Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little House on the Prairie: A Doggone Bathroom for Boys

"Laura knew that wolves would eat little girls.  But she was safe inside the solid log walls.  Her father's gun hung over the door and good old Jack, the brindle bulldog, lay on guard before it.  Her father would say: 'Go to sleep, Laura.  Jack won't let the wolves in.'  So Laura snuggled under the covers of the trundle bed, close beside Mary, and went to sleep."

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods

We have a dog, but she's nothing like Jack the bulldog.  She's a black lab, her name is Sascha, and she would let anything into our home---especially wolves---as long as they patted her first.  She is 13 years old now, and it took her 12 of those years, some cataracts, and acute arthritis to stop jumping up on people.  Yes, most of Sascha's misbehavior is my own fault.  I'm no dog whisperer, after all.  What matters is that the boys adore her, and she adores them.

A few months ago, Sascha had a massive seizure.  We took her to the vet who looked at her test results and explained that our sweet old dog had a brain tumor.  At her age, surgery isn't a viable option, either financially or practically as the doctor didn't see her making it through the operation.  So we bundled our brown-eyed girl into the car and brought her home to die.  

For the next few days, the entire family kept vigil at her side.  The boys drew her pictures and read her stories.  My husband sat next to her on the floor, stroked her fur, and talked to her in the voice he uses with babies.  As for me, I didn't quite know how to make peace with the animal who had dug up my hydrangeas on a regular basis, who would sneak food off of my dining table, and who dragged me behind her on a leash for all of those years.  In the end, I sat down next to her in the laundry room and told her how much I appreciated her being my children's beloved dog.  In that quiet moment, I realized that she and I shared a common purpose: to mother and protect a houseful of boys.  I then proceeded to blubber and spill my heart out to a dog who really just needed to sleep.  But at least I had made my peace.  We prepared ourselves for the possibility that our dog wouldn't make it through the night.

Well, that was months ago and Sascha seems to have stolen a sip from the fountain of youth.  (We like to think that God heard at least one of the 3.7 bazillion prayers that my children offered up in Sascha's behalf.)  Yesterday, she escaped from the yard and we found her in an obliging field where she was chasing insects.  I'm not sure how long our dog will be with us, but in honor of her and her eventual memory, I redecorated my little boys' bathroom in a dog-friendly theme.   
Here is the before and after.  Before, the room was serene bordering on boring---not quite the right feel for busy and energetic boys.  After, it is a fun-filled room that's perfect for kids of the "snips and snails and puppy dog tails" variety.

I found this adorable print at TJ Maxx and used it as the inspiration for the room.  In a pinch for cash, I opted to put this red basket on the wall as convenient toilet paper storage above the toilet in lieu of shelves.

I sewed a wide-striped shower curtain to mimic the scarf on the dog in the inspiration print.  I love the fresh, happy feel it brings to the room.  The letters above the shower were on clearance at a local arts and crafts store.  I wanted to spell the word "Splash" or "Bath," but they were fresh out of the letter "H."  I had to settle with the word "Soap."  (Never a bad reminder for little boys . . . )

I found this hardware for a steal at Hobby Lobby and knew it had to go on the cabinets.

I spruced up the brass light fixture with a few layers of black spray paint.

I couldn't pass up this adorable piece of vintage looking hardware.  I thought it would be the perfect hand towel holder to the right of the sink.

A few fresh towels, a budget rug, and another fun dog print later, and we have a whole new bathroom.  It has such a fun vibe that I almost don't mind scrubbing the toilet in there . . . almost.

Project Budget

Shower Curtain Fabric and Rings  $25
Decorative Hardware/Towel Holder  $13
Art Prints   $19
Basket  $4
Towels  $10
Letters  $8
Rug  $7

A whole new bathroom for $86 . . . Now that's a doggone deal if you ask me.  Sascha will probably outlive the life of this bathroom, but for now, it's a happy little reminder of man's best friend.

Sharing at these lovely parties . . .


  1. I'd like to feel sad about your dog but I'm laughing too hard! It reminds me of the scene from Little Big Man, when Chief Dan George lies down to die and gets back up when the snow starts falling. I do like what you've done with the bathroom. Well done! ~ Maureen

  2. You did an amazing job on that bathroom. It looks fabulous! So colorful and bright! And what a story about your dog, so glad he's still with you.

