Archive for June, 2013

From Childhood to Sophistication

June 20, 2013

Digital ImageDigital ImageDigital ImageSome years back, I had papered this girl’s bathroom in the blue circles you see at left.  Now she’s older and wants something more adult.

The circle paper was in perfect condition, and it stripped off quite nicely, BTW, and left the walls in perfect shape, thanks to my use of a good primer.   I didn’t even need to reprime!

I was a little surprised when the 15-year-old picked out this rather plain herringbone / tweed pattern in a muted grey.  Most teens want something wild and colorful.  But this gal wanted something calmer, and she has quite a sense of style.  There will be a huge round mirror with a wide wooden frame in a dark grey color over the sink.  That will really “make the room,” as they say.

Once the adjoining bedroom is painted in a complementary grey, and new curtains and bedding arrive, the bedroom suite will have a soothing feel, and be quite sophisticated.

The wallpaper is by Designers Wallpaper.

Repair on a Faux Finish Wallpaper

June 18, 2013

Digital ImagePainters got oil-based paint on this solid vinyl wallpaper. (Photo #1)  The homeowner tried several methods, but was unable to get it all off. Initially, she wanted me to remove two full-length strips and replace them. I balked at this, because 1.) It would use every scrap of paper she had left, leaving none for future repairs. 2.) There was a chance of a color difference between the paper Digital Imagethat had been on the wall, exposed to light for several years and the paper kept on the roll in a closet. 3.) It’s hard to strip paper without doing damage to an adjoining sheet you want to keep on the wall. 4.) It’s hard to put a new wet strip of paper next to an existing dry strip and have them work together as well as if they had been hung at the same time.

Digital ImageSo instead I did a patch.

This solid vinyl paper is fairly thick, and a patch on top would be raised up a little bit. To minimize this, I removed the thick paper backing, by soaking the paper in water and then pulling the backing away from the vinyl surface. I used a plastic dish “scrubbie” to get the final bits of paper off the back. This leDigital Imageft a nice, thin sheet of colored vinyl paper.

There was no pattern to match, which made the task much easier. I cut a piece large enough to cover the stain, rounding the edges to minimize the chances of any edges that might want to pull up.  (Photo #2)

Then the patch was pasted with vinyl-to-vinyl paste.  (Photo #3)This special adhesive is important because regular paste won’t stick to the slick vinyl papers. Then the patch was put in place, smoothed, and excess paste was wiped off.

Voilà! You absolutely cannot see the patch!  (Photo #4)

On another area with lesser staining (not pictured), I was able to use paints and a black Sharpie to disguise the flaws.

Trimming a Smidge on Faux Rock Wallpaper

June 18, 2013

Digital ImageThis single strip of paper hung from an outside corner on the left (not visible) to the inside corner on the right, next to the door molding. This paper is made to look like tiny pebbles, and is about 1/8″ thick and somewhat spongy, and has bits of real mica in it. I could line the edge of the paper up with the left corner of the wall, but wanted to avoid having to trim it at the inside corner on the right, because such a thick material sometimes pushes so far from the wall that when you trim it, you end up with a tiny gap between the paper and the wall. That’s hard to explain, but let’s just say that that’s why carpet layers put shoe-molding on top of the carpet at the baseboards, to cover the gap.

So I carefully measured the width of the wall from top to bottom, and precisely cut the strip of paper to that width. I tested the dry piece against the wall, and it fit perfectly.

Then I pasted the strip and took it to the wall. It did not fit! The strip was too wide! The moisture from the paste had caused it to expand. This surprised me, because most of these new materials are put on “non-woven” backings, which generally do not absorb moisture or stretch.

But this one did, so I ended up having to trim in the inside corner anyway. To keep paste from the paper from getting on the wall, I put a strip of blue painter’s tape along the edge, from floor to ceiling. Next, I used a stiff 3″ putty knife to push the material tightly into the corner, taking care not to smash the paper or flake off any of the pebbles.  Then I used a sharp razor blade to trim off the 1/8″ excess.

Once the tape was removed and the paper pressed into place, the corner was neat and tight.

Watch Your Step!

June 16, 2013

Digital ImageA little surprise was discovered when the tile floor in this circa 1925 powder room was pulled up. While hanging the wallpaper, I just had to be a little more mindful of where I placed my feet and my ladder’s feet.

Easy to Move Around this Powder Room – For a Change!

June 16, 2013

Digital ImageUsually, I’m squirming and contorting to squeeze into a little powder room, and fit wallpaper around the pedestal sink and behind the toilet.

I was lucky today, because the contractors had left the sink and toilet out of the room, as well as having removed the switch plate covers and towel bar / toilet paper holder.

Made it much simpler and quicker, and it also meant I got a better seam and better adhesion on the sink and toilet walls.

Now let’s just hope he doesn’t bang up the paper when he puts all the fixtures back!

