Saturday, March 5, 2016

Revamping A Vintage Bathroom With Paintable Wallpaper

When we moved into our two-story house we didn't have an upstairs bathroom.  Tough to sleep upstairs and have to jog down a long staircase and two rooms before arriving at the ground floor toilet.  So around 1992 we transformed one of the three upstairs bedrooms into a nice size bathroom -- but we wanted it to look like a powder room that fit with our 1895 era home.

So we carefully selected a reclaimed victorian pedestal sink and clawfoot tub...and what we thought was timeless wallpaper.  (Ahem).  Apparently there is no such a thing as timeless wallpaper...

Looking at the bathroom with "fresh eyes" in 2016 means admitting we needed to stage an intervention against the dreaded bathroom "border".  I still think the subtle stripes look OK, but unfortunately we didn't take that striped paper all the way to the ceiling 25 years ago.  So we couldn't just tear down the border.

Something else we wanted to consider was time and money.  The entire house is facing third decade (with our family) scrutiny, and we only have so much time (energy) and money to go around.  So we settled on the "simpler" option (which ended up taking five days!) of leaving the striped wallpaper and not repainting the beadboard.

After juggling various options we definitely decided on an embossed, paintable border from Lowe's to go directly over the offending border.  I thought maybe I could just paint over the garish wallpaper of the north "accent" wall, but was outvoted 2 to 1.  So we decided to purchase the coordinating embossed, paintable wallpaper as well.  It also has the "tin ceiling" vibe which is appropriate for our Victorian house.

I do not have a photo of the "before" accent wall, but trust that it was every bit as offensive as the coordinating border.  Never having wallpapered before (my husband had done all the previous papering but was wisely out of the country on this occasion) I was a little anxious.  But the accent wall went fine.  Hang the wallpaper, paint two coats of paint on it.  Done.

The border was another animal entirely.  You were supposed to paint it ahead of time.  I did two coats of a color (this was previous to the accent wall -- I had finally settled on a good color by the time I painted the accent wall) and hated it.  Well, maybe if I take a bunch of time to tediously drybrush a slightly darker color on the raised areas.  No go.  That is when I yanked off a piece of the circa 1992 painted trim and took it to Lowe's to get a perfect match.  What I got was a close match (apparently whites are the hardest color to match).  Paint the border one more time and decide in the poor light that it is close enough to the first color that if some of the first color peeps through it is OK. 

Realize that one person (or even a team of people) should not try to hang 15 feet of border at one shot.  cut each of my three rolls of borders into three segments.  Realize I have to be sure that each one is numbered and not upside down.  Realize that the stupid company didn't even make their end patterns to line up against the beginning of the next border roll.  ARGH.  Realize after I do one whole wall that I really need to take to offending old layer of border off.  It was too late for the first wall, so I ended up having to glue some of the more obnoxious spots. Realize I need to go back to Lowe's and buy another border roll.  Paint one coat on the fourth border before hanging that one as well. Realize that after my back is KILLING me, that I need to do yet another coat of paint on all four walls of the border that is already 9 foot in the air.

I really like the final look , but I am not sure I would do it again.  I know for a fact that I will never hang another border ALAIL (as long as I live).

Linking Up With:
Funky Junk Interiors

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