DIPLO HOME: Jakarta Guest Bathroom

During the long Idul Fitri holidays TD and I decided to do some spring cleaning. We assigned two half days to do it and boy did we underestimate the time needed to do this! Since I wanna celebrate small victories and get me motivated to tackle the other rooms I am sharing our victory over out Guest Toilet & Bath. I wish it could look like a magazine and be minimalist but as I’ve learned from 101 Grams of Eyecandy and OC Mom in Manila, the more important thing is for it to be organized. There is beauty in organization itself. And those magazine spreads aren’t so realistic or lived in.

*Note: photos using iPhone used Camera+, Instagram, Picfx filters. Other pictures were taken with a Canon D500. 

Let me start by saying that there were challenges while decorating our temporary rented home…

  1. We can’t drill holes or make permanent changes
  2. We live in an old building which has old fashioned hardware (knobs, toilet paper holder, etc.) and old fashioned style (I really don’t like the weird-shade-of-pink tiles) – renovating is not an option
  3. The sink is so old and the plunger is busted + the mirror is plastic (not glass!) mirror so it’s sorta peeling in the back.
  4. The wooden door frames, especially this bathroom, is being eaten by termites. They even jumped to my pretty baskets and my woven sea grass laundry hamper so I had to have them incinerated.
These are the things that I really couldn’t change. We’ve asked our landlord to at least take care of the termites but once we’ve paid our 1 year upfront rent (this is standard in Jakarta) he really couldn’t care less. So this is me just trying my best with what I have.
This is how my toilet used to look – all cleaned up and ready for a party. This is of course the sanitized version of our guest T&B, but on a regular day it was a mess.
We wanted to organize and declutter but still be able to maximize and live in the space. I got a partially open solid recycled teak shelf made by Danni that let us use the vertical space. Because it is open it doesn’t crowd the room or make it look small. It’s also important not to fill up each shelf completely so you can still see the wall behind.

I love the beach and this room has a beach & travel theme. Magnolia Candle VINOTI, glass holder IKEA, sand from INFORMA and pebbles from a gardening store by the side of the road.  

For easy reach, I placed out travel and language books and extra rolls of toilet paper on the bottom shelf. I also have a clear vase with charcoal to absorb smells. This is useful here because for some reason, our pipes sometimes emit a foul odor. My other friends complain of the same thing happening to them in their bathrooms too – whether their buildings are new or not.  When this happens I recommend using a non-toxic homemade solution to pour down the drain, but we just need something to absorb the smell as well.African male and female masks brought by my brother-in-law when he visited us last June 2012.  I used 3M command painting hanging hooks from ACE Hardware to mount them on the wall.

Our IKEA stepladder perfectly fits into the space between the shelf and the magazine rack. It great as a side table and easy to pull out when we need to use it. Double purpose really works for us because of our limited space.

A clock is useful to have in the bath. More beach elements in a coconut husk candle and a capiz tray for the extra toilet paper rolls.The teak shelving  unit has 3 drawers. 2 shallow and 1 deep with adjustable dividers (also in solid teak). I placed extra towels, candles and other supplies inside them for easy access when we have guests over.These vases have been taking up space in the closet while being stores. Display storage is double purpose and makes excellent use of space. Just store similar items together so it doesn’t look cluttered.

* ANTI-DUST TIP: If you’ll notice I placed cling wrap on the mouthes of the vases. This is to keep out dust. So we don’t have to keep on cleaning the vases every time we need to use them. When there are visitors I can just remove the cling wrap, but it’s not that noticeable because it’s clear. It’s kinda crude but it lessens the cleaning work!

More dual purpose items:

  • Indonesian fishermans basket with sack cloth = Decor + basket for used hand towels
  • Ladder = decor + place to hang hand towels (or even visitor’s towels and belts)

Luckily there was already a screw in this side of the wall so I used it to hang this wooden carving artwork. Birdcages are big here in Indonesia and I love this modern keepsake. I think the caged bird and the free bird looking at each other is poignant evokes emotions. I got this at a great price from Vinoti Living as well.

To make the items we use daily look more organized, I used different trays and containers to contain them and define their space. So from cluttered bottles on a sink they looked neater and… well… more organized!

I used this flat tray beside the sink  for

  1. Liquid soap in my favorite Bath & Body scent, Warm Vanilla Sugar
  2. Oil diffuser in my favorite home scent, Potentilla Manila’s Tea Party
  3. And a shell from Phuket

The tray is built specifically for bathroom use and is from IDEKO Plaza Indonesia.

TD likes to use the guest bath for shaving, so his stuff are also organized on and IDEKO tray & his shaving stuff on this shell tray from VINOTI. 

* TIP: To look and feel more organized, tidy up messy wires by using a combination of 3M Command strips (how I attached the lamp switch to the tiles), plastic ties and other wire organizers to stick them on the wall. If they are stuck to the wall instead of laying around surfaces it’s easier to clea, the surfaces are clear and don’t become dust magnets.  I get mine from ACE Hardware and just try to make sure that the ties are the same color as the wires so it looks neat.

To have a guest bath that doesn’t only look good but also functional, I placed these removable hooks behind the door (aside from the ladder) for convenient hanging of clothes, towels, etc. I got these from True Value Rockwell Philippines and they are really useful especially if you are only renting like we are. It’s so easy to use and no drilling or assembly necessary. Just hang and use!

I hope you found this post useful. I would love to hear other tips for a good-looking yet functional guest toilet! Drop me a line below and share your ideas!



Lovely comments

  1. Cheryl says

    I love your posts on interior decoration. After living here for 10 months, I’m still clueless as to where to shop for these nice funky stuff. I remembered when I was living in Manila, the AWA bazaar was where I had to go to buy most stuff & Greenhills of course. Please keep on posting where you get all your lovely items.

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