December 19, 2018:


I can't believe we're less than a week away from Christmas and I haven't yet really decorated the kitchen and dinette! I've got the small cardinal tree up on the peninsula counter and my Christmas cards are shaped in the form of a Christmas tree and taped to a wall by the dining table; I put up my colorful teal floral curtains with lots of gold and red, my cardinal prints and added a red tablecloth to the dining table, but that's it! Enough, I suppose.

The tree is done! It seemed to take forever this year to decorate but I am loving the result. It looks like the kind of mish-mash everything on it but the kitchen sink kind of tree I remember from my childhood. The only thing missing is the bubble lights, but I'm too frugal to buy them!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that the dreaded Polar Vortex stays away!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Bathroom Blues, Part 2

Hola darlings!

Prior post.  Seriously - help me come up with a design for my main floor bath/powder room.

First prize is a Visa gift card of $50, runner-up design plan will receive a $25 Visa gift card.

My downstairs bath:

Yes, you've got your work cut out for you...

The Design Competition

This is not a paid sponsorship.  The gift cards will be purchased personally by me and mailed to the persons who produce the winning and runner-up designs.  If you want to check out my bona fides, please take a look at to read about the tournament prizes I have funded (as "Goddesschess") for primarily female chessplayers over the years. I have $$$$ that I devote to providing funding for female chessplayers rather than to decorating Maison Newton.  I won't stiff you!  I can provide references.

The competition requires that you put together a plan that includes the following:

1.  New wall color/treatment, including possibly doing one or more walls in wallpaper
2.  New flooring that I can put down myself with minimum cutting and no mastic (self-stick flooring)
3.  New light fixture for above the sink
4.  New faucet for the sink
5.  Mirror treatment  to jazz up existing builder's grade mirror or new mirror


1.  Budget is $350 for materials only.  I will do prep, painting, papering (if part of the plan) and flooring install.  I can take down the old mirror and hang a new mirror, but I can't do any drilling.  I will hire out install for new faucet and light fixture.  If the new mirror requires something more than drywall anchors (that I can screw in) or using the existing mirror clips, I will have to hire that out too and an estimate as to install cost should be included in your budget. 
2.  Brand name, color, amount/size, general product info and cost to be included in plan, website link to specific item(s) if possible so I can order online. 
3.  The competition will begin as soon as I have fifteen (15) entrants (email me to register, providing your name, contact email and website/blogsite). No more than 15 entrants allowed.
4.  Once I have 15 entrants I will post your names and blogs/websites, as well as the start date, at this blog and also email each entrant the start date.
5.  At the end of fourteen (14) days, you must email me to let me know where your design plan is posted so I can visit your design. You can post it at your blog or website, or Pinterest.  Links to and images from all design entries will be posted at this blog, with proper credit. 
6.  I will announce my first and runner-up choices within five (5) days of close of the competition at this blog and also notify first and runner-up by email, at which time we can finalize arrangements for delivery of your gift cards.


I want a neutral bathroom.  This room is opposite the staircase to upstairs, in the short hall between my front room and the back of the house consisting of kitchen/dining space/family room, all open to one another.  This bath is smallish. I would like some je ne sais quoisColor preferences for walls are greys, taupes, whites.  Flooring - something that will "go" with the new look and interim/long-term goals and with the dominion cherry cabinet (not being replaced).

Here are my interim and long-term goals for totally revamping the space:

Interim Goals:
  • Replace shiny brass towel holders to coordinate with finish on light fixture and/or faucet
  • Replace shiny brass doorknob/lockset, if needed, to coordinate
  • Replace brass hook on back of door, if needed, to coordinate
  • Replace heating vent (it's rusted and pretty gross looking after 24 years)
  • Install glass pivot shower door with coordinating trim
Long-Term Goals:
  • Install new beefed up baseboards
  • New countertop
  • Install water-efficient toilet
  • Upgrade exhaust fan
  • New shower stall
The Interim and Long-Term Goal projects will  be spaced out over this year and next.  This competition is designed to give my space a quick, much needed design boost to get me motivated to get the rest of it finished!

