Saturday, 8 June 2013

All The Pretty Skylarks or Downstairs Toilet Makeover

Birger Kaipiainen ken kiuruista kaunein tapetti wallpaper Pihlgren Ritola Tapettitalo

Let me start with something pretty namely the wallpaper that inspired the makeover. It's called "Ken kiuruista kaunein" (Who's the fairest skylark) in the colourway orange and it was designed for the Finnish wallpaper manufacturer Pihlgren ja Ritola Oy by Birger Kaipiainen in 1958. Pihlgren & Ritola had invited several artists and designers of that time to design wallpapers. The designs were maybe a bit showy for Finns at the time and they certainly weren't the most popular designs of that time, but they have an enduring appeal, in fact Birger Kaipiainen's "Ken kiuruista kaunein" in the colourway blue has been in production continuously since 1958 and is still going strong. I must note that I have been drooling over the orange version for years and have only now found a place to use it. I also have something planned for the wallpaper in the pink colourway, but that's another post altogether.

And now for the not so pretty: the "before" picture. We have lived in this house for six years now and the downstairs loo, or guest powderroom has not changed. When we were building the house we just wanted to move in quickly and decided to just slap some paint on the walls. The paint we chose was light gray. Neutral, non-obtrusive, functional. But also drab, dull and nondescript. A change was long overdue. I wanted colour, life, vibrancy, a bit of wow.

Dull, dull,dull
Putting wallpaper on all the walls from floor to cieling wasn't an option because of all the activities involving liquids that will be going on in that room. Not to mention the fact that these liquids will be mostly handled by two small boys. So the lower part of the room was painted with a water resistant, washable paint in the same yellow/orange as the wallpaper. We chose Luja by Tikkurila

Now a quick note to the good people of Tikkurila: Not all interior decorating is done by burly men with large and strong hands nor do all decorators have such persons at hand to help them with the paint tin. The lid of the tin has, what some might undoubtedly describe as "a new and innovative design, which enables the tin to be opened without any tools." So it doesn't have any of the metal flaps or holes you can pry open with a screwdriver that you get in a normal tin. Instead, you are expected to pull the lid open from the edge with your fingers while simultaneously pushing the lid inwards in the middle, like shown in this illustration. I HATE THOSE HANDS! So smug. So self-satisfied. "Look at us, we can push and pull at the same time! We are big and strong!".

Smug bastards

Anyway, once the tin was opened and two coats applied on the walls it was time to break out the wallpaper paste. The wallpaper is a traditional surface printed wallpaper and as such shouldn't be soaked for any longer than a minute. Putting it up was pretty straightforward and only took a few hours. The only thing I had to watch was treating the wallpaper carefully and not rubbing it since the colour does come off easily when the paper is wet.

Birger Kaipiainen ken kiuruista kaunein tapetti wallpaper Pihlgren Ritola Tapettitalo

The join between the wallpaper and the paint needed something and at first I thought a simple border would be just the ticket. But no simple borders were to be found. I then opted for the cheapo option which is a painted line. I went for the same bright periwinkle blue than in the wallpaper. Of course I wasn't going to go to the paint store and have them mix up one litre of it since I would only be needing enough for the stripe. So I mixed up my own using some leftover white paint and acrylic hobby paints.

Birger Kaipiainen ken kiuruista kaunein tapetti wallpaper Pihlgren Ritola Tapettitalo

Birger Kaipiainen ken kiuruista kaunein tapetti wallpaper Pihlgren Ritola Tapettitalo
And here's the finished stripe

Hurrah! lets have a cocktail...

Birger Kaipiainen ken kiuruista kaunein tapetti wallpaper

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