Damask-Trellis in a Home Office Adds Old-World Feel

March 4, 2015

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This was in a just-finished brand-new house in Bellaire (Houston). The overall feel of the home is English Country Rustic. This room is a home office, and you can see the beautiful job on faux-finishing the woodwork and cabinetry in the room.

The wallpaper choice compliments the style of the home, and coordinates super well with the woodwork.

The design is a damask pattern surrounded by a trellis. Note the secondary pattern, which is the smeary tan vertical lines, enhancing the weathered / worn feel. I always suggest that shoppers look at the photograph of the room-set in the selection book, to see what the pattern looks like on a large wall, so they can be aware of not just the main pattern, but the secondary pattern, too.

This wallpaper pattern is by WallQuest / EcoChic, 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.

The “Half Equals a Whole” Mirror Trick

March 3, 2015

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Before I butted this strip of wallpaper up against the mirror, I trimmed some off the edge, so only a half a square would be next to the mirror.

Why? Because when you look at the wall, you see a whole square – because half is on the wall, and half is reflected in the mirror. Clever, huh?

This trick can’t be done every time, but, since I was hanging my first piece at the mirror, I was able to engineer the pattern so you would see a whole motif.

The wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut designs.

Double-Header – Two of My Pet Peeves in One Shot

March 2, 2015

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Pet Peeve #1: A lazy painter (or an unskilled one) who paints the wall and, instead of taping the bottom of the crown molding to protect it from wall paint, or using a good angled trim brush and a steady hand and some pride in his work, instead takes the easy out and lets his brush push wall paint up onto the bottom edge of the crown molding. Crown molding is so pretty, and one of the key factors that really class up a room. But without that bottom edge, you miss much of it’s glamor.

Pet Peeve #2: Someone skim-floated the walls in this room. But when he got to edges and corners, instead of tapering the mud off, he simply stopped floating, leaving what I call a “drop off” (a gap and thickness) right the bottom edge of the crown molding. This won’t look good if the wall is painted, and wallpaper sure won’t look good, nor have anything to hold on to, with that little gap there.

It’s pretty hard to undo this, so what I did was to skim-float the whole area. But my little trick in corners and at the edges of molding is to push a little of the joint compound into the corner, then take my finger and run it along the edge, creating a smooth joint and a good place for the wallpaper to grab ahold of and lie in. Yes, a little mud gets on the molding. But once I put the paper up, I will wipe any residual paste off the molding, and the joint compound wipes off easily at that time, too.

My method looks sooo much better.

View of the Day – Sunset Over Pearland Lake

March 1, 2015

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What a nice view to end my work day!

Preventing White Gaps

February 28, 2015

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I am about to hang a finely-textured gold grasscloth with something of a metallic sheen in the space between these bookshelves, in a home office in League City, south of Houston.

I have smoothed and primed the wall, but noticed that a little of the original painters’ white paint has wrapped just a teenie bit around and onto the navy blue walls of the bookcases. It looked fine when everything was painted and you had white wall against blue shelves. But with the gold grasscloth going next to the shelves, there was the potential for a wee little stripe of white to show between the wallpaper and the navy blue shelves.

So I got out my Box of Tricks (paint bottles) and mixed two colors together until I got a pretty good match, and then used an artist’s paintbrush from Texas Art Supply to cover up the white line where the navy blue shelf meets the white wall.

This way, you won’t have any white wall peeping out from between the new gold grasscloth and the navy blue wood.

Flaw of the Day – Misprint

February 27, 2015

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This wallpaper patterns is by designer Carl Robinson, for Seabrook wallcoverings. It’s a somewhat pricey paper (but in this case, you are paying mostly for the designer’s name).

So I got the prep all done, was rolling the paper out, got my first strip cut, then, into the second strip, discovered this misprint. It ran most of the way through this double roll bolt. I’m lucky that I discovered it when I did, because the other double roll did not have this flaw, and so I might have gotten half of the wall done, then not have been able to finish.

The homeowner is trying to have the paper (a different run, so we have a better chance of not having the same printing defect) express-shipped so the wall can be finished this week. It’s kind of doubtful, though, because of shipping delays due to weather in the east, and happening close to a weekend, etc. We’ll know tomorrow!

Grasscloth Gives an Asian Feel to an Entry

February 26, 2015

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Natural-toned grasscloth set into these wooden panels lend a very Asian feel to this entry in a 1961 ranch style home in Oak Forest. The home features other Asian-inspired elements, too, like siding shoji screen doors, large uncovered windows, and bonsai trees in the garden.

There was very little shading or paneling (color variations) with this grasscloth, and that makes me happy. This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, 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.

Purple Power in a Dining Room

February 25, 2015

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This dining room with grey walls (the color in the photos is off) got a major hit of color and personality from this accent wall with a silvery medallion on a very dark purple background.

The wall had a fairly heavy texture, so I spent most of the day floating, sanding, vacuuming, and priming. Then plotting the layout of the pattern, coloring the seams, etc. When I finally got to put the paper up, that part went pretty fast – probably and hour and a half, for seven full-length strips.

I placed the medallions at the top of the wall, and centered the motif so when the family places a buffet in front of the wall, it will look smartly balanced. It worked out that the medallions were intact (not cut off) and exactly the same width on either side of the wall. (See fourth photo.)

