Archive for May, 2018

Katie Kime in Flea Market Décor Magazine

May 30, 2018


The Spring 2018 issue of Flea Market Décor magazine had a feature on Katie Kime, a popular designer based right here in Texas, near downtown Austin. Her successful company has a brick-and-mortar location in Austin, in addition to a huge on-line empire. They sell home goods of all sorts, and, best of all, wallpaper.

The magazine (unfortunately) jumped on their “peel-and-stick” wallpaper. This stuff sounds good, but is, in reality and in my experience, a nightmare, both to get onto the wall, and then later to get off the wall. So stick to their traditional paper option (the hand-pasted version).

Very cute patterns. Go check them out!

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Crooked Light Switches

May 30, 2018


You would think that if you were working in a $1.5 million dollar home, you would take care and pride and precision in your job. Yet these poor homeowners are left with an electrical outlet that leans toward the right, and light switches that lean to the left.

My Favorite Faux Grasscloth Wallpaper

May 29, 2018


This breakfast and kitchen area in a 26-year old townhome in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston was originally papered with a very small print on a darkish brown background. It served its purpose for two decades, but the homeowners were ready for a change.

They originally considered grasscloth, but after hearing my opinion on the real stuff (read “Grasscloth – Info Pack” page on the right), they opted for this fine faux material instead. I love this particular product because it uses vertical strings to create the textured feel that people like, as well as has a printed grass design in the background. Because it’s machine-printed, the pattern can be matched, so there are no visible seams like with real grasscloth. There also is no paneling or shading (variations in color between strips, or even within strips, even when they come off the same bolt) that are common with real grasscloth.

I have another couple using this same material in another month or so, in their entry.

I do have to say that this time, there was one strip that did panel – it was a slightly different shade from the one next to it, even though it came off the same bolt. This was disappointing, because I promote this brand specifically because you do not expect that. Anyway, I always have people order enough that we can cover a situation like that, so there was plenty of paper to remove that strip and replace it with one with better color.

This wallpaper is by Walquest, in their Grass Effects book, in the Ecochic line. It was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

Flaw of the Day – Blotch. Always But a Little Extra

May 29, 2018

This blotch showed up in the middle of a bolt of faux grasscloth. Luckily we had enough paper that I could cut around it and get a fresh piece.

Textured, Metallic Glamor in a West U. Powder Room

May 27, 2018


This beautiful wallpaper features an abstract foliage design with the texture of gesso in a soft aqua color on a shimmery silver background. Something with this much glamor is by Candice Olson, of course. 🙂

The second photo shows you the raised texture, which is much like gesso used in art paintings. I hung this in a powder room in West University, Houston.

This wallpaper pattern is by York, and is a fairly stiff, non-woven material. It was made more pliable by pasting the paper (rather than the alternate installation technique of pasting the wall). It is designed to strip off the wall later in one intact piece, with minimal damage to the wall.

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.

Spider Corraled by Primer

May 27, 2018


This tiny spider appeared on the wall after I had started priming. Unfortunately, he found himself surrounded by the primer.

Don’t worry I brushed him off the wall before I finished coating that patch of wall.

Large Gold Damask on a Bedroom Accent Wall

May 26, 2018


This young couple is in a brand new, very contemporary home in the eastern edge of the Houston Heights. Just about every surface in the home is white. WHITE. The over-scaled refurbished tufted leather headboard (along with a few other dark wood furniture pieces (not shown) in the master bedroom make a handsomely bold contrast.

But, still, the room SCREAMED for relief from all that white.

This gold-on-aqua damask wallpaper pattern came to the rescue! The soft aqua color softens the feel of the stark-white room – but doesn’t jar with the white theme. The shiny gold in the design adds a contemporary feel with just a touch of glam – but doesn’t upstage the fabulous headboard.

As the wallpaper went up, I noticed a difference in color between the right edge of one strip and the left edge of the next strip. (This is called shading.) The photos show it a little, but it was more pronounced when seen in person. I didn’t think it looked good, so I followed the 3-strip rule and put up three strips, then went to get the homeowner for approval.

She thought the wall looked gorgeous. In fact, even when I put my hand on the medallions with different shades on either side of the seam, she said she couldn’t see anything. She loves it, and that’s what counts!

Once the bed gets pushed back against the wall, the large medallions will be a little more in perspective. They are a good size for the scale of the wall and the headboard.

This wallpaper is in the “Designer Series” by York. It’s a non-woven product, and can be hung by paste-the-wall or paste-the-paper. I pasted the wall, but I think that pasting the paper would have worked a little better (It makes the paper more pliable.).

The homeowners bought this paper on-line from Arhaus.com. Arhaus also has a couple of showrooms / retail stores in Houston. The homeowners bought their paper before our initial consultation (I like to measure before they buy, so they get the proper amount). I was thrilled that – for once! – the proper amount of wallpaper was purchased.

