Archive for September, 2018

More Pics of the Shaded Faux Grasscloth

September 28, 2018


Addendum to my post yesterday … here are clearer pictures of the shading / paneling with this faux grasscloth product.

In the top photo, you can see the color difference between the right side of one strip and the left side of the other.

The second photo is shot from an angle, and it unjustly exaggerates the issue. Seen straight-on, these two strips are pleasing and look pretty much the same color. But from an angle, there is a very distinct difference between the two strips. At first, I thought it was due to some variance with the strings, which are superimposed onto the surface of the wallpaper. But the strings have nothing to do with it. The effect is weird because the strips were both taken sequentially from the same bolt, and are hung running in the same direction.

The look is similar to what you would expect from real grasscloth – the beauty inherent to natural fibers and materials taken from nature.

It’s weird, and it’s unexplainable. And it’s disappointing because I recommend this product over real grasscloth, because of its uniformity (read yesterday’s post). Yet these photos prove that this product is not uniform. For the record, I have had this shading problem with this darker brown color, but not with the lighter tan color. Warts and all, it’s still a more pleasing product than real grasscloth. IMO.

My best advice: Look at your wallpaper straight-on, not from an angle.

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A Really Nice Textured Faux Grasscloth

September 27, 2018


I’m not a fan of grasscloth (read the page to the right), but there are wonderful alternatives – this product is about my favorite. The layers of string on the surface provide the texture that is so popular today, while the printed pattern mimics real grasscloth. Because the design is printed, it can be matched from strip to strip, so you don’t see the abrupt breaks between panels as you do with real grasscloth. It also has a bit of a protective coating, so it is more durable than the real stuff, too.

My only complaint is that this darker colorway tends to have some shading / paneling issues. In the fourth photo, you can see that the strip on the left is darker than the strip on the right. This happened on every strip, every bolt of paper, and some were worse than others; I had to discard two strips because of this. Interestingly enough, I have hung the lighter tan version of this material and did not have the shading issues.

I hung this in the hall bathroom of a home in the Meyerland area of Houston, that had been damaged by the flood from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The house is a veritable temple to Mid-Century Modern, and the homeowner wanted the wallpaper to be era-appropriate to the style of the home.

This wallpaper pattern is by Wallquest, in their EcoChic line, and is in the Grass Effects book. 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.

Wall Sealing Whoops

September 26, 2018


Today I prepped a room where the drywall had been badly torn when the old wallpaper was stripped off. This happened because the original installer hung the wallpaper directly on the drywall, with no coat of paint or primer to protect the drywall.

Before I could smooth the wall surface, I had to seal the torn drywall, because moisture on the torn areas would cause the brown paper to bubble. I rolled on a heavy coat of Gardz, a water-thin, penetrating product that is designed to soak into the porous material, bind everything together, and dry hard. It is supposed to dry inpenetrable by water.

Once it was dry, I skimmed over it with joint compound (which will be sanded smooth later).

As you can see, the Gardz failed to do as claimed, and it allowed moisture from my smoothing compound to seep through it and enter the torn paper of the drywall, which then expanded and bubbled. I’ve got a big mess on my hands!

Tomorrow, when everything is dry, I will sand smooth. Usually bubbles like this dry out and then sand flat. But the large loose areas have me a little worried. They may still be loose and bubbled, and they may swell again when the wall is given its final coat of Gardz.

I may end up having to cut out some loose areas, refloat, and reprime.

Not good, because this could add a full day to this job, and because there could potentially still be unstable areas under the surface. Never good to have an unsecure surface under your wallpaper.

Historic Wallpaper in 1883 Byers-Evans House in Denver

September 25, 2018


Before the 2018 Wallcovering Installers Association annual convention started in Denver last week, I took a few extra days to see the mountains and city. I toured this 100+ year old home and, of course, grooved on the wallpaper. The papers in the first two rooms are reproductions, made from scraps of the original paper that were uncovered during renovations, and then meticulously recreated. The ceiling paper is similar to designs made by Bradbury & Bradbury today (popular with owners of Victorian or Edwardian properties, such as in Galveston).

The brown paper is the real deal – authentic paper from a 1912 renovation to the property.

Cozy Accent Wall in a Master Bedroom in the Houston Heights

September 23, 2018


This small, two-color Moroccan lantern style wallpaper pattern is snugging up an accent wall in a master bedroom of an expanded and renovated home in the Heights neighborhood of Houston. Because the design is small and tight, it works as a background, rather than making a statement of its own. Once the new headboard arrives, the bed and bedding will take center stage.

The four windows, along with an unlevel ceiling line and unplumb windows and west wall, combined to create an installation challenge. It’s too complicated for me to explain, but I like to say, “It’s easy for you to look at this wall, but it was darned tricky for me to hang it!”

It was a somewhat thick non-woven material, and was intended to be hung using the paste-the-wall method – but I find the product much easier to work with when the paper itself is pasted. The pattern match was spot-on, and the seams were invisible.

