Oh my goodness, I am so excited to share this latest phase of Project Playroom with you! It has, by far, been one of the cutest endeavors I have taken on in our new house, and I love cute. Kid spaces can be so much fun to decorate, and this project has delighted me every step of the way. And while I am never afraid to venture beyond my realm of craft-knowledge, trying things for the first time (not always successfully, I might add), I went way out and beyond this time around…the fact that everything came together in the end makes me so very proud!
Let me start by saying that when I first began updating a mother-in-law suite into our children’s playroom and my craft room, I honestly had no idea the creativity would seep into the adjoining bathroom (if you’re reading this for the first time, you can see my creative hot mess of a summer unfold in Project Playroom: Part 1 and Project Playroom: Part 2 ). Once the project took off, however, I was having way too much fun to limit it to just one space.
Before we begin our transformation, let me give you an idea of what we started with. It was a simple bathroom–typical tub, toilet, and sink–painted in boring beige. It had absolutely no inspiring quality to it. I wouldn’t even hang a shower curtain when we first moved in, because I didn’t want to waste the money on this room until I knew what I was going to do (hence the tub full of porch cushions):
Boring, right? But not for long. And the best thing about it, is that I made everything you see!
Ideas in the Making
I will tell you that I did not have this whole idea in my head from the beginning. Far from it. It came to me, piece by piece, a little at a time.
When I am not working on projects in our home, I am thinking about them, and with this bathroom, it was no different. Since one of my favorite things to do on Saturday morning is curl up in a recliner and browse Pinterest for great ideas, it is easy to say that a few things had caught my eye long before I actually ever set out to work on the bathroom. I had come across Thrifty Decor Chick’s Powder Room Redo a few years prior, and fell in love with Sarah’s planked walls. I loved the unusual height of them, I loved how she framed around the planks on each wall; I just thought it was such a clean, crisp look! I knew I wanted to do something similar in the playroom bathroom.
And since I had already tackled an entire wall in our office, I felt like a small bathroom would be easy peazy (I have yet to post on my office redo in detail, but you can read a little more about it here Happy House: A Year in Progress).
I decided to go with utility board again. It’s lightweight, it’s super cheap (you can get an entire 4×8 board for $13), and Lowes will cut it for you! While I used a wider cut for the office above (5.75 ft width), I went smaller for the bathroom, and had Lowes cut the board into 3.25 ft panels.
One of the biggest challenges I came across when paneling the office, especially paneling an alcove, is that I had to measure each and every panel (you would not believe how greatly the width of the wall could fluctuate from floor to ceiling)! One of the things I loved about Sarah’s powder room on Thrifty Decor Chick, is that she framed around her paneling. I knew it was going to make for way easier cutting because I could cut multiple pieces at a time. If there were discrepancies (and there were), it would be easier to cover with the frame and some wood glue (it was).
Hubs helped me remove the baseboard, while I got rid of the light switch covers, and all of the cheap, ugly towel bars!
I then started by nailing the upper piece (1 x 4) of the frame on each wall, making sure they were all level with one another.
Fat Max came out for this next wall! Love him…he’s so helpful!
I added the sides to the frame next. Then I marked the stud on each wall, grabbed Hub’s handy-dandy nail gun, and got to work putting up panels. You can use a nickel to space each panel, but I will tell you for this particular project, I simply eye’d it. A bit of a gamble, I know, but I didn’t have time for nickels…I was on a roll.
These went up incredibly fast! I’m telling you, the office gave me plenty of practice.
I used my oscillating tool to cut out the opening for the light switch and outlet. If you do not have one, I highly recommend picking one up. They are super easy to use, and you’ll use it way more than you anticipated! I picked mine up at Harbor Freight for less than $40.
I finished these two walls, then moved on to the wall behind the vanity and toilet. When we removed the baseboard behind the toilet, we realized that there was some drywall damage in one corner due to a minor leak somewhere. All progress went on halt until Hubs could figure out where the leak was coming from….grrrr. So close.
