More Pics of Dec 13th’s Bathroom

December 19, 2014

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My clients often get better photos than I do. That’s in part because they can shoot the room after it’s finished and all the decorative elements are in place, but also because they have better cameras and more skill than I do. So here’s one sent me by last week’s client.

Brown Paper in a Powder Room

December 19, 2014

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Originally, this powder room was papered in a dark brown-on-brown diamond pattern. The room had dark brown woodwork and crown molding and cabinets. It was nicely done, but it was too sophisticated and brooding for a family with two young children.

This new wallpaper choice, by Thibaut Designs, is much better. They have also repainted the woodwork a soft off-grey color. The interior designer on this project is Pameala O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs. I love her rooms, I love how she interacts with her clients, and she is a dream to work with. http://www.pamelahopedesigns.com/

Ladder Tray for My Tools

December 18, 2014

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Most of my friends us belt pouches to hold their wallpaper tools. I find that cumbersome, to be fumbling around in a stiff leather pouch behind your back. Instead, I have crafted a tray that fits on the top of my ladder, that holds just about everything I need. Besides tools, it will hold a paint roller tray or a gallon bucket of water, so I can use it for hanging paper, priming walls, or stripping paper. For water resistance, it is covered with clear Contact Paper (which is peeling).

This is made from 1″x12″ lumber cut to fit the top of the ladder, and it’s framed with yardsticks, which offer just enough of a lip to keep items from sliding off.

This is my 5′ ladder, which I use the most often, and the tool tray is fairly old. I have a 6′ ladder with a new tray, and it’s sealed with Danish Oil, and is affixed to the ladder’s top with bolts and wing nuts, so it can be removed when not needed.

Nice Packing Job, for a Change!

December 16, 2014

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This wallpaper was made in England, and – wow! – look at how carefully it was packaged. A double-thick cardboard box, cushioned with bubble wrap AND foam inserts at the ends of the box, to protect the edges of the wallpaper. All this did a good job, too… No banged edges! :)

Funnily enough, though, the paper itself had some manufacturing faux-pas, with little ruffly areas along the left edge, for about 1/3 of each roll. I was able to cut around most of this (Note: Always buy extra paper, just in case!), and what did end up on the wall was not very noticeable.

This wallpaper is made by Bespoke, a British company.

Label Messes Up First 6″ of Paper DRAFT

December 16, 2014

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Always plan to buy a little extra paper, because you will not be able to use every single square foot of paper on the roll. Here, in the right hand corner, you can see where the printing from the label came off onto the wallpaper (black horizontal lines), rendering it unusable.

The second photo is a shot of the finished project. The wallpaper is by York.

Updating a 1960’s Bathroom

December 14, 2014

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This week, I am working in a home in Pasadena, built about 1965. You can see the original charming baby blue tile in the bathroom. The first photo shows the original wallpaper, possibly dating back to when the house was built (although I saw evidence of at least two different colors of paint on the wall prior to the wallpaper…the murky green that was so popular for decades, on every surface in every room, and then a neutral off-white). The wallpaper had a light texture to it, and hinted at a “modern” theme, which was in style at that time. The lighter colored area is where the mirror had hung for decades. Interestingly, the paper was a little harder to remove, in just this area.

The second photo shows the wall stripped of paper, washed, skim-floated to smooth the slightly textured wall the original installer had hung paper over, sanded, and then primed with a clear sealer, Gardz.

The next shots show the finished room. I think they did a wonderful job of working with the old blue tile, instead of trying to fight it or act like it was not there. This bathroom went from worn, dated, and depressing, to cheery and bright and fun.

Textured Grey Paper Modernizes a Hall Bath

December 13, 2014

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Here is a textured contemporary pattern in grey, that I hung in a hall bathroom in a ’60’s home in Tower Oaks (Eldrige Parkway & Fallbrook), a suburb of Houston near Highway 290 and Highway 6.

The homeowners had remodeled the bathroom, but had run into all sorts of snafus, and the project had run on for the better part of a year. When it came time for wallpaper, the contractor said he would have his guy hang it, but he never showed. So the wife called me. She left the cutest message … She is a native Houstonian, lived in Meyerland, and so, of course, knows all about me. How flattering is that?! The idea that I’ve been around so long, that anyone with any history in this city knows about me! I admit, I have not erased that phone message! :)

Anyway, the room was in pretty good shape, but some of the workers’ Sheetrock work needed sanding, plus there was some flaking paint. I could have hung over it as it was, but I thought it would look better if the walls were perfectly smooth, and I wanted to get rid of the flaky paint, to reduce the chance of the wall de-laminating and the wallpaper coming off. So I scraped off the flaky stuff, then skim-floated all the walls, needing just a very thin coat, which was nice because it dried faster than floating over a typical textured wall. Sanded, primed, and then got the paper up.

The rest of the house is pretty traditional, but this room has gone modern. The cabinets are dark, and straight-lined, with square silver knobs, and the floor is dark tile with grain-like lines running through it – very contemporary.

The wallpaper is by Rauch, a German company.

I have worked all over the greater Houston metropolitan area, but had never been to this subdivision before. I love seeing and exploring new places, especially neighborhoods. This subdivision has HUGE trees (hence the name), and the lots, likewise, are HUGE, with the smallest being 1/2 acre, and the largest maybe 2 acres. I saw one or two new, large homes, but the vast majority are typical ranch-style homes from the 1960’s, and moderately priced, too. … Well, there is a reason for that. They are not on the Houston grid, so do not have city services like water or trash pick-up, to name a few. Still, it’s like living in the country, but within a half hour of downtown. (IF they ever get done with construction on Hwy 290 ;) )

Sentry on Guard

December 12, 2014

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When I finished yesterday afternoon, I covered up my work table and went home. This morning, this guy was making sure everything was safe and sound.

One More Pic of the Toile Breakfast Room

December 12, 2014

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This is the original light fixture from the ’60’s. I love the Colonial feel of the lamp, with the very classic toile pattern. They will add a large mirror, probably framed in a wide, crisp white frame, between the two light sconces. The table stands in front of it all. Just lovely!

Beautiful Classic Toile in a Breakfast Room

December 11, 2014

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Here are “before” and “in-progress” shots of a breakfast room in a ’60’s ranch house in Pasadena (Houston). Originally, there was dark brown paneling with thick grooves between panels. The homeowner “always wanted a wonderful kitchen,” and, after living there nearly three decades, had the kitchen redone – and it’s really nice, with good choices and great workmanship.

Then I came in and hung this beautiful classic and cheery blue-on-yellow toile pattern in the adjoining breakfast area. Someone told me that a true toile will always have some people playing, and some people working. In the last photo, I’d say that counts as “play.” :)

I was originally going to prep the paneling for wallpaper, but the homeowner had the contractor tear out the paneling and install new Sheetrock (first two photos), which was more expensive, but a much better option. An interesting side note is that the money she saved because I did not have to prep the paneling, was re-directed to repapering the master bathroom – which still had the original wallpaper from the 1960’s.

This wallpaper is by Thibaut Designs, and was a pre-pasted pattern. It was bought through Sherwin-Williams, and shipped directly to their home. The homeowners chose to paint the bottom 1/3 of the wall below the chair rail with a solid yellow, in a tone slightly darker than the wallpaper. I like this, because, since it’s on the bottom of the wall, the darker color adds visual weight, and helps balance the wall / room.


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