Lots’a Paper

August 20, 2017

Digital Image


The old paper has been stripped off, the walls are prepped and primed, and I’m ready to hang paper tomorrow.

Destined for a large master bath and commode room in the Fondren Southwest neighborhood of Houson are what you see here… 24 single rolls of wallpaper (12 double roll bolts)… A couple of bolts are in the upright cardboard box to the right…bought quickly and shipped via 2nd Day Air, after the family dog chewed up some of the paper.

Time for the Bubbles to Blow Away

August 18, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


The existing wallpaper’s sphere pattern was easy to live with, and it went very nicely with the ’80’s era terrazzo floors. But the lady of the house was ready for an update.

The new grey quartz countertop started it off, and it goes very nicely with the terrazzo. Next, this wallpaper pattern pulled everything together … It combines the greys and tans of the countertop and floor, and adds some jolts of strong brown, and then just enough bright magenta to keep everything fun.

The foliage-inspired pattern has swingy movement and a youthful feel. The scale is perfect for this large, open master bathroom, in a home in the Fondren Southwest neighborhood of Houston.

Fireworks or Dandelion Heads ??

August 17, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


No matter if you see fireworks or flowers, this light colored pattern full of bursts of movement really transformed this powder room. Originally, the room was papered a dark brick red color. It was so dark that I could not even get a photo, plus the paper had no pattern, so you have to wonder why they didn’t paint instead.

The homeowner searched hard to find a wallpaper that would coordinate with both her new grey granite countertop and the existing Saltillo tile floor, while brightening up a room that had been cave-like for decades.

I would say that she was successful, because this paper fills the bill in every way.

This home is in the Fondren Southwest neighborhood of Houston. The wallpaper is by York, in their Candice Olson line. The label said it was unpasted, but it turned out to be pre-pasted. I pasted the paper anyway, and was very happy with the quality of the paper, and how nice it was to work with, and how tight the seams were, as well as the overall finished job.

Over-Zealous Installer Scored into the Wall

August 16, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


Windows without trim molding like these have surfaces inside the opening that need to be covered with wallpaper. They are always a little tricky, because you need to paper both the top and the sides, but the strip of wallpaper will fold over to cover only one of these surfaces. So you need to come up with paper to cover the other surface.

The previous installer chose to splice in the additional paper he needed, which is what we call a double cut, and it’s a fine way to get these windows papered. He lapped a new piece of paper over the existing piece and then cut through both layers, removed excess, and had a perfect splice.

The problem is that he pressed so hard that he cut not just through the two layers of paper, but down into the wall – quite deeply, in fact. Then, as the paper dries and gets taught, and years go by, and especially in this case where the exterior wall had a leak and water damaged the drywall all around the window, the layers of drywall split apart a bit, and that’s why you see these gaps and curled edges.

When I double cut, I put a strip of polystyrene plastic under the area to be cut, to prevent the razor blade from digging into the wall.

This type of damage is difficult to fix, because the integrity of the wall itself has been compromised. Even if you repair the surface, the underlying layers may come apart again and create another crack on the surface.

What I did was to use repair tape to bridge over the cut areas, and then joint compound to float over and smooth the area. This way, if the wall should move or try to open up again, hopefully the tape will prevent any gap from showing.

Silver Cork Wallpaper in a Galleria-Area Water Closet

August 15, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


This water closet in the master bathroom of a newish home in the Galleria area of Houston was originally papered with an olive green grasscloth, which was then painted over with flat, boring, tan paint, as you see in the top photo. It was bad enough as it was, but when the homeowners renovated the bathroom and changed to a sleek, modern look, that painted grasscloth just hurt to look at it.

The wife loves this silver cork wallpaper by Thibaut Designs. In fact, last year I hung the same thing in their downstairs powder room.

The cork, with it’s bright metallic surface, brought a whole lot of light and life to the enclosed, window-less room. It looked better than I anticipated, and we all were amazed at how large and vibrant the room became.

Because the room had some curved walls, I railroaded the paper (hung it horizontally instead of vertically), and that proved to be a good choice. It also used a little less paper.

The wife loves this paper so much, she is thinking of putting it in a third space in their home – an accent wall in the master bedroom.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her

Sterile White Doesn’t Cut It For A Newborn Baby Girl

August 12, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


This room is the right size, but is way too white for a precious baby girl. Mom had a vision to warm it up, and to bring some life and brightness in, too. This wallpaper is by Caselio, was made in France, but came to the U.S. via Mom in Brasil, to be hung in the new baby’s nursery in the Woodlands (Houston).

I started by smoothing the textured walls, and then I primed with Gardz. The pattern with the pink and lavender butterflies and dragonflies went on three “columns” in the room. The soft tan linen-look paper went on two opposite walls, one of which will hold a number of recessed shelves. After I papered the two linen walls and one butterfly wall, the homeowner thought about the room’s look overnight, and then decided to put the “fluttery” pattern on the remaining walls – around and over a door, and around a pair of windows.

The finished room is a serene and restful room, but the flying critters give it color and an uplifted feeling. Just perfect for a baby girl!

Flaw of the Day – Icky Blobs

August 10, 2017

Digital Image


Danged blotches got on the printing press and tracked through more than a bolt and a half of wallpaper.

We were lucky with this pattern, though, because it had no repeat and no match. The ink blotch was on the right side of the paper, so I was able to trim 4″ off that side and still be able to use the remaining 17″.

With no pattern to match, I could butt the edge I had just trimmed up against the factory edges of the other strips, and everything looked perfect.

Homeowner Tackled the Wallpaper Install – So, How’s That Working Out for You?