Taking on a Nautical Feel
What seems unfortunate at the time actually ended up being quite fortunate. The leak was found (behind the mirror of all places; a previous owner, or maybe even the builders, had tried to find the stud when putting up the mirror, and drilled a tiny hole into a pipe instead), but by the time it was found and repaired, my in-laws had temporarily moved into our playroom, and thus, my bathroom progress was still halted. No worries. Time is an amazing thing when it comes to creativity; many wonderful things can enter one’s mind if given the time.
When I posted pictures of my bathroom progress on Facebook shortly before it had come to a halt, a few people had asked me if I was doing a nautical theme in the boys’ bathroom. Honestly, it hadn’t even entered my mind. But looking at the above photos, I could totally see it had a boat cabin feel to it.
And that, my friends, got my creative gears spinning.
Two Different Ideas
Two different ideas started swimming around in my brain (and I love how they come together in the end).
The first idea was this: I could go all nautical with this bathroom.
Over the years, I have pinned many precious art-prints with children’s rooms in mind (check out my board Kid Space: Prints and Art), and my mind immediately went back to these two prints. This first is by Lucy Campbell. I simply adore it. The boys in her print remind me of my own two sweet boys. The other print is this wonderfully whimsical ship by Alexander Jannson. It’s all Tim Burton meets Dr. Seuss in this misty, magical world. It so sparks the imagination! I wondered if I could create a gallery wall of various kids-boats-and-ships themed art.
The second idea was a little different, and it started much earlier.
We moved to a street with Gator in the name. Now, you have to understand that I was born and raised a Florida State Seminole; in fact, my father had my sister and I doing the Seminole war chant before we could talk. So it was a little amusing that we should end up on a street with the name Gator (lots of harassing from family members at Christmas time). But it was also endearing; I love that Florida is still close to my heart even though I’ll probably never leave beautiful Charleston. There was this little, tiny part of me that thought incorporating a gator into my children’s playroom would somehow, some way, be cute. The problem? I was in no way interested in doing any sort of marsh, jungle, or rain forest theme. And that’s typically the only place you really see cutsy alligators come into kid decor.
Enter the idea of Peter Pan, and Captain Hook, and Pirates, and Lost Boys. And a Croc with a ticking clock.
Now, yes, it didn’t escape me that alligators and crocodiles are two different animals! But I didn’t care about the scientific aspect of it. It was too cute to ignore.
Given time, and I was between our little leak and my in-laws living with us, those two different ideas began to magically blend together. I didn’t have to choose one or the other. This merging of ideas was the beginning of my Pirate-Inspired Boy Bathroom.
Second Star to the Right and Straight on ‘Til Morning…
a.k.a. How I Got From This To That
Glorious summer had begun by the time my in-laws moved into their new home, and progress on the bathroom recommenced. I have a lot of freedom during the summer anyway, being a teacher, and this past summer, I strategically scheduled my kiddos in camps about every other week in between our travels. This worked out wonderfully! I got a week to do what I wanted, then a week to spend time with my two little monkeys, then a week to myself again, and usually a family trip.
Not only that, but every morning is like a Saturday morning during summer, so there was a lot of snuggling up in my recliner, browsing Pinterest. Talk about inspiration overload…it immediately put me in project-mode (this is where I start taking on multiple projects at once, thus taking my husband over the edge).
Here is what I knew I wanted to do:
- Paint the paneling
- Choose a color for the wall
- Stencil something above the tub
- Frame some cute art
- Buy a cute shower curtain
It was such a cute, little list.
Here’s what actually happened.
- White-wash paneling
- Realize you don’t like white-wash. Paint paneling solid white.
- Stencil above the tub. Redo because you don’t like the color paint you used.
- Stencil above tub. Redo (again) because you can’t center words to save your life. Remind yourself never to stencil again.
- Look online for shower curtains. Find nothing.
- Decide you are going to make your own pirate shower curtain. It can’t be that hard.
