If you joined me here last week you’ll know that home goal number one for 2017 is the downstairs shower room makeover. There’s a reason that this has been fairly low down our list of priorities on the decorating schedule: the decor is utterly inoffensive. I think we all inherit rooms like this when we move house; not bad enough to warrant an urgent revamp, but just so, well….meh, that they niggle at us for probably far too long.
But the need to tackle the decor in our shower room has been accelerated because the paint has started to peel off the walls. No doubt this is a consequence of the amount of steaming to which the room is subjected. Although we have a bathroom as well, three of us prefer to shower. Our last extractor fan literally melted under the pressure of shifting steam in volumes sufficient to keep the Flying Scotsman in business.
As the only downstairs loo, the room also functions as a guest WC, so it would ideally be smart and tidy. So when this month I needed to use up some leave at work, I saw the opportunity to get the shower room sorted.
In my bathroom dreams..
The bathroom of my dreams would be the size of my current living room. It would have exquisite panelling throughout cleverly juxtaposed with sleek contemporary fittings. It would feature an oversized chandelier (not a downlighter in sight), a marble fireplace, twin sinks and an enormous freestanding bath. While we’re at it, let’s just throw in a floor to ceiling window and balcony with a vista of mist-topped mountains.
My shower room has literally none of those features.
It’s not all bad news though. I’m lucky that the showerroom makeover can be limited to a purely cosmetic exercise. The previous owners had fitted it out with a lovely walk-in shower with Victorian style fittings. The loo, the sink and the towel rail, whilst not necessarily what I’d have chosen, are all attractive. There’s half-height tongue and groove panelling around the room, which is in decent nick. So with my usual near zero budget, the makeover will be confined to painting and budget accessorising.
I debated whether I should go all dark with the paint in this room. With about a third of the walls covered in white tiles, the room could take it. Also it’s already the darkest room in the house, with the side window overshadowed by the house next door, and dimmed further by frosting. On all but the brightest days, you need the light on (only if you actually want to see what you’re doing in there mind you).
The existing white does not make the room look brighter, just an unappealing chewing gum grey. Was there an argument for embracing the low light here? Feeling conflicted, I turned to Kimberly Duran at Swoonworthy’s “Should I Paint My Room Dark” flowchart. On this occasion it sagely assessed that the decision boiled down to a simple matter of personal preference.
Ah well, in that case it’s straightforward, because my preference will almost certainly be dark. Hang on though. Recently – for the first time ever – I’ve been giving some thought to the “flow” of the house and the relationship of one room to another. (Oh I know. I blame the Great Interior Design Challenge.)
While appraising (drooling over) fabulous Instagram and Pinterest finds, I have noticed the aesthetic appeal created by contrast between adjoining schemes. With the exception of the wallpaper feature wall in my family room and the kitchen, the entire downstairs of the house is now dark. To opt for a darker scheme in the bathroom would lose the opportunity for contrast. On balance this factor has convinced me that a lighter scheme is the way to go.
I was perturbed to find though that this decision opened up as possibilities the previously unchartered loveliness of the full Farrow and Ball colour chart. Oh my. How could I possibly narrow this down? Naturally I turned to Pinterest where I have been pinning luscious bathroom schemes for ever, until now, purely as a fun hobby (It’s not just me, is it?).
In terms of colour scheme, there was one image which stood out.
There’s something about the combination of pink and grey which I find utterly irresistible. It was the colour scheme I chose for my pre-teen bedroom. Perhaps for me the colour combo is synonymous with youth, optimism (and, ahem, *whispers* Bucks Fizz) and it’s been a big disappointment to me that it’s taken until now to be back in vogue.
In terms of “flow”, the shower room opens off the hallway, which I recently painted Farrow and Ball’s Inchyra Blue with contrasting India yellow woodwork. I love how pink works against both shades.
I am aware that painting my shower room pink and grey will not magically transform my compact and humble space into a glamorous boutique hotel-worthy salon. However, I don’t see why the colours won’t look every bit as wonderful.
The pink I’ve opted for is Farrow and Ball’s Pink Ground, a soft, dusky blush.
To stop the scheme feeling too girly (I’ll save that for when one day I might have a lady-loo to call my own) I plan to introduce some geometric patterns in towels and mats.
Like (I imagine) pretty much every other interiors fanatic on the planet I am in love with the combination of blush and gold. However, my shower room is heavy on the chrome fittings and in such a small space, I don’t think mixing metallics would work. And with a heavy heart, I must accept that gold fittings are off the agenda for this makeover. I’m consoling myself that chrome feels fresher. And it does really pop against the Farrow and Ball Railings I’ve chosen for the woodwork.
I’ll be adding in some silvery accessories. Some greenery is also in order to replace the aloe plant which with its pathetic display of limp and plaid protrusions has long protested against life on my steamy windowsill.
My collection of beauty “essentials” seems to expand year on year. Since I don’t want my visitors to be subjected to the full range of my anti-aging arsenal, storage is clearly key. Until I am united with the vintage oak cabinet of my dreams, I’ll have to make do with a simple upcycling of the very uninspiring, but completely practical cabinet I bought as an inexpensive emergency temporary solution when we moved in.
So now it’s just a simple matter of some hard graft….Update to follow soon.
Have you made a start on your own 2017 home goals? No time like the present!