Archive for July, 2016

Balancing Act on a TV Wall

July 31, 2016
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Here is a fireplace / TV wall in a great room in a newish home in the Galleria area of Houston. (The flat screen TV has been removed, leaving the bracket, which I have wrapped in plastic to protect it from dust and paste.) Yesterday I smoothed the walls; today I am ready to hang the paper, this beautiful silvery metallic damask by Graham & Brown.

This wall presents an interesting challenge, because it is divided into three distinct areas – the recessed center area where the TV hangs, and the two flanking full-height areas. The main damask figure is large and prominent, and I wanted it to be a focal point on the walls. But, depending on where I started, some of it would get cut off, in particular at either side of the full-height walls.

If I centered the pattern in the TV alcove, then by the time it wrapped its way around the alcove walls and onto the two side walls, it would be off-center, and some part of it would be cut in half when it reached the far wall.

But if I centered it on one of the full-height walls, by the time it wound its way into and around the TV alcove, and then around and onto the next full-height wall, the pattern would be all off kilter.

What I wanted to do was to center the pattern on EACH of those three walls. But that would be impossible… Unless – I treated each wall as an independent wall, and not worry about matching the pattern from wall to alcove to wall. I liked this idea, and it was the perfect wall to do it with, because the inner corner of the TV alcove is pretty hidden, and you really wouldn’t notice a pattern mis-match way back in there.

So, I got the go-ahead from the homeowner to mis-match the pattern in those two corners, and then went to work plotting the layout.

Treating each wall separately, I rejected my first idea, which was to center the damask pattern down the middle of each full-height wall, because it would mean cutting the design off at about 1/3 on the far side of each wall. This also would have left me with a narrow strip of paper wrapping around the bull-nosed rounded corner on the outside of the TV alcove, which would be prone to warping and gapping and not adhering well.

Instead, by placing it where I did (see photos), I was able to get four of the motifs horizontally on the wall, with only a negligible amount cut off on the far side. It also gave me a nice-sized strip to wrap around into the inner sides of the TV alcove, which would give a good edge for the next strip to butt up against.

I treated the back wall of the TV alcove as a separate wall, not trying to match the pattern to the design that was on the wrapped walls of the alcove. By centering the motif, I was able to get three full horizontal repeats of the design, with nothing cut off at the right or left side.

From a distance, the overall look is quite pleasing. And you definitely do not notice that the pattern does not match inside those deep corners inside the TV alcove. Once the TV is back in place and the football game is on, no one will ever think twice about any wallpaper pattern mis-match.

The homeowner said she is really in to symmetry and balance, and she did notice how I had plotted all this out, and it pleased her, and she appreciated the time and effort.

This wallpaper is by Graham & Brown, has a metallic sheen, and was a paper rather than the non-woven stock they print on a lot these days. This paper was nice to work with. It was bought on-line.

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Soft and Dreamy

July 30, 2016
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The homeowner loves the traditional Carrera marble in her hall powder room. The marble tile creeps 1/3 of the way up the wall, and the floor has an old-fashioned hexagonal pattern made of grey and darker grey marble tiles. She saw this wallpaper pattern about two years ago and fell in love with it.

Next, she found some antiqued-brass light sconces in a formal design, that she wanted to use in the powder room.

But the previous homeowners had installed a sleek-lined dark wood vanity with a contemporary trough sink with chrome waterfall faucet. She worried that these various disparate elements might not look good in the same bathroom.

Well, here you have proof that mixing periods and metals and feels can totally work.

The grey tones in the wallpaper are beautiful against the marble, and they blend well with the chrome faucet. The straight lines of the sink meld nicely with the squares of marble on the walls.

The wall sconces fit right in, and the black shades add just enough spark to punch up the room.

This wallpaper is by House of Hackney, and was printed on the traditional pulp substrate that many British companies are known for.

Luscious Lips

July 29, 2016
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This homeowner is not afraid of color, as you can see in the top photo, where the bedroom was originally painted deep purple. (In this photo, I have started the process to smooth out the textured wall, and have started applying the plaster-like smoothing compound.)

She found this wild, shiny, lip-swathed pattern, and knew that it was “her!”

The walls had to be smooth, because any bumps or imperfections would be telegraphed through the shiny Mylar surface of the paper. The small bumps, and also the few bubbles you see under the paper will disappear as the paste dries.

But some irregularities in the wall cannot be compensated for, such as the slight curl where the wall meets the crown molding (probably due to painter’s caulk rounding out the joint), and that’s why you see a different sheen just below the crown molding. These show up much more in the photos than they do on the actual wall in the room setting.

The wallpaper was tricky to work with, because any paste, or even water, on the surface would go into the slightly textured surface of the paper, and leave a mark that could not be wiped off (wiping made it worse). And the shiny surface would not withstand creases or folds.

So careful pasting and booking, clean dry hands, and a gentle touch were mandated.

This paper is by York Wallcoverings, and I hung it on an accent wall in a master bedroom in a newish home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston.

From Dark and Traditional to Bright and Contemporary

July 28, 2016
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Here is a dramatic change! This master bathroom in a River Oaks (Houston) home was originally papered with the classic Empire Star (I’m betting the manufacturer was Osborn & Little, a higher-end British company). It was beautiful.

But it didn’t suit the new homeowners’ taste.

At first, I thought their new selection was too “mod” for the traditional bones of their home. But once it started going up, boy, was it clear that this was a wonderful choice!

The paper has just a bit of sparkle and shimmer, but is understated and serves well as a backdrop for the couple’s nautical-themed artwork. More important, it is light in color, and it reflects light, so it really brightens up the whole room. The pictures include shots of the outer sink room, and the toilet cubbyhole room.

