Sam contacted mad about the house to ask about wallpapering her bathroom. But she didn’t want just any old wallpaper…
Q: What do you think about maybe using the Brooklyn tile wallpaper for our main bathroom ceiling? At £219 a pop it feels a bit risky. Is it true that using some kinda varnish over the paper would prevent any water damage or from simply peeling off? Am gonna have to ask Santa for a roll or two as budget very tight but I HAVE to have this wallpaper somewhere in this house…
A: You’re absolutely right, Sam, I love this wallpaper too. In fact I put it up on the blog as wallpaper of the week so long ago that it will soon have to be changed to wallpaper of the year. I haven’t managed to find anything else I like quite as much as this.
It was designed to mimic the look of vintage painted tiles found in factories and warehouses in North America at the turn of the century. Those painted tiles were made of press tin and were, in turn, designed to mimic plasterwork found in European houses at the turn of the century. The paper has an aged look with paint cracks imbedded in the image and was created in collaboration with Merci, the Paris boutique. It is available in eight colourways and supplied in a 10 metre roll.
But can you use it in a bathroom? Well, I spoke to Peter Wells, of Polyvine decorating products and, to paraphrase the old Tropicana adverts; the man from Del Monte (or in this case Polyvine) he say YES!
Decorators Varnish costs less than £10 for a 500ml tin and you simply paint it on your wallpaper and it will be perfectly sealed.
“Even interior designers who are working with wallpapers that cost £500 a roll use our decorators varnish to protect the paper,” he said.
“We suggest the dead flat finish as it won’t show, although we would always suggest a small test patch first, even though we have never heard of any problems.”
He said that if you are using wallpaper in a kitchen, the satin finish provides better protection against grease but added that you can do a top coat in the dead flat so that you achieve the protection you need and the finish you desire.
So there you have it. Suddenly the whole world of wallpaper is open to you for use in any room/wall/ceiling in the house. And if you like the trompe l’oeil effect then then you will be a fan of Young & Battaglia which means you can paper your bathroom in wooden panelling or planks.
Or what about using the real thing? I have used pressed tin tiles on my kitchen ceiling. And, as you can see from the picture below, they create a beautiful iridescent lustre.
Now this isn’t straightforward either as tin rusts incredibly quickly. But if you buy it from Andy Thornton you have the option to have it pre-treated to make it rust-proof. Obviously it costs more and we chose not to do that on our kitchen ceiling and neither did we manage to varnish it fast enough to prevent some rust appearing. Having said that a little rust adds a pleasingly vintage look to the overall effect. We used the decorators varnish on these too.
As you can see from the picture below, this bathroom, which does admittedly have a very high ceiling, has pressed tin ceiling tiles.
This bathroom has used them in the shower. These ones are from an Australian company called Pressed Tin Panels who use aluminium sheeting and they specifically state that they are suitable for use in the bathroom as long as they are powder coated.
Price wise, the wallpaper is £219 a roll but you don’t say how big your ceiling is and you will have to match the pattern so you will inevitably need more than one roll. When we wallpapered our younger son’s bedroom door with the book paper it took three rolls to get the effect and to allow for the matching.
The tin tiles cost around £17 a tile (mine were about 50cm square) excluding vat and delivery. There may not be that much difference between the paper and tin depending on the size of the room. One thing to bear in mind: we were told that the tiles should be nailed onto a wooden frame attached to the ceiling. We didn’t want to make our ceiling any lower and, as it was only covering part of the ceiling we need it to be flush with the other end of the room, so we glued them on. You will need to check that the glue will be all right in a hot steamy bathroom.
And one last image of a pressed tin ceiling: