Archive for December, 2012

Classic Circus Pattern in a Child’s Bathroom

December 30, 2012

Digital ImageDigital Image This is a classic pattern that has been in the book for decades; I had another client looking at it recently, in a different color. Dang but I can’t remember the manufacturer, but, if you want to know, I can get the info for you. Dorota at Southwestern Paint will know it immediately.

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Don’t Try This at Home

December 28, 2012

Digital ImageDigital ImageDigital ImageThis week I’m working in an old home in the Heights, which is being redone to be mostly historically correct (it’s in a Historic District, which has certain requirements, plus the owners want it to look authentic).

The master bath has a reproduction claw-foot tub with sculpted back, and it sits several inches away from the wall.  The walls are more than 12′ high.  All this makes it very difficult to get my ladder close enough to the walls to be able to do detailed work.

Here’s a little improvising… I noticed that the bottom of the tub was about the same height as my tool box, and that the tool box was about the same width as the legs of the ladder.  So I put one set of ladder legs in the tub and set the other on top of the tool box.  The tool box is sturdy enough to support the weight of both the ladder and me on it.

In the second photo, I’m trying to reach the top of the wall over the vanity.  The ladder is tall enough, but the vanity extends 20″ or so from the wall, and that’s too far to lean over safely, especially 10′ up in the air.  So you can see a 5-gallon bucket, stacked with a sturdy box.  I was able to put a foot on the box and balance myself well enough to reach where I needed to reach.

Both of these improvisations worked, but they  were far from OSHA-approved!

The next day, I brought my 8′ extension ladder, which is narrow enough to sit inside the tub.  The third photo shows a much safer way to get at that high wall!

In addition, I will bring another 5-gallon bucket, which will be more stable and sturdy than the cardboard box, and will support my weight better, plus be less rickety.

That takes care of the high reaches.  But it’s still quite a gymnastics match for me to squeeze behind the tub and be able to turn and maneuver and do what I need to do detailed work.

All of this jerry-rigging (Julie-rigging 🙂 ), repositioning, squeezing, etc. is adding quite a bit of time to the job, not to mention stress and worry and liability.  In addition, it’s really hard to do wallpaper with an extension ladder, because, since the ladder has to lean on the wall, it’s kinda hard to put wallpaper on that same wall!  It takes a lot of jimmying and jacking and moving around, to get just one strip up.

NEXT time, I’ll tell the homeowners that a tub like this must be removed before I will work in the room.  In this case, with the bathroom being totally remodeled, better planning would have had the wallpaper installed before the tub went in.

Aluminum Ladders and Legs

December 28, 2012

Digital ImageKinda hard to see, looking down at my right leg (which looks much better in person, I assure you), but can you see the blackish smudges running horizontally on my shin?

Those are due to leaning against my aluminum extension ladder. Aluminum will leave marks like this on your skin, your clothes, and even on the client’s paint or walls. My 5′ ladder and my 6′ ladder have both been KILZ’ed (sealed with primer), but I haven’t used the extension ladder enough to have treated it yet.

Digital ImageYou can bet it got KILZ’ed today!

The second photo shows how a towel can help protect the wall and woodwork from the ladder.

Quiet Damask Backdrop for a Bedroom Accent Wall

December 25, 2012

Digital Image

Digital Image This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut. It’s a soft murky blue on a tan background, and really adds a quiet air to this bedroom retreat.

The homeowner considered papering the entire room, and, really, with this calm pattern and color, it would have looked fine – mostly retreated into the background. But she chose to do an accent wall instead, a very popular option. Had the entire room been done, it would have taken perhaps 40 rolls, and I could have spent a week there. Doing one wall was much more economical, to be sure! And I think the visual impact is stronger, with pattern on only one wall, instead of all the way around.

