Life & Design: A Fresh Coat of Paint

Life & Design:  A Fresh Coat of Paint

As a design enthusiast, I am constantly examining my home and imagining all the changes I’d like to make.  Some are simple, like adding a new accessory that brings the colors in the room together.  Others are more elaborate like re-purposing an old dresser to make a new bathroom vanity (which I hope to accomplish when the weather gets warmer!).  My husband says I have a “look” when I do this.  He can tell when I’m in “designer-zone” in my head, as I roam around the house and stare at the walls.   Am I the only one?

One simple fix that I have been wanting to make in my home is re-painting our bathroom.  If I’m honest, I’d love to rip everything out of that bathroom and re-do it all, but alas, a project of that magnitude is not on the agenda at this point.  But one thing I knew I could handle was paint.  Changing the paint in a space is a way to produce dramatic results with little financial investment and some good old-fashioned elbow-grease!


This pattern was lovely when new; but I’m ready to change it up!

When we bought our home the bathroom was in obvious need of some TLC — and no, I don’t mean the 90’s R&B girl group… but their hit single “Waterfalls” does bring back some great memories of singing in the mirror with a hairbrush microphone 😉

But that is neither here nor there.  The walls of our bathroom featured a background of lilac purple with a damask pattern in white over-top.  While I mean no offense if you find this combination pleasing, it was in no way my style and I was ready to be rid of it.

So, my big Valentine’s Day weekend plans… paint the bathroom.  And with a toddler boy who is potty-trained, but in no way great at aiming… this was going to prove to be a gritty task.  Let’s just say I was pretty thorough with the first step of cleaning everything out of the bathroom and wiping down all surfaces!  For my new paint colors, I went with a neutral and relaxing greige called “Old Soul” and a deep chocolate-charcoal accent wall called “Ebony Fields.”  The accent wall behind the sink is a semi-gloss, because it reflects light to help against the dark color’s absorption of light, also for cleanability.  The rest of the walls were done in an eggshell.  I had previously painted the vanity white and I liked the idea of having a dark wall with the white accents.

Here at L. J. Wagner’s we carry PPG Pittsburgh Paints. PPG not only has a wide variety of colors to select from, they offer low-VOC or no-VOC products; and they are also a company that supports buying local and partners with great foundations, such as Make-A-Wish.  (One of their Make-A-Wish colors, “Screaming Safari”, is in my boys’ room and makes for a bright and exciting room for the littles.  I love it!)

So Saturday night I busted out my trusty paint tools and got to work.  When painting an accent wall in a room it requires a little extra precision to ensure your edges are crisp and don’t detract from the effect you’re going for with the accent wall.  Here are some of my own personal tips when you begin your own painting adventure.

My tips to get a professional-look for do-it-yourself painters:

  1. I choose to forego drop cloths all over and tape on every edge. I use them sparingly. Sometimes when I use the drop cloths and tape I get reckless, thinking I’ve got extra protection, so I can be a little sloppier. Using less to “protect” the areas I don’t want painted makes me more cautious overall and more precise on my edges.
  2. When I do use the painter’s tape for the trim, I make sure that my brush is not dripping with paint. Too much paint on those edges can start to ooze under the tape causing a mess that you don’t see until it’s too late.
  3. In this room, I made sure to do a coat all the way around with a good primer. When changing colors drastically or painting over a pattern, it’s a good idea to use a primer or get a paint that has a primer in it.  Our Pittsburgh Paints Manor Hall line is a Paint, Primer & Stain Repellent in One!
  4. Remove the tape once all your coats are done and the last coat of paint is still wet. If you allow it all to dry, when you remove the tape it could pull up some of the paint on the walls. Then just go back and touch up the areas that need it.
  5. I also usually paint bare foot; and not just for agility 😉 but if I happen to step in dripped paint I know it right away and don’t track it all over the house.
  6. ALWAYS do at least two coats of your color. I know most paint companies will tell you to do three. But I find that for 99% of color applications, one coat is just too thin

    My Painting Project:    Before……and…..After!

    but two seems to give you the proper amount of coating for a solid, finished look.

Sweet relief!  The new colors create a much more subdued and calm environment.  I installed my new metal pipe towel bars, put up my white accents, a few vintage prints and voila: a whole new room!  My husband tells me he’s still shocked every time he goes in there by how much better it looks.  Yay me!  🙂

The bathroom is a great place to be loud with your design and try something you’ve been a little scared to do, such as using bright paint colors or big prints on wallpaper. This room is typically one of the smallest in your home, so it takes less to accomplish the new look; and you are only in the bathroom for brief amounts of time. So I say, go for it!  Be brave and get your hands dirty.

We have recently redesigned our women’s restroom at L. J. Wagner Home Interiors; and used a beautifully large floral print, alongside an accent wall that features a small-scale cheetah print.  It is big, bold and lovely!  With new a vanity, flooring, lighting, and freshly painted stall dividers, it is a whole new oasis for folks of the female variety here at Wagner’s.  While it seems odd to invite you to come in and see our new bathroom, I am.  And you should!  It’s well worth the trip. and you might even be inspired to be bold in your own design!


If you’re not sure what colors to use, check out PPG Pittsburgh Paint’s color ideas page HERE for ideas.

Or click here to see PPG Pittsburgh Paints color of the year HERE.  Who doesn’t mind finding Paradise?  

Or come into L. J. Wagner Home Interiors and get some personal advice from one of our lovely designers!  We would be thrilled to help you accomplish a new look, just for you!  Like all things design, your walls should reflect your personality and personal style.  We, at L. J. Wagner Home Interiors, can help you create the look that shows off who you are!


Hoosier Girl….takes the plunge!

HOOSIER GIRL . . . takes the plunge!

To paint, or not to paint?  That is the question many of us face when it comes to “out of style;” or even ugly brick in the house.

Love the cute shape of this fireplace.  Tapering to the top gives it a fun personality!

Love the cute shape of this fireplace. Tapering to the top gives it a fun personality!

  Our new home has the cutest brick fireplace.  The shape is cute, the color is not.  I spent some time   thinking about decorative ways to spruce it up.  So after a few days deliberation, I decided that we were going to have to paint it.

Let the painting begin!

Let the painting begin!

  Would I be happy with my decision?  There’s no going back.  That’s a permanent choice!  I told the painter to go ahead; and I left the house for a few hours before I lost my nerve.  

  When I came back, she had a good portion of the top of the fireplace primed.  Enough that I could see the beauty coming out and too much to reverse my choice.  I was sure I would love it when all done.


It took a whole day just to cover it with primer (Zinsser 1-2-3 worked great!).  

There's no turning back now!

There’s no turning back now!

"Operation: Fireplace Painting" complete!

“Operation: Fireplace Painting” complete!

And then, another whole day to finish the top coat (latex semi gloss).  But, wow, it’s absolutely beautiful!!  I chose to paint it with the same clean white that covers all the trim.  It keeps it simple, clean, and classic.

Deciding to paint something like brick can be a daunting decision; but when done right, can be a wonderful change.  So if you’ve ever thought about it, I say, go for it!  I think you’ll love it!

CAUTION: I will say that most men will not sanction this decorating choice, so you may want to wait til they’re on the fishing trip of a lifetime with their buddies to hatch this plan.  😉

Stay tuned….

Hoosier Girl