Our pool bath is prettier now!! (Plus, a pipe shelf tutorial)

Hey, y’all!   I’m back from the totally unplanned siesta known as this week.   Sorry about that.  It’s just been a crazy week ’round these parts.   Work was insane, we’ve had about 4 projects happening at home simultaneously, and I just couldn’t pull it together.  Plus, the last thing that I wanted to do was post something that was half done with crappy pictures. So, now, thanks to yet another rainy day that put the kabash on several outdoor projects that we have going on right now, I actually have time to write a decent post.  Hehe!

Anyways, last time I showed you the super cool eye chart print that we purchased from Urban Outfitters.  And I mentioned that we’d purchased a second print as well.   Well, now the other print has a home, too…

After trying it out in several different places in our home, I finally settled on the pool bath.   I loved the contrast of the soft aqua walls with the bright red in the print.   It’s just sassy. (And something that I seem to like in bathrooms, apparently). I also adore the scale of the art in our tiny bathroom.  It just works for me.   Something about a larger piece in a smaller room seems to make the space feel less dinky in my eyes.

Once I had the print up, I decided that it was high time that I got going on that pipe shelf that I’d talked about here.   I’ve seen the shelf in question shelf ALL OVER Pinterest lately.  I believe it’s a Restoration Hardware knock-off (for a fraction of the price).  So, I decided to jump on the pipe-shelf-bandwagon, as well.  I didn’t follow any tutorial since the shelf’s construction seems pretty self-explanatory just by looking at it.

Basically, I just purchased these parts:

2 – 3/4″ floor flanges

2 – 3/4″x8″ nipples

2 – 3/4″ caps.

Then, I did this….

(I also went over the pipes with vinegar to remove that unsightly sticky stuff left by the label)  Next, I screwed them onto the wall with heavy-duty anchors…

Is that not the wonkiest shot ever??  It made me laugh, so I had to include it.  In my head, I was picturing the wonky brackets sauntering down the street while drunkenly weaving across the sidewalk and slurringly telling bad jokes (which they happen to find hilarious, BTW). Haha! …See?? This is how you know it’s a good thing I didn’t post this week.  Delirium is real. And it’s spectacular.  (Namethatshow)

So anyways, despite their catawampus appearance in the above shot, I swear the pipes are actually straight and level.  Here’s a more serious shot of one of them…

This guy has his grown-up pants on (or maybe I do now), so no laughter here.

In order to attach them to the wall, I detached the flange from the pipe, screwed the flange to the wall, then rescrewed the pipe back in afterwards. It made the drilling process much more streamlined.

Also, the simplest way that I found to ensure that the pipes are level to eachother was to mark the top hole of one flange on the wall, then use a laser level to determine placement of the top hole of the second flange.   Then, I just held the flanges in place over my marks and traced the remaining three holes so I’d know where to insert my anchors.  Worked like a charm.

Next, for the wood…

I simply purchased a 2″x 8″ piece of untreated wood from Home Depot and had it cut down to 26″ right there at the store (for freeeeeeee!!).  To determine the appropriate length, I simply used a tape measure to eyeball the space above the toilet.   26″ was big enough to fill the space, but not too large as to crowd the wall.

Once I got the wood home, I sanded it with my orbital sander (and 220 grit sandpaper) to remove any splinters, ink, and dirty spots….

Then,  I gave it one thin, even coat of this stain…

I was going for a grey-washed look and wanted lots of amber-toned wood grain to show through, so I simply waxed on, waxed off.   Well, yeah.  I totally waxed on, waxed off.  Haha.  Basically, I mopped up the excess stain with a dry cloth immediately after applying it, allowing zero time for my stain to soak in.   Thus, I ended up with a lighter grey with lots of wood-toned grain showing through.  I was a little worried at first as the grey seemed very blue in the sunlight…

…but once it was dry and I got it into the bathroom, it looked great…


I simply set the wood on top of the pipes.  The weight of the wood and the raised pipe cap seem to be enough to keep the wood in place.  I even shook it around to be sure and it didn’t move much.  It’s kind of wedged between the flange and cap.  I haven’t topcoated the stain with anything yet as I preferred the matte, weathered look as is.   Though, I am considering a lower gloss tung oil to protect it from too much wear and tear (I doubt it’ll get abused much where it is, though).

