Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Sepia-Toned Bathroom

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Here are some cheap, easy things I did to improve the ambiance (do I dare say that about a bathroom?) of a small powder room in our house.  I made no changes to the existing wall color or fixtures, because that would have taken more time and money than I had available for this project.  Instead, I worked with what I had to add visual interest to the bare walls of this small space.  My total cost?  About $40. 

Since we moved into our house five years ago, it has been easy for me to jump into big projects:  landscaping, built-in cabinetry, new lighting, finishing the basement.  Big projects don't scare the Bionic Man and I.  However, it has been far harder for me to tackle the little, detail-oriented projects like hanging pictures on the walls and putting up curtains.  The decorating is so much harder for me than the constructionAs I mentioned earlier, I've decided that has to change.  And my little Sepia-Toned Bathroom was where I decided to start.

First, I decided that instead of being paralyzed by the thought of how much work it would be to strip all the wallpaper in the room sand down the walls, and repaint, I would work with what I had.  Even though the wallpaper was put on the wall before we moved in, it actually kind of works with the direction I've taken in the rest of the house.  Once I was able to see that, I could move forward with the detail work.
The caramel and antique white in the wallpaper, along with the oil-rubbed bronze fixtures in this bathroom made me think of vintage, sepia-toned photos.  That gave me an idea--and the name for this project!

I went through my files and found some black and white pictures I had taken of my children a couple of years ago, while they were playing outside in the water.
 I downloaded them onto my favorite website, Picnik, and had some fun cropping, editing, playing with lighting, and finally turning them into vintage-like sepia portraits.
I added in one of the family dog, and sent my files off to be printed at Sam's Club.  Funny story:  when I went to pick up my prints at Sam's Club, the photo area associate pulled out my pictures, looked at something written on the package, and said grumpily, "Ma'am, you've violated copyright law with these pictures.  I can't give them to you until I have written permission from the photographer to do so."  It took a little while to explain that I was the photographer.  I had to sign three legal documents and withstand heated questioning.  I was too flattered to be angry!!!  That's why Picnik is my favorite website!

Next, I went around my house looking for 8x10 frames.  Despite the lack of decor on my walls, I have a surprising number of frames and mattes stashed around the house.  So many that I didn't need to purchase any frames, and I only bought three mattes.  I picked up some spray paint at Home Depot and sprayed down all those mismatched frames.  I was able to find a can of spray paint that created a dark brown, metallic finish--similar to the oil-rubbed bronze fixtures in this bathroom and elsewhere in my home.
 I filled in the frames with my pictures, and arranged them on the wall.  I didn't like the first arrangement.  Too choppy.  I stuck some ribbon on a couple of the frames, and that made a huge difference!
Again, this is how that wall looked before I added the photos:
And this is how it looks now, after adding the framed photos:

I don't know if you've ever tried to take photos of a small, windowless powder room, but it isn't easy.....I'm pretty sure Sam's Club won't flag any of these photos for a copyright violation!

These two photos, of Justone and Superkid, are my favorites of the bunch.  I love the way they look in sepia!

I also discovered the vinyl for this bath sign when I was looking through my various stashes for frames.  The vinyl had to be at least three years old, and I'd never used it!  I quickly cut, painted, and sanded a board, and put the vinyl sign on it.  It was a little tricky to get the vinyl to come off the application adhesive, but it still stuck to the board!  So, in case you've ever wondered, you can still use that old vinyl sign!
The towels were one of the only new things I purchased for this room re-do.  I had to add in some light silver sage to coordinate with the wallpaper!
Here's my cost breakdown:
- Spray paint for frames        $10
- Brown satin ribbon                 2
- Photo prints                            3
- Photo mattes                           5
- Extra frame from Goodwill    5
- Hand towels                          15
                               TOTAL  $40

I'm really thrilled to have a finished space!  Looking at the pictures though, I'm kind of tempted to take the two frames with the ribbons, re-paint them to look like the other three frames, and re-hang them.  What do you think?

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  1. Love the sepia! And those blue towels are just the perfect punch of color.

  2. What a great makeover! I love the frame hanging with the brown ribbon!

  3. Love this! Beautiful!

    I also just wanted to say thanks for your sweet comment about my shutter project! I LOVE how it turned out! :)

  4. I LOVE the pictures hung with the ribbon, so beautiful! Great Job!

  5. It looks great! I can't believe Sam's Club gave you a hard time. Too funny! But looking at those photos, I can see why they thought they were professionally done.