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Bathroom Update & a Late Night


The plumber came yesterday and was finally able to get our pipes situated for the pedestal sink. Whew. I had no idea a little bathroom would be so involved and would take so long. Now, we’re waiting for the tile to be installed, which can’t happen until next week. So, I sat and dreamed for a little bit this afternoon about how we were going to handle the back wall with the radiator and the former window to nowhere.  I sketched out this plan…

We are going to cover the entire back wall in bead board (it will be 3/4 height around the rest of the room) and build a radiator cover/shelf to hide the rad, provide a little storage and give a clean line where the tile can stop.  Apparently it’s a bear to tile around these old radiators, so we’re just going to cover it up, which will look sharper, anyway. That’s going to be the project this week while we’re waiting for the tile guys. 

I wanted to make some progress today…it’s sort of like rolling your car a little when you’re in a traffic jam.  It lifts your morale to know that the tires are turning…so we removed the sink.  One thing that people don’t normally mention about bathroom makeovers is there are some funky smells when you pull out sinks that have been in place for over 60 years.  Also, someone lost their lime green comb back there a few decades ago.

I can’t wait to cover all of this in crisp, white bead board.  Heaven on a wall.  
It is a good thing we’re getting a new sink.  When my husband pulled out the old one, the bottom of the u-bend just disintegrated.  It was corroded, but hadn’t broken through yet.  It was a mess waiting to happen. 
Last night I was in a mood.  The kind of mood where you just need to get out of my way and let me work.  My office has been a problem for a long time and I was sick of it.  I’m constantly tripping, putting things where they don’t belong, breaking things that fall from precarious positions.  It was just ridiculous.  I am usually a very neat person, but I’m messy when I’m creating, so my office is in a constant state of creativity bomb aftermath.  (This picture was taken after I started pulling things off shelves, so it’s normally not this bad!)

I dumped everything off every shelf and cut my stuff by about 50%.  I filled up the back of my husband’s pick up truck with trash bags and boxes of fabric, craft supplies, things that were broken, etc.  I was struggling at first, but I realized that I’ve been hauling pounds of fabric around for years “just in case.”  Half the things in my office were “just in case” and it was impeding me from working on things that are “now.”  I couldn’t find what I needed when I needed it, so I bought multiples of things I already had. 
It was time.  I was ruthless.  It was total carnage.  

I needed lots of DDP (Diet Dr. Pepper) and snacks to keep me going, but I finished it around midnight.

It ain’t pretty, but it’s organized.  The things I used most are easily accessible and the “occasional” stuff is out of the way. 

All of my decorating and resource books are color coded and easy to grab.  I don’t feel like a cascade of boxes is going to fall on my head if I get too close to this shelf anymore.  

My fabric cabinet was thinned out by about 60%, which made room for my sewing machine, iron and notions inside.  As ruthless as I was, I couldn’t get rid of some of my French toiles.  I know they’re not the hot thing right now, but I still love toile and I think it’s timeless when used well.

I collected notes and sweet things people sent me and pinned them to my bulletin board.  They are really an encouragement to me.
And these things deserved better than being at the bottom of a messy pile.  (Jami from Freckled Laundry made me this lavender “P”.  I love her tag, so I left it on.)

I felt great when I went to bed last night, although I’m a little tired today.  Now, I’m ready to focus my attention on my Cottages and Bungalows project for the July issue, my projects and my move to Lucketts, which happens next Saturday! This week, I’ll answer some questions and share more about chalk paint, milk paint and waxes.

I linked this up to Whisper Wood Cottage’s Workspace Showcase.

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  1. Marian it's so wonderful to see people making the best use of the space you have. We don't need bigger houses (with special craft rooms ala Martha) just better use of the house we do have! You must feel great and able to work more efficiently and that's all part of the game. Good luck with the Lucketts set up and of course I look forward to the C&B; Jul issue.

  2. Oh my gosh, Marian – you are simply amazing. Looks fabulous. {Can you come do my office next?}


  3. I sooo needed this today! You've inspired me to put my husband's favorite saying to use "nothing to it, but to do it!" Your newly organized "create space" looks great! I can only imagine how much better you feel after having tackled this project! Thank goodness for DDP. Happy Sunday! *Becca*

  4. I'm so glad it's not just me who ends up looking like a bomb went off in my house when I'm in a creating frenzy! LOL! Everything looks so much better now, and you'll be more productive when you aren't constantly tripping over and looking for stuff. Now, where is my hammer?!

  5. oh man- I can totally empathize on the creativity bomb aftermath. Except mine is paper, cricut cartridges, and misc. ribbons.

    LOVE your lavender P. I recognized it right away as Jami's. Its on my "to do" list to make one of my own :)

    and about your bathroom… I cant believe you are tiling yourself! Not that it would be fun or easy, but just because if it was me- I would be SO impatient to have it done, I would try and do it. lol.

