Archive for August, 2013

Flaw of the Day – Yellow Streak

August 29, 2013

Digital ImageHow the manufacturer managed to get yellow ink streaked down the surface of a black & white wallpaper I can’t imagine, but here it is.

This ruined a full 8′ drop – but… I was able to save the paper, keep it wet and pliable, and use it on a shorter wall.

Because this was printed on a non-woven substrate, it did not expand excessively during the 40 minutes it sat waiting for me to finish the wall I was working on. A traditional paper substrate might have stretched more, mismatching the pattern, or shrinking when it dried, leaving a small gap at the seam.

Hannah’s Treasures Is Following My Blog!

August 27, 2013

OMG, I just got a notice that “Hannah” is following my blog. Who is this? I clicked and learned … It’s Hannah of Hannah’s Treasurers! This is a FABULOUS company that hunts down and sells authentic wallpaper from “the old days” … the ’30’s through the ’70’s.

I’m totally into vintage, and, in fact, have some of Hannah’s paper here at home, ready to install … whenever I get some spare time. Read here:

It’s very exciting that she has found me, and is following my posts. I tried to see if she’s blogging, too, but came up with no blog – but lots of photos of beautiful authentically old wallpaper!

Piecing in to Save Wallpaper

August 26, 2013

Digital ImageDigital ImageDigital ImageIn the top photo, you see that I have stopped over the door, but gone down the side only a few inches. The 2″ strip of wallpaper needs to go down the 7′ length of the door frame, but I didn’t want to use a full 8′ strip, because that would have wasted a whole lot of paper.

So I found a long scrap left from trimming around another door, and pieced it in. This pattern is very forgiving, because you really can’t tell one flower from another, and you don’t notice that the pattern is mismatched. In fact, if I didn’t have a length 7′ long, I could have used several shorter pieces.

It’s just a matter of fooling the eye!

How the Heck Do You Remove this Light Fixture?!

August 25, 2013

Digital ImageWallpaper looks better and resists peeling when it goes behind towel bars, switch plates, and light fixtures. So I remove these things before starting a job.

I have never seen a light fixture attached this way until this year – and this year I’ve encountered two!

When a light fixture is attached to the wall by the nipple (threaded rod visible in the photo), usually you remove a cap on the front of the fixture and the thing comes down.

But on this one, the nipple is attached to the fixture. Turning the fixture would unscrew it from the rod, but you can’t turn a light fixture, first because it’s big and unwieldy and might hit the ceiling, and second because the wires in the electrical box would get all twisted up. I couldn’t undo the wires because they’re tucked back behind the bracket in the box. And I couldn’t remove the bracket because the light fixture blocks it so a screwdriver won’t fit in there.

I posted the picture to the Facebook page of the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers (NGPP) and got various answers. One guy said they make bent screwdrivers to get into tight areas like this.

Another said that undoing the bolts that hold the nipple in place could work. But how to get my fingers back behind there?

Another said that fixtures like this can be removed by one person, but are put up by two people.

Well, it was just lil’ ol’ me, I couldn’t figure it out, so I just left it in place and cut around it. Luckily the pattern was busy and forgiving. Looked great.

Oh, and THEN I could not find the screw that holds the decorative plate to the rod. Looked EVERYWHERE – and finally went out to the van and found it in the bottom of my Shop Vac

Coordinating / Companion Wallpapers

August 25, 2013

Digital ImageDigital ImageIn rooms that open to one another, I encourage the use of two different but coordinated patterns.

These are shots from the completed bathroom I hung this week (see my blog two days earlier). I love the way the homeowner used black & white bunnies in the potty, and a black & white floral toile in the main room.

In this case, the papers are not from the same book, nor even the same manufacturer. But the color differences are so slight that you cannot notice, since they are in adjoining rooms.

Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet just west of Kirby (713) 520-6262 helped her find these papers. The homeowner said, “Dorota is one of the key ingredients.”

This is Shocking!

August 23, 2013

Digital ImageThis is a timely post, because my NGPP buddies (National Guild of Professional Paperhangers) have been discussing on Facebook about dealing with dogs in clients homes. Where I’m hanging wallpaper this week, they have three pretty big dogs, and they can get rambunctious at times.

