Aug 10, 2007

A little Loo Looking

Some call it "The Throne" some call it "The Reading Room" and my beloved, WWll veteran of a father (God love him) use to call it "The Crapper." And then we have our wonderful British neighbors, across the pond, that refers to it as "The Loo" or "WC" meaning water closet.

Of course there are the familiar terms such as "The John" or simply the "Bathroom" I find myself liking the term that my 3-year old niece likes to use when she must "go poo-poo" and she happily announces that she is going to play music in her "music room." She has a special big girl potty that plays music when she completes her "duty." (Pun intended.)

No matter the name, one's bathroom is the one room in the home that can be completely different, unique, and not have to "match" the rest of the home. It is a room all of its own. It is a room, for many of us, that serves as a place to soak in a hot tub and recharge our weary selves at the end of a long day. If you have children, it is a fun place in which to learn about daddy shaving, mom soaking, how eating soap does not produce bubbles when you spit out water, and that slippery floors aren't as fun as first thought.


When designing my bathroom (photos below), I wanted to give it a worn, but unique look. I incorporated non-traditional elements in a new way. Of course, I use the colors of black, cream and tan. I aged the walls and used an old chenille bedspread for the shower curtain. The bathroom is tiny, but I personally feel that the smaller it is, the bigger the impact you can make. Think about it: if you love big, bold stripe painted on a wall, a tiny bathroom is just perfect. There isn't much wall to begin with, thus not too many stripes. You may not want those stripes in a large master bedroom, but in a small bath, it could be perfect. Enjoy the photos!




As you can see, my bathroom is very small - but I had big plans for it! I wanted a Gothic feel with a little whimsy. It all started with the sink. The sink I made from an 1880's church baptismal font. I painted it (gasp!) and distressed it. I had to special order a small "bar sink" in order to make it fit. I then had antique tin counter top mounted on it. I painted and distressed the tin, then sealed it many times over. I just love this sink! I always wished that instead of it being a baptismal font, that instead it was the fountain of youth. Now that would be one hot seller! :-)


The mirror is actually a church's stations of the cross frame that I found at a flea-market in Belgium. It dates about 1870 and I actually bought two of them. One day, I hope to have a bathroom large enough for two sinks and have them both on the wall. I had a beveled mirror cut and placed in it. If you ever have a super special frame for a mirror, please spend the extra expense to have it beveled. It makes all the difference in the world. In fact, I rarely (if ever) buy any mirrors (old or new) that aren't beveled.




An old French potato basket holds bathroom necessities as storage is at a premium. How do I keep the white towels white in the basket? Scrub the basket with a stiff brush, dry and seal with a polyurethane. No more stains on clean white towels.




Accessories in a bathroom (or any room for that matter) are so important. A room without interesting, or any, accessories is like June Cleaver without her pearl necklace - it just isn't complete! There is a fine line between too much and too little and I don't have a secret formula to give to you to help you decide. It is really just in the eye. But, if you stick with really unique things, they will add to your home no matter how many or how few. Just pick some that mean something to you and something you enjoying seeing everyday. For example: above is a photo so a very old French incense container. I just love it. It contains a couple of small incense cones that were lit on a small dish and "smoked" a scent to mask any oder. I have this on the lid of the toilet along with other items of interest.


On my window sill, I have a photo of my father, born 1916, with his mother. Being the father of five children gave him very little private time....except for the bathroom....the only room in the house that wasn't filled with kids. I am convinced that he would take his pipe and newspaper in there and just read, nothing more, and escape the little circus of a family that surrounded him day and night.



Color and texture are always prominent in all of my designs. Dried flowers, sticks, lace, antique shaving brushes, ironstone, and tin. The different shade of creams, tans, and ivories are relaxing.



An antique chenille bedspread, hung from the ceiling is a wonderfully simple (and inexpensive) shower curtain. A tin valence, painted black, covers the rod and clips. An old Virgin Mary print from Mexico hangs next to the bathtub. The frame is almost falling apart, but I estimate it dates about 1860 or so...very old, and I just love it the way it is.

