The Powder Room Project: The Walls!

The walls in the room-that-was-to-be-the-powder-room were really rough.  On one wall, 127 years of paint were separated from the plaster, due to past years of water damage (the wall was directly below the 2nd floor toilet).  At some point, a previous homeowner had sprayed some pretty good texture on the walls and ceiling as well.  I’m sure it hid a lot, but it wasn’t the look I was going for.

Step 1 was scraping off the loose paint, and then using joint compound to bridge the gap between the paint and raw plaster.  Of course there were also cracks and holes to repair.  To get rid of the texture, I just put a skim coat of joint compound over the walls.  It didn’t take long and really did the job.  The walls were not perfectly smooth, but pretty close.

Step 2 was to finalize what we wanted to do with the walls.  Because they were in rough shape, and because it was such a small, tall room, I wanted to break up the walls with some molding.  The kitchen and butler’s pantry have typical wainscoting 1/3 up the wall, but we wanted to do something a bit different.  I thought about paneling like this:

but I decided that it was too formal for what I wanted the room to look like, and also for our house in general.  We found this really helpful website:

It gave us some great ideas of different styles of paneling, and helped us to settle on this one:

This style is called “Georgian.”  We liked how it is similar to our wainscoting, but is a little dressier, in our opinion.

Lance made the paneling out of MDF board, and we decided to make the panels 5.5″ wide.  We removed the original quarter round, mop board and cap and scraped and sanded it.  We were missing some cap, and were thrilled to find some identical cap at the local salvage shop.

We also removed the trim board that originally hung about 1/2 way up the wall, and cleaned that up as well.  We were missing some of it too, but found just what we needed from a neighbor, who was removing some from his house.  If you are restoring/ renovating an old house, here’s a tip:  GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS!!


All of the bits and pieces, ready to be cleaned up and repainted.



This photo shows the damage to the walls that we had to contend with


The paneling went up and looked great.  It was Lance’s first time doing this, so of course it isn’t perfect, but we are ok with that!

Finally, it was time for the fun to start: making things pretty.  I chose the paint color “Alabaster” by Sherwin Williams for the trim.  I had always read about this color being “the perfect white.”  Well, I can tell you that it is true!  It is just such a pretty, creamy, milky white color.  I just love it.


So we have our dreamy paneling up, but 1/3 of the walls stood bare.  Next post:  WALLPAPER


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