Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grateful Living: M.H. Spa Retreat

Count your night by stars, not blackness, Count your time by good deeds done. ~Ethel C. Smith

This is the last of my Grateful Living Series--are you grateful?  About 20 years ago I read in my women's church manual about enjoying what you have.  An example was given of an older woman who had a very modest apartment without very many material possessions.  But what she had, she took good care of.  Her apartment was kept neat and clean.  There were little touches such as houseplants and photographs and other simple things attractively displayed.  The little apartment was inviting, warm and comfortable to guests.  Being newly married myself, without hardly a stitch of furniture, the lesson really struck home.  I have followed its guidance in every home I've lived in.

vintage pillowcases hide the laundry
It never occurred to me at nineteen that  in my forties I would choose to live in a mobile home!  I totally sympathize with Janet Palmer who said, "Turning forty was the biggest let-down of my life.  I thought I'd be happy and in control by then."  However, I know I wouldn't trade my life with anyone else.  Having an oasis from disappointments or stress or just plain exhaustion has come in the form of my bathroom or as I like to call it, my "Spa Retreat."  I even play soft, soothing music with calming background sounds from nature--just like at a real spa.

My husband replaced the tile and lights, and installed baseboards and the curtain rods, but basically everything else was done by me during a particularly stressful period.  The job was therapeutic. We had just added a third bedroom and large bathroom to our mobile home and I thought we'd never get it done.  Little did my family know that they would no longer be welcome again in the old bathroom--My Bathroom.  You do what you have to to get by sometimes, and having my own bathroom--the only room in the house that no one could mess up was critical to my psyche!

Dealing with the massive mirrors over the tub was the biggest obstacle.  They came with dark curtains, but I saw a picture in a magazine of a softer, brighter window treatment and knew that would be simple and inexpensive and a huge improvement.  I painted the cheap vanity cabinet with the same kind of paint I used on the baseboards and crown molding (cabinet and trim paint).  My husband sanded the knobs to find a really nice "nickel" color underneath the gold so we kept it like that.  The only gold is the bathtub faucet because the one that came factory installed fell apart and this very expensive model was practically given away at the hardware store.  Everything else in the bathroom is nickle, but I've made peace with the gold faucet.

Pegs hold towels, robes...
I tried flat paint on the walls and ended up repainting with gloss.  Satin would probably do just as well, but I was very careful to finish out the mobile home walls so that there were very few flaws to see.  I painted the ceiling with Kilz first and then ceiling paint.  My best advice for renovating a mobile home is to make sure you're fairly comfortable with what you are doing.  Save up for jobs that you don't feel competent, (especially wiring!).  Study before you take on drywall, painting, even hanging anything on the wall.  As the old saying goes--Measure twice, Cut once!

Keep an idea book of what you like for at least a year before you delve into renovating a room.  When you start to see a lot of ideas that go together in your book, you will begin to know better what you want.  Some people are super gifted with this--not me.  I'm talking to the rest of us who don't have a clue!  The main thing is being happy with the results of all your hard work.  My goal was that when I was inside my home, it was a home not a mobile home.  I can look around and there is nothing left of the "factory installed" and my home is warm, comfortable, and inviting (at least to me!).

Living Small
Homemaking Journals
Homemaking: Homebuilders of the World
Grateful Living: Scaling Down to A Mobile Home
Grateful Living Series: Dress Up M. H. Windows
Grateful Living: Repurposed Trunk
Grateful Living: Class Up the Mobile Home Fireplace
Grateful Living: Front Porches
Grateful Living: The !#*! M.H. Walls
Grateful Living: M.H. Spa Retreat
Grateful Living: My Collection on Reflections of Home

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