Plants in the Bathroom

I wanted to do three quick follow-up posts related to our bathroom makeover: plants, shower curtain, and hardware.  Let’s start with the bathroom plants.

ZZ Plant in Bathroom
We have a ZZ on the tank tray – ZZ plants always appear on the lists of hardy, low-light plants. I already have cuttings started, so when this one gets too big for the space I’ll swap in a smaller/younger ZZ and move it elsewhere (though my “elsewhere” options are running low, I admit).

For the hanging shower plants, I have a pothos and a fern.  Pothos is the comic sans of the potted plant world – it’s overused in office settings and people love to hate it – but I don’t mind it. It’s indestructible, it grows quickly and it’s a cheap, easy way to add a lot of green to any spot in your home.

Hanging Plants in Shower
As for the fern, Home Depot’s plant vendor has started labeling some of their plants like so:

Plant Tag
So helpful! So scientific! Genus: Houseplant. Species: Foliage. While leads to me Googling things like “broad leaf fern rippled edges” to learn that this guy is a birds-nest fern.

Birds Nest Fern

I had an ivy plant in this spot previously, thinking it was a good fit for low light and high humidity. Wrong!: Spider mites loved the lack of air movement (we don’t have a bathroom fan and that window isn’t open during the summer when we have our AC on).

Spider Mites on Ivy Leaves
Spider mites! Infinitesimally small and master web weavers – they enclosed the leaves so completely it was like they had been wrapped in plastic wrap. There was actually a sheen to the web. RIP ivy plant.

Spider Mites on Ivy Leaves
One more thing: someone commented on Pinterest: “I can just see hitting your head on that plant holder every time you step in to take a shower.” Don’t worry, Internet Good Samaritan: they are hung high enough even for Jarrod to avoid hitting his head – see?

Jarrod Loves Plant(He’s giving a thumb’s up but it kind of looks like a finger gun, which may be how he really feels about posing for this photo.)

Granted, if you’re 6’4″ and you’re showering at my apartment, you may bump your head, but that’s on you. 6’4″ is too many.

Reminder: Today is your last chance to participate in the Cape Horn Illustration giveaway. I’ll randomly select a commenter this evening.  Your deadline to comment on Cape Horn post is 7:00pm CST. Delurk and win!

Rental Bathroom Makeover: Before, During, After

Well, now we know the drawback of real-time blogging: sometimes real-time is way too slow. I’ll save the nitty-gritty details behind the delay for another post – instead, let’s check out our newly redecorated bathroom.

Bathroom Door and Antique Rug | Project Palermo

Unfortunately the bathroom is still small and awkward – nothin’ I could do about that – so it’s impossible to get an all-inclusive pulled-back shot.  I’ll include a lot of photos – let me know if anything is unclear.

Antique Rug in the Bathroom | Project Palermo

New cabinet bar pulls from Home Depot and an antique rug from Humboldt House. HH actually had the rug in their shop bathroom. It’s beat-up, which I love because it’s not precious: aside from, like, setting it ablaze, there’s nothing we can do it that hasn’t already been done.

Bathroom Antique Brass Towel Hook | Project Palermo

Antique brass hook from eBay; hand towel from West Elm. I sewed on the hang loop, thus exhausting my sewing tolerance for the year.

Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

The soap pump top, door hooks, medicine cabinet knob and doorknob plates all got spray painted oil-rubbed bronze. The radiator cover and toilet paper holder were painted white.  I’ll do a follow-up post about some of this hardware.

Bathroom | Project Palermo

The one electrical outlet in the bathroom is hidden by the mirror.  The cords you see lead to the electric toothbrush in the medicine cabinet and my hairdryer in the basket below. I considered reworking our medicine cabinet to house the hairdryer as well, but… nope. It’s fine as-is. I don’t mind the dangling cord and if it were even one second more time-consuming to blow dry my stupid hair everyday I’d always leave the house looking like a ragamuffin.

Medicine Cabinet | Project Palermo

Aren’t Jarrod’s pills appealing? Makes me want to take one of each. Also makes me think Jarrod might have a pill problem. [Confidential to Jarrod: we need to talk.]

Extra Long Shower Curtain | Project Palermo

Aside from the paint (Benjamin Moore “Soot” color-matched by Behr), the biggest change is our new extra-long shower curtain. 98 inches. Count ’em!  (You can’t.  Just trust me.)  It’s so long and our bathroom is so small that it’s hard to photograph the full length.

Extra Long Shower Curtain | Project Palermo

The shower curtain is custom-made because we’re fancy like that.  Actually, it’s custom-made for lack of any acceptable option available for purchase.  I’ll return with details: it involves a grommet kit.  Spoiler alert: grommet kits are super fun. I want to put grommets in everything now.

Shower Curtain with Brass Grommets and Rod | Project Palermo

There was a lot of hemming and hawing and hand-wringing regarding this shower curtain rod.  Those were dark days.

Brass Shower Curtain Rod and Hanging Plants | Project Palermo

Speaking of dark: people have asked if the wall color makes the bathroom feel darker or smaller. Yes, a bit darker; no, not smaller.  It is small, but the color and the length of the shower curtain now make it feel grander, for lack of a better word. Also, those wall tiles now look lighter: virtually white, instead of the odd-off-white color they really are.  I didn’t anticipate this optical illusion – it’s the best unforeseen perk of the makeover.

Rental Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

Long-time readers of this blog might remember that I redecorated this bathroom shortly after we moved in.  In fact, it was featured on WordPress Freshly Pressed and remains my busiest blog traffic day.  I was pretty proud of it back then but think this recent go-round makes the most of the space.

