Archive for December, 2012

Metal Marks on Wallpaper

December 16, 2012

Digital ImageSee that little grey mark? That was most probably made by my stainless steel straight edge sliding across the paper. Even when you’re very careful, some papers will do this. But not to worry – in virtually all cases, the marks disappear when rubbed with a damp cloth.

I understand that titanium tools won’t do this.

Hmmm. I wonder what avenue a paperhanger should take?,,,, Buy readily available tools and keep prices low? Or invest in upper-end equipment and have to pass the cost on to the customers?

I’ll bet that when homeowners are considering the price a professional charges for wallpaper installation, they have no clue the dollar value of tools and materials in the back of that truck!

The trellis pattern in Schumacher #5005143

Surprise Treat from Clients Today

December 16, 2012

Digital ImageHere’s what’s left of the very tasty surprise lunch feast the homeowners treated us to today.

Today, I started a 3-room job in a old home in the historic Heights neighborhood (coincidentally right next door to a house I papered over the summer). The home and yard are being veeery nicely redone.

The homeowners are super nice, and today surprised us with a fajita lunch for all the workers – and we’re talking plumbers, A/C guys, painters, detail (clean-up) crew, me, and who ever else was running around there today.  We had pointsettias and a tiny Christmas tree on the table, I cranked up my satellite radio with holiday tunes, and we all sat down and broke bread together.

It sure makes you feel good to know the people you are working for care so much about their workers. And it makes you want to work extra hard for them.

Updated Damask on a Bedroom Accent Wall

December 14, 2012

Digital Image Digital Image Before and After: In the first photo, you can see the original chocolate brown wall color, which I thought was lovely, but the homeowners hated. Behind the bed to the left are sample paint swatches they tested on the wall – before agreeing that wallpaper was a much better solution!

It’s a Kenneth James pattern by Brewster, # 601-58443, a metalic silver on a murky muddy smokey blue, non-woven goods.

It’s a mix of traditional and contemporary, and the homeowners loved it. I’m trying to talk them into putting some kind of metalic paper inside their tray ceiling, to pull it all together.

Paper Shortage and Mis-Matched Run

December 14, 2012

Digital Image Digital ImagePeople! Please buy the amount of paper I tell you to – not what your Uncle Wilber comes up with by fiddling with his calculator and slide rule!!

When I first went to hang this bathroom, the homeowners had not purchased the right number of rolls. We still needed two 8′ strips and a 14″ piece for over the window. With 27″ wide goods, which is 27′ long, after discarding the damaged first couple of inches and then matching the pattern, that’s about what you get out of a double roll. So I told them to order two more rolls (a double roll).

When I went back today to finish the install, there waiting for me was a SINGLE ROLL. Exactly enough to give me one 8′ strip and about another 6′. NOT enough to do that wall! To make matters worse, the run number was different from what was used previously, so I could not use the left over paper, because that would leave a very noticeable color difference between the strips.

After considerable plotting, measuring, planning and testing, here’s what I ended up doing:

It was crucial that the most visible pieces to be all of the same run. There was a toilet against this wall, that could hopefully hide some of the mis-matched runs. I cut the short piece for over the window and the first 8′ strip from the roll, and put them up. Looked good.

After matching the pattern and discarding the banged-up-and-creased tail end of the roll, only about 6′ were left. This fell to slightly below the top of the toilet, and about 24″ from the floor. For this remaining 2′, I would have to use the left over paper from the other run.

I had two options for doing this. One was to splice the papers together with what we paperhangers call a “double cut.” This would leave a nice smooth surface. But, since the paper was thick, the seam would be likely to be noticeable. Your eye is forgiving of verticle seam lines in wallpaper, but not so much with horizontal lines. This particular paper (more of the “green” krapp that manufacturers are churning out right now) dries really quickly, and could cause delamination (tearing apart) of the paper when I tried to seperate the spliced layers of paper.

The other problem is that a straight cut would show the color difference where it cut through the blue areas. (Yes, I could have meticulously cut around the white lattice design, but that is really hard and time consuming, inacurate, and REALLY hard to do behind a toilet!

So instead I opted to overlap the paper. If cut the paper off straight across and overlapped, there would be a visible bump or ridge the full width of the strip, where there was a double thickness. To minimize this, instead of cutting straight across, I used a razor to cut around the white lattice design, on both the top and bottom pieces. Cutting around the white pattern also means that no blue background from one run would be meeting the other run, so the color difference would also be disguised.

