We completed so much work for our basement half bathroom addition that it would have been almost too crazy to try and fit everything into the 6 week posting schedule of the One Room Challenge. So I’m back today (and probably next week too) with some extra details of how we were able to finish the space in time. This week is all about the custom bathroom accessories, so you’ll be seeing lots of purple and antique brass!
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Now, I wish I could have brought in real antique brass for all the finishes… but guess what? It’s hard to find real antique brass accessories and hardware (and without spending a fortune). What’s even more challenging, is that each store has their own version of “antique brass” so what’s darker and grainier at one place, may be lighter and matter somewhere else.
The only real “antique brass” thing we had in our bathroom was the faucet (and the door latch/lock that I did not use), and everything else was customized with paint!
But let’s look at all the different accessories and I’ll share a bit of a how-to for them as well :)
Custom Soap Dispenser
This isn’t my first rodeo making a custom soap dispenser, and it may not be my last (why buy when you can DIY apparently?). First thing you’ll need to do is find a soap dispenser in a shape (and soap smell) that you like.
Done and done. I didn’t want to have too much antique brass paint on the soap dispenser in case the colour didn’t match the faucet (they would be right next to each other, therefore more noticeable if there was a discrepancy).
I decided to paint the silver/chrome part in antique brass, and I did a stripe of purple paint across the center of the clear part.
And that’s how I managed to make a custom soap dispenser for our bathroom!
From Brass to “Antique” Brass
The flushmount ceiling light fixture we used had an actual brass element (you can see all the options in Week 2 of my One Room Challenge posts). Sure, it was brass, but I mostly chose that one because it was so cheap (including the two lightbulbs, it was around 50$).
I really did like the original finish (it was more matte than the weird “shiny” brass of the 90s), but I decided to customize it anyways.
Using a piece of the faucet as my colour guide, I first brushed on a layer of gel stain in Early American using an old foam brush to get a grainy look. (By old foam brush, I mean one that I had let paint dry on, so it was hard).
Because you’re not supposed to actually use wood stain on metallic surfaces (it doesn’t absorb very well) I let it dry over a week. It wasn’t really as dark as I would have liked but I was getting closer to what I wanted.
I then brushed on (using the same old hard foam brush) a coat of Ebony wood stain, then quickly and carefully wiped it away (I literally only had it on long enough to take this picture).
And even though the photo above is dark and grainy, it was a much darker colour that matched the antique brass look I was going for; and I could still see the first, grainier layer of stain. I let this dry another week or so as well (okay, technically a few weeks because we didn’t install it right away).
In this picture, with the light on, you can’t really tell that it’s antique brass, but trust me – it is! I didn’t do the little upward legs of the light, but I figured no one would be able to see them.
Antique Brass Spray Paint
For the majority of the accessories and hardware that we brought in, I just had to do a quick coat or two with an antique brass spray paint.
I bought the Ikea Grundtal toilet paper holder, and a few handles for our custom Ikea vanity. The black back-to-back handles are for the sliding door, and trust me, I was so happy once I found a supplier for those types of handles, because I was thinking that I needed to hack something together myself to get handles on both sides of the door.
I also bought the Ikea Svartsjön toilet brush, a black bucket (to hold the plunger) and a black octagonal garbage bin (both from a local discount store). I taped off some areas that I wanted to keep black and left the to-be-painted areas exposed.
In case you’re new around here, I do most of my spray painting in the basement crawlspace (this part is now directly behind our new bathroom). Oh, I also painted some Ikea Ramshult brackets too. Most of the time it’s too cold to paint in the garage, so I try and spray paint right before I’m about to leave the house (so I don’t breathe too many fumes). I’ve also spray painted in the upstairs living room before, but I actually made a big mess, and thankfully it wasn’t permanent!
Once everything is dry, I simply score around the tape with a utility knife (see above in the picture with my soap dispenser) and marvel at the greatness :)
The Ikea toilet brush had two indented spaces, so I decided to do the second one as a purple stripe.
I even went “crazy” and painted the plain wood handle of the plunger, and now the brush and plunger sit in the cubby hole by the toilet! The garbage bin is in the opposite corner of the room, by the step.
I’ve had this basket for a few years now sitting unused in the closet upstairs. I had it in my bathroom in the old house (as a toilet roll holder – it’s the perfect size!) and knew I would be using it again for the same purpose.
I did give it a quick coat of antique brass spray paint but I was finding the basket was looking a little dark when it was next to the faucet. So I bought some Champagne Mist spray paint, and that seemed to do the trick to lighten it up.
It holds about 5 rolls of toilet paper, and hopefully guests should easily be able to find a fresh roll if they ever run out.
Silver to Brass
While the metal finishes on the sconces we purchased looked brass coloured online, in-person they were more silver.
I had some Metallic Inca Gold acrylic paint from many years ago, and lightly brushed on a layer to golden it a bit (the sconce metal on the right has the paint, the one on the left does not).
I don’t know how many people actually appreciate these small details, but to me – if I was going to bring something in the room it had been be purple-ized or antique brass-ified :)
Here are a few shots I didn’t share last week for the reveal, but figured I might as well now.
I almost forgot! Our towel holder is actually an old/antique brass piece. I found two of these heart-shaped handle things at the Habitat ReStore, and I knew I was going to use them in the bathroom. I had to ask the cashier what they were and that I thought they were towel hangers, and she agreed with me – so that’s what they are now (we only installed one though).
Oh, and I think all bathrooms should have night lights (so you don’t have to turn on the light and blind yourself in the middle of the night). I’ve had this Febreze dual scented plugin light sitting unused for a few years now, and I couldn’t wait to set it up! It currently has my favourite smell (clean laundry) and our entire basement smells LIKE HEAVEN. (I also just bought this scent so I can’t wait to try it out too).
I installed the Ikea Grundtal toilet roll holder upright (so much easier to change, and there’s no chance that some crazy frantic toilet paper user could knock it off while grabbing some) and it’s just within reach of the toilet so you don’t have to awkwardly twist sideways to reach it (and yes, it is that close to the door – our bathroom is super tiny!).
I also made a little box frame (and painted it purple) to hide the plumbing pipe coming from the floor. That way you don’t see any “unfinished” areas in the room (okay yes, I still need to finish the baseboards and do all the caulking) but you get the point :)
Finally, if you’re a real Madness and Method blog reading fanatic, you may remember this little starfish as the same one from the bathroom upstairs. I painted the frame purple and I find it’s the perfect accessory to center my two high school paintings.
If you took away anything from this post – it’s that you don’t have to be limited to the accessories and finishes you find in the store. You can customize almost anything using spray paint, regular paint or even stain, and often times you’ll save money by not having to buy the expensive “real” versions. Heck, you may even save time (even with all the labour involved) compared to spending countless hours trying to find the perfect thing.
(I hope you didn’t take away that I am a crazy person who is obsessed with things matching… but if you did, well I guess you wouldn’t totally be wrong haha!)
So go crazy too and make your own custom bathroom accessories – just add paint!