Adventures In The Clearance Aisle

I just accidentally typed “Clearance Isle” if that tells you how badly I am ready for some warm weather. In the meantime, I’m enjoying making over our bathroom (and saving crazy $$$ – more on that in a bit!). So, while by no means done, our petite salle de bain is ready for your perusal, so let’s dive right in!

Target shower curtain

This lovely Target shower curtain that I found for $19 made me smile the moment I first saw it. For years we’ve been living with just a curtain liner because of the weird slope of our roofline. The curtain rod doesn’t extend from wall to wall, but instead curves into the interior shower wall and is supported by a hook at the corner. (see pic below) So, I basically thought that having an inner liner AND a pretty outer curtain was out of the question. But I finally realized that even though the liner needed to curve with the shower rod, the fabric could just extend to where the curtain rod bent inward. Eureka! I shortened curtain with some hemming tape so it wouldn’t puddle on the ground and then just clipped it up there. Note: on the right-hand side, I doubled the curtain back on itself a bit (putting two of the ring holes together), so it wouldn’t end up being quite so wide. (I didn’t want it extending too far into the shower that it wouldn’t lie nicely across the front when it was furled out.)

My next hurdle was figuring out what I was going to do with the shower curtain when the girls took a bath. Since it’s impossible to pull it completely to one side or the other (because of the chain that holds up the rod), it used to have to be shoved in the towel bar opposite the shower head. (quite indelicately, I may add) Well, my lovely new curtain wasn’t going to go down like that.

Target Threshold shower curtain

After looking in vain at Home Depot for some hook or metal tie back, I finally found a gold cord tie back with a tassel at Target (quelle surprise) that would work perfectly with a small hook I already had! The best part was that the tie back was only about three bucks! Here it is up close:

Target curtain tie back

Quite pretty, non? Ok, it does look a wee bit random when it’s just hanging there, not in use. But you know why I love it? Because every time I see it – I imagine using it to summon the servants that live in the basement.

Why yes. Tea IS wanted in the upstairs bathroom. Immediately.

But all fantasies aside, let’s take a look at the singular item that inspired this whole decorating frenzy, shall we?

Oh what’s that? The decorative lacquer tortoise shell, by Nate Berkus, that I was fa-lipping out over in October (in this post)??? If you can’t instantly recall how badly I was freaking out over this thing, let me refresh your memory:

Be still my beating heart. Oh my. I have a feeling this particular item will cause strife in a few married households. I’m guessing most men will not understand the allure of a decorative, faux, glossy-white tortoise shell. I would put it up on the wall, change into a tribal-print maxi dress and oversize nerdy glasses, pour myself a glass of some unpronounceable liquor and let the aura of awesomeness wash over me.

Wow. That was quite a want-at-first-sight moment. Ok, so it’s not the white version, but honey – that color sold out in our area about three months ago. Besides, I actually love the emerald-y green in the bathroom. Not only is it the Pantone color of the year, but it plays off the green tile nicely and looks fierce with the darker tones in the shower curtain while not matching perfectly. (I generally try to avoid overt matchy-matchyness if possible.)

So now there’s an enormous tortoise shell on the bathroom wall, thereby fulfilling my years-long search for an edgy, interesting, moisture-proof piece of art in the bathroom.

And I haven’t even gotten to the best part! As you can see in a couple pictures back, the list price on this beauty was $39.99. Now, that’s not exactly tons of cash, but if you are trying to save money, or are planning on decorating other rooms or if you just have lavish champagne parties to plan cereal to buy for the little ones, then that’s quite a bit to drop on one item. Well, the day I saw that the entire Nate Berkus line had gone 50% off, the girls and I made a bee line (b-line?) for the display to see if there was something irresistible. When I saw the green version of the turtle shell that I had originally fallen in love with, the vision for the bathroom took shape!

Thing is – there were two green shells left on the display, and one of them was missing most of its packaging (had obviously been opened and returned) and had a pretty noticeable scratch.

See it up there near the top on the left? I think it just makes it look even cooler – like this particular tortoise had a run-in with a great white shark. #chicksdigscars

Well, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask one of the managers if they would discount it further, so I stuck the scratched one in our cart and we made our way to the front of the store. When the manager (who was incredibly nice) came over, I just showed him the damaged section and asked if they could go ahead and mark it down to 75% off. And he said “Sure! Why not?” Then I whipped out my Target card to get an additional 5% off, and that is how I scored a Nate Berkus decorative lacquer tortoise shell for nine bucks.