The walls are aged to look like an old European church. The sconces are simple, French, aged bronze and I made sconce shades out of old French cuffs. A bare bulb is not flattering while applying make-up at my age! I need all the help I can get! :-)

I found a bag full of old porcelain faucet knobs that I just loved and I just simply piled them in an old ironstone dish and set it on the toilet tank lid. A pain to dust, but then again, I rarely dust, so it really doesn't matter now does it? I try to convince myself that dust only adds to the "look" of the place (yeah right).

The window in the bathroom faces the rooftop - not a pretty one at that, but I love light and didn't want to cover the window. So, I simply hung a French table cover on two little nails, and in the center of the window put an old 1880's lithograph of a woman taking a foot bath. It gave some privacy without hindering a lot of the light. I then lined up a few ironstone pitchers on the sill - I just love the different shades of ironstone and the smoothness of the shapes. They blend nicely with the walls without making a huge statement.



Thank you for visiting my little loo and I hope you found some ideas that inspired you to look at your tiny bathroom with big eyes. Don't let a small space dictate your design - use it to your advantage. When you think about it, we do that in life all the time. We all learn to "make do" with our limitations - or do we?
I can't afford a huge SUV, but that doesn't keep me from driving my little Kia Sportage from state to state, now does it? My little 13 pound pug, Lulu doesn't let her size keep her from letting the neighbors' Dalmatian know she ready and able to play. And I don't let my 1939 OKeefe and Merritt stove keep me from cooking as if I owned a Viking either. It is just a matter of perspective. And from my perspective I like to think that "small isn't all", but small is only a start...to bigger things.


May your perspective see the big in the small, grand in the plain, and excitement in the mundane.
from my house to your house,
Elizabeth
http://www.elizabethhouse.us/

60 comments:

Sandy said...

It's nice to see you writing again. I LOVE your "fontroom". Everytime you wash your hands you can think about all the little babies that have been baptized there.

Garden_Antqs said...

Hello E: it looks like you could take anything and make it into something special! Loved reading about your "Loo".
Take care, Theresa-Garden Antqs

The Feathered Nest said...

Dear Elizabeth,
Oh it is so sweet to read your writing and see your lovely photographs ~ I've missed you my dear! The "loo" is absolutely lovely so many wonderful details I want to study each and every picture. I hope you are doing well and adjusting to your new home. Your fan club misses you! Oh and as if you don't have enough on your plate, have you started that book yet that we all have our wallets out to purchase?? much love to you, Dawn (from The Plum Tree in GA)

Curious Deb said...

I have sat on your throne and I never heard music! I am so glad this was documented as it was one special place in that apartment. Happy you had time to post- Deb

Elizabeth said...

Thank you all for the lovely comments. Yes, I am very happy to back in the "writing" saddle. I missed you all too. Until next time, think wonderful thoughts - as I do for you all.
Love,
Elizabeth

paris parfait said...

You've done a great job with such a small space! And I love that you made a baptismal font into a sink - very clever!

Kate said...

Lovely bathroom! And I prefer small and cosy to large and echoey any day - I can feel the space stretching out around me in a big room. It makes me feel ill at ease...agoraphobic much?!

Wanda said...

Elizabeth,

I've only just found your blog and absolutely love it! It'll take me awhile to cruise through, but that I will do.

I'll also be reading what you've had to say in Shop Talk. I'm getting ready to "fix up" an old store building and open a shop, even if it's only one weekend a month.

Love the bathroom, too! Thanks for sharing with us.

Teresa said...

You are an incredibly gifted woman. Amazing how you get take a baptismal and make it a sink, I love that way of thinking. I hope you show more of your home as time goes along, it is very inspiring!
Thank you for sharing the loo!!

Teresa

La VO said...

Oh you've got to be kidding me! Even your loo looks precious!

