I Love Stripping Off My Own Work!

November 30, 2020

Digital Image
I hung this mattress-ticking striped wallpaper in the tub / toity room of a Hollywood bathroom in West University 8-10 years ago. (Still in perfect condition, too, I might add. 🙂 ) The boy and girl who share the bath are older now, and the homeowner wants to update the décor.

The paper clung to the walls during all that time, yet, when I started stripping it this morning, it came off fairly easily, by simply soaking with water to reactivate the paste, and then gently scraping. What’s best is that my primer (KILZ Original) protected the walls, and the surface is perfectly intact, with no damaged areas and patching needed.

In addition, I am not going to reprime the walls, because the original primer is dependable enough to work under the new paper, which I will hang tomorrow.

Patching Minor Cracks

November 29, 2020


Today, under the sink, there were two 18″ vertical cuts in the surface. (sorry, no photo) I couldn’t tell if they were cuts into the drywall, or simply in the paint, but I was afraid that they might show under the wallpaper, or, worse, open up and cause cracks to develop in the wallpaper.

They weren’t major enough to require a full-fledged tape-and-float job. So my quick fix was to grab this thin paper tape and use it to bridge the cuts. The tape is made by a colleague, Steve Boggess, a fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). It’s thin and has feathered edges, so it’s unnoticeable under most wallpapers.

It’s pre-pasted on one side, so it can be easily adhered to the wall. But today I chose to embed it in the primer I was using in the room. That’s what you see in the second photo.

Once the primer dried, I was very pleased with the flatness of the strips. Once the paper covered them, you could not detect them at all.

The stuff is called “seam tape,” and has other uses, as well.

Careless Painters – Splatters on Granite Countertop

November 27, 2020


One of my pet peeves … See the little white specs on the homeowner’s new granite vanity countertop? Whoever painted the walls and ceiling didn’t bother to cover the surface with a dropcloth.

Flaw of the Day – Printing Defect in Embossed Vinyl

November 27, 2020

Whoops! Somehow this vertical line got printed into a bolt of wallpaper. This ruined a full strip. Luckily, I always measure to include a little extra, so we had enough paper to finish the job.

Wallpaper in Victoria Magazine

November 25, 2020


I always love to see wallpaper featured in magazines. Victoria’s spring 2018 issue showed these rooms, which are in the Twin Farms inn in Vermont.

The small print on soft blue serves as a nice backdrop for a soothing bedroom retreat. But I like the quirky turtle design used in the hallway, and I love the red color.

Even better is the classic scenic mural in the entryway. Most likely, this is a custom-made, hand-painted, and fittingly expensive mural that comes in panels that must be meticulously measured for each specific section of the room, and then painstakingly installed with special materials and delicate care. Some of these are very old (a hundred years or more), but they are still being made today – but most recreate the old look of their original era.

Some brands, such as Gracie, Fromental, de Gournay, are quite pricy. But there are plenty of other manufacturers producing products with a similar look at prices attractive to the Average Joe Homeowner.

CFA Voysey Design in West U Guest Bathroom

November 24, 2020

Charles Voysey was a designer in the 1910’s and 1920’s, working with watercolor in the Arts & Crafts and the Art Nouveau decorative styles. His work is incredible, and I have his “Bat and Poppy” in my own powder room.

Here is his “Fairyland” in a guest bathroom in the Southside Place / West University neighborhood of Houston.

What a change!

I hung the original “chair” pattern four years ago. The thin paper material was stuck good and tight, and my attempts to strip it off were taking excessive time and also causing damage to the underlying surface. So I opted to prep and seal the paper and hang the new pattern on top of it.

The original pattern was fun. But this new choice suits the room much better, and it looks brighter, too. And the colorway works perfectly with the muddy blue cabinetry and mirror.

This is a non-woven material, a little thicker and stiffer than I like, and a tad prone to creasing. But with careful handling, it went up very nicely. I did the paste-the-wall method. The seams were invisible.

