Lose wall­pa­per; start fresh with bath­room

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - DEB­BIE TRAVIS

Dear Deb­bie: I am re­do­ing the two bath­rooms in my home. They are wall­pa­pered and the walls be­hind are not very smooth. Can I paint over the paper? I’ve re­done the rest of the house and want these rooms to look good, too.

— Vicky Dear Vicky: Yes, in most cases, it is pos­si­ble to paint over wall­pa­per, but I wouldn’t ad­vise it. You have taken the time and en­ergy to update your home and it sounds like you are pleased with the re­sults. Now is not the time for short­cuts that may not mea­sure up. A bath­room is not a large space and you could re­ally make a big im­pact by fix­ing up the walls. Strip off the paper and start fresh.

Vene­tian plas­ter and stucco have made a big come­back in bath­rooms and kitchens. Both can be pre-tinted, which saves the paint­ing step if you choose. It’s not dif­fi­cult to ap­ply, and plas­ter walls feel lux­u­ri­ous. Vene­tian plas­ter has mar­ble dust in it, and can be bur­nished to a silky-smooth shine. Stucco needs to be ap­plied in thin lay­ers or it will crack, and has a matte fin­ish. Both plas­ters are por­ous, so ap­ply two coats of acrylic var­nish to seal when the plas­ter is go­ing to be in a hu­mid or wet space such as a bath­room.

In the sunny and serene bath­room makeover shown here, the plain tiles around the tub have been trans­formed with stucco that was pre-tinted a golden yel­low. The up­per walls are coated with pale yel­low stucco. I re­placed the metal blinds at the win­dow with wood shut­ters, and now the bath­room has the bliss­ful am­bi­ence of a farm­house in Provence. Ceil­ings in a bath­room are im­por­tant and can be fun to dec­o­rate. To cre­ate a lit­tle op­u­lence, this ceil­ing was given a painted border and dec­o­rated with a golden stamp de­sign.

Here are a few tips to make sure your bath­room redo is suc­cess­ful. Pre­pare and plas­ter Pre­pare your walls by wash­ing off any wall­pa­per glue residue, and fill and sand any cracks or holes. Ap­ply a high-ad­he­sion primer and let dry overnight. Ap­ply a thin coat of stucco with a trowel, work­ing from top to bot­tom us­ing cross-hatch strokes. You can cre­ate depth and in­ter­est by lay­er­ing colours, or shades of the same colour. Play with the plas­ter un­til you have the ef­fect you want. Note that un­like paint, which dries darker, plas­ter dries about 50 per cent lighter. A skim coat of plas­ter will smooth out or cam­ou­flage any lit­tle bumps on the wall. Paint­ing the ceil­ing Use reg­u­lar la­tex paint rather than ceil­ing paint when ap­ply­ing a dec­o­ra­tive fin­ish. Al­low the base coat to dry overnight if you are go­ing to be tap­ing off a border, and al­ways use low-tack painter’s tape. Look for dec­o­ra­tive stamps at your paint store or arts and crafts store or on­line. We used a dia- mond de­sign for this ceil­ing and taped off half of the de­sign to make the pat­tern around the border’s edge. Ap­ply paint to the stamp with a small paint­brush, be­ing care­ful not to get in the grooves of the de­sign. Too much paint will blur the im­age.

Stucco is a charm­ing al­ter­na­tive to paint or wall­pa­per and with the proper prepara

tion, can even be ap­plied over tiles.

Painted border and a stamped de­sign bring a touch of el­e­gance to this bath­room ceil­ing.

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