Houzz Finds: Bird Bathroom Ideas

Given the title of the post, you may wonder why I care about designing a bird bathroom. It is a fair question albeit not quite accurate. What I mean by ‘bird bathroom’ is bird-themed bathroom. I have an interesting (people like my husband would call it an odd/unusual/strange) fascination for birds adorning a bathroom.

I have loved this idea since I first saw designer Sarah Richardson place the wallpaper (shown below) in a powder room. This is not her interior design, but one I found on Houzz with the same wallpaper.

Farmhouse Bathroom

I chalk this up to being one of those whimsical features about me because I like birds, but I will never have a bird for a pet. I like them outside where I don’t have to touch them or clean up after them. But I’m happy to have them enter my home in the form of wallpaper! Why? It’s probably the nature-lover inside me.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I feel the need to admit that my husband is not on board with this plan. He’s known for years that I want to have bird wallpaper on the walls in a powder room. He’s not a fan. He’s not sold. He’s told me I can do what I want with that bathroom, but he never has to step foot in it. I’m sure everyone has this in their relationship.

Let’s be honest, it’s probably not related to bird wallpaper, but I’m sure there’s a design impasse lurking somewhere. Just know it’s normal and tell your significant other to find comfort that their dilemma could be worse – at least they don’t have the looming dread of birds popping up in a powder room.

I’ve declared I’m going to find a way to make this work for both of us! I’m nothing if not determined! This is what I’m going to do: I’m going to show this post to my husband and see if one of the designs I picked could be a compromise of birds for me and non-crazy bird room for him. I’ll post his thoughts with each design. Wish me luck!

Penn Valley

This wallpaper is vibrant and energetic. I likely would not chose this print/colorway, but I really like the youthfulness and tropical feel of the room. For my preference, this much wallpaper is verging on overwhelming, so I would have the tile extend further up the wall and leave a 1 foot space for the wallpaper between the molding and tile.

Husband’s take: Do you really have to ask?


Farmhouse Bathroom

I enjoy the vine-like quality of this wallpaper. The room has a cheerful, fresh atmosphere, which is aided by the light colors and sunny yellow accents. This wallpaper brings the outside indoors and creates a garden feel to the space.

Husband’s take: There is a lot of movement and it’s too vibrant.


Traditional Bathroom

This is the same wallpaper as the above room, but different colorway. This has a contemporary feel and seems to be nodding in the direction of toile. Because there are two colors (blue and white), I would feel comfortable leaving the paneling at the height shown.

Husband’s take: I don’t mind this. I could live with it.


Portland Mid-Century Modern

This wallpaper is modern and sophisticated, which is perfectly displayed in this equally modern bathroom design. The graphic quality allows for so much variation in the room concerning colors, design style and fixture matches.

Elegant Redo of a Hollywood Spanish Colonial

The two rooms are so different in feel and for my design preference, I lean towards this one. Because the pattern has a long gap before it repeats, I would do this wallpaper in a floor to ceiling style as shown above. But – I would only do one wall. I like the idea of having an accent wall with this design and the other three walls painted white OR I would have the accent wall and add plate rail height paneling (leaving 1 foot between ceiling and rail) on the other three walls. The space between ceiling and rail would be filled in with wallpaper.

Husband’s take: I like that the trees and birds are silhouettes. I could see this working if it were only on one wall.


Beechwood & Llewellyn

This bird and rabbit wallpaper is a complete detour from the modern design above. It is a classic combination of teal and gold. I love the old-world feel of the design. Used in this room with so much layered on top of it, the wallpaper becomes a texture and doesn’t jump out as much as the other designs I’ve shown. The contrast is low and does not lend itself to becoming overwhelming.

Husband’s take: It feels country to me. I like that it reads as a texture rather than as a wallpaper. Side note: country is not always a good thing for me.


Snug yet elegant powder room

This room is so interesting that it had to be added in despite the fact that there are no birds! There are trees and thus a similar design could be created that added a few birds into the mix. Or I could paint them in. Just as the above design was more textural, this monochromatic design becomes a texture rather than overt design. It is accessible because of this. To me, though, it is no less powerful as a wallpaper.

