Plans for the Kids’ Bathroom

Plans for the Kids’ Bathroom

There is only one room in our house that we haven’t touched yet, and that’s our second full bathroom, which we call the kids’ bath. Or affectionally, “Under the Tuscan Sun.” The Italian-style tile makes it feel like you can practically smell the olive trees, haha. It’s not what we would have picked if we were starting from scratch, but I don’t mind it and think it was very well done for what it is. We have no plans to change it, at least for like another ten years.

It’s just… so beige. So so so beige. Beige tile, beige walls, beige tub/sink/toilet. There’s also no windows or natural light at all, which makes it even more beige and dreary. But then oddly, the vanity cabinet has an overly orange-red stain and orange-brown granite countertop, which drive me insane. I cannot stand the countertop, which is like it’s trying to match the tile but doesn’t quite get there. Unfortunately doing anything about the counters is just not in the plans right now. Ultimately we want to put in double sinks for the two kids, but that’s a project for another year. For now, though, we want to do something.

Since pretty much the beginning we’ve been debating what the heck we should do with this room, to make it feel a little more like us, a little less beige, a little less Italian, a little more like the style of our house (in my head I’m starting to call our house style “modern minimal California beach ranch” — how does that sound? But, you know, in Ohio, and not a ranch. But we are close to the beach at least!), and maybe distract from the bad countertop, while also making it appropriate and fun for kids. Tall order for a small room. Ugh.

For a while I thought of choosing a pastel color for the walls that would be bright and colorful for kids, but the samples I tried looked horrible. I also thought about going full nautical — blue walls, paint the vanity blue, but that would just make the countertop look even more orange. Then I thought maybe we should just embrace Italy and fill up the walls with colorful photos of the Amalfi Coast, ha. Then Andy suggested, maybe let’s just forget about whatever ideas we have about what a “kid room” should be and go dark, like charcoal walls, which I think is a great idea. But THEN I took that a step farther and said, instead of a dramatic solid color, what if we went nuts with a bold patterned wallpaper? What if we said, forget this tile, forget that this room wants to be in Italy, forget “kiddie” and “minimal” and just have a lot of fun with it?

So we’re going for it! I have no idea if this is completely terrible design-wise, but at least it won’t be boring!

Here’s the inspiration:

(Leo’s Oyster Bar photos by Douglas Friedman,
design by Ken Fulk and John de la Cruz, via

Leo’s Oyster Bar in San Francisco is the epitome of a modern take on vintage Hawaiian style. Oh be still my heart! It’s over the top and crazy and wonderful, and I really want to book a flight to SF to see it (but oysters, yuck).

I shy away from a lot of pattern in the rest of the house, it’s just not my thing. We have wallpaper in Joey’s room, but it’s very clean and minimal. However, I love the idea of going bold and quirky in a small room that you don’t spend a ton of time in. So here’s what we’re thinking:

We don’t have all the details worked out yet, but we did already buy the wallpaper from Graham & Brown, and it’s gorgeous, with a little bit of subtle sparkle that’s so unexpected and fun. Some of our other design ideas include: brass pineapple planter to use for toothbrushes | shower curtain in a light, neutral color to keep the room from feeling too dark and heavy | brass mirror to replace the big square one that I don’t like | faux plant | wood shelf to go above the toilet …

We’ll probably want to paint the vanity cabinet… what color? Black? Dark green? More beige? Let us know what you think!

And tell us what you think of these plans and ideas for the kids’ bathroom! And, are any of you planning a trip to San Francisco soon? Maybe I can catch a ride in your suitcase 😉

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