Powder Room Wallpaper

How to add texture and pattern without making a bathroom look too busy.

Q. I will be putting up black and white toile wallpaper in our powder room. I am thinking about putting up anaglyptic wallpaper on the ceiling and want to know two things: How do I handle the small exhaust fan located on the ceiling, and what colour should I paint the paper on the ceiling? I am thinking about either black, white, or gold. The fixtures in the bathroom are a brushed brass finish.

— Christine

A. Because the toile is already a busy pattern, think about leaving the anaglypta-papered ceiling white. The texture will be enough for interest, and mixing textures and patterns is very reminiscent of a vintage look. Stick with a more monochromatic colour scheme to unify the space and make it look richer. A black-painted vanity and framed mirror would be very smart and stylish, and in keeping with the vintage feel, install brushed brass sconces on either side of the mirror. For a twist on traditional, outfit the sconces with simple, square frosted shades. An antique-looking fan and duct cover plates can be found at many home centres. Replace your existing white exhaust fan cover with a brushed brass or white cover in a pretty pattern.

Updating Bathroom Storage

How to transform old bathroom closets.

Q. Our 35-year-old home has a bathroom with closets next to the toilet for storage. How can I update this look and create some fashion for the room? Should I take out the doors or do something totally different?

— Karen D.

A. Updating bathroom storage can be an instant room makeover. You are lucky that you have that closet in your space, as most of us are always seeking extra storage.

As a first step, remove the doors and replace or paint the existing shelving in the closet. Keep the shelves tidy, and organize and display your towels in piles or rolled in bunches. Wicker baskets provide excellent and fashionable “drawers” that can be placed on the shelves or even on the floor to hold bathroom necessities, and can be found at many retail shops like Ikea.

Depending on your own style, you could also keep your closet closed off with a door, but replace the existing door with a door that suits your bathroom style. Mirrored, paneled and paned glass are all possibilities. However, if your bathroom is small, you might want exposed shelving, which would provide easy access and save door swing space in the room.

DIY Bathroom Vanity

Turn an old dresser into a one-of-a-kind bathroom vanity.

There are two types of basins (sinks): bathroom basins, which fit 1-1/4” drains; and bar basins, which fit 1-1/2” drains. Most bathroom faucets incorporate a 1-1/4” pop-up drain assembly. Depending on the sink you choose, you may have to purchase a separate drain assembly. Be sure your sink and faucet set are compatible.

When looking for a wooden cabinet or dresser to convert into a vanity, pay close attention to the dimensions of the cabinet. Ideally, purchase your sink first so that you can choose a cabinet with the right dimensions – something that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the sink, leaving space at the back of the cabinet to fit a faucet set as well as space at the front of the cabinet so that the sink doesn’t run up to the front edge. The cabinet should also be approximately 32” high – standard vanity height.

If you’re converting a cabinet with shelves or a dresser, you’ll probably have to cut through the back and bottom of the shelves or drawers to accommodate plumbing parts and pipe. This will make the drawers somewhat unstable, so you may need to fix the top drawer permanently in place by screwing it to the frame of the cabinet from beneath, filling the screw holes and touching them up with paint or stain. If you really want to use the drawers that have parts cut out of them, consider lining them with plastic baskets so smaller items do not fall out the back or bottom.

Materials and Tools
•Pencil and ruler
•Sharp utility knife
•Masking tape
•Electric drill with 1” drill bit
•Faucet set
•Paintbrush, or roller and tray
•Water supply lines
•Drain assembly
•Chrome P trap (may be supplied with the sink)
•2-1/2” hole saw*
Step 1: Make sink hole template
Many sinks come with templates to help guide you in cutting the hole in the vanity top. If your sink does not come with a template, make one yourself from cardboard. Set the sink upside down on a piece of cardboard and trace around the lip of the sink onto the cardboard with a pencil. (See Photo 2) This will be the template for cutting the sink hole in the top of the cabinet.

Step 2: Cut sink hole
With masking tape, securely tape the cardboard template to the top of the cabinet in the spot where you’d like the sink to be situated. With a 1” drill bit, drill a hole into the cabinet, just inside the cardboard template. This hole will enable you to get the jigsaw started. With a jigsaw, cut the sink hole, following the hole in the cardboard template as you go.
Step 3: Drill faucet holes
To determine the faucet placement, drop the sink into the cut sink hole – you can gauge by eye the best location for the faucet. Remove the sink. Centre the faucet set on the cabinet just behind where the sink will sit. Mark the spot with masking tape. With a pencil, mark the tape with the location of the faucet spout and the 4” centre-to-centre tap measurement (i.e. 2” to either side of the faucet spout). Drill the holes for the faucets at those points 4” apart using a 1” drill bit.

Step 4: Varathane vanity top
With a paintbrush, or roller and tray, apply several protective coats of clear Varathane to the top of the vanity. Be sure to Varathane the cut edge of the sink hole as well; this will seal the wood and protect it from water seepage and wetness. Allow Varathane to dry completely before proceeding.

