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The smallest room in our home has been quite the source of contention over the last five years. It started as a dark green monstrosity, transformed into an electric blue refuge (in hindsight, that was my choice and ended up being the wrong one for us), and eventually, it ended up as an innocuous pale grey box (inspired by this sunny salon) with a few potentially too-personal touches.

Kim wrote recently about our new house-hunting adventure and that weird-limbo we’re in to take a few small steps and ready our home for the sale or rental market. There are likely no potential buyers or renters who would enjoy seeing themselves in a Yellow Submarine mirror each morning while staring at photo booth strips of our closest friends looking half-sober and fully ridiculous.

With a $100 budget, a pleasant toned-down vibe in mind, and the goal to replace our mirror, light fixture and art,we went from this:

To this:

Here’s a tighter shot of the new 3 bulb light fixture. We were a little uncertain on this one, and it certainly wasn’t our first choice. The $40 price tag, however was spot-on, and the relatively clean lines should work for just about anyone in the market for a new abode.

We scooped up the mirror at Target for $30. Before landing on this one, we scoured Craigs and some local interior stores for something a little more substantial, but in the end, we settled for this simple rectangle since everything else we could source seemed to need a coat of paint or some other modification. We were going for plug and play with this refresh. Whattaya know? It all came together without a hitch.

Well, there you have it. A fresh bathroom redesign in around two hours, and that’s including a medicine cabinet purge to rid ourselves of expired allergy medication and empty band-aid boxes. Art included, our total spend was around $140, but keep in mind, the framed prints will be coming with us when we move, so we really only spent around $70 on permanent fixtures. The shower side of the bathroom remained the same, since the long white curtain is pretty simple and closes off the entire tub anyway.

With more talks underway with a realtor and a mortgage lender, we’re feeling a few steps closer to realizing this little dream of ours. We’re cautiously optimistic that our perfect “forever” home is out there laying in wait for an energetic young couple to come jump it’s bones with a fresh eye and a bag full of power tools.

PS… We’ve been nominated for the Apartment Therapy Homies – thank you! Any others want to chip in on the Homie love, too? We’re in the Home Design & Inspiration category, and you have until Friday to vote here.

  • Ainhoa@ALittleBite - February 6, 2013 - 6:41 AM

    I really like the new light. Dare I say, maybe even better than the old one? I think the oil rubbed bronze finish goes really well with the dark frames and countertop.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 6, 2013 - 7:58 AM

      Ainhoa, oh yes, the new light is way better! The first one was a placeholder when we first moved in, and we never took the to change it up down the road. This guy wasn’t our personal favorite, but we had to remember to keep an open mind for future renters/buyers…ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - February 6, 2013 - 9:14 AM

    That’s the ticket. It looks good and will work for just about any taste. Did you add that fabric in the medicine cabinet?? I am intrigued!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 6, 2013 - 9:34 AM

    Julia, it’s actually a frost/etch on the glass itself – we didn’t add it. However, it’s still pretty see through, and since our cabinet houses medicine bottles and ugly things, we were thinking of adding a layer of frosted film to help disguise all our stuff!ReplyCancel

  • jackie jade - February 6, 2013 - 9:36 AM

    great easy updates! we really need to update the light fixtures and mirror situation in our bathroom too. it will make such a difference!!
    sephora giftcard giveawayReplyCancel

  • Jill - February 6, 2013 - 10:44 AM

    I can’t totally remember the vintage one you liked better, but this one is a really good fit, maybe even moreso. Definitely looks rereshed! :)ReplyCancel

  • Adrienne J - February 6, 2013 - 1:24 PM

    I think it look great and I love the fixture! Where did you get your little cabinet to the right of the mirror? Our bathroom has NO storage so I need help big time.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 6, 2013 - 1:49 PM

    Thanks, guys!

    Adrienne, we got it at Ikea more than 5 years ago – they’re not selling it anymore (I just checked). But they have a lot of affordable options there!ReplyCancel

  • casacaudill - February 6, 2013 - 2:30 PM

    I love that new light fixture. We just bought new ones last night for our rental bathroom. I wanted to go with bronze but with everything else in that room being a weird mix of chrome and brushed nickel I had to stay away. Looks lovely in your space.ReplyCancel

  • B - February 6, 2013 - 7:21 PM

    My bathroom went through the same color transformations: awful green, smurf blue, then lovely gray. What’s with the allure of the electric blue? I regretted my choice about a week later, but took 2 years to repaint it gray!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 6, 2013 - 7:26 PM

    B – funny! I’m thinking the blue makes us think of water… water = shower = clean? Who knows! Silly us.ReplyCancel

  • B - February 6, 2013 - 9:09 PM

    I’ll take that explanation, haha. Live, learn, and

  • laura - February 9, 2013 - 2:47 PM

    love how it turned out, as soon as it warms up I’m planning on a little bathroom redo also! p.s.I live in Logan Sq too, such a small worldReplyCancel

  • Helen - February 11, 2013 - 3:06 AM

    The people that live next to your future home will be so lucky to have you guys as neighbors :-)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 11, 2013 - 10:04 AM

    Laura – we love Logan Square, no matter where we may end up in the city!

