Archive for July, 2012

Woven Grasscloth – Seams Are Virtually Undetectable

July 20, 2012

Usually, with standard types of grasscloth, you see each panel, and clearly see seams every 36.” That’s just how it is with grasscloth, and most people love it. Not me – the “paneling” characteristic drives me nuts.

With this woven pattern by Astek, you can hardly spot a seam.

houston wallpaper hanger

Closed Vehicle + Houston Heat & Humidity = Spoiled Paste

July 19, 2012

Mold or Mildew Have Grown in Paste Bucket

Once a bucket of paste is open, it’s subject to contamination by something in the air, the paste brush, etc. Add a little heat and moisture, and it can grow like crazy. A living thing, mold / mildew will continue to grow, even under wallpaper, creating a stain that shows on the surface. Powdery mildew can reproduce, causing the paper to come loose from the wall.

This happened quickly – I had used this bucket of paste just a week or two ago, and it was fine.

This $50 bucket of paste was still more than half-full, but I could not use it. Too much risk that the organism would continue to grow, ruining the new wallpaper.

I made a mad dash to the store (4 stores, actually, before I found one who carried this particular “non-staining, clear” paste, Shur-Stik Dynamite C-11, made for grasscloth), and got a fresh bucket.

Got three of the four walls done in the dining room, and they look fabulous. I’ll finish tomorrow.

wallpaper hanger houston

Cute Retro Kitchen with Vintage Wallpaper

July 18, 2012

Like I said in my last post, I LOVE retro and vintage!

Check out this cute retro kitchen. Note the use of old wallpaper next to the book shelf (photo #3) and in the breakfast nook.

A clever way to get maximum use of the wallpaper, without spending a fortune. (I know of two sites that sell these original oldies, and the prices are high, while available quantities are usually low.)

wallpaper hanger houston

I’m Drooling – 1927 Kohler Bathrooms in Color

July 18, 2012

Did I mention that I love retro and vintage? Well, I LOVE retro and vintage!

And there’s not much prettier or funkier than bathrooms from a past era. Every time I watch HGTV and they are bashing out the beautiful 1940’s Seafoam tile and Salmon Pink sinks, I just cringe.

Take a look a these luscious designs, color combinations and tile work.

The only thing that could improve the beauty of these rooms would be a little era-appropriate wallpaper, to complete the look! 🙂

wallpaper installer houston

Flaw of the Day – Water Stains, Mold, Mildew !!

July 17, 2012

Water and mildew stains along the edges of several bolts of Astek LG31504, run 4

Mildew is a live organism that can grow on walls and wallpaper, especially in damp bathrooms.

Got the room all prepped, dragged in all my tools, work table, 50lb bucket of paste, got all set up, started unrolling the paper – and found nasty stains along one edge of EVERY roll of paper. Water stains, mold, and mildew, as if the warehouse floor had gotten wet and water seeped into the rolls of wallpaper.

Water stains will come through onto the surface of the paper (water stains on walls bleed through, too, so they must be sealed with KILZ or similar). Mildew is extremely bad, too, as it is a living organism and can become activiated once in contact with moisture, and can continue to grow on the wallpaper. This particular bathroom had a problem with mildew to begin with; installing wallpaper with the potential for growing more mildew is a recipe for disaster.

Needless to say, after checking several rolls and determining there was not enough useable paper to do the room, I halted the installation, sent the paper back to the store (my favorite seller, Dorota at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet), and she is working with the company (Astek) to replace the paper.

We asked that they hand-check the replacement rolls…but either they did not do this, or they don’t have the careful eye that I do, but either way, the replacement paper was also stained and had to be sent back.

Now the poor family is stuck waiting for more replacement paper, with a partially-done bathroom suite, and no word from the manufacturer as to when the new paper will arrive.

Grasscloth on the Back of Bookshelves – an Interior Designer’s Take

July 17, 2012

I looked at a job today for Houston interior designer Pamela O’Brien. This will be the second job I’ll do for her this month, putting grasscloth on the back of bookshelves. I already blogged about the popularity of this trend.

Those of us “regular” folks can see the beauty of the color and texture with this sort of installation. But I thought it would be interesting to know what goes on in a trained interior designer’s mind. Here are some things Pamela said about the look:

“I think people are just tired of plain white behind the shelves. A little color and texture really make the items on the shelves pop out. Grasscloth is elegant, but still subtle. And since it’s a tiny space in a larger room, you can really go bold, bringing attention to the decorative articles on the shelves, but not overwhelming the room.”

