A Bathroom Story


The following is a guest post from my dear friend Ellen who blogs at Sweetwater.  She’s of the many people I met online first, then an in person friendship grew. Plus–she’s the person who introduced me to Pinterest years ago! Ellen’s home inspires me, she is younger than me but wiser than me and she has style to die for. I hope you enjoy this post about her four year postponed bathroom makeover, I first read about her bathroom at her blog and it spoke deeply to me about how we view our homes, I could so relate–so I asked her to guest post and she said yes!


Four years ago our family moved into a sweet little parsonage. We had lived in four homes before this one. I decided we would really live here. I wanted it to feel like a home and not just a place for stopping over.

Except for the downstairs bathroom.

We lived with our bathroom like this-peeling wallpaper, dark walls, the whole shebang-for four years.


I was letting some complifications get in the way of loving this very small room. I felt tired. It felt like it would be more work than I had the energy to do. I was confused about which way to go. I read go dark! I read go light! We didn’t have a large budget. I worried that I couldn’t get what I wanted without the right amount of money.

Until I just got tired of being tired.


So. We stripped the wallpaper down. It was work but what I saw with bare walls made me hopeful. I picked white paint because I knew that I just really love natural light and I wanted the room to feel bigger and brighter. I searched our house for little things that didn’t have a home. I stole from other rooms.

And we ended up with this. We didn’t have to pay for the paint since we live in a parsonage but even if we included the cost of the paint we spent very little. I have a hunter gatherer type husband so there is a plethora of antler paraphernalia around here. I used some thrift store prints and needlepoints, some old cards, an old paint by number and (my favorite!) a triptych type project that my girl worked on in art.




I bought two letterpress prints from Linsday Letters and a shower curtain and doily looking bathmat from World Market. The little table was a happy find at one of my favorite thrift stores. It. Is. Metal. And also cute.

It’s not totally done. I still want to paint the cabinet part of the vanity. And there is no fabric situation on the window so I’ll need to address that.


I love this room.

I walk by it on purpose.

I smile.

I feel silly for stalling for four years.


take hope

Ellen is writing her own 31 Day Series called Take Hope. It’s encouraging and reading it will make you want to be her best friend. Thanks so much for sharing your writing with us Ellen!



  1. beautiful.
    I lived in a parsonage once. It wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it sure was hard.

    Two thumbs up for making it YOURS. :)

    • Tara?

      Thank you for saying that! You are so right. It isn’t the hardest thing we’ve ever done. But it’s definitely shaped me.

      • Interesting way to state that! I like it. We’re moving, this week, from the “hardest house I’ve lived in.” Yeah, not the hardest thing I’ve done, but the hardest house. Even though I still love houses and nesting, I’m determined to waste not another minute of my life worrying about the things I can’t change about my house. I want to do the best I can with the circumstance and not wish for something else. It has shaped me and I hope I will see more good things about this hardest house as we move on.

        I love that you were able to change your bathroom and DID!

  2. Lovely little room, so creative. We lived with a bathroom horror story for twelve years, but my sister took it on as a project this summer. Oh my! I cannot even tell it is the same room, even the dimensions look different. I owe her big time for this. Why do we wait so long to make positive changes in our lives?

  3. So well done! It’s not like you had nothing else going on in your life, I’ll bet. Great work!

  4. Just the inspiration I needed! I love the play of artful color and neutral tones with the white walls. Just on the edge of bohemian… Don’t you just love World Market?
    Pinning this.

  5. What a fun space to have to do, well…you know…the business. I love the ecclectic gallery wall :) xo Kristin

  6. Love the drama and beauty here in a small space! Gorgeous!

  7. Did you write this post for me??? We live in a parsonage and have a downstairs bath that is horrible. I got inspired and started stripping wallpaper and then ran into drywall issues. Two February’s ago. Finally got the drywall issues fixed a few months ago but I just keep living with the half-peeled wallpaper. I’ve got to just get in there and do it! Thanks for the motivation!

  8. The lighter color makes a HUGE difference. I love the natural light…it would be a shame to cover it up, however, privacy will prevail, I’m sure. I would probably go with something sheer to optimize the light…Love it!

  9. Fantastic job on this makeover! I love it. I actually like the openness of the window and all the light coming in. Pinning!

  10. My husband and I were just resolving to Do Something about our hideous master bathroom, which we’ve been ignoring for years because it’s not one of our public spaces. We agreed that once we fix it up (even a little bit!), we’ll wonder why and how we lived with the ugliness for so long. Thanks for the inspiration of your beautiful, tiny space!

    And thanks, Nester, for hosting the 31 Days series! I’m enjoying yours and attempting my own for the first time. It’s a great challenge!

  11. Love the simple work-with-what-you-have beauty of this. Waiting for perfect takes too long. Thanks for sharing!

  12. My husband and I bought our house nearly 5 years ago and have done a little fixing-up in every room…except our tiny, hideously-wallpapered master bath. We were just talking last night about how we could even do just a little and it would make a big difference in there. I just texted him a link to this post and said “there is hope.” :) Thanks for sharing!

  13. Great post today! Such a sweet little bathroom! I posted my bathroom remodel on my blog today, too!

  14. Oh- That is so cute. It is FUN and creative. Great job- xo Diana

  15. What an inspiring story! I have a bathroom that really needs doing. We just keep putting it off. I love the wall decor, so much to see in a little space.

  16. I also live in a parsonage! This is our 3rd. We’ve been here at our new church home for 6 months now and I have thoroughly enjoyed making this space our home but man there was parts that made our last parsonage a doozie. So, girl I feel ya pain! Making over a space that’s not yours and also doing it on a ministry budget can be difficult but you have done a wonderful job! Give yourself a big pat on the back Sister.

  17. I just love this bathroom, Ellen. And the truth is that your home feels more homey than most houses I’ve ever visited. The love, the character, the true STYLE. I love it all. And I love what you’ve done here and that you’ve been able to inspire others to strip down the walls and see what happens.

  18. ellen! in LOVE with your art and how you arranged it. beautiful article!

  19. Wow! Totally was not expecting that as I scrolled down the page. Just beautiful. Pinning this one for sure. I have hunter gatherers and a plethora of antler paraphernalia at my house too! Yesterday they brought me a bouquet of feathers. So sweet.

  20. The Bathroom looks amazing, I’d walk out of my way to see it too! : ) . A Deer Skull over the toilet? And yet somehow it works… so cool!

  21. 1. I LOVE and adore Ellen. Hi, Ellen! Miss you, Lady!
    2. I pinned this bathroom yesterday and thought about it about 25 times throughout the day. I had NO CLUE it was hers! I’m already figuring out how to rip it all off. :)
    3. You girls. I like you both so much.


  22. Love the makeover.
    I have a question.
    I have that same paint by number painting and have wanted to put it in my own bathroom.
    How has it held up with the steam that is produced from showers??
    Thanks for sharing,

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