Sometimes You Gotta Laugh

March 26, 2023

I seriously, literally at 5:01 p.m. Saturday evening, I got a call from a gall wanting wallpaper up in her jewelry store – before 7:00 a.m. tomorrow – Sundayย  !!ย ย  ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ˜Š

Come on, guys – I’m booked into July. Also only do residential jobs . And who wants to hang paper at 2:00 on a weekend morning?!

I offered to email her my list of commercial installers , including guys usually not on my list, because they’re more likely to be available on short notice. But she didn’t send me her contact info, so – she’s on her own.

Outsmarting Bull Nosed / Rounded Edges / Arch

March 25, 2023
Looks nice, huh?
But these rounded edges , especially arches , have been a thorn in the side of wallpaper installer s since they became popular more than 10 years ago. Hanging paper on them and trimming neatly at the right point is difficult. Because the paper is hanging over the edge blocking your view of where you need to trim . A level or laser level don’t always work because the home’s framing isn’t always perfectly plumb . Metal straightedges / trim guides are useful, but can slip and mess up your cut. The arches present their own challenges because a straight edge won’t line up with them .
A colleague in the Wallcovering Installers Association ( WIA ) invented this gadget , which is a huge help. This is a 1.5″ section cut off from the 10′ length of bull nose corner bead used in the drywall construction of these edges. Then you cut notches in it at the point on the corner where you want to trim your wallpaper .
Some installers place a trimmer blade in the notch and slide the gadget along the edge, trimming as they go. I find that the thing wobbles too much for an accurate trim, plus it’s difficult to hold the blade while you’re sliding the thing down the wall. So I put a pencil point into the notch and draw a line along where I want to trim. Then I can use a straightedge and trimming blade , or a scissors, to cut along the line. Makes a nice, even, straight cut! Note that I like to wrap it about 1/3 of the way around the rounded edge.
OK, so you’ve seen how I trimmed along the edge to the right. Now here’s another trick that I’m going to use on the edge to the left, as seen in the photo. The wallpaper strip is 20.5″ wide. But I trimmed it vertically so that the piece over the arch is 10″ wide. That correlates to the point where I want to trim the strip that will land on the rounded edge going down the wall.
Note that I have not completely trimmed the part under the arch on the left side, because I want to be sure the cut edge lines up with that on the next strip I’m going to hang.
The blue plastic tape is there to keep paste off the wall paint . It will be removed after the piece is trimmed to fit.
Now here I’ve placed the remaining 10.5″ wide left section of the strip of wallpaper. You can see how it’s falling perfectly along the bull-nosed edge – saving me from having to use a blade or straightedge or gadget.
Note that this works only if the edge is perfectly plumb , and that the piece above the arch is also perfectly plumb, and my new strip is hanging perfectly plumb. This paper is a non-woven material, and is somewhat stiff and unbending , so not really amenable to twisting or tweaking into place. Plus, you want to keep that left edge straight, because your next / subsequent strip will need to butt up against it. Trust me, I did a lot of measuring and shooting the laser level before I pasted or hung any paper!
Now that it’s in place, I can go back and trim that remaining bit under the arch, making sure that it meets up in the corner with the edge of this piece .
Here’s another shot of it finished.
Closer up.
This tree branch foliage pattern is called Twining and is by Graham & Brown . I like most everything they make. The non-woven substrate is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece , with no damage to the wall , when it’s time to redecorate .
This home is in the Oak Forest / Garden Oaks / Heights neigborhood of Houston .

