Tag Archives: DIY

Powder Rooms: Great Ideas to Transform Your Powder Baths for Upcoming Holidays

With the Fall and Winter Holiday Seasons upon us, it’s a great time to add some zing and lift to your powder rooms.  You’ll wow your guests with food and drink…but why not surprise them with a beautiful bathroom experience as well?

I love to decorate and design beautiful powder rooms. Today I’ve put together some beautiful ideas from around the blogosphere – as well as some of my own designs. Some projects are easy yet creative and others are a bit more challenging…but I will offer some ideas to simplify the process.

powder room ideas; an abstract wall finish a la Kelly Wearstler

A lovely and lively abstract wall finish from Little Green Notebook

Jenny Komenda from the Little Green Notebook blog did a fantastic, abstract finish on her powder room walls.  She had always loved Kelly Wearstler’s entryway wall finish in her home and so she set about to replicate it in her powder nath.  If you click on the photo above, you can see her step-by-step directions – plus her inspiration photo of Kelly’s home.

A powder room transformation with paint and accessories from The Inspired Room blogA simple yet very effective transformation from Melissa of The Inspired Room blog just required lots of paint, a few extra accessories and some artful wall displays.  She used white for the vanity, shelf and mirror and for the walls – Snail Shell from Martha Stewart Paints. Click the photo to read the step-by-step.

creating a gallery wall in your powder room

Click on the image to see the step by step process


Another totally fabulous (and not that expensive to do) is this gallery wall and dark painted powder room from Jenny of the Evolution of Style blog. She used Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray (BM 2062-20) – such a fabulous color for a powder room and all of the artwork was framed in gold.  This is an amazing transformation!

"powder room design ideas" "stried wall finish in a powder room" "window treatment for a powder room"

Click on the photo for my step-by-step creation of this room

A beautiful powder room project I did earlier this year involved adding some beadboard, doing a stried faux finish on the walls and adding a new mirrored vanity, mirror and a beautiful window treatment for the shower. To do this in your powder room (minus the faux treatments), just add beadboard or panelled wainscoting and use a soothing aqua wall color, such as Stratford Blue from Benjamin Moore, and add a rich, damask window treatment. Click on the photo above for how I created the room.

"chocolate metallic plaster wall finish" "dramatic powder room designs" "Stone Forest sinks" "marble sinks"

A deep chocolate wall finish helps set off the beautiful sink and toilet

Using a deep, rich color can add the necessary drama for a great powder room.  In this powder room that I did for a wonderful client a few years ago, we did a rich chocolate metallic plaster. We used an off white paint and then antiqued all of the moldings. A beautiful Stone Forest marble sink really becomes the focal point of the room because of the deep wall finish. I will be doing a blogpost soon about this powder room but, if you would like to accomplish a similar look – paint your room a deep chocolate.  Some great colors to use are Benjamin Moore’s Affinity colors (their Aura line):  Wenge AF-180, Barrista AF-175, French Press AF-170…or the lighter Kona AF-165.  You might also try mixing two of the colors – just add the lighter Kona to one of the darker brown paint colors.

"coral powder room" "faux finished powder room" "seaside powder room" "beach themes in interior design"

OK, it’s not a holiday theme, but this powder room will brighten your guests’ experiences

How about painting your powder room a bold coral color – then adding some coral stencils to your walls?  Not just for beach properties, coral motifs can work anywhere.  Great for the summertime – but very welcome in the fall and winter months when you want a burst of warmth. Canadian faux finishers, Paint a Lifestyle, did a fabulous bath with a coral color and theme.  Think of all the accessories you could use – coral guest towels, real coral on the toilet shelf, some real sea fans or seafan artwork and some coral motif fabrics for Roman shades.  The list of accessories is endless.

Some paint colors and stencil ideas…

  • Coral paint colors to consider:  Italiano Rose (Benjamin Moore 2087-30), Perky Peach (Benjamin Moore 2012-50), Ardent Coral (Sherwin Williams 6874).
  • Some stencils to use on the walls are from Designer Stencils or consider making your own stencils – here’s a great How To.
powder room transformation from Centsational Girl

Incredible Powder Room Transformation from Centsational Girl

A great wall color, a simple chair rail and a lighter lower wall color, a fabulous light fixture and bamboo Roman shade totally transformed Kate from Centsational Girl blog’s powder room. Visit Kate’s blogpost by clicking the above photo for her transformtion details.  Simple changes that yielded unbelievable results!

I will be doing more transformative powder room posts. I just love these rooms because they can take on the most dramatic changes with very little effort.  That’s a miracle in the design world (or rather in everyone’s world – as our dollars have to stretch further these days!).  Let me know what you think of these transformations!  Have you done any re-decorating in your powder or guest baths?  Let me know!  I’d love to hear about it!