Husband’s take: Love it! It is subtle yet sophisticated. It could stand to have a few birds in the trees.


Kangaroo Point Residence #2

This wallpaper design was such a deviation from the others above that I wanted to include it. It is bold and graphic because of the high contrast of colors, but feels traditional due to the realistic imagery. Overall the space is well composed. If you’re looking to make a statement, this is a good choice.

Husband’s take: I don’t like this at all. It makes me think of ugly drapes at a grandma’s house or malachite slab designs people use to decorate their walls.


Searidge/Wikwood Associates

I’ve included this as an example of the higher paneling and how it works with the bold wallpaper. This particular wallpaper design isn’t one I would chose.

Husband’s take: I don’t like it.

I just did the tally and it looks like there are two ‘maybe’s’ and one ‘yes.’ That feels like a victory!

What this exercise taught me is that I like the idea of a bold pattern in a powder room and he prefers a subtle pattern that reads as a texture. Ergo the birds aren’t the issue, it’s the vibrancy and boldness of the design that typically accompanies the birds that is unappealing to him. Hmm, you learn something new everyday!

Turquoise Waters Fine Art Print Close Up

New Prints in Shop: “Turquoise Waters” and “Autumn Impression”

I completed these paintings a number of years ago, back in 2013 to be exact. I still enjoy viewing them, so they made the cut for prints that would go up on the Etsy shop.

"Turquoise Waters" Fine Art Print by Cortney North in white frame, blue and green water painting

“Turquoise Waters” Fine Art Print by Cortney North, available in 8×10, 11×14 and 13×19 (inches)

“Turquoise Waters” is a style that brings me a lot of happiness. It is soothing to create paintings that have the feel of calm water and it allows me to work with some of my favorite colors!

This painting is 24″x12″ and was sold a few years ago. “Turquoise Waters” would look fantastic in almost any room with almost any design style because it is subdued and relaxing. It would be especially great in a bathroom, beach-inspired room and living room.

(Addendum: After writing this post, my mind has been trying to figure out a style that would clash with “Turquoise Waters” and I’m coming up empty-handed. My thoughts went immediately to southwestern design, but I think the orange/red palettes and strong patterns would compliment the organic design elements of the print. Hmm, maybe it’s a universal print?)

Autumn Impression Fine Art Print by Cortney North in white frame, autumn inspired painting, red and orange abstract art print

“Autumn Impression” Fine Art Print by Cortney North, available in 8×10, 11×14 and 13×19 (inches)

My most specific memory of creating “Autumn Impression” was that it was completed in a whirlwind. Something struck me about the colors of autumn – you could call it having a bee in my bonnet – and it escaped onto the canvas. I kept the scarlet reds to a minimum and focused on orange/red-orange, gold and lemon yellow. I wasn’t going for a showcase of peak fall color, but rather the variety of colors trees and bushes display over the course of the season.

The original painting is quite large, 24″x36″. Its new home is a light-filled dining room, where it recides above a large dining buffet and steals the show against a warm gray wall. The crystal buffet lamps flanking the art piece only add to the splendor.

Houzz picks: Eclectic exteriors and some tropical therapy

I’ve been on a modern design kick. It was a sudden change a few months ago and I’m still a bit surprised by it. I was set on French country mixed with contemporary plus some rustic, then out of nowhere I began to enjoy ultra-modern spaces. Some of the designs I like could pass as businesses or laboratories, but the style gets my artistic vibes going in all types of happy directions.

What happened? I don’t know. Maybe my eye overloaded on farm/rustic/french country and revolted to the opposite corner? Keeping this in mind, here are some Houzz photos that caught my eye this week. They are an eclectic blend.

Contemporary Open Home

The clean lines with simple, geometric shapes brings a smile to my face. I enjoy the contrast of light stone with black window framing. I’m sure if I were standing indoors in this home, the outdoors would feel like part of the space due to all of the windows.