Subtle Colors , Gentle Movement in Dining Room

March 24, 2023
Kinda bland, huh?
Well, let me fix that for you!
With just two colors and a simple, yet flowing design, this wallpaper pattern breathes life into this room – but doesn’t overwhelm.
Pattern is nicely centered between the windows.
This is another wall that also has two windows . I was able to center the pattern between these windows, too. Centering on two different walls in the same room is actually something of a feat – but that’s a story for another time.
From a distance .
This home has bull-nosed / rounded outside corners and edges, as well as the arch . Very tricky to get wallpaper trimmed to these areas neatly and evenly . See other posts for more info on this.
Close up. The design has a weathered fabric texture sort of background . The copper colored foliage is lightly metallic , so has a slight shine – but only when viewed from certain angles , so it’s a subdued luster that’s added to the room .
Note how the coppery color coordinates with the light fixtures / chandeliers .
The wallpaper is by Graham & Brown , a good manufacturer with quality papers. The pattern is called Twining . This company makes nice non-woven papers , which have a polyester content which makes them stain-resistant and durable . They are also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece and with no damage to your walls when it’s time to redecorate . G&B ‘s materials are usually flexible and nice to work with – although this particular one did tend to drag and tear when being trimmed – even with a new blade. I usually paste the paper , but non-woven materials can also be installed by paste the wall .
The home is in the Oak Forest / Garden Oaks / Heights neighborhood of Houston .
This project took me three days, to smooth the textured walls , and then hang the paper around four walls , and trim around those pesky rounded edges and the arch .

Using One Strip to Cover Two Areas Saves Wallpaper

March 23, 2023
This wallpaper is 20″ wide . My next strip to the left needs to be 20″ wide above the window – but only 1.5″ wide down the side of the window. I hate to use a whole 6′ long strip for this area. Because, as you can see, most of the strip will be where the window is, and will be cut off and thrown away.
But here’s a plan. The same thing is happening on the right side of the wall, on the window to the right. About 10″ of the wallpaper has extended over the window, leaving about 10″ of the lower portion to be cut off and thrown into the trash.
NNo! Since I need a 1.5″ width of a right edge to finish my area on the left side of the wall (see previous photo), I can use this discarded lower 10″ of wallpaper to cover that 1.5″ to the left.
Planning ahead and measuring carefully, I removed the lower section of wallpaper that would have been hanging over the window / shutters . I left plenty of overlap to allow for trimming along the top and along side the window molding. Added bonus – because I’m now not wrestling a 20″ wide strip of paper next to this window and shutters, it keeps a lot of paste from slopping onto the window molding and shutters .
zin this photo, you see the 10″ wide strip I’ve removed. And also the 1.5″ wide strip from the left right edge, that will be put against the strip to the left.
Here’s my 1.5″ wide strip.
And here’s where I’m going to put it. Note that I cut a short strip to fit over the window . It’s 20″ wide – the width of the roll of wallpaper . I cut it long enough to come down the side of the window to where there’s a design element – in this case, a horizontal branch – to disguise the juncture of these two pieces of wallpaper .
About to go into place .
Positioned. Note the overlap of the branch, trimmed along the lines of the motif. This makes the overlap way less noticeable than a straight horizontal patch, or even a splice.
Note: I don’t like to splice / double cut in situations like these – cuts into the wall surface below and can cause the paper to come away from the wall. I don’t mind overlaps in these situations. They’re up high where no one can see, and also much stronger and more stable than a butted edge .
Teimming off excess along the window molding / trim .
Doone!
The tree and leaf pattern is called Twining and is by Graham and Brown . Like most of their materials, it’s a non-woven material and can be installed by pasting the wall – although I usually paste the paper . It is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate . The seams are invisible .

Treated to Hawaiian Pulled Pork BBQ and Waterloo

March 22, 2023
Sweet homeowner didn’t want me to run out of energy while I was installing wallpaper in the powder room.
Note: Wallpaper + grease are a bad combination. You can be sure that I kept the food far away from the wallpaper, and that I washed my hands thoroughly before touching any paper .

