Archive for January, 2018

Lively Watercolor-y Koi Pond For A Flooded Powder Room

January 12, 2018


What a fun paper! I have a koi pond, so that makes me doubly crazy about this pattern!

I hung this lively pattern in a large powder room in a home in the Memorial area of Houston that had been flooded by Hurricane Harvey. It’s four months after the storm, and this is the first person whom I have seen who has had repairs finished and who has been able to move back into her home. (See the darker drywall at the bottom of the wall, in the top photo? That’s the new Greenrock that replaced the drywall that got damaged by water.)

The rest of the house is very traditional, with a lot of antiques. So going with bright color and a fanciful fish pattern was a bit of a leap. But you can get away with a lot of drama in a powder room, because you don’t spend a lot of time in there. And the homeowner was ready for something uplifting.

This pattern is by York, in their SureStrip line. I love both the manufacturer and this line of papers. It is a thin and pliable non-woven material, turns corners nicely, and will hug the wall tightly. It is nice to work with, and does not shrink when it dries, so no gaps at the seams. It is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate.

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Soft Pink and – Wild Green Banana Leaves for a Baby Girl

January 11, 2018

Here’s something different for a baby girl’s nursery. The mother wanted a “Beverly Hilton Hotel” look – this hotel features the iconic “Martinique” banana leaf wallpaper. It is fabulous, but it’s quite expensive, and it’s difficult to install, too. Do a search here to read my experience with it.

I was able to direct this mom-to-be to my favorite source for buying wallpaper (read below), and she helped her find something at a more reasonable price, that is better looking, too, and definitely is holding to the wall better.

The rest of the room – walls, ceiling, woodwork, are painted a very pale pink. There’s just enough pink in the wallpaper to coordinate it with the rest of the room and pull everything together.

This went on one accent wall in a baby’s room in Clear Lake. The paper is in the Sure Strip line by York, one of my favorite brands. I did have a little trouble this time with seams wanting to curl back, but only where the dark ink crossed the seam. This tends to be because the inks absorb moisture from the paste differently from the paper substrate, and they fight each other. I stayed a little late to be sure the seams were setting securely as the paper dried.

This wallpaper pattern 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.

Upward Movement Geometric in a Briarpark Entry Way

January 10, 2018


This beautifully updated 1971 Tudor-style ranch-style home in the Briarpark area of Houston was pretty much white and grey, from outside throughout the inside. The homeowner wanted some warmth and life, and some personality for the interior.

This scratchy black on white pattern does all of that. It is a combination of geometric, trellis, and medallion, and it has a strong vertical influence, too.

Notice how the design motif has been centered on the two walls pictured.

This wallpaper is from A Street Prints, by Brewster. It is a non-woven material and is intended to be a paste-the-wall installation. But I had better results by pasting-the-paper. The paper 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.

This Innocent Box Detained in Customs

January 9, 2018


This wallpaper manufacturer specifies a certain paste for its non-woven wallpaper, and to be sure you use the right paste, it includes a box of powdered paste with each order.

The problem was coming across the Canadian border. Their customs and security guys’ X-ray scanner detected a “mysterious” powdery material. Telling them that it was potato starch-based, dry powdered wallpaper paste didn’t assuage their fears.

They held the whole package – paste, wallpaper, everything – up in customs for several days, while they researched “suspicious” terms – like potato starch.

OK, I’m not complaining. It’s good that we have eyes watching out for our security. It’s also a good reminder why to order your paper as soon as possible, in case of delivery delays.

Banged Edges – Makes Wallpaper Unusable

January 8, 2018



Shame on the UPS / FedEx guy for hurling this carton of wallpaper from one end of the truck down to the ground. (“allegedly” 🙂 ) However it happened, the ends of three of the five bolts of wallpaper were banged up, dented, and damaged.

Often, with paper, these damaged edges will flatten out on the wall once the paste is dried. But this “Woods” pattern by Cole & Son is printed on a thick, spongy non-woven material. It will not flatten out like a paper will. These dents and dings are likely to show on the wall. That’s a dent and a ding every 6″ or so, all the way down the wall – a full 9 1/2 feet.

In this case, a full 10′ strip from each bolt was unusable. The homeowner could have reordered more paper, but that would have caused a delay in getting the room done, a domino-effect with scheduling other contractors, more labor costs, more paper and shipping costs, etc.

I did a lot of plotting and measuring and calculating. In the end, I had to pull a lot of tricks out of my hat, but I was be able to finish the room without any banged edges in any visible areas.

