Archive for December, 2018

Heat Gun – The Great Persuader

December 30, 2018


Today I was trying to lay some scrim backed textured vinyl (the Thibaut’s Bankun Raffia, same as yesterday’s post) around an outside corner that ended on a 3/8″ return. That 3/8” did not give the paper much to grab ahold of. In addition, the thick vinyl was very argumentative about wrapping that corner. Even though I augmented the wallpaper adhesive with my “secret favorite stick-um” – clear adhesive caulk), the vinyl was not sticking. Scoring the material vertically along the edge of the corner didn’t help.
So I called in the big guns – my heat gun that is (and an extension cord). Low heat, run for just a second or two over the vinyl where it was sitting on the corner, was all that was needed to get the thick vinyl to wrap and lie down.

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Faux Grasscloth – Vinyl That Is Good In A Bathroom

December 29, 2018


Originally, this powder room in the Galleria / Tanglewood area of Houston had what I call a “ditzy” print on the walls – tiny little figures that repeated themselves all over the wallpaper like a zillion little dots lined up in rows. It was outdated and discolored, and didn’t fill the wall space well.

The new homeowner wanted something modern and serene, that would be durable in an area that’s exposed to water. This Bankun Raffia in a steely medium grey is perfect.

I am not a fan of real grasscloth (read the page to the right). Nor do I like solid vinyl wallpapers (see the page to the right “Stay Away From ….). But this is one vinyl paper of which I approve.

The vinyl surface is thick and embossed with texture, so it mimics the feel and look of real grasscloth. But it has none of the color variations and shading / paneling issues or visible seams that make the real stuff so disappointing. In fact, you can hardly find a seam.

The vinyl surface is a lot more resistant to water and stains than most any other type of wallcovering. And the woven fabric backing won’t absorb humidity and curl or delaminate like the lower-end paper backed vinyls will. And that fabric backing makes this product quite durable and strong, and resistant to tears (like you see when a home’s foundation shifts and the corners twist out of alignment).

In fact, this stuff is the same iron-tough material that is used in hotels and hospital corridors, and will withstand dings and bangs and can be cleaned easily.

Being thick and stiff, it is a bit difficult to work with, particularly when turning corners. But the benefits are worth it.

This wallpaper pattern is called Bankun Raffia. It is so popular, now it comes in more than 30 colors! It’s by Thibaut Designs, and 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.

Yummy Lunch From My Clients Today

December 28, 2018


Made at home, and the crust was cracker-crisp…. Deliciouos!

Wallpaper In This 1/2″ Wide Space? – You BET I Can!

December 27, 2018


Well, somebody forgot to tell the contractor to push the vanity all the way against the wall … Resulting in this 1/2″ wide gap between the countertop and the wall.

With some careful folding, unbooking, and the use of a wooden yardstick to both pull the pasted paper away from the wall, and then smooth it against the wall as needed, I was able to get a contiguous strip of paper into this narrow space.

No Bungle In The Jungle – Hiding The Kill Point

December 26, 2018

When you hang wallpaper around a room, and your last strip meets up with where you started with your first strip (usually in a corner), the pattern will almost always end in a mis-match. When this can be hidden behind a door or other inconspicuous place, it’s no big deal.

But this powder room didn’t have an obscured corner – all four corners were 9′ high and very visible to anyone standing in the room. I didn’t want to kill (finish) the install in one of the corners – you would have 9’+ of chopped-in-half lions, monkeys, tucans, trees, and etc.

So I killed the pattern over the door. This way, you would have only 15″ of mis-matched design – and not many people are going to be looking up above the door, anyway.

In the top photo, you see the 11″ wide space I need to fill between the first strip on the left, and the last strip on the right. I could have just taken the next strip and cut it off vertically at the 11″ width. But if I had done that, you would see an abrupt break in the pattern.

Instead, I did a “weave.” This is where you use a scissors to cut along elements of the design, so they appear to logically mesh with the design motifs on the other strip.

If you study the area over the door, you notice that there are a few too many trees. But too many intact trees look a whole lot better than a few trees sliced in half at that final junction point.

This minor pattern discrepancy over the door allows for all four of the 9′ high corners to have their patterns match perfectly.

Animal Blocks in a Baby’s Room

December 25, 2018


A new baby will soon be welcomed into the home of this young couple in the Houston Heights neighborhood called Norhill (or Woodland Heights). Mom wanted something gender-neutral, and found this colorful and adorable shapes-and-animals-in-blocks print on line at Lulie Wallace.

This went on just one accent wall of the room, but it is tame enough that it would work OK if put on all four walls.

