Archive for April, 2017

Wonderful Trim to Finish a Bull-Nosed Corner

April 29, 2017

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Rounded / bull-nosed corners have been popular in new construction for about 10 years. But they are Hell for wallpaper hangers, because it’s very hard to cut a straight line along them, plus having wallpaper end on a rounded corner like this invites peeling up.

Here is a piece of inexpensive wooden trim that a client found at Home Depot and applied to the rounded edge. It really gives a nice, finished look. And it gives a good, secure place for the wallpaper to land against.

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Grasscloth Wallpaper in an Entry in West Houston

April 28, 2017

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This nubby-textured grasscloth really warmed up the space in this entry in an early ’60’s home in the Briar Park neighborhood of west Houston. The floor was Saltillo tile (rustic Mexican look), and furniture in adjoining rooms was in the “weathered chic” style. The natural color and rough texture of this grasscloth on the upper portion of the entry walls really pulls the look together.

The first photo shows a close-up of the texture and color. The next photo shows two strips and a seam slightly to the right of the middle of the photo (crummy dark picture, as usual 😦 ). I was very pleased that this paper did not have much of the shading and paneling (color variations) that are inherent to most grasscloth products.

HOWEVER – There really were many color variations in this product. But I had had the homeowners buy enough paper to do the room, plus one extra double roll bolt. This extra bolt provided enough paper that I could cut around the worst of the color variances, so that the paper that went up on the walls was fairly uniform in color.

The third photo shows some of these color variations. Those are not wrinkles in the paper – what you are seeing are three different colors, or shades of colors, running across the paper in wide stripes. Had I hung strips like this, it would have resulted in noticeable (and, to me, eye-jarring) horizontal stripes of different colors in the paper.

In addition to these color differences, some of the strips had areas that were riddled with dark threads and knots. A few of these here and there are O.K. But when one strips has very few dark knots, and the one next to it has 30 of them, it is disturbing to the eye.

Luckily, we had enough paper that I could cut around and discard much of the discolored paper.

The finished room looked better and more homogeneous in color than I had expected it to.

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at below retail 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.

Wallpaper Chinoiserie in a Powder Room – China Seas

April 27, 2017

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The powder room in this 20-year old home in the Houston Heights was originally painted a deep avocado green. It was beautiful but claustrophobic, and the new homeowners wanted an updated change. This two-toned Chinoiserie in grey and white is lighter and brighter, has an uplifting feel, trends modern yet is timeless (Chinoiseries never go out of style), and visually expands the room.

This was a difficult room to wallpaper. Due to its location under the stairs, it has a sloping ceiling. There is a window smack in the middle of the focal wall, there was a wall-mounted mirror and a wall-mounted cabinet, there were four points of intricate molding to cut around, there were obtuse wall angles (more tricky than right angles), the width of the wallpaper strips didn’t correlate to the dimensions of the walls, door, or window, and there were numerous areas where the paper had to go from floor to ceiling, instead of the traditional ceiling to floor – all to name a few challenges in this room.

The wallpaper rolls had shards of shavings left on its edges, which I scrubbed off with a toothbrush, and then used a sanding block to really clean the edges of each strip. Still, there were rough edges so that not all the seams fit together quite as nicely as usual.

Instead of being set in the ceiling, the exhaust fan was set in the wall. This directed it straight outside which is nice, but it left the ugly vent cover smack in the middle of the wall. To disguise this, I covered the appliance with wallpaper. This took about an hour, and presented challenges in itself. See other post (do a Search) for more info.

This wallpaper pattern is called “China Seas,” by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at below retail 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.

No Toilet? No Problem!

April 25, 2017

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The night before I arrived to hang wallpaper in this powder room, the handy husband removed the toilet tank. This gave me a whole lot more room to work, and made it a whole lot easier to put the wallpaper on that wall. It also ensured that the paper stuck nice and tight to the wall (which can’t always be done if the installer can’t get his hand back behind a toilet tank).

This geometric Moroccan lantern wallpaper pattern is by Brewster, in the A-Street Prints line, and was bought at below retail 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.

For the Love of Dogs

April 23, 2017

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The two large dogs who live in this home in the Woodland Heights (Houston) have their own room (which is also the home’s mudroom). They may have fancy digs, but the décor was bland. See top photo.

A little wallpaper changed all that. This “Trot” pattern by Stroheim is fresh and cute, but not in a cloying way – while it’s fun, it’s actually pretty sophisticated for a rear entry. The Stone color goes amazingly well with the paint on the wainscoting and other trim in the room.

The interior designer is also the homeowner – Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design, here in Houston. She works a lot in the Heights neighborhoods, and works on a lot of whole-house remodels, and new builds.

Grasscloth Wallpaper in a TV Room / Sunroom

April 22, 2017

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I hung a woven grasscloth in this TV room / sunroom in an older home in the Rice Village area of Houston when the homeowners first bought the house – back in 1992 ! The wallpaper was still in great condition – except for where shower pan in the upstairs bathroom had leaked, causing damage to the wallpaper below. The paper had suffered fading from the abundant sunlight in the room, too. Time for a change.

The homeowners considered other types of paper and patterns, but came back to the natural, earthy, textured look of grasscloth. Their new choice is more relaxed than the previous woven one, and has more color – although it’s all in the neutral / brown / tan scope.