The interior designer for this project was Stacie Cokinos. She does a lot of work with clients who are remodeling older homes, or who are building from the ground up. It’s great to have a designer on board from the beginning, to help choose fixtures, moldings, colors, flooring, appliances, etc. Stacie is one of my favorite designers to work for, too, because she is sharp, knowledgeable, organized, and on time. And her interiors are gorgeous, yet well suited for busy modern families.

Large Silvery Metallic Damask in a Down-Sized Home’s Powder Room

September 22, 2018


Apologies for the bad pictures of a beautiful paper!

This couple lost their home in Kingwood (northeast Houston) to the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. They relocated to a new-but-smaller spec house in Somerset Green near central Houston, and are using interior designer Anthony Stransky of L Design Group to decorate their new home, while giving their traditional taste a tad more modern feel.

Damask wallpaper patterns are quite traditional, but the large scale and metallic sheen of this particular selection bring it into the modern age. And the over-sized pattern fills the walls nicely, in this sizeable powder room with 10′ high ceilings.

The pattern is in the Anna French collection by Thibaut Designs. It is printed on a thickish non-woven material. I usually prefer thin papers, but this was quite nice to work with. It didn’t crease like many N-W papers do, the seams were practically invisible, and, once pasted and softened, it was flexible and stretchable enough to accommodate some pretty un-straight and un-plumb walls.

This non-woven paper could have been hung using the paste-the-wall method. But I prefer the pliability that comes when the material itself is pasted. Plus, pasting the material definitely makes it easier when working around pedestal sinks and behind toilets.

The builder coated the walls of this large powder room with a bland dark tan paint. These homeowners had never used wallpaper before, but, once they went for the interior design team’s suggestion, there was no learning curve – They LOVE the newly papered powder room!

Anthony Stransky and founder Neal Leboeuf of L Design Group serve the entire Houston metropolitan area. They assist homeowners with interior design, new home buyers with all choices such as flooring, faucets, window coverings, fixtures, etc., and – when they get breathing room – they do events planning. Super guys, energetic and fun, with a look that’s modern and fun, with an urban edge. See them in a summer 2018 issue of Houston House & Home magazine – on the cover and in a story inside.

Coordinating Walls to Fixtures

September 21, 2018


This home between West University and the Medical Center was damaged by flooding from Hurricane Harvey a year ago in Houston. The homeowner loved her seafoam green toilet and pedestal sink in her powder room, and made sure to protect them during the renovation. She chose a wallpaper that coordinates nicely with the fixtures.

This faux finish wallpaper pattern is by American Beauty, by Brewster. It is a paper product with a slight texture from the raised-ink white sand-like specs on the surface. The pattern did have a match, and it was mighty hard to spot! Once on the wall, the seams were all but invisible. It will hold nice and tight to the wall for years to come.

This 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.

Incidentally, I hung the original paper in this home back in the ’90’s… all still in good condition. Except for the flood damage, that is. 😦

Clean and Serene – A Small Geometric in a Powder Room

September 20, 2018


The color of this new wallpaper isn’t much different from the color it was painted originally. But the little bit of tone-on-tone pattern sure adds a lot of dimension and interest, while still maintaining a calm and serene feel.

The homeowner wanted paper on the ceiling, too. I usually don’t like pattern on the ceiling, but this one is so muted, I think it looks great.

The home is located in the Galleria / Tanglewood area of Houston. The paper is in the SureStrip line by York, in the Waverly design collection. It was nice to work with, and is thin and will hug the wall and stay nice and tight for years to come.

The paper 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.

Getting Smoothing Compound to Dry

September 11, 2018


Textured walls have to be smoothed before the new wallpaper can go up.

Getting smoothing compound (drywall joint compound) to dry takes – dry air, moving air, air-conditioned air, heat …. and a lot of time. Today’s job had particularly thick textured walls, which would take a long time to dry.

So I hastened things up with a few accessories. Here you see one box fan on the floor aimed at a wall, another box fan on the ladder aimed higher on a wall, a very strong black floor fan shooting dry air into the room, and a space heater under the sink cranked to “high.”

When I shut the door, the warmth from the space heater collects in the air, and pulls moisture out of the smoothing compound. Then I will open the door and let the floor fan pull dry air-conditioned air from the hallway into the room, pushing the hot, humid air out.

Done enough times over a long period of time, you can get smoothing compound to dry more quickly than it would on its own.

Smoothing Sandy Textured Wall

September 11, 2018


Walls in the under-the-stairs powder room of this 1945 home in River Oaks (Houston) were covered with a sand-textured paint. The bumps would look awful under the new wallpaper, and would also interfere with good adhesion. So I needed to smooth the walls.

I troweled on drywall joint compound. Because the sand texture was so thick, the smoothing compound needed fans blowing on it overnight to become completely dry.

Once dry, I sanded it smooth. See second photo. Wiped clean of dust and primed, the walls are now ready for wallpaper.