diy: gettin’ twiggy with it

decorating with twigs

Super Storm Sandy: Check.

Power back on: Check (though it has flickered several times, in fact twice while I was trying to post this, and many in our area haven’t gotten it back AT ALL yet.)

Internet, Phone and TV Service finally restored: Check, check and check.

Price-gouged gas in the car, obtained by waiting in medium-long and tension-filled lines: Check.

Nasty Nor’Easter kicking up a lot more wind last night and a dumping of snow significant enough that Rob’s commute home took three hours and meant he couldn’t get up the moderate hill by our house: Check and check, plus sigh.

Lots of twigs and branches strewn all over the place making a mockery of our already-leaf filled yard (but feeling VERY thankful that no full trees came down on us this time – again, many of our neighbors were not so lucky): Check.

Just in case you suddenly find yourself with lots of twigs and branches laying around, I thought I’d share a twig-centric DIY project Rob and I did in our guest bath when we first moved in. (Of course, there are issues FAR more serious than fallen twigs here in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area, but we try to look on the lighter side here at the home tome…you know, lemons/lemonade, though of course that particular bev doesn’t exactly seem seasonal right now…)

Our house was built in 1965 and the bathrooms are still pretty much stuck in this era. Although the guest bath has a newish pedestal sink and a newish toilet, the tile work and bathtub are an old-school color that could best be described as…well, mushroom (And while I’d usually use this word as a compliment, that is not the case, here.)

Mushroom tiles and tub

Sure, we intend to update both this and our master bath when we can, but I suspect it will be a while. In the mean time, we were inspired by a branch-covered shower curtain we picked up at CB2 a few years ago: we wanted to give this bathroom a modern yet natural vibe and try to distract away from some of the more dated aspects.

cb2 branch shower curtain

Our property boasts lots of old trees, which means that even when a hurricane hasn’t swept through we have a surplus of fallen branches and twigs year round. I gathered together some handsome ones. Then I sprayed a light coating of craft enamel on them to prevent shedding over time, and to protect them from those steamy conditions.

I configured them the way I wanted then Rob attached them to the wall with short pieces of wire. He poked one end of the wire on one side of the twig and poked the other end on the other side, so that the wire acted almost like a round staple.

installing twigs

Next, we interspersed some sand dollars my mother in-law found on the beach at Cape Cod.

sand dollar

Finally, I added a few small mirrors I picked up from Target. These reflect the branches from the shower curtain across the room. And voila! Twiggy Guest Bath Installation. All for under $10.

Twiggy Guest Bath

Since then, I must confess that I have bravely foraged in our yard for other decorative reasons. I’ve made bouquets out of weeds and used fallen leaves for dining table centerpieces. I just hope I don’t get out of hand with this newfound practice: if, for example, you see me gathering grass clippings, please make sure I’m not planning on weaving a bathmat out of them, or something!


Hope any readers who were affected by Sandy are getting back to normal now or will soon. Times like these certainly remind us how fragile our infrastructure is and how important our friends are. Thank you to Sara, Kevin and Nora over at Shmooples for eggs-n-internet right after the storm. And all my best to Katie and Ira at Rock and Roll Yogi who literally had a gigantic tree fall on their kitchen and ON THEM while cooking what I am sure were some excellent brussel sprouts: May you come out of this nightmare with the kitchen of your dreams!

21 replies

  1. I love it when homeowners “branch out” with their home design! (hee hee)
    Love the mirrors and creative use of the twigs. I have always loved how organic they look in the home… .whether in a vase or on the wall. LOVE IT!

    So happy to hear you guys have electricity. It definitely makes you appreciate all the luxuries we have today. Glad you’re almost through this mess. Hang in there!

    • Cheap AND creative!! It’s really a beautiful combo. Yeah, I heard the holidays are coming – I guess I better get on that…they will be here before we know it! I did notice some stray pinecones out there that could be up-cycled…

  2. So glad to hear from you! I’ve been wondering how you guys fared from Sandy. I’m glad it wasn’t worse for you.. But.. Wow. What a time, huh?
    By the way, (you mentioned bathmats) have you ever seen those living bathmats? (made of moss).. I could totally see you with one of those. 🙂 Sorry if I’ve brought them up before, they’re just so ..weird. But cool.

    • Yup we are okay here, a few days without power sure makes you take stock (and gives you a chance to fully start over in your refrigerator – that was a good thing!)

      I like the sound of those moss bathmats…thanks for hot tip, will investigate. 🙂

  3. getting TWIGGY with it! get it?! ha. of course you do. love it. and i LOVE the branches and mirrors in your bathroom.
    glad you survived sandy. shwew. can’t even imagine.

    • Yup, we are gettin twiggy with it and jiggy with it over here! 🙂 Yes, we are safe and sound…now back to normality…at least until the next storm – this is our third big windstorm since being in our house – something is DEFINITELY going on with the climate…

  4. I had wondered how you fared!! No power is bad, but you’re lucky to not have had any damage! We were without power for less than a day– which isn’t even a hardship, more like an enforced break from technology. (Although that would have gotten ugly after around 24 hours with no heat or hotwater.)

    Glad you and your house are okay. The bath is charming! I really like those little mirrors. I’m trying to think of something I could do with them!

    • Thank you! Well, after seeing YOUR elegant and significant bathroom reno…our little installation/distraction seems like a little piece of scotch tape or something! 🙂 I think it will be a few years before we tackle anything extensive in there…several other projects on the list before that…

      Yup, the no internet (or TV) was definitely eye-opening for us. It was good in that it underscored how much we are overdoing it on a regular basis, but it was really weird and hard to not be getting info – we kept driving around in our car in order to check out local damage for ourselves, listen to the radio and charge our cell phones (little did we know there would be a gas issue in a few days, woops!!)

    • Thanks Paprika! It was a fun and easy project. Glad to hear that you are getting back to normal as well – You were without power for a long time! And with some cold temps…Let’s hope this stormy, super-windy weather is not a trend….fingers crossed! 🙂

  5. Just discovered your blog while searching for bathroom re-do ideas – your tile and tub are identical to those of a bathroom in my current home built in 1964. I agree they are strange colors to work with indeed! I think the tub is by Crane and the color is called “Suntan” but mushroom definitely is more appropo. i tried to match the tan in the tile with a Sherwin Williams paint swatch book once and it matched a color called something akin to “Boring Beige”. You did a great job giving your bathroom an updated vibe! Very inspiring!

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