Archive for February, 2014

Flaw of the Day – Red Spots

February 28, 2014

Digital ImageI haven’t had any defects to complain about for quite some time (other than banged edges, due to improper packaging). But here you go, on today’s job, two red dots, both about the size of a dime. This ruined a full drop (wall length) of wallpaper.

This beautiful hydrangea patterns is by Thibaut Designs, #839–3905

Faux Beaded Board Looks Like the Real Thing

February 27, 2014

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Digital ImageThe homeowners’ interior designer told them that beaded board would look great in their laundry room. The husband, who has done some astonishingly detailed wood working in other rooms of the house, contemplated paneling this room, but decided the angles and nooks and crannies would be too complicated. So they found a wallpaper that mimics beaded board, and asked me to put it up.

The paper was pre-pasted and was nice to work with. But the room was a bugger, with a lot of odd spaces, difficult-to-reach areas, and very limited space, including a refrigerator that had to be rolled in and out of its alcove, about 20 times.

This paper was labeled a “problem wall solver” and indicated that, because it was textured, it would hide flaws in the wall. But I knew it would NOT hide much of anything, especially with the smooth surface of the fake paneling. The walls were textured, and those bumps would definitely show under the new paper.

So I skim-floated the walls to smooth them, primed, and hung the paper. The 10-roll room took me 13 hours! It turned out great, and the clients loved it.

The only thing I didn’t like about the paper is that it was damaged easily. A fingernail or something in your pocket if you leaned against it would create a dent. And because it’s so thick and puffy, it can be gouged or torn easily, with people walking in and out the back door of the home.

The paper is made to be painted, and this might increase it’s strength and resistance to “dings.” On the other hand, painting it will make it more difficult to remove in the future.

Graham & Brown makes a nice product, and it’s quite affordable. They have many other patterns of textured, paintable papers. Here is the link to their site, with this particular pattern. The pattern is #15274

Pink Damask Works in a Grey Kitchen

February 26, 2014

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Digital ImageThis pattern and color are a-typical for a kitchen, but they work quite well. The cabinetry was originally black, and the wallpaper was a thin-but-bold yellow, green, red, and white stripe. This new, toned-down combination is a welcome change.

This damask wallpaper pattern is by Farrow & Ball, a British manufacturer, who uses paint instead of ink or dyes on it’s paper. The home was in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

Oh, Man! Don’t Tell Me This!!

February 25, 2014

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Digital ImageThis wallpaper looked fantastic when I finished it just last week. (see previous photos) Somewhere in the last few days, someone ran long scratches along two opposite walls. There weren’t supposed to be any workers in the room after I finished, so it’s not likely that a tool accidentally scraped along the wall.

Maybe someone was being mean; maybe a child was playing and didn’t realize this was bad to do. Either way, it’s costing the contractor some bucks not in the original budget, to replace the paper, and to pay me to come back and strip the walls and rehang the paper.

Do Not Touch the Wallpaper!

February 23, 2014

Digital ImageMost wallpapers, especially uncoated brands like this British Nina Campbell pulp paper, can be easily stained by water, beauty or cleaning products, or even hands.

Since I won’t be there to keep an eye on the electricians when they install light sconces, I left a little note. I keep a supply in my tool box.

New wallpaper.
Do not touch it.
Do not lean on it.
Very fragile.
No water.
No Windex.
No tape.

Next time I print off a batch, I’m gonna remember to add “Gracias.” 🙂

Clever Way to Close a Gap

February 22, 2014

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Digital ImageHanging wallpaper around windows is tricky. You can put a strip above a window, and then put a strip of the exact same width under the same window, but when you hang the next strip, which will go from the ceiling to the floor, butting up with the two previous strips, you often discover that, no matter how meticulously plumb you kept the paper, or how much you twisted and maneuvered it, there is either an overlap or a gap.

In this case, there was a 3/16″ gap. The wallpaper was on a non-woven substrate backing, which is not very flexible or malleable, so I was not able to work it into place. Instead, I chose to trim a fresh piece and patch it in.

With this busy snake-skin pattern, you never even notice!

This thick, textured faux snake skin wallpaper is by Rasch, a German company. Pattern #42350.

Butterflies in a Girl’s Bedroom

February 21, 2014

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Digital ImageThis wallpaper – a riot of color and fluttery wings – really popped on an accent wall in a 12-year-old girl’s bedroom, in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

Bright on Black Enlivens a Hallway

February 21, 2014

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Digital ImageHere’s a wild pop of color and pattern in the upstairs hallway of a 1940’s home in Garden Oaks. The homeowner worried that the wallpaper might be too dark – but her instinct was right … The bright colors, the iridescent stems and leaves, and the abundant white woodwork and doors keep this space from feeling dark or closed in.

Note: My PHOTOGRAPHS are dark – the ROOM is not.

Spilt Paste

February 20, 2014

Digital ImageI’ve been grumbling that the lids on the Shur-Stik brand of wallpaper paste don’t snap on easily, so I usually have to leave mine sitting loosely on top. Yesterday, an idiot driver stopped suddenly for no reason, causing me to slam on the brakes. Everything in the back tumped over – tools, buckets.

When I opened the door (in my client’s driveway), this sight greeted me. It took about 30 minutes to clean up, thanks to my client letting me use his garden hose, and it ruined about half of a $50 bucket of paste, not to mention the dried paste trashing my carpet and the water and paste residue caught in that large crevice under the floor of the van.

Stablizing a Crumbly Wall

February 19, 2014

My Facebook paperhanger buddies recently had a discussion about crumbling sub-surfaces.

Today I removed a British “pulp” paper from a ’40’s home, and beneath it was latex paint over semi-gloss oil. The latex started flaking off, and it was going to result in a very unstable surface.

So I left the wallpaper in place to hold the crumbly wall together, and used a product called Gardz, which soaks in and seals the wall nicely. Then I skim floated (likda like a layer of plaster) over that – no bubbling at all. If I had not sealed the wall, bubbles almost always develop.

The Gardz also seals torn Sheetrock, and no bubbles when floated. It also nicely sealed the places where the two layers of paint were exposed and flaking off, and helped hold it all together.

Tomorrow I sand the wall smooth, and will seal again with Gardz, to be sure the new paper does not wet the mud or paint beneath. That will provide a good surface for the new wallpaper.

Last week, and again today, I was irked that Sherwin-Williams did not have the primer I usually use, so I had to go to Southwestern Paint a few blocks away and buy Gardz for another job. Because I had it in the van today and needed it, that ended up being a blessing in disguise.