Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Splish - Splash, a giveaway and poetic Architectural Decay

Welcome to our upstairs bathroom. The door's open, please come in. The artwork on the door was designed and painted by me, along with all the moody faux painting. I was going for a relaxing and whimsical yet dramatic mood. Our bathroom of grayness, white and black.

But first let me tell you about my giveaway and how to enter to win.

Enter this giveaway, a hot off the press (published on April 1, 2014) House Beautiful's 500 Bathroom Ideas - Elegant and Dreamy Spaces. Hardcover, 304 pages, size - 7x9.8 by 1.2 inches thick. The book is gorgeous, full of inspiration sure to inspire ideas in your bathroom. Love the book and I purchased an additional one as a giveaway. The giveaway will run for two weeks and I will announce the book winner in my next post. 

You will be entered just by leaving a comment. Double your chances and enter another comment stating I'm a new follower OR I am a follower. I will use a computer generated random selection. I promise whoever wins will enjoy this lovely new book.

You can put the light's on, but today I photographed with only the light of our skylight, streaming in gorgeous springtime late morning light.

We have had one major gut job and a remodel and update on this bathroom. The gut was in the 80's. I think many bath jobs become a major job by sheer chance of what lies hidden for years.

John and I are real do-it-yourself people ... But this was a real headache/backbreaking experience. We noticed on our living room ceiling below a sagging and a glimpse of a beam's trace. Then the water started dripping. 

The culprit turned out to be a small stone ... when the plumber soldered a lead pipe for the sink he propped the pipe up with a stone back in 1934. It had through the years worn through the pipe and made a pin hole that leaked into the floor, slowly weakened the beams and finally soaked the floor enough to show up. SURPRISE... the wet set tile flooring underneath had about 10 inches of cinder (what a mess). John needed to re-support all the beams.

A second remodel was in 2012. Yup another drip, drip, drip down into our living room, seriously isn't a torture technique done with water??? This time a copper pipe in the shower floor developed a pin hole. It caused my gallery light over my living room Buddha to short out, spark and then the water dripped down. We wound up cutting away the corner of the ceiling and patching and repainting all the down stairs ceilings, to color match since it is an open concept living space.

We replaced the sink in 2012 with this pretty pedestal with it's own towel bar. It is a couple inches taller than our old pedestal which is what we were hoping for. 

Love these tiny watering cans on the door frame, a Mother's Day gift from my son years ago.

During the initial gut job we were able to close up a hall closet which we put our air conditioning duct work in and reworked it into recessed cabinets inside the bathroom. The niche we made just for architectural interest. 

We also put a recessed cabinet in over the toilet for towels. The cabinets came from IKEA back in the 80's. We chose them because we liked the wired glass doors. Lemon oil monthly keeps them refreshed.

Splish…Splash….I was takin’ a bath!  We loved our original Art Deco inspired bath (deep and long) and we tried to keep the Deco look in our remodel. This is the original extremely heavy cast iron tub. It was the only thing we kept in the gut, besides the shower door frame. John put fiberglass insulation underneath and on the sides of the tub to retain heat during a soak in the tub and we had it refinished a creamy white.

So glad we decided to keep the old cast iron tub, we love the blend of old with new. Living in Philadelphia with echoes of history you tend to develop a true reverence for old. New buildings built next door to historic sites. Built with respect for the cities history and founding fathers intentions. 

2012 we introduced all brushed nickel faucets into our bathroom. L-O-V-E brushed nickel. 

2012 also was when I finally was able to have my long desired honed Italian Carrara subway tile and mosaic in the shower. The shower door is the original chrome frame from the 30's which we replaced the glass twice. Once years ago with frosted and 2012 with clear. I find a Mr. clean magic easer keeps it sparkling clean and removes all soap scum.

Inside look at our shower stall, we installed a mosaic border trim. It also was used for the shower floor. The rain shower faucet is one of my favorite 2012 changes. The faucet control keeps the water a set degree, also a wonderful addition.

Shower floor and wide marble step. We matched the green marble from the 80's.

Sure ... I'll show you my shampoo!!! Actually showing you the corner nickel soap and shampoo holder. 

On the ceiling we installed red oak flooring and I applied a Marine varnish finish to it. 

On our glass shelf over the tub holds my latest purchase. A painting done by mon amie Kerrie Sanderson from her etsy store, Sea Washed. Kerrie has a blog named Sea Cottage. A visit there leaves you feeling peaceful and feeling sea breezes. The painting is titled Prairie Rain and I had looked for awhile for an ethereal looking painting and as soon as I saw this one I knew it was perfect for our bathroom. I adore Kerrie's talent.

Another photo of shelf and Rain painting.

I have two of these antique wall planters, they hang opposite each other on the bathtub enclosure walls. I'm going to replace the plants with spider plants that offshoot babies. They will be safe from >^..^< Max and Simon munching on them. 

On top the tank top. The basket is a vintage rice basket from the early 1900's in China. I purchased it from Material Culture in Philadelphia, one of if not my favorite Philadelphia store. It is a perfect size to hold two rolls of toilet tissue. The gray planter is from Target a few years ago. It was a solid dark resin, I altered it with a white glaze to highlight it.

