Today’s Helper – Itsy Bitsy Spider …

September 16, 2021

Not the cute, furry pups, nor the inquisitive cats like some jobs. Today’s host was an itsy bitsy scurrying arachnid.

For some reason, it’s really common for me to encounter tiny spiders while I’m prepping walls. They’re almost always at the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling, and almost always very, very small.

‘spiders eat bugs, so I see them as a good thing. So I try to shoo them away. But sometimes they insist on hanging around their territory – and then get stuck in the wallpaper primer.

Smoothing Walls – I Can’t See What I’m Doing!

September 15, 2021
To smooth textured walls so you won’t see bumps under the wallpaper, I use this trowel to spread on Sheetrock brand Plus 3 lightweight joint compound (a.k.a. “mud”). This is called “skim-coating” or “skim-floating.”
Problem is, the mud is the same color as the wall. I can hardly see what I am doing! Once it dries it will turn white. But until then, I’m fumbling along.

Home Office Goes From Studious to Beachy

September 14, 2021
I admit, I really like the dark chocolate paint again the beautiful moldings in this home office.
But the homeowner is embarking on a new chapter in life, and wanted to freshen things up. She likes the beach and ocean, so this soft aqua look was just the ticket. I love the way it looks with the deep brown doors.
Railroaded (run sideways) over the cabinets. The wall to the right has not been papered yet.
Textured embossed commercial grade vinyl that mimics woven cloth. This stuff will wear like iron.
Manufacturer is Thibaut, in their Texture Resources collection.

This textured vinyl wallpaper is a beautiful and beachy update to this home office. But – man – it sure beat my butt! This should have been a one-long-day job, but it took me two days.

The material is very thick and hard to manipulate into place. And it is extremely difficult to cut through – even with a brand new razor blade. Add to that the many (10 – count ’em -10!) points of decorative door and window molding to cut around. And several other tricky spaces.

The end result, though, is beautiful and calming, and the homeowner loves it.

The home is in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design, who does mainly new-builds and whole-house remodels in the greater Heights area.

Dining Room Is Brightened and Warmed at the Same Time

September 11, 2021
Before. Walls are primed and ready for paper.
After
The homeowner raved about how the wallpaper made the room look so much brighter. And it coordinates so nicely with the color of the woodwork and wainscoting.
Detail. There is a slight raised-ink feel.
Using my laser level to get the first strip plumb, and the motifs centered vertically between the windows.
The pattern name “Kashmira” reflects the slight ethnic feel of this pattern. The manufacturer is Baker Lifestyle, in their Echo Collection.

Here’s a dining room in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston that feels both cheerful and snug at the same time.

The material was “non-woven” and could be hung using the paste-the-wall method. However, I prefer the flexibility and accuracy that comes with pasting the paper.

The interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design, who works mostly in the Heights area of Houston.

Wallpaper Featured in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, September 2021

September 9, 2021
Jungle pattern in dining area.
Paisley, green, and purple invoke the Inner Bohemian in this bedroom.
Paint-splatter look in kids’ homework station.
Subtle palm fronds.
You can get away with a lot of drama in a small powder room!
Colefax & Fowler historic wallpaper pattern.

Just about every month, this magazine shows at least one home decorated with wallpaper. This month’s selections cover a wide variety of tastes and styles.

Pink Horses for Baby Girl’s Nursery

September 8, 2021
The homeowners had this board-and-batten wainscoting added to one wall of the nursery. It compliments similar elements in other areas of the house.
Finished. The side walls are painted a very, very faint pink blush color – just enough to add warmth and unity to the room.
Horses! The mom-to-be had the manufacturer enlarge the scale of the figures, to better fit the size of the wall. That’s a nice service from Spoonflower.
This wallpaper is hung by overlapping about 1/2″ at the seams. This is not common, but there are several companies that work this way. I actually like it. It eliminates the chance of gapping at the seams as the paper dries and shrinks. And it distributes torque / tension on the wall cross that 1/2″, so less worry about a seam pulling up due to wall surface delamination.
This overlap does leave you with a bit of a visible ridge running the length of each seam. A little bit noticeable here, but less so on a busier pattern with less “blank” areas.
Spoonflower is a nice company. But I like ONLY their “Pre-Pasted Removable Smooth” option. I am not as fond of their “Pebble” – mainly because they can’t describe clearly what, exactly, it is. And definitely Do NOT get any peel & stick product, by this company or any other (see page to the right.)

This home is in a new subdivision in League City.

What’s Wrong With This Picture? Unhappy Mix-Up

September 7, 2021

You are looking down into a paper grocery bag. At the bottom are an assortment of screws, mounting hardware, switch plates, towel bars, escutcheons, and more (some have been pulled out of the bag already).

When I get ready to hang wallpaper, I “undress the room” … meaning, I remove light fixtures, towel bars and toilet paper holders, light switch plates, window treatments, mirrors, etc. I set all the hardware and screws that go with these items near the spot where they will be reinstalled, with all these elements in a certain order, and collated to their respective holes and fasteners and brackets, so it will be simple for me to put everything back in its place, once the paper is up.

But on this job, the wallpaper had to be sent back due to a defect, so it was a couple of weeks before the new paper arrived and I was able to return to finish the job.

In the meantime, the homeowner, understandably, wanted a tidy room, so she picked up these things. And threw them all together into one bag.

Arrrgh!

But not insurmountable. It took a little digging and fitting and futzing, but I was able to sort out what went with what, and I got all the fixtures back in place.

Little Giant – Cool Ladder

September 6, 2021

This accent wall in a Houston dining room is a little taller than I can safely reach with my 6′ ladder. Rather than run home and dig out my 8′ number, the homeowner set me up with their Little Giant.

I was glad for this experience, because I have heard my colleagues talk about these handy, adjustable ladders. It worked out pretty darned nicely!

It’s as high as my 8 footer, but the leg spread is much less, so it fits into tighter places and does not carry you so far away from the wall you want to work on. It also folds into different configurations, and can even be used on stairs.

One unexpected benefit is that you can straddle the top, which gives you a unique work position and access. It’s also amazingly stable … you can really toss your weight around, and over-reach (don’t tell OSHA!), and it won’t shift or jiggle.

The only disadvantage for lil’ ol’ me is that it’s fairly heavy. While I was able to move it around as needed in this small space, I doubt that I could carry the thing any distance, or set it up, by myself.

Always Buy A Little Extra Wallpaper

September 5, 2021

My pencil is pointing at a chunk of paper that was stuck to the label and got torn off when the package of wallpaper was opened.

To get past this unusable paper, I had to roll off and discard a full pattern repeat – in this case, 24″ – that’s two linear feet. And, multiplied by the width of the wallpaper, that’s more that four and a half square feet of paper lost!

This is a good reminder to not calculate wallpaper rollage by square feet. And to always buy extra – just in case.

Even better – do not order your paper until the paperhanger has measured the space. It’s has to do with more than just square feet.

Katie Kime “Outside the Window” in a Heights Kid’s Bathroom

September 4, 2021

I don’t know why the yellow tint to these photographs … the wallpaper is actually a beautiful cobalt blue with bright white flowers.

No matter. You see how it brightens this hall bathroom, and livens it up for a family with two very young daughters.

The manufacturer is Katie Kime. I like their sort of ‘philosophy of life,’ in the last photo.