This was a non-woven material, and a paste-the-wall product (instead of the customary paste-the-back-of-the-paper).

Many of these non-woven papers are thick and spongy, and that thickness often makes the seams fairly visible (Do a Search – upper right corner.), especially on such a dark paper printed on a white substrate. So I used a special marker to CAREFULLY color the edges of each strip, from the back to avoid getting ink on the surface. This worked great, so when the seams butted together, no white showed (last photo), nor was there a noticeable ridge or difference in thickness at the seams, which often happens with thick non-woven papers. I am very happy with the way these seams turned out.

I hung this wallpaper in a dining room of a nicely updated 1964 ranch style home of a young family in the Meyerland area of Houston. This wallpaper 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.

Clouds on Blue Sky in a Baby’s Nursery – Accent Wall

February 24, 2015

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Here is my second accent wall in a to-be-born baby’s nursery in two days. (And I have a third one later this week!) This wallpaper is by Spoonflower. I generally like working with their product, but it does take a bit of a learning curve.

For one thing, you have to be careful how you order the paper. Usually, “six rolls” will come packaged in three double roll bolts of paper. But here the Spoonflower company has packaged each roll separately. This means there is a lot more waste, as I can often get three strips out of a double roll, but can only get one strip out of a single roll, with about five feet left over that is too short to use anywhere.

Also, this is a pre-pasted paper, and it’s very thin. So activating the paste will cause the paper to become very wet, resulting in the blotchiness you see here. Don’t worry – once it dries, it will look fine.

The paper is also designed to be overlapped at the seams, instead of butted, which is the typical way of joining strips of wallpaper. In fact, if you butt the seams on this brand of paper, it will dry and shrink just a little, revealing a hair’s breadth of wall in between the two strips. So you overlap the seams. But that mean you have a visible and tangible thickness the entire length of every seam. On a busy pattern, this is not all that noticeable (Do a Search on my blog for “Sherlock Holmes Wallpaper.”) But on this very plain sky pattern, the overlapped ridge will be somewhat noticeable, especially when the sun is shining through the windows at certain times of the day. Still, once you get the crib in place and hang a few things on the wall, the seams will fade to the background.

Another thing about this particular job, the walls were not plumb, and the crown molding was way off from level, going uphill as you moved from left to right. If I had hung the paper true-to-plumb and matched the strips as they were designed to be matched, we would have had the crown molding moving away from the clouds diagonally, looking pretty bad. The wallpaper engineer designed the paper so one half of a cloud on the right side of a strip would be overlapped by the other half of the cloud on the left side of the next strip. If I had done this, the clouds would have been marching downhill, because the walls and ceiling were not plumb or level.

To avoid having to match the clouds at the seams of every strip, I hand-trimmed the clouds on one edge to be only 1/4 of a cloud, to allow for the overlap the manufacturer wants. On the opposite edge, I trimmed off of one cloud completely. This gave me an edge with no motif that had to be matched to the other strip. I took this “free-form” edge and overlapped it over the edge with the 1/4 cloud, covering it up completely and not lining it up with the 1/4 cloud, but instead raising the clouds at the top of the wall to the same height as those on the previous strip. This way, all the clouds appeared to be at the top of the wall, instead of sloping diagonally away from the un-level crown molding. The fact that the clouds on the new strip were a little higher than the clouds on the previous strip was not very noticeable, and it looked much better to have the clouds at the top of the wall all uniformly positioned.

The clouds lined up perfectly with the starting point, the wall on the left. But by the time I got to the wall on the right, the ending point, because the walls were not plumb, the clouds were going crooked, and were wider at the bottom of the wall than at the top. This was very noticeable. To minimize that, I cut some partial clouds that were the same width as the clouds at the bottom of the wall out of scrap wallpaper, and pasted them over the too-narrow clouds at the upper portions of the wall. This way, the eye saw uniform widths of clouds from the top to the bottom of the wall. And the eye didn’t see that the spacing between the appliqued clouds and the rest of the pattern was a little less than it should have been.

Sometimes, it’s all about fooling the eye.

I know that my explanation is difficult to follow, and probably doesn’t make sense to anyone other than a fellow paperhanger. But suffice it to say that these little tricks helped mightily to make the overall look uniform and pleasing.

This cute pattern was hung in a nursery in a home in Bellaire (Houston).

More Grasscloth on Bookshelves Today

February 22, 2015

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This is a popular look! These shelves were 41″ wide and 35 1/2″ high. Since grasscloth comes 36″ wide, one strip would not cover the entire back of the shelves. So I would have to cut two strips 20 1/2″ wide, and put a seam down the middle.

To avoid having this distracting seam down the middle, I suggested that we run the grass horizontally, instead of vertically. This worked because the height of each cubby was less than 36″, the width of the material. The homeowner held up the paper to the shelves, found she lived the look, and so that’s I hung it – sideways. I think it looks super!

They have a lot of upright books on these shelves, and running the grass up and down, instead of side to side, also keeps the background running the same direction as the books.

This is a finely-woven grasscloth in black and gold, and is by Shcuumacher, and I hung it in a home office in Spring Branch.


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