Last week, I shared pictures of what our Psycho bathroom decorations ended up looking like after we moved from Toronto to St. Catharines, and no, it did not look good. But it wasn't really the fault of the decor itself (well, maybe a little), but more to do with the fact that the bathroom was partially unfinished and painted a very dull, cold gray color.
So now it gives me great pleasure to share pictures of what I was able to do once I removed the Psycho influence and simply let the room tell me what it wanted to be.
After our wedding in Las Vegas, Niki and I travelled across the desert to honeymoon in Los Angeles for a full week. On our second day in L.A., we decided to visit the La Brea Tarpits, which was a lot of fun, but what we hadn't counted on was discovering that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) was located right next door.
Even better, they were featuring an exhibit of Salvador Dalí's most famous surrealist drawings and paintings as well as screening the animated Dalí/Disney collaboration Destino.
It really was just dumb luck that we happened to stumble across this treasure trove of highly-influential surrealist artwork, so obviously we jumped at the chance to see it all up close. Because it was so unexpected, it remains one of the best experiences (among quite a few) from our L.A. trip.
A few days after our anniversary this past year, I started looking around for possible Christmas presents and came across a few different Dalí-inspired "soft clocks." I grabbed one with the intention of simply giving it to Niki as a small reminder of our visit to the LACMA, but when I went around the house trying to figure out where such a clock would be most appropriate to place, I eventually discovered that the layout of our unfinished bathroom had the potential to be recreated as a Dalí-esque dreamscape.
The biggest challenge for me was to renovate the bathroom without giving away what the end result was going to look like.
Without all the accessories and decorative touches, I was able to keep Niki guessing while I redid the linoleum floor, added a chair rail and tub surround frame, as well as painting both the walls and ceiling.
I should also give a shout out to my father for helping me out with the plumbing. While removing the toilet to lay down the new linoleum, the shut down valve was damaged and without his help putting in the replacement, I never would have gotten it working again. Thanks Dad!
Niki had a few interesting theories about what I had planned. Her two top guesses were either a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas/Ralph Steadman-style decor (not a bad idea really, and if we ever tire of the Dalí decor in the future, I might switch it up to look like that) or a Super Mario Bros. inspired desert world (also a pretty good concept, especially how I'd colored the exposed brick, but I think that would be better suited for a kid's room). Amazingly, she never guessed what I truly had in mind . . .
. . . which was to try and recreate what could arguably be considered Dalí's most famous painting, The Persistence of Memory, as a three dimensional environment.
I'll admit that not everything turned out exactly as I'd hoped (the custom soft clock towel set is a little rough around the edges), but all in all I was still very pleased with the end result.
I replaced the robe hook with a proper towel ring and switched out the rusty air vent register with a nice chrome finished replacement.
With that chore done, all of the fixtures finally came together in a complete, unified style.
Although another of Dalí's paintings, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory wasn't featured at the LACMA exhibit . . .
. . . I chose to include it to really bring out the exposed brick from the old chimney. What had been an ugly oversight in the unfinished version of the bathroom now feels like a deliberate and well-thought out inclusion to the overall design.
In The Persistence of Memory, one clock sits face down on the shelf and is covered with ants, so I decided to recreate that part of the image on the chrome wall outlet covers.
I used enamel model paint so that, once cured, they could be wiped clean without any worry of the paint ever smudging.
The "fading creature" in the painting was a simple thing to recreate. I picked up a sheepskin rug at Ikea, cut one corner off the top, restitched it to the bottom and hand-embroidered the sleeping eyelash with a bit of black yarn.
One amazing thing about how this bathroom is laid out is what I call the Mystery Spot. Because of how the mirrors are positioned, someone standing in just the right place sees not just a reflection but a double reflection, resulting in a near perfect doubling of the room. I hung both art prints, one on the wall, the other on the back of the door, to maximize their visibility in the mirror's reflections.
I didn't want the room to come off as too serious or "artsy fartsy", so I also added the border sign to Wackyland, featured in the Warner Bros. cartoon short Dough For The Do-Do, which was greatly influenced by the works of Dalí.
I was also lucky enough to find a rare old McDonald's Happy Meal toy (for children three and under) that featured Go-Go Do-Do in a bathtub. The perfect tub toy for a bathroom inspired by the works of Salvador Dalí!
I gave the art prints, accessories and decor finishes to Niki at Christmas so that she could discover what had been planned for the bathroom all at once. To top everything off, I dropped a couple bucks and got a Blu-ray/DVD player and found a copy of the now "vaulted" Walt Disney Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 2 Movie Collection on Blu-ray so we would be able to watch Destino whenever the mood strikes us.
As Go-Go Do-Do would say, "It's been surreal!"
- ▼ 2012 (27)