Once the shelf was done, I accessorized…

This room is strange in that it’s SUPER tiny, and yet the toilet is off-center.  So, even though it doesn’t appear as such in this shot (thanks to the camera angle), the shelf and mirror are centered on the wall.  I thought that in such a small room, centered on the wall would look better than centered it on the toilet.  Anyhoo, I hung  this neat, star mirror that I found at Target for $14 on clearance and added some accessories to the shelf…

I just love the combo of the grapic print with the rustic shelf, and aqua walls…

Here’s the view looking into the space from the laundry room.  Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a window in this room.  Maybe that’s something that we can look into further down the line to bring in some natural light.   I’d also love to add some crown molding.

As for the styling, I’m still in the process of noodling around with the accessories.  Although I really like it as is, I’d love to add some bright, playful elements being that I’m aiming for a fun and happy a pool bath.  Right now the decor’s a bit more on the serious side.   I used what I already had on hand and it turns out that anything bright and playful is already spoken for in other rooms (so ashoppin’ we will go!). 😉

And just to show you how the industrial pipe toilet paper dispenser plays in…

There ya go.   I’m planning to change out the current striped rug for a round or oval jute rug.  I also still need to find some art for the wall above the toilet paper dispenser.  The room has come leaps and bounds from this, though…

I’m so excited to have finally made some progress in this space. It’s actually the only bathroom in the house that’s beginning to feel like us.  And sadly, it’s probably the lesser used bathroom of them all at this point.  I definitely suspect that it’s usage will go up when we start swimming in the summer, though.

So, that’s where I’ll end for today.  I still have another little DIY project for this bathroom up my sleeve, so stay tuned…   I thought it was too much for one post, so I’ll spread the love.  🙂

Y’all have a great weekend!

TDC Before and After

Our guest bath and a little lead scare

Remember this guy??  Our guest bath???


He now looks like this…

Kind of the same. Just accessorized.  But, in my opinion, also kinda charming.  Even I was surprised by this fact.  I became super giddy as I saw the room coming together, and realized that I actually liked what I saw (forthemostpart).

This room, along with our master coffin bath, will be getting full-on renovations down the line (If you’d like to see what I mean by “coffin” check out the master bath pics in our house tour.  Then, you’ll know.).  I’m not quite sure what the responsible party was thinking when they installed a black tub, sink and tile in this room.  I mean it’s IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean.  Watermarks galore.  It’s like one of those ghost shows… I clean the spots, smile at my newly sparkling sink/tub, turn my head, look back and they’ve reappeared.  Out of NOWHERE.  This room may very well defy the laws of physics.  Or perhaps it’s like Room 1408.  Plotting to drive me insane.  Spoiler Alert: It’s working.

Aside from the color, we’re just not fans of the black pedestal sink in general….

Like at all. It’s a little too ornate for our taste and provides ZERO storage.  Whatsoever.   We’ve been scoping out other options for vanities with storage and plan to replace the sink at some point.  This bathroom also came equipped with brass fixtures, which I actually kind of like.  They’re sort of vintage-y, which I totally dig.

But, unfortunately, they’re gonna have to go. Remember WAY back in this post, I alluded to the fact that we found lead in the house??  Well, we found it in the brass fixtures and corresponding brass pipes that extend to the wall where it meets the copper piping….

For anyone purchasing a house that was built before 1978, it’s recommended that you get the house tested for lead. We didn’t know this until after we moved in, so I purchased this lead tester kit from Home Depot for 9 bucks.

Basically you just pinch the spots on the sticks marked “A” and “B” until you hear them pop, then squeeze/shake until yellow liquid appears in the tip. Then, you simply rub the end of the stick into any areas of cracked paint, window frames, pipes, whatever. Anywhere that may pose a lead risk. You can use the same stick repeatedly unless you get a positive result, which is when the tip turns red….

This was taken after I tested the brass pipes in the guest bath. I’ve been told that the tip will turn bright red when there’s sufficient lead present, so the fact that it only turned slightly red was better than it could’ve been.  But that didn’t make me feel much better, to be honest.

Of course, I immediately took to the internet to figure out what to do. Ultimately, we need to replace the pipes and fixtures. But I’ll admit… I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do when I discovered this guy in the shower….

