Archive for September, 2014

Wallpaper Repair Today

September 14, 2014

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Digital ImageI hung this popular David Hicks hexagon pattern not quite a year ago. The other day, the homeowner e-mailed and told me their dog had chewed up a corner of the wallpaper. Boy, did he! … and he clawed a gouge in the Sheetrock, and ripped off another strip of paper in another room.

Once I got the wall damage repaired, the wallpaper was a fairly easy fix. I stripped off the lower 2′ of paper, making sure to cut around the zig-zaggy black geometric figures. I then cut a new piece of wallpaper to the right length, and trimmed the top around the design, so that the new piece would overlap the existing piece just along the “WWWW” in the design. This way, the overlap was only a 1/4″ wide horizontal zig-zag, instead of a vertical overlap along the entire length of the new piece.

Before applying the new piece, I used a black marker to color the thin top edge of the paper, along the black motifs, so the eye would not be caught by the white edge of the paper.

As you can see, it turned out pretty darned well!

This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British company, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

New T-Shirts!

September 13, 2014

Digital ImageWoo-Hoo! Dollar Tree had a rack of T-shirts hanging outside, so I dug through and found nine in my size. These plain T-shirts look a little nicer than ones that say “Joe’s Crab Shack.” 🙂 And, at $1 each, they’re cheap enough that if a spot of white primer gets on one (amazing how one spot on your clothes can make you look crummy), I can throw it away.

More Pics – Dormer Windows are Finished

September 12, 2014

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Digital ImageHere are more photos of this week’s project. It took me nine hours to get the three dormer windows papered. I don’t usually love the thick non-woven wallpapers, but on this job, the nearly indestructible quality of the paper and the paste-the-wall feature helped greatly.

Note that with a room like this with so many odd angles, there will be MANY mis-matched areas. I discussed this with the homeowner during our first meeting. I engineered carefully before starting, to put the mismatches in the least-visible spots, and to disguise the junctions where the pattern did not match. Really, this toile is the perfect pattern for this room, not only for it’s romantic feel, but because the busyness of it hides most of the mis-matches.

14′ High Walls, Vaulted Ceiling, 3 Dormer Windows

September 11, 2014

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Digital ImageThis job, in the 3rd floor attic bedroom of a townhouse in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, is definitely tricky, tedious, and bordering on dangerous – but I’m getting ‘er done! Photo #2 shows my View From Above. 🙂

Yesterday I papered the tallest walls, and today I tackled the vaulted ceiling (photo #1). This is a paste-the-wall product (instead of pasting the back of the wallpaper), and it means a lot of climbing up and down the ladder, but this process is a bit faster and has other advantages with this particular paper and room.

Because the ladder gets in the way, I can only work on an 18″ length of paper at a time. Then I have to climb down, readjust the ladder, climb back up and paste the next section of wall, and then smooth the next 18″ of paper against the wall. Repeat. Many times.

The paper is rolled backwards, to prevent the printed face from bopping against the pasted wall. I am using push pins to hold the strip in place, so it won’t peel away from the wall when I climb down to move the ladder. To keep it from unrolling, I used an alligator clip. He’s happy to help! 🙂

Unusual Toile Going Up

September 10, 2014

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WP_20140909_0021 (2)“Toile” is a French word for a pattern that usually is a sort of pen-and-ink drawing on a plain background, typically 1700’s ladies on swings being serenaded by handsome shepherds, while hunters shoot rabbits in the background. But toiles can depict other scenes, too, like shipyards, or even fairy tales or animals.  They are almost always a very sweet look.  This one is unusual because it looks more like a black & white photograph, than the typical line drawing.

Here I am, working a 14′ long strip around an outside corner in an attic bedroom with VERY unplumb walls. Luckily, the homeowner said, “I am not picky, and I know there will be mismatches and imperfect areas.” That is true… this room has devilishly high ceilings, calling for my 16′ extension ladder and a lot of careful balancing, unplumb walls that require losing a significant portion of the pattern in order to hang the paper plumb, and vaulted ceilings plus three dormer windows, all of which will cause multiple mis-matches around the room.

