The Upstairs Bathroom

There are plenty of things I could change about this bathroom. But I have no immediate plans to do so.

Making it Lovely's Bathroom with Antique Marble Sink

Design blogs, magazines, and Pinterest make us want our houses to be bigger/better/prettier/newer. Staged and ready at all times for a photo shoot. And as a design blogger, I’ve probably contributed to that. You aren’t seeing the mess behind me when I take detail shots. You aren’t seeing the stack of mail and boxes to be taken out for recycling that are in the next room over. Those things are not pretty, and they are not what page views are made of, and there is pressure (self-induced and otherwise) to move on to the next project. Gotta keep those clicks coming! (Note: I may be dramatizing bit here. Gotta keep those clicks coming!)

So with that in mind, I worked really hard on this reveal. I made sure the flushable toddler wipes were positioned just so next to the froggy potty.

Froggy Potty

I even had the kids create one of their art installations. We’re always surprised by the ever-changing displays they create, and today’s featured a dino in a dump truck. They didn’t even know I’d be photographing it! My darling children are pure artists not motivated by exposure and audience, but by the pleasure of creating. Clearly they are geniuses.

Dino in a Dump Truck

Our towels are blue, because they were blue at the last house. Because we had a blue bathtub. They are still blue because they are towels and they perform their function.

Blue Towels and Brass Sailing Ship Hook

My toothbrush and Brandon’s are in the medicine cabinet, but we leave the kids’ out so they can access them without help. I could have bought beautiful wooden toothbrushes, but don’t Dora and Tigger, and the garish colors add so much to the scene?

Kids' Toothbrushes

Who out there loves keeping way too many bath toys next to the tub? Us too.

Faux-Finished Clawfoot Bathtub

And do you like our lantern? It works half the time! It really draws your eye up too, so you can appreciate the wallpaper border.

Antique Lantern

I’ve complemented the lighting nicely with this very serious night light (by the awesome Matt and Kellee Milner).

Kids' Night Light

And actually, the sconces do work. So does the toilet.

Pull-Chain Antique Toilet

What else, what else? Oh right, we also have a window. We’ve left the embroidered half-curtain hanging.

Embroidered Window Curtains

Someday, I probably will make some updates to this bathroom, because decorating is fun and it’s something that I love to do. It seems silly though, that until the day came when I was ready to tackle the wallpaper or change the tub’s finish, you wouldn’t have heard a word about this room. It is a really nice bathroom and there is nothing wrong with it (well, aside from the wiring in that light). I’m guilty of focusing too often on what’s wrong, what needs to be changed, and what I want to buy, and I don’t want that to be the only narrative. This is how a space that we use everyday in our home looks, and I like it.

91 Responses to “The Upstairs Bathroom”

  1. Nicole L November 21, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Thank you for sharing the realness of your home! We just bought a new house and knowing how I feel pressured to get it all done right away I can’t imagine how much more you must feel it as a blogger.

    Despite knowing that photos are staged, I ALWAYS wonder how some families really live in the homes they do – especially when they’re showing off design perfect decor with little kids running about and promoting the posts as lived-in family homes… I understand tidying a mess, but where are all the potties hiding?!

  2. Megan November 21, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Hi Nicole,
    I appreciate your post and have enjoyed reading your blog regularly for a while now. I’m actually a former Oak Parker and have loved your house since I spotted it on a walk with my now husband way back on our second date. Anyway, I was wondering if you’d comment on what this post was really about? You mentioned that you probably add to the design-blog-industrial complex, and I would argue that any blogger, especially one who does sponsored posts with large companies does. I have no issue with sponsored posts, and I am NOT being critical of you or your blog, since this is how you support your family. This is not a hater comment, just coffee-fueled curiosity. I have been noticing different trends in the various blogs I read, and have been thinking about the ‘behind-the-camera’ aspect of blogging lately. I think Victoria Smith (SF Girl by Bay) posted something about this too, a while ago. Then you posted this but I felt like there was something not said so I wanted to ask.

    Again, not a hater comment, I was just curious.
    Megan

  3. jess November 21, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    This is great. As a designer I feel the pressure to have a perfect house too…but the reality is, I don’t have the time or budget (or desire!) to gut our house. I LIKE some of the imperfections (we call it “character”). It’s a 90 year old house that needs a little love…some of those projects are on a someday list, and some of them are not. We’ve lived there for a year now, and whenever I start stressing over the projects we haven’t completed (or those we haven’t even started), I remind myself that we literally have the rest of our lives to do them. :)

  4. Janine November 21, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Bravo for realness!
    I like it when bloggers take some time to point out that their lives are still real.

    • Marcee ... ILLINOIS November 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

      Certainly …. we all know you just moved into this house. Learning and growing takes time.