Improperly Prepped Paint Peels Off Easily

March 22, 2023
this vanity was originally white . To update the powder room and coordinate with the new wallpaper , the vanity cabinet was painted this rich green . When hanging wallpaper , some paste will get onto the woodwork or cabinetry . Usually, it’s a simple matter to wipe this paste off with a damp rag (we like microfiber cloths ).
But as you can see, even gentle wiping with a damp cloth has taken some of the new paint with it. This is usually because the new paint was applied without having properly prepped the original surface. The original paint has a gloss / sheen , which makes it attractive , as well as resistant to dirt and stains . But new coatings (be they paint , latex paint , wallpaper paste , etc. ) won’t adhere tightly to a glossy surface .
So it’s imperative that the original surface be prepped correctly , before the new paint is applied . This means de-glossing . Deglossing can be done by sanding the surface to scruff it up, which will give a bit of “tooth” to the surface for the new coating to stick to. Or you can buy a chemical de-glosser from a good paint store like Sherwin-Williams or big box store like Home Depot . This is simply wiped on with a cloth . You can also use what’s called a bonding primer , which is formulated to adhere to just about anything , and then provides a surface that paint or other coatings can grab a hold of and stick to .
Once the original surface is properly de-glossed and primed and prepped , the new paint can be applied . Once that dries and cures , you can put stress on the surface, such as rubbing or wiping , without fear of the new paint peeling off .
Another weird thing is that the green color came off on my microfiber rag . I’ve had this happen with water-based / water-borne paints – but not with the old-fashioned oil-based paints . Not a big deal. Not enough of the color wiped off to cause any lack of color on the painted surface of the vanity . install

Geometric on Tricky Outside Corner

March 21, 2023
OK, never mind the ’80’s-era toilet paper holder that’s recessed into the wall here and is not removable – which presents a challenge all its own. My issue is adding the next strip of wallpaper to the left, turning the corner, and keeping the pattern matched as well as possible in both the inside corner and around the outside corner.
Usually, when turning inside corners, you wrap the paper around the corner 1/8 of an inch, and then cut a new strip of paper, match the pattern, and then overlap it that 1/8″ . That helps eliminate issues like mis-matches or wrinkles due to crooked corners or uneven / bowed / out-of-plumb walls . (no walls are ever perfect )
But in this case, we also have an outside corner to wrap. Even though it’s only about 2″ wide, that edge can cause the pattern to go off-plumb , or to create wrinkles in the wallpaper .
Going against most rules of wallpapering , I’ve decided to wrap the next strip around this 2″ wide wall and then onto the wider wall to the left .