August 9, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image


The homeowner tried tackling this wallpaper installation herself, without even consulting so much as a YouTube video. She didn’t do an all-out bad job, and the paper is still stuck to the wall after three years. But there are a number of things that were done incorrectly.

1. Walls were not primed with a wallpaper primer

2. Caulk should have been run around the top of the backsplash

3. Paper was wrapped around the edge of door moldings and not trimmed.

4. Seams were overlapped

5. Overlapped areas were not secured with a “vinyl-over-vinyl” adhesive.

6. Pattern was not matched.

7. And, last but very important – a poor choice of wallpapers.

I am not a fan of paper-backed, solid-vinyl wallpapers, especially the pre-pasted, lower-end products. Do a Search here on various terms, and you will learn a lot about the material and its poor performance. IMO

In the meantime, when I take on this job, I will remove all the old paper, scrub the walls to remove paste residue, fix any dings in the walls, prime with an appropriate primer, hang the paper properly, by matching the pattern, butting the seams, and trimming correctly along baseboards and door moldings, etc., and, when finished, I will run clear caulk along the top of the vanity and other key areas, then give the family my “lecture” about leaving the door open and using the exhaust fan and avoiding long steamy showers.

Playful World Map With Fun Animals for Baby’s Nursery

August 8, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Couples love this mural for their new baby – I’m betting it’s all over HOUZZ and Pintrest, and that’s where web surfers are finding it. This is the third time I’ve hung it, each time in a different color. The seams were much better this time, having been cut straight so there were not gaps of overlaps, and lying down better. (Search to read my previous posts.)

The mural came from Portugal, and was custom-sized to fit this accent wall in the nursery. The homeowner did the measuring, and he did a good job (as opposed to a prior install – read previous post), and the manufacturer also added a little around all the edges, to allow for trimming at the side walls, floor, and ceiling.

Now, if the homeowner had called me before he ordered that mural, I would have had him get it a little larger. The manufacturer’s guidelines allowed for a scant 1″ at the ceiling and baseboard. In a perfect world, this would be fine.

But in this room (in a beautifully renovated 1940 bungalow in the Houston Heights), the walls were not plumb, and the ceiling was not level. If I had hung the mural true-to-plumb, it would have started tracking off-kilter along the ceiling and floor lines, quickly eating up that 1″ allowance, and quite possibly ending up running out of paper at the top of the wall or at the baseboard. The same thing could happen at the corners, too. (That did happen on one of my other installs.)

Before I pasted a piece, I did a lot of measuring and plotting, to be sure I could position the mural so it would cover the entire height and width of the wall space. Much too complicated to explain. But, in a nutshell, what I did was to hang the mural off-plumb, but parallel with the un-level ceiling.

I started with the center panel, to minimize any tracking on either the left or right sides. I also made sure that the strips falling on either side of that center piece would be wide enough to reach the two wall corners, even if they hung crooked.

My strategy worked, and I ended up trimming off 1 1/4″ from the top, and 3/4″ from the bottom, on each strip. This meant that the mural was running parallel with the ceiling and floor, which was more important than being perfectly plumb. (Note: Usually you’re trimming off 2″ at both top and bottom, so today we were really cutting it close.)

Another complicating factor to this install was that, while most wallpaper widths are 20.5″, 27″, or 36,” these three mural panels were each 4′ wide. I’m 5’3″ tall, and my arm stretch is probably not a full 4,’ so handling, positioning, manipulating the pasted 9′ long strips was very difficult.

Additionally, it was important to “work clean,” because the surface is textured and it’s not easy to remove any paste that might get on the front of the wallpaper.

There’s more: My work table is 33″ wide, so pasting and booking the 48″ wide x 9′ long strips was a challenge. And the pasted strips, which I booked in accordion folds, were heavy and unwieldy.

All that mental plotting and physical gymnastics were worth it, though, because the finished mural looked fantastic, and the mom-and-dad-to-be loved it.

I have a pretty long lead time (4 months), but this couple called at the moment when another job had just postponed due to construction delays, so I had an open day and could get them done right away. That’s really good, because the baby’s coming, and the parents want to get the room furnished and decorated and ready.

I’m glad I was able to help them. 🙂

Squiggly, Jocular Geometric in a Front Entry

August 5, 2017

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image

Digital Image


Life at home will never be too serious when walking through the front door is this fun!

The homeowner is the mother of a toddler and a newborn, and she chose this light-hearted pattern for the entry of their beautifully renovated and updated 1958 ranch style home in the Spring Branch area of Houston. Originally, the entry felt small and unwelcoming, and the walls had a heavy texture that was, well, it was icky.

I smoothed the walls, which took a long time, mostly waiting for the smoothing compound to dry, before I could sand it smooth and roll on a primer.

This playful pattern looks like someone took a grey Sharpie and drew star flowers and squares on the wall. It really expanded the space visually. The entry is now something fun and inviting to step into.

Since the entry can be seen easily from the living room and the great room and kitchen, it interjects a playful mood into the rest of the house.

This wallpaper pattern is from the Sure Strip line by York, one of my favorite brands, for many reasons. I like the “raised ink” texture to the paper. The thin paper will dry flat and hold tightly to the wall. Yet the material was developed so that, when it comes time to redecorate, it should strip off the wall easily and in one piece, with no damage to the underlying surface. On top of all that, it comes pre-pasted, and is very nice to work with.

Even though I was battling a regimented pattern in a room full of unlevel ceiling, un-plumb walls, and crooked corners, the finished project turned out fantastic.

This wallpaepr was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.