  6. I am such a night person. Every now and then I follow your lead and go crazy ruthless too. I tackled paperwork in my office last night and burned a huge heap in the fireplace. Thinning out never felt so good.

  7. I turned out out fabulous! If I only had a tiny little room to call office would be wonderful. Right now all my work stuff lays around the living room… oh well I'm just luving the lavender P… lavender is a favorite.
    Have a nice Sunday, Vanessa

  8. How did I miss that you're bathroom renovating too? Sigh. It's SUCH a slow go for us. We had to rip out all the old, rotten hardwood that we accidentally uncovered. Then we ripped out old subfloor. We finally got all that replaced and we have our pedestal sink installed. I'm so ready for it to be done so I can make it pretty! :)

  9. I guess the bug hit you. Spring cleaning, we all feel the need to purge our spaces. first day of spring but we still have 5 feet of snow surrounding us here in Montreal. It is melting fast. :) but I am feeling the bug too.

  10. I've been in a cleaning out mood, too. It looks like you'll be more efficient, if that's possible ;).

  11. Organizing does make things better, and I know well how a work room can turn into a war zone. Keep the toile fabrics, I think it is a timeless classic…I guess I missed the memo that it was "out". I will be posting on my cabs that you inspired this week and send you the link!

  12. I love organizing and it's such a great feeling when you can look at all of your things on a well ordered shelf! I need to do this to my closet!

  13. Looks great!! May not be pretty but its functional and thats what you need in a creative space like that!! Thats what I need to do in our play room but its so much more fun to just go up there and play!! haha =)

  14. Wish I had been there to help – my kind of project. I think we did that a visit or two ago and were up 'til about midnight and we were leaving a 5AM the next morning to miss the DC traffic. :) – Looks great. Love Mom

  15. You continue to be an inspiration, this time to let some things go, out, gone. Looking forward to more on the bathroom reno. Big job.
    – Joy

  16. Love your honesty! Congrats on getting your office organized. The bathroom is going to be adorable.

  17. My space looks like yours did….and multiples of things because I didn't know I had it. Free free to drop in and be ruthless here.

  18. Oh girl! I wish I could come help you out with all that work you have to do. If only you lived closer or me closer to you.

    Good luck to you.


  19. It looks great! I JUMPED when I read "DDP". I thought I was the only one who was friends enough with Diet Dr. Pepper to us this nickname! Love it.

  20. I love to see that other people are messy too! Good for you on getting your office organized.

  21. Woo-hoo!
    That is all looking so great. Nice organized place to create – you did a pretty good job purging, without separation anxiety.
    Now… I can't wait to see this bathroom reveal– and all the cute little projects you're going to create for it –all coming out of this cleaned up room of yours.
    Like I said… Woo-hoo!


  22. Hello Marian,
    I thought I was the only who bought multiples because I could not find anything…please don't ask me how many glue guns I own ;-< I smiled when I spotted my 'Dream' handmade tag hanging on your encouragement bulletin board. I'm honored. Happy your creative space is more organized for you. your friend,
    Janet xox

  23. Would love to feature this as part of my Workspace Showcase! :) Please link up if you get a chance…

  24. We had CI radiators growing up. When my mom redid our one and only bathroom (in a house with 7 females and 1 brave male, our Dad) she had a carpentar build a furniture piece around the beast. Made of wood, it slipped down over the radiator with a separate top that fit over like a hatbox lid. The front had a metal mesh inset on a hinged door. The back was a wood "X" brace.
    It was painted to match the bathroom.
    Eventually my folks had covers made for all the rooms. They allowed the heat to escape, added extra seating and warmed our towels after a bath.

    So anxious to see the finished product.

  25. Oh yes when the mess gets out of hand everything gets out of hand. Looks so much better, and even beautiful although that's not what you were going for, but if you collect lot's of lovely things together they kind of look good in their own way.

  26. Boy oh boy! You were ruthless and it shows! Coolio!!!
    That is what I will be doing this week..that and taxes! Yuck! But I plan on being just a ruthless…I need to work and this stuff is getting in the way!!
    Thanks for the encouragement!!

  27. So funny! I smiled all the way through reading your post! I am so jealous that you got rid of 60% of your fabric and all you have left is that little stack. I. Have. So. Much. Fabric. It's ridiculous! I can't wait until summer when school is out and I can go through it all. Again. I could really relate to your purge. I think all creative people have doubles, or triples of some things . . . because you just never know!!! Now – don't you feel like really digging in? After I really clean out my craft supplies, I REALLY want to get busy and make stuff, because NOW I can find what I need!!! Good for you!

  28. I just wanted to leave a general comment today – I truly enjoy your blog and look forward to each new post! Each one is so enjoyable!

