Design & Renovation Client Projects / Portfolio / Room Makeover / Styling the Home

Black Tie Luxe Powder Room for the Alabama Symphony Decorators’ ShowHouse

Photo by Joe Songer | [email protected]

For 43 years, the Decorators’ ShowHouse has been the premier spring fund raising event for the Alabama Symphony. I was honored and a bit surprised to be asked to preview the home in January of this year. After submitting my room choice and a design board, I was thrilled to be added to this esteemed roster of decorators for 2019.

This room was made possible by the generous support of Metrie Interior Mouldings and Doors. Many thanks to them for sponsoring this room makeover. Also, a special appreciation for donations from, Rainbow Paint and Decorating, and Paige Albright Orientals.

Black Tie Luxe Powder Room

This is the design and inspiration board I submitted to the Decorator Selection committee.

My plan was to design the room around the existing black marble vanity and black toilet. I always find that the best way to transform a dated space is to consider how the liabilities of the room can become assets. This room had two perfectly suited candidates.

The Before

Painting the walls high gloss black, with layer upon layer of moulding seemed like the daring, “all in” approach that suited the room and would hopefully “wow” attendees of the ShowHouse.

I would venture to guess that 35 years ago this embossed leaf foil wallpaper might have been the height of luxury. But even the homeowner’s representative told me that the room was such an eyesore that no one ever used this bathroom anymore.

I fully understand why it remained this way, even after the ostensible beauty had passed. Removing the wallpaper, even with proper prep and tools, was a very tedious endeavor. One that took over a week to complete. If you want to learn more about removing wallpaper, I wrote a thorough blog post and video tutorial, here.

Once the wallpaper was removed, the walls were cleaned, primed and prepped for moulding.

Initially this room was completely void of any moulding. To add a dose of luxury and a bit of formality to this tiny powder room, a large crown molding was installed and then 2 layers of panel moulding were added to the walls. I also removed the tile baseboard and replaced it with 1×4’s capped off with baseboard trim.

I’ll include a list of the exact Metrie products I used at the end of the post.

After all of the moulding was hung it was time to paint the walls with High Gloss Farrow & Ball in Pitch Black.

Working with high gloss plaint can be difficult task in any scenario but black is by far the most challenging. No mishap is hidden, it is super dark, creates glare, making it extremely hard to see imperfections when it is wet. The small, confined space also made it difficult to position the sprayer the proper distance from the wall. The last hurdle was lack of light. Even with additional lights brought in, once I removed the sconces from the wall to protect them from the spray, it was extremely difficult to see what I was spraying.

The After

All of the trials with the black gloss paint and the hours upon hours of removing the wallpaper were worth it when the end looked like this.

The mirror, an antiqued gold leaf piece by Uttermost, donated by was the perfect modern element to balance the traditional moulding and existing features like the sink, faucet and the chandelier style sconces.

As much time as I spent in this space I wasn’t sure a small table would work in here, but I picked one up at my local HomeGoods and tested it out. I wanted to add a table for guests to have a place to set a small purse or retrieve a hand towel.

Being the dedicated DIY’er determined to elevate this very basic table, I removed the original top and cut a marble slab piece I had leftover from another project. I cut the 5″ strips at a 45 degree angle to create a design that looked custom and intentional.

Almost all of the pieces in the room are available for purchase as part of the fundraising for the Alabama Symphony, but I secretly hope this table doesn’t sell. I kind of really love it!!

This amazingly gorgeous rug is from Paige Albright Orientals. Her store offers a highly sought after curated collection of oriental rugs. She and her staff are perfectly suited to help you find the right rug for your home and collection.

The tile floor was painted to update the color and tone with a tile primer and Farrow and Ball Floor paint, also known as their Modern Eggshell finish. The color, Skimming Stone was the perfect tone of white for the house. The paint for the entire ShowHouse was donated by Rainbow Paint and Decorating in Vestavia, Alabama.

In my opinion, no room, even a windowless bathroom, should be without a touch or two of greenery. A large, gold vase filled with palm branches soften the hard lines of the room.

The extruding gold edge of the mirror provided the perfect place to perch a small vase with fern fronds.

The last element to literally tie the room together was the circle knot art. I have always been drawn to this style of modern art. When faced with the challenge of finding the right piece on my very small budget, I decided to try my hand at painting the pair.

I must admit, it was in some ways easier and yet harder than I thought it would be. Finding the perfect balance between planning and letting the brush move freely was a challenge. Being a perfectionist, it was contrary to my nature to walk away from what I perceived to be unrefined. But none-the-less, I am particularly fond of what they bring to the room.

And did you notice? One of the most asked about additions to the room?

Where did I get that black toilet paper? Thanks to The Makerista, I know! You can buy any color toilet paper from here!!

I must admit I am extremely proud of this space. Especially given how far it has come. I hope I have earned my spot on this panel of decorators in the the eyes of the committee. I would love to do it again ,minus the wallpaper removal.

Do I have any regrets?

I do actually. If you remember on the design board there was a dynamic stencil pattern for the floor? I was aware the tiled floor had a texture, but did not realize that even with proper adhesive applied to the stencil paint would bleed through the stencil.

From this view you can see the texture on the floor. While it doesn’t look so bad from this distance, this particular straight-lined pattern did not look as crisp as it should. The perfectionist in me would have wanted to tape off all the lines and make them clean. While I might have been inclined to do so, I had already taken 3 weeks on this room. I had been given extra time before other decorator’s even began painting to remove the wallpaper and install the moulding. I definitely felt like, at this point, I had worn out my welcome.

The scope of the work completed was much more than what is generally done for a ShowHouse. Most designers just paint and decorate. But like most of the spaces I design, I walk into them and get a feeling for what would bring out the best in a space. Unequivocally, I knew moulding from Metrie and high gloss black was perfect for this room.

Here is a list of the moulding I used from Metrie. Each item is linked to their online catalog.


For the panels:
Large: 1217 Panel Moulding: Metrie Option {M} Country
Small inside trim: 122 Half-Round
166 Baseboard cap
43M Crown Moulding
* I did hire out the installation of the crown moulding. I work with the most amazing contractor for my client renovations. If you are local and need a referral, I would be happy to share his contact and we would love to work with you. Just send me an email.

A powder room is the perfect place to push the design envelope. It is a room almost all of your guests will visit at some point while in your home. Why not create a room that is unexpected, glamorous and dare I say, luxe, like a much anticipated black-tie event.

The show runs through Mother’s Day, May 12th. Visit this link for more information.

1 Comment

  • Linda
    May 7, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Awesome. So impressed with you able to work around that kind-of-awful sink. I’m sure the room fit right in such a fabulous home – if not being a star of the show! Congratulations!


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