after and before

Before we host overnight guests I usually check around the upstairs to make sure there aren’t any spider webs or box elder bug carcasses to embarrass me later. The last time I did that the thought struck me that I’ve never taken pictures of the “after” since we remodeled the rooms once occupied by three Macy offspring and their parents, beginning in 1980. So I hurried down to get my camera before too many clouds moved in to cover the light.


This is one of the few pictures I took of the process. It was 12 years ago. You remember film, right? I didn’t take as many pictures back then, especially pictures without people in them. Dan Ritter was our friend, neighbor, and contractor for the project. Because of a narrow stairway, the only entrance for a large shower and jacuzzi tub (and, it turned out, anything larger than a double bed) was through a window.


Here’s the entrance to what was up until then one of the kids’ bedrooms. Even after all these years we don’t have a knob on the bathroom door. Makes you really want to visit us, doesn’t it?


Way back when the Macys lived in Haviland, Kansas, they lacked not only a knob but also a door on their bathroom. Margaret-Rose painted this sign for everyone’s benefit.


Since this was a transformed bedroom, I tried to make the most of what was already there. The plumbing for the toilet could fit in what was the closet and the built-in drawers could just stay put.



Dan wondered why I would want a chair rail in a bathroom, but he quietly complied. I also rebelled against textured walls, and, at least in this case, got my way.This was long before Pinterest, so I had to come up with my own decorating ideas. This one replaced wallpaper and was as simple as cutting a square sponge and eyeballing the checkered pattern. That was either very brave or very stupid. If you were me, which would you choose?





I managed to make it all the way around without too much angst. At least that’s how I remember it 12 years later.


I love color and enjoyed pulling together pieces from our combined histories to add a touch of theme. The painted wooden potty belonged to someone on my dad’s side; the shaving mug was Mauri’s (yes, he shaves); the metal curlers belonged to my first mother-in-law.


We built shelves where once a door led from the bedroom to what was the bathroom. When you have towels as part of the decor, they need to be folded in such a way that no edges show. You knew that, right?


I’m not sure everyone in this house agrees either. Let’s just not ask, OK?


This is what you do when you can’t manage to choose between color and theme.


Except for what looks like a broken mirror (it isn’t), this is my favorite of all the shots. I’m leaning way back against the window, so that must be a bit of me I see there.


Speaking of the window, this is what our guests see when they’re brave enough to leave the curtains open. I guess they figure with no doorknob, at least they can have some privacy from the outside.

Do you think that’s a real plant? Ha!

This ends the tour of our upstairs bathroom. If you saw spider webs or box elder bug carcasses, it’s not my fault!

Oh, yes, this post is titled “after and before.” The reverse order is the norm. But in this case I have only one picture of this room as a bedroom, taken when it was occupied by one of the younger three Macys. Mauri sent it to me as a way to prepare me for what I was about to get myself into as I transitioned from my Carlson years to my Macy years. In other words, his kids were in their teen years when neatness wasn’t a priority.

For the record, I had messy teenagers too.

And even though they’ve all improved in this department, I still feel the need to protect the privacy of one Macy in particular and will refrain from posting the “before” picture. And I don’t need a doorknob or curtains or a sign to know that is the right choice.

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3 Responses to after and before

  1. Craig MacDonald says:

    As a decorator, as with so many things, you’re good!

  2. Ridge says:

    As you know, I LOVE this bathroom….those are my colors, or at least some of them. I’m a color freak, so it’s hard to pin myself down to only a few. Your decorating acumen is admirable. And I never knew the story behind the “humming” sign….cute!

  3. Julene says:

    Very nice!! You have donea fine job….and taking the bathtub through the window is one sure way to get the job done! Good towel folding there! Martha would approve! Those are the company towels, right? Your color choices are quite nice…very peaceful.

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