Rochester, Michigan wainscoting installation.Art Deco and Craftsman Styles

The first half of this post is written by, Donna, to whom this lovely powder room belongs.

By Donna

What do you do with a teeny 4.5′ X 5.10′ half bathroom to give it visual impact?

Give it good bones!!

Since the rest of the downstairs was a 1920’s motif, we decided to carry through with that style in this powder room.

I had always loved a certain old movie theater around town that had an Art Deco vibe.

I studied their lobby and bathrooms.  I surreptitiously brought paint samples with me to get a color scheme closer to theirs.  The colors were also inspired by the oriental rug in the room.

lots of moldings in small room

Molding Myth Busted: “You shouldn’t install lots of large moldings in a small room.”

The room only had space for a toilet and sink, so we worked hard at giving the room the style it required with moldings that completely take your attention away from the basic white fixtures, and packs a colorful and powerful architectural punch!

Oakland County, Rochester Hills wainscoting installation

Quite the opposite is true; you should install lots of moldings in small room, like Donna and I did in her powder room.

The keystone fan design over the mirror was the “must have” feature of the room.  It draws the eye up to the period perfect acorn lighting and centers the classical pedestal sink.

Paintable (Anaglypta) wall paper gives the wainscoting and ceiling the look of tin.

Rochester Hills, Michigan, crown molding installation

The finished powder room is one of a kind and never fails to please me and make a powerful impression on guests.

half bathroom moldings


How to Make Your Own Art Deco Powder Room

When I say you can have fun with mdf board, I really mean it.  And Donna’s half bathroom moldings are proof enough.  Here are the molding patterns we created with these simple materials:

  • Five-piece Craftsman/Art Deco style crown molding
  • Tall Craftsman style wainscoting
  • Fan Art Deco Mirror frame

When I researched historic moldings for this powder room, I discovered large amounts of overlap between Craftsman and Art Deco styles.  This is the norm in architectural design, and so what I designed is a period style hybrid.

The five-piece stepped crown molding I came up with was inspired by some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s interiors where lots of linear steps in the architectural details were the dominant element.  So the crown is more created in the spirit of rather than any exact replica of Frank’s work.

The colors and decorations Donna selected pushed the overall motif over the Craftsman edge and into the Art Deco realm.

Moldings, Flat-Stock and Anaglypta Paper $113.49

  • MDF-300, 1 ea. sheet of 3/4″ thick mdf board: $32.64
  • MDF -200, 1 ea. sheet of 1/2″ thick mdf board: $27.54
  • MDF-100, 1 ea. sheet of 1/4″ thick mdf board: $20.00
  • PM-003, 2 ea. 8′ sticks: $8.32
  • Anaglypta textured wallpaper, 1 ea. roll: $24.99

For more detail about mdf board, see both Fun With Flat-Stock and our DIY Molding Inventory pages.  For materials like glue and primer see our Consumables page.

The Installation Sequence

1. Five-Piece Crown Molding

I started at the top and worked my way down, a good sequence to follow for most molding makeovers.

  1. Install 3/4″ flat-stock
  2. Install 1/2″ flat-stock
  3. Install the Anaglypta paper
  4. Install the 1/4″ flat-stock on top of the Anaglypta paper
frank lloyd wright moldings

This Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired crown molding is easy to install, but take care repeat these overall proportions.


2. How to Make the Art Deco Fan Mirror Frame

The mirror frame and fan had to be installed before the tall wainscoting since the wainscoting needed to be integrated into the mirror frame.

I wish I could tell you that I have a list of angles for the mdf mirror fan.  All I did was played with a bunch of mdf scraps in all of our three sizes until I came up with what you see here.  That’s it.  Just improvise until you’re happy.

  1. 3/4″ thick mdf board
  2. 1/2″ thick mdf board
  3. 1/4″ thick mdf board
diy mirror frame

Build the stepped frame first and then add the fan on top.

art deco powder room


3.  How to Build the Tall Craftsman Wainscoting

I built this tall, Craftsman style wainscoting in much the same way as WAINSCOTING-100, for which I have a step by step tutorial.

The Anaglypta paper is certainly an option.  If you don’t include it in your design, then you can either leave the inside frames open to the wall or you can insert a 1/4″ thick piece of mdf instead of the textured paper.

However if you do that, you’ll have to change the 1/2″ thick mdf trim piece to 1/4″ thick.

Craftsman wainscoting in bathroom

For all the drama they give, this is a very easy set of moldings to install.  And at this price you don’t have any excuse to have a dull bathroom!

Thanks Donna!

I want to thank Donna again for sending me this fresh batch of pictures so I could post them here — almost all the others died in a hard drive crash.

It’s been eleven years since we collaborated on her powder room, and it was so good to hear from her again.  It was especially wonderful to hear how she still absolutely loves her moldings!

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