Step 5: Cut holes in cabinet back
To determine the position of the drain pipe and water supply shut-offs on the back of the cabinet, measure their locations on the wall and transfer these locations to the back of the cabinet. Using a 2-1/2” hole saw, cut holes in the back of the cabinet to accommodate the drain pipe and the water supply shut-offs. (The holes must be big enough to clear the handles of the shut-offs.) Install cabinet against wall.

Step 6: Attach faucet
Turn off the water supply shut-offs. Drop in the faucet set and tighten it into place from underneath. The faucet set will come with all the necessary parts (i.e. washers, rubber rings, etc; see our Materials picture for assembly parts). With faucet set firmly in place, attach the water supply lines. Connect these to the water supply shut-offs coming out of the wall, and tighten. (See Photo 6)

Step 7: Install drain assembly and sink

Depending on the sink you use, the drain assembly parts will be 1-1/4” or 1-1/2”. We used a bar sink, which required a 1-1/2” drain assembly. (Bathroom sinks will need a 1-1/4” pop-up assembly, which should come with a bathroom faucet set.) Set the drain into the sink, attach the rubber washer and nut onto the drain beneath the sink, and tighten. Screw on the tail piece. Drop the sink into the sink hole. Our sink had clips to hold it into place.

Step 8: Attach P trap

Attach the P trap onto the tail piece and to the trap adaptor coming out of the wall. (See Photo 8) The drain assembly will determine the size of the P trap (i.e. either 1-1/2” or 1-1/4”). Turn on the water supply shut-offs.

Step 9: Modify dresser drawers
Measure and mark on the drawers from the back of the cabinet to the front point of the P trap. As well, mark the locations and the widths of the water shut-offs; the drawer will need to clear these too. With a jigsaw, cut out the back and bottom of the drawers according to these measurements so that the drawers can now adequately clear all plumbing parts, water shut-offs and adaptor. (See Photo 9) Slide the drawers back into place. (See Photo 10).


8 Creative Tips for Showroom Displays

As manufacturers outdid each other's booths to market new wares, the floor of the 2011 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas was a study in how to position products to sell based on the latest design trends and product technology.

"Showrooms need to distinguish themselves because so many people can go online and buy these things," said Mike Reffner, wholesale group product manager for Moen.

Reffner and representatives of other kitchen and bath product manufacturers offered these tips to make a trip to the showroom worthwhile.

•Mix up materials. Blend elements in kitchen displays: use steel, wood, tile, and stone together to highlight the popular trend homeowners and pros are looking for. For example, the simple steel cabinet door that jazzed up the Grothouse Lumber wood countertop display at KBIS was an easy and inexpensive way to acknowledge the style, Denise Grothouse said. Meanwhile, Daltile showed off tiny tiles with bits of metal and surrounded by ceramic mosaics and it paired glass pieces with stone.

•Install mirrors to grab attention. Pair a vanity with a matching mirror, Native Trail's Naomi Neilson Howard recommends. Not only does the setting offer a complete, easy-to-envision suite but it peaks customers' interest from anywhere in the showroom. "Some people don't have space to include a mirror but it really makes a difference," she said.

•Flow water to sell faucets. "People like to touch running water," Reffner said, so install a quiet recirculating pump beneath a faucet display to run water at no loss. Attendees could turn on a shower at the Moen booth and feel the flow the company's brochure describes, and they could try the tap-on, tap-off technology of Delta's Touch2O fixture.

•Include wood for warmth. Add a touch of wood to the display because “it softens and warms the room, specifically the kitchen,” Grothouse said.

•Create modern flare with oversized elements. Enkeboll's extra-wide and metal-painted products in its KBIS booth made the firm's traditional trim look ultra-modern. The vendor displayed its new metallic-glazed trim line as anything but trim, including a tub base, a picture frame, and a vase holder. “It's our way of showing designers you can use molding, balusters, columns, in more ways,” spokeswoman Nancy Joseph said.

•Illustrate multiple looks. Most pros and homeowners need help visualizing the finished look, so show complete options, details, and varieties of color and texture in one display. “It's important to see all the different ways they can put it together in the house,” Kohler's Vicki Hafenstein said of the firm's new 12-piece Tresham bathroom collection, arranged in a variety of setups to show off its versatility. Or do like Glastender, which stocked its stainless-steel residential bars with ice and beverages. When space is limited, compile a photo book of room scenes from your recent projects to show what the showroom cannot. “If you can help them visualize, the dealer will have a better chance of making the sale,” said Daltile's Lori Kirk-Rolley.

•Save space by pairing products. Brent Spann of Eldorado Stone, which introduced nine new lightweight stone fireplace surrounds at the show, offered one design suggestion: set fireplaces back-to-back to save showroom space.

•Take advantage of multimedia props. The story of how artisans hand hammer Premier Copper Products' sinks from blocks of copper was one of the biggest selling points at the manufacturer's KBIS booth, Melissa Riche said. She suggested mounting a TV above products that flash a slideshow of the entire product line or a demonstration of how the products work or are installed to keep customers' engaged in the showroom.