Project Share: Challenging Spaces

Linda Merrill Bathroom Les Touches Walls and Windows Boston

I wanted to share a recently completed project that had some challenging spaces worth discussing. My clients called me in to work with them on the decorative elements of their full gut renovation of a 100 year old home in Boston.  Old homes always have quirks which makes them both charming and challenging spaces! This home has only one bathroom on the first floor located off the kitchen. This half bath also includes the laundry so it had to be both functional and chic since it is the only available guest bath.

Linda Merrill Bathroom Les Touches Walls and Windows Boston

My clients already knew they wanted to use this Les Touches pattern from Brunschwig and Fils for the graphic punch it would offer. So, in addition to wanting the bathroom to be highly functional and beautiful, a challenging pattern was added to the mix. Along with the wallpaper, there was also need for a window treatment for privacy because this is on the first floor and looks out on the back patio. We decided on a 2/3 length cafe curtain on rod and rings to allow some light to come in. We were also doing a matching floor-to-ceiling drapery treatment to cover the laundry side of the space. We considered using a solid fabric, but in the end decided to go “all-in” with Les Touches on the window a drapery wall.

If you look at the closeup above of the fabric and paper, you will see that the pattern includes dark gray and black which gives it depth. We selected Benjamin Moore’s Black Satin for the molding paint as it’s a soft black and not too stark. We also decided to do a black banding around the drapery which allows my clients to pull back the curtains without touching the primary fabric itself. A bathroom and laundry room are working spaces so there is dirt, soap and lint to think about. I selected a black Kravet indoor/outdoor fabric which can be spot cleaned as needed.

Linda Merrill design Melanie Harvey wallpaper installer Boston MA challenging spaces

Let me tell you, you don’t just slap a pattern like this on the wall – it takes a pro to know where the pattern should fall and how it will “lay” across the entire space. Enter Melanie Harvey who is one of the premier wallpaper installers in Massachusetts. Melanie and I met at the home so she could view the space and estimate the number of rolls required for the job.

There are two main issues to deal with when using a matching wallpaper and fabric. The obvious issue is that you have to match the patterns.   The second issue is that the colors are usually very slightly different. In this case, they are very, very close but can never be exact because they aren’t dyed/printed using the same materials. With a white or very light fabric, the lighting will affect how the color looks. In the case of the cafe curtain, we chose a black out lining so that there was no light bleed from the outside which would have made the fabric look more yellow than white. For the laundry wall drapery there was no issue with light bleed and we decided to leave it unlined to reduce the weight and so it could be pushed as far to the sides as needed.

And so, my drapery workroom waited until the wallpaper was installed before they went in to measure and photograph the pattern placement. The pattern has enough movement in it without adding an off placement. Obviously, since the fabric was slightly gathered, the vertical pattern didn’t match, but the horizontal plain was perfect!

Linda Merrill Bathroom Les Touches Walls and Windows Boston 2 challenging spaces

A peak behind the curtain shows that we papered in the laundry alcove as well! There are also cubbies on the window side of the wall for storage. You can see how close everything is!

Linda Merrill Bathroom Les Touches Walls and Windows Boston Challenging spaces

Linda Merrill Bathroom Les Touches Walls and Windows Boston challenging spaces

And finally, the spectacular mirror adds a final moment of literal punctuation to the space. And, notice how perfectly the pattern is centered behind the mirror.

Linda Merrill Bathroom Les Touches Walls and Windows Boston

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In the kitchen had additional challenging spaces. One in particular. We were tasked with creating the perfect upholstered cornice boxes to go with the new kitchen.  My clients love this Galbraith & Paul Pomegranate fabric. One of the challenges of a very patterned fabric is to make sure it will sit perfectly on more than one cornice board – which are different sizes.
The upholstered cornices were chosen because they are architectural and would help draw the eye upwards towards the ceiling.
Linda Merrill design window treatment cornice board Boston MA challenging spaces
We banded them in a bright orange for a great contrast.
2 Linda Merrill design window treatment cornice board Boston MA challenging spaces
On the side wall are two windows and one was especially challenging.
Linda Merrill design window treatment cornice board Boston MA challenging spaces
As you can see below, the window is right in the corner and there is a door right there as well. In other words, the cornice had to be built to sit on top of the molding on that one side as opposed to around the moldings like the other ones. Additionally, the cornice had to be shallow enough so that the door could open, though it never actually will be used but in case someone did, we didn’t want to block the door or damage the cornice. I was so pleased with these as were my clients! There was a lot to consider and details to take into account, but they came out beautifully!
Linda Merrill design window treatment cornice board Boston MA challenging spaces
And then finally, a small detail – we had made a French mattress style tufted bench seat cushion that blended perfectly with the cabinetry. We used a Perennials fabric for durability as well.
French mattress Bench cushion
I hope you enjoyed this little peak at these challenging spaces and learned something too!
Challenging Spaces

15 thoughts on “Project Share: Challenging Spaces”

  1. Thank you for taking us through this smaller space, and all the thoughts that had to go into it. The fine details are so important and you brought us along on your journey!

    Can I just say that mirror…such a great piece!

  2. There are always SO many details to consider in even the simplest of refresh projects – From considering the cornice mounting issues to specifying durable and cleanable fabrics where it matters, you handled these so beautifully and gracefully! And what charming spaces you’ve created! Love love love!

  3. Old homes are so difficult to work with because you don’t want to take away from their history or charm. I think you did an amazing job with this bathroom.


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