Wallpaper In Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

September 18, 2014

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Digital ImageIn two separate articles in the January 2014 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, wallpaper was featured. In the bedroom shot, the story was about bringing a serene look to a home. This pale tone-on-tone pattern adds interest, while bringing a calming feel. Interestingly, I hung a paper very similar to this just yesterday.

In the second photo, grasscloth was used as a backdrop for a display of floral arrangements.

Sweet Mini-Print in a Vintage Bathroom

September 17, 2014

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Digital ImageThe guest bathroom in this early 1950’s ranch-style house near Highland Village in Houston still has its original yellow wall tile, with the funky green accent tile around the top. I love this old retro stuff, and so does the homeowner. She wanted a wallpaper that would work with the tile, but still look up-to-date.

She had found a paper with square dots in a color that worked well with the tile. But it was one of the uncoated (stains easily) pulp papers by a British company (pricey). Dorota (read below) was able to find her some better-suited options, and she settled on this one. She asked my opinion before buying, and I said YES! It’s vinyl-coated so it’s a little washable, it’s less expensive, and I like the lively foliage pattern much better than plain old rectangular dots all over the paper.

The first photo is the room after I’ve smoothed and primed the walls. The second photo is a finished shot, and the third is an (admittedly grainy) close up of the pattern. Click to enlarge and see a better view. The black line is an extension cord going to supplemental lighting I rigged in the room.

The homeowner was out of town while I did the work today, and will come home to a very happy surprise in her soon-to-be-children’s bathroom.

This wallpaper pattern is by WallQuest, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Lower-Priced Option Fills the Bill Stylishly

September 16, 2014

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Digital ImageThese homeowners originally wanted a wallpaper with a similar pattern and color, by Jonathan Adler. But that designer’s name added a hefty price tag. Plus, his paper has to be hand-trimmed, which takes more time and expense to install.

So I hooked them up with my favorite wallpaper sales gal (below), and she quickly helped them find a very similar pattern that was much more affordably priced. Needless to say, everyone was very pleased, with the price, the service, and the finished room.

I hung this in a master bathroom in Hunters Creek Village, in Houston. This pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, #LA32805, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Yes, Virginia, Run Number Matters

September 15, 2014

Digital ImageI was called to do a repair (dog ate the wallpaper) on a dining room I hung about a year ago. There wasn’t enough left over paper to replace the strip, so the homeowner had to order new paper. Since time had gone by, it was not possible to get the same run number.

A run, or batch, number refers to all the bolts of wallpaper that were printed at the same time. The next time they mix up a batch of ink and print wallpaper, it’s likely the color won’t be exactly the same. So it’s important to buy paper that is all the same run number. If not, there will be noticeable color differences between strips on your walls. Not good.

Look at the photo. The darker element on the paper at the top is an aqua color. On the strip below, the color is more of a sage green.

If you can’t get enough paper all in the same run to do the whole room, it’s OK to “break” the run in a corner, because your eye won’t notice the slight color difference, because lights hits each wall differently and changes the color a little. But know that you will also have to buy extra paper, when working with two different runs.

Wallpaper Repair Today

September 14, 2014

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Digital ImageI hung this popular David Hicks hexagon pattern not quite a year ago. The other day, the homeowner e-mailed and told me their dog had chewed up a corner of the wallpaper. Boy, did he! … and he clawed a gouge in the Sheetrock, and ripped off another strip of paper in another room.

Once I got the wall damage repaired, the wallpaper was a fairly easy fix. I stripped off the lower 2′ of paper, making sure to cut around the zig-zaggy black geometric figures. I then cut a new piece of wallpaper to the right length, and trimmed the top around the design, so that the new piece would overlap the existing piece just along the “WWWW” in the design. This way, the overlap was only a 1/4″ wide horizontal zig-zag, instead of a vertical overlap along the entire length of the new piece.

Before applying the new piece, I used a black marker to color the thin top edge of the paper, along the black motifs, so the eye would not be caught by the white edge of the paper.

As you can see, it turned out pretty darned well!

This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British company, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

New T-Shirts!

September 13, 2014

Digital ImageWoo-Hoo! Dollar Tree had a rack of T-shirts hanging outside, so I dug through and found nine in my size. These plain T-shirts look a little nicer than ones that say “Joe’s Crab Shack.” :) And, at $1 each, they’re cheap enough that if a spot of white primer gets on one (amazing how one spot on your clothes can make you look crummy), I can throw it away.

