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)