Archive for November, 2011

Good Taste

November 30, 2011

Got a call from a gal tonight, who wants paper put up in her entry, and it just so happens to be the very same Thibaut paper that I am seen installing in a photo on my website!

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Saving the Wall Texture

November 27, 2011

In a recent post, I talked about stripping off a mural that had hung on a dining room accent wall for more than a decade, so the homeowners could repaint the wall and show off a large piece of artwork.

The mural came off fairly easily, and with no damage to the wall, which pleased me.

Once I started getting pieces of the wallpaper off, I was able to see how the original guy had done the installation. He had “skim floated” the textured walls with “mud” (drywall joint compound, the same plaster-like material used to cover joints and seams in new wallboard), and then sanded the mud smooth, so the surface would be absolutely smooth and flat, with no bumps to mar the surface of the new mural.

I do the exact same thing; however, I always coat the new surface with a primer before hanging any wallpaper.

But the previous installer had not used a primer. This was good for me in two ways… For one thing, it’s usually very easy to get old wallpaper off a wall surface consisting of joint compound. It simply doesn’t hold paste as tightly as a primed or painted wall would.

Second, since the joint compound had not been sealed, it was easy to reactivate it with plain water. That meant that the joint compound could be wiped off the wall – revealing the original paint color and even the original wall texture.

Because the homeowners intended to paint the wall once the mural was removed, they would have to retexture it, and hopefully get the new texture to match the original texture that was on the other three walls of the dining room. This is very tough to do, even for an experienced painter, because the original texture had been blown on, which is quite difficult and costly to do in a room that has furniture, drapes, carpeting, and other things you don’t want covered with texture!

But in this case, I was able to easily wipe off the joint compound, revealing the original texture, which, of course, perfectly matched the existing texture on the remaining three walls.

This meant the homeowners had a room where all four walls matched, and they didn’t have to pay a painter to redo the texturing.

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Thibaut Cork Wallcovering Notes

November 19, 2011

The two papers I did the last two days were identical except for pattern – silver metallic cork by Thibaut.

Here are some notes about working with this unusual material:

I mentioned that I very much liked the fact that the manufacturer took the trouble to carefully wrap the ends of the bolts, so as to not damage the paper.

It surprised me that Thibaut recommended pre-mixed heavy duty vinyl clear adhesive. Usually with goods of a natural fiber on the type backing as this product, a super clear lighter-weight paste is used. Thibaut specified the heaver paste because it has less water content, reducing the possibility that the paste could oversoak the paper backing and cause the surface to come loose.

Oddly, there were differences in the two papers. Evidentally, the gold ink over the silver cork made a difference.

The information that came with the paper made it clear that there would be flaking of the surface, and some silver would come off, revealing the brown cork below – all this is normal. But I had no problem with the plain silver paper in this regard. However, the paper with the gold design on top did have a tendency to flake – in fact, many areas were loose even before I touched the product. (I simply glued them back down.)

I found that the more the paper was folded or bent during handling, the more likely it was to flake. Luckily, the strips were short, so I was able to avoid “booking” the paper (folding pasted side to pasted side) and could simply carry the entire unfolded sheet to the wall, which put much less stress on the cork covering and reduced flaking.

The goods with the gold design also seemed a little thicker, and therefore more difficult to press tightly into the corners and edges where cuts were to be made. This is important, because if the paper is not pressed tight against the wall when cut, there will be a thin gap between the paper and the ceiling or baseboard.

Finally, the two papers came with entriely different instructions. The plain silver paper had instructions and information specific to that cork paper. But the more exotic and expensive version with the gold medallion design came with the standard (very humorous, by the way) Thibaut installation instructions. I’m very glad I read the detailed instructions first, and also phoned the manufacturer to ask about recommended adhesives, before tackling these papers. They were not particularly difficult to install, but did take a little more concentration and finess and a little more muscle, too.

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Second Round for Cork Wallpaper

November 17, 2011

Tuesday I installed a silver cork wallpaper by Thibaut. Well, yesterday in another home, I did the same exact paper, but with a gold medallion superimposed on the silver. (I have no idea why that page is in Russian!)

While Tuesday’s paper had a very modern look and feel, yesterday’s paper with the traditional gold pattern was completely different. It had a formal feel with a large touch of elegance, along with an aged, weathered feel. The setting was a large formal dining room, and the finished room was gorgeous.

The homeowners, a family with teenaged kids, loved it, and are eager to – finally, after years of working on the house – get their room back together. Just in time to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in their new dining room!

