Friday, September 20, 2013

Steph's Thrifty Half-Bath with the Raddest Walls

Despite all of life's changes, and the way things like moving to the sketchy side of town, shrink-wrapping the budget, trekking across Ethiopia, and living with a Big Kid who grew up in extreme poverty can change the condition of one's heart, I'm still flipping obsessed with interior design.

I like to talk about it, think about it. Sometimes, I even dream about it.

It's not a priority for everyone and it doesn't have to be. Not everyone has to love decorating or even care it, but for those of us who do, it's entirely within reach to have a home that reflects who you are with minimal expense. I believe this to my core.

{first date with Cory, as arranged by Steph and Mark}

Back before blogs, and Pinterest, and Instagram, I met a girl named Stephanie. She lived down the hall from me in the Freshman dorms of Bethel College (the one in Indiana). She wore the best, baggiest plaid flannels from AEO and she once tied a single strand of red beads from the center of her ceiling down to the floor. She went the ironic/obvious route and dubbed it "The Bead".  At the time, it served no purpose other than "conversation piece". In hindsight, it was an unintended lesson on the offbeat things that simply made us happy.

Steph was quirky and weird and stylish (it was the 90's, people!) and funny.

The rest, as they say, is history.


{Propping it up in my first apartment.}

{We really should've been old enough to know better by now...}

Steph has a knack for design. She takes risks and follows her heart. She's lived in several gorgeous newly-built homes over the years, each with unexpected (or "tricky", as she would say) DIY details that add character and make me drool.

Also, she's a fellow Queen of Thrift. She rocks garage sales, spray paint, and TJ Maxx like no body's business.

A few weeks ago she posted pics of her newest project on facebook and I fell madly in love with what she was up to.

Those walls. I mean - GET IN MY HOUSE, repeated-patterned-perfectly-gray-and-white walls.

Yes, friends, she stenciled those walls. This stroke of genius was, in typical fashion, an inexpensive fix to a room that lacked punch. And as expected, I'm now trying to drum up something to stencil.

Gone are the days of fruit basket, ivy, and ducks. Stencils are re-entering the modern age, just like high-waisted jeans and crop tops.

And in the scheme of things, aren't we all better off stenciling a wall than baring our midriff?

Graciously, she agreed to let me share it with you. This is Steph today. I forced her to include a photo of herself so everyone can rave about her hair. (She's also the reigning Queen of good hair, which seems really unfair to the rest of us but especially to me...)

And now, I'll hand it over to the lady with the spray paint:

"I've used a lot of orange spray paint in my day...but this one is by far my favorite."
                         - Stephanie  

One day I came to the realization that my relationship with the half bath was coming to an end.  I felt torn because I still really liked the tricky paneling, but the top half of the walls just weren't doing it for me any more.  So I did what any logical person would do...and I got on Pinterest.

Now being an interior decorator myself, I had an idea of the changes I wanted to make.  I wanted the look of wallpaper and knew that I could buy a bunch of decals to achieve this, but since decaling the whole room would have cost more then I wanted to spend...I opted for a less expensive route and went with a stencil from Hobby Lobby instead (plus I had their 40% off what could go wrong?!)

First, I started with the easiest part...redoing the mirrors and frames.  At the same time I was redoing my half bath, I was also on a mission to switch out all the decor above my kitchen cabinets, which is where I found my lovely family of Silhouettes.  The silhouettes were great, but they were all in black frames as was the mirror in the half bath.  So I gave them a quick update by spray painting them orange. (Except for the two silhouettes of our boys we had made in Epcot...those stayed black...and speaking of Disney souvenirs...trickiest ones ever!!)

After that I painted the top half of my walls cream to match the paneling, I then started working on the stenciling.  I was really never worried about this part too much, because I've done plenty of stenciling before and have even given presentations on it in college (You know, back in the day when it was cool to stencil vines and flowers around your house, and then for an extra super tricky bonus I also demonstrated the fine art of Sponge and Feather Painting...I'm sure I used the paint colors of mint green and peach, because they were all the rage back then.  Totally got an A on the presentation because my Professor's wife had just sponge painted their nursery...) wrap this up.  Am I happy with how the bathroom turned out?  Yes.
Would I recommend stenciling one wall or small project like a table or dresser?  Yes. 
Would I ever recommend that you stencil a vine, a goose, an apple, or a heart any where in your house? No.  
Would I ever stencil a bathroom like this again, that had 9 foot ceilings and many places where I was standing on the top step on my tippy toes while straining my neck trying to reach those naughty corner places? No.  
Will I always use decals from now on?  Yes.  
Which one would I use?  This one.  (My friend owns this store and I've used tons of their decals before in both my own home and clients.)
Do I think mint green and peach will ever make a comeback?  One could only hope! :)
Follow Stephanie on Instagram under the name trickytroyer

Source list:
Orange paint: Valspar Orange Maple (glossy)
Gray paint: Olympic - Dover Gray D58-4
Mirror - TJ Maxx ($30) (purchased 3 years ago)
Bird hook - Marshalls  ($5.99) (purchased 3 years ago)
Silhouettes - garage sales and flea markets (50 cents - $1 each)
Large silhouette - DIY creation by Steph, involving decoupaged book pages and a vinyl decal
Cabinet knobs - Hobby Lobby ($5)


  1. Oh so very nice!! I would love to see more of her house!!!

  2. She does have great hair : )
    The coolest girl I knew at college also wore baggy flannel shirts from AE. I didn't even know what AE was.
    Our college was called Baptist Bible College (of PA)
    I will go and look up your college right this second.
    Happy Friday to you and your cool decorator friend.