The top photo shows the process in progress, and the bottom photo shows that, although there is still a double thickness and a color difference, from a distance, it’s not all that noticeable.

The pattern is Schumacher 5005143.

The Woods on the Stairs

December 13, 2012

Digital Image Digital Image I have hung this pattern before, in a bathroom. But I really like this homeowner’s idea of using it in 3-dimentional way, going up the stairs and onto the wall of the landing.

The trickiest part was getting all the trees on the risers to line up with those on the wall – not just the right trees under themselves, but the right part of each tree, so that it looked like one continuous strip of paper.

After plotting the pattern, I used a straight edge and the markings on an Olfa self-healing cutting mat to cut the tops and bottoms at right angles to the sides, on the short strips that would go on the stair risers.

The finished effect is just stunning. This is surely a look that NO one else has!

Pattern is “Woods” by Cole & Son

Upside Down

December 12, 2012

This was hung in the entry of a house some years back. Note that it is UPSIDE DOWN. My finger is pointing up; the pattern is pointing down.

A family lived with that for many years, and I’ll bet they never even noticed.

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Reconsidering Wallpaper – Video Clip

December 12, 2012

British Tub Paste – Live and In the Flesh!

December 10, 2012

Digital ImageDigital Image My Internet paperhanger buddies and I have had long discussions about the “tub paste” called for in the instructions that come with British papers. We have no clue what the stuff is, where to get it, or if there is a comparable product available here in the U.S., and we’ve had p-poor luck getting the manufacturers to answer our questions. It’s an important topic, because British papers are made of different materials from American / Canadian, and have been known to stain (look wet in some areas) with certain pastes. One Facebook post on this subject went on for over 300 comments!

Well, today I hung a British paper by Cole & Son and – guess what? The homeowner is British, and had read the manufacturer’s admonitions about using the correct paste, so she went to the trouble and expense to have the company’s own brand paste shipped over here.

It was quite exciting to finally have a bucket of “tub paste” in my hands, and to be able to share photos with my wallpaper buddies. I liked the paste. It worked nicely, spread easily and evenly, wiped off the ceiling and woodwork cleanly, and held well. I would have preferred a little more slip (the ability to slide the paper around on the wall), but that was minor.

The job turned out great. I’ll post pics soon.

Serene Reading Room

December 9, 2012

Digital ImageDigital ImageIn this room, just two opposite bottom walls were papered.  The original was a poorly-matched and improperly-prepped faux marble pattern.  A little outdated, peeling up, and ready to go.  I stripped the paper, then floated the walls smooth, primed, and hung the new paper.

This pattern has a very tiny dot / squiggle design to it, which was veeery hard to match, let alone see.  It wasn’t really noticeable at all if it was mis-matched, but I know a little trick to matching such a pattern… Instead of trying to find the actual match by laying one strip beside the next strip, on a Straight Across pattern, you know that every strip starts with the same design element.  So i just made sure that the same “dot” was at the top of each strip.  Yes, the near-microscopic dots were danged hard to see, but once your eye gets accustomed to seeing it, it can be found.  Besides, once I knew how to match it, it would have been nearly impossible to ignore that and take the short cut.

The other interesting thing about this job is that I “railroaded” the paper – ran each strip horizontally, instead of vertically.  You can do that with non-directional patterns, and it eliminates seams (less potential for visual distruption of the pattern, less chance of curling seams), and is faster.  So, two long strips per wall, instead of eight short strips.

The outcome is a serene sitting room.  The muted teal color goes really well with the wall color and the chair, and the theme works well with the clean-lined side table.


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Keeping Slpatters Off the Baseboards

December 8, 2012

Digital ImageDropcloths protect the floor, but baseboards stick out above the drop cloths. Here’s a little trick I use to keep my primer from getting little splatters on the baseboards – it works for tile and tubs, too…anything that sticks out from the wall but cannot be covered by a drop cloth.

I cut a bed sheet into long strips about 6″ wide, and use push-pins to hold them above and draping over the area to be protected. It’s much faster and cheaper than blue painter’s tape. Plastic won’t work, because the teensy drops of primer don’t stick to the plastic, and end up like dust all over the floor.