Can’t Sell the House With Outdated Wallpaper

June 23, 2017

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The homeowners have put this Bellaire (Houston) house on the market, but it has not been attracting much attention, and the realtor says it’s partially due to the outdated wallpaper. My camera ate pics of three of the rooms, so you have only this mossy green stripe combined with a coordinating faux finish accent wall – topped with a topiary themed border. Gee – NO ONE is doing borders these days. The paper has to go!

So, today I am stripping off paper that I hung in 2001. I am proud to say that every wallpaper in every room I did 16 years ago is still in absolutely perfect condition, even in the humid bathrooms.

This job went especially well, since I used a good paste and because I had primed the wall with an excellent primer, oil-based KILZ Original. I was able to remove the paper in three bathrooms in just a few hours, with virtually no damage to the walls, because the KILZ protected them.

NOTE: The formula for KILZ has changed in recent years, due to environmental regulations. Wallpaper paste won’t adhere to it, so it is no longer a good primer for wallpaper projects.

In the second photo, I am stripping off top vinyl layer of the green striped wallpaper. The tan colored paper backing is left on the wall. In the third photo, you see the tan backing. I have soaked some of it, and the wet areas are a darker tan color. Once it gets good and wet, the paste reactivates, and the paper can be gently scraped from the wall, or, if you’re really lucky, gently pulled from the wall in large pieces. In the third photo, the white area in the center is where the paper backing has been removed, revealing the KILZ primer underneath. It was fun to also find my measurements and notes written on the wall back in 2001.

Fun Rainbow Fan Pattern in a Hall Bathroom

June 22, 2017

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Another all-white bathroom goes from dull to lively and fun, thanks to wallpaper!

This pattern is called Chou Chou, and is by Sister Parish Design. The substrate was paper, and it was a hand-trim product. It was positively lovely to work with.

The pattern, however, was NOT. Those rainbows look alike, but they are not. It was the Devil trying to tell one blue dot from another. Add to that extremely off-plumb walls, bowed walls, and an unlevel ceiling, plus the selvedge edge obscuring the pattern motif at the edges of the paper. I spent more time trying to match up dots than I did hanging paper.

The room had some tricky elements to it, too, so this install took way longer than I had anticipated or planned for. Let’s just say, the homeowners gave me a key, told me how to let myself out and lock up, and went to bed.

So it was a loooong work day (night). Still, it turned out looking fantastic.

This home is in the Galleria area of Houston. The interior designer for the job is Layne Ogden.

Wallpaper in the Wall Street Journal

June 21, 2017

It’s always nice to see a positive story about wallpaper in the media.

I’m not sure I am in sync with the taste of these designers, and there is a little dubious information (oil-based paste ??), but the article presents some fun applications, and is worth a click and read.

I hope you are able to read the article. The link has not worked for everyone. And it’s amazing how many people saw the article and mentioned it to me!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-look-of-wallpaper-an-a-to-z-guide-1496942251

Shiny Geometric Print Fills a Wall and Brightens the Space

June 20, 2017

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The walls in this newish home in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston are painted a light brown, and someone had painted this wall in the dining area a darker brown. This made it an “accent wall” – but it wasn’t very interesting.

The homeowner knew that some pattern and shimmer would bring life to the room. She chose this interlocking geometric design in a shiny brassy finish on a lightly textured bronze colored background that coordinates very nicely with the painted walls.

Wow, did this change things! The fluid design interjects personality and a modern feel into the dining and living area, while the glossy lines give a jolt of excitement. You see this wall as soon as you enter the main area of the house, and it really sets a bright, lively, sophisticated feel for the home.

This wallpaper is in the Antonia Vella line by York. It is a somewhat heavy solid vinyl embossed with texture, on a non-woven backing. It was important to not let any paste touch the front of the paper, because the textured surface would grab and hold the paste, which would show and look bad for – well, for as long as the paper is up on the wall. Other than that, the paper was surprisingly lovely to work with.

Those windows with the rounded edges, however, were not so accommodating. It took me four hours to hang this wall, and most of that time was spent on the windows. Too complicated to explain the tedious and exacting process, but it was well worth it, because the finished accent wall looks fabulous.

This wallpaper pattern is by York Wall, 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.

Playful Pencil Line Flowers on an Accent Wall

June 19, 2017

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This light-hearted pattern looks like line drawings of flowers. It went on an entry wall that faces you immediately when you enter the home. The homeowner bought her paper more than a year ago, and has had the three double rolls in their box, leaning up against the wall, ever since. Family coming for a summer visit was the incentive to finally get the paper up!

This cute pattern is from Waverly, an older, somewhat flowery brand that has been reincarnated (and updated) by York. It is in the SureStrip line, which is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. This brand performs beautifully, during installation and during the time it’s up on the wall, and I like it a lot.

