Archive for July, 2015

Beautiful Traditional Pattern in a West University Dining Room

July 18, 2015
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Wow, do I love this room! It’s all about classic and traditional. This is a dining room in a new home in West University Place (central Houston). During our first consultation, the homeowners showed me a wallpaper selection book with a pattern they were originally considering – a somewhat similar theme, but with medallions on a light background plopped rhythmically across the walls. I told them I thought it looked too “polka-dotty.”

They put some thought into my comment, and, when I came back to hang the paper, here is what they ended up choosing. MUCH better option! The tone-on-tone paper fills the space better, and more calmly, and the old-world feel looks fantastic in this fairly-formal-but-not-stuffy home.

This wallpaper pattern is by Designer Wallpaper, was positively delightful to work with, 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.

Do NOT Put Tape On The Wallpaper!

July 17, 2015
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Sometimes, after I’ve spent many hours wallpapering a room, the home owner will say, “We’re having the painters come tomorrow, to paint the trim and ceiling.”

And I know just what will happen. In order to protect the new wallpaper, and to help get a crisp line with their paint, the painters will put blue tape along the edge of the wallpaper.

Do NOT do this! Never!!

Folks! No matter what you have heard, no matter what the manufacturer says about how their tape will easily peel away from surfaces – IT IS NOT TRUE. At least, not with most wallpapers on the market today.

As you can see in this photo, when tape was removed, the top, inked layer of this wallpaper was pulled away from the backing, leaving a white void. And, no, the wallpaper installer canNOT “fix it.” Well – sometimes. But usually, even with damage to just small areas, often the paper is destroyed, and the only solution is to remove it and replace it – all of it.

Bottom line: If you are going to paint, or do other work in the room, do it beFORE the wallpaper goes up. And, if that’s not possible, at any rate, do NOT put tape on the wallpaper.

Old World Look for a West University Dining Room

July 16, 2015
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This new home in West University Place (Houston) has a lot of elegant features, like intricate moldings, oak hardwood floors, and crystal chandeliers. So this somewhat old-world looking wallpaper was the perfect choice for the dining room. (Top two photos)

The house is new, though, and has the rounded / bull-nosed corners and arches that have been popular for the last 10 years or so. These corners may look great, but they are the Devil to trim wallpaper against!

I have a few tricks that help get an accurate cut. One of them is the laser level, which you can see shooting a perfectly vertical line right a the edge of the rounded corner, so I know where to place my straightedge and do my trimming. Of course, you have to choose your corner – the one in the photo is true to plumb. But two other corner edges were off-plumb by a significant amount. The pattern was forgiving, though, and I was able to tweak it here an there, and keep everything looking perfectly straight and plumb.

This wallpaper is by Designer Wallpapers and was perfectly lovely to work with. The homeowners bought it 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.

Outsmarting Bull-Nosed Corners

July 15, 2015
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Bull-nosed corners and edges have been the standard in new homes for, well, maybe 10 years now. They sure make it hard when the wallpaper is to end at that rounded edge, because it’s hard to cut straight, mostly because you can’t see or feel what you are doing.

The couple buying this new home in West University Place (Houston) worried that the wallpaper would not look good turning around the bull-nosed edges in their windows, so they had the builder add this wooden trim inside the window return. It looks super, and it sure made my job easier, because I only had to wrap about 3/4 of an inch instead of 5 inches. I still had to do some minor piecing at the top corners, where the arched top met the vertical sides. (The bull-nosed edge of the Sheetrock is at the far right, in Photo 1.)

In Photo 2, I am using my laser level as guide for trimming around a doorway with rounded corners. This worked great on the left side of the doorway – but not on the right … because that side was way off-plumb. So I relied on my home-made trimming guide (see other posts) to get a straight cut.

Photo 3 shows the finished doorway.

Client Treated Me to Lunch – and Dessert, Too!