Pamela does some fabulous design work, BTW, while keeping the rooms comfortable and functional. She’s into feng shui, too, and even co-hosted a home improvement show on the radio.

Scratch & Sniff Wallpaper

July 15, 2012

A while ago I blogged about a “lickable” wallpaper; now there’s scratch-and-sniff. The website doesn’t seem to give much information about their product (what exactly is it, how it’s made, how long the scent lasts), but you can click the links and get a glimpse

Another Thibaut Wrestling Match

July 15, 2012

So, the day after I had the Hang From Hell with the blue Thibaut paper, I hung this one in a master bath:

Here was another difficult hang…. not nearly as bad as the previous day, but harder than it should have been, nonetheless.

Again, the paper stock soaked up the paste and dried faster than it should have, and would not slip on the wall as it should have. This was a small area, so I never had to put more than three full-length strips next to one another – good thing, because the paper twisted and wrinkled out of shape. If there had to have been several long sheets in a row, there would have been overlaps and wrinkles and other icky unhappy occurances.

And the paper had no vinyl coating, so any water splashed on it left a “wet” looking spot – which is prone to staining over time. Not a good thing in a paper used in a bathroom.

I think all this is due to manufacturers trying so hard to be “green.” They are using paper backings and stock that may be recycled or recycleable, but possibly are not suited for wallcovering. At minimum, I believe there has not been sufficient testing in the field before they put these products on the market. If I, with decades of wallpaper hanging behind me, have difficulty hanging them, think about inexperienced DIY homeowners, trying to do it on their own.

At least this time, we found someone at the factory willing to listen to feedback, and that gives me hope that they will continue to research and improve their product.

Very Difficult Installation Today – Client Not Happy

July 14, 2012

Paper shrunk, leaving white wall showing between strips of paper

I hang a lot of Thibaut papers, and generally love them. But recently I hung this
in a bathroom – it was nothing short of a wrestling match!

The paper was thick and stiff and hard to unroll and hard to control. The stock (backing) was dry and absorbant, and soaked up the paste, making it very difficult to get the paste spread on the back. It dried before I could get it to the wall, delaminating (coming apart) in some place, was difficult to bend around corners, and would not “slip” on the wall.

I tried Roman’s 838 and then Shur-Stick 234, and the paper would not allow either paste to be spread on its back, instead sucking it into the stock. In despiration, I tried Shur-Stik C-11, which is a very low-adhesion, clear paste made for delicate materials like grasscloth.

Finally I found a paste that would hold the paper to the wall, and that would allow me to slilp and slide the paper into place. It was still way difficult to work with, and I was there until 9:30 pm – hanging just 6 rolls! It looked nice once I was finally done.

Unfortunately, the next day, the homeowners awoke to some paper coming loose from the wall, and most of thte seams shrinking and showing white beneath them. They were not happy, and decided to remove the paper and choose something else.

I hate it when jobs go bad and when clients are unhappy.

The only good things – these are about the most lovely, easy people to work with. And the Thibaut company, instead of being contrary like manufacturers generally are, actually did a test hang of the paper in their factory (using different paste and hanging ONE strip on a FLAT wall – a far cry from the many strips I had to hang, around turns, fancy moldings, fur downs, window, etc., but still, they were responsive and did try), and sent a nice personal reply from someone at the facory who actually understands wallpaper and cares about customer satisfaction.

I’m going to rehang the room this Friday…I sure hope the new selection is much more cooperative!

NOTE:  I just redid the room yesterday, with another Thibaut paper, similar color and somewhat similar pattern… it went well, the homeowners are pleased – they say they like it more than the original selection.

You Gotta See the Whole Image

July 14, 2012

I hung this paper by Warner last week:
as an accent wall behind the headboard in a master bedroom.

It’s a beautiful paper, nice to work with, and looked stunning on the wall.

However, I called the homeowners in to look at the paper before I began to put it up… The design had a subtle stripe pattern that most likely was not visible on the small sample shown in the on-line image. Another drawback to buying on-line. I encourage clients to shop in a store, where they can thumb through actual books, feel the paper, see the true color, and look at photos of rooms papered with the various selections.

In this case, the subtle stripe gave the finished wall the appearance of sunlight and shadows playing across the room – it was stunning. The homeowner promised me a photo, and I hope to have it on my website soon.