Old House Journal
Vaulting the ceiling
made the small bathroom feel more spacious. The existing tub, toilet, and sash window were saved and reused. Furnishings are antiques in Eastlake style.
top or backsplash, so I scoured stone and tile stores for the whitest Carrara marble I could find. Most of the marble I see for sale today isn’t as white as the marble I’ve noted in Victorian-era homes.
With the newly vaulted ceiling, the once-cramped bath is now large enough to accommodate some of my favorite pieces, like the “petite” (7' high) pier mirror assembly I found on eBay. It was a local pickup. Right away I knew it would go in the bathroom.
I chose honed Carrara marble hexagonal tile and honed Bardiglio grey marble dots (accents) for the floors, which were installed professionally. I’d already added shiplap to the walls and painted them white. Now the house was letting me know that it wanted some color. Since my boyfriend and I had reinstalled all the baseboards and trim, we weren’t going to remove them to install wall tile—which this house has never had, in the first place.
Thus I chose to add Lincrusta, an embossed wallcovering of the Victorian period, in the dado or wainscot area.
The material is very thick and somewhat waterproof. I looked for sales online, and when I saw a good price for the pattern I wanted, I asked for a 10-percent discount and got it. For the Lincrusta to fit at a height that seemed right to me, I had to trim the bottom a bit.
Hanging Lincrusta properly requires a lot of prep work. Before I hung the first piece, I’d measured every space, panel by panel. In areas where the material would need to be cut (to go around a corner block or moulded piece of wood trim), I used a loose moulding block as a template. Once all the pieces were cut, glued, and hung, I was ready to apply color. I mixed a custom tint of periwinkle blue for the shiplap, then applied a slightly darker shade to the dado. I dry-brushed the raised areas of the Lincrusta with an almost white hue of paint to which I’d added just a bit of the periwinkle.