Hilltop House | Grand Vista Subdivision

I really, really like this architecture. I love the wooden elements juxtaposed with the metal siding. All of the geometry makes my heart sing. It blends so well into the surrounding environment – it holds its own against the trees, but doesn’t intrude. This also looks like a home straight from a sci-fi movie, which only adds points in its favor.


Green Oaks Atherton

My husband has not fully jumped on the modern bandwagon with me and his style leans towards French Country (read: castle homes). The architecture of this home is enveloped by the surrounding garden, which gives it an older, soulful feel. It’s a very elegant design.


Olive Mill

The same idea of the garden enveloping the home is felt in this photo. It seems aged and rustic, which is appropriate for a country home. The colors blend well with nature and the multi-hued roof is an interesting touch.


Trigg House

When I saw this photo, I knew it had to go up! This whole space is art – the art fixture, the wall treatment, the recessed alcoves for art – it’s all so cool! I don’t get warm and fuzzy vibes from this space, but it fascinates me.


Delaware Beach House with Reclaimed Wood Beams

I still enjoy rustic, french country design, but I want to see some unique touches if I’m going to ‘favorite’ something. This room has two items that caught my attention. The first is the rope holding back the off-white curtains. The design choice was unexpected and gave this space an instant beach feel without screaming ‘I’m a beach house.’ The second is the deep gray ceiling. In combination with the wood beams, this treatment makes the space feel old-world and brings the room’s soaring ceiling to a more cozy aesthetic height.


Representative Project

This room is rustic and modern – the modern touch coming from the large window. This feels more like an atrium than a dining room, which is my ideal room. If I could live in a greenhouse I would. With the floor to ceiling windows, trees and stone/brick floor, this room is edging close a greenhouse and I like it!


Hastings, Bainbridge Island, WA

I’ve had this photo saved in my ideabook for some time. My favorite complimentary color combo is purple and yellow and the addition of lively green appealed to me. I see this and think “color inspiration for a future painting.”


Davids Garden

And now to this photo. This was saved because it is 20 degrees outside (and falling), the skies were gray when I took my afternoon walk, but turned sunny as soon as I got inside. I need to remember there is green, lush landscape somewhere on this planet. A visual escape, that is why this photo is here.


Davids Garden

And ditto for this photo. Ah, green, you are so lovely!

Cortney North Abstract Fine Art Painting, small version of 'Quietude'

New Prints in Shop: “Imagination” and “Quietude”

Last week I was focused on getting new prints in the shop. It just so happens that both originals of these prints are displayed in our home. My husband is very partial to “Imagination” and I’m partial to “Quietude.” We had a discussion recently about listing original paintings for sale and when I mentioned “Imagination” going onto that list, he quickly took it off. It made my heart happy how much passion he showed for not wanting to part with it. Not for sale yet, I guess!

Aqua, turquoise, ultramarine abstract art print by CortneyNorth

“Imagination” by Cortney North, 12″x12″ fine art print

“Imagination” was completed a few years ago and has been on display in our home ever since. At present, we have this hanging in the hallway just outside our bedroom door. It’s an energetic piece and one we haven’t tired of seeing multiple times per day. The painting is full of aqua, lime green, ultramarine and turquoise. Some of these colors didn’t translate to the print, but I’ve worked diligently to get them as close as possible. I insisted the tropical water vibe be present for the print since this was the entire inspiration for the painting.

Imagination Art Print by Cortney North with frame

My eye zooms around the piece, going from the circular shapes down the liquid drips to the darker, ultramarine areas. I did a splatter technique with this painting. It was a lot of fun to sling the paint around and quite the art to get the splatters just the density and diameter I was hoping to achieve. It’s was not easy to achieve the look I wanted and required calculation and skill!

"Quietude" Art Print by Cortney North - Blue and coral abstract painting

“Quietude” by Cortney North, 12″x12″ fine art print

“Quietude” is on display in my bedroom, propped up on my bedside table beside my chunky wooden lamp. For some time I didn’t have the coral accents in the painting, but I felt it needed something to elevate it from a solely cool color palette. A few touches of the glamorous color was what it took to bring the painting to a heightened level.

