Three Random Things: Bathroom, Built-Ins, and Black & White Stripes

First things first, all that I have left to do in my bathroom is (1) install the pulls on the built-in cabinet, (2) add one more coat of poly to the countertop, (3) install the exhaust fan above the tub, and (4) add some decorative items (including the new shower curtain).  So I will absolutely be wrapping up this six-month project this weekend, and will show you the final before and after on Monday.  Finally!!  🙂

Next, thank you SO MUCH for your input yesterday on how to build those built-ins!  I was so frustrated that I couldn’t “see” it myself, but y’all really gave me some great ideas!  There were two suggestions that really made sense to me.  The first one was to build the bookcases in three separate sections — the top section built like a regular bookcase, the drawer section to use as a “connector” between the top and bottom sections, and then the bottom section with the curved side made of two layers of MDF and/or plywood and edge banding to cover the edges.  That made complete sense to me.

But then there was this suggestion that a few of you had, and Julie from Follow Your Heart Woodworking even emailed me this little diagram to illustrate this option.

diagram for building the built-in bookshelves with curved sides

That’s a side view, and I would essentially build the whole bookcase just like normal, and then add the curved “wing” extension separately out of two layers of MDF and/or plywood and edge banding.  Then I would attach the two with something like dowels or screws in pocket holes using my Kreg Jig…and lots of wood glue, of course.  I could cover the seam with a whole lot of  wood filler and sanding.  Right now, I’m thinking this second option is much more straightforward and easier to build.  I’m hoping to get the supplies list ready today to send my mom or brother to Home Depot and get everything cut so that we can get started this weekend.  Hopefully we’ll have some progress to share next week!

And finally, I’ve given up on having a black and white striped rug in my dining room.  If you’ll remember, I bought this one from Overstock…

fabrics and rug for dining room - 2

…thinking that the white stripes would actually be white.  They were tan.  Not off-white.  Not a creamy white.  But tan.  I really did try to make myself like it, but I just couldn’t, so it’s going back.

Then I ordered this rug.  This one had even stripes, and looked to be black and white.

jailhouse striped rug from Overstock.com

I read the comments to see about the color, and one person said it’s not white, it’s “linen.”  What the heck does that mean?  Linen (even “natural” linen) comes in a thousand different colors.  Another person mentioned the “rich and deep” black and white stripes.  So I took a chance.

Those stripes are tan.  They are literally the exact same color as the first rug, and they look dull and dirty.  So I’m returning this one also, and I’m done with black and white striped rugs.  I ordered a neutral basketweave jute rug (and got the last one).  It arrived a couple of days ago, and I really like it, so I’m sticking with it.  It just reads as neutral and textural, so it won’t demand attention or get in the way of other decorating decisions.

But now I really want to add some black and white stripes somewhere because I think black and (actual) white stripes look great with my colorful watercolor floral fabric.

These horizontal striped curtains from The Yellow Cape Cod have been a favorite of mine for a very long time now.  I love stripes in general, but really wide horizontal stripes are even better!

decorating with black and white stripes - striped draperies from The Yellow Cape Codvia The Yellow Cape Cod

I haven’t selected my side chairs for the dining table yet, so I could even do black and white stripes on those.  I think that would look amazing with my black table and floral captains chairs.

decorating with black and white stripes - dining area fromThe Decoristavia The Decorista

Or I could just bring in a couple of striped accents.  This throw pillow, with the stripes going in two different directions, has also been a longtime favorite of mine…

decorating with black and white stripes - throw pillow from Kassapanolavia Kassapanola

So I’m not quite sure how just yet, but mark my words…there will be black and white stripes in my dining room and/or entry way.  They just won’t be on a rug.  🙂



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  1. I think doing the bed and bookcases separately as suggested by that drawing will also help if your niece one day wants to rearrange her room – that way they can be separated again and used in other rooms or constellations!

    I love those striped curtains and already started thinking where I could add them in my house – thank you for your stripe addiction which always provides us with so many beautiful pictures 🙂

  2. I always love it when things start to really come together! (Although I generally hear Hannibal Smith’s voice in my head!) I’m looking forward to the big reveal of the bathroom.

