Archive for November, 2016

Circles, Spots, and Dots

November 30, 2016
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These owners of a newish townhouse in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston wanted an accent wall covered with something to bring personality to their third floor TV room, without adding too much distracting color or pattern, and without overwhelming the large flat screen TV. After looking at maybe a zillion choices, they came back to one of their first loves, this fun ball design.

The builder had not textured the wall, so all the only prep that was needed was a primer. I centered the balls in the middle of the wall so they would look even around the TV set. I used plastic strips to keep paste off the ceiling and the walls that were not being papered.

This wallpaper I by Wallquest, and is in their Ecochic line. It is a thin paper (not a vinyl) and will hold up nicely.

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Wallpaper Repairs

November 26, 2016
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Some people get upset when there is a fair amount of wallpaper left over after the room is finished. This Clear Lake (Houston) couple felt the same, 15 years ago when I papered their kitchen and powder room. Well, come 2016, and the 40-year-old pipes in their ’70’s era home began to fail. Bottom line – they had to have the whole house completely re-piped. And to do that, the plumbers had to cut holes here and there in the drywall. When the drywall gets messed up, so does the wallpaper. Good thing they had extra wallpaper on hand!

The plumbers did a good job of patching the Sheetrock and then floating over the joints where the new patched-in drywall met the old. But there were still some areas that I needed to refloat and / or sand smooth, and then prime, before the wallpaper could be replaced.

The 2nd and 3rd photos show the soffit or fur down over the kitchen cabinets, first with the plumbers’ patch, and then with my new wallpaper repair.

The powder room had a swirly pattern, and had four walls that needed wallpaper repairs. In this room, as shown in the 5th photo, I appliquéd the new paper over the existing paper. Cutting along the design helps disguise the patch by eliminating visual breaks.

There is even a little paper still left over, in case another calamity strikes and more wallpaper repairs are needed. 🙂

Sweet Fairy Tale for a Baby Girl’s Bathroom

November 26, 2016
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This mother is crazy about her just-learning-to-walk daughter, and wanted to do something special for the little girl’s room, starting with the bathroom.

Originally, the mother was pretty sure she wanted pink and white stripes. On our initial consultation, I assured her that stripes are classic and safe. Then I encouraged her to explore more options – there is a whole world out there of wallpaper patterns suitable for children, from sweet little girls to raucous boys to patterns that will remain appropriate from toddlerhood through the teen years.

I am glad that she took my advice. And she is, too. In fact, she is positively thrilled with the soft color and sweet charm of this storybook wallpaper pattern. Look closely, and you will love it, too!

This wallpaper is in the Jane Churchill line, by Cowtan & Tout, a British company. The design features Winnie the Pooh and friends, and is called “One Hundred Acre Wood.” It comes in several colors, it is positively adorable, and, in fact, I have another client who is planning to use this same paper and colorway in a few weeks.

This wallpaper pattern is printed on what we call a British “pulp paper” stock, and will stay nice and tight to the wall, even under humid conditions. There is no vinyl coating, though, as with many American alternatives, so staining is a possablity. To prevent this, the homeowners must be careful not to touch the paper with their hands or splash water onto the paper while using the sink.

I hung this cute story book toile pattern in pink-on-white in a little girls’ bathroom in a newish home in River Oaks. This wallpaper is by Cowtan & Tout, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

Unusual Mounting Bracket for a Bathroom Mirror

November 24, 2016

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It’s best to take accessories off the wall before installing the wallpaper, so that the wallpaper can go behind them, and leave a smooth, uniform look. “Accessories” can mean anything from light switch plate covers to towel bars to light fixtures to artwork to, as in this case, mirrors.

This mirror (not shown) was supported by a bracket that held it a few inches away from the wall, and allowed it to swivel up and down. I had not seen one like this before, so it was interesting to me to figure out how it worked and how to get the mirror off the wall – and then back onto the wall, after the wallpaper was up.

This mirror was affixed with “female” mounting receptacles that fit over the “male” rods protruding from the bracket on the wall. Then there was a largish hex-shaped set screw that fit into the top and joined the rod and the receptacle together and held them tight – with the help of an allen wrench. Now the apparatus is ready to support a heavy, framed mirror.

Peel & Stick “Temporary” Wallpaper – Horrible Stuff

November 23, 2016

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Boy, oh boy, did I hate seeing this featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Interior designer and television star Genevieve Gorder has many fans, and so does BH&G magazine! When people read something in print, they tend to believe it. I hope that people do NOT read this article and make a mad dash to buy this new product… peel & stick, so-called “temporary” wallpaper.

In my experience, it’s horrible. You know how difficult it is to put Contact paper on a surface without getting wrinkles or bubbles. But Contact paper is only about 18″ wide, and only as long as your shelf. Imagine trying to manipulate that Contact paper in a wider strip, and one that reaches from floor to ceiling! And if you try to pull it up to reposition it or smooth out a wrinkle, it will pull the paint off the wall below, creating an uneven surface and leaving paint on the back of the paper, so you have areas that now will not stick to the wall.

And the claim of “temporary” is misleading, too. In my experience, the stuff bonds tightly to the wall, and gets tighter over time. Removing it is likely to cause damage to the paint and even the underlying drywall.

I won’t hang peel & stick, and many of my friends won’t, either.

When shopping, please do your research before making a final decision.

Dramatic Damask in a ’70’s- Influenced Powder Room

November 19, 2016

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I didn’t hang this wallpaper. But I did consult (via Internet) with the homeowners on various topics prior to the installation in this powder room.

They took my suggestions to not put that busy paper on the ceiling, and painted the ceiling gloss black instead. The door was likewise painted gloss black, and had a cool sentiment stenciled on it. They also took my suggestion to center the damask pattern on the sink / mirror, rather than on the wall facing you as you walk into the room. You can see in the 2nd photo how nice this looks.