"Quietude" by Cortney North, coral, blue and purple fine art abstract print

On the Etsy listing, I wrote that this painting reminded me of sitting in a field just after sunset. The coral and lavender accents are like flowers that still catch what remains of the light. Lightning bugs are beginning to appear and glitter in the darkening landscape. It’s quiet except for crickets sending out their mating songs. These moments are my favorite because of the stillness encompassing me. It’s no wonder I love this painting most in the middle of winter. It helps me remember those warm, gentle evenings.

To purchase a print of one or both of these great paintings, you can visit my Etsy shop or navigate to the Shop in my website, which will take you to Etsy.

Varying Oranges arranged in a striped pattern

Peach, Coral and Pumpkin: Bedrooms in Orange

I love colors! But there is an exception and I’m going to let you in on the secret. It’s one many people don’t know about me. I don’t like the color red. It is a visceral reaction – one I wish I didn’t have given I live in the land of OSU Buckeyes and their bright scarlet – but it exists nonetheless. I’ve tried to overcome my dislike, even to the point of trying to paint solely with red, but I think the experiment caused me to dislike it more. Whoops…

I’m sure you have a color aversion as well. That color that makes your skin crawl when you see it. A popular one I hear is green, specifically light green. Another is orange. I just read a study that people increasingly dislike orange as they age. That fascinated me. Why does orange fall out of favor as we get older?

Perhaps as we age we begin to only associate orange with ‘pumpkin orange?’ Or maybe there’s an unfavorable company we deal with as we get older and their branding is orange? I have no idea. I can agree that pumpkin orange isn’t my favorite in the orange line up, but orange has a big family!

As I considered the idea, I realized I’m embracing orange more as I get older. I’m on a coral kick at the moment. I also very much appreciate peach. Both of these are wildly popular in our culture at the moment.

Inspired by orange, I’ve searched Houzz for some bedrooms that highlight the Orange Family of Colors. You might be surprised how much you like the different takes on this underdog of the color wheel.

Master Bedroom

‘The Suite is Ready for You’ Room – I had to consider this room for some time, but now I appreciate it for the timelessness it displays. It is sophisticated and makes me think the room was once burnished with a coat of rose gold. With warm, luxurious, silky fabrics and metallic accents, it is a nod to high-class hotel style. The white and cream accents are needed to give buoyancy and offer a modern vibe.


Ponte Vedra Beach Residence

Rise and Shine Room – This bedroom captured my attention right away. The orange is bold and if I were the designer of the space, I would have experienced a sleepless night prior to putting this color on the walls. It is paired with its color compliment, blue, along with the strong contrast of white and black. With the vibrant color and value contrasts, the room isn’t calm, but it isn’t overwhelming either. It’s producing a good, happy energy that I enjoy.


Master Bedroom

Peach Fizz Room – This is the opposite of the room above in terms of energy level. The subdued peach provides a sunny, creamy accent that keeps the room from being bland. I love the punches of dark brown/purple (I can’t quite tell from my vantage point) and lime green. This, again, is high contrast with black and white, but the dialed-down vibrancy of the peach allows for a calm feeling. Spending a night here would feel like a quaint retreat.


Society Social

Melon Magnificence Room – This is a beautiful color and one of those oranges that I’m giddy about right now. The room feels feminine and bold and I love the pink and gold accents. Just like the other spaces, it needs the large amounts of white to balance out the intensity of the color. This color screams youthful energy to me and that is always a good thing!


Positively Pretty

Inside the Seashell Room – I’m noticing a trend in the photos I’ve chosen that orange is standing on its own without a lot of competing colors. The one-color dominance of this room allows for a relaxed, calming space. This beautiful color reminds me of a conch shell’s interior. To replicate this look would be easy given the popularity of crystal lamps and white furniture. You’re letting the paint color do all the speaking, design-wise.


