before and after

High, Low & Everything in Between: A Bathroom Update

by Caitlin Kelch

At first blush (pun intended), my bathroom makeover appears to perhaps be that of a trend-loving 12-year-old. It is not. It’s all mine. I’m a 49-year-old woman who involuntarily problem solves all day, every day. If there is an issue from 1978 that’s still troubling me, it’s safe to say that some deeply embedded brain cells are running formulas to resolve it. I’ve alluded to this before in other posts, and have been met with a few angsty comments criticizing design bloggers for appropriating clinical diagnoses when describing habits of “obsession” or excess around their shopping activity or adoration for a certain object or trend.

I assure you that is not the case here. My brain is officially wired differently, and that pertains to this post in a very specific way. I’ll spare you an explanation of my case history — this is a post about my bathroom, the painting that drove me back to my color nemesis, and the serious craftsmanship of the Kohler products that brought this update to life.

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post. And sponsored posts are an opportunity we take seriously here at Design*Droits-Humains — if we truly believe and experience superior products that allow us to accept “design” challenges like this, to touch and feel the products and ultimately decide if the products we’re working with are worthy to be shared with our audience. Such is the case here.

Working with the team was not only a smooth and satisfying experience, but one that made me personally realize that they respect and encourage everyone to enjoy and incorporate their products in their own special way. I used , to get a feel for the possibilities, do some research and see how I could create an update that was all me, not just a showroom-perfect, Instagram-worthy space.

Quick backstory: During one of our calls, the Kohler team took the time to share their pride in developing their water-saving Highline range. I was expecting buzz words like, “eco-friendly” and “green,” but I was schooled in the techniques, design and engineering behind the products. I even felt a little guilty for going into the call thinking a toilet is just a toilet and “does it come in gold?” My family and I try our best to practice home habits that support the planet, but I can be easily seduced by trends and show-off pieces just like the rest of pinning Americans. So a major and very sincere thanks to the Kohler team is in order for pushing me in the right direction. I could have easily ended up with a fantastically gold and blush bathroom fit for a showroom that would feel good for about six months.

Thankfully, I didn’t. What I have is a bathroom I love and the resolution to a long-standing adversarial relationship with the color peach. And I am saving water in a pretty significant way.

All of the and the  are from Kohler’s . Other product details here: , and .

This was the jumping off point for my makeover – the art and palette of artist . It was this palette showing a mix of colors that convinced me I could slay peach and transform it into something me, something memorable and most importantly, something I haven’t seen all over the Internet.

I was excited to find a 32  that could breathe, and even more excited to see that it came in a beautiful . It’s a lovely wall mount vanity, but I opted for the angular legs for a few reasons. Number one, I would spend too much time worrying it would fall off the wall. Weird, I know, but consider the brain I referred to in the opening paragraph. Number two, the black legs gave a nod to hairpin legs, but in a much stronger way that mimicked the angles of the sloped ceiling in the room.

Let’s go back in time and check out the “before” photos. This may be painful!

This is my bathroom “before,” a sad, uninspired space that felt like a messy corporate apartment from the 1980s. The shower curtain, which is out of the shot, made it awful. I had zero desire to ever bathe here.

Granted these photos were taken shortly after I moved in, but little things in the space bothered me in a big way. For example, why did someone think it was a good idea to place a vanity flush against the wall? I’ll never know. It made me continuously think about grabbing a sledge hammer to knock out some space to let the edge of this poor vanity breathe.

The old vanity had this odd riser that it sat on. Turns out this was extra storage space in the form of a large drawer that was nailed shut. When I had it picked up by the team at Habitat for Humanity, I made them swear they’d put a note on it that said “Extra Storage Here!” so the new owner knew they were in for a treat.

And now we arrive back to the image that started all of this peach madness. The image is from my essay around living with the imperfect and a hideous peach door in a former rental of mine. All in all, I love the contrast of the impeccable Kohler products (the vanity is real wood and smells like wood!) and the neurotic minutiae of my everyday past and present.

While the super bright “Shrimp Boat” paint color may stay docked for awhile in my nook, I’m confident that my aesthetic will continue to grow and someday a new boat will dock that has the kind of grown-up class that my exudes.

At that point, I’ll happily say goodbye to peach forever.

I am so personally grateful for Kohler for their knowledge, openness and, above all, their commitment to their craft. I am very lucky to enjoy their better-for-the-planet products every day now. It’s a privilege I do not take lightly. My old fixtures have already found a home after they were “adopted” at my local Restore.

Thank you again ! 

Author’s Note: This is real life. This is my wacky bathroom. I am not a designer, so be kind in the comments please. You may love it, hate it or just “meh” it, but please appreciate that our goal here at Design*Droits-Humains is to honor, celebrate and share what it is that makes “home” a special and safe place for anyone and everyone. I’ve made peace with peach with some major help from our sponsor, Kohler.  –Caitlin

P.S. For some history on my peach allergy (and the inspiration behind this makeover), you can read Part One of this post here.



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