the old ones for something prettier creates a new look.


I stuck the knobs in some play dough so they would not fall over while the plaster was drying

In this case I had these knobs I had bought at some thrift store but they missed the metal rod – the part that would go through the wood. I added those by pouring plaster into the knobs. If do this be careful so you don’t get plaster on the actual rods as it will be very hard to get the nuts in properly. I know this one by experience…

New knobs – looks like new dresser. Sort of.
Get new glasses. Not for reading – but for drinking – or perhaps both… I used to drink orange juice out of wine glasses for the longest time because I thought those were nicer than my regular kitchen glasses. Then I came across very colorful glasses in recycled glass and even though they were a little pricey I thought – hey – if I am going to drink water every day it may as well be out of glass I like! There you are – go for it and feel good about yourself – and where you live!
Again – motivational level is kind of what will make this happen. Some of us should maybe just continue
doing what we do best…
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A few more Moroccan touches for your home

September 18, 2010
Bring in some Moroccan feel by simply copying these idea.
I love this little ball and I think it would be fun to get a foam ball, cover it in fabric and deck in out like this with beads and pretty ribbons.
This one should not be too hard – right? Perfect to make a day when you need to get out some frustration – just bring out the nails. I would add this to a door or to the doorway between two rooms.
Lanterns, lanterns, lanterns – how can you not love these or even the Moorish star that looks like a two dimensional star that exploded.
I am of the opinion that one can never have too many lanterns so I had no problem picking this one up. If you like it you can get it here: Z Galleri.
To re-create this one requires a bit more work I’d say. But if you look closely it is really a simple rectangular cabinet. If you remove the doors and saw out patterns shaped like these it would not be to far off. Everything else can be stenciled in or you could just paint the borders around the edges in a contrasting color and you would have your Moroccan kitchen cabinet.
If you have any other ideas for how to re-create Moroccan – send them in!
Pictures are from the book Morocco by Lisl and Landt Dennis