We skipped on out of there, and I told the little ones, “Girls, that is how it’s done.” (Of course all of this I learned from my mother – the queen of never-pay-retail.)

 The other “big” item that was brought into the bathroom is this faux orchid that used to live in the bedroom. (can you believe it’s been a whole year since the very first bedroom makeover? Click here to reminisce.) And yes, I know that almost every designer out there abhors the use of fake plants. But you know what? I have a 2 1/2 year old and a deeply rooted desire not to lose my sanity cleaning up dirt and gravel out of our grout lines.

The kid’s mirror is still there, for now, but the toothbrushes are now housed in a container under the sink. In a bathroom this small any little piece of visual clutter makes it feel even tinier. I brought out my hot pink Missoni towel, instead of the hand towel that matches the bathmat – just to bring in a little more pattern and to emphasize the hot pink of the orchids. The lucite tray is a HomeGoods find ($4!)- I posted about its lidded container counterpart that lives downstairs here. I keep cotton swabs in the different container that you see here because of the whole avoiding matchiness thing.

So, that’s the bathroom for now! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s a peek at my room punch-list (and all that happened behind the scenes before I decided that this little room was blog worthy):

  • Patch walls and paint.
  • Prime and paint medicine cabinet frame and sink cabinet.
  • Re-caulk bathtub and sink.
  • Spray paint rusty light fixture.
  • Spray paint towel hook on back of door.
  • Swap out grungy, old faucet for a new one.
  • Install new shower curtain.
  • Find curtain tie-back solution.
  • Find large moisture-proof art piece.
  • New waste bin?
  • Small decorative piece for the wall above the light switch. Patterned ceramic plate?
  • Tray for on top of radiator for candles, etc.
  • Spray paint rusty shower caddy. White? Turquoise? Some other color?
  • New soap container? Something prettier.
  • Change out cabinet hardware.

So, suffice it to say that there’s more to come. (Isn’t there always!) I know I bounce around rooms a lot, but I don’t like to rush finding those perfect finishing details. Like the kitchen, for instance - I’m still on the hunt for valance fabric, some office-esque organization, dog-food storage etc. And when I make progress I’ll be sure to share it with you all! In fact, soon I’ll be posting a whole-house update of lists and ideas I have swirling around in my head. Check out the last über-list here.

Hope your week is off to an amazing start!


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About C.A.

I'm the daughter of a Marine and a "Bond Girl" type of mom who bestowed upon me a wealth of wisdom. I want to bring that courage, purpose, intelligence, resourcefulness, glamour and joie-de-vivre into every aspect of my life.
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8 Responses to Adventures In The Clearance Aisle

  1. Cassie Meitzler says:

    Ok first of all, the bathroom looks great (as does everything you put your magic touch on)…but I have to make an odd observation. Maybe it’s because I’m barely above elf height and have equally “petite” limbs, but it seems as though the tp holder is far away from the potty…no? Just me? Haha! Love everything you’re doing, CA! I too always seem to have a mile long list of home projects and makeovers I want to accomplish. You motivate me to start crossing items off the list at a much faster pace! Keep up the great work!

    • C.A. says:

      Haha! It does look like that. :) It’s not an issue for adults (even the most petite), but little ones need to, um, plan ahead if you know what I mean.

      Thanks for your words of encouragement! That means a lot! xoxo

  2. Hatton says:

    Love the makeover!!!

  3. Kate says:

    It’s amazing what a huge impact these few new items have made. What a great job pulling it all together! <3 that turtle shell

  4. Karen says:

    It looks SO good CA! The turtle shell is a perfect piece of art with the lovely subway tile. Your additions have made the color and tile in the bathroom really look fresh and crisp. I love it! Your rope solution for the curtain is genius, and who wouldn’t want a little ‘Downtonesqueness’ to their bathroom?!

    • C.A. says:

      Thank you thank you! The tortoise shell has made me fall in love with the green tile, and the little “servant bell cord” makes me laugh every day. :)

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