Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Halloween Special: Paul and Pauline's Guest Bathroom

Pauline and Paul live in the heart of the Catskill Mountains in upstate, New York.
This is their beautiful home. I've asked them to help me share the art of their guest bathroom with you in a special guest-artist post. This piece was created during a Halloween party last year.
Finally, here it is.........sorry it took so long, Pauline. But you know how it is with kids! ;-)

Welcome to our home.  It was built in 1936 by a Norwegian fisherman and the house has many features that are clearly inspired by boats.  Not the least of which being the perilously narrow and steep staircase to the basement, more like the ladder to the ships hold than a proper set of stairs that will have toddlers and moms carrying laundry traipsing up and down continually.

We are especially proud of the guest half bath.  I have always felt that color belongs on the walls, and loved those houses in the magazines and on the historic house tours that have rich and varied colors on the walls throughout.  But my husband is less adventurous (in this area of life).  So we’ve compromised.  We agreed to muted shades in the main rooms: living room, kitchen, halls, bedrooms; and that I could do what I want with color in the bathrooms.  I figure you spend so little time in the bathroom, even if you hate it, it doesn’t impact your life too badly.  And if you enjoy color?  Given what you do in the bath, you are entitled to a little inspiration, joy, and color for the few moments each day that you spend there, brushing your teeth, shaving, wiping the toddler’s bum…

Back before we were married, when this guy was a high roller and I thought this was how all girls were treated by their beaus, we used to go to fancy restaurants for dinner.  Now that we’re married and have two kids, I realize that what was really happening is what they call “courting.”  In one of these restaurants the bathrooms were wall papered with wine labels.  We thought that was very cool and started saving the labels from every bottle of wine we drank in a black plastic cigar sized box.  I was just learning about wine and, you will remember, my then boyfriend was still trying to impress me.  So the labels added up pretty quickly, and were all kinds of wines from bourdeaux to burgundy; viognier to vermentino; reislings, cabernets, pinot noirs, chardonnays, montalcino, montepulciano, Mondavi, Opus One.  We saved enough labels to paper all four walls, and Paul threw himself into the project whole-heartedly one week while I was in the City at work.  He meticulously decoupaged the labels to the wall in a patchwork and over-layered manner, pleasing to the eye with a few SENA medallions covering the blank spots.  But he decided, wisely I think, that once the door wall was covered, it was plenty!  Don’t over-do it.  Now it’s a surprise!  You enter the small yellow bathroom with carrot colored trim and when you turn around to close the door, voila! Wine labels!  Fabulous!

The stained glass four-seasons of the sun was given to us by Paul’s mother when she moved from Boston and divested of many of her beautiful pieces of arts and furniture.  We were the lucky inheritors of many of these pieces.  This particular stained glass is vibrantly colored and epitomizes her exuberant primitive love of the full rainbow spectrum of color.  I love it because it catches the evening sun and throws bright colors on the walls while blocking the view into the bathroom from the grilling area outside!

There is a tiny detailed drawing of a ship on the wall opposite the vibrant glass covered window.  There are tiny details of funny birds and unreal creatures on this vessel in full sail.  To fully appreciate it, take the Chinese magnifying glass down and get a better look!

But, yes, the piece de resistance is the mirror, framed in a bouquet of vinyl records.  Paul bought this as a Christmas gift for himself since there is a long tradition in this house of buying gifts for oneself.  We came from very different traditions around Christmas and are, even after 20 years, still assimilating our different attitudes about it!  He found it in an artisanal shop in Woodstock; one of a kind.  It was really a no-brainer.  He had to have it.  It featured in one of his music videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvSN8RQ3JEQ)  If you are as devoted a fan of classic rock and roll and all its early influences, then you will understand the meaning of vinyl and why this was meant to be.

This Quilting Mama's Selfie!
Thanks for your interest in our things!  We used to spend weekends making our house just-so – before the kids.  I love the energy and constant chaos in our house now, but I am saving all my house-beautiful ideas from when the kids are a little more grown up and the chaos settles down a bit.

Halloween party fun for all ages!

Pauline and Lynn, friends since high school 

This Quilting Mama as clergy!
It was Halloween after all.