Archive for June, 2015

Don’t Try This at Home – And Please Don’t Call OSHA!

June 30, 2015
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Sometimes you have to get a little creative when your reach won’t reach.

The ceilings were 11′ high, I’m 5’3″ standing on the 5th step of a 6′ ladder – I just couldn’t reach that far corner over the vanity! A 5-gallon bucket on top of a Rubbermaid step stool, on top of non-slip shelf liner protecting the marble vanity top, with most of my weight on the ladder and just a toe hold on the bucket for balance, I was able to reach the top of the wall to trim the paper and smooth it into place.

Just please don’t call the man from OSHA! 🙂

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Happily All A-Twitter in a Powder Room

June 28, 2015
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Here’s a cheery pattern for a powder room! This wallpaper is by Schumacher, and is called “A Twitter.” This is the second home I’ve hung it in.

Typical of wrapping and shipping, there was a smudge near the top of one roll, from packaging. And typical of Schumacher these days, there were a number of specks of ink stuck into the paper. Most were small enough to be insignificant, but some caused me to throw away some yardage of paper.

The walls in this room were very crooked and bowed, and I had to pull some tricks out of my hat to keep the pattern looking matched and straight.

The interior designer for this job in River Oaks (Houston) is Elizabeth Mann of Hattaras Interiors. Please e-mail me if you would like her contact information.

Hangin’ On Island Time

June 27, 2015
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to minimize and obscure the mismatch .

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Today I was working in a new home in Pirate’s Cove on Galveston Island. Just look at that gorgeous view out the window!

Inside, in the powder room, though, the view was ho-hum (2nd photo). But just look at how a little wallpaper changed the room! There is color and life, a little beach flavor, and a lot of happy cheerful feeling when you walk into this room. Pretty much everything else in the entire house is white (walls, floors, appliances, furniture), so this dash of color is very welcome.

The walls in this room were <em>very</em> crooked and bowed, and I had to pull some tricks out of my hat to keep the pattern looking matched and straight, and to prevent wrinkles in the paper.  And some additional tricks were needed to minimize and obscure the mismatch in the final corner.   No photos, sorry, but it came out great.

The interior designer for this job is Sally Farley – e-mail me if you would like her contact info. The wallpaper is a British pulp paper by Osborn & Little, called “Coralie.”

Almost Like Aesop’s Fables

June 25, 2015
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This cute bunny rabbit pattern looks like something out of a fairy tale! It went in the bathroom of a 15-month old girl. It’s suited to her age, but it will still be appropriate as she grows. It’s neutral color keeps it from being too “girly,” which is good, as this bathroom is also used by two boys, as well as guests to the home.

This wallpaper is by the British company Peony & Sage. It is printed on the newish non-woven substrate and is a paste-the-wall product, also a newish concept. The interior designer on this job is Elizabeth Mann, based in Houston. If you’ve got young kids and want a beautiful home that works with a busy family, she’s your gal. Send me a “Comment” and I’ll put you in touch.

My Helper for the Day

June 24, 2015
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Awww – don’t you just want to give her a hug around the neck? When her family left the house to go shopping, this sweet girl felt lost, so she came and curled up on my drop cloths.

She wasn’t much help in putting up paper, but I did enjoy the company.

Silver Cork in a Galleria Area Dining Room w/Smart Solution for Rounded Outer Corner

June 22, 2015
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Textured wallpapers are setting the fashion trends these days! Here is a silver with gold cork wallpaper. I have hung it several times, but I think I like this setting the best, because there is plenty of room to stand back and see the full effect, and there is plenty of light to bounce off the metallic paper. In fact, the husband said, “I can’t wait ’til it gets dark,” because he wanted to see how the room looked under different lighting.

With their modern chandelier and the smoked glass topped table, it silver cork wallpaper makes a stunning backdrop.

In the room-set photo, you can see the paneling / shading effect, which means a difference in color between one strip and the next, or even within a strip. This is a typical and expected look, when using natural materials like cork.

The last photo shows a decorative corner molding the homeowner found at Home Depot, which he used to finish off the rounded edges of the walls in this room of the house. Please see previous post.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, #T-839-7047, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Another New Toy – A Laser Level

June 21, 2015
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This little gizmo, a laser level by Skil (third photo), shoots a perfectly vertical red line onto the wall. This helps so much to keep wallpaper patterns level and true-to-plumb, and is easier and more accurate than using a plumb line or a standard level.