    I agree that your concept for the build sounds the easiest and most straightforward. One suggestion I would have for you would be to use 1/8th inch hardboard as the edge banding. It is pretty flexible, perfectly smooth, and pretty inexpensive. It is not as flexible as edge banding, so if your curve is very tight, it may not work for you, But, with the gentle curve you have drawn, I think that it would work well. The back side is textured a bit, so some filler would probably be required on the sides, but they would be less noticeable than the front, I think. Just my $.02!

    I also have to tell you that you are encouraging me to be more bold in my color choices in my new house, so thank you for that! I ordered a huge multicolored striped rug for the living room. My palette is a bit more muted than yours, but still better than just cream walls! 😉 Thank you for being courageous and giving all who watch you courage to be bold as well!

  3. Can’t wait to see the before/after of the completed bathroom! So exciting!

    Yipes Stripes! I love them and I can’t wait to see where you decide to put them in your entry/dining room. I loved those stripe chairs a lot!

  4. I can’t speak to the bookshelf project, but I think backing away from the B&W striped rug was a good idea. I too like the extra wide horizontal stripe of those curtain panels, but absolutely love the dining room chairs. I did that once and can tell you it looked fabulous! When paired with floral captain’s chairs, the stripes will literally transform the space! Can’t wait to see the bathroom reveal on Monday!

  5. Is there something preventing just cutting the curved piece (the right side) out of one piece of MDF, and then just attaching the standard-width left piece of MDF to the wall and then constructing the shelves in between? I guess doing it in 3 sections would allow you to stack the curved piece of MDF to match the thickness of the lattice/edge banding, it just seems like a lot more work! I’m sure you’ll nail it.

  6. You could make your seat cushions look like that pillow. It would entail a sewing machine which you aren’t fond of but it has some interesting potential.

  7. Glad to hear you have decided on actual white with the black stripes….somewhere, somehow. Couldn’t help but notice the punch of raspberry color in the lamp shade in the inspiration photo. It’s going to be such a happy space when you are done with the entry and dining area and pulling the green from the kitchen will make it more so in my opinion.

  8. I am loving the black and white contrast going on! I am starting to lean that way with my bedroom. I really like the idea of the built in and the fact that you have people helping you out and giving new ideas on your blog is amazing! I love that interaction so much!

  9. You made the right choice regarding the rug. As nice as a B&W stripe sounds…I can’t help but wonder how you’d keep the white stripes clean. Nothing worse than a beautifully designed room complete with a dirty rug.

  10. I would do accents in the black and white rather than anything that has to stay forever. Then its easy to change later on. I remember when the bkack and white stripes started showing up on rugs and drapes on all of the design shows a few years ago…I was like…OK I guess this us a thing now. I love the look but remember also loving seafoam green and dark pink back in the 80’s. For myself personally (because I am not as brave as you nor can I spend that much time and energy) I go neutral with pops of color in items that I may grow tired of. Of course since you have always loved the black and white look even before it was trendy you may love living with it forever!

  11. I love the idea of the use of black and white chairs for your black table. I think it would be striking, especially the wide stripes since a narrow stripe is what is commonly used. The strong, wide black and white stripe will make a statement yet it will be easy to change when you decide later that your dining room needs a shake-up and you’re ready to try something else.

  12. Kristy, i didnt read all the comments so if this is a repeat i apologize. You can go to a carpet shop and they can piece together a black/white carpet for you. Just a suggestion

  13. I love the blinds and the way the curtains added a different kind of spark inside the room. There is really such a classic touch that comes with the white and black combinations. I once saw outdoor blinds Melbourne and they look really great as well. I am a big fan of blinds and curtains because they really bring that cozy feeling inside out homes even with the hot or cold weather outside. It’s the best, most affordable and fashionable insulation perfect for our homes.

    I also this interesting article online that may catch your interest as well https://thediyhomemaker.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/5-impressive-rustic-themed-diy-design-projects-for-your-home/