I skim-floated the walls first, to smooth out the light texture on them, then followed with a primer coat of Gardz.

This wallpaper is a bit atypical, because it is pre-pasted, which means it comes with a thin layer of paste on the back that you activate with water (instead of having to roll paste on the back of every strip). I do like the pre-pasted papers. I do roll a light coat of paste on the wall, to augment the manufacturer’s pre-paste.

Another dissimilarity is that the paper comes packaged in individual strips, rather than traditional rolls with several strips rolled up together.

Even more unusual is that the strips were meant to be overlapped, instead of butted together. Overlapping the seams creates a vertical ridge under the paper which is somewhat visible. You also have to have an adhesive that will stick to the acrylic coating on top of the paper.

There are some good aspects to overlapping seams. For one, this makes for a very strong bond. For another, it takes stress of drying and shrinking paper off the seam and distributes it across that 3/4″ of overlapped area. In this 80-year-old house, with it’s many layers of paint with a history of not sticking to each other, this is important, because it greatly reduces the chances of the tension on the seams causing the paint layers to come apart, which would cause gapping at the seams. See previous post.

Another positive feature about overlapping the seams, and how that worked with this particular pattern, is that, in this 1930 home, with its unlevel ceiling and floor and its greatly-out-of-plumb walls, I was able to manipulate the strips of wallpaper so that they looked straight and plumb – even though they were actually hung quite off-plumb.

This wallpaper pattern is by Lulie Wallace, and was bought on line.

Poor Mr. Fly Got Stuck in the Ink

December 23, 2018


Wallpaper factories are hot, noisy places, and they are not air-conditioned. Thus the windows are open. Well, that’s probably how this unfortunate fellow got on-site.

Somehow or other, he got into the printing apparatus, or maybe just got caught in the paper as it was being rolled up.

Either way, he met an untimely demise.

Jungle Dreams in a West Houston Powder Room

December 22, 2018


This home in the Briarpark neighborhood of West Houston was damaged in the flood from Hurricane Harvey. During the rebuild, the young homeowners did a major update, and now you would never guess the house dates to the ’70’s.

The powder room wasn’t very groovy, though. It had high ceilings and bare drywall walls. The woodwork was painted a chocolate brown, and the vanity was a muddy charcoal grey. The room was just screaming for some personality.

This “Jungle Dream” pattern by Aimée Wilder fills those tall walls perfectly. It’s a really cute pattern with a lot of animals and plants – the more you look, the more you discover.

The super-long 44″ pattern repeat eats up (and wastes) a lot of paper, but it ensures that you don’t keep seeing the same design element over and over.

The dark brown ink on a light tan background coordinates beautifully with the paint on the room’s trim.

Starburst Diamonds in a North Houston Hall Bath

December 22, 2018


The owners of this 1970’s house in the Cypressdale neighborhood of north Houston have done some outstanding updates that have brought the home right into the modern age.

In this hall bathroom, the larger-scale, rough-surfaced shower tiles work with the sleek, white trough sink to create a clean-yet-warm feel.

A little pizazz on the walls was all that was needed to make the whole room pop!

This fun diamond starburst pattern in a metallic gold on raised-ink (embossed vinyl) covers the walls with the right scale, sheen, and theme.

The wallpaper is by York, and is in their Modern Metals line. I was quite pleased with it. While many wallpapers printed on non-woven substrates are thick and stiff and prone to creasing or having the inks crack and flake off, this one was thin and pliable and happy to hug the wall tightly, and then meld beautifully into turns and intricate cuts (like around detailed moldings). The seams were practically invisible.

What’s more, this wallcovering, with it’s 3-D embossed vinyl surface, will resist water splashes and stains much better than a paper-paper. A little caulk along the top of the sink will prevent water from wicking up under the paper (which could cause the paper to expand and curl and push away from the wall).

I pasted the paper, rather than the alternate installation method of paste-the-wall. Pasting the paper made it more supple and gave it more pliability, so it was easier to work with. It also allowed the paper to absorb moisture from the paste and then expand a tad before going to the wall. (Papers that expand after they are placed on the wall are likely to bubble or warp.)

This York 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.

Dejà Vu – Same Pattern, Different Color

December 21, 2018


It’s my second day and second bathroom, in this home in Cypress (northwest Houston). And my second day with the same wallpaper pattern – but for this guest bathroom, the homeowners chose a different colorway – the silver.

It was just as nice to work with as the gold.

This wallpaper pattern is by York in their Modern Metals book. It is a thin, easy-to-handle non-woven substrate with an embossed (textured) vinyl surface, and a metallic sheen. It is designed to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the wall, when it’s time to redecorate.

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.