Interiors: If In Doubt, Start with the Downstairs Loo…

downstairs loo makeover

After dilly-dallying about looking at around five million wallpapers for the hallway, I have made the executive decision to have a little practice makeover session using the downstairs loo. What a great place to start! Firstly, it’s small enough that any decorating mistakes won’t be too costly and secondly, it’s not the sort of room that you really care about that much, is it?

downstairs loo makeover

I mean, it’s not as though you spend a lot of time in the downstairs loo, unless you have an upset stomach, or longer-term digestive issues, or you’re a man. (Why does it take men four times as long to do exactly the same bodily function as women? And I’m not just talking about Mr AMR, here, I’m talking about almost every single man I know. What do they do in there for crying out loud?) Answer:

downstairs loo makeover

Anyway, I’ve been looking at fancy wallpaper and have a few different websites bookmarked on my laptop. Namely Cole & Son, who are my all-time favourite wallpaper brand (my old house was almost top-to-toe Cole & Son), House of Hackney (they do amazing dramatic prints), Graham & Brown and Timorous Beasties. A new discovery, Hygge & West, also do loads of dark and broody prints that I have my eye on; I’m looking for a very dramatic pattern, you see. Something striking yet sultry, deep yet playful. Energetic.

Crikey, sounds like my ideal man.

I was going to take some before photos of the downstairs loo, but Mr AMR was very keen to get my new cabinet onto the wall so that various animals/toddlers didn’t knock it over and smash the glass, so this is a “kind of” before. To be honest, I’ll probably never get around to doing this makeover unless someone forces me to make some decisions, because I’m so tired and despondent at the moment – I can barely be bothered to change my duvet to the summer one let alone decorate! – but I thought that if I posted this up then at least I’d publicly commit myself to making a start. Wallpaper samples, mood boards, that sort of thing. Are you interested in seeing the work in progress?

botanical print cabinet

Here’s the cabinet I bought from the Graham & Green warehouse outlet  – I paid £130 for it instead of £325. Because it had no shelves. Which is something of a downer when you’re buying a shelved cabinet, I grant you, but luckily Mr AMR is handy with the saw and he knocked up some shelves and painted them in the same chalky-finish black for the grand sum of around seven pounds. To be clear, that wasn’t his fee for making them, just the cost of the wood and paint. Ha! I can’t afford his hourly rate, so luckily he does my annoying DIY jobs for free. (To be clear again, about the hourly rate, because that sounded dodgy: he’s not a gigolo, he’s a portrait photographer. I’m not even sure if he has an hourly rate, because things tend to take a whole day. I’ve gone off on an extreme tangent here and I don’t know where it might lead.)

botanical print cabinet

Where was I? Cabinet! Yes. I had been looking for a vintage-style glass-doored cabinet for a few months because as soon as we moved into this house I knew I wanted one for the downstairs loo. To put stuffed sparrows in and weird objects. I jest – I feel as though that era has passed, don’t you? In my modelling hey-dey, all of the big photoshoot locations had this quirky sort of French flea market style with taxidermy displays and bell jars filled with dried roses and moth-eaten chairs with springs boinging out of the seats. It all feels a bit circa 2003 to me now.

Though Mr AMR has just bought some old art deco cinema seats for the entrance hall for the kids to sit on when they come in through the door, so my dream of whitewashed everything contrasted with mid-century cool is fast flying out of the window!

georgian hallway

downstairs loo makeover

So, cabinet in – just need to fill it with my interesting beauty bottles, apothecary style – and next is the wallpaper. The WC fittings are already satisfactory (sink you could possibly bathe a small hippo in, toilet that has a weird golden handle on the seat and lid, God knows what that’s for) but I need a mirror, lampshade (or OTT chandelier, who knows?), a bit of artwork and some choice paperbacks for all of the men who will no doubt come and sit in there for forty minutes at a time.

downstairs loo makeover

I’ll keep you updated with my progress. Mr AMR’s knight, who has been stationed above the loo in every house we’ve lived in together, is keeping a beady eye on me. I tried to lose him in the latest move but he managed to squirrel himself away in a box of kitchen utensils. (The knight, not Mr AMR.)

You can read more interiors posts here.

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  1. Liz
    June 12, 2018 / 10:37 pm

    My boyfriend was very honest and admitted that he genuinely likes to sit on the toilet as it’s the “only time he gets to have some peace and quiet”. I think it’s so disgusting that he would rather sit in the loo with the aroma of poo than chill on the sofa. Weon’t have any kids and I don’t nag so god help me when we actually have kids hahaha xx

    • June 12, 2018 / 10:50 pm

      Haha!! Exactly – why would you want to fester in there? So weird.

  2. Lisa
    June 12, 2018 / 11:16 pm

    I love that cabinet. Baths are a great place for a dramatic print. I can’t wait to see more. I think the hygge and west link is broken.

