This Sunday Sew-Day, I opted to pull myself away from the sewing machine and put that energy instead toward making my creative space more conducive to creativity. I have accumulated so much stuff that my craft room closets were overflowing. (Before you get jealous, let me assure you that while I do have two closets in my craft room, they are two very small closets, each scarcely wider than its door.) But there's just so much stuff! Stuff I got for free as garage sale leftovers. Stuff my friends gave me after cleaning our their own closets. Stuff that's been refashioned once before and just missed the mark for one reason or another. Stuff that not only didn't inspire me, but actually sapped my motivation to work on other projects.
Stuff that had to go.
So I spent the day sorting through piles of clothing and fabric. I ended up with four boxes and two big garbage bags for donation. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. All the stuff that was just taking up space is gone! I've cut my refashionables down by about half, but don't worry - it was the boring half! Now I can actually get to everything in both closets and even have room for more refashionables, but only if they are truly inspiring.
So since I don't have a refashion to show you today, I thought I'd share some before and after pics of another project I wrapped up recently. Take a gander at our hall bathroom, as seen in the real estate listing from when we bought the house. While the patriotic farmhouse look worked well for the previous owner, it is practically the polar opposite of style.
With most of the previous owner's decorations removed, that navy and cream striped wallpaper gets the spotlight, and not in a good way.
Who wallpapers the switch plates? Seriously? I guess I have to give them credit for lining up the stripes though.
Given it was a perfectly functional (if hideous) bathroom and given we have other home improvement priorities, it stayed like that for a year and a half before I finally just got sick of it one weekend. I did some googling, mixed up some DIY wallpaper removal goop (hair conditioner and vinegar, of all things), and started ripping! Well, after removing the switch plates and towels bars and such.
Taking down the giant builder-grade mirror revealed the original wall covering and confirmed my suspicions that it could indeed get much, much worse than navy and cream stripes. These vinyl butterflies were easier to remove than the stripes - peeling off in one big chunk - but the glue they left behind was ten times worse.
On the other hand, it took an eternity just to peel the stripes off because the paper kept tearing. Eventually though, the floor was littered with bits of striped paper.
Once I had peeled as much as I could peel, I went after all the remaining bits with a squirt bottle of my conditioner-vinegar concoction and a putty knife.
As I anticipated, this tore up the drywall pretty badly in some places where the paper was really stubborn.
So I did a skim coat of drywall mud to even out the surface. That took another eternity, but it was starting to look like a real room again.
After that came the primer - now we're talking!
And finally, it was time a new, solid, neutral color - Montpelier Ashlar Gray from Valspar - the same color we did in the dining room.
I also added shiny new chrome towel and toilet paper holders (about $40 for all three at HomeGoods), fresh white switch plates ($3 total at Lowes), a mirror I've had for a while but wasn't really utilizing fully, and two amazing pieces of family history. You see, my great grandfather was an amateur painter, and my aunt gifted me one of his paintings (the lighthouse, dated 1948). When I removed it from its damaged original frame, I discovered a second painting hidden inside! It was like a little time capsule! None of my family remembers ever seeing the lakehouse painting, which would make since if it's been hiding since before any of them was even born. So I got a couple custom-cut mats ($20 at Michael's) and stuck them in some nice wood frames ($5 each at Goodwill).
True, we've still got the gold-flecked cultured marble counter top, the shell-shaped sink, the chunky brass faucets, the acoustic (aka "popcorn") ceiling, but those are bigger expenses and/or require skills we do not currently possess. Also, we still have other priorities when it comes to putting money into the house. So while it may not be perfect, it's still miles better than it was, and for only about $100 and a lot of elbow grease.