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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!


Life & Design: In Transition


  • Editor’s Note:  Lauren has recently joined us at L. J. Wagner Home Interiors; and we are thrilled to have her on staff.  She has quickly proven herself to have a wonderful eye for Interior Design; and a large heart for her clients.  Stop in soon to see Lauren; she would love to help you with your next Interior Design project!


Life & Design: In Transition


a :  passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another :  change

b :  a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another

Transition: Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved August 26, 2015, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/transition

Transitional Style (also known as “updated classic”, “classic with a contemporary twist”, “new takes on old classics”) in interior design and furniture design refers to a blend of traditional and contemporary styles, midway between old world traditional and the world of chrome and glass contemporary; incorporating lines that are less ornate than traditional designs, but not as severely basic as contemporary lines. As a result transitional furniture designs are classic, timeless, and clean.

Transitional Style. (2015, August 17). Retrieved August 26, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_Style

Transitional Style Photo

Small details make a HUGE difference in styling. Find a style you like? Customize it with a small trim, or contrasting pillow to truly make it your very own!

Over the past several months my family and I have been in a seemingly constant state of transition. Our passage from one place, one job and one home to another is ongoing. Due to my husband’s job being eliminated we were in need of finding new jobs and a new home. On top of this, we welcomed our second son into the world in early June. When it rains, it pours, right?

Transitional style can incorporate a fun & comfortable look and feel.  It does not necessitate “hard, stiff” upholstery that many of us may think of when we imagine what “contemporary furniture” might be.

This journey of transition has led us to a familiar place but with a new perspective. Moving “back home” as an adult who is now married with children has brought on a whole new adventure in some of the same old places. Typically when worlds collide we anticipate chaos and disorder, which is common. But there is also something new and different that is created in the process.

In design, transitional style brings together the curves and elegance of the traditional with the simplicity and practicality of the contemporary. This blend of traditional and contemporary create a style that is sophisticated and clean. It becomes timeless and classic. Transitional design utilizes neutral tones, often in a monochromatic scheme, on furniture and flooring. Color is used in artwork and accents. While many may think that a monochromatic color scheme is boring, it allows you a new perspective to see and appreciate texture and pattern. It also provides a fantastic background to highlight pops of color.

As I continue to move through this current transition in life, I am finding that coming back to a place I have known with a new perspective is allowing me to appreciate both the old and the new. I am learning how the marriage of my past and my present, just like the traditional and the contemporary, can create a beautiful and timeless work of art.

If you are like me and are drawn to the warm wood tones of the traditional and the clean lines and neutral palette of the contemporary, you may find comfort in the transitional style. Also, if you find yourself in the midst of life change; take heart in knowing that there is beauty and adventure to be found in the transition.


Hoosier Girl….Goes to Market to Market to Buy a New Chair!

HOOSIER GIRL . . . goes to market to market to buy a new chair!

Twice a year (April and October) almost everybody who has anything to do with the world of furniture, accessories, and interior design converges on the High Point, North Carolina area to see what’s the newest, the latest, the hottest. It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun seeing new styles and fabrics for furniture. We also shopped for the latest incarnations of accessories to go with it.

I thought you might like to see some of the things that we saw a few weeks ago. Maybe you’ll be inspired to add something new to the master bedroom, a colorful chair to the living room, or a new way to lay out accessories in the dining room. We have a lot of new furniture pieces ordered that will be appearing on our store floor in the next few weeks and months! Enjoy!


photo 3

The back of this leather chair is accented by a metal bit. Little details can give as big payback.

photo 1

While not for everyone, this black, yellow, and white scheme shows how to add punch to a monochromatic room.

photo 2

Accent pillows are a great way to jazz up a room. Consider adding them to your room for a colorful update.

photo 4

This calm setting of aqua and gray tones blends traditional furnishings with modern art.

Table chair

This caught my eye! Using a drop leaf table as a desk is clever. I also love the layering effect of the accessories.


Shades of gray, taupe, and cream were prevalent at the show this year. This grouping adds a hint of metallic sheen to a room.

Blue Wall Mirror

This bright contrast was an attention getter! Navy was all the rage. You’ll be seeing a lot of it in the next few years Striking and fresh!


This beautiful cut velvet wing chair is on it’s way to LJ Wagner. We loved the cozy fabric in the rich taupe colorway. Straight out of Downton Abbey!


Contrasting colors of teal and cinnamon made a striking finish to the neutral tones of the bedding. Classic, comfy, and colorful!


Fun and function come together in this cocktail ottoman. This fabric combo is a winner!