Get the Right Color / Lighting

December 23, 2012

One of my clients, who is wallpapering a small powder room, fell in love with what we call the Thibaut Birds – a gorgeous pattern printed on the actual presses they used back in the 1800’s, and which people go nuts over, and which I have hung dozens of times in all colorways. Take a look: http://www.thibautdesign.com/collection/old_collection.php?productID=5982&patternID=1024

In the store, Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet just west of Kirby, aided by Dorota, my favorite wallpaper salesperson, the client loved one colorway. But she took the book home, so she could see it in the actual lighting of her powder room, just to be sure.

Good thing she did – in the light of the actual room, it was another colorway that looked best, and that’s what she ended up ordering.

Oversized, Stylized, Gold-on-White Floral in a Powder Room

December 22, 2012

Digital ImageDigital ImageDigital Image The wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut. It’s in a fairly large powder room, with really high ceilings with no crown molding. The pattern really gives an upward movement feel, and fills the space well. The design could be either modern or traditional; with the homeowner’s quiet accessories, it’s definately a tranquil, traditional look.

Wallpaper and Galleria Traffic -Arrrrgh!

December 21, 2012

I have a week-long job near the Galleria. Since I live near downtown, I am usually going opposite the flow of traffic, and usually have an easy trip home, even during rush hour. Not so when anywhere near the Galleria, especially not around Christmas time. (The Galleria is a huge, somewhat posh, shopping center in a rather trendy part of town, with lots of office buildings surrounding it.)

San Felipe is usually a “sleeper sneaker” street for me – quick, uncongested. It’s one block from my house, and one block from the client’s house – with a couple miles of TRAFFIC in between.

Twice this week, I was unfortunate enough to leave work at exactly 5:00 pm. I could’nt believe that it took 25 MINUTES to get from San Felipe and Bering to San Felipe and Loop 610, and another 10 MINUTES to get past the Target and the rail road tracks. Once past the tracks, things opened up pretty much, and traffic started moving again.

According to http://www.wildtexas.com/travel-calculator.php , it’s 3.5 miles, and 11 minutes. Factor in a little rush hour traffic, and you’ve got 3.5 miles and 45 minutes! Arrrrrgh! Good thing I’ve got my Satellite Radio to keep me company (and sane!).

Uncoated Papers Will Pick Up Spots

December 19, 2012

Digital Image See the little spots on this paper? I installed this paper a few years ago, in a young girl’s bathroom. No matter how careful you are, and especially in a bathroom, and especially with kids, SOMEthing is going to get on the wallpaper. Soap, hairspray, shampoo, toothpaste, not to mention all the stuff flying around in a kitchen!

I don’t like solid vinyl wallcoverings (tacky looking, prone to curling in humid rooms), but a light vinyl COATING will help protect the surface a bit. (These days you’re more likely to find acrylic coatings.)

The paper in the photo is a high-end screen print, and these manufacturers want their beautiful matt finish inks to show, so rarely seal the paper with a coating. Even if they did, certain materials are always going to stain paper, if they come in contact.

Shimmery Damask in a Formal Dining Room

December 18, 2012

Digital Image I hung this dining room wallpaper some years ago when the family first moved into the house. I was back today to do a repair in a bathroom, and the homeowner let me snap this shot. I loved seeing the room, because usually, when I leave, there is no furniture, no drapes, no artwork… It’s much prettier when it’s all finished!

Repair Before & After

December 17, 2012

Digital Image Digital Image I wallpapered this bathroom a few years ago, when the young family first moved into the home. I was called back to fix a spot where the daughter had pulled a towel ring off the wall. Gee – that seems to happen a lot, doesn’t it?!

The father is one of the few homeowners who can do a darned good job of patching the hole in the Sheetrock – I usually end up redoing something, but his patch was perfect. All I had to do was strip some of the old paper and splice in the replacement.

This is a classic pattern that has been in the book for decades; I had another client looking at it recently, in a different color. Dang but I can’t remember the manufacturer, but, if you want to know, I can get the info for you. Dorota at Southwestern Paint will know it immediately.