The chandelier is a genuine 1970’s Lucite gem.

I spend way more time at night than I should, perhaps, replying to e-mails and answering questions from people who live in other cities and who are not going to hire me to do their wallpaper. But I enjoy helping people, and it really makes me feel good that these homeowners took the time to get back to me, months later, and let me know how the job turned out, and to include the photographs.

Birds! Pen-and-Ink and Watercolor

November 18, 2016
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Here is wallpaper pattern that is subtle, whimsical, and colorful all at the same time. It looks like a pen-and-ink drawing of trees, with birds filled in in watercolor. Positively beautiful!

I hung this on an accent wall in the dining room of a very nicely updated 1930 brick bungalow in the Norhill district of the Heights neighborhood of Houston. The paper was a non-woven material, and was a paste-the-wall installation process, and was nice to work with. The manufacturer is Holden.

Water-Colorful and Fun Flowers on a Bedroom Accent Wall

November 17, 2016
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It was hard getting a full-wall shot of this wallpaper install, because the wall was so darned tall – nearly 12 feet high! But you get the idea.

Originally, the wall was painted navy blue, like the other three walls in this master bedroom. The wall also had a flat-screen TV plastered in the middle of it. The husband, of course, loved the huge TV. But the wife persevered, and got him to agree to have this colorful and playful wallpaper cover the wall. Now, as to whether or not that TV will go back up on the wall remains to be seen ….

I smoothed the textured wall, which you can see on the right side of the first photo. The next day I hung the paper. The paper is by York, in the SureStrip line. It is a pre-pasted product, on a thin non-woven backing, and is designed to strip off the wall (relatively) easily when you want to redecorate. It is a lovely product to work with, clings tightly to the wall, seams are nearly invisible, and should hold up nicely for many years.

This is a 1955 home with mid-century modern flare, in the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston, and the clients were a busy family with school-age children.

Crazy Multiple-Drop Pattern Match

November 15, 2016

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Most wallpaper patterns have either a straight match (all key design elements appear at the top of the wall at the ceiling line, for instance) or a drop match (every other key design element is at the top of the wall at the ceiling).

This pattern by Walnut had what’s called a multiple drop match, which means that the design element moved up and down the wall several times, before appearing for a second time at the top of the wall at the ceiling.

Multiple drop matches are not very common, and the manufacturer generally does not mark the product as such so you don’t know what you are dealing with, they can eat up a lot of paper, they can be extremely difficult to figure out, and it’s questionable as to whether or not they look pleasing on the wall.

I needed five strips of paper, each 8′ long, to cover this accent wall. That’s 40′. I had only 45′ of paper, which does not leave much for trimming at the floor and ceiling, and for matching the pattern – which was a very long 36.” To make things even more tight, I thought this was a simple drop match, and had already cut two strips, before I realized that something was amiss.

This paper was 27″ wide. Most all patterns will repeat horizontally, with either a straight or a drop match, within that 27″ width. But this pattern took two 27″ widths to make up the design, so the pattern repeated horizontally at a width of 54″.

In addition to that, the pattern had a multiple drop, which meant that each 54″ wide design did not repeat horizontally at 54″ and show up at the top of the wall at the ceiling line, but instead started to drop down the wall by a small amount.

As the pattern played out across the wall, the yellow sea urchins moved down from the ceiling line by a few inches with each horizontal pattern repeat.

To complicate things more, the designer used the same sea urchin motif at several points across the pattern, but he used different backgrounds … Look closely at the sea cucumbers and coral and hanging berries that surround the sea urchins – At first glance, these appear the same, but actually are different. Which makes it very complicated to ferret out the proper pattern match.

Once I snapped to the odd multiple-drop pattern match, and, factoring in the limited amount of paper that we had, and the fact that I had already cut two strips of identical pattern match, I spent about an hour and a half measuring, marking, plotting, rolling out right side up, rolling out upside down, etc., before I actually cut any strips, because I wanted to be sure we had enough paper to cover the wall.

Wall? Yes, one wall. Whew! I am glad it was only one accent wall, because I would have been sorely taxed to have had to have dealt with this crazy multiple drop pattern match for an entire room! And it would have consumed a whole lot more paper, too.

So the multiple-drop pattern match designs are complex and time-consuming. But, once they are figured out and up on the wall, do they look good? In this case, and in the case of the last one I did recently ( https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/2016/10/08/crazy-wacky-mid-century-modern-look/ ), I have to say that I’m not crazy about them.

On one hand, the wide span of the design, and the disparate placement on the wall breaks up the rhythm of the pattern that can get repetitive and monotonous. But on the other hand, generally, the eye wants to see the same motif appearing at the top of the wall regularly. If the motif drops down instead, it can look either like the ceiling line is grossly un-level, or that the paperhanger has done a bad job of keeping the motif at the top of the wall.

Besides, these multiple-drop pattern matches are just too darned much work. And they use up / waste a lot more paper. I can’t remember having encountered this in the last 10 years – let’s hope it will be another 10 years before it pops up again! 🙂

Something’s Pretty Fishy

November 13, 2016
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What a fun wallpaper pattern! I hung this in a large powder room in a new home in the Woodland Heights neighborhood of Houston. It is the same house that got the other ocean-themed paper in my previous post.

“Nautilus” is made by a British company, Cole & Son. It is printed on a non-woven substrate, and is hung by pasting the wall, rather than the paper – what we call a dry hang process.

I had some very short strips over the tops of three doors, and this enabled me to creatively fudge the pattern match a little, so I could maneuver the paper so that the fish were nicely centered between door moldings on each of three large wall areas. This looks nice to the eye, and it also meant that no fishes got their heads cut off!