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cosmetic changes

the other day i got tired of having the giant costco package of toilet paper on the floor in the bathroom. before i say anything further (you probably think i just dumped that econopack in the middle of the room), a short description of my bathroom is in order.

as you enter the room, the door swings to your right, where it hits the toilet. immediately to your left is the shower. straight ahead of you is a counter (cabinets beneath) that spans the length of the room. that's not saying much. there is one small sink. the tile counter is a bumpy gold and white mess. the same tile covers the tub surround.

when we moved in, the bathroom was a dark wine color with dark wood cabinetry. (it looked like a bordello, we joked, although in retrospect it was more like a bad italian restaurant.) minimal lighting. lots of mirrors. lots of towel racks and towel rings. white jacquard mini-blinds. it steamed up easily and water left dark streaks on the wine paint that i couldn't scrub off. because a remodel wasn't really necessary nor affordable at that time, we launched an all-out redecorating war. i replaced the mini-blinds with my favorite window-film in some ridiculous pseudo-monet. paid for installation of a solatube. took down almost all of the rings and rods (including a door-mounted rod that was hung so low that any towels on it rubbed the toilet every time you opened the door). since we liked the idea of a door-mounted rod, though, we bought a double rod that we put up nice and high. cam painted the walls two shades of green (light above, dark below). and oddly enough, it even made the awful sheet vinyl look okay. i painted the cabinet frames the same dark green as the walls, then painted the drawers and cab doors white. replaced the hardware with inexpensive silvery hinges from lowes and equally inexpensive silvery knobs off ebay. got rid of a strange heavily mirrored cabinet. replaced the giant mirror over the sink (hideously enough, behind it was a dirty alcove for a recessed medicine cabinet) with a smaller one with a silvered frame. i printed out illustrations from a book and framed them. cam put up a new light (a clearanced thing from pottery barn) and a wall-mounted soap dispenser. i found an amusing little shelf from some home improvement catalog that i installed in the under-sink cab -- when you opened the left-hand cabinet door, out came the shelf with our little trash can perched atop it. the best thing about the bathroom was the curved shower rod. suddenly the curtains (a martha stewart everyday one, of course, and a liner) stayed put instead of blowing into you while you showered.

the bathroom looked great, but there was one problem. whoever designed the room -- or whoever put in the tub -- was a complete idiot. the tub surround goes to the ceiling, so there's this little wall at the foot of the tub. the drawers and cabinet doors on that side of the room do not open fully because they slam into that little wall. it's the dumbest thing ever. knowing those cabinets weren't fully functional and that we'd never really use them, i blocked them off with a tall hamper. somehow, the toilet paper ended back behind the hamper (you knew i'd get back to that, right?).

at one time we drew up plans for a remodel that cheerfully eradicated that terrible bathroom design, but we ended up leaving things as they were. (partially because we had a negative experience with a plumber, truth be told.) it's not a bad bathroom, just a stupid one.

for a long time, i would pull the hamper out and contort myself into strange positions to get to the stuff stored back there (usually extras from costco runs -- toothpaste, contact lens solution, cetaphil, cotton swabs). a few months back i cleared that section out because there actually was room on the other side (you know, the side we could easily access).

cam and i discussed where to put the toilet paper. since we had recently elfa-ized our back room, we talked about putting up standards and wire shelves. i thought about it from time to time, but ultimately decided to go with target specials. bought two things that look kind of like this (bigger, though) and stacked them. (i already had one in paul's closet, so i knew it would fit the space.) i put the hamper in the bottom, then spaced the shelves to fit some of our extra toiletries. toilet paper went on the very top. success!

it's not ideal (i get clonked on the head sometimes trying to get stuff out of the hamper), but it's easy to change if i get tired of it. those shelves could easily find homes in other parts of my house. if i need to move it, i don't have holes in my walls. i didn't need to have a wall rail or shelves cut to fit. it's cute. it's storage. most importantly, the toilet paper now has a home. it's so thrilling.

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