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5 Comments | Posted in Benjamin Moore, Paint

Using Metallic Foils: For Artwork and Embellishing Other Surfaces

humming bird artworkI was in Marshall’s the other day shopping for a client in NYC.  I was staging his huge apartment that needed a lot of work.  I was buying some soaps and other toiletry items for his barren bathrooms (he has 4!!).  I spied a very pretty plastic hand soap dispenser with a lovely hummingbird on the label.  I said to myself, “This is mine – not his.  Sorry!”

Humming bird art

The inspiration!

I immediately thought that I could use the image idea for artwork.  What attracted me was the metallics used for the wings and the head.  I immediately thought – metallic foils.  I had purchased some for a client awhile back and I had some left over…so I figured, why not?

metallic foils

Metallic foils come in several sizes and many colors

If you’re not familiar with metallic foils, they are similar to gold and silver leaf but they come in larger sized sheets and rolls – and they come in a variety of colors.  You can buy a sample pack, which I would recommend, so you can get a feel for using them while you see how many colors are available. They also come in holographic foils which are great too.  I’ve used them to effect glass tiles. I think Michael’s carries them now – but you can order them from Royal Design Studio or Prismatic Painting Studio.

canvases for artwork

From plain to pearl metallic painted canvas

I decided that I could do a humming bird series of small paintings (as I’ve been collecting images for this purpose). I had 3 small pre-primed canvases, so I took one and painted it in a metallic pearl.

painting leaves on canvas first

You can practice the placement of leaves first – or if you’re brave or really talented…paint them on freehand!

Then I floated in some leaves and stems in a raw umber color with a little water added.  If you want to try this, you could practice this on a piece of paper first to get a feel for placement.  I painted it lightly at first – knowing I could always amp up the leaves up later on.

Tracing an image onto a canvas

I traced using graphite paper but use any method you’d like

Then I enlarged, cropped and printed the photo and traced it onto the canvas using graphite paper. If you decide to do this – use any transfer method you are comfortable with.

using Wundasize and adding metallic foil

Richen up the shadows, add size and foil

I took the same raw umber color and began to fill out and outline the body, wings etc.  You can build this color up slowly.  If you go too dark, just blot a bit with some cheesecloth to lighten.Then I “painted” on some adhesive size using Wundasize in the areas I wanted the metallics. (You can see it somewhat in the above left photo). I first did the green areas.  I decided not to put all the size on at once because I didn’t want any green foil going into gold areas and vice versa.  When the size comes to “tack” you can start putting the foil on.  On these small areas I was able to start foiling after about 15 minutes or so.  I used the “knuckle test,” which means I placed my knuckle gently into the area and if it made a slight pop sound, it was ready.

I cut smaller pieces of the foil and placed it Shiny Side Up (very important). I used a medium sized stencil brush to transfer the foil to the canvas.  I used a fairly hard, swirling motion because I wanted to transfer it fully.

blue metallic foil that didn't transfer properly

You can learn from my mistake. The blue metallic foil didn’t transfer, so I painted it blue first. Didn’t like that either! Too dark.

I didn’t have pink or purple foil, as in the image, so I decided on blue and gold.  The gold went on beautifully – but something was wrong with the blue.  It didn’t transfer much at all.  In fact, when I rubbed hard it transferred a brown, muddy color.  Yuck.  I tried repainting it with blue and then sizing and transferring again – but no luck.  So, I had to abandon the blue idea.

I have to say that I felt that this mess up ruined my day – and it made my painting not as good as I thought it would be.  But – I carried on and decided that I learned something important.  Test your foil if it’s old!!  Perhaps that was the problem.

Anyway, I had a little tack left on those areas, so I sprinkled some gold mica powder on it to save it somewhat.  I learned that you need to have a clean surface in order for the foil transfer to work.  When I transferred the blue – the backing of the metallic foil transferred instead – and I think it made the canvas a bit dirty.  So – lesson learned.

Gold mica powder softened the blue problem and glazing over the entire piece melded everything together

After the foils were on I added some more shading and I added some gold to the belly of the humming bird. I also added some more leaves to the canvas and I added some gold to the leaves as well.

For the final touch, I made up a glaze of Raw Umber, Van Dyke Brown and a touch of Gold to go over the whole canvas.  (In the photo, above right, you can see that I softened the glaze at the top and not yet on the bottom – to show you how dark the glaze was when I started). You don’t have to do this but I wanted to “push back” the bird and leaves and I wanted to soften the whole look of the painting.