Parlette Residence

Coral Pop Room – Ultra modern and simple, but ultra cool. The vibrant, bold color appealed to me. Keeping everything simple is key when using such an eye-catching, large focal point. The black and white graphic pillow breaks up the monotony and ties in the black accents such as the beside lights and cabinet hardware. I likely would have put black and white prints on the wall compared to the blueish tinted photos, but I like the color compliment being displayed. The wood accents are a secondary color along with white.

All of these photos are linked to Houzz, so you can check out the rooms in more detail!

New Print: ‘Effervescence’ 12×12 Fine Art Print

The holidays have passed and the new year has begun! I’ve been preparing since last fall to re-open my shop and I’m excited the day has finally arrived. I’m curating my older prints, so only a few will carry over from the days of old.

Late last year and into the early parts of this year I worked on a new painting – Effervescence – that I’ve just made into print form. Hooray!

Effervescence Fine Art Print by Cortney North, pink, purple and coral painting

‘Effervescence’ Fine Art Print by Cortney North

I’m thrilled with the way the colors work together. Sometimes the scanning process changes colors to the point that the original is quite different from the print. That can be a frustrating realization for me since I’m very specific about the colors I choose to place on the canvas. I was aware of the possibility with this painting, even while I was painting, and hoped the pinks, corals, oranges and purples would distinguish themselves versus becoming a large pink with dark pink image. To my delight, they distinguished themselves beautifully!

Effervescence Fine Art Print by Cortney North Fine Art


I enjoy the playful movement that runs like a current through this piece. It is dynamic and uplifting. The warm hues help with the feeling of liveliness and remind me of a tropical flower, which is a nice reminder when the skies are gray here in Ohio! There are many places this print would be ideal: a living room, bathroom that needs a pop of color, young girl’s/teenager’s bedroom, hallway that may need some pep added to it.

The original painting will be available for purchase soon. I still need to finish painting the sides and adding my signature. It measures 12″x12″x1.5″ in case you’re interested.

I have two more paintings waiting to be transformed into prints. Plus there is a larger painting on the easel that has its background painted, but is waiting for details. I’m hopeful to carve out time this weekend to work on it!

Middle of painting

Today’s post will be a shorter one since I’m in the middle of a large painting. This one, in fact. Painting in Progress

It is going to require many, many layers to get the depth that I want. I have no idea how many it already has. If you made me guess, I’d say in the neighborhood of 25-30 layers. There might be just that many to go.

This is where it is heading… SeashorePainting

I worked on this painting last week and into the weekend. I was after soft, sea-inspired colors. Like my other two paintings, this will be for sale soon. It is 12″x12″ with a depth of 1.5″. This painting was cheering me up when the skies were a solid sheet of gray. It was dreary last week, so I’m glad for paintings that allow me to see some color!

Current Palette And here is the paint palette. What a combination of colors!

In addition to painting this weekend, I wrote a little in my science fiction novel. This past week also marked my switch to exercising more, eating healthily and eating less. This means I was the delightful combination of tired, sore and hungry as I adjusted to the new schedule. This weekend seemed to bring me a respite – and a cheat meal. Today, I feel much better so I’m over the first difficult hurdle, surviving the first week!

I believe I’ve allowed enough time for the paint to dry and it is time for another layer to be added. Back to the canvas!

Painting Palette Pictures

The sides of the paintings are almost complete. It took more coats of paint than I realized and – due to the very dry air – the paint dried almost on contact with the canvas. It was a balancing act between keeping the paint wet enough to spread and not having drips run down the sides.

Since the sun is shining again today, I am going to add ‘photographing the paintings’ to my agenda. That will help me stay on track for having the paintings for sale by the end of this week, which is – as I look at my calendar – tomorrow. Best get moving!

Before I head out, I wanted to share pictures of my paint palette. I’ve always loved the color combinations and layers created on a paint palette. Typically there is some thought as to where a color will go on my palette, but some times I get swept up in the creative moment; I just look for available space to mix my colors. My palette is always changing and I thought I should capture the stages of its evolution. Here is today’s collection of palette abstracts and my brief thoughts.

Painting Palette

A complex reflection on the textural state of art or a mountainous topographical weather map with some severe storms moving in.