I was pleased that there was minimal shading / paneling (color variations between strips) (see 3rd photo). The material has a lovely texture (last photo), and was reasonably easy to trim and position.

There was no brand name on the product label, but it was bought at below retail 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.

Grasscloth Wallpaper Fading Over Time

April 21, 2017

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I hung the woven grasscloth on the left about 20 (maybe more) years ago. About two years ago, the home had some water damage, and I used left over grasscloth to repaper the section around the air duct.

This is a sun room, and receives a lot of light. You can see how the color has changed over time, by comparing the paper that has been exposed to bright sunlight to the paper that was in storage for 20 years. Grasscloth is a natural product, and so has little resistance to fading.

Wallpaper Primers

April 20, 2017

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There are lots of “wallpaper hangers” out there who slap paper up on the wall without a thought to prep. To do the job right, and to help ensure that the paper will stay on the wall for years to come, one of the basic steps is to apply a good primer.

There are different primers that will work under wallpaper. Here are a few that I use, depending on what the situation is in the room.

Roman’s Ultra Prime Pro 977 is a white-pigmented wallpaper-specific product, and it is my primer of choice.

But when I have skim-floated walls to smooth them, the new surface needs to be sealed, and Gardz is a wonderful product for that. It also seals and binds torn drywall. And it is also a good primer for wallpaper.

KILZ Original (oil-based) is called in when there are stains (water, rust, smoke, grease, etc.) or other problems that might bleed through the new wallpaper. For decades, KILZ was my go-to primer for wallpaper, too. But in recent years, to keep up with regulations from the EPA, the formula has changed. This primer may be more compatible with the environment, but the chemical make-up has changed, and wallpaper paste no longer wants to stick to it. So it’s used to seal stains, and then another wallpaper primer is applied on top of it.

What’s It Like to Wallpaper Behind a Washing Machine?

April 19, 2017

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Originally, this laundry room had the White Wall Woes – too much of nothing. Once the wallpaper went up, the room took on warmth and a cheery personality. The homeowner, an interior designer, loved the way the pattern made the low ceilings look higher. And the color perfectly melds with the color of the woodwork.

What’s it like to hang wallpaper in a laundry room when the washer & dryer are still in the room? Well, you do a lot of reaching, squeezing, and contorting. Luckily for me, I’m small.

Because my ladder would not fit behind the appliances, I had to stand on the W & D (being careful to distribute my weight to the frame, not the center). This worked out because the ceiling was low enough that I could reach the top of the wall by standing on the W & D.

That took care of the top of the strips of wallpaper. To smooth them into place along the lower portion of the wall, I had to squeeze myself into that narrow space you see in the third photo, and work around all those hoses and wires.

This is a very nicely remodeled bungalow in the Woodland Heights (Houston), with a 2-story addition on the back. This room was in the new section, and it had about the most plumb walls and level floors / ceilings I have worked with – all important when dealing with strong straight lines such as these picture frames.

Nonetheless, I did have to pull a few tricks out of my hat, to keep the pattern looking straight around the whole room and against all the moldings.

This wallpaper is by Sanderson, a British company, and is called “Picture Gallery.” It is on a non-woven substrate and is intended to be a paste-the-wall product, but in this room with complicated cuts and narrow spaces, it was preferable to paste the material.

The interior designer (and home owner) is Stacie Cokinos, of Cokinos Design. All of the jobs I have done for her have been remodels or new builds in the greater Heights area of Houston.

Interestingly enough, I’ve had a number of queries and jobs about wallpaper in laundry rooms. It must be a new trend. I think this newish non-woven material will work well in a humid room, whereas the paper-backed solid vinyls that were popular for decades are a poor choice, due to moisture getting into the seams and causing curling.

And you just have to love the idea of doing mundane housework in a cherry, pretty setting!

Fixing a “Hot Mess”

April 18, 2017

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The homeowners of this house in Fleetwood (west Houston) tried to remove the wallpaper from their powder room on their own. They did a reasonably good job at the start, but soon realized that they were in over their heads.

In the top photo, they have removed the top layer of wallpaper from the wall on the left. The problem came when trying to take off the white backing layer. Their efforts resulted in torn drywall (second photo). Torn drywall is very bad, because it will leave uneven areas under the new wallpaper / paint. Worse, it will bubble when the moisture from the wallpaper paste or latex paint touches it, and that will leave bubbles under the new wallpaper / paint.

These homeowners were smart enough to stop before more damage was done, and called in the pros (me).

I finished stripping off the old wallpaper, using methods that caused less damage to the drywall. There was one patch of original wallpaper, a foil-type that dated back to the build date of 1976, that would not come off without a lot of damage to the wall. I left that section on the wall.

Once all the paper was off that would come off, I sealed the torn drywall and other unstable surface areas with Gardz, a penetrating sealer. Once that was dry, I skim-floated the entire room with “mud,” (joint compound). When that was dry, I sanded the surface smooth. Then I vacuumed up the dust, then wiped any residual dust off the walls with a damp sponge.

Lastly, I rolled on another coat of the penetrating sealer Gardz. It will dry hard and tight, preventing the torn drywall from bubbling, and holding all the loose or unstable areas together. It is also a good primer for wallpaper, so tomorrow the walls will be prepped and ready for their new décor! See last photo.