Cole & Son “Woods” in Bellaire Powder Room

January 7, 2018


This family’s home in Bellaire had been damaged by flooding during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017. Four months later, much of the home has been fixed, but the house is still not livable yet and there is still much work to be done. The mom and dad are both at the point where they want just one room done, one room that is pretty, and a little normalcy back in their lives.

I, personally, think they are rushing things a bit (because I like wallpaper to be the very last element done in a home), but the wife assured me she would make sure that other contractors (painters, floor guys, plumbers, electricians, etc., would not damage the wallpaper.

The mom originally planned to have the powder room painted. She was at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet to look at paint samples, and happened to glimpse a sample of this wallpaper pattern. “Woods” by Cole & Son is a popular pattern (I have hung it many times – do a search for previous posts), and it pulled her in immediately.

The powder room is large, and “Woods” was a wonderful choice for it. It fills the wall space nicely, and adds a lot of upward movement. It also adds an element of contemporary style, which the homeowner wanted to add to her previously-traditional styled home.

This wallpaper pattern is by Cole & Son, a British company. It is a non-woven material and uses a paste-the-wall install technique (rather than paste-the-paper). 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.

Metal Mars Surfaces – Prevention

January 6, 2018


In the top photo, I am using an allen wrench to remove the tiny set screw that is holding a toilet paper holder to its mounting bracket. Turning the screw causes the wrench to rub against the wall, and the metal is leaving a dark mark on the wallpaper primer. You wouldn’t want this to happen once the new wallpaper is up!

To prevent this, you could put a piece of scrap paper in between the wrench and the new paper. Or you can make tiny, 1/4 turns, so that the large end of the wrench does not come in contact with the wall.

Or, better, use a smaller wrench with a narrower profile. These are usually included in the box when you buy fixtures like this. As you can see in the second photo, there is plenty of clearance, and no damage to the new wallpaper.

Stitched Damask in a West U. Powder Room

January 5, 2018


The color looks like it’s glowing. A beautiful choice for this 3-room powder room in West University. When you get close, the pattern looks like it is stitched embroidery. It makes a once all-white room now feel snug and friendly.

This wallpaper is by Brewster, in their A-Street prints line. #FD24145 It is a non-woven material, and was meant to be paste-the-wall. But I found that paste-the-paper worked better. (I mean, how ya gonna get paste on the wall behind a toilet?! Pasting the paper also makes it more pliable.)

The paper 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.

Etched Forest Mural in a Baby Girl’s Room

January 4, 2018

Wallpaper - Mural - Etched Forest Close Up


No pink dollies for this baby girl (still a few months away!). This foresty mural is far more interesting. The “etched” appearance of the design brings to mind an old-world lithograph, and adds depth to the image. The green and gold colors are muted, and coordinate with the mom’s planned color scheme of grey, taupe, and dusty rose.

The first photo shows laying the mural out on the floor, to be sure the panels match, and to be sure they are in the right sequence. This also allows me to check dimensions of the mural against those of the wall, and to plot placement of the design.

This mural is from Europe. It came in 8 panels, and was custom-sized to fit the wall. It was a non-woven material, and was installed via the paste-the-wall method. This particular material was stiff and felt even brittle. I wasn’t thrilled working with it, but once it was up on the wall, it will be fine.

I hung this in a baby girl’s nursery in a home in West University (Houston). The manufacturer is Rebel Walls.

Two Runs? Three Runs? Either One Is A Bad Deal

January 1, 2018


The client bought her paper on-line, before I saw the job and measured the space. Like most homeowners, she ordered too little paper. I told her to get another double roll.

The new roll was a different run number. In the photo, you see one is Batch 15, and one is Batch 16. And the label on the third double roll has been removed and discarded, so we have no way of knowing what batch that one is.

The problem is that each batch of wallpaper that gets printed will be ever so slightly a different color from every other batch. Not a problem if you can keep the different runs (batches) on separate walls. But if you have to put strips from different runs next to each other on the same wall, which is 95% of the time, you are likely to see a slight difference in color. This will make your wall look like it’s striped. Not good.

Buying wallpaper on-line can be cheaper and fast, but since people at the company are order-takers and are not wallpaper-savvy, there is noone checking things like run numbers. This is why I encourage clients to buy locally.

In my “Where To Buy Wallpaper” link on the right side of this page, I name several places where people really understand wallpaper, and so you can shop without having to worry about issues like run numbers.