- Hand-applique a shower curtain. You’ve NEVER applique’d anything before in your life, Kelly.
- See boat mobile on Pinterest. Decide to make your own. It can’t be that hard. You haven’t paper-mache’d since the 7th grade, Kelly.
- Make some clothespin pirates for your mobile.
- Then make some clothespin pirates for your boys because they want some too, and you’re not sharing your precious crafts. Stingy Mommy.
- Build a nautical shelf.
Oh my goodness, it was a whirlwind of a project. And I loved every crazy second of it!
I looked. I really did.
But I found nothing that met my sense of whimsy or the color scheme I was going for (everything pirate is black and red). So I decided to make my own. I purchased a white shower curtain with black stitching from Target, and started gathering leftover fabrics from previous projects. This was a very time-consuming project, partly because I had no idea what I was doing, and partly because I started off using the wrong kind of thread. But we traveled more than we expected to this past summer, so each time we hopped in the car for a trip, I’d bring it along with me and stitch. I will say, it did make the car ride fly by, and kept me relatively calm.
This project went way beyond my current craft-talent, so I was very, very proud when it was done. I will post more about the actual process soon.
I had already stenciled in the kids’ playroom, so you’d think that would have turned me off the whole process in itself, but I knew I wanted to have the following quote Even Pirates Wash Their Booty in the bathroom (my little one thinks that this is hysterical).
This part of the project was a BIG pain in my BOOTY.
First off, I had this brilliant idea to stencil in white and brown acrylic paint, and sort of dry-swipe the paint across the letters, making a beachy brown sand look. Yeah. It did NOT turn out the way I had imagined. Had the stenciling been on a closer wall, or even a stenciled-canvas, I think it would have looked all right, but from far away, it simply looked like I didn’t know how to stencil. So I had to wait for it all to dry, sand down the raised paint, and repaint the wall (wall color is a very light taupe-gray by Valspar called Bay Sands). Then I had to start stenciling again.
The second time, I didn’t center my words correctly. Agh! Talk about wanting to pull my hair out; hadn’t I just learned my lesson with the playroom? I had to wait for the paint to dry again. Sand the wall again. Then repaint and stencil…again. This time I used Valspar’s Smoke Infusion (my go-to color) against the Bay Sands. It’s very pretty and very subtle.
Third time’s a charm. But I still hate painting.
That’s a shadow from the Boat Mobile you are seeing just before the word Even, by the way–not a cobweb or mess up.
Peter Pan Inspired Mobile
Okay, so during all of this pirate-nautical-craft-mania, I was doing a lot of searches on Pinterest, and one thing that kept coming up were these gorgeous boat mobiles. It took me a little while to figure this out, but they are all by the same woman. Her name is Ann Wood, and her boats are stunningly beautiful!!!! I mean, seriously, if you have not checked them out, you should. She is so talented; a true artist. I fell in love immediately. She sells her patterns online, you can purchase them here.
I did not buy them.
There are several reason behind this:
- I can be cheap…especially if I think I can figure something out on my own.
- I love a good challenge. I kind of wanted to see if I could do it.
- I am super impatient. I honestly wanted to get started on the project as soon as I had made the decision to make one.
I hope Ann Wood can forgive my chintzy, impatient ways, because she truly was my first inspiration in this project.
*You will notice that I used a vintage Peter Pan book to create this mobile. Not to worry…no pages of the book were harmed in the making of this project. I actually photocopied all of the pages and illustrations I wanted to use prior. I cannot tear up books (must be the teacher in me or something).
I love how well this turned out! You can read more about how I made this boat in my post DIY Peter Pan Inspired Mobile.
At some point in my ventures on Pinterest, I came across these really cute clothespin people this woman had made for her daughters. At the time, I considered making some toy clothespin guys for my boys, but I didn’t have the supplies, and then the project sort of got away from me, and well, it never happened.