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Care in Shipping

November 16, 2011

One of the things that disappoints me about wallpaper manufacturers and distributors, is careless packaging. Nine times out of ten, they simply jam several rolls of wallpaper into a paper bag, seal it, and send it on the road. And nine times out of ten, the paper gets banged up during shipping, usually resulting in bashed edges, which do show when the paper is on the wall, so I have to unroll and throw away several feet of paper before getting to useable yardage.

It’s frustrating, because all it would take is a little bubble wrap, or even some wadded up paper, around the ends of the rolls, to prevent this damage. A strudy cardboard box would help, too.

Well, today I did a lovely and unusual silver metalic cork paper This is delicate stuff, and papers inserted with the goods state that flaking is to be expected, and that the paper can be easily damaged, and to handle it with care.

Well, I was surprised and very pleased to see something I had never seen before – little cardboard caps on the ends of every roll. They reminded me of the cardboard sleeves that slide around hot coffee cups from Starbucks.

And guess what? The wallpaper was in PERFECT shape! ­čÖé Thank you Thibaut!

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Cushy Paper, Sharp Claws, and Bored Cats

November 13, 2011

This week I did a repair job for my veterinarian – the Cat Doctor in Houston. (Dr. Oeben is GREAT, by the way!

It seems that they had a “resident cat” – the one who lives in the clinic and is occasionally called upon to donate blood, etc., in addition to greeting people at the door and keeping the adoptable kittens in line.

The clinic staff had been in the habit of letting this cat out of his stainless steel cage from time to time, and enclosing him in a hallway, which had doors opening into two other small rooms, the ladie’s and the men’s bathrooms. This worked well for many years, and the cat loved having all the extra space to move around in and play in.

Well, one day not too long ago, he must have gotten bored, or maybe he just got a bee in his bonnet. He started swatting at the walls, and discovered that the cushy feel of the textured paper (similar to that I talked about in my November 4, 2011 post) was delightful beneath his claws.

He spent the next several hours clawing at the wallpaper, getting the thick foamy stuff under his claws, tearing bits from the wall and scratching others, and in general having a heck of a fun time – way more fun than shredding a roll of toilet paper! One rip was over the bathroom door – more than seven feet off the ground. It was clear that he had actually climbed up the wall, by grabbing the wallpaper with his claws.

To fix this mess, I replaced one piece that had been completely torn from the wall, suing the “double cut” method to splice in a new piece. For the rest of the damage, I used water based paint and clear adhesive caulk. The finished product looked pretty darned good, and the vet and her staff were pleased.

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Wallpaper Murals and Pain

November 10, 2011

I worked at a house this week that had a positively lovely mural on the dining room wall, one accent wall. It was a clasic branch-with-flowers mural on a faux silk background, muted colors and very pretty, went well with the room and the furnishings.

But the homeowners wanted the mural removed. YIKES!

The thing is, they had found a piece of art work they fell in love with, and they wanted to hang it on that accent wall. Because the art piece was very contempory, it would have clashed with the very traditional feel of the mural. And the mural would definately have detracted from the painting, as they wanted the painting to be the only thing a person saw upon walking into the room.

So, down came the beautiful mural.

Ouch!  Stripping off that lovely mural HURT!




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Day of Dining Rooms

November 7, 2011

I do wallpaper bids on Sunday afternoons, and had nine stops yesterday. Of those nine homes, three – 30% – were planning to wallpaper their dining rooms.

Usually I do bathrooms, and here lately, a lot of bedroom accent walls, so I find it interesting that such a large proportion were decorating their dining rooms.

Also of interest, that same day, several people were looking at silvery papers – silver cork, silver cork embellished with gold figures, or simply a pattern that had a silvery shimmer.

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Paintable Textured Wallpaper

November 4, 2011

Today I did a small master bathroom, just two walls, with a textured paintable wallpaper. I was happy to see that the paper is made by York, which is a very good manufacturer, because other similar papers made by other companies have posed problems.

The walls had a lot of damage, but once I got them skim-coated and sanded smooth and then primed, the paper went up beautifully and looks great.

The particular pattern was a basket weave, which I could not find on the company’s website, but what the heck?… Everything else on the site is just gorgeous. There are traditional patterns, contemporary patterns, reproductions of Art Deco and Art Nouveau patterns, boarders, and more.

These papers look good enough as they are, but are intended to be painted. Because the papers are textured, they look super when done with a base coat, then followed with a thin glaze spread over the top and then wiped off, leaving the darker glaze just in the recessed areas.

Take a look at what York has to offer in this line:

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