Bathroom Before
Bathroom 2011

Bathroom | Project Palermo

Check out my original bathroom makeover post for details about moving and covering the medicine cabinet.

One more round of comparison photos, for fun:

Bathroom Before

Bathroom 2011

Rental Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

That’s it! I’ll return with a couple of posts about bathroom plants and antique hardware.

Plant Baskets & Jewelry Storage

A reader asked about the basket that holds our bedroom plant:

Plant Basket

It’s from Jo-Ann (which I always want to spell “Joanne’s”). The baskets come in three sizes and they’re really good quality: tightly woven with metal ribbing and plastic lining. They range from $39 to $89 at full price, but who pays full price at Jo-Ann? Only fools!

Jo-Ann Plant Baskets

I’m also happy with these stacking jewelry trays from The Container Store:

Container Store Jewelry Trays

The jewelry box I’ve used for years was much bigger than I needed and it took up valuable dresser top space. I reorganized my collection while catching up on Nashville, shouting “DO IT!” at Rayna and Deacon.

Jewelry Box

And now you know where all my precious jewels are located.

Container Store Jewelry Trays

Lighted Leaning Bookcases

My wariness of decorative items — as mentioned in my last post — extends to books, which might be an unusual stance for someone with a master’s degree in Library & Information Science.  But, having worked in three libraries, an illuminated manuscripts gallery and a rare books shop, I agree with the first law of library science (though I’m not sure it’s enforceable in any jurisdiction): Books are for use.  Sure, they’re pretty, but without use, there is little inherit value.  I got all preachy about this before our last move and streamlined our collection, trying to keep only the books that we love, would want to read or reference again, or would want to be able to loan to someone else.  Maybe I’ll hoard books in the future when we’re homeowners, but as frequently-moving renters, a smaller library makes sense.  Books are heavy, man.

Here’s what the bookcases looked like the last time you saw them:

IMG_0578

And here’s what the bookcases look like these days:

Styled Leaning Bookcase

I swapped out some houseplants, got a new stereo and moved the booze to a bar stand.  I tried to style it up a bit, which isn’t my strong suit, but I’m really happy with the current look.

Bookshelf Styling and Storage

Sloane Leaning Bookcase – Crate & Barrel
HEKTAR – IKEA
Big Jambox – Jawbone
Rugby Stripe Bin – The Container Store
It seems like the EcoLogic Pots may no longer be manufactured, which is too bad because they’re awesome looking. I have them scattered throughout our apartment.  Chicagoans can find them at Gethsemane; they’re pretty expensive on Amazon.

Leaning Bookcase Cat

We’ve had these bookshelves for five years and they’ve held up really well.  They’re available only in brown now; some similar white options are:

Bookshelves Storage

The striped bin is perfect for hiding ugly board games and whatever else we want to toss in there, and the HEKTAR spotlights cast a really nice light in the evenings.

Lighted Leaning Bookshelves

The Big Jambox was a splurge and well worth it.  It’s plenty loud for our apartment and it connects wirelessly via Bluetooth with my iPhone and iMac and Jarrod’s iPad mini.  It has a super long battery life, so we can move it to the kitchen or backyard for hours without a power cord.

Styled Leaning Bookshelves

See that electrical outlet on the floor to the right of the bookcase?  That is some crazy stupid luck.  I don’t know why it was placed there originally, but the location couldn’t be more ideal for this arrangement.  All of the cords are hidden neatly behind the bookshelf.

Leaning Bookshelves

Read any good books lately?  Or read Emily Henderson’s blog and been driven crazy by the fact she doesn’t spell “cord” correctly?

Cat Concessions: Plants and Upholstery

Lola is a bit of a pig when it comes to my houseplants, treating them as an all-you-can-eat salad bar.  Adding plants to my hoard collection is a trial-and-error process: some plants he simply isn’t interested in, others he gorges on until he pukes.  Those are either relocated to my office (which is like a rescue sanctuary for half-eaten plants) or moved out of his reach.  What is officially “out of his reach” is also a trial-and-error process.

Cat Eaten Plant

I wasn’t even sure how he had managed to reach this one until I caught him in the act, wedged up behind and on top of the books below.

Cat Salad Bar

Whatta jerk.

Bad Cat

I decided to mount a plant container on the wall, fully out of fatso’s maw. Enter the IKEA FINTORP rail and container.

IKEA FINTORP Rail

IKEA FINTORP Rail with Plant

I also love these modern hanging planters, which I picked up a few years ago at Sprout Home here in Chicago.

Hanging Planters

That’s a somona (euphorbia milii) on the left and a goldfish (nematanthus) on the right.

Hanging Planters

Another decorating concession we have to make because of the cats and their never-ending shedding is our upholstered furniture.  This used to be our solution for our armchairs:

Living Room Chairs with CoversUgh, winter.

I had yards of this fabric leftover from getting the cushions reupholstered, so I asked my tailor to sew two long pieces of fabric. I know that sewing in a straight line should be within my skill set, but, well, it’s not.  (When explaining what I wanted I called them “table runners” because because it was a lot easier than “See, we have these chairs that I want to look like normal chairs while protecting them from cat fur, so I’m going to wrap fabric around them and I want it to look tailored and not sloppy.”  Actually, that sounds pretty simple now, but there’s a language barrier. “Table runner” was easier.)

Living Room Chair with Cover

Living Room Windows

I can easily wash and iron the slipcovers, and when guests come over we can whip off and stash the slipcovers and have a cat-hair-free place for people to sit.

Armchair

Have a good weekend, e’erbody.

Chair Slipcover