This product is pre-pasted, which means that the manufacturer has put a dry paste on the back that is activated by running the strips through a water tray. See third photo. I augment that by spreading a thin layer of wallpaper paste on the wall and along the ceiling and baseboard lines.

The 50’s era home is in the Willow Meadows neighborhood of Houston. The homeowner is an artsy sort of person who is not afraid of color or avant garde decorating, so the flowery wall fit perfectly with her décor. She originally intended to cover the wall with family photos and other artwork – but once she saw the paper up and realized how much she loved it, she quickly became reticent to cover it up. 🙂

The wallpaper 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.

Dark Wallpaper Printed on Dark Stock – WONDERFUL!

June 18, 2017

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On the left is the front side of a dark colored wallpaper, and on the right is the back side (along with the manufacturer’s label). Usually, the back of wallpaper is white, but, as you can see, this dark paper has been printed on a dark substrate.

This is a really good thing, because most wallpapers shrink just a tad as their paste dries, and that can live minute gaps at the seams – and if the backing is white, it can peep out just a tad. When the manufacturer takes the extra step to print it’s dark papers on a dark background, it prevents any white from showing.

This cute pattern is from Waverly, an older, somewhat flowery brand that has been reincarnated (and updated) by York. It is in the SureStrip line, which is designed to strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate. I like this brand a lot.

It 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.

Got Agate?

June 17, 2017

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It takes chutzpah to choose a wallpaper pattern like this! But, boy, did it bring this powder room from blah and brown to bold and energizing and full of color!

The pattern looks like agate stone, and at 27″ wide by 24″ long, is large scale. I thought that the pattern, color, and size would overwhelm this small, under-the-stairs powder room. But the homeowner went ahead and bought her first love – and, I have to admit, it turned out GREAT.

The room is a lot brighter now, and the squiggly curves of the design add a lot of life to the room. When they talk about their powder rooms, a lot of people use the term “jewel box.” This room would definitely qualify!

You can get away with a lot of drama in a powder room, because you don’t spend a lot of time in there. And if you don’t want to look at it 24/7, you can always simply close the door.

I hung this in a fairly new home in the Rice Military neighborhood of Houston. The paper is good quality, but not expensive, and was very nice to work with. This wallpaper pattern is by York, 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.

Smoothing a Textured Wall

June 16, 2017

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The bumps on textured walls (see top photo) will show under wallpaper and look horrible, and the texture also impedes good adhesion. So I “skim-coat” the walls with joint compound (“mud”), which is much like plaster, let dry, and then sand smooth (see middle photo).

The walls need to be sealed before wallpaper can go up, and for this, I like Gardz, a penetrating sealer that soaks into the surface, binds everything together, and dries hard. It’s also a wonderful primer to hanging wallpaper on.

“Sigourney” Wallpaper in China Seas Collection by Quadrille

June 16, 2017

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This “Sigourney” design by Quadrille is a well-loved wallpaper pattern. It comes in a large and a smaller scale. Today I hung the larger pattern.

This went in the large and sunny breakfast area of a new home in Oak Forest (Houston).

The wallpaper had a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand, before the paper could go up. The heavy inks smell like mothballs, and fight against the paper backing, causing the paper to “waffle” (pucker) and the edges of the paper to curl.

My table-trimmed seams curled and didn’t want to lie down against the wall, so I ended up double-cutting (splicing) all the seams. Double-cutting involves a lot more steps and materials than simply butting factory-trimmed seams.

So this job took a lot more time and sweat than expected, but turned out looking fabulous.

Here is How I Protect Woodwork While I am Priming

June 14, 2017

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I do a lot of skim-floating to smooth textured walls, so the wallpaper will be bump-free and have a smooth surface to adhere to. The penetrating sealing primer I like for this is Gardz, because it soaks in, dries hard, and binds the surface together. The downside is, it’s thin like water, and splashes and runs like crazy. There are tricks, like using a micro fiber roller, rolling in an upward direction, using light pressure on the roller, and paying attention to what you’re doing.

Still, splatters and drips will happen. And they can happen with other primers, too, as well as with paint or any other product you are rolling or brushing on a wall.

Most painters use a dropcloth to cover the floor. But I can’t stand the tiny “speckles” that fly off a roller and land on the shoe mold, baseboard, chair rail, or backsplash. Many people wouldn’t even notice them, but I do, and I think the homeowner deserves better.

So I protect the homeowner’s floors and countertops as you see in the 2nd photo. I put dropcloths down on the floor or counter. Then I cover the baseboards or chair rail or backsplash with an additional dropcloth, this time a thin flexible plastic-backed paper material. I use push-pins to hold it tightly against the wall, to catch any and all splatters and drips.

It takes more time and it increases my material costs, but it sure is a better way to treat the client’s home.