I’ve been thinking about the powder room for a few years and decided that it was now or never. Something had to be done about the most used room in the house. It’s on the first floor and has seen plenty of kids as well as many a filthy gardener. It’s directly across from the garage door and with no laundry room sink in which to scrub up, the powder room handles a lot of dirty hands and boots. With garden season just a few weeks away, I’ve pushed it into high-gear and I’m tickled with how it’s all turned out.
The beige walls were too beige, the painted white trim miserably scuffed and that red splotch behind the toilet tank hard to overlook. I still remember the color, Geranium.
At the time it seemed right. I had a thing for red in the early 2000s and now all I can think about is The Shining and “redrum” everytime I see it. It’s pretty awful. When I painted over it, I never removed the toilet tank so the Geranium red has never been completely eliminated. That’s what happens when you cut corners.
Fortunately, the powder room has good bones. My husband put crown molding throughout the house about 10 years ago and I still love the black and white tile floor he laid when I painted the room that awful red color. Funny how color tastes change. We put in the Kohler toilet a few years ago. The pedestal sink came with the house when we bought it in 2004, and the faucet still works and looks nice so both stay, which saves us some cash. With our ridiculously hard water, I’m surprised the faucet is hanging in there. It’s just a matter of time really, but I’ll cross that bridge when I must.
The light fixture is going too for no reason other than I’m tired of it and want something more streamlined and modern. Here’s the before…
When my husband did the crown molding, he also added chair rail and wainscoting in the dining room and hallway. I painted the chair rail and everything below it in satin Benjamin Moore White Dove, which I use throughout our home on the ceilings and trim in different finishes.
To save money, I color match it at Home Depot and use their Behr Marquee paint. It’s about $20 cheaper per gallon and I really like the paint. Since the rooms flow one into the next, repeating the wainscoting in the powder room would add some cohesiveness and also help to brighten up this tiny space. It receives no natural light and is the darkest room in the house so a little brightness at the bottom seemed like the right move.
I haven’t hung wallpaper in years, and even then it was just a border in our first home. The prospect of hanging wallpaper was intimidating but I was determined to get it done without hiring someone. Remember, I’m on the spend-as-little-as-possible-but-still-make-it-look-nice budget. Getting ahold of some wallpaper books was a bigger challenge than I imagined due to Covid. No more sitting around the paint and wallpaper shop thumbing through giant wallpaper books. But Mary at Southtown Paint and Interiors in Orland Park delivered. I told her I was interested in bold prints with dark backgrounds and she hauled 10 books to my house the next day.
I’ve always been pretty decisive and know that when something catches my eye right off the bat, it’s usually “the one.” I did the same thing with my wedding dress. The first one I tried on was it and the dress shop attendant encouraged me to try a few more because she thought it strange that I should be so certain after just one try-on. Why waste time when you know what you like? That’s how it went with the wallpaper. I love navy blue and Imperial Blossoms Branch from York Wallcoverings was the hands-down favorite.
I wasn’t sure how much to order. Math is not my superpower. Mary told me that a 27″ wide double roll, which is how these rolls come, will give three 8-foot lengths and that takes into account the salvage from matching the pattern. If I papered floor to ceiling, I’d need three double rolls, but I ordered two since my runs were only five feet. It was perfect.
The prepasted paper was easy to apply and I was happy not to monkey around with adhesive. I sprayed it with a large water bottle to activate the glue, folded the glued sides together and let them sit for a few minutes. It’s called “booking.” I’m glad I read the instructions that came with the wallpaper, otherwise I would have thrown the paper up as soon as I sprayed it and left the booking part out of the equation. Not sure how that would have affected the outcome but I didn’t want to risk not hanging it right and paying for a do-over.
It took me a day to hang the wallpaper but it was so worth it. Only during the winter would I have this kind of time to focus on things in the house so I took full advantage. Once the paper was in place, I waited a day to hang the bling. Who knew you could get so excited about a door knob? The old knob was broken and would pull off the door with a light tug. The new knob from Nostalgic Wearhouse was a splurge but it was the perfect finishing touch and a sure sign of my total indoctrination into all things domestic. I get a bit giddy about it actually.
Drum Roll, please…
Not bad for a weekend of work and a limited budget! I love what we did with this little powder room so much that I can’t help walking past frequently just to flip the switch and go “Ahhhh.”
Now that the powder room is complete, I can switch back to garden mode. Brace yourselves, guys. I have BIG plans…on a budget, of course.