Have you ever noticed that you call different friends for different things?

There are the friends you call because you think of something funny and you love to hear their laugh.

There are the friends you call when your car breaks down by the side of the road and it’s midnight and you left home wearing slippers because you were just running out to get milk.

There are the friends you call when you discover that Chip and Joanna have a new show on HGTV because you know they’ll scream with you.

There are the friends you call when you need to read someone a blog post because you know they will silently laugh in all the right places and not interrupt (Ashley…I’m looking at you).

And then?

There are the friends you call for a little sunshine and conversation and they stop by your house with all of that….

….and the missing piece of a design puzzle.


The puzzle started here.

I know what you’re thinking.  I can see you shaking your head and quirking your eyebrow and saying to yourself.

Girl…that’s a lot more than a puzzle.

That’s a hot mess.

This is the before of the bathroom at the Gatehouse.  If you are new here and haven’t been introduced to the Gatehouse yet, it’s the little house that sits at the entrance to our driveway that functions as my office.  It’s where I write my books.  It’s where I dream.  It’s where I create.  It’s where I plan DIY projects for this blog.  It’s where I sit on the couch and wonder why all the baseball games are rained out.

This is what the bathroom looked like when we bought it.

We cleaned it up and cleaned it out and got a new toilet and sink and pretty much left it like this.  I already spent all my bathroom budget on craft supplies and most of the time I just used it to store extra paint and brushes and assorted project left-overs. Just between us, most of the time I kind of forgot it was even there.

Until last week.

Last week I got all inspired and full of energy and sold some stuff at a yard sale and had about $127.42 to spend on the room.

And now?

The bathroom looks like this.

Now in complete disclosure, the sink and toilet were replaced several years ago.

But the rest of the budget breaks down like this:

shelf:  $12 from the local auction

rug:  $14

shower curtain:  $22

shower curtain rings:  $10

mirror:  $12

folding mirror:  $10/ikea

shower curtain rod:  $6

baskets:  $18 ($9/each)

light fixture:  $22

wall decor (already owned)

paint:  left over from another project SW Repose Gray

total:  $126

That leaves $1.42 for a sweet tea on the ride home.

I love how it turned out.

It’s so clean and pretty and shiny now.

I think my favorite thing is this bookcase.  I bought it when I bought the windmill at our local auction and it was still hanging around looking for a wall.  So it was painted it up and decorated with random soap and magazines.

It’s really skinny so it fills up the wall without taking up too much space.

But when we finished the bathroom and everything was painted and fluffed and folded and cleaned up, I realized…

…one thing was missing.

It just lacked one more thing to make it perfect.

It needed a vase for flowers for the top of that bookcase.

I started with a milk glass vase.


It was too tall.

I tried a glass vase.

Too clear.

I tried a brass holder.

Too shiny.

It was a vase design puzzle was staring me in the face without an answer.

And then?

My sunshine friend showed up with an answer.

She stopped by for laughter and joy and hours of conversation and heart-sharing together…

….and brought along this vase.

And not just any vase.

The perfect, wonderful, amazing, glorious vase.

It’s the perfect height and the perfect shape with the cutest gold dots on the rim.

Puzzle solved.

Good thing she read my mind.

Good thing she knows how to solve design dilemmas.

Good thing she’s a friend who shows up with sunshine and vases.

Good thing.

I had already spent all my money on sweet tea. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Ellen Ellen

    Everything about this bathroom is just so peaceful! The colors, the styling, and yes, that vase is perfect! Thanks for sharing the budget breakdown. It's always so encouraging to me to see how much can be changed even with a small budget.

  2. Image for Pam Pam

    Your bathroom looks amazing. I love your decor style. Also, love that you find things at auctions, flea markets and yard sales and turn them into amazing pieces. What a vision you have.

  3. Image for Carrie Carrie

    This room is as sweet as your friend, and tea...lovely pictures to look at on a rainy Pittsburgh morning...I know I've said it before, but I do LOVE how you photograph things~ you can turn items into art.

  4. Image for Stephanie Stephanie

    I so need you in my neighborhood! But so glad I have you in my mornings. Super impressed by that bookcase right of the bat! Perfect fit and never saw one so skinny! Too funny we moved from country back to my little hometown. But we do have a McDonalds! So years after no drive thrus close I pretty well keep the windows here busy. Yes and get one thing n they know me as soon as I hear my voice. Minnie Mouse like it is you know. I get a large drink with extra ice. Truly addicted! Sonic's ice too! But I keep me on their toes as I am a bit wild mix up y drinks you see. Depending on day, a Diet Dr Pepper is needed or yep half and half sweet tea. I know how much you do down to the penny like you do. Been known to be trying to clean dimes with a napkin so they are not so sticky too! Haha You truly are my soul sister! Keep writing!

  5. Image for Taste of France Taste of France

    Great job! Nice and bright. It's amazing what some paint can do. And a few other changes. I am always amazed at how my friends can give me just the right thing. I guess they know me like your friends know you.


    Oh my golly. When I saw the first pic of the bathroom, I was like, what the cuss? But because I knew it was you, I knew the rest of the pictures would be glorious. And they were! You never let us down. Beautiful. Looks like that friend has great taste too.

  7. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I love the frame above the toilet! What's the story there? Beautiful bathroom for a beautiful lady!! :) Psst . . . MONDAY!!!

  8. Image for jae jae

    Amazing transformation! Especially considering your budget. And your friend's gift is so perfect on the bookcase. Friends are true blessings.

  9. Image for Carol Carol

    I love the look of your bathroom. I have a wall like yours and I need more storage in the bathroom. I have been looking for a small cupboard and never even thought of a book shelf!! Great idea! And I have lots of baskets, and I think I will spray some of them in the same color. Maybe purple since that would match my shower curtain. Love your blog!! Carol

  10. Image for Charlotte Lindsay Charlotte Lindsay

    What an amazing space you have and an even better friend. I really love having all white bathrooms, it makes the space feel larger and clean, which is extremely important for such an oasis space. The home decor you chose also nicely compliments the space, modern yet rustic.

  11. Image for Bonnie Bonnie

    What an amazing transformation! Aren't friends just the best? I'm so glad that the Lord puts them in our lives.

  12. Image for gina gina

    Here's to friendship! It makes life sweet! You are so blessed to have so many friends and we are blessed to have you!

  13. Image for PJ PJ

    I love what you have done with the gatehouse bathroom and that you have done it with a realistic budget. So fresh and clean...

  14. Image for Rosalie McCreary Rosalie McCreary

    Great bathroom. Personally I love more color! And I love flower vases...I immediately homed in on this one your friend brought ...did she make it? I just love it. Gives me ideas to make one of my own!!! St Vinnie's here I come! Thanks for bringing some sunshine into a dull, grey Sunday morning in West Bend, Wisconsin. Have a great rest of your weekend.

  15. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    Love how the Gatehouse bathroom was transformed.....so fresh and pretty!! You really are a rock star if you did all of that on that "yard sale budget"!! :) Blessings sweet friend.....

  16. Image for Elisabeth Elisabeth

    It looks lovely! That's funny. We do have certain friends we call upon for different things. Everyone has their own special place in our lives.

  17. Image for Kate Kate

    I'm pretty positive I know the artist of that beautiful white and real gold dots vase. Her trademark show be on the bottom AA.

Comments are closed.