Archive for June, 2011

For the Birds

June 30, 2011

Last week I installed a beautiful paper by a British manufacturer, Cole & Son. The paper is a reproduction of a very old pattern that dates back to Victorian times. I have done similar papers by other manufacturers based on the same design many, many times, and it’s one of my favorites – and a favorite of my clients, too, as I have installed this pattern in many colors in many homes.

Here it is in close up:
Or Google it: Cole and Son pattern code 62/1002

The room was a smallish bathroom in an older home. The barely-there soft green of the background matched the 1920’s tile perfectly, and the pattern scale was just right for the size of the room. It was gorgeous.


Until I put the paper on the ceiling.

I know that lots of designers like wallpaper on the ceiling, and I see it in a good many homes, especially in River Oaks and other neighborhoods where homeowners are more likely to work with interior designers.

But, to my personal taste, unless it’s a very subdued pattern or a special look like Bradbury & Bradbury (Google it), I just don’t like wallpaper on the ceiling.

In this case, to my eye, it really closed in the room, brought down the ceiling, and made the whole space claustrophobic. Were it my house, I would have put the paper on the walls, and left the ceiling white.

Gee, I sure hope the interior designer for that job isn’t a reader of my blog! : )

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Getting a Lift

June 23, 2011

The other day, I was hauling in all my equipment, which sometimes can seem like an entire hardware store, and preparing to slug my way up the stairs with it, to the bathroom where I was working.

Then the homeowner asked me this wonderful question: “Julie, would you like to use the elevator?”

The home was equipped with an elevator! And even better, it was right near the front door, and went upstairs and let me out mere steps from the bathroom where I was working. Halleljula!

What a treat this was! Usually I’m hauling and lugging heavy and awkward tools and materials (a full bucket of wallpaper paste can weigh 50 pounds), sometimes long distances or up one or two flights of stairs. I sure loved having access to that elevator!

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Cell Phones, Cameras, and Wallpaper, Pt II

June 8, 2011

Today I learned yet another use for cell phones equipped with cameras.

I visited a client today, and she had some wallpaper sample books at home. But she couldn’t bring home all the books she was interested in.

So she pulled out her cell phone and photographed the book covers and sample pages of patterns she was interested in.

Again, quick, easy, and easy to reference when she is at home and wants to look at the patterns and colors.

Cell Phones, Cameras, and Wallpaper

June 7, 2011

Here was a new one on me…

Yesterday I was coming out of Home Depot and saw a guy looking at the “Wallpaper Lady” sign on the side of my van. Occasionally I see people doing this, and usually they are scribbling down the phone number.

But this guy had out his cell phone, and was aiming it at the sign.

How handy – he was not taking time to scramble around and dig out a pen and then find a scrap of paper and jot down the number.

He was photographing the entire sign, quick and easy, and easy to find when he’s ready to contact me.

Squeezing Every Spare Inch

June 4, 2011

This week, I had a close call. We “almost” ran out of paper. To be more accurate, we DID run out of paper.

But, by saving scraps, splicing, plotting – and a little sweating – I managed to finish the room.

(Disclaimer here – the family had measured and ordered the paper on their own, before I ever saw the job. If I had done the measuring, I would have suggested buying an extra double roll.)

It was a typical small bathroom in a cute mid-century (1954) ranch style home. They had chosen a delightful Cole & Son paper in a sort of trapazoid / diamond pattern.

As I got further into the job, I started feeling there wasn’t going to be enough paper. I plotted the pattern match, counted strips, and realized that I was running out of paper. I would be short one 4′ length, plus one 1′ long strip needed to fill the space over the door.

The plotting began in earnest. Because walls are never straight, normally you don’t wrap a strip of wallpaper around an outside corner. Indeed, this corner bowed out a little at the top. But if I wanted to get maximum use out of the strip, I HAD to wrap it around the corner.

To solve the problem of the paper twisting and warping due to the bowed corner edge, I cut a slit that went from the ceiling down about 6″, to below the level of the bowed corner. This allowed the right edge of the paper to hang straight, so the next strip would abutt it correctly with no gapping or overlapping.

But, this strip was the length of the space over the shower, but it fell short of the length of the wall it was now wrapped around to. I needed about 10″ more paper, and it had to match the pattern, too.

I never throw any paper away until I have finished a job. I solved the problem of this short strip by taking a piece I had on my discard-later pile. It had come from over the window, and I had split the strip in two, using the left side over the window, and saving the right side “just in case.”

Well, it happened to be just long enough, and to contain just the right pattern match, to fit the short area on the new wall. Since the pattern was an angular geometric, it was a simple matter of splicing in along the jagged edges of the diamond pattern. This disguised the splice much better than if I had cut it straight across.

Now, what to do about the the missing short strip over the door? I had one strip the proper length, but needed a piece the same length, but about 10″ wide.

What I did was, the next strip to be hung, which would abutt the one I had wrapped around the corner, would hang over the space heater built into the wall. The space heater was a little taller than the length needed to finish the area over the door.

So I pasted the strip, placed it on the wall, and carefully cut away the paper that was hanging over the space heater. This piece would normally be discarded, but I knew it was just what I needed to finish the room.

I made sure to not let any dust, rust, or grit from the hole where the space heater was in the wall get onto the back of the paper – grit causes bumps under the paper, and dirt and rust can bleed through, staining the new paper. I folded (booked) the piece pasted-side-to-pasted-side to keep it wet, and set it aside while I hung the next two strips.

When I finally got to the final strip over the door, the right edge of the strip that had come from the space heater area matched perfectly with the left edge of the strip over the door.

Room finished – and not a scrap to spare! I’m serious – there was only about 9″ left on the last roll of wallpaper, and that didn’t include even one full pattern repeat.

The homeowners were very pleased, and I was quite proud.