    Helen, you are too nice! Hopefully they’ll love Jack, too.ReplyCancel

  • shannon - February 16, 2013 - 7:25 PM

    Such a great re-do!! Would you mind sharing where you found the light fixture? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2013 - 3:29 PM

      Hi Shannon, we got the light fixture at our local Menard’s, and it’s by a brand called Patriot Lighting. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Avery Barnes - March 4, 2014 - 12:42 PM

    Love love love that lighting! We just redid our oh-so-tiny bathroom too, and the lighting was the biggest choice, since whatever you choose is going to be one of the most prominent things in the room. I started on sites like so I could see light fixtures from every end of the spectrum..that way I immediately knew what I thought would work and what I knew would absolutely not work. I ended up choosing one similar to yours, so I must have at least half-good taste :)ReplyCancel

  • Trinitee - August 10, 2015 - 10:13 AM

    Love the light fixture, and the price is fabulous. Did I miss the source? I would love to know if it is still available.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 10, 2015 - 10:57 AM

      Hi Trinitee, thank you! I couldn’t find the light fixture on Menard’s website anymore. Definitely try sources like Lamps Plus or Overstock, and I’m sure you’ll find something similar!ReplyCancel

      • Trinitee - August 12, 2015 - 1:48 AM

        Thanks so much! I love all you two do! Amazing style and color choices. I love visiting your blog for inspiration for our new home!ReplyCancel


Because Scott and I are total suckers for our four-legged kids, we’re offering up a treat for that very special  pet lover in your life (even if that person is you!). Of course now’s the perfect time – you know, with Valentine’s Day around the corner and all – so today through Friday, all Pet Shop gift certificates are 14% off (in honor of the day itself) when you use the code LOVEMYPET.

Orders placed during this special promotion will automatically be upgraded to Priority Mail shipping,* allowing for a timely Lover’s Day arrival and alleviating that last minute what-do-I-get-her/him sweat (because let’s face it, we’ve been there, too). As a side effect of your sweet gift giving skills, you’ll be known as the greatest gift-er in all the land – and who knows what that can lead to.

See your Pet Shop gift certificate options here!

Above, Petey is painted on a 6×6 panel; photo taken with Instagram.

*Priority Mail shipping of the certificate is a free upgrade as part of this promotion. Cost of shipping includes pre-paid postage for the finished portrait(s) and will be applied at checkout. Delivery by the 14th is only guaranteed within the United States and orders placed no later than Friday, February 8th. 

  • Carolyn - February 5, 2013 - 9:11 AM

    Everything you do is OH SO immensely lovely, but what would you say is the most popular size? Do most people with two dogs tend to get individual paintings? I’m pretty darn excited about this sale :-)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 5, 2013 - 9:25 AM

    Hi Carolyn, to be honest, everyone is so different in what they prefer! If you’re planning on doing a little mini gallery wall, separate canvases can look very cute – or you could put one pup in your office and one in the kitchen. But 2 pooches on the same canvas can also be sweet, especially if they’re inseparable best buds!

    My suggestion is to think where you’d like your portraits to end up, and choose a size and pet-per-canvas that makes the most sense. At the same time, their adorable size makes them easy to move from room to room. So many things to think about for the love of our pets!ReplyCancel


While we continue this funny dance of limbo-living, we’ve had to make a few decisions on somewhat de-personalizing our very, very personal bathroom. Because as I’ve brought up recently, it’s the only room in our whole home with our faces – quite literally – plastered all over the walls.

Naturally, our first step was to get all those photo strips down and replace it with something different. This wasn’t a problem, since we’ve been itching to get our quirky cobra-battling-mongoose (and bison and baby anteater!) out of a tube and onto a wall:

You might remember that we picked those guys up at a Paris flea market during that whirlwind weekend last summer (remember when Scott cried? Aw.), and while I wasn’t totally on board with them at first (Scott insisted that we needed cobra art in our lives), I have to admit that I’m really loving them in our bathroom:

Oddly enough, we discussed displaying them in charcoal colored frames, and our idea was to snag a trio of Ikea Ribbas (our favorite) and just paint them. But in a stroke of luck, Ribbas are now sold in a high gloss gray (who knew?!), so it was less work for us – always a plus. Due to the odd sizing of the prints themselves, we were unable to use the provided mats, so I just purchased them from Frames By Mail. (Their Matte Designer is awesome, easy, and super affordable; see how we do it right here.)