Oh, and let’s not forget the FIFTY ONE stairs that must be climbed to get from the street to the job site. Try doing THAT with a 50lb bucket of wallpaper paste! (I was lucky – the contractor and his helper were on-site this morning, and carried all my heavy stuff up the stairs for me.)  🙂

This job was originally scheduled for November, but I had another job postpone, due to delays in construction, so I was able to move this nice lady up.  Her home remodel has been dragging on for months, due to all sorts of unexpected and unexplainable delays.  The homeowner remarked, “Thanks so much.  You are the most dependable person on my job!”  🙂

This wallpaper is printed on what’s called “non-woven” stock, and is by Cole & Son, a British company, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby.  (713) 520-6262 or  Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.



Metal Mars Wallpaper

September 9, 2014

Digital ImageSee the black smudges and scratches on this wallpaper? They were caused by metal coming into contact with the paper. I’m not talking about rough-handling the paper – I’m talking about my straightedge, or my scissors, or even a razor blade, brushing across the surface of the wallpaper. It’s not uncommon for certain papers to be marred with a black mark when this happens. And it can happen down the road, too, if someone happens to brush against the paper with something metal – purse strap, zipper, or a piece of jewelry.

Luckily, usually, these marks can be removed by rubbing lightly with a damp rag. I have invested in a (expensive!) straightedge made of magnesium, and that metal will not leave marks on wallpaper. I also take extra care when working with material like this.

Words on the Label – Unpasted, Washable, Peelable

September 7, 2014

Digital ImageYou might read something on a wallpaper label and THINK you know what it means. But in many cases, you would be mistaken.

“Unpasted,” means just what it says, that you will have to apply the proper adhesive to the back of the paper before hanging. Some papers are pre-pasted, and only need to be wet to activate the paste before hanging.

But the next two words can be deceiving. Actually, “Washable,” is about the middle of the pack when it comes to cleaning wallpaper. “Wipeable” is for the MOST delicate papers, which are the LEAST cleanable. If you wipe it with a damp rag, you had better do it just once, because more than that might well damage the paper, by abrading, staining, etc. Not recommended for kitchens, bathrooms, or kids’ areas.

“Washable,” means that you can gently wipe the paper with a damp cloth (no cleaning agents). The stain may or may not come off.

“Scrubbable” is the term used for heavy-duty papers, generally thick vinyls, that can actually be scrubbed with a cloth or even a brush, depending on the type of material. But you still had better be gentle, and definitely never brush or wipe across a seam – always in the direction of the seam, not across it.

“Peelable” sounds like the paper will simply peel right off the wall when you want to redecorate. Actually, only the top vinyl layer will peel off, leaving a paper backing on the wall. Then you’ll have to spend more time and mess with water and a bucket and a sponge, to soak the backing until the paste softens and you can peel or scrape off the backing.

“Strippable” means that, when ready to redecorate, the whole strip of paper SHOULD peel easily away from the wall all in one piece. That doesn’t always happen, though, so you may still end up soaking some bits of backing to get them off the wall.

And papers will only “peel” or “strip” as suggested IF the wall was properly prepared before the paper went up, with an appropriate primer, and if the right amount of the right paste was used.

Candice Olson Jazzes Up a Home Office

September 6, 2014

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Digital ImageWoo-hoo! This is the third time I’ve hung this pattern, but the first time in this gold-on-black color. It looks fabulous! It went on one accent wall in the home office of a young realtor in Aliana (Richmond, Tx), who runs her business from the room, and also receives clients there.

This wallpaper will certainly make a statement to her clients!

The homeowner said, “Wallpaper is addictive. I’ll be having you back to do more rooms!”

This wallpaper pattern is by Candice Olson (of HGTV fame) for York Wallcoverings, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Great Minds Think Alike

September 5, 2014

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Digital ImageInterestingly enough, the day after I hung the wallpaper shown in my previous post, and also the top photo here, I saw in Better Homes & Gardens magazine a very similar paper used in a bedroom. (Click the bottom photo to see an enlarged version.)

Ceiling Line Doesn’t Even BEGIN to be Straight!

September 4, 2014

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Digital ImageLook at the bubble in the window in the level – this ceiling line is nowhere near horizontal, and it’s not straight, either (see second photo). With a geometric pattern like this, it is going to be very obvious that the pattern will go crooked and parts will get chopped off. Please do not expect to see all the blocks lined up neatly along the top of the wall!

I focused more on keeping the design vertically plumb, along doorways and window frames. In the third shot, you see how it turned out along that one section of ceiling. All in all, this is not really bad, overall, and the clients just loved it.

I hung this in a master bathroom in Hunters Creek Village, in Houston. This pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, #LA32805, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.