Ever worked on a house and encountered surprises along the way? The photo above is the After shot of one of ours. I'm not a good enough blogger to have the Before shot, but I do have the story.
Shortly after we moved into our barn/house, I knew that the upstairs bathroom would be a priority for minor improvement. The room was not only wrapped entirely in wood (ceilings, walls, and floor, oh my!) but was also basically devoid of storage in the crucial area around the sink. Actually, there was a shelf (more wood) perched above the (also wood) mirror screwed to the wall, creating a place to stash one's daily products, but who wants to look at a lineup of floss and deodorants all the time? And sometimes retrieving the toothpaste from its high perch brought something else down on my head. This situation was not my idea of efficient or attractive. I had to come up with a solution for this problem area in order to make everyday grooming less annoying.
The obvious solution to part of the problem was a medicine cabinet. Since the existing mirror was simply screwed to the wall, I bought a flush mount cabinet to keep things simple. No worries about trying to create an opening in the wall when who knew what pipes or wires might be back there. Simple job, right? Unscrew one, screw the other up, and done. You already know that it wasn't that simple.
When we unscrewed the mirror and removed it, we found, to our surprise (but really I should have known), that there was an opening there after all. The mirror had a thick back on it, which some previous owner had recessed. Of course, the opening was nowhere near the same size as our cabinet, but it didn't matter anyway. There was also a black plastic pipe, probably a plumbing vent, dead center in the opening. A recessed cabinet was still out of the question.
I briefly entertained the option of just screwing that mirror right back up onto the wall and figuring out some sort of storage to hang on the slivers of wall on either side of the mirror. But I really wanted a medicine cabinet, and I liked the one that I had bought (at $10.00 off!). We decided to just go for it and figure out something decorative to cover the part of the hole that would be visible below the cabinet.
We got her mounted, and I took off with the necessary measurements to the local antique stores to see what I could find to fill the gap. But here was the other problem: it had to cost as little money as possible. We had just paid almost $500.00 to finally install the gas line for which I'd been waiting for two months and had over $200.00 worth of glass coming for another project (more about that later). We needed a cheap and creative solution indeed.
I considered some pictures and trays priced at $15.00 to $30.00. But when I found a basket of old door panels for $4.75, I knew that I had found my answer. They were cheap, charmingly distressed, and just big enough. With a little something applied to it (a row of old keys? something decoupaged? wording?), it would be perfect.
When I got home with my $5.03 (after tax) problem solver, my husband and I began a Google image search to decide what to put on it. We settled on the Burma-Shave logo for three reasons. 1) A grooming product logo seemed appropriate for a bathroom. 2) It's a little masculine, which makes the man who used to have to share a bedroom with pink walls and a flowered duvet happy. 3) It's also romantically meaningful to me. When we were courting, Dave once left me paper Burma-Shave signs in my house as a surprise. Clearly, it was the winner.
So Dave dug out his stored acrylic paints and not much later at all we hung up our sign with Command adhesive strips, so there would be no (well, no more) visible screws or worries about splitting the wood. The soft white background color, along with the bright white of the new medicine cabinet, certainly helped brighten up the woodsiness, while the black text was a welcome grounding note. Mostly we were relieved and pleased that our "oops" was covered for cheap in a way that didn't look too bad and added decoration to the room.
I don't know if our little project would win the approval of the Country Living design staff, but at least it's not hideous, and I can get my toothbrush out without fear of a head injury. I call that Progress.