About The Soulful House

I see potential everywhere. In old forgotten things. In neglected items and worn pieces. I am inspired when I find these unlikely treasures, and I am happiest when transforming them to a life of new purpose. May this blog inspire your creativity and reveal the potential of ordinary things.
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The Soulful Part of the House

For the six years since I launched this blog called The Soulful House I’ve focused on the “House” part. The house is my art, my expression of creativity, the ideas I offer to anyone who’s looking for cheap or Do It Yourself options to make their house a comfortable and beautiful backdrop to daily living. I’ve shown loads of pictures, but I’m not a photographer so they aren’t amazing — and that’s the point of this post.

The Soulful part of a house is the enduring part, the part that forms and molds the people who grow there, the part that outlasts the time spent inside its walls. It’s the beautiful, the painful, the heartfelt, the crushing, the every moment spent in a place that either inspires or deadens our experience. And to this part of House I am ready to bring voice.

Somebody asked me why I do this blog. Well, I’m a writer. Blogging is writing in a modern format. Since age 7 I’ve kept journals and written poems. I write because I process my experiences in words and phrases that form in my head as constant storylines. I can’t turn it off. I wouldn’t want to. I love words. Writing is a way for me to connect to me. It’s my language. Words and pictures and story. One day I’ll write a book.

As a side effect, this blog is offered to the Seekers. Like me. Who know generally they want something but haven’t quite found their inspiration point yet. I have sought and found hundreds of enriching thoughts and ideas from bloggers, those fellow journeyers who share their intimate experiences up-close for the other souls walking this place. Their ideas moved me forward, helped me overcome some serious pain and stuck points. Also their ideas have helped me with my not-at-all-problems design problems. I want to be that for somebody else.

Real and Raw.

My Grandma died this week after 98 years of loving plants and flowers and planet beauty. I’m processing it not inside my house but outside in the gardens and porches and planted spaces. My husband brought home some ferns that he knows carry extra special meaning this week. I snapped some photos…which I’m not spending all day photo-editing and perfecting.

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A New Old Master Bathroom

The houses that inspire me are old, character-soaked, architecturally interesting and warmed with wood grains and vintage textures.

Yet I live in a house that was built in the 90s, featuring this terracotta tile master bathroom:

Bathroom Before 1

Bathroom Before 2

So when the time came to update the master bathroom I designed it with the features of age but the materials of today.


In an earlier post this year I blogged the mood board that I used to visualize the design elements of this bathroom and remarkably the final renovation stayed pretty true to that original design.


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One of the main objectives of this renovation was to make the bathroom feel as spacious as possible. The key to “enlarging” a room without increasing its size is to eliminate anything that stops your eye and visually chops up the room into compartments. We eliminated eye stoppers by:

1. Taking the tile all the way to the ceiling. This gives your eye an unbroken vertical plane to the tallest point in the room and causes the eye to perceive a taller room proportion. We did this around the shower and also the sink backsplash wall.

2. Installing a frameless glass shower. This allows your line of sight to pass through the glass and go to the farthest corner of the room without breaking the visual horizaontal plane.

3. Using the same tile in the shower floor as the rest of the bathroom floor. The continuity of the floor pattern stretches your line of sight to the entire horizontal plane of the floor, rather than boxing out the shower to a tiny compartmentalized square. This causes your eye to perceive a larger footprint of the room overall.

(Note: You need a skilled tile professional to work through the details of how to lay out and in some cases where to cut larger tiles to accommodate drainage and the floor gradation. I can highly recommend J. Spell Enterprises for this work. Jesse Spell was extraordinarily thorough in considering the layout of my patterned tile and the flow of water for best drain placement. He is also an outstanding tiler and we were absolutely pleased with the final outcome!)