Painting Palette 2

A visual representation of our society’s view of cool colors overshadowing warm colors or green slime overtaking a tropical topographical weather map.


I see a forest in the foreground, mountains is the middle ground and to the right, a plume of volcanic cloud preceded by red fiery ash. The left has a fiery volcano too. This valley does not look like an ideal place to live.


And the final photo of the day. This is the palette of my heart. No joking here, the colors are too lovely.

Museum Find: Physic Garden Art Installation

Physic Garden Installation by Molly Hatch at High Museum of Art Atlanta

Physic Garden Installation by Molly Hatch at High Museum of Art Atlanta

High Museum of Art in Atlanta featuring installation by Molly Hatch

My career in art began with ceramics and I suppose that my relationship to it might be compared to having a first pet, first child, first of something important. I learned a great deal about art through ceramics and I learned a great deal about myself as well. It will always hold a special place for me, though I haven’t thrown on the wheel in a few years.

Ceramics has a funny place in the art world. Is it art or is it a craft? Or is it both depending on the maker and viewer? I believe the installation by Molly Hatch at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia points me in the direction of calling this particular display a work of art.

The installation was commission by the museum and was directly inspired by two 1755 Chelsea Factory plates. I love the integration, or perhaps update, to the older plates. Not only does it inspire a new appreciation for the art painted on the 1700’s plates, but I also enjoy the connection of nodding to the past in creating the future. I saw it mentioned that the plate installation recalls pointillism such as Seurat’s paintings as well as Chuck Close’s artwork. I don’t disagree with that analysis.

When looking at the hundreds of plates together, it is easy to say “That wouldn’t be that difficult to do.” That’s because the artwork was done well. I will say that with ceramics, predictability is not ever part of the equation. The underglaze (the liquid colorant applied to the greenware or bisqueware) can look different depending on the length of time spent in the kiln, a few degrees variant in the kiln, location in the kiln (hot and cold zones) and humidity in the air, or, in some unknown circumstances, breathing too close to the kiln. Most of the time underglazes are consistent, especially when using an electric kiln that can be programmed. But there is still that level of unpredictability that drives most artists to hate ceramics. What you put into the kiln may not always be what comes out.

I would say ceramics is a labor of love and a master class in patience. One ceramicist friend of mine said she has a love-hate relationship with ceramics. But I’m glad people push forward and create artwork such as what Molly Hatch created for the High Museum.

If you have time, you should visit Molly Hatch’s website and see her other work. http://mollyhatch.blogspot.com/   At the time of me posting this, her main website was down, but her blog has great information about her projects. You can find her pieces at Anthropologie too.


Decor Friday: These are best for hibernating

I’m feeling a bit under the weather today. As a side note, I’d love to know the origin of that phrase. I may skip around the internet and try to find an answer. Or I’ll skip towards my bed because I’m exhausted from all the germ fighting my immune system is being wracked with. I’m guessing this cold is a gift from my husband since he’s been sick for many days now. It’s not exactly the gift I was hoping for. The only thing on my mind at the moment is sleep so I rounded up a few rooms that I’d love to tuck myself into and hibernate within for the next six months.

This reminds me a hotel I stayed in while over in Assisi, Italy. I would gladly snuggle up in bed with 50 good books and never need to leave.

When I’m ill, I want warm and rustic. A good view wouldn’t hurt either. This room is a success in all categories.

Compared to the previous room, this is a bit more luxurious and less lodge inspired. It has pleasant feminine details such as the chandelier, curved headboard and chaise lounge.

This boardlines on log cabin, which I’m not a big fan of, but it’s just enough of the western lodge look to keep me happy. That incredible light fixture has a medieval castle-vibe, which I’m a big fan of.

This is a cozy spot for reading because sometimes you can’t sleep through one more day. The generous chair is perfect for pulling my legs up and resting. All it needs is an ottoman.

If I’m being honest, this is truly the room I want. A tall turret of a library. Again, this space needs an ottoman. And perhaps a more masculine looking chair, but I could curl up and spend days getting lost in my reading.