Until last week we did not have any of the beguiling bouquets of glass that I have seen in the houses of many bloggers. Oh, how I have looked at them with greedy thoughts, but there was not a single chandelier in this farmhouse except for a cute but cheap little white metal one hanging over the kitchen sink that can barely claim to be called a chandelier, although it attempts to emulate its betters with a few dangly prisms and crystal beads. I love it, especially at Christmas when I hang old silver ornaments from it. Don't be fooled by this picture below of our kitchen chandelier as the glam comes mostly from the Christmas ornaments.
I remember when R.H. questioned my choice of this poor little wannabe chandelier before shaking his head and putting the box in our basket. "Are you sure? Are you sure you want to hang a chandelier over a kitchen sink?" He came to like that baby chandelier almost as much as I do. Recently he shook his head at the location I chose for a new chandelier, one that comes much closer to claiming to be a chandelier, even though not a vintage one.
This one came with gloves to handle the prisms and instructions as to where each piece of glass went.
And this honest-to-goodness chandelier now hangs in my bathroom because one of life's little disturbances happened about a month ago. After taking a shower I saw that water was pouring from under the baseboard. Not a good thing to happen, except that it compelled us to do something I'd been wanting to do for a long time, paint my bathroom and dressing room. It had not been painted since 1995 when we added on this bathroom.
We moved everything out of both rooms, stashing them as we went in the bedroom, living room, office, small dining room. In came building materials, tools, paint, and a new shower. This was a short project compared to the five month long project when we built on a new kitchen and laundry room eight years ago, but these weeks of working on this bathroom seemed like months with my things moved into my husband's bathroom.
R.H. has worked on this project in his spare time, joined much of the time by our son Gurn, and son Zack helping a few days.
The old shower had to be torn out, exposing rotten wood in the floor and walls so it was a matter of taking it down to the studs.
Three times the new shower was put in and taken out until they finally got it just right. This is not a tiled steam shower with multiple jets. This is a small bathroom and we were working on a budget anyway. But I love this new shower even if I did feel as if I should say "Beam me up, Scotty" the first time I stepped into it.
I hope you'll enjoy the pictures of my newly refurbished bathroom. I won't miss this....
It and the adjoining dressing room are small but were a luxury when we added it on in 1995 after four of us standing in line for one bathroom the first five years we lived here. And that one small bathroom most likely seemed a luxury to the family who built this farmhouse in 1920. Who knows how many years they made do with an outhouse. And the concrete frame for that is still in the ground out back. Flowers grow really well in it.
I wanted this bathroom to look like it was added on when we built it and so R.H. left the exterior lap siding.
R.H. used bead board around the shower this time.
He replaced the old chrome knobs on all cabinetry with glass knobs that Lowe's was closing out. This cabinet got glass bridge drawer pulls, and I got that idea from Dixie at French Lique, Texas blog http://frenchlique.blogspot.com/2012/10/planning-perfection-and-kitchen-bling.html. Pop over there and say hi to her and look at her beautiful green glass knobs in her kitchen. Many of hers are original Depression era knobs collected slowly over the years. Dixie, we used your white paint, Behr's Pot of Creme to paint all the cabinets and wood trim.
We wanted the ceiling to show the wood and rafters when R.H. built this bathroom, and they look even better with the new green paint.
I love this bathroom. It represents such a sacrifice on my husband's part. He finished building it originally in 1995 after blowing out his knee at work and wore a leg brace for two weeks while waiting for knee surgery, still working like crazy to finish the bathroom. You just can't keep a good man down.
This time we quickly nixed our idea to replace the flooring, deciding it would be fine rather than go to the expense and time to put down new flooring. Cabinets and fixtures, other than the shower, were kept the same, other than repainting the cabinets.
I'm enormously pleased with the paint color I chose. It is the first time we've painted a room green in decades but I feel serene looking at it. In House Beautiful's Color section featuring dining rooms one month, I fell for a color called Green Barley by Pratt & Lambert. Couldn't find that paint near us so off R.H. went to our favorite Benjamin Moore Paints where they figured out that a green of theirs was a close match. No name on this, simply a number, AF-450. Excuse the wrinkles in the paper!
I wanted a green similar to this old green hamper.
And the green of this great chair, one of two the previous owners left in the smokehouse when we bought the place. These shades of green remind me of the green handles on the old kitchen utensils of the 1940s.
I have to show you the little lamp that sits on the back of the toilet. You might think it's a Cinderella lamp but the figures on the faded lampshade are more like Colonial men and women. It is marked Japan on the bottom and I bought it in an antique store almost thirty years ago.
Since I won't often be inviting you into my bathroom, I must show you a few more things. Here are three small McCoy vases that sit on top of the medicine cabinet. Its brown color got a white paint job this time around.
This little Lenox vase was a gift from a sister.
And the small teapot travelled back from London with her for me.
This green sugar bowl and the two matching plates behind the faucets are English and were bought decades ago purely for their celadon green color.
The angel was a gift for the garden many years ago from Gurn and his family. I wanted to bring her inside but she looked entirely too new. I bet you guessed how she became so nicely weathered...buttermilk poured all over her and then a garbage bag slipcover for a few weeks does the trick. I've had to repeat this several times over the years when she starts growing younger.
The small glass compote holds old pearls and a luscious silk flower pin, in the center an old jewel, made for me by a sweet, talented daughter-in-law.
The silver mirror from Pottery Barn was a birthday gift a few years ago from our children. I love how it and the mirror on the white cabinet triple reflect the new chandelier.
There it is, my little green bathroom with its beguiling bouquet of glass. I'll try to show you the small dressing room next week as a followup. It will be short because you've been so patient through this long post.
I must include these words from my favorite garden writer, Beverley Nichols so that you'll see that the title of this post, A Bouquet of Glass, is not original to me but another jewell I've plundered from Mr. Nichols in All I Could Never Be.
She could never resist a chandelier, even if it was broken and falling to pieces. Some of my most hilarious memories of Catherine are driving back to Piccadilly down the bumpy streets of the Camden Road, crouching on a back seat surrounded by an immense bouquet of glass, which jingled and jangled at every hold, causing startled passers-by to jump as though they had just collided with a lamp post. Once home, the lustres were carried in basketfuls up to the top floor, and deposited on a small and ever-growing mountain of glass which one day she was going to turn into a series of perfect chandeliers. I don't think she ever realized this ambition. The nearest she got to it was just before the war. At that time, when everybody else was thinking about black-out curtains, Catherine perversely surrounded all her windows with glittering chains of crystal. It was delicious, mad and typical.
Thus did Beverley Nichols write of the Baroness d'Erlanger who later lived in Hollywood as Catherine d'Erlanger and was quite a quirky lady.
Thank you for looking at my new bathroom. Can you tell that I am very proud of it? And thank you so much to R.H. for indulging me in this bathroom makeover and this lovely chandelier. He spent many hours, many days working on it, often after work. And thank you to our sons for all their help.
Sometimes what at first seems like nothing but trouble--a leaky shower--is such a blessing in disguise!
"Beam me up, Scotty."