The Paris Apartment said...

yes you were missed! you're an amazing photographer and i've said it before, an inspiration! welcome back!
love
c

Prairie Home-Sherry said...

How inspiring you are! Love your style. You are truly Fabulous!
"Life, is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becomming"
Come visit!
Prairiehome.typepad.com

Daisy said...

Well, Hello to a new blogging friend. What can I say... I love you'r blog, your photo's are equisite (all of them!!) and you'r "Throne Room" is so irreverent, I love it.
xxx

Cathy Louise said...

So very glad to see some of your beautiful photos again... I so enjoy that about blogs in general but especially yours.... and you reminded me it is OK to have a tiny house and just be proud of it... We had loads of teenage kids on the weekend and I was a little embarrassed about our tiny space but now I am just happy that we had the best time for my gorgeous daughters 14th birthday.... Thank you for inspiring me as always....

Dorothy said...

Elizabeth, I have to echo what the others have said. You have been missed! It was a treat to stop by and visit, to read and be inspired, as I always am with your writings and designs. I hope you will be offering some of your unique wares on your website soon! I do look forward to it. May you continue to inspire and be inspired. Thanks as always for sharing your unique, classic talent!

Dorothy~
http://www.dorothyblumcooper.com

Rita said...

So glad to see a new post on your site! You have certainly made the wait worthwhile!! The baptismal font as sink it just MAGICAL. I can't appreciate why churches get rid of these beautiful things only to replace them with boring modern designs but I am glad to see it found a new home in yours!

Jerusalem said...

I loved your loo! So many unique and lovely details! Thank you for your inspiration and for sharing!

stadtgarten said...

Good to see that you are back!
Although I do not like black furniture any more (I have had a time when nearly everything was black, but that's history now!) I love your bathroom! It looks lovely and so not-american!?
As I remember, you are a fan of Belgium: we are going to the Netherlands (near the border to Belgium)and England this week, and it is sure that we are also making a trip to Bruges and Ghent. I hope that I can make some nice photos for you.
Have a good time, Monika

Anonymous said...

Oh it is great reading your post and savoring over your pictures again! I love your WC. It certainly has your signiture look! All the wonderful elements are there earthy, spiritual, wonderful lace with a touch of the masculine. I love small spaces. I think huge cars and homes just seem like a lot of stuff to take care of.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Kathy

Sadie Olive said...

Beautiful bathroom. I love the porcelain handles in the dish.

Sharon said...

As long as you have to sit there why not have something pretty to look at. This is the best post about WC's I have ever read, loved it.

Carolyn Peeler said...

Thanks for this peek into your loo, it's fabulous. You have such a brilliant eye and your photography rocks.

Sweet Pea said...

Hello Elizabeth! It's always so wonderful to check and find a new post! I have been waiting patiently as I see all your other devotees have as well. It's so endearing that almost everyone who posted a response this time is saved in my favs as are you! Anyway as always you have given us all another glimpse of your fab world! I love your style and am guilty of a bit of copying here and there. You know what they about that though-it's the sincerest form of flattery! Can't wait for your next post. You rock girl!! Blessings! Oh P.S.--remember the signage battle you had at the shop? Well now I am going through the same thing at my new location. Great for business!! Take care!

Shelley at Sweet Pea

Elizabeth said...

Hello Shelly, Monika, and all of you who took time out of your busy day to write me. I appreciate the words of encouragement and want to let you know that your comments mean the world to me. Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts and to read my blog.

Your friend,
Elizabeth

cityfarmer said...

I need a new loo!!!

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth,

Did you know that a Mr. Crapper invented the indoor toilet? Yup,
that is the REAL reason the old timers called it the Crapper.

Your bathroom looks wonderful and I love your decorating style.

Small bathrooms can be little jewel boxes. I just redid my half bath with Mexican tile and it's beautiful.

~elaine~ from SoCal
roz_etta@yahoo.com

chez fifi said...

Love what you did with your little bathroom. It's stylish and beautiful. Are the other rooms as lovely?
xo
fifi

susanna said...

