Friday, May 27, 2011

Glazing wallpaper

Thank you, Nita for the new header!  I'll do post later on the great options she came up with.  She's very creative. 

Back to guest bedroom.  I guess I forgot to mention that this is a really low-budget makeover.  I'm saving for a new kitchen and bathrooms so I'm trying to go easy.  I hope this doesn't put too many people over the edge.

You may remember that I felt this guest room wallpaper was feeling a little too "Fresh off the Farm."  When I first mentioned the possibility of glazing the wallpaper, there were several people concerned that the wallpaper would be more difficult to take off if I painted it.  Extra work has never stopped me from doing anything.  I love the process.  One of the reasons I think I've never more seriously pursued art is that I can't focus on one medium, one method of working.  I always want to move on and learn something new.  "Jack of all trades" my grandmother used to call me.  She was right.  And she was kind enough to leave off the "master of none" part. 

So I decided to take it as a challenge to turn the wallpaper into something different.  I'd like it to have a softer, barely-there romantic feel that serves as a backdrop for a guest room that's typically for mom but that anyone might feel comfortable in.   

After cleaning out the room, I mixed up a 50/50 paint and water solution and just went at it with a brush.  I decided to use a brush rather than a roller so there might be some texture created by the brush strokes.  This is the first coat going on.   I think I want more concealing of the pattern but I think it's better to take it a thin coat at a time.

I wouldn't recommed doing this--I'm doing it just for illustrative purposes--but here you can see the difference between the original wallpaper, the first coat and the second coat on the right.

On the first coat, I've done the brush strokes vertically.  The second coat I'll do horizontally so if the brushstrokes show when I'm done, it should create a linen-like texture.

It's fairly easy to keep a wet edge as long you've set aside enough time to do the whole room at one time.  I think the first coat took me about three hours.   

Here's the dried surface after the first coat.

And after the second coat.

Here's the wall behind the dresser.  I figured out it's not so much the color of the dresser that I dislike so much, it's the shine.  It feels plastic to me.  I'm not sure how it will end up, but I might try a little pumice or rottenstone first to see if that helps.  I've refinished furniture too, mixed my own shellac. 

I've added a bamboo blind to fill some of the space above the window.  I bought these after the subject of these windows was addressed on Sofas and Sage's Window Wednesday series.  Here's my old post about it.  I'll let you know when Carol does an update on the post.  I will probably replace the sheers with something heavier in the fall and winter but in the warmer weather, I love how these (Pottery Barn cotton voile) billow in the breeze of an open window.   

This is what the paper and window treatments looked like before.

The wall after.

The overall feeling of the room has changed dramatically.  The wallpaper has a very soft, upholstered, almost velvety appearance to it.  I wouldn't install wallpaper with the idea that it would be glazed but I think it would be a great way to tone down a bright print or lighten up a dark print if you really can't live with what you have and don't want to take it down.

I don't really have a plan for the rest of the room.  I usually take it one step at a time.  I'm feeling like the basics will be very neutral and then I'll bring in some artwork and accessories to brighten it up.


  1. It looks wonderful! Well done. I never use a roller to paint my walls because, you're right, brushing the paint on does add texture.
    I wonder if this method would work on blue wallpaper. I'm really tempted.

  2. I forgot to say that I LOVE your new header!

  3. I love the header Steve. It really captures your blog. Good job Nita! I glazed wallpaper the very same way about a month ago. I ordered some online and it was too bright and strong, so I did just what you did and it was very successful. Your room looks dreamy now!

  4. I love the walls. You did a great job! No surprise. The bamboo blind is a nice addition to the window. For what it is worth...I like the bed. Just like it is. However, I really think the dresser is a little wide. A taller, narrower chest might work better. You do such a fabulous job, no matter what your budget is, it will be terrific. Can't wait to see how you finish it!

  5. oh joy - i can comment!

    i really love this steve. now i see why you are considering painting the dresser gray. so does it look like linen in person? i really love it.

    nita's header is great too.


  6. WOW! Great header! Very appropriate.

    I had originally wanted to suggest that you remove the wallpaper and paint the walls but thought that might be somewhat expensive. Your solution is very in keeping with the overall vision of the house you portray.

