Sometimes God does not hand cash out but blesses financially nevertheless! Not having to get medicine or specific foods to make our bodies function properly, not getting run over, a friend sending some food, an unexpected discount or gift. The list goes on endlessly. The blessing I want to thank God for is enabling me to complete a project at a fraction of what it would have cost had He not providentially put in my path those Hansel and Gretel leads.
I love beauty in the heart, people, nature, music, and interiors, among others. Being a true Cebuana at heart, I want to have the best while spending the least. While I was on a mission to decorate, I would ask God for the littlest thing, “Sana Lord merong ganito (Lord, I wish there were this)...” and truly, He was faithful.
Here’s the Powder Room before:
Since Joi Cutter, my designer for my shop, did a great job executing what I wanted there, my husband suggested that I ask her to help me with this project. I gladly did. Joi knows I like the French aesthetic so for days we were on Think French Provincial mode.
Joi and I looked at pegs and agreed that since I love the combination of black, white, and pink, we would make the color scheme thus.
Her friend, Sandy Baker, came back to Manila and was conducting an estate sale. Joi thought I should see what copper things were being sold. I chose a planter. On our way out, there was an open door that revealed a dining room where a copper chandelier was hanging.Copper!!! Joi and I were sure we could use it somewhere. But that wasn’t on the sale list. The family was using it to light their breakfast table! Sandy said she would check and true enough, a few days later, they decided to sell it and at a LOVEly price!
I went to a shop for previously-loved-furniture and found a black distressed console. I like its hardware, the sculpting waves of the front, the carving of the Queen Anne legs; the distressed finish give it a nice lived-in character. It looks ready to use with a good general -cleaning inside and out.
I found an inexpensive resin mirror with imperfections (bleeding and ageing on the mirror, chip on the frame side, and a too-gold finish). Imperfections are perfect! They are cause for better prices.
Many years ago when I went on a restaurant tour in Paris, my guide, Barbara Pasquet pointed out to me that for mirrors, vintage patina is the rage. Mirror suppliers can produce that out of a regular mirror though the process can be pricey. But because this mirror will be intended specifically to get a good reflection in the powder room and we don’t want guests mistaking facial excretions for vintage patina, I will need to change this to a new one. Will let Joi handle the refinish. She’s a whiz at those things.
Then I thought above the water closet, since the ceiling is high, it would be nice to put a shelf that would fit within that wall width to bridge the space. God led me to this shelf which I didn’t know was a designer furniture item with its original burnished brand behind. I just can’t remember the name now. Of course it was at a giveaway price. Thank You! It was originally in a cherry finish but I had it black-washed to give it a distressed look so it could blend in with the black and white theme while still allowing the intricate carving to be visible (thus, not painted all black). This is the work-in-progress visual [still a bit ragged on the top]:While Joi went to the US, I was at the hardware store with Malu Ortiz when I saw this tile. She loved it, too! Fortunately, the floor area was small and it required, I think, just seven of these tiles. These are not top of the line. But I think it doesn’t have to be the highest priced to be beautiful.
By the time Joi came back, the flooring was done! We agreed on black and white stripes for the wall but it took a while to commonly agree on the width since I wanted 10″ and she wanted wider. In Singapore, I stood next to the Sephora wall measuring how wide the stripes are. Twelve inches. Or was it twenty? I finally gave in to her. She had her painters do the wall stripes with a nice decal in between while I found safety grab bars for senior citizen guests (When we honor and delight senior citizens, God is pleased) :
I asked my staff to tie pink ribbons on the hand towels to cut some femininity into the authoritative black and white. The wall art I chose were either powder room or perfume themed to keep the clutter orderly (!) and cohesive.
Joi aged the mirror and suddenly it had more character and suddenly abandoned its perceived value category. It’s distressed, a little more matte, deeper gold. The fancy Chinese gold jewelry look was released.
I replaced the original sink with this petite one to make room for bathroom paraphernalia: soap, lotion, candles, hand towels, three-dimensional perfume to carry the rhythm of the theme on wall art and shelf contents. The faucet I chose was copper in a vintage shape.
I had someone sew the Toile de Jouy liner for the used-towel basket on the floor but if you are so inclined, this could be a fun DIY project you can make. The fabric resonates of the window treatment from the ceiling window which is also black and white Toile de Jouy—not identical but it doesn’t matter. Unity, not uniformity [as for people as well :)].
Joi added back lighting behind the mirror and it adds drama for a relatively inexpensive investment. For the candle bulbs of the chandelier from Sandy Baker’s house, I found sexy shades with inset black and white zebra stripes:For the ceiling mold, for days we had been looking for a small corona for it but didn’t run into one so we looked in the supermarket baking pan section (since I’m a baker) and Joi found a P55 ensaimada mold and arranged hardware-bought ready-made scrolls to frame it (after painting them black with gold highlights). You will hear me say I did this and that but Joi was a big help in filtering what’s in or out. Fortunately, she lets me do a lot of what I want so I feel as though I’m doing it on my own.
