Archive for November, 2017

The Corner’s Crooked, The Pattern’s Gone Wonky – But There Is A Fix

November 21, 2017

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Walls aren’t always plumb, horizontal surfaces (ceilings, floors, countertops) aren’t always level, and wet wallpaper can twist out of shape. Look down the center of the top photo, and you’ll see how poorly the pattern matches in a corner that is off-plumb by more than half an inch from top to bottom. Notice the double-images in the upper part of the picture.

When hanging the strip to the right of the corner, I could have manipulated the paper so that the pattern matched perfectly. But that would have meant hanging the strip off-plumb – and that would have meant that every subsequent strip would be off-plumb. And that would have meant that the design motifs would begin tracking down the wall.

Meaning that, the red leaves I plotted to sit at the top of the wall would begin walking their way down, further and further from the ceiling line. The whole wall would have a lopsided and off-kilter look.

I chose to keep the red leaves in their assigned position at the top of the wall. The trade-off was the mis-matched pattern you see in the corner in the top photo.

But I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Let’s just say that some craft paint, a tiny artist’s brush, a sharp scissors and a few appliqués, time, patience, and a good pair of strong reading glasses did their magic.

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My Helper – Asleep On The Job

November 19, 2017

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Smoothing a Textured Wall

November 18, 2017

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A lot of homes in the Houston area have some type of texture on the walls. In the suburbs, the tract home builders are using a fairly heavy texture, intended to lend a ‘rustic” feel to the home.

But when the homeowners want wallpaper, the texture has to be smoothed over, so the bumps won’t show under the new wallpaper, and so the new wallpaper has a flat, sound surface to hold on to.

In the first photo you see the texture of the walls in a new home in Fulshear (far west Houston). In the second photo, I have applied an initial coat of joint compound (smoothing compound). Once it is dry (tomorrow), I will go back and sand it smooth.

The next two photos show how much dust is generated by the sanding process. The plastic did a good job of containing it and keeping it off the homeowners’ floor.

In the last photo, you see how smooth the finished surface was.

Then the walls were wiped with a damp sponge to remove dust. Next came a primer. Once the primer is good and dry, it will be time to hang the new wallpaper.

Grasscloth in a West Houston Study

November 17, 2017

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This couple wanted the textural look of grasscloth for their study, in a newish home near Cross Creek Ranch and Cinco Ranch, a bit southwest of Houston. The pattern they chose is a medium-fine grass in a pretty uniform color. With fine grass, you don’t notice as much the mis-match of the fibers at every seam.

The grass fibers have been sewn onto the front of the wallpaper. But the black backing is less homogenous, and exhibits variations in its color. These are the horizontal differences in color that you see in the pictures.

Some of these color variations spill onto the surface of the material, too. These can be especially evident as swathes of darker colored dye on the outer edges of the wallpaper. (See photo)

Overall, this product looks very good. People who like grasscloth love the texture of the natural material. And they like the “organic look” of visible seams, mis-matched pattern (there is no pattern to match!), and the color variations at the edges and within the strips.

I believe the manufacturer of this grasscloth is York.

Grasscloth Wallpaper on Un-Straight Outside Corner

November 16, 2017

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Outside corners are difficult, because they are virtually always off-plumb or un-straight. Thus, trying to wrap wallpaper around them can result in wrinkles within the strip, or an un-plumb or wavery edge, which is impossible for the next strip to butt up properly against.

Obtuse angles like this one are even more onerous for the framers. This outside corner ended up being quite irregular. I knew that it would be impossible to wrap stiff grasscloth around it without having gaps or wrinkles in the strip, and that the far edge of the new strip would be wavy and unsuited to butt another strip up against.

So I gave up the idea of trying to wrap the strip around the corner. I decided to end the first strip right at the edge of the obtuse angle. And then to start the next strip at the other side of this same angle / wall.

So I cut the width of my grasscloth strip an inch wider than the width of the wall. Then I hung the strip, then took a razor blade and trimmed off the excess the paper so the strip followed the contours of the outside of the obtuse angled corner.

For the next strip on the opposing side of the corner, I butted it up against a plumb line, which left an inch on the right side hanging over the obtuse angle corner. Then I used a new, sharp razor blade to trim off the excess, so that this strip, too, conformed to the undulations of the wall.

That’s what I’m doing in the first photo. It’s a lot more tricky than it looks, because you’ve got to cut so that the edges of the two strips butt together, without gaps or overlaps, or edges that got cut off too much, and without disturbing the lay of the grass fibers on the paper backing (meaning, without fraying the edges of the grasscloth or causing the fibers to run either up or down. (They should lie perfectly horizontal.)

The blue plastic tape is to keep paste off the surface of the other strip.

The finished corner is shown in the second photo. I think it turned out pretty nicely. And way better than having large wrinkles, or an edge that is too crooked to butt up against another strip of wallpaper.

I am hanging grasscloth in the home office / den / library of a new home in the Richmond / Fulshear area on the southwest side of Houston. The wallpaper is by York.

More Photos of the “Ladies Only” Bathroom

November 15, 2017


I love the way the mirror mimics the curves in the silhouettes.

The paper was purchased through Dorota Hartwig at (713) 520=6262.

Folks – Please Read EVERYTHING, Including the Fine Print

November 14, 2017

When people first contact me, I send them an “info pack” that explains the wallpaper process and how I work. It has a lot of helpful and important information.

One point is my time frame. I am usually booked up 2-3 months, so most likely I will not be able to help homeowners who want to have their wallpaper up quickly.

Another is that I don’t work on construction sites, but prefer to install the wallpaper after all the building is over and the other workmen are done and gone.

There’s a sentence advising people that I work in private residences only – no businesses or commercial settings.

I also don’t work in mid- or high-rise buildings, or many other multi-unit complexes like apartments or condos. Townhome compounds with shared driveways can be difficult, too. It has to do with multiple trips back and forth to the truck, and with hauling 50 pound buckets of paste along with bulky equipment like my 7′ long pasting table, and not blocking the neighbors access to their garages.

If people would read the information I send them, they can often discern early in the game if their situation is one that I am a good match for.

If You Buy Grasscloth, Expect To See The Seams

November 12, 2017

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Grasscloth is popular right now, but buyers must be aware that, because there is no pattern that can be matched, all the seams will be visible. In addition, color variations are to be expected.

The top photo shows a slight color difference between two strips. This is called shading or paneling. This is not a defect. It is considered “part of the inherent beauty of the natural material.”

The second photo shows a lighter colored line that often appears at the far edges of the grasscloth strips, due to irregularities in the dying process. This can often be minimized by trimming off the edges of the material. But sometimes the lighter area extends beyond the area that can be trimmed off. And if you trim off too much, you will have narrower strips, and may well run out of paper before you finish the room.

The bottom photo shows a seam where the lighter colored edges were successfully trimmed off, and a nice butted seam resulted.

Wallpaper Once Again In Better Homes & Gardens Magazine

November 11, 2017

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Quote from the magazine: “An oversize pattern makes a small room look larger, says designer Erin Hedrick. Though large, the leaf-shape motifs on this wallpaper (Lotus by Galbraith & Paul) don’t overwhelm because they let a lot of the cream background show through.”

It’s a cute pattern that works well in this powder room, and a number of my clients have chosen similar themes. I would have tried to center the leaves, though, so they would frame the mirror equally on either side, and also land smack in the center behind the faucet.

This is the October 2017 issue.

On-Line Article About Wallpaper

November 10, 2017

https://www.wellandgood.com/good-looks/tropical-jungle-wallpaper-for-your-home/