    Rottenstone is a good thought. I used it on a mirror I restored to "age" it and was very pleased with the end result.

    I have been meaning to ask you, who moves the furniture when you are working on DIY projects?

  7. kathy-I wish the dresser was about six inches smaller. Maybe one day.

    janet-it's got the linen pattern to the paint in places but no all over. Glazing liquid might have made a difference but I'm not sure.

    J.W.-wait until next year. I'll probably be taking the wallpaper down. I move most of it myself but I have some friends help me with the big pieces.

  8. I love the wallpaper white washed but I knew I would. I saw this I think in Country Living like 20 years ago and filed away in my brain to do one day. But I've never had any wallpaper to do it to. I LOVE it.

    I do think the header looks great if I say so myself. But then I had a great house and great drawings to work with too.

  9. I never knew you could glaze over wallpaper but I love it! What a great idea - it really softens the room - and if you paint the dresser a lighter colour it will not look so big. I think the room is coming along beautifully. Lana

  10. Love the new look of the blog and the treatment on the wallpaper!

    What blog was mentioning the window treatments?

  11. Oops. I added a link to that old post.

  12. I think it is ingenious...and a man after my own heart. I once painted that velvet flocked was foil and burnt orange...I painted it white...then scrammed and left town before we had to sell!!

  13. Hi Steve,
    I found your blog a few months ago, started at the beginning and read it all and have been following it ever since. I look forward to every post!

    First, I would like to comment on your's beautiful just the way it is, however, I, too, paint antique/vintage furniture and painted gray it would be beautiful against your gorgeous floors. What I have done to dull down stained finishes that are too glossy is to go over it with fine (00) steel wool and Staples Crystal Clear Paste Wax. I do the same thing with furniture I've painted and it turns out beautifully! You might want to try an inconspicious place first just to be on the safe side.

    The glazing treatment looks great! The bamboo blinds you added to fill the space above the window is exactly what you needed to do and it looks fantastic!

    You're doing a great job!

  14. LOVE your new header, too!!

  15. Helen,
    I've done that with a few blogs that I love and it's a great compliment so thank you. I think the steel wool and wax is a great idea. There are quite a few blemishes on the top and I think that would go a long way to helping those.
    If I feel the room would be better having it gray, I was thinking of a flat or chalk paint with a glaze of brown and then a wax finish at the end. People freak out about painting furniture but if done right, it can be really beautiful.
    Thank for commenting and thank you for reading!

  16. Hello Steve:
    The paint finish on the wallpaper looks most effective and we really like the way it has changed the whole atmosphere and appearance of the room. It has gone from 'dolly mixture' to 'grown up' at a brushstroke!

    We do know what you mean about the chest of drawers. In Budapest, antique furniture is often, in our view, over restored. Whereas for us, it is the 'knocked back' look which appeals.

    We continue to be enthralled by your progress.

  17. Wow, it's amazing how you've made the windows look so much taller by adding the bamboo shades above the window height. Love it!

    Wallpaper and header look fantastic too. Can't wait to see where you go with this room, Steve.


  18. What a fantastic header!

    Years ago I saw dining room in a magazine and they had whitewashed over a blue and white wallpaper. I have never forgotten the look, I always want to wallpaper just to do that.

    So I'm over the moon about your treatment. It looks very romantic.

    Be there soon.

    xo Jane

  19. Hi Steve --

    First, love the new header and your stunning home as the centerpiece. Second, pure brilliance with the wallpaper. I too an haunted by old lady wallpaper in a bedroom and I'll definitely try this before the dreaded removal process. Love the sheers at the windows. Isn't it wonderful that we can finally open up and let those breezes in? Today was especially perfect. Finally, if you are thinking of painting the dresser, consider using Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint in Paris Grey. It's a very flat finish but eliminates all the prep work (sanding, etc.) Have fun!
    Carol S.

  20. I'm with Gardener's Cottage...the impulse to paint the dresser grey seems to be playing out on the glazed wallpaper. I'm guessing the room will eventually be dove-grey and DID say "our room"!