Elizabeth, I've been away for awhile so I have lots of your posts to read - a perfect thing to do on this Sunday morning. I always enjoy peaking into your rooms. You have an incredible, personal style. Your loo is lovely. And what a great idea to repurpose the baptismal font into a sink. That a creative idea and shows that you have a good sense of humour. AND it's beautiful. Thanks for the peek!

bellacolle said...

Hi,
I know my wee self is waaay out of your league and you are soo busy to read my little post... but I remember you from my Mary Engelbreit magazine... Your 'wash room' is so neat! Your style inspires me!

Elizabeth said...

Bella,

You have a lovely site - and thank you for remembering the article in Mary Englebreit's Home Companion - I am always very flattered when someone remembers a piece that I did or was done on me. I am very fortunate...thank you for visiting my blog!
Elizabeth

Counting Your Blessings said...

First - I didn't realize you were blogging again and I'm SO THRILLED! I love your stories and photos! You've made me want a new loo =) Yes, I have an old stove too (pink enamel) and I wouldn't trade it for the newest appliance ever!! Blessings... Polly

Lisa said...

De-lurking here...Love your WC...so pretty and relaxing. Glad you are back. I love to visit your site for inspiriational ideas for our new French style home in TX. I've missed you on your break.
You must write a book!! Where is your book? I will buy it!! You have such great style and a zest for life.

Sparky 1994 said...

The exquisite attention to detail in all elizabeth House rooms, but specifically the bathroom layout, firmly establishes Elizabeth's place in the world of design. Anyone can adorn a room and call it decorated or designed. The imaginative and creative use of ordinary items from around the world makes this wonder artist an international gem we can call our very own. Get this woman a television show or at least a re-occurring guest spot so her genius can be shared at large!

melissa @ the inspired room said...

I can't remember how I found your blog, but I was SO HAPPY when I saw your Loo Post. I rarely find decorating photos that TRULY inspire me (guess it is because I too am a decorator?), but you have definitely got me thinking!

I love that bathroom. And elements of it would work SO WELL in my house. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing it!

I have a fixer upper with five bathrooms, so the more inspiration the better. You are a genius! :-)
Thanks again! I am a new blogger so I am just finding my way around, glad to have found you!
Melissa

Kim from "HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs" said...

Elizabeth, your bathroom is amazing. Our bathroom was remodeled almost a year ago and I still do not have it decorated. I'm working on finding the right touches. I don't want to put just anything in there for the sake of having it decorated. Thank you for the inspiration!

KaReN EiLeeN said...

I LOVE your toilette room!! It is far too pretty to be called a crapper. My sweet dad was born in 1914 and he would have called it that too. I love how cars were always "automobiles" and math was always, "arithmetic" Seeing your note and photo about your dad brought back sweet memories. Plus, I love your blog and I am new to blogging.
I'll come back for another visit!

Britt- Sparkled Vintage Charm said...

great pics! so pretty!

kari said...

Gorgeous bathroom. I really love the old faucet knobs, so clever.

anita said...

I do hope your adventures are going well! Thinking of you and missing your blog posts...

Amberly said...

Miss your posts VERY much! Hope you will be back on soon!

Amberly said...

Miss your posts. Hope you are doing well. Holding out hope that you will return to blogging soon.

suzi finer said...

missouri looks pretty awesome!
love.

Missy said...

I just found your blog and I am in love with it! What a fantastic bathroom and I love the descriptions! I think I'll have a good soak in the tub tonight.

love.boxes said...

I like small spaces. They are cozy and make it so that you can make every single space appealing. :) .. just like you have.

Handplockat said...

OOh Totally love your blogg
GOR-GE-OUS

hugs from Sweden

irma said...

What a beautiful atmosphere!

Kari & Kijsa said...

Love the loo!!! Love the photographs! What a beautiful blog- and the details are fabulous...
Its all in the details isn't it?

blessings,
kari & kijsa

Anonymous said...

