A Second Centered Wall In the Same Room – Tricky Feat

December 2, 2021

Re my previous post, about centering the pattern on the fireplace wall … Once a wallpaper pattern has been positioned on the first wall, as subsequent strips are placed around the room, the pattern falls in its proper sequence. Meaning, you have no control over how the design will land on all the other walls.

In this room, I felt it was important for the design to be centered on the fireplace wall (see previous post). But the headboard wall was equally visually prominent, and it would sure look best if the scalloped design could be centered on this wall, too. But the way the wallpaper strips were following each other, the pattern would fall off-center when it hit this wall.

I thought I could make it look better. It took careful engineering, precise measurements, a laser level, some secret tricky techniques, and a whole lot of time (coupla hours). But I got the swoopy design centered behind the bed and between the windows and light fixtures, so the whole area looks perfectly balanced.

To achieve this, I had to ” shrink ” the design above and below the windows. (Do a Search here to see other posts explaining this process.) And I did end up with a pattern mis-match in the corner to the left (sorry, it’s not visible in this photo). But I figured that a mis-match in a corner 17″ from the floor, plus a 4″ high section over a window were a fair trade-off for that beautiful symmetrical headboard wall.

For the record, I worked it out so that the mis-match in the corner was only about 1.5″ off from the actual match. No one’s gonna notice! So sorry I forgot to photograph this.

I will say that the features of this room, as well as the way the pattern was printed on the wallpaper, plus the pattern itself, helped immensely to achieve this balanced outcome.

The design is called Versailles and is by Schumacher.

The Four Hour Fireplace Wall

December 1, 2021

Why? Getting the pattern centered, working out the logistics of the width of the wallpaper and the width of the wall (left me with 2″ strips on either side), the narrow strips between the firebox and the door molding, and the decorative moldings to trim around, some with as little as 1/2″ clearance.

Mixed Up Order

November 30, 2021
Somebody in the warehouse screwed up – grabbed the right color, but the wrong pattern!

Hmmm. I sure thought that the Pre-Install Check List I send around a week or so before a job starts requests that the homeowner check the wallpaper for 1.) proper number of rolls 2.) all the same run 3.) no damage from shipping 4.) correct pattern

Space Heater Speeds Drying Time

November 28, 2021

Whether drying smoothing compound ( drywall joint compound ), or primer, hot, dry, circulating air helps speed the process.

i love this old space heater that I got at a garage sale decades ago. It runs when you tell it to, for as long as you tell it to – without “safety” measures that trip other heaters off after a few minutes. (Don’t worry – I keep an attentive eye on everything!)

The hot air from the space heater helps pull humidity out of the air, which speeds drying time.

Works best in a small room like a powder room. Close the door and let the heat build up. Use fans to move air around the room. You will feel the humidity increase as moisture is drawn from the walls. Periodically open the door and use a fan to circulate moist air out of the room.

One thing to note – which I have learned the hard way – is that this gizmo pulls a lot of electricity. And so do some fans. I can use my two box fans while this heater is running. But if I run my more powerful floor fan while the heater is on, it will trip the electrical circuit. And double-ditto if I try to use my heat gun while the heater is on.

Authentic 1920’s Wallpaper!

November 26, 2021

Across the street from where I was working today (in the Houston Heights), this 1925 home was being renovated. I walked myself over to drop off a business card.

I gasped when I saw some vintage wallpaper in a trash pile on the soon-to-be living room floor. I love these old papers, and have a growing collection.

The guys working inside were friendly, and were happy to let me take some scraps. This chunk is from the original kitchen (which, after the home is expanded, will become the living room). It’s probably the most cheerful and animated pattern in my collection.

Back in those days, a loosely-woven fabric (often mistakenly referred to as cheesecloth or muslin) was tacked to the ship-lap walls, and the wallpaper was pasted and hung on top of that. The seams were overlapped.

The ink colors hold up amazingly well over the years. But that cloth backing, and the wallpaper itself, don’t fare as well.

This kitchen wallpaper easily separated from the cloth backing, and the old paper was delicate and brittle. Even with attentive handling, my piece split in two just walking a few yards to my van.

I got it home in one piece (well, really in two pieces). I hope to find a was to affix this to a secure backing, so it can be preserved.

I’m afraid that it won’t hold up to the moisture and stress of pasting, even using with old-fashioned wheat paste. And that spray adhesives might not hold, or may stain the old paper fibers.

I’ll figure something out. In the meantime, I feel very lucky to have this!