  21. Love, love, love the new header!!!!!
    The room is coming along nicely but I knew it would. :)

  22. I don't want to leave a crazy stalker comment but WOW!
    I really liked the room before but after seeing the last picture this was a great transformation! This is why I love you and your blog so much... :)
    Really, it looks fabulous and I think the dresser definately needs to go gray. I've read a lot about chalk paint and would love to see you try it.
    And I cannot close without saying how fabulous your new header is - it's exactly you.
    Have a great weekend!

  23. Oh my, it's perfect. I love the soft faded look of the wallpaper. Flowers will look beautiful in that room.

    Great header!

  24. first I was screaming STOP but then I was like... ooooh!
    You definitely knew best!
    I love the look and I agree with the others about painting the dresser grey. I can't hardly wait to see your next post! I LOVE your home! :)
    I also absolutely LOVE your new HEADER! It looks fantastic! Wow! Hats off to Nita! Job well done!

  25. Steve, the new header is perfect. I love it!

    I think you were brilliant to tone down the wallpaper and give it a linen texture.

    I think the dresser would look great painted in the grey family. You may even want to look at chalk paint. I love painted furniture!

    Happy Memorial Day!

  26. Oh wow Steve, the guest room look great. I can't believe how soft it looks almost ethereal. Love it! I knew I would.

  27. ooh la la, love it! that is a transformation.
    did you really paint over the wallpaper - twice - with that tiny little brush you had in your hand?
    you have more patience than i do.
    but i love the result.

  28. I love this idea. I was thinking of redoing the master bedroom with some wallpaper, but couldn't find anything subtle enough. This idea is perfect. Thanks.


  29. I love this new look. It is the perfect low-cost solution. Oh, and your new header is fabulous.

  30. The new blog header looks really good and conveys what your blog is all about beautifully.

    Re the shine on your dresser. Very fine steel and methylated spirits rubbed in will take all of the shellac off, if that is the look you are after. Maybe then you can leave it, or put another type of finish on. What a difference the paint and texture method on the wallpaper makes, so soft and misty looking

  31. Well what a great idea, I have never seen that done before and love the soft effect it has given to your walls, your floor is wonderful too.

    I think I may of fixed the problems I was having, someone suggested to unclick the 'stay signed in box' and this seems to have worked... phew! xx

  32. Now you're talking - what a difference adding the bamboo shade has made to the windows - nice finished effect. I'd use the voile summer and winter - you need the light airy effect. Nice idea to tone down the shine on the bureau - it competes with the floor. Looking good! Keep us posted as it develops - great job on toning down the wallpaper.

  33. Gorgeous Steve - dreamy. Love it. Great job!
    And that bamboo blind makes all the difference.

    xo Terri

  34. Oh, and the new header is stunning! xo T.
    P.S. I was offline for 11 days. Mom's laptop is on the fritz and I don't have a fancy phone. Must get one, but it was such a great excuse to be off the grid, so to speak. My brain feels empty and fresh. Other than the headache. Checked your blog first!

    xo Terri

  35. Looking great. Love the bamboo blinds. Can't wait to see how the dresser turns out! Love the new masthead too!

  36. Dear Mr. Cottage,

    What a winner. I would not have imagined that toning down that flower wall paper would have such a soothing effect. It marvelous. And the curtains and blinds make the walls 2 feet taller. What a striking change and all for the better.

    I'm stuck on that dresser. I think about making it colorful, I think even about papering it, I think paint it black, but how about sanding it down to the bare wood and doing an unstained look with a rubbed wax matte finish?

    Terrific job. Congratulations on that bedroom. Ann

  37. very tres cool! love how it is there, but isn't... like a memory of something lovely.

  38. I love how it turned out! So much softer and the bamboo shades added that great texture.

  39. Ok, so can I tell you that I would NEVER go through the effort, but it is stunning. And seeing as how I'm so behind, LOL, I have already seen the finished product, and it's really beautiful Steve, I'm giving you a cyber pat on the back!

  40. Thank you so much for this post! I wanted to try this in my bathroom with a white glaze. Now that I have seen it, I think I just might try it!

  41. Hi there. This is great! What finish of paint did you use? Flat? Satin? Semi gloss? What do you think you'd recommend? Thanks!

  42. I want to do this in my living room to brighten it up. Was it just regular interior paint used? Is it ivory or antique white. Surely no straight ahead white, right?