The wallpaper is by DecorLine, and is a paste-the-wall non-woven product, and was purchased from Sherwin-Williams.

Someone Had Fun Putting This Paper Up!

July 27, 2016
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I stripped this wallpaper off a powder room in River Oaks (Houston) today. It wasn’t the new homeowners’ taste, and I can pretty well understand why they wanted it gone, but, as a paperhanger, I had to admire the planning and plotting and math and workmanship that went into laying this out and putting it up.

Someone cut all those strips to the appropriate widths, perfectly centered both the striped and the toile patterns, and precisely mitered the corners. Some of the paper was overlayed and some was inlaid (double cut).

It was expertly hung and took a lot of patience and planning and precision. It was a treat for me to see this!

More Wallpaper in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

July 26, 2016
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I love it when home / shelter magazines show wallpaper in their decorating features! Once readers see how beautiful wallpaper is, and how it can enliven a space and give personality and warmth to a space, they are sure to want wallpaper for their own homes.

The first photo shows “Daydream” by Hygge & West. Do a Search on my blog (upper right corner), and you will see that I have hung this popular pattern many times, in several colors.

The second photos shows “Feather” by Serena & Lily, a company that makes wonderful wallpaper. The next pattern is theirs, too, and possibly the last one, too.

Three of these are colorful and playful, while “Feather” makes a quiet, warm backdrop to a more sophisticated living space.

Another Classic Pattern in a Traditional Style Home

July 24, 2016
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In my previous post, I put a classic damask pattern in a powder room. Right outside the powder room is a side entry vestibule, and this “diluted damask” pattern was hung on one wall in that entry.

In this pattern, which is similar to a damask, the design is thinner and more spread out. The background also has silvery tones, and the paper compliments the paper in the powder room very nicely.

This wallpaper is in the Sure-Strip line by York Wallcoverings, and is a thin non-woven material, and is prepasted. It was very nice to work with, and is one of my favorite brands.

Classic Damask With an Updated Look

July 23, 2016
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These homeowners have built what I call a “Hansel & Gretel house” in the Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston – lots of stone and wood on the outside, peaked rooflines, reminiscent of the fairy tale, and dark stained woodwork inside, with arched windows and vaulted / domed ceilings. For the under-the-stairs powder room, they chose wallpaper that was in keeping with the feel of the style of the home.

This damask pattern is very classic. But it has been updated with a bit of sass from silvery inks. Sorry that the metallic finish and the beauty of the paper don’t show up well on my photos.

I took care to center the damask pattern on the wall behind the mirror / sink, which you can see a little in the third photo (sink has not been installed yet, so you are looking at the plumbing).

This was a non-woven substrate, and a paste-the-wall product. Anderson Prints are through the Printers Guild, a division of Seabrook Wallcoverings.

“Etched Arcadia” Mural in a Powder Room

July 22, 2016
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This young family lives near Rice University (Houston), on South Boulevard, a street revered for its huge Live Oak trees that meet and canopy over the street. The homeowner wanted her traditional style home to carry on the look of this historic neighborhood. She had a vision of bringing the beloved trees into her home, while maintaining the old-world feel.

She could not have found a better choice than this mural. It combines the feel of aged trees with the look of centuries-old etchings. Because it’s a mural, the pattern plays out as one large picture, with no repeating elements.

I have done murals like this on single walls, but this is the first time I’ve put one on all four walls of a room. I have to say, the homeowner had a great eye, and the finished room is stunning.

The first photo shows how many murals come; in panels. This one was packaged as one large bolt, and I had to cut the 8 panels apart, then lay them out and line them up to be sure the pattern matched and that the sequence was correct.

The mural was 9′ high by 12′ wide (pretty standard dimensions), and the room was wider than 12′, so two murals were needed. Originally, I thought that the right side of one mural would match up with the left side of the other mural, so that the two murals could be joined seamlessly – but that was not the case.

In addition, the homeowner favored the trees more than the sky, so, since the walls were 7 1/2′ high, I opted to move the pattern up, to cut off more sky but reveal more trees. A vanity that rose 32″ off the floor further complicated the pattern placement.

Without going into mathematical or geometrical details, I spent a lot – a LOT – of time plotting the room’s layout, so that we would see more trees and less sky, and to avoid a mis-matched seam where the two murals met, and to disguise the one mis-matched corner that could not be avoided.

The pattern was forgiving, the paper was lovely to work with, and the finished room looks fantastic. This was one of my favorite projects this year.

In addition, the homeowner didn’t like the A/C vent and the exhaust fan leaving big white blobs in the middle of the wall. So I covered these with scraps of wallpaper, too. This is more tricky than it sounds, because wallpaper doesn’t like to stick to plastic or metal (too slick), and especially not metal with air blowing past it, possibly carrying along condensation / humidity. So special adhesives are called for, and you have to have a back-up plan, in case the paper detaches over time.

Also, because murals don’t have repeating pattern motifs, there were no scraps of paper that I could use to cover these objects with a matching pattern. So I found scraps that had reasonably similar designs.

In the end, I could not get the paper to conform to all of the many curves on the exhaust fan cover, so I opted to leave the outer area as-is, and just covered the inner, flat area with paper. This doesn’t totally disguise the white cover, but it sure does minimize it.

This mural is by Sure-Strip, a York brand that I love working with, and is on a thin, non-woven material, which should – “should” – strip off the wall easily when it’s time to redecorate.

More Shots of the Faux Grasscloth Bathroom

July 21, 2016
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Yesterday, I primed all the walls, and hung the potty room of this large, contemporary master bathroom in the Rice University area. Today I did the main (sink & tub) room, and here are pics.

The wallpaper performed beautifully, and I hope to encourage other homeowners to use this material.