Here I am, starting to position that next strip. I’m not going to try to wrap a full 27″ wide strip around this turn. Instead, I’ve trimmed it vertically along a horizontal stripe , which makes this strip narrower and more easy to handle , and also will help in placement of the next strip.
Now I’m pushing it into place into that corner. Note how the paper is wrinkling, both on the wide wall, and as it comes around the 2″ wall.
Another shot of the placement and wrinkles .
Using my plastic squeegee smoother to press the paper tightly into the inside corner. Note that, since the corner isn’t perfectly straight or plumb, there were a few areas where I couldn’t press the paper tightly into the wall, but had to leave a bit of a gap or air bubble, in order for the left edge to wrap around the turn.
The plastic smoother can also be used to gently push out wrinkles on the larger body of the strip of paper to the right. Don’t press too hard , nor overwork , because you don’t want to stretch the paper – that will cause more wrinkles.
The plastic smoother took care of the inside corner. Here I’m using my damp microfiber cloth to tightly press the paper around this outside corner .
OK. Paper’s wrapped tightly around this corner – but, because the corner isn’t straight , we’ve got wrinkles and warps .
Sometimes, you need to take a scissors to make relief cuts to help ease the paper around the corner . Try to make your cuts along an element of the design , to make the slit less noticeable.
here is that little narrow bit, finally wrapped around the outside corner. Now we need to add the next strip to the left of this. Note that this narrow strip isn’t straight nor plumb nor equidistant from the corner that we just turned. Nor is it equidistant from the next corner we have to deal with, which is to the left (not pictured).
Since we want the wallpaper strips to match in the corners, it’s important that the wallpaper pattern fall in the corner to the left at the same point from ceiling to floor. Complicated to explain.
So I’m taking a fresh strip of wallpaper , made sure the pattern matches correctly , and have trimmed it vertically along the tan stripe . Now placing it along this wrapped edge.
Because I’m overlapping instead of butting , I’m able to pull the new strip to the right or left, to keep it equidistant from the right outside corner . Or, from the inside corner to the left.
Actually, I don’t care much about the right side. The eye won’t notice if the new strip isn’t perfectly plumb . Nor will it notice if the pattern match isn’t 100% perfect . But it will notice if the pattern doesn’t match perfectly in the inside corner to the left.
So I’m pulling and manipulating and overlapping the strip a bit, so that the left edge of it is exactly 10-3/4″ from the left edge. This ensures that the pattern motifs fall all at the same point into that corner on the left.
Do I can cut my next strip, trim it vertically so the design matches with that in the corner, and get a perfect pattern match in the corner. Kinda difficult to explain, but I hope you can follow what I’m describing.
Note that this overlap is causing a bit of a ridge under the paper . Hard to see here, but when the paper dries and shrinks tight against the wall, it will be a little more obvious. But I’d rather have a ridge on the right, than a pattern mis-match in the corner to the left.
Oh, and never mind that little pattern mis-match to the right … that’s the paper wrapped around the corner, so you’re looking at different dimensions, not a pattern mis-match.
Here is that strip finished. The vertical strips isn’t perfectly plumb, but no one can tell that.
ut the pattern is perfectly straight in the inside corner to the left . So when I take my subsequent strip and trim it vertically to remove the right edge by approximately 10-3/4″ , the pattern should match perfectly in this inside corner. (It did!)
This “sort of” Greek key trellis geometric design is by Thibaut , one of my favorite brands. It was on a triditional paper substrate , and was hung via the paste the paper method .
It was purchased from my favortite source for wallpaper in Houston , Dorota Hartwig at the Sherwin-Williams in the Rice Village , who has more selection books than anywhere else in the city – and knows what’s in every one of them! Call before heading over (713) 529-6515 .
The home is in the Champions Forest area of northwest Houston.

Toned Down Geometric in Powder Room

March 19, 2023

Large powder room in 1980’s era home is prepped , primed , and ready for wallpaper .
This soft geometric really brings the room up to date . Note the new green paint on the vanity .
The homeowner thought I would “just start in a convenient corner.” Yes, that would have saved time. But it looks much better, don’t you think, with a geometric pattern like this, to balance the design and center it on the counter top and faucet . I also lined the bottom of the motifs along the top of the backsplash .
The manufacturer is Thibaut , one of my favorite brands . It’s a traditional paper, installed by pasting the paper . This was purchased through my favorite source , Dorota Hartwig at the Sherwin Williams in the Rice Village in central Houston. She’s expert at helping you quickly zero in on your perfect pattern. Call before heading over (713) 529-6515 .
The home is in the Champions area of northwest Houston .

Barbie

March 17, 2023
The powder room where I’m to hang wallpaper is under renovation , and so the sink has no faucet . I need water for both prep and installation . The homeowner told me I could use the tub in the master bathroom .
Can you say, “Got little girls?” LOL!

Some Non-Woven Wallpapers Crease Easily

March 16, 2023
This is the bottom of the strip , where it meets the wainscoting . It needs to be pushed into the right-angle between the wall and the molding, so the excess can be trimmed off.
No matter how gently I push, or what tool I use, or how carefully I approach this, some papers buckle and fold and crease as they are bent backwards into the corner .
The wallpapers that do this are typically the thicker and ” puffy ” non-woven / paste the wall materials. It happens in just about every right-angle corner. Luckily these areas are usually not in the line of sight, so not very noticeable.
Note that many non-wovens are thinner and more flexible , and do not present this behavior.