They’re sort of nutty, kind of educational (I mean, each print is labeled with its corresponding animal in French; come on!) and pretty perfect. Unexpected art in the bathroom is our favorite kind, so it works. Sure, we’re a little sad to see those strips get tucked away for now, but it’s no secret that we like a little change around here every now and then.

What sort of things are on display in your bathroom? You know what I mean.

  • Annalena - February 1, 2013 - 7:05 AM

    The new prints look great, and I agree, unexpected is more fun. I’m wondering though, where did the towel hooks come from? I LOVE them.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 1, 2013 - 8:07 AM

    Thanks, Annalena! All the hooks came from Anthropologie several years ago.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda {Our Humble Abode} - February 1, 2013 - 8:09 AM

    I love that your art is always fun, quirky, and (mostly) animal related. :) And the frames, love the gray!ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - February 1, 2013 - 8:42 AM

    You consistently make good art decisions. These are no exception. I love fine art in the bathroom. We put a whole slew in our laundry room/half bath and it makes the biggest impact in a space you normally wouldn’t expect to see art. But why?

    I saw those new charcoal frames the last time we were at Ikea and I got excited. So smart. And the work really well in your bathroom. Not tooooo stark.

    P.s. When are you going to get a mat cutter?? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 1, 2013 - 9:28 AM

    Thanks, Amanda! Funny, we never really think of our art being animal related, but people always point that out! We never realized that until recently – weird, I know.

    Julia, the last time I cut my own mat was almost 10 years ago in college! You know I’m a perfectionist, so I ended up wasting matboard because the corners weren’t perfect. For now, believe it or not, this is the most cost effective – buying them! :)ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - February 1, 2013 - 9:32 AM

    Great art, but I love those framed photo strips, too! Please tell me you’ll find a use for them somewhere else.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 1, 2013 - 9:42 AM

    Bethany, we hope to! For now, we’ve tucked them in a clear vase that’s sitting on our media wall, so I guess they are sort of on display after all!ReplyCancel

  • casacaudill - February 1, 2013 - 2:27 PM

    OMG. I *love* the honey badger & cobra one. Please tell me you’ve seen that video.ReplyCancel

  • Scott - February 1, 2013 - 5:48 PM

    Of course we love the honey badger! This print, however, is a mongoose vs. a cobra. National Geographic makes the best videos. Behold!

  • Dad - February 1, 2013 - 7:02 PM

    In our bathroom, we have displayed, your Irish Grandpa’s Hibernian shillelagh, an Irish walking stick. This stick was used to defend the Irish Catholic Church from the “natives” in America who hated the Irish and made numerous attempts to burn down their churches. This stick is of such cultural importance to our family, that you would need an AK-47 to take it from us. And our family is Hungarian! Go figure. Same plight!

  • Monika - February 2, 2013 - 11:24 AM

    These prints look awesome, Kim! Thanks so much for sharing the Frames by Mail website. I have two prints I brought back from Germany on a recent trip and was dreading the cost of matting them since they weren’t a conventional size. Yay, now I can get them done and still have coin to go back for another visit. :) Thanks again. Love your website, you guys continue inspire me with your creativity.ReplyCancel

  • shannon - February 2, 2013 - 11:30 PM
  • Maya @ House Nerd - February 4, 2013 - 9:32 PM

    In love with these! Your framing choice is perfect… I love the look of really thick mat boards.ReplyCancel

  • Jilla - February 6, 2013 - 10:55 AM

    Scott, I love your dad. Hi, Scott’s dad! (Dave, right? I hope.) That’s all. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jill - February 6, 2013 - 10:56 AM

    And nope, my name’s not Jilla. I hope…ha!ReplyCancel

  • kathleen - February 7, 2013 - 1:53 PM

    where did you get the rug in your living room? i checked the source list but i missed the rug find! Hopefully it’s still out there somewhere for purchase! thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 7, 2013 - 1:59 PM

    Hi Kathleen, it came from FLOR, and it’s called Roadside Attraction. It’s held up wonderfully, and the pattern is subtle, but still playful!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - February 19, 2013 - 6:56 PM


    Do you have any tips on wiring the back of the Ribba frames? Mine always end up at different heights, which makes it a bit annoying to hang since I can’t just level the nails.


    • Kim - February 20, 2013 - 9:15 AM

      Hi Rachel, we always use the wire provided by Ikea on our frames (as a precaution to protect the frames themselves, since hanging them directly on a nail could warp them), and we eyeball everything – seriously. To get them straight across the top, we just use this trick from this old post:

      Give it a go, it’s helped us with every gallery wall in our home!ReplyCancel