July 14, 2015
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Ymmm. Grilled cheese (made in one of those triangular sandwich press machines). I have already devoured the other one.   And two mini cupcakes. Rubs tummy. 🙂

Finely Textured Phillip Jefferies Grasscloth in a Dining Room

July 12, 2015
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Here is a light silvery tan-grey grasscloth with a fine texture, going up on all four walls in a dining room of a very nicely gutted-and-renovated home in River Oaks. It’s by Phillip Jeffries. The wallpaper is adding a sleek but serene look to the room – sort of like standing in a cloud.

For the most part, this paper is very homogenous in color, and the seams don’t show as much as with many natural products. There is some difference in color between the two strips on one wall (third photo), but this is pretty typical for grasscloth. You can also see a color difference in the strip over the window in the top photo. These color differences are called “paneling,” and are not a defect, but are considered part of the inherent natural beauty of the natural fibers and materials used to make these products.

The interior designer on this job is Elizabeth Mann elizabeth.e.mann@gmail.com

Why Bother to Smooth the Wall?

July 11, 2015
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The wallpaper in the top photo was hung by another installer. They hung the paper right over the slight “orange peel” texture of the wall. It doesn’t look horrible, but I definitely do not like seeing the bumps showing under the paper. In addition, when wallpaper does not have a smooth surface to hold on to, it does not adhere as well as it should. In fact, this paper did have some loose seams.

I hung the paper in the bottom photo, after spending several hours troweling on smoothing compound, sanding, vacuuming, wiping, and priming the wall. There are no unattractive bumps showing under my wallpaper. (The paper is freshly hung in this photo, so there are minor uneven areas from the wet paste.)

While I was finishing up, the homeowner came in and asked, “Is it necessary to smooth the wall before putting up the paper?” I said, “Well, just go look at that other room, and then come back and look at the wall I just did.”

Enough said.

Why Have a Spookily Dark Cave, When You Can Have Electrifying Candice Olson?!

July 10, 2015
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Painted with a dark brown semi-gloss paint, this powder room was broody and close. The look had served the homeowners well. But when it came time to update, they craved something with more life. The perfect choice is this geometric pattern in gold metallic / Mylar on black by Candice Olson – yes, that star of HGTV and magazines and more.

Accessories make the room. The interior designer had the ceiling painted a dark bronzy gold, which perfectly complimented the gold in the wallpaper. And he did a fabulous job when he found this light fixture with angles that mimic the wallpaper.

This wallpaper pattern is called Velocity, #DE8817, by York Wallcoverings. It was very nice to work with, remaining supple and workable with a long open time, and with seams that closed up nicely. (The tiny bumps you see will disappear as the wallpaper dries.) I hung it in a home in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The interior designer is Neal LeBouef of L Design Group, in Houston, Texas. http://www.ldesigngroup.com/bio.html I loved working with Neal. He is a delightful, upbeat person, his design sense is spot-on, he is a turn-key guy (meaning, he can handle every aspect, from choosing a paint color to having a sofa reupholstered to having a leaky faucet fixed, all while the home owner is at work and then comes home to find that “everything is done!”).

Think One’s A Knock-Off??

July 7, 2015

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I hung the pattern in the top photo, in July 2015. It is called “Liang,” and is by Thibaut Designs, a large and long-time manufacturer of fabrics and wallpaper.

I couldn’t help but notice the similarity to a pattern by another, smaller, manufacturer, Clarence House, called “Flowering Quince,” which I hung in July of 2014, just a year ago.

Knock-off? I’ll let you be the judge. 🙂

Gold On Black Botanical For Master Bedroom

July 7, 2015
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This dramatic gold-on-black botanical design will be a backdrop to the bed in a master suite in a new addition to a ’60’s era ranch style home in Timber Grove Manor in inside-the-Loop Houston. Because wallpaper often shrinks just a tad, I have striped black paint under the seams, to prevent white wall/primer from showing, just in case the paper does shrink. That is the jagged edges you see in some of the photos.

This wallpaper pattern is called “Liang.” It is by Thibaut Designs, 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.