The homeowner loves her master bedroom accent wall so much, she is now thinking of papering their powder room. 🙂

Fudging the Kill Point to Fool the Eye

May 26, 2018


My two previous posts dealt with a wallpaper pattern of stacked blocks in a room with crooked, unplumb walls and an unlevel ceiling. Besides keeping the pattern level, and having all the horizontal lines match in all four corners (note my pencil guide-line near the top of the wall in the first photo), it was important to keep the blocks all the same size. Or at least make it look like they are all the same size.

A kill point is the last corner or join in a room – where the last strip meets up with the first strip. This almost always ends in a pattern mis-match. So you try to hide it in an un-obvious corner. This room, however, had no hidden corners, and no good place for the kill point.

So I decided to put it over the door. It took some work to keep those gold lines at the same height all the way around the room. The pencil line you see near the top of the first photo helped with that.

But I also wanted to keep the boxes all about the same width. The manufacturer had set the width at 21.” But as the design worked its way around the room, the final space (over the door) was going to end up at 24.5″ wide. I could make that last block 24.5″ wide, if I spliced in a bit of scrap paper. But that would throw off the pattern match a bit, and those 3.5 extra inches of width would be likely to catch the eye.

So I decided to “shrink” that last panel over the door instead, but by only about 1,” which would be less detectable to the eye.

To “shrink” the last panel to 20,” I would have to some inches elsewhere. I decided to add it in the corners.

When you hang wallpaper around inside corners, you cut the paper in the corner, allowing 1/16″ or 1/8″ to wrap around the corner. Then the new strip of paper overlaps that thin wrapped area. Obviously, a small amount of the wallpaper pattern / design is lost in the process.

If I have plenty of paper, I can cut a new strip in such a way that the pattern will match pretty much perfectly. With a design like these blocks, I would measure what the width of each block was supposed to be (21″), and then cut the new piece so its width, when added with the width of the existing half-block, would work out to 21.”

I also have the option of making the new half of the block a little wider or narrower. I measured carefully around the room, and figured that if I “grew” the blocks in each of the four corners by about 1,” by the time the paper worked its way around to that final strip over the door, that 3.5″ gap would be gone, and I’d have an excess of about 3/4.” A difference in width of 3/4″ is much less noticeable than a strip that is overly wide by 3.5,” so I decided to go with that.

I spliced the two strips together at the point where they met, and then appliquéd on one portion of vertical gold line (which had been cut off during the splice).

The photograph’s angle distorts the size and shape of the blocks a bit, but, from a distance, they all look very much like they are the exact same width. Ditto for the blocks in the corner in the original post.

Finishing Touches to the Stacks of Blocks (Previous Post)

May 25, 2018


Because walls are never plumb, and because ceiling lines are never perfectly level, and because wallpaper can twist and distort once it gets wet with paste, with a pattern like in the previous post, it’s not advisable to place a key element, such as the gold horizontal line, at the top of the wall. It will begin to run crooked – either up into the ceiling, or fall down below it. So for this install, I raised the pattern so that the horizontal gold line would be cut off. This made that top block about 3/4″ shorter than the blocks below it. Not a biggie – at 10′ up, no one is going to notice this small discrepancy.

I did want to make the blocks look more homogenous, though. I thought that having a gold frame around all sides of the top blocks would make them blend in better with the other blocks all around the room.

So I used my straightedge to trim some narrow strips of the gold double-stripe out of left over wallpaper scrapes. Then I appliquéd them on top of the paper, just at the ceiling line.

Stacks of Blocks in a Bellaire Powder Room

May 25, 2018



This 30-year old home was flooded last August during Hurricane Harvey, and today is just a couple of weeks from being finished with the rebuild. This gold-on-black stacked-block pattern was chosen to help bring a more contemporary look to the home, as well as pump up the drama factor – a stunning gold-on-black console-style vanity and a huge, jaw-dropping crystal chandelier will be installed next week. I hope they send me photos!

Keeping this very rigid pattern plumb and level was a bit of a challenge, especially since all the walls were out of plumb. At the top of the second photo you see my horizontal line marking where I wanted the top gold line to fall. This line helped me keep the pattern perfectly aligned all the way around the room.

This paper is by York Wall, in their Sure Strip line. It is a non-woven material, but is thin and soft and pliable, and was a delight to work with. You could paste the wall to install, but I chose to paste the paper, because it makes the material more flexible and easier to work with and easier to keep clean. I wouldn’t mind hanging this product every day!

The wallpaper was bought from my favorite source for good quality, product knowledge, expert service, and competitive price – 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.

The interior designer for this home is Wes Satterwhite, of Silver Oak Consulting, here in Houston. He’s been overseeing much of the selections of finishes, paint colors, hardware, cabinets, flooring, drapes, etc., from the very beginning.