The box on our aluminum table was painted by me. It holds Q-tips. I love black olives branches and they are a reoccurring theme throughout our house.

Another look at the table. It is handcrafted in India from recycled aluminum cans. It is a very sturdy table that we purchased from Wisteria.

Our sconces and medicine cabinet are from Restoration Hardware.

I will leave you with my poetry entitled Architectural Decay. Good luck in the Giveaway and I'll see you in two weeks with a new post and announce who won.

Architectural Decay

I find undeniable beauty and I appreciate the innate imperfection of architectural decay.
Admiring centuries old windows adorned with elegant fabrics that time will gorgeously fray.

I simply ask this question, why tear down buildings of grandeur built in the past?
Do you really believe modern construction will gracefully age or will truly last?

The answer can be found in the energy of dwellings, decades that passed slowly not fast.
Echoes of European history, some even have survived wars relentless enemies bomb blast.

Walk along the streets and experience the rhythm that will endure in your memories, it's no mystery...
There is a soulfulness that lingers and fuses with the pulse in a centuries old towns history.                                                                                            

All I am really suggesting is to first study the integrity of structure in a proud old world city,
to not build in passion and harmony blending the old with the new, to me, seems a real pity.

Building Modern style in thoughtful expression showing historical respect you will inspire.

A blending of new construction with centuries old is thoughtful building and design to admire.

© Vera


  1. Vera....This may sound funny but your poem brought tears to my eyes. I think because I grieve the carelessness and greed of man today tearing down so much to build 'cheap' stuff and the loss of land from so much growth. We live near our Historical downtown because we value the history and beauty of these buildings that have been here from the beginning of our city.

    Now for your bathroom...I think it really needs to be in a magazine!!!! Oh my is it stunning and then to read all the work that you and John put into it makes it that much more stunning! Every detail is exquisite. I admire your grey-washed painting throughout and the wood and tile of such richness. My parents house has the same kind of tubs and I am so glad you kept yours because I often wish I had one like it. They just do not make them like that anymore. I have to say that I can hardly believe how CLEAN your bathroom is. Oh my it puts ours to shame! I will use your helpful tip on cleaning our glass shower door. I feel so honored that you chose one of my paintings for this glorious space. I love where you have it too. Thank you Vera for your kind words. And guess what my favorite detail is...the ancient rice basket! I love treasures like this. Your pedestal sink also stands out and takes center stage in its beauty. Oh my it is all too beautiful for words. I am going to go back and have another look. xxo Kerrie

  2. You are just a great human being. I don't know what to say on the heels of receiving such a flood of incredible kindness, and your gifts being one of them. Vera, first of all, your bathroom is so BEAUTIFUL! And like you, we love brushed nickle. Our kitchen faucet is as such, and we too are DIY people! We are going to have to have another chat about all the DIY projects we have done over the years! Ruben had gutted our main bath and left it that way for two years until we could tackle it. It is now a haven, though it does not have a tub, but a huge walk-in, Provençal style shower (limestone).

    PUT MY NAME IN FOR THE GIVE-AWAY! I am a follower, you know that! The other elements such as your gray doors and your painting, the vintage Chinese rice basket and the wall hangings....ALL SO GREAT, along with our dear Kerrie's art.

    Bravo my friend. You live in a haven. Anita

  3. OH! Hi Kerrie! YES, of course....THE POEM! I believe we can make a poem about ANYTHING, and you did it here. I agree with Kerrie 100% about the sadness of throwing out the old....there is a metaphor right there about life. LOVELY WORK MY DEAREST!

  4. Oh Vera your bathroom is so stunning. I agree with Kerrie it needs to be published in a magazine. I am with you. Love the history of old pieces. It is a shame they do not build with all the detail like they use too. This is why I try to find old pieces being discarded and incorporate them into my own home. The book on bathrooms looks amazing. Thanks for the chance. I am a follower!

  5. Vera, your bathroom is the perfect blend of old and new...just beautiful! I, too, have such a heart for architectural salvage...there's just nothing like the character of old buildings and furnishings! Touching words once again, my friend.
    (Oh, and I'm a follower :)

  6. Oh girl, how you can rock it! LOVE the door, love what you've done, and so does everyone else, it seems.

  7. What gorgeous black and white tile! I wish more people would keep their classic tile. Also - love those HB books, glad to see they have a new one out. I'm a follower :)

  8. Your bathroom is stunning, Vera!! Love your choices for all the details that make your bathroom stand out and so unique. The door you painted is beautiful!
    Mary Alice

  9. BTW, I'm already a follower.
    Mary Alice

  10. Dear Vera,
    A perfect marriage of old and new... What a beautiful bathroom you have created.. I love your faux painting.. You are so talented.
    Please count me in your most generous giveaway, I am a follower as you know.
    I love the tiny watering cans your dear son gifted you years ago.
    Your poem.... How fitting it would be published in a architectural magazine...
    You have such a gift with words.. I really admire you.