The hand towel rack is positioned in such a way that the hanging towel will cover the outlet behind it. You can see the Toile de Jouy window shade in the picture below. And the copper waste bin here below. You will notice Joi cleverly followed the height of the floor marble tile (that’s on the wall next to the floor) for the stripe size to let the visual continuity flow. I tried to strike a balance in the powder room contents between bold, sharp, geometric patterns (wall frames, sink, stripes) visavis lacy scrolls (mirror, white towel tray, toile); The splashes of pink add feminity to the self-assured black. [Oh, I need to move the slim perfume bottle to the top instead so the weight doesn’t look top-heavy :)]The door of the powder room was originally cherry colored. The front of it which faces the kitchen has been made over to match the kitchen theme while the back of the door which faces the powder room here has been painted black to blend in.Shelf contents carry the rhythm of perfume and powder room theme (again, to make the clutter orderly (!) so they don’t give you a headache deciphering what it’s all about. So, when you’re sorting your stuff as to what to put in or not, it’s best to have a unifying theme to tie the pieces together.
There didn’t seem to be a good reason to not center the water closet between the two walls that frame it. But to reposition it along with the corresponding pipes below ground would entail a major renovation which I didn’t want. To throw off the off-centeredness, the little decal and the left handed toilet tissue holder placement hopefully narrows the gap.
I wanted you to appreciate the After Picture a little before letting you know that the vanity table was P9,000, the mirror P3,000, the designer shelf P4,500 🙂 Thank You, Lord!!
The inspiration for the scent/ perfume theme in a space that is regarded as where to put waste is this verse:The verse says that we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ. On our own we have filth and stench but when we put our faith in Christ as Savior and Lord, because of what He has done to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, we are washed by His blood, forgiven, and it is Christ’s righteousness (not our own unrighteousness) that God finds a pleasing aroma of Christ. Even as we continue to be imperfect works in progress, He is in the process of cleansing us of our filth and stench, making us new and fragrant so we will be less like ourselves and emitting more and more the fragrance of Christ.
Every makeover reminds me of how God makes us over every day to be better; that is very encouraging. Thank You Lord for making me better today than I was yesterday and tomorrow, better than I am today.
- Pray before you start. When I was much younger, I would have thought this was corny. But it’s just amazing how God responds even to the little prayers and questions, “Lord is this the one? Would you lead me today? Would you show me where to go? Is this what you want me to do? Lord, is this my patience test? Lord, I wish I could find something that’s perfume-themed in a black, white, and pink color theme that’s feminine but not cheap-girly but chic that is suitable for a bathroom? Lord, a nice shelf less than 52″ wide that’s not so deep but just enough to put cute knick-knacks that would fit a French Provincial theme that I can buy at a bonus price? Lord, can you please help me find my way without making wrong turns so I can get back to work quickly?”
- If you are married, make sure your project has the blessing of your husband. If he wants to get involved, make sure you are asking his opinion about the steps you are going through that he feels consulted as he desires. If he doesn’t like to get involved, be joyful and continue on your project independently implementing everything you like as he desires. Whichever situation you are in, be joyful and it will show in the output.
- Try to surround yourself with a view that makes you happy. If you are sharing the space with your loved ones, take those into consideration as well so that everyone is happy.
- I like to add reminders and milestone praise items around me. For example, the theme verse hopefully reminds me again and again when I enter that space that God is considering me as an aroma of Christ so I should leave my spiritual gunk before I exit that space. Try to visualize what and where you want your reminders to be.
- Assess what resources you already have on hand that you can repurpose for your project (fabric remnants, accessories, old bins or objects that can be repainted, repaired, refigured and given a new lease on life…. very much representative of us that no matter what shape we find ourselves in, we can be cleaned, refreshed, repaired, and given new purpose!).
- Think outside the box. A pail doesn’t have to be only to carry water or if it looks like a planter, it doesn’t only have to be a planter. I used mine as a vavavavoom waste bin.
- Determine your budget. Try to assign what is allotted for each item on your list.
- Determine which items you are willing to get that are previously loved. Because furniture doesn’t really rub your skin day in and out, you don’t really have contact with it, either, I think it’s okay to use previously loved. You can have the item thoroughly checked for any termite infestation or any kind of contamination. Of course, you reject what is not to your standard. For the ones that pass your standard, you can even have it further fumigated, stripped, refinished, reupholstered where applicable with foams and outer padding replaced as well. You are just buying the frame structure. For the black table, mirror, wall shelving unit, some framed wall art, I just had them thoroughly cleaned inside and out. Do a deliverance cleansing of your entire space before using in case they were previously used for demonic activity.
- For previously loved items, check that the refinisher cleans it properly and doesn’t just cover up the dust and dirt with new paint.
- Even if you can afford the highest priced items for your project, you can be a better steward of your resources if you prayerfully seek out good stuff together that would fit. High price is not THE indicator of worthiness or beauty. Just train your eye for beauty and you can spot it even in a flea market.
- Take with you photos and dimension of every space, every wall; width and height, distances you need to know when you’re looking for things to put in those spaces. I had a little pocket sized book that I tabbed into Sections, leaving enough space for canvassing information when you’re deciding between options. During decorating days, the necessary information, paint and fabric swatches where necessary, and all the chicken-scratch notes are a huge help when you’re already far from home base.
- Praise God for His gift of a project that keeps you busy and joyful.
3 Comments Add yours
Wow! You are so thorough and precise! It was such an exciting adventure to decorate with you. Thanks to both of you for your faith and trust in my abilities and sometimes “crazy” ideas. We make a great team! Congratulations….now to the our next project?
Dear Joi, you are a godsend giving joy where you go. You put your heart into your work like it’s your own yet give your client the leeway to have what she likes. I marvel at how you do it, you genius you! Yes we make a great team indeed! Yes excited to head on to the next! But let me recoup first haha!! 🙂