My powder room Bat & Poppy is a paper, and was purchased from Trustworth Studios. It had to be hand trimmed, and was on the higher end of the price scale.

Today’s Fairyland pattern is made by Lord & Twig. L & T is recreating the same Voysey designs as Trustworth, but in a more consumer-friendly material and price.

You can buy this through Finest Wallpaper, a newish outfit in Canada that sells a vast array of brands and patterns (in addition to manufacturing it’s own Lord & Twig line). Their prices are good, turn-around is quick, and customer service is exceptional.

Balancing Strips of Grasscloth to Fit Wall

November 23, 2020

With grasscloth or other products that mimic it, where the seams and individual panels will be visible and obvious, I like to “balance” the width of strips and the placement of seams, so they fit onto the wall in a uniform and pleasing way.

Often this means I have to trim the strips of wallpaper vertically, so they will all be the same width.

In this photo, you see a bit of that process.

More Pics of Yesterday’s Faux Grass Dining Room

November 22, 2020

More shots of the beautiful, tailored, embossed / textured vinyl, faux grasscloth described in yesterday’s post.

Softening A Heights Dining Room; Wonderful Faux Grasscloth

November 21, 2020

The original dark paint was bold and beautiful. But the homeowners wanted something softer and textured. They listened to my “rant” about color variations in grasscloth (see link at right), and chose this embossed vinyl replica instead.

They couldn’t have chosen better!

We were worried about the usual very visible vertical seams in grasscloth, and how they would juxtapose with the vertical boards in the wainscoting at the bottom portion of the walls. The spacing between the boards did not sync at all with the width of the wallpaper. If the seams in the paper were visible and did not coordinate with the vertical elements below, it would have ended up a very visually confusing room.

Luckily, and very surprisingly, this material turned out to be wonderfully homogeneous, and the seams are virtually invisible.

What you do see is the is the very soft, muted texture and warm color that envelope the room. I like to say that this sort of pattern emulates a finely tailored man’s suit.

That last photo is distorted a bit, so ignore those wavy, swirly lines.

This wallcovering is by Warner, in their Textures VII, Grasscloth Resource book, on page 32, a lightly embossed (textured) vinyl on a scrim (woven fabric) backing, and is a random / reverse pattern match (meaning, there is no pattern to match).

It comes either 26″ wide or 52″/54″ wide. Lil’ ol’ me can’t wrangle that extra-wide stuff, so I asked the homeowners to buy the 26″ option.

This type of vinyl is way more resistant to dings and stains than most traditional wallpapers. The scrim backing also makes it easy to strip off the wall later, and with minimal damage to the wall. The embossing adds just a touch of texture.

Best of all, because it is man-made instead of a natural material, there is none of the displeasing shading and color variations that are so prevalent in real grasscloth.

The home is a relatively new build in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

Nobody Else Has This! – Jack Rabbit Floating Wall

November 20, 2020

This wall between the kitchen and home office is what we call a floating wall. It directly faces the TV / family room. I can guarantee you – NO ONE else has such a bold and eye-popping wall treatment!

This “Jack Rabbit” mural comes as six panels, some with rabbits and some with just foliage, that can be placed next to each other in any combination.

The homeowner was originally considering this for her guest bathroom.

But the project was going to take a good number of panels. And, at $375 per panel, the price was getting out of reason.

This floating wall in the main living area was a much better option.

For one thing, only one panel was needed.

For another, because this is the area everyone passes through when leaving or entering the house, or looks toward while sitting on the sofa, the rabbits are front and center for maximum viewing.

Each 40″ wide Jack Rabbit mural panel is on a non-woven substrate with a thin vinyl coating, and is a paste-the-wall material. The quirky design is by Edmond Petit and was purchased through Finest Wallpaper, a newish company out of Canada, with a vast product selection, great customer service, low prices, and quick turn-around.

The home is in the West University / Southside Place area of Houston.