  11. Vera you may want to add to your giveaway for us to share on our social networks for extra entries...I only blog but many FB, IG, Tweet, etc... I am going to share your Giveaway on my blog xxo Kerrie

    PS I am praying you feel better. xx

  12. I love individuality, it far surpasses "mail order rooms". Beautiful Vera.

  13. Wow, what a serene space, very spa-like!
    My favorite part is the elegantly crowned sign by the light switch!!

  14. Amazing bathroom,love your painting on the door-you are so talented!!! Nice day!xo

  15. Oh Vera, finally I get to see that beautiful bathroom I was so taken with long before you started blogging, I see the special spot on the door that hooked my little white sock :)

    This bathroom is for a small getaway...taking a bath in the quiet. Enjoying the beauty that you have added to what most would feel it to be to small of a space to add this much drama! You my sweet dear friend have proven drama can be had in any space large or small.

    You and john need to come do my bathroom :)

    Love your poem parts of it I could feel me in it.


    Vera havé you ever thought of painting the wood trim around the towel storage a dark charcoal grey, or black? I light sand and a spung roller would have it painted in minutes. Don't get me wrong love the look but I am so taken with your door jams and header trim to then see it flow over to the trim on the towel closet recessed cabinet would be grand, you can even add that door header over the top of the cabinet repeating the look of the door such WowNess!!

    Lots of love

  16. Love your bathroom and all of the work you put into it! Definitely count me in on the giveaway :-)

  17. Hi Vera: Your bathroom is a work of art. I don't know where to begin to tell you how much I love it. Every photo showed a different aspect of this masterpiece. We also have brushed nickel in our bathrooms and kitchen sink; I love it. Your creative eyes shine through in this room, as well as your other posts depicting your home. WOW! That is not just an ordinary bathroom; it is a retreat.

  18. Please count me in on your generous giveaway. And by the way, your poem rings true on so many levels.

  19. Wow! Wow, wow and wow! I'm sort of speechless (which doesn't happen often). I love your bathroom. And I think I could sleep in that shower. Awesome job (jobs)!

  20. OH MY GOSH! I found you through the comment you left on Kris's JunkChic blog. You are a girl after my own heart. I am here to sign up as a new follower but please DON'T enter me in your giveaway. I have won several in the past few months. I want to come back to explore your whole blog when I have more time but I am out the door with three giggling girls here right now. I will put you on my sidebar right away so I don't miss a post. xo Diana
    ps. I was born & raised in Bradford County, PA and have been to Philadelphia many times years ago.

  21. chic . . . sophisticated . . . classy . . . timeless . . . you make me like gray.

  22. Your bathroom is gorgeous! I always love your poems.

  23. You know, now you have me thinking of pulling out my paintbrush.. I just love your walls... I have white walls in the master bath, which actually is very small.
    Wishing you a beautiful week..

  24. love reading about how your bath has evolved and yet still has the spirit of old (oh i love a cast iron tub!). beautiful job.


  25. I'm a new follower. I welcome to visit my blog too.

    You did awesome job with your bathroom.


  26. SWOON! what a fabulous bath!!!!

    What a great give-away, don't enter me though, as we built our home a couple of years ago and won't be changing the bathroom!

    ~ Violet

  27. Dearest Vera! GOOD MORNING my dear and wonderful friend! I am barely getting to the computer this morning as yesterday was a long and busy day. To see your comment on my new post is a thrill. Well my friend, we both have been through a tough winter, and our spring is in process. I am still not feeling as balanced as I should, so any work outside will be limited, but as I hear the birds sing and see the rabbits come out, I feel as if they are saying, "Come out and play with me, mom!" Oh how I delight in nature. How is that swinging rabbit doing in your house? Is he asking you, "Mom, come and swing with me?" I hope so!

    I look forward to your Wednesday post my dear. Oh how I enjoy you! Anita

  28. Good afternoon, sweet Vera! Thank you for popping on by my blog! The air has become chilly here again, but we shall OVERCOME...some day...hahahahah

    ENJOY YOUR GREAT WEATHER my friend! Anita

  29. Happy Sunday to you! What a lovely giveaway. Thanks for the chance at this great book.

  30. I am your newest follower through google connect and bloglovin. Cant wait to sift through your blog. Have a wonderful day!

  31. Dear Vera,
    How sweet of you to leave such a kind comment.. I always look forward to your visits.. thank you so much

  32. Dear Vera

    Dore connected me with your blog. Thank you Dore and I am delighted to find you.
    Your bathroom renovation is stunningly beautiful. It looks like it has been designed by an architect with so many interesting features. Are either of you in that profession?
    I am particularly fond of your artwork on the door. Kerrie's painting truly enhances the room and I am sure it brings hours of joy when soaking in the tub.

    As your new follower I look forward to future posts


  33. So glad to meet you via Dore. Love your gorgeous and totally unique bath.
    Fabulous blog!
    New follower,

  34. Vera,
    I am so very touched by your beautiful comment... Thank you for your support and trust in me to create a bit of joy for you...
    Your photos are just beautiful!