Archive for March, 2016

A Light Update, Medieval Feel

March 8, 2016
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This bathroom started out with a rose-colored faux-finish paper. Very nice in its day (it was put up 12 years ago), but the homeowners were ready for an update. The new selection is also on a faux-finish background, but the coppery-brown colors are more neutral, and there is a scratchy, weathered-looking medallion pattern that adds interest, along with a bit of an old-world feel.

The homeowner chose the paper partly because it went with her existing shower curtain (tropical, not shown) and window valance (floral, shown). But once the first strips of the new wallpaper went up, it was evident that the old fabrics were not going to work. (I knew that all along, but just kept mum. 🙂 )

In fact, the homeowner agreed with me that the window looked better with no valance at all, just the shutters. Then she went digging through her linen closet and came up with a textured, cream-colored shower curtain that perfectly matched the color of the woodwork but had no distracting pattern; it looked great next to the brown metallic wallpaper.

The homeowner will keep her original mirror (sorry, no photo, but it is hand-painted and coordinates wonderfully with the wallpaper), and a very loved Medieval-themed painting of angels that looks fantastic hanging on the new wallpaper (sorry, no photo).

Modern Style of Baseboard

March 6, 2016

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You are looking at the bottom of a wall papered with a peacock pattern by Cole & Son, where it meets the baseboard, which is painted bright turquoise. The wall is designed to look like it is “floating” above the baseboard, and they achieve this by leaving a 1/4″ gap between them. You find this in homes going for a sleek, crisp, modern look.

This requires a slightly different trimming technique when I get to the bottom of the wall.

Bold Wall of Poppies in a Home Office

March 5, 2016
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Wow, this was a fun install today… Just look at the fabulous pattern and colors!

The young homeowners of this nicely updated bungalow in the Heights have an “industrial modern” décor, and this bold poppy pattern in army mud brown with bright fuchsia accents was the perfect choice to wake up one wall in the wife’s home office.

The homeowners ordered their paper before I measured, and at first I thought they didn’t have enough, because their 10′ high ceilings eat up a lot of paper. But the pattern repeat and drop match worked perfectly with the wall height, so I was able to get an extra strip out of each bolt of paper, leaving plenty of paper to complete the wall.

This pattern is called “Arizona” #W5801 by Osborn & Little, a British company, and was printed on the traditional pulp stock (rather than the non-woven material they are using more and more these days). It was nice to work with, but has no protective coating, so will not hold up to touching, washing – or painter’s tape.

The color of the paper works beautifully with the color of the door, but it was immediately evident that the blue-grey on the other three walls was “off,” so they’ll need to repaint with a complimentary color. I had to give them my lecture about not letting the painters put tape on the wallpaper – because when the tape is removed, it will take the inked layer right off the backing. Solution? Hire CAREFUL painters. 🙂

Signs of a Humid Room

March 4, 2016
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The Great Enemy of wallpaper is humidity. That is why some papers are not a good choice in some bathrooms. I particularly dislike solid-vinyl material on a paper backing, as they tend to absorb moisture and expand and curl and delaminate (vinyl detaches from the paper backing). You can see this happening in the top two photos.

The third photo is harder to see, but it is a shot of where I have removed the light fixture and you see the electrical box where the wires are connected inside the wall. Humidity has caused the screws on either side to rust and corrode. And the strap is completely rusted. (A strap is the metal bar that crosses the box and to which the light fixture is attached via a threaded nipple. In this picture, the screw on the right has been removed and the strap is the dark metal bar in a vertical position.)

What is intriguing is that humidity is present not just in the bathroom itself, which would be attributed to hot showers and poor ventilation, but also behind the wallpaper and inside the wall, sufficient enough to cause rusting inside the electrical box.

This is a 1930’s era home that was constructed with shiplap wood and lathe and plaster. It has been updated with modern air conditioning, but still has the original walls and wiring, and ventilation is probably not as adequate as it should be. There is no vent exhaust fan in this bathroom, either, so humidity from a hot shower would just hang out in the room until it dissipates over time.

Black Grasscloth on a Fireplace Wall

March 2, 2016
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Here is a medium-textured grasscloth in a predominately black color, that I put on an accent wall around a fireplace in a new home in the Medical Center District of Houston. In the last photo, you can really see the texture on this material. I was pleased that it did not have much of the paneling or shading issues (slight difference in color between or within strips) of other grasscloth brands.

This grasscloth is by Phillip Jeffries, which is a somewhat higher-end brand. In fact, the homeowners said they looked hard for a paper they liked, but kept coming back to this one, because it had a more refined look than less expensive brands.

So it looks good, but it wasn’t easy to hang, because it had a lot of “give” in the paper backing, which means that the backing expanded in an irregular manner, and fought the grass on the front, which resulted in wrinkles and warps and twists. I had to pull quite a few tricks out of my hat, to get the wall to be smooth and homogenous and have no overlaps or wrinkles. In the end, though, it turned out great.

This Phillip Jeffries grasscloth wallpaper 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.