In the south-west part of Wyoming is the small town of Kemmerer (approximately 2500 people), boasting world-renowned fish fossil quarries. Years ago we took our three young sons to dig in the quarries for an afternoon and I have to admit I was as excited as they were every time one of us found a well-preserved Knightia or Diplomystus.
When we were working on the basement of Rapid Canyon Ranch, we added a small, full-bath. The configuration wasn’t the greatest due to necessary duct work (soffit over stool) and a mechanic room access door, but part of the fun of creating a space is making it work.
While trying to come up with a style plan, I spent countless hours looking at tile on-line. I came across some custom tile that looked like fish fossils (deep breath, run-on sentence….) which got me thinking about the bucket of fossils we still had from our quarrying adventure. I decided there was no reason for me to not use real fossils in the bathroom. Of course there is nothing new under the sun, so when I googled the idea, others had already done it. I just needed to design it in a way that was unique for me. While sorting through our fossils it was apparent that 1. I didn’t have enough and 2. they weren’t in that great of shape, so back to Google to find a seller. My only criteria was that they had to come out of the Green River Formation.
Ok, long story short, everyone wanted too much money for one fossil plate. Enter Ebay: I found a seller who gave me a heck of a deal on 3 dozen.
There was another idea wandering around my head about the tile. Why not take several different stone-look tiles and create a multi-layered strata view, completely wrapping around the room. First of all, it would totally rock (haha, bad pun), and I could continue the whole geological idea.
After convincing the tile guy that he was fully capable of executing my idea and that his fingers would heal after grouting all of it, (and to his credit, he did a phenomenal job….another long run-on sentence….), I hunted for a vanity and sink. With limited space, I was confined to a specific size but I still wanted at least a little bit of storage in the vanity. Keeping with the idea, I found a great, rough-cut sandstone vessel sink and a replica steamer trunk dresser that was the perfect height and width for a custom vanity. The dresser looked too new though, so a friend and I distressed it and added a marine varnish for waterproofing.
I only had one small bit of wall space between the tile and soffit for any type of decor but wanted to hang some antique, hand-colored fossil prints I had purchased. Buying the pictures was somewhat like getting the proverbial “cart before the horse” because I hadn’t even chosen a wall color but I really liked how the bits of rusty orange in the pictures accented the old parchment paper, so that’s where I landed for color. And because I wanted the room to completely wrap around, I started with the orange tile in the shower then had paint matched to that color.
All in all, this small bathroom, while very masculine (it is off the man cave after all), is one of my favorite rooms in the whole house just because it is so different and was such a fun and creative process to put together.