Understated Pattern & Color in a Powder Room

July 31, 2014

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Digital ImageNothing flashy going on here, just classic style and a restrained color pallet, making a nice update to a powder room that has not been changed since the 1980’s.

This wallpaper pattern 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.

I Love My Clients, Pt. II

July 30, 2014

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Here is view of where I am working this week; the last shot is a deer with a full rack. I am replacing ’80’s wallpaper in a kitchen and powder room in Fresno, about 40 miles southeast of Houston.

Yes, it’s a bit of a drive. But what an experience, to be working out in the country, with huge windows looking out onto these views, and a lovely woman who is excited about getting her home updated.

I Love My Clients

July 29, 2014

OMG, I just got the most day-brightening e-mail today:

“Julie, It’s wonderful to be able to have someone as capable and easy to work with as you. We’re delighted to be able to meet you and have you come over and make our home look so much better!
Thank you so much. We enjoyed you being here, getting a chance to talk to you, and the work you did!!! You can count on us to highly recommend you to anyone who wants the best job done, and who wants to work with only the best people.”

This was a couple-hour wallpaper repair job that was scheduled for November, but I was able to do it yesterday (Sunday afternoon) after I finished consulting with clients, one of whom happily happened to be in their general area.

Yes, this job can be physically demanding and the scheduling can be very stressful and I work 7 days a week. But I have to say, my work brings me in contact with some of the most amazing people!

Repairing Grasscloth

July 27, 2014

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Digital ImagePets can be Hell on grasscloth. I hung this paper in an entry just a few months ago, and then this week got the call that it had been damaged. While grasscloth is different from more typical wallpapers, it can be repaired without having to replace the entire wall. Here’s what I did:

The damage was only a foot or so off the floor, so I only replaced the lower 12″ of the strip. I cut a horizontal line the width of the strip, and removed everything below that line. To do that, the woven grass layer had to be pulled off, then the brown colored layer had to come off, because water won’t penetrate through it.

Once that layer was off, a wet sponge was used to soak the remaining backing (the tan layer). The water reactivated the paste, and once all that was good and wet, it was easy to scrape, or even simply pull it off the wall. Note that my primer underneath (the white layer) is key to being able to remove wallpaper (and lots of other reasons why a primer should always be used).

Then I removed a few of the grass fibers, leaving a thin horizontal strip of the brown colored paper on the wall. This gives me a thin layer to place the new paper on – putting the new paper over the coarse grass fibers would result in a thick, very visible line / ridge at the point of overlap. Leaving the brown paper on the wall eliminates the possibility of the white wall peeping through.

I cut my new piece of grasscloth, but instead of cutting it straight across at the top, I followed the curvy line of the grass fibers. This is one of the secretes that make the patch invisible.

The new piece was pasted, booked (let to rest and expand), then placed on the wall, with the curvy cut edge overlapping the horizontal brown strip of paper. In this case, a little extra adhesive was needed to get the edge to adhere tightly.

If it’s not possible to get a good looking splice because of uneven grass fibers, it’s possible to take a few strands and glue them in void spaces, to the woven fiber look is uniform.

In the last photo – Pet damage? What pet damage?! :)

Pets Love Grasscloth…

July 26, 2014

Digital ImageThis damage was done by a dog, but more commonly it’s a cat who just can’t resist digging his claws into the fibers, and shred, shred, shredding away!

And, yes, it’s possible to repair this.

A Very Subtle Wallpaper

July 25, 2014

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Digital ImageThis large master bathroom in West University Place was originally papered in a very plain (almost solid) soft pink wallpaper. The homeowners were ready for a change. So when the lady of the house showed me her choice, I had to laugh. Although the color is different, it’s still a barely noticeable pattern. It’s interesting to me that many people redecorate by sticking pretty much with what they had previously.

This pattern does have definition and movement, thanks to the two different swirly medallion designs on it, and it is bringing new life to the bathroom.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, 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.

Who Says that Wallpaper in a Kitchen is Outdated? Does This Look Like Grandma’s House?!

July 24, 2014

Digital ImageThis sophisticated swirl design was used on not just the breakfast area, but taken through the kitchen area, too. It is a much better fit than the original 1980’s flowery pattern.

The wallpaper is by York and the interior designer is Bobby Van Lenten, of Van Lenten Interiors, Houston.

Easy, Sturdy, Water & Tear Resistant – and Free – Dropcloth

July 23, 2014

Digital ImageHere’s a great use of old, heavy-duty vinyl wallcovering. It’s nice and flat, won’t scratch floors, won’t leave lint, it’s tear-resistant and water proof. And, best of all – it’s FREE!

Finally, a Workman Who Does a Good Job

July 22, 2014

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Digital ImageWhere I was hanging wallpaper / grasscloth today, a workman was patching a cut-out in a wall. At first (top photo), I thought, “Geeze, this patch looks like crap, surely he doesn’t think that’s ready to be painted!”

But a little later, he came back and did a little sanding, then refloated the patch, and, I have to say, his work looks fantastic. And he’s not done. He still has to texture the patch – and it’s a skilled craftsman who can match new texture to the texture already on the rest of the wall.

This man used what we call 20-minute mud – joint compound that is formulated to dry in 20 minutes, much more quickly than the regular kind (which is what I use when I’m smoothing textured walls). Since he was working in several areas in the house, he could spend 20 minutes on another project, then come back and fine-tune this patch.

“The Inherent Beauty of Grasscloth”

July 21, 2014

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Digital ImagePhoto #1: This grasscloth on the headboard wall of a master bedroom went up with virtually no shading or paneling (difference in color or texture between strips).

Photo #2: However, look carefully at this strip, at the area under the window molding. See the horizontal strip that is much lighter in color than the rest of the paper?

The grass fibers are sewn on by hand by ladies in open-air factories in China and Japan. It looks like someone grabbed a light reed when she should have grabbed a dark one. The result is a very eye-catching light horizontal line running the width of this strip of wallpaper.

Luckily I noticed this before I had the paper on the wall. I reversed the strip and hung it upside down, to put the flaw toward the bottom of the wall, where it would be hidden by furniture and less visible.

But what’s important is that this is not considered a flaw or defect. It is what the manufacturers call part of the “charm and inherent beauty of the natural product.” In fact, the first paragraph in the instructions that come with most grasscloth products is a disclaimer blurb about how it’s a natural product and will have differences in color, texture, spacing, etc. And how they will not replace the paper or refund your money if you don’t like that look.

So, if you’re considering grasscloth for a room in your home, be sure you understand and can live with the variances in the product.


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