Un-purpling the bathroom

4 Aug

After this post on the purple-that-was-supposed-to-be-a-lovely-gray bathroom, I did a little soul searching. The intention was to sleep on whether or not to move forward and update the floors in the hopes that the walls changed their color on their own or to just repaint the whole thing and leave the floors for later.

The original Marmoleum floors were actually just fine with the exception of a seam that was beginning to come up. For the sake of new floors, I was prepared to argue that the seam was the beginning of the end of those floors. In my defense, more than one person had told us this. But the distance from the beginning to the end is pretty long and those floors have some life left.

We did our due diligence on the floors. We knew we wanted some kind of period appropriate flooring and were leaning toward more Marmoleum or cork. Both are green flooring options and I love thinking about how ahead-of-their-time were these modernist mid-century architects in their choice of materials and relationship to the land. I have learned a ton about Marmoleum that I never imagined. From the Marmoleum literature:

Our commitment to the environment begins and ends with the renewable, natural ingredients in our Marmoleum. Linseed oil is pressed from the seeds of the flax plant. Wood flour is obtained from lumber industry waste (sawdust) and controlled forests, where every tree felled is replaced. Rosins are harvested from pine trees. The beautiful colors of Marmoleum are achieved by using environmentally responsible pigments. The backing of Marmoleum is woven with natural jute fibers. Even the adhesives used to install  it are environmentally responsible and free of solvents. All of these natural properties cause Marmoleum to strengthen over its life and, at the end of its long life, Marmoleum is biodegradable.

I also wonder about the ability of cork to withstand all the water in a bathroom and whether or not it would warp.  Regardless, let’s just say that after reading the literature, I was less inclined to be thoughtless or whimsical about the flooring. We did check out some Marmoleum and tile, just to see if it affected the overall feel of the purple bathroom, but alas it didn’t much. Question answered: We keep the floor.  For now.

The next question is paint color. I still wanted gray but needed to find a gray that was more green than blue. And I also needed to take into consideration the current floor. I went on a hunt for paint chips.  And I found them.  Lots and lots of paint chips. Home Depot has an awesome light fixture that allows you to look at the paint in a variety of light settings. They also have samples of any paint color (versus Benjamin Moore which only has sample sizes of stock colors) so I decided to spend some time there, run all my paint chips under these lights and take home samples of the ones I liked to test.

This is not my normal way of doing things. This is way too slow for me. I want to buy the paint, paint the walls and be done with it. But as this house is becoming a metaphor for my involuntary personal growth, this bathroom project is a metaphor for planning, slow conscious decision-making and deliberate restraint. I feel this house calling me ‘Grasshopper’ sometimes.

I painted patches on the wall.  I laid the chips against the floor. I eliminated choices. And then I landed that baby. I chose a Behr color called ‘Elephant Skin’ for the walls and a color called ‘Intellectual’ for the cabinets.

The minute I started putting these on the walls, I knew it was right. It felt good. It felt like something I wanted to dive into. I was happy. I was proud. And let me tell you, it looks good. 

*Painting completed.  Again.

*Flooring decision made.  For now.

  • Paint and seal countertops.
  • Install new sink and faucets. (Moving matching sink and faucet from master bath and putting a new one in there.)
  • Paint and install floorboards.

So there is still some stuff to do, but I can now say the painting mission really was accomplished. From this:

To this:



7 Responses to “Un-purpling the bathroom”

  1. ajfred October 8, 2011 at 1:18 am #


  2. rtyecript August 25, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    I really liked the article, and the very cool blog


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