Cat Claws Demolish Cushy Wallpaper

June 15, 2013

Digital ImageDigital ImageI hung this thick, textured vinyl paper about 15 years ago, in a master bathroom. It is still in perfect shape. Except, that is, for the lower 3′ of wall, where the family cat had a ball clawing away at the spongy material.

Instead of repapering the entire room, the homeowners chose a complimentary paper to put on the bottom 1/3 of the walls, and will add a painted wooden chair rail molding to separate them.

The second photo is the old paper being stripped off the bottom of the wall. Peel off the top vinyl layer, soak the remaining paper backing with water until the old paste softens, then scrape it gently off the wall.

This is all facilitated because I always prime the walls first. You can see that the primer is in perfect shape, too, and has protected the wall beneath it.

Patch on a Patterned Wallpaper

June 14, 2013

Digital ImageI hung this wallpaper in a powder room a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, no one told me that the existing grab-bar was going to be replaced. As you can see in the first photo, the new grab-bar has a different span from the original one, leaving the original foot print and screw holes visible. These were too large to put a simple patch over, so the whole area had to be removed and replaced. In that first photo, you are looking at the edge of a wall, about 5″ wide, Digital Imagewith another wall to the left and Digital Imageanother wall with a mirror to the right, and the mounting bracket for the grab-bar.

I cut around some of the vines in the pattern and removed the paper inside that cut. You can see my white primer underneath. The circles of black paper that were under the brackets of the original grab-bar were primed white, too, to keep them from showing through the new, light colored paper.

Then I took a fresh piece of paper and cut around the same elements of the design, but this time cut on the outside of the vines. The idea was to have the vines from the patch overlap the vines on the wall. There is always a bump when you have an overlap, and cutting along a strong feature of the pattern reduces the chance of being able to see that bump or ridge. And, in Digital Imagemost cases, I like overlapping better than splicing, because it gives a good, tight bond, prevents gapping, and eliminates the possibility of scoring the surface beneath, which could split and pull away from the wall. And cutting along the design disguises the patch much better than simply cutting in an unprinted area of the paper.

Then it was a matter of pasting the new piece, using the same paste and techniques as I had when I hung the paper a few weeks ago, to ensure that the patch stretched and expanded the same as the paper it was being applied onto.

In the third photo, you see how the paper is being lined up. I liked how it wrapped around the corner, because this was a little more stable and less visible than simply replacing the piece on the narrow face of the wall.

The paper was smoothed into place, excess paste wiped off, and – Voilà! No one would ever know it’s a patch!

Patterned Wallpaper on the Ceiling – Not My Fave

June 13, 2013

Digital ImageOne of my clients is deliberating whether or not to run her wallpaper up onto the ceiling. Most of the time, I discourage this. Although lots of interior designers just love this look, I think it crunches the ceiling down and makes the room feel closed in.

It CAN work, though, sometimes. I’d recommend a pattern different from the pattern on the walls, and as plain as possible. In this photo, for example, if the pattern had just the tiny leaves, and in a lighter color, it would not be so overwhelming on the ceiling.

I Hate Backorders!

June 12, 2013

I’m pretty well booked with work for several weeks. Then why am I sitting home both today and tomorrow? Because of delivery snafus! And mis-ordered paper. And un-ordered paper. And paper not delivered on time. Arrgh!

Backorders are pretty common right now, but they can be dealt with. IF both I and the customer know enough in advance that we can rearrange the work date.

But delivery snags are another matter. When a job is scheduled for Tuesday, and the paper is supposed to arrive on Monday – but doesn’t – then the job has to be rescheduled. All this becomes a last-minute shuffle, causing a domino effect when other clients’ work dates have to be switched around to try to fit everyone in as soon as possible, without being moved to the back of the waiting line.

This week, I was able to rearrange some jobs, but not all of them, so will be off for a couple of days. Hmmm. A good chance to finally get to those 2012 Income Taxes!

Paste Wrinkles Wallpaper

June 11, 2013

Digital ImageSometimes in this job, you have to learn to be patient, and to trust. Once in a while, the wallpaper substrate, the inks used, and other factors, cause the paste to be absorbed differently on different parts of the paper. This can cause wrinkles and buckles, as you see in the photo.  We call this quilting or waffling.

This is one reason why the booking period is crucial. “Booking” means folding the paper up, with the pasted side to the pasted side, and then letting it sit for a few minutes. This allows the paper to absorb the paste, expand with the moisture, shrink a little, and become supple.

Lightly dampening the front helps, too, by allowing the surface ink to absorb moisture at the same time the backing is doing the same thing.

Usually, wrinkles like this are gone by the time the strip gets to the wall. Occasionally, they persist. But, paticence pays off… Almost always, once the paper is good and dry, the wrinkles and bubbles disappear.