  29. Oh gracious!.. your bathroom comments made me smile since my latest bathroom redo was prompted by a phantom bathroom odor that would not go away no mater how much I cleaned.. well it seems that the loo was leaking UNDER the tile…uhh yeh.. ICK!.. bathroom got gutted down to the subfloor… NOT what I was expecting to do. The cabinet for the rad is going to be wonderful. Take the time to add some sheet metal to the back of the cab behind the rad and above it when you are builiding.. this will protect the wood and reflect the heat out into the bathroom where you want it!

    Off to clean my own Studio!

  30. Inspiration!!

  31. That clearing out was a wonderful vicarious experience…and inspiration for my own sewing clear out! Will you have to take down the wall tiles before the beadboard goes up? Seems like that could be a project in and of itself…I like the plans you have so far. It's going to look so great!

  32. Kathleen says:

    The reality in your pictures does my heart good!!
    Been there, DOING THAT!

  33. I have attempted to comment three times today. (One of those times, I had a spoon full of Vanilla yogurt flung at the screen! Ha!) Doesn't it feel good to purge? I had one of those moods the other night & tackled other things but I really need to focus on finishing a space for me to create in. You've inspired me again. I'm happy that you're more organized now…and hung on to those French toiles! I might have cried. The picture of that green comb cracked me up. Guessing by the color, it looks like he's been sitting there since the 60s. lol Love the bathroom shelving/radiator plan. It's going to look awesome. I've been [intermittently] painting my bath today. I'll post progress tonight. And, thanks for making me smile big time seeing my lavender letter there along with your other special things! I really appreciate you sharing the link. Thank you for the tag compliment too. You girls were a big help with it's design. Looking forward to reading about the waxes.

  34. Amazing! Wish you were closer to do my extra room. :-) Love the toile fabrics…don't think I'll ever tire of them.

  35. Lordy, lordy, lordy….. your "messy" office is my studio "clean"….

  36. Miss Mustard Seed, I just read your post on "The Perfect Kitchen, but…." I saw about you wanting the plank countertops (I LOVE, love the plank…). However, my hubs and I just redid our kitchen and instead of plank countertops, we bought cedar from Lowe's for $40. My hubs sanded/stained/poly'd and repeated about three times. Finished with a wet sand. We've been using them now for half a year, and I gotta tell you, I'm SO glad we did it this way instead of planks. They are hearty, think and Gaw-geous! Check my before and afters at

  37. I put in plank counter tops in our 100 year old log cabin getaway a couple of years ago and absolutely love them. I used linseed oil to finish them. Check out the transformation at my blog.

  38. I heart toile. I didn't know it was out either. I just finished a toile valance for my kitchen. Yay – my first real sewing project, I had to match patterns and everything!

  39. Hi there,
    you're bathroom is going to look wonderful. This before stage will be but a vague memory once it is done- just as well you are documenting it.
    And as for your excellent clear out – well done! You go girl! I'm in the middle of a big big clear out and tidy up at the moment, and I am much slower- partly because my husband likes me to go to bed when he does, so I couldn't stay up late and do it like you.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Just an idea for the bathroom reno. Use the depth or space from the old window and create a niche with glass shelves. Don't use the whole width but center the niche left to right.

  41. I am overjoyed that your space looks like mine! Thanks for letting me know that it's ok to have a space like that! Now I want to get organized, just like you!

  42. Haha! I laughed out loud at the photo of the green comb! I cannot wait to see how the bathroom turns out.

    Ahhh – there is nothing better than getting a space all cleaned out, is there? We've been doing that like crazy here trying to get ready for the new baby but my poor garage which is my workspace I am avoiding like the plague. Seeing this post might just get me moving on it. And I am with you on the French Toiles. I have a stash of them out in my fabric bin too. I used a ton of toile a few years ago and although I don't really have much in our home now I still love it and know I will end up using it again at some point.

  43. I love your idea for the radiator cover. We are currently renovating a 50's bath and considered beadboard. I'm curious, are you tearing down the wall tile or going right over it with the BB? I just finished tearing down our (pink) wall tile and must admit, it felt rather liberating.
    I love the green comb photo!
    Can't wait to see the finished product. (I'll be waiting for contractors right with ya!)

  44. Goodness….I know that feels sooooooo great!! It looks fantastic, and I can only imagine the creativity that will come from this accomplishment!


  45. Miss Mustard,

    Last night I laid in bed and thought about how ugly your bathroom is..just so ya know!

    Ms. Poppy Seed Design

  46. So funny about the comb! We redid a bathroom in our first house in LR, AR. When my husband pulled up the toilet, we found a nickel. I don't think it was lost, I think it was there to balance the toilet, LOL!

  47. Amazing the things you find when redecorating! Always nice to "meet" a fellow messy person – I think it makes the house a bit more homely :)

  48. the best instructional ever. i did not know how to start cutting a slip cover. please continue.
    thanks jdub

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