While Kate has been hard at work on the epic task of gut renovating her 1960s bathroom, I tackled the much less ambitious — but amazingly gratifying — task of re-wallpapering my master bathroom. I know. I know. You like the “before” picture. Maybe better than the after. But the “before” wallpaper was falling off the wall after about 10 years of my using the bathroom like a sauna. So it had to come down. I found the replacement vintage wallpaper at an estate sale. One of the key things that I want to point out in this story: You can totally change the look and feel of a bathroom — just by swapping out the wallpaper. HUGE transformation. Oh, I changed the lights, too — using vintage fixtures I found for a steal. I ADORE my glowy new / old bathroom.
Above: I used DIF to remove the old wallpaper. There was also liner underneath. The wallpaper was falling down from behind the liner paper. So I think the issue may have been with how the wall was prepped for the liner paper. Or, as I said, it could be that I use the room like a steam bath that no manner of exhaust fan can process fast enough. This latter hypothesis is most likely, I believe, since the falling down / peeling was happening most dramatically at the shower-edge.
That last photo above is my decollage moment.
Above: I swapped out the Rejuvenation Selma’s that I originally had installed in the bathroom for these vintage lights that have a way more vintage-modern feel. I found these sconces at the Great Adams Estate Sale Be Still My Heart HERE and here and here and here and here and here. As you can see, before I blogged fulltime (when I had a “real” day job) I used to write shorter stories!
Another background factoid: When I first renovated the bathroom, around 2003, I still had in my heart’s desire that I wanted a Victorian farmhouse. Hence, the porcelain sconces. However, as my journey into the mid century design world progressed, I understood that my house had a much more mid modern feel. Those porcelain sconces were too ’40s for my space. I knew that someday I needed to replace them. When I switched the wallpaper, I remembered these gorgeous bow-tie sconces and dug them out of my attic lighting hoard. (Which is quite impressive, at this point.) I ADORE THEM.
Like I said, this bathroom — with its beige tile and beige wallpaper … with just a dash of yellow and grey … and dreamy frilly frosted glass sconces — is just GLOWY. I went looking for a shower curtain, and found an ivory cloth number at Homegoods for $7.95. It has small, swiss dot woven texture.
Seriously, I almost didn’t wallpaper. I almost just left the walls white. I have been super duper busy with all kinds of other things, and really, was not in the mood to dedicate the time for this project. I did it in stages over the course of several weeks (chaos all over adjacent spaces). Once the white size was up in two coats and as I procrastinated finishing the job, I almost decided to just paint over with white and hang some art and to heck with decorating complexity. But Kate — with her epic project — was shaming me. So I wallpapered. Finishing up this last piece — wallpapering — took about four hours a day for two days over a weekend. (It’s tricky in a small space with lots of cut outs.)
In the end, I am super happy I did it. The wallpaper makes me immensely overwhelmingly happy. Don’t ever try to talk me out of wallpaper again. Now, I think I really need to do the mud room.
WHO would have thought you could put yellow and grey with beige? I am on the lookout for yellow towels to match. But this may be a hard one. The yellow has no acid tones. It’s kind of … butterscotchy. And YES: The leaves on the yellow flowers are gold metallic.
For this project, I just used the plain old DIF brand wallpaper adhesive — powder you mix with water. We’ll see how it holds up to my “steam room.”
Read this original story of mine about How to Wallpaper a Room in Vintage Wallpaper.
Now for my love letter to these bow tie sconces:
Oh how I love you, you gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous vintage bow tie sconces. Certain ebay sellers want to sell you these days for $900 a pair. But I found you, forgotten and forlorn, in an old apple box in the garage of an estate sale house. All my greedy grubby dirty handed digging paid off. I found you. You found me. I don’t know who made you. But I know you are of wonderful stock. You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I look forward to our many hours together. I love you.
P.S. Now I need a Stylebuilt trash can.
And, an update: Lots of folks asking about my sink. When we renovated the bathroom, I put a “wanted” ad on craigslist (or was it in the local newspaper? Maybe it was the newspaper, the internets weren’t so super popular yet). I quickly got a hit. Got the sink from a woman in Dalton who had it in her basement from a previous remodel. I paid $65. It included the legs and towel bars. I had to have the faucet rebuilt. The faucet is now gunking up again, and I really need to replace it. Now I know where to find retro-style centersets.
Getting these vintage wall-hung sinks is pretty easy, I think. The legs: Much more difficult to find, although I do see them vintage now and then. (I think they just got tossed in remodels.) If you want to buy chrome sink legs new, best source I know, for selection, is deabath.com. Note, the legs do not support the sink in any meaningful way, as far as I know. The sinks hang on wall brackets — you can also get these from deabath.com. If you are buying a sink vintage, be sure to get the wall brackets if you can, you will save some expense.