When I get to a job, I usually kick my shoes off at the door … it helps protect the client’s floor, and I work better in stocking feet. It’s just my way. 🙂

So this morning I was going out to the van to get more supplies, and my right foot started tingling. I thought I must have kinked up a muscle or nerve in there or something. But it kept tingling, and – dang it – it felt like an electrical shock. But that was pretty weird, because how the heck would you get a shock in your feet standing inside the front door of a nice home in West University Place?

I went to the van, got what I needed, and came back inside. There, at my feet, lay the answer to my tingly feet… This funny looking mat was on the floor just outside the home office. I looked closer and saw that it had wires running through it and was hooked up to a battery pack.  (Look closely … it’s clear and somewhat hard to see.)

It’s a mat designed to keep dogs out of rooms where you don’t want them to go. When stepped on, it delivers a tiny tingly shock. Not enough to hurt, but definitely enough to discourage a canine from going where he’s not supposed to.

Most people are not bothered by the mat, because most people wear shoes in the house. I, in my stocking feet, unwittingly stepped on the mat and got the shocking revelation.

Incidentally, the household pooches had learned to outsmart the zapper mat. I watched the spaniel deftly step on tiny spaces that were not electrified, and he walked right into that room as if it were his personal home office.

Delightful Bunny Wallpaper

August 23, 2013

Digital ImageDigital ImageDigital ImageDigital ImageThis adorable pattern is by York Wallcoverings, on their non-woven substrate, a pre-pasted wallpaper. #AT 4263

I hung it in the potty room of a newly-renovated master bathroom in West U.

The scale of the pattern, and the simple black-on-white colors work perfectly in this little commode room. You might not want so much pattern in a larger room, but in this setting, it’s just perfect.

The homeowner loved it.

The rest of the bathroom will be done tomorrow in a medium-scale black and white toile-like floral. I really like the idea of using two different but coordinating patterns in bathrooms like this. And I really like looking at these bunny rabbits!

Faux Grasscloth Goes Up Flawlessly

August 22, 2013

Digital ImageI love it when clients listen to me!

Whenever I have a client who expresses interest in grasscloth, I make sure to mention the paneling / shading potential in these natural materials, and show photographs. (Do a Search on my blog.)

And I listen for clues in their conversation or home… If the house is extremely tidy, or if they say things like, “I’m pretty particular,” or, “I’m an engineer,” then I know this household is not likely to accept the irregularities inherent in grasscloth. So that’s when I suggest a faux product.

After listening to my schpiel about uneven coloring in grasscloth, the young man I worked for yesterday (yes, an engineer!) acknoweledged that he would be unhappy with that look. So he took my advice and bought a faux grass product.

This is the same Thibaut pattern I hung earlier this summer, but in a different color. It goes up nicely, the color is uniform, and you never see a seam. In addition, it’s a heavy vinyl on a woven fabric backing, which is water resistant and practically indestructible.

Once the accent wall was finished, the man came in and kept saying over and over again how well it turned out, how much he loved it, and how glad he was that he chose the man-made vinyl faux over the natural material.

Owls on the Walls

August 20, 2013

Here’s a wallpaper one of my clients found on-line.

It’s a really cool pattern, and speaks of the direction that wallpaper has taken in just the last two years.

I got a kick out of looking at the props in the photos … ’70’s era transistor radio, Beatles LP album, console style record player.

Secondary Pattern in Wallpaper

August 19, 2013

Digital ImageDigital ImageYou might think this wallpaper is going crooked. But that’s an optical illusion… What you are seeing is what’s called a “secondary pattern.”

The main pattern in this paper is the elephants, zebras, and lions. But the secondary pattern is how these elements work on an overall scale… how they play across the entire wall.

In this case, the secondary pattern forms a strong diagonal line. This is emphasized by the fact that the elephant picture is darker than other pattern elements, and is also slanted in the same direction as the diagonal line.

This wallpaper is by Brewster, and is part of the National Geographic line.  I hung this in a new home in the Aliana development in far west Houston.