Hummingbird artwork finishedI may outline the edges of the canvas with some gimp – and I may add some upholstery tacks on the edges as well.

Hope you enjoyed this.  Have you ever used metallic foils?  Let me know.  I’d love to hear how you are using them. Stay tuned this week because I am going to show some ideas for wall finishes and moldings using metallic foils.  Thanks for coming by!!

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7 Comments | Posted in Tutorials

How to Create an Heirloom: Easy Way to Add Years to New Furniture

Sometimes you buy a piece of furniture that you love but when you get it home it just doesn’t seem to “go” with your home.  This happens to me every now and again – unless I’m buying an antique.  I find that by giving it a little bit of antiquing helps quite a bit.

Swedish Mora clock from Howard Miller before antiquing

Before: Our Swedish clock before I antiqued it

I purchased a lovely Swedish clock that was reasonably priced – especially when I compared it to the real deal antiques that I’ve seen online. The all white clock just looked out of place in my traditional home.  So – I got to work, giving it a bit of aging.

  • First, I used a clear coat (Aquaseal from Faux Effects) on the entire piece. This seals the surface very well and ensures a better glaze.  I let that dry.
  • Then I added some adhesive size to some of the the edges of the clock – wherever I wanted to see some gold leafing that was fading.  I let it come to tack (about a half hour or so) and then I ripped up some Dutch Metal Gold Leaf and put it on haphazardly wherever I put the size. Let dry.
  • Next I mixed up some browns and golds into my glaze mixture (I used Faux Creme clear from Faux Effects) and set about antiquing the piece.
  • Finally, after everything was dry, I mixed up some brown and dark brown colorant and dipped a chipbrush into it (and offloaded onto a paper towel) – and then I drybrushed here and there and on the edges to give it more age.

I loved the simplicity of it – just a gentle aging.  But as I lived with it what annoyed me was the fact that the clockface still looked new! So I got to work aging the clockface.  I just used some glaze that I had leftover from another project that was similar to the glaze I used for the body of the clock – putting it on with a chipbrush and then smoothing it with a badger brush (but you can use any soft bristled brush that you have on hand).

Swedish Mora clock undergoing a transformation

During the clock face aging

"Swedish clock" "Gustavian clock" "Antiquing" "DIY"

Closeup of our clock

Now the clock looks like it belongs in my home. Everything in my home shows it’s age – including me, sorry to say!  I may try to find an an antique clockface to really make it look like an heirloom.  And I may do some handpainting on it to give it a little more character.

"Swedish clock" "Mora clock" "Gustavian clock" "Antiquing" "DIY"I hope you enjoyed looking at my project! If you’d like to know more about the Venetian Plaster wall finish in the entryway, click here.

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Evolution of a Powder Room: Removing Yet Another 70s Era Wallpaper

When I married my husband, I moved into a house with a lot of 70s type wallpaper.  For a decorative artist like myself – that’s like being in purgatory (or worse!!!).  Now, I love wallpaper…well-done, handpainted or beautifully textured or patterned wallpaper.  But – the living room, the powder room, the kitchen, the dining room – the upstairs baths and all the bedrooms had 70s era wallpaper….and I just couldn’t live with it. So, slowly but surely, I began to remove all of it. I will feature more of the before and afters in coming months.  I only have one last wall of wallpaper to remove – a camouflage paper (spare me) in what will become a nursery for my new grandchildren.


Here’s a picture of our powder room right after I did the last transformation…first removing all the wallpaper, then oil priming, painting and doing an embossed stencil and tissue finish.  I say “last” transformation because the finish was the same – only the room was, at first, painted an antiqued gunmetal silver – which I really loved.  But as I was re-doing my home, the colors of adjacent rooms were getting warmer and warmer – so the silver just didn’t go with the palette I was coming up with.  I chose a softer and warmer metallic color – called Veridine (from Faux Effects). Then I gave it an antique bronze glaze. I covered the switchplates also – to give it a more uniform look.


