Five Green Acres Mary Jo + Andrew Borchardt fivegreenacres@gmail.com Poynette, WI
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Now that’s what I call a Makeover.

Now that’s what I call a Makeover.
August 13, 2009 Mary Jo

One Saturday, not too long ago, there was a small explosion in our house.  A metaphorical one, thankfully, but nonetheless producing a wave of impact that was felt within a 25 foot radius.  It was a Saturday morning, on a rare weekend that was to be spent at home.  What, Andrew asked, are your plans for the day?  Famous last words, but my blank-faced stare bore no hint of the turn of events to come.  There was the spare bedroom to tidy, with a visitor coming later that day, and…

I set about the chore, starting at the top of the stairs, in the small bathroom we fondly call The Office.  It’s really less of an office and more of a Room with a View.  The toilet sits squarely in front of a generous window to the back yard – the best view you’ll ever have from a toilet, we tell everyone on a tour of the house.   Actually only a half bath, its counterpart with a shower and bathtub lives right around the corner.

I paused as I washed my hands, glaring at the splatter-painted frame of the mirror above the sink, scowling at my decapitated image, as the placement of the mirror was determined by a much-shorter former occupant of the house.  For some time I had been collecting pieces for a bathroom redo and at that moment I considered how quickly I could replace said splatter-painted mirror with one more proportioned to my height and less offensive to my design sensibilities.  Just an anchor, a screw, some new wire….my peripheral vision took in the mirror propped against the wall and the thrifted cabinets stacked alongside.  And then it happened.  The explosion.  Why don’t I just go ahead and redo the room?  It’s tiny, after all, and it is The Weekend, which from the inside always looks like it’s made of nothing but time.  Yes.  It was settled.

I had been mentally redesigning that room for months, had been collecting pieces and stashing them, and any design choices I hadn’t yet made could be hashed out on-the-fly, riding on the crest of the Morning Coffee. I could complete all of the painting and most of the design work on Sunday, right?  Yeah, right.

So it took over a week to finish, of course.  But to me, it is spectacular, a re-purposing showcase.

I had been saving these used circuit boards for eons.  Any time I come upon a lot of the same thing, I imagine how they might look in a grouping like this.  I also try the “how much for the whole box” method of bargaining.  Can you imagine how thrilling it was to find this box of circuits while thrifting and then to get it for a song?  Uh huh.  Hung on the wall in a grouping, they remind me of an old city plat map.  Love, love, love it.

This is a variation of an idea I’ve seen floating around the design sphere, using vintage door knobs or plumbing valves as towel holders or curtain tie backs.  Andrew came up with the copper configuration to make it hang to my specifications.  I was in such a hurry to hang it up that it hasn’t even been soldered yet, so it rotates a bit too much. 5 minutes of soldering or even glue could fix that.

And in an homage to one of our favorite obscure animals, the Prairie Dog has brought some literacy to the formerly-purple switch plate.

The standing shelf, shown above, gave me the perfect opportunity to use some gorgeous vintage wallpaper to line the inside back.  (Thanks Lily!)  And the red painted backdrop behind the mirror was pure on-the-fly design and something I’ll definitely use again.

No one ever accused me of minimal design, as you can clearly see; there’s a lot going on in this tiny space.  I tend to hang out in the “more is better” camp and most often have to reel myself in a bit.  But it works for me, in it’s eclectic marriage of vintage and industrial/techno.  And the splatter paint has been drop-kicked into oblivion.

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