Cole & Son Woods / Stars for a Baby Boy’s Nursery

December 15, 2017


See that top photo? This newborn baby was doomed to a boring, blaagh, unstimulating nursery. But Mom wanted more for her first-born son. Pastels and teddy bears wouldn’t do it. Mom found this innovative design in an un-baby-like color – and, boy, does it look great!

In the top photo, I am in the process of applying smoothing compound to a textured wall. Once dry, it will be sanded smooth and then primed, making it ready for wallpaper.

I hung this in a new home in the Bridgelands area of Cypress / Katy (Houston). The manufacturer is Cole & Son, a British company. It is a thick, fairly stiff non-woven material. It is intended to be installed with the paste-the-wall method, and it works nicely for single accent-wall projects like this.

But that thickness and stiffness means that it would be less suitable if it had to turn corners or meld into cuts around intricate moldings. That means it would be difficult to get to look great in rooms that have a lot of angles, edges to wrap, or detailed cuts. (bathrooms, kitchens, rooms with decorative moldings, etc.)

I don’t have a finished-room shot of this baby’s room, but, as you can see, the crib accent wall looks fantastic.

I like this matt-finish charcoal blue color much better than the more common black-on-white designs I have seen. And the gold stars really amp up the appeal.

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The “Paper “Tiger” – A Horrible Tool !

December 14, 2017


Photo #1 – top view.

Photo #2 – bottom or inside view

People who go on-line to research “how to strip wallpaper” might be duped into buying this gadget. And I even know paperhangers who use it. But, folks, it is HORRIBLE. It will wreak severe damage on your walls. It will make your removal project much more difficult and time-consuming. STAY AWAY!

The concept is sound. If you perforate the surface of the wallpaper, water can penetrate it more easily and then soften the paste on the back, allowing you to remove the wallpaper.

The main problem, though, is that virtually everyone presses too hard, and then the tool’s teeth dig into not just the wallpaper, but into the drywall, causing severe damage that will require difficult and time-consuming repairs.

The other problem is that this gadget will cut your wallpaper into tiny pieces. That means that when you go to remove the paper from the wall, you will be scraping off, and then picking up off the floor, a gazillion 1/2″ micro-bits of wallpaper.

It would be much preferable to follow the easy steps listed on my page (to the left) entitled, “How To Strip Wallpaper.”

Basically, all that’s needed to strip off old wallpaper is to remove the top, inked layer, which will leave a backing layer on the wall. Then all you do is use a sponge to apply clean water to the backing. Over and over again. Until the paste underneath has been sufficiently softened that you can either pull it away from the wall, or gently scrape it away.

No damage to the wall, no muss, and nice big pieces of paper that are easy to collect and put in the trash.

Mildew!

December 13, 2017


You can clearly see the mildew on the wall that was revealed when I removed the wallpaper. It shows up as the black rings / circles.

The mildew was caused by moisture trapped in the wall by both a leak in the roof or siding, and a leak from a bathroom that crept under the floor – compounded by being trapped inside the wall by a solid vinyl wallpaper that would not breathe or allow air to pass through. Another reason to avoid paper-backed solid vinyl wallpaper.

Note: This issue was with mildew. Mildew is not nearly as dangerous as mold. Still, the homeowner took the contractor’s advice and had the drywall completely removed and replaced.

Consider Using a Muted Wallpaper Pattern Instead of a Textured Wall Covering

December 12, 2017



Many people these days are wanting textured wallpapers. But one problem with textured materials is that, once you step away from them, you no longer see the texture.

Today I hung this small wallpaper pattern in a muted, 2-color scheme. I thought to myself, “Here we have the effect of texture, warmth, movement, and depth – and you CAN see it from across the room.”

The next time a client bring up the idea of a textured paper, I’m going to suggest a small pattern, similar to this one.

This pattern is by Thibaut Designs, # T-72614.

Painters! Have Some Respect for the Homeowner’s Property

December 10, 2017


These homeowners’ home was damaged by flood waters in Hurricane Harvey. The wallpaper, drywall, and flooring in their Bunker Hill area townhome had to be ripped out and replaced.

After repairs, that means that everything in the room is new. Drywall, paint, sink, toilet, floor tiles, etc. It would be nice if people could KEEP everything looking new.

The homeowner asked me not to use the sink, because she already had to clean up messes left by the painters.

She might not have even seen these paint splatters on the floor. In the second photo, you see where the painters let their roller bang into the woodwork. These
dings” are small, but they are visible.

And they are sooo easy to prevent. All you need is a drop cloth. In addition, I like to tack an 18″ width of absorbant dropcloth fabric along the top of the baseboard, to prevent any spills or splatters from hitting the woodwork or the flooring.