  3. I love the SOAP lettering, very clever!

  4. I'm blinking back the tears!

    I had to laugh too though because we have a lab mix and our chiweenie puppy is a better watch dog than she is!

    Your bathroom make over is very inspirational! You've given me some great ideas! Some times I loose heart when I read about make overs that are "only" $500.00 or some such thing!

  5. So sad when your furry babies take a turn for the worst, but how fortunate that she's taken a turn for the better. Great job on the bathroom.

    - The Tablescaper

  6. Very cute redo! Love the red accents. Would love if you stopped by my linky party happening now to link this up!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  7. That is super cute and super thrifty and super well done!
    Love the red, and love your spirit!
    Glad doggie is doing better too.

  8. It's adorable uhh... you know in boy-ish manly way. :) Love your inspiration print.

  9. Color and creativity go along way . great job:)

  10. So totally cute! I love the SOAP decal. I might have to copy that for when I redo the boys bathroom. Thanx for coming to THT!

  11. Your did a wonderful job on the boys bath! The colors and vintage touches are perfect! The dog print really is a nice touch for memories they will always carry for their much loved pet.

  12. Thank you for sharing your creativity at Potpourri Friday!

  13. What a great makeover at a fabulous price! I am loving that striped shower curtain. In fact, I have been waiting for a gray striped shower curtain to go on sale at West Elm for months. I also love the basket hung on the wall for storage. I saw that tip on the Nate Berkus show and always thought it was so clever.

    Awesome job on your makeover!

  14. What great visual impact--love the inspiration piece. Thanks for linking up.

  15. This is Melissa @ daisymaebelle.com I too have a wild dog! She is a golden retriever and her name is Zuzu. She too would let anyone into our home. She watches the birds and rabbits eat her food and she is ok with that! She makes me crazy half of the time! But, at the end of the day, she loves my girls. She loves nothing more than to be in the middle of whatever they are doing! I have learned to love her despite her maddening ways! Love this bathroom! I also read the post about the bread - I have a 10 year old that is a bread lover! I am going to have to give that a try!

  16. This is such a cute boy's bathroom! I love the shower curtain and the cute soap sign. Thanks for joining the Open House party.

  17. This darling bathroom makes me wish that I had little boys to decorate for! I'm not sure how I haven't found your blog before, but it's delightful. So glad that sweet Sascha is still doing well :) Hope you and your family have a lovely holiday. Cheers, Andrea

  18. Now with all the girly stuff I see - this is so very cute! Love the color choices - it is welcoming to all! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  19. The bathroom turned out so cute! We love this and such fun colors. We appreciate you linking up to our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday". We hope you'll be back soon! -The Sisters

  20. I was tearing up, waiting for Sascha's demise so was thrilled to see's still getting herself into trouble!! What a fun idea to re-do your boys bath in honor of your dog!

    Love that shower curtain (now, if only I could sew!) and that towel holder!

    So glad you joined our Color party!
    Pinning this!

  21. This is such a great redo. The stripes, the colors, the lettering. LOVE it all. Thank you so much for linking up to our party. :)

  22. I just love this post ... you had me in tears. I'm so glad that Sasha found the fountain of youth!

    The dog-inspired boy bathroom is fantastic! Loving that red and white striped shower curtain you made ... and your spray paint updates ...

    Thanks for sharing at our Crazy for Color link party!



  23. I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!! Is it shameful to type in all caps? I am so all about this that I have to feature it. Seriously. This is my favorite link! Please say yes!!!!!

    Thank you soooo much for linking up to the Color Party!


  24. Love it! Would you consider doing have a tutorial on the striped curtain for those of us to whom sewing a straight line is still a daunting task? :) love the way all the art and colors come together even though they came from different places!

  25. I just love your style! This bathroom is bright, tailored and fun!!!! I think that striped shower curtain is so bold and fabulous! You did a wonderful job!!!!
    I have to put you on my blogroll... I just don't want to miss a post!
    Can you join me for TUTORIALS TIPS AND TIDBITS with this fun post! Link goes live Wednesday at 8:00 pm

  26. Awesome job! Luv those shower curtains!


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