4. Installing a freestanding tub. A tub that is dropped into a big tile surround box will visually remove a ton of square footage from your bathroom. Instead, take the tile all the way to the floor and install a soaking tub with a size scaled to allow peeks of the tile floor and tile wall behind it. This carries your eye all the way to the walls and corners behind your tub and makes the space look bigger. I installed a slightly smaller than normal soaking tub since I am the only one who uses it (daily!) and that size works well for me. This helped greatly to create a sensation of spaciousness around the tub.

5. Select a vanity that doesn’t touch the walls on its left and right sides. By leaving a few inches of space on either side of the vanity it creates the illusion of spaciousness. The tiled wall behind it peeks out and the tile floor beneath it is visible on those sides as well. These again carry your eye to the farthest point in the plane rather than stopping it at the front of the vanity.

IMG_4338 IMG_4331 IMG_4323 IMG_4321 IMG_4361I took the photos in this post on two different days and by the second shoot I had painted the ceiling to match the walls (another way to not break the plane visually), and I added a cotton blossom wreath above the tub and a warm wood towel rack with hooks deep enough to accommodate my thickest bath towels.

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Here are some of the product details…

Round mirrors over the sink:
Target Threshold Decorative Mirror

Wood vanity:
James Martin (But I can NOT recommend that you order from this company as their pictures did NOT match the product they shipped me and then refused to make right when the drawers could not accommodate my sink plumbing. Their customer service is terrible and we had to saw into the drawers to make them work. Also the product photos on their website did not show a distressed finished but when I received the vanity it was distressed in a fake and uniform way that was quite unconvincingly vintage.)

Soaking Tub:
Home Depot’s Ren-Wil Coral freestanding bathtub

Tub Faucet:
Signature Hardware’s Exira Deck Mount Tub faucet

Floor Tile:
Home Depot’s Merola Tile Twenties Classic 

Wall and Ceiling Color:
Sherwin-Williams’ Light French Gray

Sink Faucets & Shower Hardware:
It’s a matching set but I cannot remember from where or locate the receipt! Will update this post when I find it.

But the best thing about this bathroom, like any room in my house, is this…


I hope this gives you some ideas and some confidence that you CAN invest in the home you already have and make it a place to enjoy for a long long time.
































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Don’t Skip the Mood Board

We’ll be renovating our master bathroom this year after spending nearly all last year planning it.

So to make sure everything works together I needed to visualize all the elements in one place. That place is a mood board.

I spent a bit of time researching options for online mood board builders but evaluating and then learning those programs didn’t fit my timeline…nor my tactile preference. So instead I painted a cheap craft store canvas the dominant wall color of the new bathroom (SW Light French Gray), printed and cut out the products I’m planning to use, and laid them out and labeled them on the canvas. It’s very simple and brings everything to life.

Most important the mood board will quickly tell you if you and your partner are really aligned on the same idea!

In some cases my mood boards have gone through several iterations, but once I land on the final I can share that visualization with everyone who will be part of the renovation process.

Don’t skip the mood board! You’ll get the most out of all your planning and will ensure that you like everything you see before renovation begins.



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Master Bedroom Simplicity

I’ve never liked fussy interiors. They’re too busy for my tastes and too loud to be relaxing. Simplicity is key for me!

But I do like well-styled rooms with thoughtful high-impact touches. Today I showcase a basic builder boxy master bedroom, but with some added detail to make it pop:

- Molding work (inexpensive and just took paint, a saw and a nail gun to install) to define one of its big blank walls. Molding is painted the same color as the wall (SW Comfort Gray) to emphasize the texture of the wall without the “noise” of a contrasting color

- Interior doors painted a soft contrasting gray to highlight the entrance to the next room in a gentler way than a stark white door

- Windows that were replaced with a French door to maximize natural lighting and extend the perception of more space in the room

- Texture in the bedding but no loud patterns or high-contrast colors

- Dark walnut dresser (best Craigslist makeover ever) to warm up the gray walls (Check out the makeover post here.)

- Plain white queen sized sheets that I made into curtains (Read about how I did that here.)

- A textural chair with low profile and simple lines

I call this room “Simplicity”…

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