Then when I was working on all of these various bathroom projects, the boat in particular, I considered somehow putting pirates on it, but I wanted something simple and…well….cute. That project popped back in my head, and I thought, Oh my goodness, I can make clothespin pirates! I searched for the blog from long ago and found it. You can check out her sweet, little clothespin dolls by clicking on the following link: This Heart of Mine.
The project seemed easy enough, so I headed out to my local JoAnn Craft Store and Michaels, picked up a bag of clothespins and embroidery floss of various colors, and got started.
I used left-over shower curtain scraps for their bandanas.
I used a tiny washer as pirate earring for one pirate. Isn’t he cute?
These two are my favorite. They represent my two sweet boys!
My boys were at camp the day I made these, and of course, as soon as they got home, they immediately wanted to play with them! I ended up having to make several more, and then they made a few more themselves (they used markers for their clothing–neither had the patience to wrap), and there were little pirates all over the place for days. I just love how kids will just naturally gravitate towards any type of toy…even simple ones.
Nautical Shelf and a Little Pixie Dust
I knew I was going to have either a basket or some sort of shelving above the toilet, and came across the following pin. I immediately decided I was going to make something similar for the boys’ bathroom. Even better was that Hubby already had two boat cleats I could use!
This was very easy! I already had scrap wood I could use. I painted it using Valspar’s Skyline Shadow, which is a little darker and a little more gray than the wall color Bay Sands. The rope, I purchased from Lowes. It was a little stiff to work with, but provided the look I was going for. I used a spade bit to create the four holes. Then I cut two equal lengths of rope. I knotted one end of the rope, slid it up through the back left hole, looped it over the boat cleat, made a figure 8 (for looks only) and pulled it down through the front left hole. I tied it off loosely, while I repeated the steps for the right side. Then I played a little game called Let’s Get it Level. That involved me knotting and re-knotting a few times until the shelf was even on either side.
When I was originally seeking out nautical-beachy decor ideas on Pinterest, I sort of contemplated making a message in a bottle, or even a treasure map in a bottle, to use as decor on the shelf, but then brushed the idea off because I wanted something a little more useful.
Then when I started incorporating Peter Pan into the theme, the idea for the bottle came back, but I thought it would be really neat to add bath salts and make a label calling the salts Pixie Dust. I wanted to use a blue glass bottle originally, but had a hard time finding one online. Either it wasn’t the right shade of blue, or it was too big, or it was too expensive.
Then walking through Marshalls one summer day, I came across this one. It was the perfect size, and the perfect price $3.99! Sold!!!
I made my little Pixie Dust Tag using a wood star, some fabric scraps left over from the shower curtain, and twine.
I played around with a few fun fonts until I found one I loved (I go to DaFont.com anytime I want a new font).
I used an extra thin Sharpie to trace the letters.
Then I glued it on to the star.
I used a skewer to poke a hole through the fabric.
I added a little painters tape to the end of my twine and guided it through.
Perfect little tag!
Turned out so cute, didn’t it?
I am still amazed at how this bathroom came together. All it needed was a few final touches. I didn’t do a full-on gallery wall like I had first imagined, but I did add a few cute prints, including the two that inspired me from the beginning, as well as two hooks for towels (I have found my children are more likely to hang up their towels if a hook is provided rather than struggle with a towel bar).
One thing I have wanted to do for all of the bathrooms in our house is upgrade the light fixtures, and this bathroom was no exception. But I’m also very particular, and refuse to buy something just because I currently hate what I have. I feel it is more important to wait until I love what I find!
Well, luck just seemed to be on my side with this project, because I happened to see the following light fixture by Allan + Ross at Lowes, and thought how beautiful it would look in the Playroom Bathroom. It had a nautical-lighthouse-glassy feel to it that I loved! I hinted about it to the Hubs for a few weeks, and then one day while we were at Lowes, he said, “Go ahead and grab that light fixture you’ve been wanting.” Happy squeals! Best Husband Ever!
Isn’t it pretty?
It really was the icing on the cake. I felt like the room was complete!
Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!