Archive for February, 2010

Ahhh… My Favorite Kind of Customer…

February 26, 2010

Got a call from a lady today – wanting to install grasscloth – Man, this stuff is really getting HOT!

Anyway, we got to talking about textured wallcoverings vs. faux finishes, and she said she had recently taken a faux finishing class, thinking she would then faux her own walls.

But, after just that one class, she said NO WAY would she attempt to apply the finish in her own home. She realized how very difficult and time consuming it is, and how very much talent and experience are required before you can guarantee a satisfactory product.

Well, that’s a client I love to have! They want a good-looking and long-lasting finish, they understand what’s required to obtain that, and they are willing to pay a professional who can ensure the finished job will be the look they want.

Well, the Decor Comes First!

February 26, 2010

I got an update on some friends who moved to a new house about 10 years ago, a very fine house in a nice neighborhood, and they had chosen the best quality and most lavish details available.

The wallpaper they put in this turn-of-the-century style home was described as “hand-made, Italian-imported, Victorian, ornate, gorgeous, fabulous wallpaper.” Obviously very expensive, and equally expensive to install. In fact, all the details they chose were of the same quality and oppulence.

The only thing is, the rumor goes that, for about the first 10 years they lived in the home, they never had a stick of furniture!

Guess that goes to show, when people want the best, they’re willing to sacrifice some things, so they can get what they want.

Eventually, these folks did furnish their home, too, and when they did, they choose equally fine and lovely items.

Nice Comment from Client

February 25, 2010

I got a call from a former client yesterday, asking for a referral on a Sheetrock installer. (I keep a list of good workmen and contractors I run into, to help my clients find reputable workers.)

She had had a roof installed last fall, and it leaked the first time it rained, ruining she walls. She said that once the contract was signed, she never saw another professional, and the firm just hired “guys who didn’t know anything about roofing” to do the job. The company would not come back to fix the damage to the interior of her house, nor would they even fix the faulty work on her roof. She also felt they were ignoring her because she’s “a little old lady.”

She went on to say how much she appreciated me and how I work. She said that, because I do all work myself, I can ensure that it will be done correctly. Next she called me “a gem!”

When middle-men are called in, that’s when you start loosing control of quality. Please click the button on the right, “Me, me, and only me.”

Odd Blistering with Grasscloth

February 23, 2010

I’ve been installing a ton of grasscloth in recent years. People like the coarse texture, natural fiber, and retro look. This went in the sun room of a ’50’s ranch-style house, so it fit the home’s style perfectly.

I usually (if not ALWAYS) insist on doing all wall prep work myself. In this case, though, the clients wanted to do it themselves, and, since there was relatively little work to be done, I agreed. Wish I had stuck to my rule, and done it myself.

The room had typical ’50’s era paneling, which meant joints between boards that could show under the wallpaper. The clients had tried to fill in the cracks, but the seams still showed quite a bit. In addition, whatever primer they used had a somewhat rough texture, for some reason, which left the surface not as smooth as it should have been for the wallpaper to grab a hold onto.

I noticed problems from the beginning. My very first strip went up perfectly. But when I went back to inspect it 15 or so minutes later, there were a few bubbles under the paper. I puzzled over whether this was from a bad reaction with the primer that the client used (I always use oil-based KILZ, but I doubt that they did, even though we discussed this.), or if, due to the wall’s rough texture, the paper was not able to get good overall adhesion, leaving air trapped in the recessed areas of the wall surface that expanded as time went by, causing the paper to blister.

So I tried using more paste than usual, hoping to fill in any recessions or depressions on the wall’s surface. This was only moderately successful… As I continued around the room, I continually checked strips I had already hung, and found that many, if not most, of the strips were bubbling in the same manner as the first. Some of them I was able to brush out, some were too dry to peel back so I had to inject paste underneath, and some simply would not disappear. These I hoped would shrink and flatten as the paper dried.

In addition to that, even though people THINK that the rough texture of natural grass fibers on the wallcovering will disguise flaws, those joins in the original paneling that were not filled in properly during the prep stage DID show up under the new grasscloth.

I can’t say I was completely happy with the finished room. And it reitterates once again, that I must always INSIST on doing all prep work myself.

The flip side of this is, most people don’t notice the things that I do. The clients were genuinly pleased with the room, and never saw any blisters or ridges under the paper. I’ve learned that most people see “the big picture” and don’t really notice the little details. And, to be honest, the overall effect of the new wallcovering was gorgeous.

In this case, that was a good thing!

New Trend – Exotic ANIMAL Prints!

February 11, 2010

There must be a trend brewing… Last week I hung some dark grey ostrich-skin looking paper, and this week I installed a medium-toned brown faux alligator skin pattern.

Both were lightly textured, and both finished rooms looked FABULOUS!

Achieving the Impossible

February 9, 2010

On last week’s job, we needed 12 rolls of paper, but the client had only 10. The last double roll had been purchased and received, but misplaced somewhere along the line.


We had scheduled the work, the client had set aside time to have it done… and the paper we needed wasn’t anywhere in the city. And it was already midday!

My wallpaper sales gal, who works at the Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby, was able to reach the vendor, and ordered the paper, then arranged to have it shipped Overnight Delivery – for mega bucks (about $45 for shipping), to arrive by noon the next day.

So I installed paper on the walls of this bathroom, and left for the day. The next morning, about 11:00a.m., I got a call from the store, and the paper had arrived. What a feat!

I picked up the paper, headed to the home, cut the three strips needed, and got the ceiling installed. SUCCESS!

Incidentally, it was a really cool ostrich-skin type paper, dark grey with black feather prick dots, which the client had installed on the walls AND ceiling of this smallish bathroom. The floor and shower tile were average tone brown, black granite counter tops, and grey woodwork, in a loft-style contempory home.

The finished room looked fabulous!