No Window in Your Bathroom? Quick, Call an Artist


When Cathy Nordlund decided to remodel one room in her Woodland Hills home to heart’s desire — the powder room — she began by looking through “millions” of decorating magazines. Eventually, she decided on a Victorian theme.

But during her contemplation of fabulous Victorian bathrooms, it finally dawned on Cathy that they all shared a common virtue: “The wonderful light from their wonderful windows.”

Cathy’s powder room, however, was windowless, and would remain so — the room has no exterior walls. And she could not add a skylight because of the second story above.


At first, she thought of adding an old window frame to give the appearance of a real window, but after more magazine research she started to notice examples of trompe l’oeil, which is French for “fools the eye.” Finally, she had her solution. She would hire an artist to paint a faux window on the wall. She thought: “Wow, I’m onto something.”

To get exactly what she wanted, which was her ongoing theme, she made a detailed drawing of the window for a local artist who advertised that she painted wall murals.

The drawing shows a white casement window measuring 46 inches wide, 40 inches high and five inches from the corner of the room. One side of the window is open to a bucolic backyard scene showing the family’s Rottweiler, Molly, and Nordlund’s two children, Bobby 9, and Samantha, 7. It was husband Robert’s idea to show a spare roll of toilet paper on the windowsill, and Cathy’s idea to show a plant with dropped leaves and a dead bug.

“That’s real life,” she decided.

The artist’s fee, at $200, was a bargain. After it was done, Cathy installed two real knobs on both of the faux windows, choosing a smaller knob for the “open” window to create the sensation that it’s farther away. “I’m an engineer,” Cathy explained. “That’s how I think.”

For a less custom look, you can buy ready-made murals. Check here.

How do you think Cathy did with this bathroom?