My Tastes and My Decorating Style

Traditional, with some eclectic elements.  I am drawn to plainer (not extravagant chinoiserie style) Chinese ("Oriental"), Queen Anne and the plainer versions of Chippendale furniture, campaign style furniture, and prefer darker wood tones over light.  I love burl wood and tortoise-shell effect. My personal preferences lean away from shabby chic, cottage, cozy country.  I like elements of "Downton Abbey" and somewhat less formal English country manor house style, but in a scale suitable to the size of Maison Newton (1,550 square feet per tax assessor).  I like gold and shiny gold brass doesn't bother me, but after nearly 24 years here with the same fixtures I'm tired of it all!  Lately I've taken a turn to admiring silver and silvery metallic looks (chrome). My upstairs bath, which I've been "redoing" since 2009, has an oiled bronze light fixture, shower curtain rod and floor stand towel holder; also chrome faucets, and I still have the old shiny brass towel holders on the walls and a round shiny brass door knob/lockset. 

My Skills Set

Practically non-existent.  I have basic (very basic) household tools.  I am not equipped to power saw, drill or cut anything that cannot be done with an Exacto or utility knife and straight edge.  I don't have a power stapler or power nailer.  I don't even have a pry bar thingy to pry off the quarter-round moldings around the floor in the bath/powder room (hope I don't crack them when I try to remove them).  That's on my purchase list!

Bath Floor Plan and Dimensions

Not the best diagram, but the measurements are fairly accurate. See - I can't even draw a straight line!

So, please help me out! About the bath diagram above, my "C" looks like a "U" - sorry about that.  I didn't manage to get all of my capital letters going in the same direction.  See - hopeless!

I am sharing this at:
Marty's A Stroll Through Life 201st Inspire Me Tuesday.
Brenda's Cozy Little House Tweak It Tuesday #75


  1. Oh boy, I know what you mean, I just redid my hall bathroom. I think a similar design would look smashing in this area. Take a look at mine here.
    Remove the wallpaper, a fresh coat of paint, a new mirror and smashing accessories. I would spend most of my money on the accessories since they will steal the show anyway. Hope you get some inspiration from mine. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  2. Hi Marty,

    I visited your bath redo (thank you so much for the link) and was inspired by what a difference a relatively few changes can make in the look of a space. My space, alas, needs more help. Right now my head is spinning. I've been looking and looking -- at flooring choices, at mirrors, pricing out pivot glass doors for shower stalls, lighting fixtures. Even wallpaper. But not paint. That thoroughly has me cowed. There are just too many choices and I cannot wrap my brain around anything. Just when I think I've found something that is modestly priced and will do beautifully, I come across something else, and then something else, and then... I cannot bring a plan together when the darn "plan" keeps changing, LOL! That's why I reached out to fellow bloggers for their help. So far, there are no entrants in the competition that will give me my "dream" budget bath redo. I will keep hoping for a miracle! This is just too exhausting to do on my own. I'm tired when I get home from work at night and, frankly, the thought of spending what few "free" hours I have each night hunting for light fixtures, etc., is just not appealing. The weekends are filled with rushing about trying to cram everything in that I'm not able to get done during the week. And lately it's been exascerbated because when I'm not in a co-worker's car being taken to or from the office, I am housebound by this absolutely AWFUL way below normal temperatures weather and I'm crawling up the walls ready to go out and shoot -- a rock! Most everyone who lives in Wisconsin knows what 'cabin fever' is about, but this is just ridiculous! I suppose if I had more of an inclination to mush my way through the drudgery of coming up with some choices, eventually I would arrive at a plan and more or less stick with it, especially once money is spent buying things. But honestly, right now, all I want to do is throw up my hands and give up. The room will remain icky olive green sponge painted with wallpaper borders! Ugh!

  3. Hi Jan,

    Boy do I know about cabin fever. I lived in Montana for five years and there were days I would pray for temps of 0 or even -10. Do you have any pictures of bathrooms you're inspired by? Have you checked this out? or this

    If you'd like me to do a design for you I'd have to know some things like colors you like, how much time and effort you are willing to put into a project and what your budget is.