Tropical Foliage Re-Do – Peel & Stick Debacle UnDone

November 26, 2021
Re my previous post about an under-the-stairs powder room that the homeowners attempted to install an argumentative peel & stick material … here is the finished room after I stripped off the P&S, smoothed the walls, and hung the new wallpaper choice. I engineered to place the sole philodendron leaf down the center of the ceiling.
Where the under-the-stairs ceiling met the area over the door, the two surfaces came together in a very sharp angle. It was difficult to get in there and work, and to get the paper tight into the joint. Fingers can be too fat, so this is where tools can squeeze in there and save the day. This is also my kill point . Do a search here on that term for more info. A long story and maybe an hour or more of work, but you will note that there are no pattern mis-matches here. The homeowners were out of town, so I felt unpressured and could take as long as I needed to make these three areas look seamless.
I love the hand-painted, water colory look of this pattern.
This photo shows the joint where the walls meet the sloped under-the-stairs ceiling. A wallpaper pattern will never match perfectly in these situations. At first, I tried a few tricks to ” fool the eye .” But I decided it looked crisper and less distracting to just trim the two papers where they met. Here, we had the advantage that the tropical foliage pattern was busy enough that, I mean, really, when you step three feet back, who’s gonna notice a minor pattern mis-match, anyway? The pattern does match in the corners on either side behind the toilet, though (see photo). Even though this only 4.5″ high, it does lend subtle continuity to the room.
When I see Candice Olson, I fast forward to glitz and glam and glitter and shimmer. Here her tropical foliage design is a bit more main stream. York is the mother company, and I love their products.

This home is in the Heights neighborhood of central Houston.

Peel & Stick = Bad Stuff. Don’t Fall For It!

November 25, 2021
he lure of (false!) claims of easy to install and easy to remove led these homeowners to purchase peel & stick ” wallcovering ” and try to install it themselves. It did not go well. The wall was coated with a gloss paint, as per manufacturer’s instructions. Yet, here you can see that it is not even trying to adhere to the wall.
Many brands come in rectangles of a few square feet, rather than traditional strips that are long enough to reach floor to ceiling. These small rectangles are much harder to keep perfectly lined up, so you are very likely to end up with overlaps or gaps at the seams.
It’s not pliable or malleable, so won’t readily be eased into corners or turns. Here, note wrinkles and warps in the corner in the center of the photo, and at the ceiling line in the center top of the photo.

The wall was not smoothed before applying the paper, so you see unsightly texture. The roughness is also interfering with good adhesion, because the paper is only sticking to the tops of the bumps, instead to the entire surface.
So much for easily removeable. As you can see, trying to take this stuff down – it took the paint along with it.

Brighter Powder Room

November 24, 2021
Room originally painted above the bead-board wainscoting with navy blue semi-gloss paint.
Same color concept, but brighter with the white background and more fun with the lively floral pattern.
Shot from outside the room.
Close-up. This is a very popular wallpaper design, and many companies have knocked off the pattern, creating their own version.
The pattern is called Highland Floral by Caitlin Wilson. It’s in the Sure Strip line, which is made by York, one of my favorite brands. It’s a pre-pasted material, went up nicely, hugs the wall tightly, and should hold up nicely for many years. In addition, the Sure Strip brand is made to come off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate, leaving no damage to the wall.

The home is in the Energy Corridor area of west Houston.

installer

Redoing Powder Room Exactly The Same

November 21, 2021
Before, with new Sheetrock on the wall to the right, and some of the paper removed by the contractor around areas where he was working. He added crown molding at the top of the wall, so removed a few inches of wallpaper below the molding. This is preferable to him putting the molding right on top of the wallpaper.

What a pretty room this was, when I finished it just two years or so ago. But a few months ago, the homeowner noticed a pink spot low on the wallpaper. I told her it looked like the dreaded shade of pink linked with mold.

Turned out it was. Somehow or other, moisture had gotten inside the wall and allowed mold to grow, and it was working its way through the drywall and wallpaper. A contractor ripped out the wall, repaired the problem, and then it was my turn to replace the wallpaper.

Since one whole wall and parts of two others were affected, and because crown molding had been added which changed how the pattern hit the top of the wall, replacing all the paper in the room made the most sense.

I stripped off the remaining wallpaper, primed the areas of new drywall, and rehung the room.

The pattern is called Gisele, and is by Thibaut, one of my favorite companies.

The home is in Cypress, a far northwest suburb of Houston.

Sweet Homeowner Sends Me Home With Sweets

November 20, 2021

I was two weeks hanging wallpaper on this 5-room job in League City – 648 miles on my van! The last day as I finished and was packing up to leave, my client said, “Wait one minute!”

Then she handed me this box of cupcakes from a boutique bakery called Rise, in Friendswood.

Man, I love my job.

And my clients!