Is it strange to get excited about your bathroom? Maybe. But I sure love this little space in my cottage. I’ve long been a believer in making every room in your home equally lovely, even those out-of-sight private spaces like your bath. So when we were remodeling our little fixer-upper on the lake, I knew this functional room had to also be beautiful. My bathroom is kind of an odd space, but it suits me to perfection.
Since the en-suite bathroom leads right the bedroom, with its large, dark, religious paintings Dan discovered years ago in Europe, the bath also had to make a strong visual statement. My tool? Artwork. I’ve been collecting nudes for some time and had them scattered throughout my home in Atchison. So I decided when we moved I would amass the entire collection in this private space, completely papering the walls with them. It allowed me to squeeze in a whole lot of artwork – something I needed to do all over the cottage if I was to find room for every piece of art I loved from my old house.
Maybe one reason I love the nude studies so much is because they celebrate women of all different shapes and sizes, a reminder that we are all beautiful and need to feel good in our own skin.
Instead of a traditional sink cabinet, I decided to splurge just a bit and instead use a stately piece of furniture, then transform it into a vanity. My goal was to make it the lovely focal point of the room.
I started with this gorgeous sideboard from Nell Hill’s, then had marble fitted on top. In general, I want to keep the furnishings at Innisfree consistent with the style you would expect to find in a lake cottage, simple, casual, comfortable. This elegant vanity was one of my few departures.
In place of a light installed over the top of the vanity mirror, I placed a pair of lamps on each side of the counter top. Every time my sister visits she complains about this set up, declaring that it’s awful lighting for putting on makeup. But I don’t care. Even though it’s not the most practical thing in the world, I like the look of the stately blue and white lamps gracing each end, framing the mirror above.
In my family, no one ever seems to be able to hang their towels back on the towel bars. So I have given up and look for creative ways to hold towels. In my bath, I put hand towels in this delicate crystal bowl. It makes for a lovely display, along with the silver mirror and jar, filled with cotton balls.
Maybe it comes from living in old homes, which are notoriously short on storage, but I like to keep the things I use every day out where I can see them, displayed in beautiful containers. I used one of the silver trays I inherited from Dan’s mom as a staging area for a few daily necessities and treasures that make me happy. An antique mug with my monogram holds my makeup brushes and reading glasses. Another footed bowl is my makeshift jewelry box. And the rest of the space holds things that make me smile, like this photo of my sweetie, Dan, and another of me and my dad.
Everyone in my family makes fun of me for my nightly bath ritual. They all prefer showers. But me? I take a long, hot, luxurious bath every night. I soak until I’m a prune, letting the heat steam away the day, relaxing and reviving me. I keep my bubble bath on this sweet little bench, which used to be in my mom’s house. The glass jar holds my razors – and my readers, because I can’t see any more to shave my legs! I’ve covered the window next to the tub in simple black and white café curtains. They provide privacy while still allowing the room to be flooded with natural light during the day.
In Atchison, I had a beautiful pedestal tub. But I thought that would be too much in our cottage. So I picked a standard tub and did the walls in subway tile with gray grout. I splurged on the fixtures, all in a warm gold finish. A lot of people have switched from brass hardware to silver, then to brushed nickel. In my book, you should never follow a trend when selecting hardware for your home – trends change too fast. Instead, pick a finish you love now, and will for years to come. For me, it was the warmth of gold.
Using lots of fabric in a bathroom helps warm up the space and softens all those hard surfaces. So instead of a shower door, I opted for a shower curtain. I really like this Asian inspired toile mixed in with the other black and white fabrics and accents.
We created a private room for the toilet, which closes off with a pocket door. Again, I filled the walls of this tiny space with nudes. A friend asked me if all these nudes were self-portraits. I told her, “Only the ones with the big tummies and behinds!”
When we lived in Atchison, we didn’t have closets or cabinets in our bathrooms where we could hide our stuff. So I got really good at finding creative, and lovely, ways to store all my gear in plain sight. This wonderful bookcase did just the trick. I used it in Atchison to hold my stack of towels and baskets filled with things like my blow dryer.
I loved the look so much, when we redid the bathroom in the lake cottege I opted against traditional bathroom closets and cabinets so I could use these bookcases once again. I not only love how they look, this open-air storage system forces me to keep my stuff neat and tidy.
Next week …in time for Valentine’s Day, I’ll share ideas for adding romance to your home.