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Garden theme dresses up bath

Your bath may have all the essentials - a sink, a toilet, and a place to bathe, but how about the "extras" that make it more than a purely practical space? Take some tips from this bath with an ordinary floor plan that was given special treatment in this do-it-yourself project. You can create a space that's practical and pretty.

Looking beyond the less-than-stellar features of this showhouse bath, designer Linda Wiley imagined a garden on the brink of full bloom. All the space needed was a little coaxing with some fresh treatments.Wiley's inspiration came from a work by sculptor Jim Ponter. "I looked at the window area and thought that one of his bronze sculptures would be the perfect accessory and jumping-off point for the design of the space as a `garden bath,' " says Wiley. As a result, a flute-playing nymph - which could be a working fountain if placed outdoors - takes center stage on the window sill; topiaries and a balloon valance with fringe frame the sculpture.

A lattice panel fits into the window frame, disguising a poor view and filtering light.

Other embellishments continue the garden effect. A large floral wallpaper adds soft color from floor to ceiling. Plus, Wiley covered the mirror frame with moss and wrapped it with artificial ivy and dried flowers. The room even has its own "garden bench" a skirted stool that's an ideal after-bath perch.

Decorative fabric and wallpaper give this bath a visual lift, as do the toilet seat with a faux-marble finish and a new pedestal sink, which replaces a nondescript single vanity.

The designer removed the doors of a linen closet and converted the space above into built-in shelving. The same fabric and tasseled fringe of the window treatment are used on the tied-back shower curtain, which complements a set of sheers. A clear liner protect the decorative treatment.