PLEASE START BLOGGING AGAIN!
WE MISS YOUR ADVENTURES AND LOVELY PICTURES!!

Sanya Pallos said...

Hello Elizabeth,
I just found your blog & I love it! I travel to south St. Louis a few times a year from KY to visit my sister & i will have to make sure that I have time to visit your shop the next time I am out!
You are fabulous! I love the new Loo! Best of luck in your new location!
Sanya Pallos
In The Pink Antiques

NAME: CIELO said...

Hi... it's my first time visit here but I have already added you to my blog list... It is delightful to see your pictures... and by the way: I love your "Throne Room"....

Love,


Cielo

Cheryl said...

What a LOVELY loo you have!!!! gorgeous!

Atelier soulan said...

It's my first visit in your blog.
It's very pretty, I will come back.

Mouse said...

I just found you and yet I am so deeply impressed after a visit to your bathroom
It is truly inspirational!

The Feathered Nest said...

I miss you Elizabeth and just had to tell you! How are you ~ to you have an online store? Are you retail or wholesale? I would love to know how you are doing. If you have time: sewmanyroses@yahoo.com ~ if you don't remember, I'm Dawn from The Plum Tree Antiques where you loved that old green chair that was so beautiful. We all miss you blogging! xxoo, Dawn

White Cottage said...

I LOVE this little bathroom! I am working on making my bedroom walls have the same look as your bathroom, can you share what the paint color is? I HATE picking out paint!! Thanks!
Lisa

Elizabeth said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for writing! The bathroom was already painted some faded, dreary color before I moved in. I only added a hand-applied faux finish technique using my own mix. You can achieve the same look using a glaze (hard to work with though), watered down paint, and it usually requires multiple layers or colors. A good craft book has steps on how to do this.

Thanks again and I know what you mean about picking paint colors...I happen to love doing that and thank goodness my clients hate it, otherwise I would be out of work! :-)

Elizabeth

Debra S. said...

Elizabeth,
I have recently found your site/blog and absolutely love it!!! I have especially enjoyed your shop talk series,the wonderful photos,dreams &ideas--personally & professionally! I would like to know if you used old tins over your show curtain or do you buy new tins & paint them black? I noticed that you have used them as valances, too. If new, do you get them at Home Depot or Lowe's? Any suggestions - pros/cons for using the tin? I appreciate your assistance & will continue to keep posted on your next endeavor(s)!

Elizabeth said...

Hello Debra!

Thanks for the comment. In the photos, the tin is old, antique. However, you may use the new tin and just paint it to look old! If you use the tin as a counter top - keep the pattern of the tin small and even - it helps jars and glasses to not tip over. Seal the tin if used near water. I use a water based polyeurthane - several coats. Paint the tin and sand back parts to expose the tin. I love the look and will most likely use it again in the near future - future project in the works - will tell more later!! :-)

Elizabeth

Caren G. said...

I like to redo the kids bathroom. The dressing are is separate from the shower/toilet area. The only thing I like about the bathroom right now is a chandelier that I put in the shower/toilet area. There is wallpaper in both areas...ugh. The dressing area is carpeted and the shower area has a golden yellow tile on the floor and also in the shower area. I would really like to paint and age the walls like you did. How do I do that? Do you have step by step directions somewhere on your site or can you tell me where to find it? What to you suggest? I could easily paint the cabinetry black.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Caren

Thanks for visiting my site. I don't have step by step instructions because what I do is more of a hand technique. But I can offer these tips. You can get the same effect with using a glaze. I also use a joint compound for the texture, but you can get the color by using a beige paint color and then a stained glaze with a light hand - meaning don't use a lot. I use a brush, but a rag would do fine too. Use very little and start at the top and work your way down the wall. Smear it on lightly and thin it out on the wall and then the next time you apply it, go over the last place you stopped just slightly and smear it over the fresh wall and repeat, that gives it the darker spots. I hope this helps some!
Elizabeth :-)

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