Lighten Up Part Deux: Metamorphosis Monday

Inspired by Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Front Porch (here), I am continuing my mission to slipcover every inanimate object in my house. As much as I love dark, dramatic, and cozy rooms, I've been on a mission to lighten up my own home, or at least the front two rooms--a combination of living room and office/library. I've found that with each step toward a lighter look, my own outlook brightens. Though I've had several distractions in the past month, I've continued with my plans. Here is the office/library as seen through the cased opening from the living room. Notice the brown trim (what was I thinking?), the brown chairs, the heavy esspresso colored desk, the black book cases and the dark orange in the adjoining dining room. I think this was a nesting instinct after the trauma of Katrina and the difficult in renovating the house afterwards--I was searching for a safe and cozy haven. Eventually, though, cozy and warm became heavy and suffocating.

Notice the chair on the extreme right in the above photo (I swear it looked better in person). It was the catalyst for the latest round of change. My partner picked them out--they are recliners (for the sake of truth in reporting, I will say that they are among the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat in)--and in a rare moment of weakness I let him have them--a decision I instantly and long regretted. However, the fabric was defective, and Lane replaced them---however, the original fabric and wood finish were no longer available, and there was no similiar pattern. I liked the new dark arms, hated the new fabric--at any rate it wouldn't go with the current scheme, so I slip covered the black sofa. I liked it so much, I decided to slipcover the new chairs as well:

At that point, I decided I didn't like the current furniture plan, and moved the larger recliners to the office and the brown chairs (awaiting their own slips) into the living room where they are a bettter fit. I moved the desk on to a new home (a young engaged couple who just bought their first house), and replaced it with an antique round tiger maple table--I had always loved that English country look with a round table piled with books and things. I still have a work space, but I also have a more adaptable floor plan for entertaining--the changes really opened up a lot of floor space in the office. Edited bookshelves, wide off-white horizontal stripes in the dining room, and creamy trim complete the transformation:

And, you might ask, why are slipcovers necessary in this house?
I give you Exhibit A:

And Exhibit B:

Good Morning Sunshine: Yellow wakes up a boring bathroom

When it comes to decorating, small things can have a huge impact. Case in point--one of the smallest details of my bathroom are these strong man hooks. Inspired by 1930s Art Deco sculpture, they were a perfect fit for the tiny 1930s era bathroom in our home and are my favorite part of the entire room. I finally finished the mini-makeover of our bathroom and have pics to share.

Completion of the project has been delayed by this little fellow who showed up on my porch with no id and no microchip (here). We haven't found the owner, and we're fostering him until we can find him a good home---but let me tell you, even though he's a great puppy--he's still a puppy, and I had forgotten how much work they are! The bathroom is tiny (6x8) and is the only one in the house. During renovations after Katrina, we removed the small tub/shower and replaced it with a large walk-in shower with double heads. I would have preferred to have surrounded it with glass walls, but budget reared its ugly head, and we ended up tiling the shower enclosure with 4x4 white tiles and black bullnose tile to match the existing wall tiles. We also replaced the vinyl flooring with white octagonal tile with black inserts to replicate the look of a typical 30s bathroom. I also selected lighting and a tilting mirror that had a vintage feel.---then I painted the bathroom white to just get finished.

But I did have a couple of paint issues from the beginning. One problem was that I couldn't exactly match the existing tile, and I couldn't even find enough of one 4x4 to complete the project, so the installers used a mix of smooth and dimpled tile sprinkled throughout. It really wasn't obvious, but I decided to paint the trim black, thinking the contrast with the white walls and tile would distract--it does, but I never really liked the result. So, this summer, I finally decided to paint the bath. Color selection turned out to be difficult---I had to pick a color that I could face first thing in the morning, one that would harmonize with the orange paint in the hallway, and that Thomas and I could agree on. I leaned heavily toward a dramatic black, but my major concern would be that it would be too dark. I don't have a problem with dark colors and rooms per se, but when the bathroom door is open, it provides most of the natural light that comes into the upper stair hall, and I was afraid that black paint would absorb too much light. Another problem is that since this our only bathroom, female guests have to use it to do hair and makeup and I thought that a dark room would be a problem. Blue green was another strong contender, but as much as I love the color, I just wasn't sold on the idea. And then I remembered one of my favorite kitchens I have had---it had white cabinets and lots of natural light, and I painted it a beautiful vibrant yellow/orange. I remembered how that yellow perked me up every morning when I staggered into the kitchen to make some coffee.
The bathroom is off of the stair hall, where I have a gallery wall. I looked at it closely and realized that I had several yellow accents that worked well with the terracotta paint.
I couldn't find the exact color I wanted, so I mixed my own, starting with Sherwin Williams's Anju Pear and adding pure yellow and white until I got the color I wanted. I love the way it works with the black and white.

I replaced the black and white printed curtains with a roman shade I made from off white burlap. It provides privacy and light diffusion, hides an ugly view, and the cream provides a transition from the warm wall color to the white tile.

The bathroom didn't have a logical place for a towel bar, so I used these decorative hooks mounted on the window frame for towels.

The warm walls provided a great backdrop for a poster and photos collected from our travels.

So now, after 2 years, I'm finally happy with the bathroom. Every morning, the yellow puts a smile on my face, and the sunlight that filters through the burlap fills the stair hall. Yellow isn't a color for everybody, but it was perfect for me.
I think our house guest likes it too: