They Sprayed Their Way to Greatness
"Not sure if we'll ever renovate on this scale again, but we love it." —Karl and Amy Gelles, Bedford, Virginia
Amy and Karl Gelles perfected the art of mixing luxe finishes and hard labor while restoring a parlor in their 1879 house. To get a look right out of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, they splurged on $700 worth of handprinted wallpaper—enough to establish the right tone—and finished the rest with paint, stencils, and elbow grease.
Before: Clean 1987 Parlor Slate
The couple began at the Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers website, which showed a Victorian-style room with a medley of five wall-papers. Beautiful, Amy says, but "just way too much for one room." So they bought border patterns to flank the crown molding, enough paneled paper to create a wainscot, and samples of two star-like patterns.
Working from a Template
Next stop: Walmart, where they picked up custom-tinted latex paint for two base coats. Karl made plastic stencils by tracing the star-patterned papers, used them to create larger posterboard templates, and worked his way across the ceiling and walls, positioning the templates with quick-dry adhesive and spraying them with gold paint. "Cutting them out was tedious," he says, "but then the work flew."
Faux Wallpaper Project Tools
Tools and materials included wallpaper samples, clear plastic, an X-Acto knife, and many cans of spray paint.