Wednesday, December 22, 2010


[edit 1/23: new pictures taken with new camera!]

We are head over heels in love with our apartment. The enormous mantle with its (sort of) working fireplace, the lovely original floors in the living room, the moulding in perfect condition, the big windows.... and, grudgingly, the retro pepto-bismol pink bathroom. We are, admittedly, a little confused how the bathroom survived when the rest of the apartment got a recent gut renovation. I should probably admit one other fact: we almost didn't even look at the place, because we saw this picture:

who puts hunter green wallpaper in a pink bathroom?!

Fortunately, we still went to look at the apartment, fell in love, rented, and lived happily ever after. Well, actually, there was another step: after "rented" and before "lived happily ever after," there were a series of conversations that were variations of the following:

me: "Oh my god, I can't live with this bathroom. We need to do something about it."
him: "Um, okay. What do you want to do?"
me: "I can't decide!"

Eventually, after a bit of blood, sweat, and tears, we came up with the current "after":

[edit 1/23: bought this toile towel on sale at Target yesterday.
Not sure if I like it in here...] 

the geometric shower curtain rings are one of my favorite details

Now, for those of you who care: the story of what happened between "before" and "after." 
We've already been over the fact that I hate pink, right? I love simple, classic, white-and-marble bathrooms with shiny hardware and, ideally, a clawfoot tub. Clearly none of those elements were present in our "before" bathroom, but I wanted to create something reminiscent of the following, despite the inevitable bubblegum backdrop:

I have over 2000 images in my interior design inspiration files. Two of them are pink bathrooms. You might think that, given the number of people who are affected by this plague, there would be more before-and-after examples floating around the blogosphere that don't involve gut renovation. On the contrary, there is an entire website dedicated to "saving" the pink bathrooms from being torn out. Images like this may be cute ("easy enough for ladies or ten-thumb husbands!"), but this isn't what I want my apartment to look like in 2010:

via "peppermint kiss kiss" on flickr

In a lucky twist of fate, the toilet broke about a week after we moved in and the landlord sent a plumber to fix it. The plumber got there, decided that it needed a new part, and realized that there was no way he was going to find a new part for a forty-year-old toilet. "Do you mind if we replace this with a new white toilet?" he said. "They haven't made this color since around 1970." Needless to say, I couldn't agree quick enough.
With one less pink element in the bathroom, and a decision that the first step would be to tear out the wallpaper, I gathered a meager collection of inspiration:

from Lonny: my favorite by far - saved long before I thought I would ever have my own pink bathroom.
The wallpaper is Albert Hadley's "fireworks"

from an Apartment Therapy house tour -
love the greek key-ish shower curtain!

from a different issue of Lonny

Ashley Roi Jenkins

not a bathroom - but pink, white, silver and sophisticated

My original plan was to re-paper the walls with something pretty in grey and white. These were some options that I was considering:

oh, ostriches, if only I could afford you!

I actually went ahead and bought a roll of this:

And then we removed the wallpaper. This is a task I never, ever, ever want to do again. By the time we were finished, my plans had changed from putting up the newly bought wallpaper to the easiest option I could think of, which was putting a couple coats of white paint on the walls and calling it a day. The wallpaper is still in the closet; someday when the memory has faded and I'm feeling optimistic about working with wallpaper, it may go up.
Step two was making the sink skirt - an incredibly easy project thanks to Jenny's tutorial! Everything else was just choosing accessories, which I limited to silver tone, glass and white. 

Here's a source list with the prices that I remember, if anyone is interested:
•acrylic shelves: the Container Store (I bought these with the wallpaper in mind, and they don't look quite as cool against a white wall.)
•toilet tray: TJ Maxx, $7
•black perfume bottle: Anthro, $8
•soap pump: Target, $10
•bath mats: Bed Bath and Beyond
•waffle shower curtain: HomeGoods, $20
•curtain rings: HomeGoods, $5
•frame: Marshall's, $5
•towel bars (there's another on the back of the door): Target, $12
•white boxes, Container Store
•apothecary jar, HomeGoods, $8
•little glass container, Target, $3
•dragonfly cup, John Derian for Target
•decanter, flea market
•tissue box made for our old apartment: Ikea covered with croc-textured paper from Kate's Paperie
•"reminder: today we make out" print in the frame is a print-out of a Kate Spade valentine's e-card

I know that this still isn't exactly the most beautiful bathroom ever. But perhaps it can serve as proof that making your pink bathroom look better isn't a completely hopeless cause. Save make an attempt to rehabilitate the pink bathrooms!


  1. Hi, I wandered here from Apartment Therapy. That wallpaper would really be fab & give it a glam feel. Love it. Way to make the best of a bad situation.

  2. I agree - I was definitely going for a sort of subdued glam when I picked it out. I definitely was planning to put up the wallpaper until I found out that my landlord is actually willing to update the entire bathroom! I kind of wish I'd put it up so I could have seen what it would look like, but it definitely would be silly at this point because hopefully we'll have a whole new (all-white) bathroom in just a couple of months.
    Thanks so much for stopping by!!

  3. I am a minority! I LOVE the old fashioned pink bathrooms! ( Iknow.. Iknow.. my friends don't get it either!) haha
    Your bathroom is fabulous!
    Have a pretty day!

  4. the pink or green tiled bathrooms thrill me. i love them. and i love what you have achieved with yours. we have been flipping houses and i have dreaded being forced to gut one of these lovelies. but now you've given me the motivation and the guts to work with it and make it beautiful without destroying it's charm.