  3. Lisa
    June 12, 2018 / 11:22 pm

    Your house is lovely! I for one like seeing any and all renovations so keep them coming.

  4. Lilly
    June 12, 2018 / 11:33 pm

    I don’t understand the loo obsession either! I’m in and out of there so quickly. Ha. Anyway, totally understandable that you’re low now, with Father’s Day approaching. Give yourself permission and time to be sad.

  5. Pen
    June 12, 2018 / 11:37 pm

    Such a great post Ruth! I love your writing x

  6. June 13, 2018 / 12:07 am


  7. Denise
    June 13, 2018 / 1:33 am

    Yes yes yes, more of this sort of thing please! Oddly enough, I’m thinking about re-doing my downstairs bath at the moment too. It’s about half the size of yours and wall-to-wall (and -ceiling, god help us) textured plaster, which I’m not about to attempt to paper, but I’m thinking a deep, somber bluish paint on walls and ceiling with some sort of reflection-throwing little chandelier would be sexy. The more camouflage the better, on old plaster…

  8. Angie
    June 13, 2018 / 9:00 am

    Yes, this! It’s always been my mantra to start with the downstairs loo in every house we’ve lived in for exactly those reasons … it’s not a room I much care about and if I want to do something wacky (decorating-wise) it’s great to experiment in there (again, with the decorating!). Very much looking forward to more renovation updates! X

  9. Ripleyvir
    June 13, 2018 / 10:41 am

    Mwahaha ! super LOL !!
    Gorgeous loo !

  10. Barb
    June 13, 2018 / 11:50 am

    Looking forward to more pictures and I love that you share all of this with us. I’m an Anglophile and enjoyed everyt single thing when visiting. Your home is lovely and what an entrance hall!! Gorgeous.

  11. June 13, 2018 / 12:29 pm

    That reminds me that our downstairs loo is in desperate need of a makeover. I mean, it is basically falling apart, which is my man always locks himself up in the main bathroom for what feels like hours.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  12. Bev T
    June 13, 2018 / 12:39 pm

    I mean who doesn’t love a bloody good tangent!

  13. Anita
    June 13, 2018 / 1:31 pm

    Ruth your link for Hygge & West links out to Escentual and the Guerlain lipstick :)

  14. Louise
    June 13, 2018 / 2:36 pm

    I’ve had my summer duvet in our bedroom for 3 weeks now and still haven’t got it on the bed! Love the wallpaper.

  15. Catherine McGee
    June 13, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    OMG I’ve been meaning to ask if Mr. AMR’s knight made it safely to the South West. Hahaha I’m glad he’s back!

    • June 13, 2018 / 5:54 pm

      Despite my best efforts, yes! : )

  16. Fe
    June 13, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    We have the Cole and sons great wave wallpaper in our downstairs loo because it seems so topical. Sadly my boyfriend seems to have used it as inspiration.

  17. June 13, 2018 / 10:03 pm

    What about French mid-century? It’s a bit more glam and has the ability to merge with a more collected/vintage/antique look?

    • June 14, 2018 / 11:14 am

      Yes, or maybe tip towards Art Deco, which seems to be the way we’re going in places! x

  18. Emily
    June 14, 2018 / 2:47 am

    This: “Where was I? Cabinet! Yes. I had been looking for a vintage-style glass-doored cabinet for a few months because as soon as we moved into this house I knew I wanted one for the downstairs loo. To put stuffed sparrows in and weird objects.” is exactly why I love following you, Ruth. You simply delight me, remain the first new video on YouTube I’ll click on, and blog I’ll read. Please (!) with the interiors/house updates! <3

  19. Lauren
    June 14, 2018 / 5:57 am

    Have a look at woodchip and magnolia wallpaper!

  20. Rach
    June 14, 2018 / 8:52 am

    I adore your house; whilst I love my house we designed and built a couple of years ago (it’s light, airy hamptons kind of look with pale grey and white everywhere on the other side of the world) I find myself looking enviously at your historic home full of old world character. So, I can’t wait to see more of the downstairs loo revamp! I’m sure it doesn’t make me weird that I want to look at other people’s loos, does it? Haha

    • June 14, 2018 / 11:13 am

      Ha, not at all. I’m so nosy. x

  21. Eliza
    June 15, 2018 / 3:43 am

    wow, your new home is beautiful! the turn key on the hallway side of the loo door, though? to lock them in? haha…how does that work? I spent a few extra minutes googly eyeing all of the molding details along the walls/ hallways/ ceilings…I want to be there! I’d love to see your work/ thought in process for the remaining decorating should you indulge us. (btw, I’m so weird, but I understand the allure of a few extra minutes of Loo Loitering! It’s not smelly when *I’m* in there heh, so the cocoon of silence is comforting and relaxing somehow.)

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