      Noted …. floral champagne/green wallpaper …. same color as those green chairs. Maybe a tad lighter. Most likely you will remove.

  5. carrie @ brick city love November 21, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    “They are still blue because they are towels and they perform their function.” < THISSSSSSS. AH-men!

    • Marcee ... ILLINOIS November 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Love that color blue. I will buy them from you Nicole. How much?

  6. sarah November 21, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    this post is AWESOME. i’m not a blogger or designer, but instead an insatiable consumer of blogs. that, paired with a love of renovation & diy, has left me putting way too much pressure on myself to keep my house up to…um…some unseen and imaginary person’s standards? with a 3 and 1 year old it’s impossible to tackle really ANY project that i come up with in my head (repaint and reupholster a chair? HAHAHAHAAAAA). posts like this bring me back down to earth. thank you :)

  7. Nicole James November 21, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    I am in love with this post. I want to marry it and make baby posts with it.

    “They are still blue because they are towels and they perform their function.” YES, thank you!

    “I could have bought beautiful wooden toothbrushes, but don’t Dora and Tigger, and the garish colors add so much to the scene?” Amazing! Thank you again.

    Thank you for keeping it real and being humorous at the same time.

  8. Janis November 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Such a refreshing post!! I think you’ve read my mind… I’m starting to get fed up with all the perfection in blogs and on pinterest. Thank you so much for keeping it real!!! This is why you’ve remained one of my favorite bloggers for years!!

  9. Jaurie November 21, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    I NEVER leave comments, but this inspired me. Thank you and God bless.

  10. Julia at Home on 129 Acres November 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    It seems like some other people have felt the same way I do, but I still have to say awesome post. Thank you for doing this. Somehow, I feel much less inferior about my house now.

  11. Jill Dale November 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    Finally a post that shows that you are not completely managed by your sponsors and their desire that you link link link. I did wonder why you would buy this massive house and then turn around a complain and seem desperate to change most of it. Now you seem real.

    Thank you.

  12. Hilty November 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    I’m so glad you did this post! I love your blog and designs. Forgive me, I’m only sort of self-promoting here but I just started this thing on my blog called ~ Sh*t I Love ~ and I want people to take photos of stuff around their house and send it to me to remind themselves and my other 5 readers that they do currently own things they love. See here: http://www.letsblogitout.blogspot.com/2013/11/sht-i-love-1.html

  13. Judy November 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    I loved this message although I am fascinated by the Pretty-in my home and all the homes featured on line. I love hearing about their favorite colors and how they choose what they do in design. Your boards are genius! And TMI I started following you as a surrogate for grandchildren. Your kids are beyond adorable and I never hear how they are driving you crazy-or maybe they don’t – you seem very calm and reasoned so probably established yourself as “She who must be obeyed” early on. Enjoy your new home and a great family and thanks for sharing.

  14. Kate S. November 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Oh my goodness, thank you for this. My husband and I are starting the process of buying our first house and have a pretty modest budget. As a longtime design blog reader, I’ve gotten sucked into the fantasy of creating a perfect house and have been having a hard time reconciling myself to the fact that we’ll probably have to buy a far from perfect house and live in it for many years before we can do any major improvements. Much as I appreciate having such free access to inspiration via blogs, I have definitely fallen prey to the tendency to get caught up in thinking living spaces need to be (or even that they can be) perfect. It’s refreshing to have this reminder that, fun as decorating may be, often times those less than perfect rooms really suit their purpose just fine (and we all have them!). There’s more to a house than how pretty it is! Thank you :).

  15. Michelle November 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    Thank you times a million for this post! I was just thinking of I subscribing from some home dec/design blogs a few days ago. Seeing everyone else’s wonderful updates and such can make a girl a little less satisfied with her own digs, sometimes!

    My husband and I have owned our first house now for about 6 months. It had everything we wanted in a house… Plus lots of real wormy chestnut wood paneling. The wood was almost a deal breaker for me… But I am SO GLAD I got the location we wanted, the yard I wanted, a basement, enough bedrooms, and plenty of character when I would have sacrificed many of those things to have a newer, more standard house. Well we lit up the fireplace in our wood-walled, wood-ceilinged formal living room a few weeks back… And it was amazing. So cozy, so perfect. Some of the wood may come down eventually, but I love my home with all of its quirks and I am fortunate to be able to have it.

    Thanks again for sharing your home’s imperfections.

  16. Kelly November 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Adorable post. As a Mom, my favorite make me smile moments are when I’m alone picking up the house, kids at school, husband at work and I come across the Dino in a dumptruck, Superheros lined up in a row ready to get blasted by a pirateships cannon and hot wheels in a dragon’s mouth. Too precious to tidy up.

