This room is a very tiny room, with an unusual L-shaped layout. The entry area of the room is much like a short hallway. Head to your left and at the end of the “hallway” there is a sink and the toilet is around a corner. A decorating nightmare. A small, dark, closed in space. The room is also off the dining room, and unless I wanted to keep the door shut (which I did not want to do), I needed the room not only to be functional, but also to flow from the dining room.
I came up with the idea of using elements of Venetian splendor. The faux stone walls are covered in Paper Illusions wallpaper. This is a great wallpaper that you simply rip up, soak in water, and then apply it to the wall. The ripped edges create the “lines” of the stones, and you can apply this in any direction you want as there is no directional pattern on the paper. I used this wallpaper in my dining room, so I wanted this room’s walls to have the same treatment.
The door trim and wood baseboard trim are painted with several coats of copper glaze. The flat sections of the baseboard are covered with a green Paper Illusions wallpaper ripped up into rough rectangles and squares for a tile effect. This paper had bits of copper color in the wallpaper so it sparked nicely with the copper glaze on the wood trim above and below it.
The sink was a horrible mess. Set in a corner, the pipes were in plain view, with a 2 x 4 wood board set across the underside of the sink to frame it out. This was the hardest part of the room to figure out. I did not want see those pipes, and that wood board was an eyesore.
Now. How many of you have read or watched that old classic, Gone with the Wind? Remember the part where Scarlett remade her emerald green velvet draperies into a dress? Recycle. Upcycle. Make-do. Those are all terms for what Scarlett did. I am a big fan of taking second and third looks at pre-owned items to see how they can be renewed and reused.
Years ago, I stumbled across a beautiful green velvet skirt in a thrift store and decided to buy it. I cannot remember wearing it but one time. The velvet is the true old fashioned velvet, very thick and very lush. As I was re-doing the bathroom, I ran across that skirt again while looking around for material that I could use for a frame treatment that will discussed a little later in this post. A light bulb went off!
I took that skirt apart, and with another piece of material for the center, did the exact opposite of Scarlett and created draperies for beneath the sink! Using a tension curtain rod to hang the panels, the effect is one of a gorgeous window right down to the velvet puddling on the floor.
The wood 2 x 4 was covered in the green Paper Illusions wallpaper using the tile effect to tie in with the baseboards. I like to tell people that the sink treatment is called the “Anti-Scarlett”! A fine example of upcycling and make-do.
On to the fun part. Because of the small footprint of the room, decorating had to be minimal but at the same time had to be lush enough to evoke the Venetian splendor I was aiming for. I have a collection of masks, some from New Orleans, some found in flea markets, and one that I had made years ago for a Halloween costume for myself. Since masking is an integral part of the Carnival Season in Venice, my mask collection was perfect.
The first set of masks is displayed using a picture frame bought from Michaels (sign up for their e-mails and get great coupons) featuring a mat with three openings. I removed glass, used the same material behind the mat openings as was used for the center of the sink drapes, and hung porcelain masks centered in each of the three openings. Above that is a vintage gilded leather carnival mask.
The remainder of the masks in my collection are grouped together in a large wood frame (found years ago in a flea market) painted with a gold glaze wash. The frame backing is again covered with the same material used with the sink drapery treatment, and each of the masks are pinned to to the backing with decorative tack pins.
The antique towel holder makes me smile when I see it! Look at that face! Another “mask” in a totally unexpected place. Another fun piece is the creation to hold the toilet paper. This was made using a brass candelabra brushed with a gold wash, turned upside down with a glass-tiled candle bowl affixed to the top.
While this room may look very expensive to do, it was quite easy on the pocketbook. Using items that I already owned for most of the room, the wallpaper treatment was the biggest expense, and even that was bought on sale.
The next time you want to re-do a room, take a look around you. Look at your items in a new way. You’ll be quite surprised where your imagination will take you!
Clicking on any of the above pictures will take you to my online store where you can purchase Gothic fine art prints and mixed media art.