Christine Pit What was wrong?
T. Keller Donovan: It was bland. White tile and pale yellow paint. Too tapioca. So I put indoor-outdoor fabric on the walls, in a blue-and-white coral pattern to go with the blue-and-white floor. And I railroaded the fabric, running it sideways in just one piece all the way around.
To avoid seams?
You bet. Too hard to match. But you have to choose a pattern that works sideways, and make sure the printed part is wide enough. There's always some selvage on a bolt.
Then just glue it on?
Not until you have it backed with acrylic so the paste doesn't seep through. There are companies all over the country that do this, like prosealplus.com. The backing also stops it from stretching and helps you get a good straight cut.
Anything else I wouldn't think of?
Prep the walls with an oil-based primer-sealer. You want to create a Teflon-like surface, so if you ever decide to remove the fabric, you're not pulling off a layer of Sheetrock along with it.
AFTER: The bathroom was updated with the classic color combination of blue-and-white.
Why does the new mirror work so well?
Because it's not a dumpy little horizontal and it actually relates to the sink—same color, same width. It hides a multitude of sins — a gap where somebody took out a medicine cabinet and two new holes where I knocked off those dreadful soap holders. That was very satisfying. A closet behind the door functions as a medicine cabinet. And I don't leave things out on the sink. I hate walking into somebody's bathroom and seeing all their products. Too much information.
T. Keller Donovan's Bathroom Makeover Tips
- Pick one fabric, and run with it. Or paper the walls with Chinese newspapers, playing cards, pages from a book.
- A stool is a little luxury. It can be an end table for the tub or a place to present a pile of guest towels.
- Don't stick with one set of matching towels. Collect a variety and mix them up.
- Don't go to the bath shop for accessories. Look in antiques shops and hardware stores, and find alternate uses for things. A Murano glass ashtray makes a great soap dish.