I’m leading two redecorating projects at my parent’s home. One is a downstairs half bathroom. The other is the master bedroom. Both projects are coming into the home stretch. I was going to wait to debut the finished projects once all of the glass had been polished and the floors were swept into neat lines, but I realized that is not the point of my blog. I want to show the full, unpredictable design process since it is not a clean, simple set of steps.
At first thought, I believe a half bathroom could be finished in a weekend. And while yes, it could be, that doesn’t factor in Life. There is grocery shopping, family events, laundry, emergencies, and other oddities that pop up that turn a weekend project into a 4 month ordeal. If this sounds like your life, the key is to make small progress until the project gets completed. It also might involve setting up rewards as you complete a goal. One coat of paint up? Great, a glass of wine. Looked at some artwork? Great, a scoop of ice cream. Ordered artwork for the room? Well, that deserves a whole pint of ice cream.
I’ll give you some tips from what we’ve learned so far about this half bath project. Below is a current photograph of the bathroom. It is half of the half bath. Imagine the white toilet sitting beside the cabinet.
This is where the project stands at this very moment. Yes, there is tape. See those white, chalky lines above the left section of granite? That was caused by the misplacement of caulk, which resulted in a paint resistant surface. Thank goodness for sandpaper that can remove such imperfections.
When we first began the project, we knew we wanted to install granite. This rectangular section plus the install cost came in under $400. We decided to keep the existing cabinet because the stain still looked good and the overall wear and tear was minimal. If this was going to be my parents’ forever home, we would have ripped out the cabinet, but it is a home they’ll likely stay in for a few more years. The cabinet is stained in a medium walnut color. It is a pleasant shade of brown, but it also has hints of yellow, which my mother specifically wanted minimized if at all possible. I assured her we could do that with the right choice of paint color and granite. It’s not an easy task, but it isn’t impossible.
When looking for granite, we searched the granite company’s yard for remnants. There are a few things to note about that adventure: 1) we were searching in bright, brilliant summer daylight. Whichever piece of granite we chose would be installed in a dark, never-sees-the-light-of-day half bath. Because of this, I didn’t want to go too dark with a color. It might look beautiful and rich in the sunshine, but in a windowless room it could look like a tar pit. 2) I needed to keep in mind about the yellow hue. Many of the brown granite pieces were mottled with brown and yellow. Under incandescent bulbs, which can have a yellow hue, that hint of yellow may become more powerful.
Now, the current trend with cabinets is towards gray and white. Yes, white allows the other pieces of the room to stand out and it does make choosing colors a lot easier. With a white cabinet, you can pair it with a light, medium or dark counter top and have a beautiful effect.
But I wasn’t working with white. So what can you do with a medium brown cabinet? Choose carefully, that’s what you can do. Placing a dark, almost black counter top is a classic, regal combination. But this is a very small half bath. Black granite would be oppressive because it is so much dark color concentrated in one area. The counter top is the most prominent feature in the room and putting in a high contrast item would emphasize that even more. This is why I mentioned it being a tar pit before. It would suck your eye in and never let go. We could have gone the white counter top route, but I was concerned the bright color would draw the viewer’s eye towards the cabinet because they would be in contrast with each other. Like I said before, the cabinet isn’t in bad shape, but it’s not a custom piece of cabinetry that needs to steal the show. It needed to fade into the background. So we decided on a medium toned piece of granite. Without yellow or orange tints. With browns that complimented the cabinet’s color. Does it sound like we were looking for a needle in haystack? That is what it felt like while walking around that granite yard.
I’m not certain if granite companies allow you to bring home samples (ours didn’t), but I trusted my color sense. If you find yourself concerned about a piece being too orange, yellow, etc., you should ask the professionals who work at the company. It would be a terrible day to have your granite installed and then realize you hate the stone’s color in your home’s lighting. They should have advisers who can steer you in a direction of success.
With that major decision made, we moved onto the wall color and that’s where the real trickery began. The easy choice would be to keep the wall color light, but I really wanted to move away from a light color. It seems that especially in bathrooms, keeping the walls white when there are darker cabinets and counter tops can make the room appear builder grade. The wall color needs to meet the color depth of the cabinets/counter tops in order to look like a designer helped in the space. That is why I suggested we boldly go with a grayish brown. I wanted a modern color, but I also wanted it to be warm. It helps the dark cabinet hide in the background, but the contrast between the ivory-brown counter top and gray hued paint color is appealing.
Since I have some superpower with remembering colors, we went to the paint store and I pulled several colors that were in the granite. Then I pulled colors that were more red and more gray than the colors in the granite. Finally, I pulled a lighter color and darker color of my two favorite colors (when we were still in the store). Again, I did this because coloring is tricky in an artificially lit space. We brought the samples to the room and narrowed the choices down to four. Next was the most important step. We bought the paint samples and painted them on the wall. Though the colors all looked great on those little sample cards, they looked much different when painted on a larger section of wall. One was too green, another was too brown and the last two were just right. Of those two colors, one was darker, the other lighter. The color we ultimately chose was Sherwin-Williams’ Skipping Stone, which was the lighter color.
This color is lighter than our second choice, but is still quite deep and dark. I would choose a lighter color if this was a room my family spent a great deal of time in, but this is a half bathroom, which means, well, it’s a quick stop. That also means you can go more bold. You don’t spend a lot of time in the room and it is primarily closed off from most other spaces.
That’s the progress we’ve made so far. I’ll suggest using ivory hand towels when the time comes. I’ll do a painting for the room and will utilize pearl, silver, taupe, Payne’s gray, and other flecks of neutral hues. Mirrors will be hung eventually.
I’ll be sure to share the next updates when they happen. Since we’re heading into the holidays, the progress may be delayed or accelerated. It depends on who is hosting the holiday get-togethers.
Happy weekend to you!