More Pics – Dormer Windows are Finished

September 12, 2014

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Digital ImageHere are more photos of this week’s project. It took me nine hours to get the three dormer windows papered. I don’t usually love the thick non-woven wallpapers, but on this job, the nearly indestructible quality of the paper and the paste-the-wall feature helped greatly.

Note that with a room like this with so many odd angles, there will be MANY mis-matched areas. I discussed this with the homeowner during our first meeting. I engineered carefully before starting, to put the mismatches in the least-visible spots, and to disguise the junctions where the pattern did not match. Really, this toile is the perfect pattern for this room, not only for it’s romantic feel, but because the busyness of it hides most of the mis-matches.

14′ High Walls, Vaulted Ceiling, 3 Dormer Windows

September 11, 2014

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Digital ImageThis job, in the 3rd floor attic bedroom of a townhouse in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, is definitely tricky, tedious, and bordering on dangerous – but I’m getting ‘er done! Photo #2 shows my View From Above. :)

Yesterday I papered the tallest walls, and today I tackled the vaulted ceiling (photo #1). This is a paste-the-wall product (instead of pasting the back of the wallpaper), and it means a lot of climbing up and down the ladder, but this process is a bit faster and has other advantages with this particular paper and room.

Because the ladder gets in the way, I can only work on an 18″ length of paper at a time. Then I have to climb down, readjust the ladder, climb back up and paste the next section of wall, and then smooth the next 18″ of paper against the wall. Repeat. Many times.

The paper is rolled backwards, to prevent the printed face from bopping against the pasted wall. I am using push pins to hold the strip in place, so it won’t peel away from the wall when I climb down to move the ladder. To keep it from unrolling, I used an alligator clip. He’s happy to help! :)

Unusual Toile Going Up

September 10, 2014

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WP_20140909_0021 (2)“Toile” is a French word for a pattern that usually is a sort of pen-and-ink drawing on a plain background, typically 1700’s ladies on swings being serenaded by handsome shepherds, while hunters shoot rabbits in the background. But toiles can depict other scenes, too, like shipyards, or even fairy tales or animals.  They are almost always a very sweet look.  This one is unusual because it looks more like a black & white photograph, than the typical line drawing.

Here I am, working a 14′ long strip around an outside corner in an attic bedroom with VERY unplumb walls. Luckily, the homeowner said, “I am not picky, and I know there will be mismatches and imperfect areas.” That is true… this room has devilishly high ceilings, calling for my 16′ extension ladder and a lot of careful balancing, unplumb walls that require losing a significant portion of the pattern in order to hang the paper plumb, and vaulted ceilings plus three dormer windows, all of which will cause multiple mis-matches around the room.

Oh, and let’s not forget the FIFTY ONE stairs that must be climbed to get from the street to the job site. Try doing THAT with a 50lb bucket of wallpaper paste! (I was lucky – the contractor and his helper were on-site this morning, and carried all my heavy stuff up the stairs for me.)  :)

This job was originally scheduled for November, but I had another job postpone, due to delays in construction, so I was able to move this nice lady up.  Her home remodel has been dragging on for months, due to all sorts of unexpected and unexplainable delays.  The homeowner remarked, “Thanks so much.  You are the most dependable person on my job!”  :)

This wallpaper is printed on what’s called “non-woven” stock, and is by Cole & Son, a British company, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby.  (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com.  Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.



Metal Mars Wallpaper

September 9, 2014

Digital ImageSee the black smudges and scratches on this wallpaper? They were caused by metal coming into contact with the paper. I’m not talking about rough-handling the paper – I’m talking about my straightedge, or my scissors, or even a razor blade, brushing across the surface of the wallpaper. It’s not uncommon for certain papers to be marred with a black mark when this happens. And it can happen down the road, too, if someone happens to brush against the paper with something metal – purse strap, zipper, or a piece of jewelry.

Luckily, usually, these marks can be removed by rubbing lightly with a damp rag. I have invested in a (expensive!) straightedge made of magnesium, and that metal will not leave marks on wallpaper. I also take extra care when working with material like this.


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