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My favourite room in the house is now my bathroom

A few months ago I went dark and changed the wall colour in my bathroom from crisp clinical white to a deep grey. I loved it, but it just didn’t work. So I decided to change it again. This is what I did.

The entire room is covered in Porter’s Paints ‘Lace’ wallpaper in Aniseed by Catherine Martin (Baz Luhrmann partner in work and life). I also swapped the vintage industrial pendant light to an amazing French Belle Epoque (c. 1900) crystal chandelier which I found in a local antique shop. One of the great things of the mid-century furniture revival is that antique objects are not so sought after and therefore more affordable. I left the ceiling white, but the wood trim is painted in Porter’s Low Sheen Aniseed. Otherwise everything else is unchanged: all the fittings, mirrors, cupboards, accessories and tiles. For those of you who knew my old bathroom and like the vintage Villemot poster, don’t fear, that’s just been relocated to the dining room where it really works.

Thank you also to Matthew Collins for his meticulous work hanging the paper. Having never done this myself, I decided the unconventional shape of my bathroom and intricate pattern required an expert. I am glad I did. Matthew is a incredibly talented designer in his own right and his range of bespoke wallpapers are beautiful and well worth perusing.

Incredible what a difference just some paper and a new light can make. Whenever I walk into the bathroom now I smile. It’s my favourite room in the house and in the afternoon when the light trickles through the windows I like to sit on the floor with a cup of tea and simply enjoy the room.

Photos and styling by Emilie Smith and me.


18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow. Just wow. The wallpaper – wow. The colour – wow! The pink chair – wow! The lighting – wow!
    I love this so much!

    February 13, 2012
  2. Martje #

    O my gosh. Your bathroom looks AMAZING Kate!! Well done, really beautiful! Congrats!! It looks like you did just what it needed. Love the red plastic chair by the way, and of course your cat in the back :-)
    And… Your pics are truly gorgeous.

    February 13, 2012
  3. OMG – Kate, you have OUTDONE YOURSELF!!!!!!

    February 13, 2012
  4. Kylie Mones #

    Just beautiful Kate… but I course I knew it would be! Amazing how small changes can give such a dramatic impact. Will have to come and have tea on your bathroom floor x

    February 13, 2012
  5. Gary #

    Wow – you must be very clean by now – G’luck

    February 13, 2012
  6. Penny #

    Oh my. I feel a bit dizzy. But I like it very much. It’s very opulent. Congratulations.

    February 13, 2012
  7. anja #

    oh wow, this is perfect!!! love the wallpaper and the chandelier, and that pink chair fits in perfectly. go dark rooms!

    February 14, 2012
  8. kate #

    Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. Matthew, the wallpaper hanger, warned me that it is addictive. I now so understand what he means. While I don’t have any tattoos, I imagine it’s similar: I see all these white spaces and fantasise what I could do with them.

    February 15, 2012
  9. That’s fabulous! You have absolutely nailed it to perfection. Well done!

    February 26, 2012
  10. sue #


    February 28, 2012
  11. I realize this post is close to a year old, but I just found it through pinterest and had to give you kudos. So so lovely. Great job!

    October 28, 2012
    • kate #

      Thanks! Much appreciated.

      October 28, 2012
  12. Melinda #

    Do you think this dark wallpaper would work in quite a small bathroom? I am in love, but I do not have high ceilings or much space…

    December 9, 2012
    • kate #

      Melinda, Absolutely. it would look incredible. Only warning is that the paper is no longer hand-made, but is now machine printed and unfortunately not as nice. It’s now shinny and rather than having a worn look the black is a solid block. Rather spoilt it, but is a bit more affordable. Would love to see how your bathroom turns out.

      December 10, 2012
  13. Jessica #

    I found your blog/website through a search on dark paint/bathrooms, etc..and I am so glad I found it! Your new bathroom is absolutely spectacular and has given me such inspiration! I am going to be doing a “facelift” on my powder room and will be painting it a dark, dark grey, almost black (Benjamin Moore’s Witching Hour). It will be quite modern, but I, too, have swooned after the same dark bathroom photos (via Pinterest, Houzz) that you did, and I am so glad that you have put into words what makes those dark spaces so spectacular…the vintage mirrors, lighting, etc…After reading your article, I decided not to do more contemporary sconces, but instead, found vintage French sconces on Etsy that are gilded gold with crystals…totally different and opposite from my chrome modern faucet. I am hoping it will all turn out well, and now I am on the hunt for a pretty mirror like the arched one in the first picture. I think that that type of mirror, combined with the gold, glitzy sconces, should hopefully give my bathroom the look I am hoping for. I am also contemplating glossy or semi glossy paint as per your article as well. Thank you again for this rich information!

    February 9, 2014
    • kate #

      Hi Jessica,
      You made my day. I am so glad you like it. It’s been two years since I wallpapered the bathroom and that room still makes me happy! Your plans or the powder room sound wonderful! Do send me some photos when it’s done!

      February 10, 2014

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