  17. Jennifer Laura November 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Great post Nicole!

  18. debbi in Texas November 21, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Thank you for your honesty and how many of us see all those perfectly staged photos and wonder if someone “really lives there”? Those perfect living rooms can’t really be comfortable? I appreciate “real”. Nicely done.

  19. Jessica November 22, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    High five, lady! Just got home from work and this is just the post I needed. Life just IS, man! The other day I showed someone a picture of my dog on my bed, being adorable. She said, “Wow, you must get a lot of fur on your bed!” What? That’s living. I would rather snuggle my pooch in bed than worry about the fur! We’re all just humans, making our way through life, hopefully enjoying it!

  20. Stephanie November 22, 2013 at 5:39 am #

    I always read, rarely comment. Fabulous post! Your bathroom is beautiful and real. Everyone has fantasies about what they want to do to improve their space, but there’s so much value in enjoying the everyday beauty.

  21. Mary November 22, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    Thanks for sharing real life photos. They are just what I needed to see right now. As a Mom of three, my house is frequently not camera ready, to put it mildly. Your pictures made me smile and take a breath. Now I’m off to tackle my not camera ready kitchen…. Again.
    Mary in NJ

  22. Meagan November 22, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    The whale shark next to the toothbrushes is a common occurrence at our house!

  23. Mina November 22, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Honestly? I totally love it. : ) I think it’s charming and real. The cartoon toothbrushes really bring the whole look together. ; ) I really do love it though. You’re right, it can be intimidating for non-blogger, real people to see these house tours of perfect homes. So, it’s nice when we can see what real life looks like in someone’s space. Refreshing.

  24. Michelle November 22, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    This is Michelle again from a few comments up… I meant I was thinking of “unsubscribing” from home dec blogs! :)

  25. Cristina November 22, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    This is great…I appreciate they realness because it’s true, I can get caught up in the things I don’t like about our house. I moved into my husband’s house, and we are still evolving our style. Much of his furniture are pieces I would never choose, and I’ve struggled trying to create an aesthetic that makes us both happy only to covet the beauty and freshness of rooms I see on my favorite blogs. Thanks for the reminder that beauty is not perfection and for allowing us this glimpse into your children’s space.

  26. Emily November 22, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Thank you for reminding us that everyday life is as beautiful as the staged/edited life.
    Happy Friday!

  27. Tina Slocum November 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    Your bathroom is charming and cosy…I adore it for so many reasons. Enjoy it with the warm wood, vintage bits and wallpaper….a fab room for a bubble bath in the warm glow of yesteryear.

  28. Cathy Nichols November 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    I love this post as well. When I look at all of the beauty online, I feel a lot of pressure to make my own home beautiful. Yet how can I deprive my children of Dora toothbrushes? And I usually spend much more time in the studio painting than doing home décor. It’s lovely to see how you’ve melded the staged with reality here. Thank you.

  29. Roy November 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    It’s refreshing to see someone be so real about their home. Definitely made me smile, especially because you are so caring about your kids. I love it.

  30. Jeanna November 23, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    You are lovely. And this post was honestly delightful. Thank you.

  31. Tara November 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    I struggle with these feelings everyday, and as a new blogger I feel like every image has to be perfect-that because I’m not seasoned at this ol’ blogging thing I cannot show the “real” bits and pieces of life. Thanks for your honesty! XO

  32. selena November 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    echoing all the love. and I always recommend that potty to new PT’ing moms!! we loved it.

  33. Mike Bowman December 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Nicole I love this post! So many design blogs take immense pains to present unrealistically ‘perfect’ representations of homes that it becomes daunting to casual DIYers, remodelers, and homeowners just trying to nicen-up their space. People are getting sick of the “too perfect” representations we’re bombarded with all the time, hence why we’re seeing more of these “real bodies” Dove advertisements and more reality tv focused not on celebrities but small-town, ‘normal’ folk. Your blog post reminded me of that, and it’s refreshing to see something real in the design blog space. Cheers!

  34. Mike Bowman December 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    Also: Truck-commandeering Triceratops for life!

  35. m @ random musings December 5, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    That embroidered curtain is too precious – I’ll happily take them off your hands :-) The best part of this post were the toothpaste specks on the mirror trim. Thanks for sharing

  36. sarah January 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Thank you for sharing the realness of your home.
    Makes me feel even more inspired than I would by the “regular” photos.
    Now I know I’m in good company – kid toothbrushes and all.

  37. lara jane March 12, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    I know this post is oldold but I randomly stalk your blog and drool over your gorgeous home. I do hope that this is one of the spaces (along withthe beautiful kitchens!) that will receive a minimal redo. It’s not my house so I don’t get a vote, but if this were my bathroom I’d rewire for a new overhead light fixture and remove the wallpaper. The fixtures here, and all of the brass, GORGE. Love it.

    As does everyone, I applaud you for keeping it real!

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