It sounds strange, but one of my favorite rooms in our home is the half bath on the main floor. Before the remodel, we only had one bathroom; I begged to have a half bath on the main floor so we could keep our personal bathroom private, and have one for guests to use. I also was adamant that the bathroom be orange. Not pumpkin, not coral, not rust. Orange. While this gave our contractors heartburn, my husband loved the idea and we have yet to tire of it. The room is cheery, airy, fun, and so very us.
When we completed our house remodel in 2008, we added five feet to the front of the house. This extended the kitchen (seen here), and also gave us room to make a bathroom on the main floor. Previously, we had accordion doors in the dining room which hid our washer, dryer, and hot water heater. We flipped all those appliances around so the closet for them would now be in the new bathroom, making it also our laundry room. The location is perfect since it’s right at the front door and across from the kitchen, making it easy to wash up after playing or gardening outside, switching a load of laundry while cooking dinner, or tossing dirty napkins and dishtowels into the empty washer.
The sink, cabinetry, and light fixture are from IKEA – I desired very clean, simple lines that would be kid-friendly and provided a ton of storage. I also wanted a really big sink so I could soak stained clothing or clean hand washables. IKEA isn’t the best quality, but the pieces have held up and are easy to clean. I also love that there is space under the cabinet – while it can collect dust bunnies and dog kibble, it’s also where I store my hand weights for those times when I am inspired to whip out an exercise DVD.
The trash can is from Target – it was the kitchen trash can in the old house and we always found it to be an awkward size. It fits perfectly in this corner of the bathroom, and is small enough that we can use old grocery bags as the trash bags.
The floor is industrial-grade linoleum. Budget-friendly, durable, comfortable, and doesn’t look like your grandma’s kitchen floor. Seriously, even people who are standing on the floor are surprised when we tell them it’s linoleum and not tile.
And heck, I’d want to know what reading material is in another’s bathroom so I’ll share it with you. No fashion magazines because Bazaar is upstairs and the others I finished and passed on to others. Since the time of this photo, the latest issue of Elle is now residing in here.
On top of the medicine cabinet are two blue glass bottles my father-in-law gave me. He attended a flea market on one of his travels and felt they looked like something I would like. He was right!
This little shelf was a big reason why I chose this medicine cabinet. Then I got home and realized how very small it is and how few things we owned that looked right in the space. We started using it as a place to display cool rocks and shells we find on our travels. Now that Emerson is old enough, she contributes to the collection (the biggest rock to the left is one she picked out on our trip last summer to Vermont).
We make our own foaming hand soap with one part Dr. Bronner’s to 10 parts water. We just keep reusing these Method bottles, and give them a trip in the washing machine from time to time to keep them fresh. It saves money, and reduces waste.
To the right of the bathroom door is our rag bin. In here are old towels, dish cloths, cloth diapers, and cut-up receiving blankets and tee shirts that we use for cleaning around the house. They work better than paper towels, are reusable, and easy.
This painting is by our neighbor and friend Barbara Stevens. She had an art exhibit at a local cafe and my husband and I were both drawn to this painting. A few weeks ago she gave it to us as a gift. Some may find it strange to have such a painting in your bathroom, but I love how it looks against the orange walls, this is the sunniest room in the house, and a place where all visitors will be able to see and enjoy it.
I have had this poster of Georgia O’Keeffe since at least college, if not earlier. O’Keeffe is one of my favorite artists, I wrote many papers about her in high school and college. My husband once joked that Georgia O’Keeffe was my spirit animal. I love this photo, showing how badass she was, not letting age hold her back from fun experiences.
The bathroom window is right at eye level at the front step so it needs some sort of privacy shade. Problem is, traditional blinds would block the sun and that is one of the most appealing parts of this room. The window is an unusual size, so we couldn’t find off-the-shelf plantation shutters to fit. These are the ones from the old kitchen window, but they are a bit short for men standing at the toilet. One day my husband was putting Emerson’s window crayons away and became inspired. He did this crazy rainbow pattern on the windows and it has remained ever since. Eventually we will have custom-made plantation shutters, but the rainbow is quite the conversation starter!
Hrm, looks as though a little potty training person lives in this house! These are the doors to the laundry closet. I was super budget conscious during the remodel, and freaked when I saw new doors up in this bathroom – where were the old, perfectly good ones? The contractor had these leftover from a previous project so they were free. And while the old ones were perfectly good, these were perfectly new and shiny and made of real wood! And because I know you like to see what is inside closets…
The utterly glamorous inside of the laundry closet. The washer came with the house, the dryer we bought a year after moving in. We keep meaning to organize the closet with shelves and storage containers, but have yet to get around to it. So instead we have a mishmosh of dog leashes, bike equipment, driveway chalk, hats, and such. Emerson’s sand pails come in handy – one holds gloves, the other holds dryer lint (we add it to the compost). You can also see our two dusty rolls of paper towels – both are three years old. We never use paper towel, but when people dogsit we bring it out in case of accidents and because it seems to wig people out to wipe their muddy paws on an old towel.
Here’s all the cleaning supplies in the house. Seriously. There’s nothing we can’t get sterile and sparkling with a combo of white vinegar, Dr. Bronner’s, oxygen bleach and baking soda. I’m a big fan of Biokleen products, which smell amazing, are reasonably priced, and seem to always be on sale at Drugstore.com (and if you use Ebates you get 6-12% cash back on your order!). The Biokleeen spray bottle in front is just a vinegar solution we use to wipe down counters and mirrors. Biokleen’s Bac-Out takes care of pet accidents and tough stains and smells with ease. And Dawn liquid with peroxide is the BEST stain removal (see recipe here).
I didn’t show the contents of the under-sink cabinet or medicine cabinet because they are pretty standard. Benadryl, Band-Aids, lightbulbs, cleaning buckets, extra toilet paper and hand towels.
And that’s it! Small, but bright and sunny and very much us!