Jul 18, 2010

Country Bathroom...in the City

A quick before and after:

Today I conquered the women's bathroom of HSS's elderly center. I had six hours (1100-1700) to complete the project since residents would be using the facilities the next day. This project posed several, particular challenges: 1) the high ceilings combined with a narrow floor space, endowing the room with a "beam-me-up, Scotty"vacuum tube feel 2) dusty pipes crisscross the ceiling, blocking my mobility and ability to access parts of the walls 3) the cinder block walls with redundant layers of paints create poor surface texture with drips, pock marks etc 4) a super ugly dark window is the first thing you see when entering. 


Thank goodness a tall (if slightly unstable) ladder was to be found around the corner, resting there as though awaiting my hands! This handy tool allowed me to access the upper regions of the walls.

To combat the constraining feel of the room, I took inspiration from my recent trip to a gorgeous Texas ranch in Paint Creek - where expanse and freedom are the only knowns. I filled in a light, bright blue sky peppered with fluffy clouds.  This added depth and color without further cluttering the space.

Next came layers of greens -- endless plains of various grasses and bushes with wildflowers blooming over every knoll.  The greenery easily disguised the poor surface texture.

To make the scene more homey, I added a bird house, flower pots, and wheelbarrow on walls not already inhabited by bathroom appliances.  I painted more flowers and some butterflies to activate the sky.  All elements were carried onto the black window frame to minimize its bad impact and disguise it into the scene as much as possible.

A little surprise was the success of the mirror of the room, reflecting the wheelbarrow on the back wall.  Looking in, your face is framed by flowers and color!

I wish more time could have been spent making the scene a little more realistic, but the overall transformation is HUGE: from scary and institutional to a little bit like home.

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