"powder room" "faux finishing" "embossed stenciling" "raised stencil design"
My inspiration photo done by Melanie Royals of Royal Design Studio
Here is the first color of the powder room finish – a gun metal silver
The vanity and countertop were really horrendous and way past their prime – but my husband didn’t want to buy anything new because the vanity hid all the pipes underneath (which also include some pipes for the washing machine in an adjacent room – don’t ask!). This powder room has 7 sides – it’s really an oddity and I could have gutted the whole thing and started over – but that would have been too much $$ for my husband to handle.  So, I made do!  I sanded and primed…painted and glazed…and clearcoated the vanity and countertop and it’s held up beautifully over the years.
I don’t have a before picture of the powder room – but I do have a snippet of the wallpaper.  Was it horrible?…not really.  But it was dated and it did’t really say anything about me and the spirit I wanted my home to portray.  This room and the wallpaper were someone else’s idea of beauty – not mine.  So, I had to change it.
It was perfectly nice – but it didn’t say “me.” And coupled with the peeling, orange yellow vanity and countertop – it had to go!
About the Wall Finish:  The one thing that is difficult about doing this finish is the amount of time and patience it takes to do it.  It’s not an overnight sensation…and trust me – I needed a shrink during and after the process.  When you are doing an embossed, raised stencil on a wall – you first have to stencil most of it on the wall first in a light tone.  Why?  Because when you do anything raised/embossed on a large surface – you can’t easily go from design to design in a row…because the plaster or whatever you are using to make the design raised – is still wet.  So, you have to jump to another section that’s dry in order to do your next raised/embossed area.  So, in this design that I decided on for this room, I first had to make the design “stripes” level and equidistant – I had to stencil just about everything in a tint on the wall before I could trowel any material through the stencil to make the raised design. I hope I didn’t lose anyone here yet!! You also have to do this to make sure your vertical design is level and not “off.”  So – it’s a process…that takes a lot of time. 
Whenever I price this for a client, they always look at me a little crazy because they see the finished product and think “Oh – that’s beautiful…I want it.”  But when I explain how much time and precision it takes to pull it off…they back off.  Only interior designers so far have said “No problem – I love it.  Let’s do it!”
A closer look: You’ll see the slight wrinkled texture on the wall.  You don’t “have” to do this…but I laid gently wrinkled gift tissue over the entire wall as I was painting the color on the wall.  One of the reasons I did this was because my surface was not 100% perfect – it showed some leftover wallpaper lining and I just wanted to give the wall a little extra texture.  If your walls are perfect – you do not have to do this step and I wish that I could have skipped it!!
A closer look at the wall finish – see the slight wrinkled texture?
One very important note about doing an embossed stencil design with a tissue finish:  Once your tissue is on, you have to make sure that the tissue lies flat next to the raised part of the design.  I had to flatten out the tissue many times and I also had to pin prick some of the bubbles that this finish naturally creates.  Did I get every single one perfect?  No – but overall it looks good and you can see every part of the design.  Next time I do this, I won’t choose such a small stencil design – you can see it above to the left of the larger design.  That was a nightmare to get all the tissue to lay down around the design.  So – don’t do this!  Choose larger designs to emboss – much easier!
And another tip – if you have to go through some curved surfaces like I did…pick a simpler design!!
For the vanity and countertop:  I first sanded any chipped spots, then oil base primed it and then painted the base in Off White from Faux Effects.  To antique it, I used a brown and gold glaze. The countertop – I sanded it (A-LOT!!!) and then I oil base primed it in a tinted dark brown primer – and then I did several coats of Modern Masters’ Statuary Bronze.  I then did several coats of Faux Effects Satin topcoat called Varnish Plus.  I cannot tell you how much I love this product.  I used it on this countertop and while I was re-doing my kitchen, this powder room became my “slop sink” when I was doing any other type of painting or cleaning or washing dishes.  The countertop stayed clean and beautiful after a TON of punishment!!!  Enough said – go buy it!!!!

For the interior section of the vanity, I painted it the Veridine color and then stenciled Royal Design Studio’s Small Victorian Grille.  Modern Master’s Statuary Bronze surrounds it – but I sanded it back to age it.  I kept the same knobs – only I painted them in the Statuary Bronze.  I plan on changing them soon.  Anyone have any suggestions?  In my kitchen I have the French Birdcage ones in oil rubbed bronze and I love then – so that’s a possibility.  But I would love some other ideas.

Future Changes: I am also going to do some other changes to the room.  I’d love to put something different in that center panel in the vanity.  A handpainted monkey or pineapple?  Or is that overkill? I also want to perhaps get a new stone or granite top for the vanity…plus a new sink, faucet and light fixture.  I would also love to do a raised design on the panel right below the countertop – I think it’s calling out for something!  And finally, I’d love to do something special to the ceiling.  Right now it’s a mid tone sage green, which is nice – but it needs some pizzaz! I’d like to add some moldings as well on the top but with 7 sides…it’s a challenge.  I had though of spray painting a thick rope in bronze and then attaching it.
Would love to hear from all of you on what you’d like me to do with the room…and then I’ll post the changes.
Thanks for coming by to see this project! For another project I did with raised stenciling, Click Here.
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16 Comments | Posted in Portfolio