Many, many moons ago, I bought a cane clothes hamper for my bathroom from a second-hand charity shop for about $10.
It was a bit different and a bit funky. Back then, it still had a thin layer of varnish, so it didn’t look quite so aged.
I remember being a teenager and having no car, having to lug it to the train station, then carry it on the train, then lug it to my house. I remember it also being heavy (probably groceries). I’m sure I looked like an idiot, but I was pretty proud of one of my first homeware purchases.
Fast forward seventeen or so years (wow, I’ve had that a good long time!), and it is still doing the job. It is still structurally sound, and (this part is a bit of a miracle) we still have the lid!
More often than not, the lid lives at the bottom of the basket because we’re all too lazy to, you know, put the lid on.
So today I want to give my old, trusty clothes hamper a bit of a revamp. The way it is now fits in just fine with the ‘natural materials’ theme of our bathroom, but the colour of it next to our as yet unfinished vanity just doesn’t quite go. (One day, one day! we shall have drawers in our vanity . . .)
I’ve hummed and ha-ed over what to do with it.
Stain it? Holy bejeepers, can you imagine the work involved in that? It’d need to be completely stripped of those last vestiges of varnish to get an even coverage, and I just don’t have the patience to get in between the weave of the cane. No deal.
Paint it? More promising.
But what colour? We don’t know yet what will be the ‘pop’ of colour in the bathroom. And even if we did, painting this that ‘pop’ colour would probably be just too much. It is, after all, a modestly sized bathroom. And this hamper is not exactly slim-line.
So, black it is. Black goes with everything, including a black bathroom. Perhaps down the track when we know what our ‘pop’ will be, I’ll hand-paint a few rows of weave that colour. Maybe.
To begin, the hamper needed to be emptied. Which means I had to do some washing. Booooring. You don’t need to see our washing pile . . .
I then gave it a good blast with the gurney to get it nice and clean. I have no idea when it was last cleaned, but it certainly hasn’t been in the last seventeen years. Come on, when was the last time you cleaned your clothes hamper?
As you can see, we set it up in a professional spray-booth fashion, on an old outdoor chair.
I put the chair over an area of dirt that has had grass seed on it for a few weeks, waiting for rain to give it a good soaking and a chance of life. I had anticipated the spray from the gurney would saturate the area, but it really only wet under the chair. Oh well. Let’s see if grass grows there in the next couple of days.
Here’s our trusty old Karcher gurney (it could do with a good cleaning, too!). It has seen us through several years of cleaning decking and external walls.
You simply hook it up to water and power, give it a few seconds to build pressure, then Bob’s yer uncle. It comes with a few different nozzles as well as a round wire brush attachment. It also has a compartment for detergent or sugar soap or bleach or whatever, to add to the water as it’s blasting out. We’ve actually never needed to use that – the pressure is good enough to blast off gunk.
See this white goop?? I have no idea what it is. Looks and peels off kinda like old chewing gum. Maybe it’s aged toothpaste? Your guess is as good as mine. To be honest, I’ve never noticed it before today, so I’ve no idea how long it’s been there. Gross.
The gurney cleaned it right off.
Anyway, once the basket was completely dry, I used the Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint we used to revamp our bedside lamps (part one and part two).
This did take a bit of time. I thought I could use the leftover paint from the bedside lamp job. Well, I did, but there wasn’t enough left to cover everything. So Mr Hammer bought another can. Covered.
Then I turned it upside down . . .aaaand had to go out and buy another can. So painting it cost about 3x more than buying it.
It’s the weave, you see. If I hadn’t had to get right in close and spray the inner weave pieces that just didn’t get touched by a good soaking on the outside, it would have used a lot less paint.
Thankfully, because of the weave, it was very forgiving of close-up over-spray. No drip marks. The excess paint just kinda settled over the curves.
I really love that subtle gold/brown (um – bronze?) speckle.
When the hamper was almost finished, I was giving the bathroom a bit of a clean out and spied the bathroom bin.
Sometimes I do wonder why we even have a bin in there – if the kids even think of putting their bathroom rubbish in the bin (as opposed to the vanity bench or the floor), it’s usually just tossed in the general direction of the bin . . .
The bin I purchased was an aborted attempt to turn our old laundry room from ‘functional’ into ‘cozy country style’. The bin is about as ‘country’ as it got – which is to say not at all.
So even though the weave is different, I decided to give it a once-over, too.
Voila! A brand new clothes hamper, that is at least seventeen years young and a new-look bin. Close enough to call it a matching set, right?
I quite like wielding a can of spray paint. I’m sure I could have been a graffiti artist in another life.
It’s pretty cool that such a simple project can really upgrade a space. The ‘old’ cane basket was perfectly functional, but as you could see in the closeup further up this post, it had definitely seen better days. It just looked old and ratty. Now, it looks bloody great! Sure, it’s not some high-priced basket, and the cans of paint to give it new life cost more than the basket itself, but we’re happy with the result.
. . . And, of course, it will look even better once the vanity has drawers, and the bathroom looks a bit more finished.
On a related note, Mr Hammer’s lovely sister and her husband gifted us a very cool Kokedama plant this past weekend.
This will be hung in the bathroom (not in front of the clothes basket).
I may, may even find out how to make more . . . No promises. 😉 But I’m kinda figuring at this early stage and no research on the topic, that the concept may work for bulbs, like tulips or jonquils?
Anyway, I understand that the general moisture within a bathroom helps to keep succulents hydrated enough to not need to worry so much about actually, you know, watering it (even though Kokedamas are low-maintenance as it is).
In fact, having received this gift has boosted decor ideas for the bathroom. So stick around to find out what decorative ideas are a-brewing in our heads!