It takes very little to protect a homeowner’s moldings, floor, and countertops.

Raising Ceiling and Brightening Room with Upward Pattern and Pearlized Finish

December 9, 2017


This powder room in a townhome in the Bunker Hill area of Houston was affected by flood water damage from Hurricane Harvey. Contractors replaced two walls with new Sheetrock. But the sink wall remained intact (top photo) and needed to be stripped of its original wallpaper, then skim-floated, sanded smooth, and then primed, before wallpaper could be hung. In addition, there were two other walls that needed to be smoothed and primed.

Fixing damaged walls also gives homeowners a chance to update their décor. The Chinoiserie pattern in the top photo is fine. But after the re-do, the homeowners wanted something more modern and in keeping with a more vibrant lifestyle. See the second photo for their new take on style!

This is a small under-the-stairs powder room with no window, and the ceilings are less than 7′ high. The upward movement of the wallpaper pattern, coupled with the swoopy design of the foliage, sweep your eye up, and add dimension to the walls. The pearlized color further helps visually expand the space.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpapers, and is a very good quality, mid-price range product. 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

Muted Pattern Adds Dimension and Warmth to an All-White Home Office

December 8, 2017


This softly-colored, small-patterned wallpaper did a lot to warm up an all-white work space, without overpowering. In fact, it is more of a backdrop for other elements in the room, than a statement-maker in itself.

The top photo shows the first strip going up. I had to do a little tweaking to get the geometric print to look straight against the un-level crown molding and the un-plumb walls of this renovated older home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The second and third photos show how the wallpaper adds just enough color and texture to the space.  See how the door and woodwork stand out, with just a little bit of color to set them off?

The wallpaper is by Thibaut Designs, one of my favorite brands. The pattern number is T-72614.   Interestingly, this design is very similar to one by Quadrille.  Quadrille is a brand that comes with a high price tag, as well as a lot of special needs as far as installation goes.  My vote is for the Thibaut!

The interior designer for the project is Stacie Cokinos. https://www.cokinosdesign.com/ She specializes in selecting and coordinating fixtures, fabrics, and finishes in new homes and in older home renovations.

Easy, Classy, Traditional Floral Wallpaper

December 7, 2017


Here’s a simple and easy-to-live with floral / botanical pattern. I hung this in the powder room of a new home in the Houston Heights neighborhood.

The paper is by Cole & Son, and is on a non-woven substrate, and is intended to be a paste-the-wall product, although, on some walls (like behind the toilet) it was better to paste the material than the wall. It turned out beautifully.

Stay Away From Paper-Backed, Solid Vinyl Wallpapers

December 6, 2017

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Solid vinyl wallpapers are often marketed as “kitchen and bath” papers, because they are somewhat more washable than other types of wallpaper, and because splashed water will run right off the vinyl (plastic) surface.

However, I find just the opposite with these solid vinyl papers, particularly the pre-pasted, lower-priced ones.

The seams generally never look great to begin with. Then the porous paper backing tends to absorb moisture, such as humidity in a steamy bathroom. When the paper absorbs moisture, it expands, and when it expands, it has nowhere to go but to push away from the wall – causing a curled seam. Often the top vinyl layer even starts to delaminate from the paper backing.

This is not a “loose seam,” and it cannot be “reglued.”

Humidity is a factor, but so is improper wall prep. Usually, when there are curling seams like this, the previous installer neglected to prime the walls, and just hung wallpaper on top of the bare drywall.

In the two photos with paper curling away from the top of the baseboards and from the top of the granite countertops, it is not sticking because the surface beneath it is slick – overspray of gloss paint from the woodwork, caulk used around the top of the backsplash. Again, a primer would have prevented this.

I also like to run a bead of caulk around the top of the backsplash, to prevent splashed water from being wicked up under the cut edge of the wallpaper, which would cause curling.

I have blogged a number of times about curling seams due to crummy paper-backed, pre-pasted solid vinyl wallpapers. Choose some key words and do a Search here to read more.

Cute Recessed Shelf Nooks in Baby’s Wall

December 5, 2017

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Look at this adorable display shelf! It is recessed into the wall, and has a cut-out in the “ceiling” for a small LED light, which will shine down on a decorative item inside.

This was in a new-born baby’s nursery, and the whole wall will be covered with these niches, in various sizes. Very sweet.

The new mother choose two wallpaper patterns for the room. One has soft water color looking butterflies, dragonflies, and flowers. The other is a textured paper that has a linen look, in a light tan or cream color. That’s the paper that is a backdrop to these display shelves.

Keeping the background calm ensures that the shelves and the items on them will remain the main focus.