Florida Toile in Home Office / Cloffice

October 1, 2022
This is a closet off the main living area of a nicely renovated and enlarged 1920’s home in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.
Nice and bright, but a little claustrophobic. (That brown vertical thing is my yardstick.)
This two-toned wallpaper with pencil-like sketches immediately visually opens up the room and creates an inviting work space .

The pattern is called Florida Toile .
The manufacturer / vendor is Katie Kime , also known for stationary , home d├ęcor , phone cases – and very cute , comfy pajamas !
Their ” City Toile ” wallpaper collection is quite popular , with more than a dozen locales to choose from .
It’s a heavy , smooth vinyl on a non-woven / paste-the-wall backing.
A little too heavy , a little too stretchy , and too easily wrinkled or creased for my taste , but all in all, a nice enough material .
With so many people working from home these days, or just needing space to handle family business or homework , these cloffices have become popular.

Whale of a Good Time in Little Boy’s Bedroom

September 30, 2022
Before shot of accent wall in little boy’s room in a nicely renovated 1920’s home in the Houston Heights .
Done. This is a good background wallpaper pattern , because the colors are muted and the design is overall and relatively calm.
Bunk beds will be coming soon.
The little tyke is in to all things nautical , so whales and a little whimsey are just the ticket.
Waves , whales , turtles , fish , turbulent seas … this looks like an artist’s ink or pencil drawing .
The design is ” Melville ” and it’s by Cole & Son , a British manufacturer known for good quality and affordable non-woven paste-the-wall wallpapers . Their designs run the gamut from traditional to fun to even a bit kooky .

Swallowtail in Heights Dining Room

September 29, 2022
This is a beautifully renovated and updated 2-story 1920’s bungalow in the Heights neighborhood of central Houston.
Unlike the trend for homes that are all white or grey , this family went for color and fun . In other rooms, the woodwork and walls are painted cheery yet soft shades of blue , orange , yellow , salmon , and green . You may be able to find some photos by doing a Search here.
The fun doesn’t stop with paint colors … Here is a colorful and visually active wallpaper pattern in the family’s dining room .
The pattern might be overwhelming floor-to-ceiling , so the board and baton wainscoting gives the eyes a resting place.
The pattern is called Swallowtail . Not sure if that refers to birds or butterflies , but either way, it’s a fitting description .
You can almost feel the swooping and swirling wings .
The homeowner chose sconces that coordinate beautifully with the theme of the wallpaper .
The manufacturer is Flat Vernacular . The material was pre-trimmed , and was printed on a non-woven substrate . It could be hung by pasting the paper or by pasting the wall (I pasted the paper, as I usually do). It was nice to work with.
Unlike most wallpapers that come in rolls of standard dimensions , this material was priced and sold by the yard , and came in bolts of continuous lengths .

Serene Master Bedroom in Textured Faux Grasscloth

September 28, 2022
East wall before
Same wall covered with soft tan, lightly textured wallcovering .
This material is an embossed vinyl replicating the look of a woven grasscloth .
The texture and color doesn’t overpower , but is just enough to give the feeling of warm and cozy . Plain paint can’t do that.
West and north walls before.
Finished – but the color washed out for some reason … it’s really a peaceful tan .
Close-up of the woven textured look .
Manufacturer is Thibaut .

Random means that this material has no pattern match at the seams . Because no wallpaper is cut off in order to match the pattern , there is very little waste , and you often get an extra strip out of each roll / bolt of paper.
Like most textured wallpapers , be they made of natural materials like grasscloth or sisal , or a faux like this of embossed vinyl , it’s suggested that you reverse hang every other strip – in other words, Strip #1 is hung right side up, and Strip #2 is hung upside down, then Strip #3 is right side up, etc. This helps minimize shading and paneling between strips , by ensuring that the same edge of wallpaper is hung against itself . Do a Search here to read previous posts and get a clearer idea of what I’m talking about!
This home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .
installer

Family Drop Off Point

September 27, 2022
I like hanging wallpaper in my stocking feet, so I leave this mat at the door to set my shoes on. It’s also handy for paste buckets and other things you don’t want to set directly on the client’s floor, until I get my dropcloths set up in the room where I’m working.
Today I walked in to see that the rest of the family finds this a handy resting spot for their shoes, too!