In the top photo, you see the vertical line, and in the second picture, you see both vertical and horizontal lines.

What’s extra nice about this particular model is that it will work in small rooms, like powder rooms (I had it sitting on the top of the toilet tank today), and that it is self-leveling, meaning that it will automatically adjust itself to be accurately level and / or plumb.

A Pretty Paper for a Dining Room

June 20, 2015
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The young couple who own this meticulously-renovated bungalow in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston lived for a while in England. They developed a taste for Things British, including wallpaper. This is the second room I’ve done for them, both using traditional patterns made by British manufacturers.

This one is by Nina Campbell, for Osborn & Little. It is a “pulp paper,” a more traditional substrate, as opposed to the “non-woven” materials the company (and many others) is moving toward. I love the pulp papers.

Fudging the Match / Fooling the Eye

June 19, 2015
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Wallpaper patterns are designed to match, when one strip is hung next to another. Usually, there is no wiggle room, and each strip has to be hung in sequential order. But this particular pattern (called Chaiva Segrete, by Cole & Son, in their Fornasetti line), is free-form enough that it can be tweaked, when need be. I used this to my advantage in three corners of this guest bathroom.

You never wrap wallpaper around an inside corner. Instead, you wrap a fraction of an inch around the corner, then cut the paper vertically, and then overlap the “new” strip on top of the existing strip, in the corner. But if that “new” strip chances to be very narrow, there is a large possibility that it will hang crooked, causing problems like gapping and overlapping with each subsequent strip that has to hang next to it on that wall. But if you don’t butt the next strip up to this narrow, crooked strip, the pattern match will be off.

In another scenario, I wanted to avoid cutting against the shower’s tile grout, which can cause an irregular, un-straight cut (in addition to devouring my razor blades), so I wanted to hang a fresh strip butted against the tile and then work back to the previously-hung corner.

What to do?!

My solution was to create a new piece that looked like it matched, even if it didn’t. I found a place in the pattern that had only leaves, making sure that no motifs (the keys) would be cut up. I carefully cut around the leaf motifs, creating an irregular edge to the strip of wallpaper. (Photo 2) Then I hung the strip of wallpaper, allowing the irregular edge to wrap around the corner, overlapping the previous strip of wallpaper. Once it was smoothed into place, you would not see that this was not the intended pattern match. (Photo 3)

In another area (no photo), I used the same technique to bring a narrow 6″ strip along the side of a closet door up to meet (but not perfectly match) the wallpaper over the door.

With the right pattern, this trick works well. It saves paper, saves time, and eliminates gaps and overlaps.

In fact, in the last photo, in an entirely different corner, floor to ceiling, I have employed the same technique – and I’ll bet you cannot spot the area that is not the factory match!

Charcoal Phillip Jeffries Grasscloth in a Master Bedroom

June 18, 2015
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These days, I am papering so many accent walls, it was a refreshing change this week to put paper on all four walls of a master bedroom in a newly remodeled 1913 cottage in the Houston Heights. All the furniture and rugs in the room are white, and the bedside tables are smoky silver. The wallpaper is smoky charcoal in color, with a slight sheen to it – which the homeowner was not expecting. But when the paper went up, she really loved the satiny silky look, and it really set off the rest of the room. There is an immense crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and it is positively riveting when set against the dark shimmery wallpaper.

This grasscloth is by designer Phillip Jeffries, which is a fairly high-end brand. Yet, like most grasscloths, this natural material is subject to color variations, such as shading and paneling (see Photos 2 & 3). Because the uneven color is often more concentrated on the outer edges of the wallpaper, sometimes it’s helpful to trim off those edges (Photo 4). But, as you can see, there will virtually always still be color variations from one strip to the next.

Because the seams on grasscloth are so readily visible, I also like to trim the material to fit the wall (balancing). In other words, instead of hanging two strips that are 36″ wide and one that is 10″ wide, I will trim the strips to all be 27 3/8″ wide. That gives a more balanced look. This plotting and measuring and trimming takes a lot more time, but I think the uniform look of the finished wall is worth it.

On dark papers like this, and because grasscloth does not always meet together at the seams perfectly, I like to stripe paint of a matching color under the seams (Photo 5), to hide any gaps that might appear between the strips.

The interior designer on this job is Rachel Goetz.  I like her decorating style, as well as the ease of working with her, very much.  http://www.rachelgoetzinteriors.com/