It has just two plumbing accesses for hot and cold water and NO plumbing for the tub spigot (the water-flow stems off of the hot and cold knobs)…

And there’s also NO plumbing for the mis-matched shower head….

That would be a hand-held showerhead that is also connected to the main tub unit.  It’s simply mounted to the wall on a bracket.  All water stems from the main tub unit.

After a bit of research I found this potential replacement…


It’s totally not my style, but it’s lead-free and will fit our current plumbing situation, so I sent this photo to Joey via text.  He responded that he’d “better demo the bathroom soon” (so we wouldn’t need to buy this fixture).  He actually thought I was joking when I first suggested it because it’s so far off from our usual style.

So, needless to say, we haven’t pulled the trigger yet.  I’m hoping to find a more modern fixture that still suits the style of the house and isn’t over $400.  That’s the problem… any modern fixture with similar plumbing accesses is super expensive.   So, the hunt is on.   Down the line when we tear this puppy apart (ie: buh-bye black tile), we’ll replumb for a standard tub/shower set which will open up many more possibilities.

I’m also still on the lookout for a sink faucet, but I want whatever we choose to coordinate with the tub fixture, so we have to get that decision hammered out first.    Because we’ll also have to replace the pipes beneath the sink at the same time as the faucet, we’d like to swap out the pedestal sink for a vanity with storage at the same time, to be sure that the pipes align correctly.  See how that happens???  A simple faucet swap turns into a reno.  Just.Like.That.

In the meantime, since the brass is still present, we’ve educated ourselves on the precautions to take to limit our lead exposure…

1. Let the tap water run before using it until a temperature change is noted.  This indicates that any water sitting in the pipes has been flushed out.

2. Wash Lucas’s hands in another sink and use fresh, filtered water (not tap) to brush his teeth.

The remaining tips don’t really apply to the bathroom, but since we found lead in the house, we’ve been extra cautious in the kitchen as well.  So, when it comes to cooking…

3. We never use hot tap water for cooking, boiling, etc.   Supposedly, the heat can cause more lead to detach from the pipes (if there is lead in the pipes — our pipes are copper, so they should be fine, though better safe than sorry.).

4. After performing research, we’ve been testing out different water filters.   We tried a Zerowater filtration pitcher, which is certified to remove lead from drinking water.   We let the tap water run until there was a temperature change, then filtered our water.  We used this water for cooking and drinking…. well, that is until the filter crapped out.  We only used it for about a month and the water started tasting NASTY.  The filter comes with a water tester so that you can see how clean your water is and the “filtered water” came out dirtier than the tap.   So, needless to say, I’m not sold on this filter.

Joey then installed an under-the-sink filter that’s certified for lead removal.   And he installed both a filter in the pipe behind the fridge and a heavier-duty filter inside the fridge for double filtration. Hopefully, these actions will keep our lead exposure to a minimum.

So, with that covered, I’m gonna jump back to bathroom decor…


I ordered a long (84″) shower curtain from Amazon.   I wish I could raise the curtain higher, but that blasted soffit limits that, unfortunately.  I cant wait to tear that sucker outta there.  I added some simple white towels, a wire basket with a faux plant, a small rug, and a stool which comes in extra handy when bathing Lucas.

I still need to add artwork to the wall with the stool, but I’m marinating on what to hang.  I’d also like to change the wall color.  The current paint is a flat finish (never good for a bathroom), and the walls are quite dirty in spots.  I have to say, though… despite the room’s obvious maladies, I’m okay with it for now.  I mean, sure, I’d never CHOOSE a black tub or sink. #leastpracticalever, but it’s definitely a conversation piece and it looks semi-cute with the white shower curtain and slate tile (whenitsclean).  It’ll definitely be fun to start planning the reno, though, once some of the other more pressing issues with the house are taken care of.   And we plan to come up with a solution for those faucets soon, to get them outta there.

Next up, I’ll finally be working on my post for our new mid-century dresser turned media stand.  Aaaaaand this weekend, I painted our 1970’s built-in!!  Our living room is still all crazy since everything needs to cure before I reattach the doors and such, but y’all… it looks SO good so far.   Way better than that badly shellacked 70’s wood tone.   I can’t wait to share.

So, do any of you guys have any other tips for dealing with lead?  I’m all ears eyes…

TDC Before and After