Ladder Shelf

September 24, 2022
Some wallpaper installers like to carry their tools in a belt pouch . I prefer to have them laid out in front of me. So I’ve built shelf boxes for the tops of my ladders .
Simply made out of 1″ thick wooden shelf board , and edged with a boarder “fence” cut from wooden yardsticks.
I’ve covered the bottom with clear Contact Paper . Note the two bolts .
I have bolts going through the shelf and then through the top “step” of my ladder, secured by wing nuts beneath .
This prevents the shelf from sliding around, and also makes it removable if needed.

Jungle Wild Cats for Toddler’s Room

September 22, 2022
Two walls in this bedroom to be wallpapered. Primed and ready!
The colors in the wallpaper work so well with the color of the other two walls and the woodwork.
This little girl sleeps with a lot of stuffed animals, so more jungle critters on the walls just makes sense!
Cheetahs, tigers, jaguars, wildcats ,,, you name it!
Majvillan brand from Sweden, Black Panther pattern name.
This non-woven material was stiff and somewhat difficult to work with. Pasting the paper rather than pasting the wall helped tame the beast, as did rolling the paper backward and securing with an elastic hairband for an hour to get rid of the curl .

Light Texture Showing

September 22, 2022
This wall before wallpaper (on the right) is essentially smooth. But you do see just a tad of texture, from the painter’s roller. This photo is enlarged … in person, the wall is pretty darned smooth. After discussing with the homeowner, we decided to hang the wallpaper over this very light texture. That saves them a day’s labor, as well as the mess and dust of smoothing the wall.
On the left, you can see that a teeny bit of the texture does telegraph (show) through the wallpaper. Note that some of the texture you’re seeing is from the paste which has not dried yet, and also from the wallpaper material itself, which is a thick and fibrous non-woven material.
In person and from 2′ away, you can’t detect any of this.

Slightly Mis-Matching Pattern to Maintain Ceiling Line

September 22, 2022
When people talk about wallpaper, they often mention matching the pattern. Well, that’s the obvious element. But there is a whole lot more going on, and a lot of factors need to be juggled in order to make the finished room look good.
Here, I’ve opted to mis-match the pattern a little across the seam. You can see that the stripes on the trunk of the palm tree are aligned one notch off. This then throws off the match of the cat’s tail. Not much, though.
Why did I do this?
Blame it on old houses, shifting foundations, un-level ceilings and un-plumb walls.
In order to get the pattern to match perfectly in the corner (not shown), it threw the subsequent strips of wallpaper off-plumb. This in turn caused the motifs (the white leopard’s head) to start moving higher up on the wall toward the ceiling. Eventually, the leopard’s head would be cut off at the ceiling.
By dropping the pattern down just very slightly, as seen in the top photo, I was able to keep the cat’s head below the ceiling line, for uniform look as you look at the wall from a distance (second photo).
The minor pattern mis-match at the palm tree, cat’s tail, and a few other design elements were not readily noticeable. And it looked a whole lot more pleasing than a cat without a head!

Tape Test for Unstable Walls

September 21, 2022

There can be reasons for unstable walls, mostly cheap or poor quality paint, dust, someone applied paint over dust, improper prep, incompatible layers inside the wall built up over years (oil based paint, latex paint, dust, gloss paint, joint compound, etc.).

These can cause problems with wallpaper, mostly with the layers delaminating (coming apart), which causes the wallpaper seams to come away from the wall. Sometimes sheets of wallpaper simply fall off the wall.

This isn’t so much a problem with paint, because it just sits on the surface. But wallpaper shrinks when the paste dries, or expands and contracts with humidity, and can put tension on the seams

Before wallpaper goes up, one way to test for such unstable surfaces is the tape test . Use a razor blade to cut an “X” into the wall, scoring through the paint and maybe into a few layers beneath. Place a strip of blue painters tape over the cut. Pull the tape off the wall.

If paint comes away from the wall along with the tape, or if layers inside the wall come apart, you know you have to do a lot of specialized prep to stabilize the wall before hanging / installing the wallpaper.

This example is an interesting twist. The homeowner used a piece of tape to hold up a wallpaper sample. Then used an ink pen to write notes on it. When removed, the tape took the paint off – in the shape of the writing!