  3. I love the orange, but how did she get over a decade of great hair? It seems unfair to have two gifts at once ;)!

  4. Love this post & the "tricky" (scratch that I'm not cool enough for tricky) way you combined old photos & interior design!!! Even in this paneling palace in which we now reside I can't get enough of interior design either. Sometimes have to work at not obsessing and allowing it to consume to much thought life or allowing it to hold to high of a priority in my life period. So, I rebel by making myself live here without doing a thing. Ha! A year holed up in a cousin to the Betty Draper, that should cure me or at least help, right? :)

    Thanks for sharing Stephanie. I think we need a whole house tour now. Ahem *hint, hint*

  5. I love her hair. No fair to be that talented and have good hair. ;) I'm scared of stenciling. I always have color seep around it. I had my share of peach in a master bath and bedroom that was that color when we moved in (along with peach carpet) and stayed that way for almost 20 years! Where, oh where, was Pinterest when I needed it.

  6. I just die over those oversized clothes! So flattering! What were we thinking?!?! But then again, now that I have 2 teenage girls, I think it's time to bring back the baggies and hide them under some super-sized flannel!!! ;)

    Inspiring bathroom...AND hair!

  7. Steph!!! Sherry Yoder here. You are beautiful & creative ... as always! Love the walls & orange mirror.

    Shannan, what a surprise. I've read your blog for several years ... inspired by your words, choices & commitments. And today, I see Steph on your blog ... who grew up in our church. Delightful small world :)

    1. HI Sherry! I'm so glad you said something! I will always remember going to the big fall parties at house and how you would light the way through the woods with your tricky brown bag candle sacks :)

  8. I do fondly (maybe somewhat fondly) remember peach and mint green. Keeping my fingers crossed on that, if nothing other than for pure nostalgia.

    I'll take that over high waisted jeans any day. (Is it just me or do those make everyone's back end look huge? Should I not say that in a comment? But, really I've always wondered.)

    1. Gina - I could not agree more on the jeans concerns. I can't repeat that style, just can't.

  9. My contribution to 80's decor was cute little houses stenciled in pink and country blue. All around my house. Shudder.
    Love, love that bathroom. Gorgeous orange.
    Any chance we can talk Steph into a tutorial for the DIY large silhouette girl? She's darling.

    1. I can't believe you didn't replicate the pink and blue houses in the Junk House...For shame!!

      (Been thinking of you off and on all day, fyi. It happens a lot around here. Especially this time of year.) ;)

  10. Uh Steph is a genius and quite adorable. Amazing how the years can actually be a good thing. Stenciling is hard. She done good.

  11. I must confess, after I read that high waist jeans were back, I sort of couldn't concentrate. I prayed it would never come to that.

  12. I love that in your weeding photo Cory looks like Jeremy Northam as Mr Knightly...

  13. Such a fun bathroom with the bursts of orange! I have a mirror almost identical to that one which came in antique gold and I painted yellow. And the hair, very cute! And you Shannan, except for the updated wardrobe, still look as young as your wedding picture.

  14. I love the photos of the two of you pretty women over the years! Absolutely no fair that Stephanie has such great hair but if she is your friend than I can cut her some slack :) Love her bathroom and admire the stenciling job - I am too scared to even try it. The small bits of stenciling I have done resulted in blurry edges from leaking, etc.

  15. P.S. Does Stephanie not have a blog??

    1. Nope, no blog.
      I twisted her arm to join IG because I'm bossy AND because she's super funny and stylish and I knew everyone would love her. :)

    2. You were bossy!...I mean threatening to de-friend me on facebook if I didn't join "IG" as the cool kids call it...what was I to do?? :) And as far as a blog...I often wonder if people are at their blog maximums?? I mean how many more do people have time to read? I do have a wonderful blog going on in my head that anyone is free to visit...its called "Unicorn Girl Saves the Day" and its a very epic tale of a 30 something girl who rides around on a unicorn all day and saves the day by making sure her kids have their lunches packed and their homework done on time. And much to her boys dismay...she even coaches soccer with her Unicorn Helmet and cape on...

  16. I have a total girl crush on Steph! And her half bath. Swoon.

  17. I love Steph,since the day I met her. She is one of the sweetest and funniest girls around. And she is who I have to thank for my son in-law!! Well her and Jerry Lee and Sherry Faye!!

    1. The funny thing, is when I read this, I had no idea who this was...and I was trying to figure out how I knew Jerry Lee and Sherry first I was thinking...were these characters on an old Saturday Night Live skit that there is some inside joke about that I am forgetting?? Then I got my barrings and it all came'd think the "mamma" hint would've given it away sooner to me ;) And for the record...I've always been quite fond of you as well ;)

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  19. Oh cool! I recently did something with some of the same silhouettes I found at yard sales this spring!

    1. how the pink made the silhouettes pop! You have a cute blog...which reminded me...I need to head out and hit up an estate sale that opens in 15 minutes...ta ta :)

  20. Way late commenting but I love the bathroom and I LOVE the wedding pics... I'm going to need to see more of these.