Wednesday, February 11, 2009


By technical definition, a sanctuary is a sacred place such as a church, temple or mosque. Throughout history, these holy places have provided a refuge, a place where fugitives were immune to arrest. Thus, sanctuary came to be commonly understood as referring to a place to seek refuge or asylum.

I think everyone should have a sanctuary in their home. Especially mothers of young children. How many of you have been forced to take phone calls in the pantry or hide in the laundry room with your book? You would think that the one place we could find sanctuary is in our bathrooms. After all, who would want to join us for that most private and unflattering of times?

(Pause for the collective snort of parents ‘round the world)

In our house, we have two full bathrooms. Ours and theirs. We redid theirs shortly after we moved in eight years ago, because it was beyond hideous and was the facility that guests and visitors would use. Ours is tiny, tucked away in the corner of our bedroom. Just your basic shower, toilet, sink. It was the only room in our house that we had not spent a dime to improve in all those years. Until now.

Now that my children are old enough to be embarrassed rather than attracted to the sensory offerings that I make in the bathroom, the time finally came when I could claim the the space as my own. My sanctuary. A place where I can be alone with my thoughts or my book or my pretty toiletries.

Behold, my sanctuary. My place to seek refuge.

What was it we were saying about the asylum?



From the shower, before:

And after:

I took daily photos during the project, except for two undocumented days when I was too traumatized to take a photo. The first was when it was pointed out that if one was so inclined, one could push one’s finger clear through the pipe meant for the toilet. I do so wish I had a photo of the plumber and his jackhammer tearing that beeeyach right up.

The second traumatic day was the one when my beautiful vanity was installed. I rushed home on that day, knowing it had gone in and so excited to see the glory. I was… disapPOINTed (channel Kevin Kline opening the safe in A Fish called Wanda) to see that it looked like crap. It was way too deep; we had measured up and down the thing, but apparently not across. Or into. Or whatever. The door barely closed. The beast took over the entire room and covered the whole beautiful floor, and you couldn’t even see the pretty open shelving on the bottom where I had planned to put baskets that would cover up the exposed pipes. This thing was going to have to go back. Thinking of pipes, I looked down to see that holy shit he cut the vanity to fit around the pipes now I can’t take it back!!! Followed by: And he cut the box apart and left the pieces out in the rain! That was a bad night, I was tortured by creeping internal dialogue (monologue? soliloquy?) of“it will be fine” vs “fine is not good enough”.

In the clear light of morning, I made the executive decision that it had to go, which meant that a new vanity had to be found that very day, and I would have to hope for the best with returning the molested one. I won’t bore you with the details of how many stores I visited that day during work hours (8), but I found one. The one you see in the photos (duh). And it’s great.

And it could be that when you shove a dismantled, slightly ruined vanity into the back of your SUV next to booster seats and lunchboxes and soggy cut up boxes and Styrofoam, and bat your blue eyes at the returns clerk while lamenting the innocence that has been stripped of you by the big, bad, worker man; maybe just maybe the retail world takes pity on you and gives you all your money back.

I'll put it right back into this troubled economy though, don't worry. It might take some time, I find myself uncharacteristically careful with my purchasing decisions! I spent nearly three hours going back and forth between Anthropologie and Restoration Hardware the other day, and I came home with one whole glass and one teeny blue dish for my rings. My silly husband keeps trying to put ugly things like razors and toothpaste in there, but I cast them quickly adrift. I need a clean palette just a little while longer.....

Click below to see the daily photos.



Nancy said...

Came out great!

I love the dog ... christening his new water bowl!

Me, You, or Ellie said...

A sacntuary with water for visitors -- perfect.

Nice room, Jacquie! I like the blue walls, and the smaller vanity, and the floor. Oh, and the shower too. You must be so happy with this well deserved change.

Maybe the prospect of utilizing your new sanctuary will get the Westy pointed (and moving) westward.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, Jaquie, it's beautiful! I cannot quite believe it. I love the shower tiling, and the floor. And the comode, and the tp holder, and the glass shelf. And the faucet and the vanity and the mirror. Gorgeous! You must be over the moon with joy.

And I love your comment, Beth. We miss Jacquie and her kids (and her Bill) desperately, but it's the loo that's going to get us back out to San Diego.....


Autumn said...

I LOVE IT!! You have great taste J!

Pickles and Dimes said...

That photo with the kids and dog is classic.

I love the vanity and the paint color - pretty!

NucMEd is Hot said...

It turned out beuatiful! I really love the vanity

KathyR said...

That first photo may be one of the funniest in Internet History. Are you working on your alternate sanctuary now?

Anonymous said...

Love the blue walls and the dark vanity... nice! Remodeling always has a wrench thrown into the schedule here and there. We did the entire first floor of a house once which included a bathroom and a kitchen... 18 months.... ugh. But the payoff was sooo worth it.

The Blue Ridge Gal

Kathi D said...

Good call on replacing the vanity when it wasn't what you expected. I have taken the other route before, "Oh well, it's too much trouble to change it now, we'll make do" and it sticks in your craw forever.

It looks great!