Archive for February, 2019

Faux Marbleized Pattern for Montrose Dining Room Accent Wall

February 28, 2019


Just in time for baby daughter’s first birthday party! I had an unexpected opening, and the homeowner was able to get her paper quick-shipped, and so the accent wall got done with just a few days to spare!

The pearlized gold color pattern looks like marble (sorry, all my photos turned out blurry), and really warms up the dining room in this all-white, contemporary styled home, while still maintaining a sleek modern look.

With 12′ high ceilings, I had to bring my 8′ stepladder, so I could get all the way up to the top of the wall.

The homeowner originally wanted a different colorway, but it was backordered. With the party in just a few days, and with me having this last-minute, one-day opening, the homeowner switched to a different colorway – which was available – and paid a bit more for express shipping. That got it here in time for the install today!

The wallpaper is by Mayfair, and was nice to work with. 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.

Large and Sweet and Pink Floral Mural for a Baby Girl’s Nursery

February 27, 2019


Expectant moms love this over-scaled floral design in pink, grey, and green, mural style wallcovering for their baby girl’s nursery. I’ve hung it (or similar) many times.

This accent wall is where the crib will be placed. The wall had a light texture; the first photo shows the wall after I have skim-floated it smooth and primed it.

Instead of a traditional pattern where the design motifs repeat regularly up and down and across the wall, a mural like this has few or no repeating design elements. Also, instead of being packaged in rolls or bolts, this wallpaper comes as a 6-panel mural.

Unlike most murals, this one did not come marked as to which strip went where, nor was there a photo of the mural included in the packaging. I had to go on-line with my cell phone to find a pic so I new which way was up! In the third photo, you see me laying the six strips out on the floor, to determine which strip went next to which.

Interestingly, the placement of the flowers on the panels did not correspond to where they appeared on the panels in the photo. In other words, the largest flower, which appeared at the top of the wall in the photographs, was dropped down to mid-wall height on the mural I hung today.

The strips are cut to 9′ long, so I guess that whoever engineered the pattern’s design did not sync it to the 9′ measurement. No biggie … the design is wild enough that no one really cares or notices where a particular flower is placed on the wall. Personally, I think that hugest flower looks great right in the middle of the wall – right over where the crib will sit.

As in other times I have hung this mural, there were printing defects, as you see a slight pattern mis-match in the fourth photo. That photo also shows what I think is a bad cut at the factory – I think the trimmer got off-set at an angle, so made a beveled cut on just that left side of that one panel. That’s why you see the white substrate showing all along that seam.

I was able to take my trusty set of chalk pastels and do some light touch-ups, to fill in the white gap with a matching color, and to disguise the spots of mis-matched pattern (no photo).

This sweet mural is by Anewall, and was bought on-line. It is about 12′ wide x 9′ high, which is pretty standard for a wall mural. This wall was a little less than 12′ wide, so I cut off and discarded about 10″ from the right side of the mural. (This side had fewer interesting design elements, so was the best option for editing.)

The material was pre-pasted, so it was needed was a little water to activate the paste on the back. I did roll a light coat of paste onto the wall, as well as cut in paste around the ceiling and baseboard and far edges, to augment the adhesive.

No manufacturer’s name is given, but I do believe this product is made by York, in their Sure Strip line. It is a thin non-woven material, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when the child grows and it’s time to redecorate the room.

Aside from the minor printing defects, it was nice to work with.

The home is in Spring Branch (Houston).

Silvery Guest Bedroom with Bright Pops of Color!

February 26, 2019


Two years ago, I hung this pearlized tree pattern wallpaper in the guest bedroom of a home in Bellaire (Houston). I was back yesterday to measure a few more rooms for wallpaper, and got a chance to snap this photo.

I love the way the silvery trees fade into the background, and how the cranberry accents wake up the room with bright pops of color!

Disappointing Seams, Stringcloth

February 24, 2019


Here is a stringcloth / grasscloth / linen sort of material that has a nice, tailored look. The thing is, when people make their buying decision, all they see is the page in a selection book, or the 8 x 10″ sample sent from the vendor. What they don’t see is how their selection will look when it’s actually up on a wall, with several strips next to each other.

The thin and close-together black and grey strings running vertically up the length of each bolt of wallpaper are not absolutely straight. So there are places where the black strings get closer to the edge of the wallpaper, and places where the grey strings get closer to the edge. And there are areas where the strings cross the edge of the paper and got chopped off by the trim rollers at the factory, leaving voids along the edges of the paper that now have no strings.

Look at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th photos… the left edge of the sheets, to see what I am talking about.

All this is fine if you’re just looking at a bolt of wallpaper. But when it comes to placing a strip of paper next to another strip on the wall, what can happen is what you see in the photo at the top…. If an area where a grey string is closer to the right edge of the paper is placed next to a strip that happens to have a grey string closer to the left edge, then those two grey strings will butt up against each other, and they will create a wider-than-expected expanse of grey. That’s what you see in the photo.

The same can happen with a black string, or with an area where the string was cut and fell out of the edge, creating a void. Even if I forgo the factory edge and hand-trim my own edge, because the strings are not exactly straight on the paper, some will continue to land closer to or further from the edge, or even be cut and fall completely off the paper – When those edges meet up with one another on the wall, there will always be areas where grey meets up with grey (or black with black, etc.), and you get an effect like what you see in the photo.

This wallpaper is by York. More on how the install went on yesterday’s blog post.

Man-Tailored Linen/Stringcloth/Grasscloth in a Former Boys’ Room

February 23, 2019


This large 2nd floor room in a 1934 home in the West University neighborhood of Houston was home to two boys, who took it on a 20+ year ride through crayons, toy cars, sports, school projects, first dates, college entrance forms, and professional careers. Now that the sons are grown and gone, Mom is calling the room her own. She got rid of the dorm look and is going for something calming and sophisticated, with a farm-house twist.

On the ceiling, I hung wallpaper that looks like ship-lapped wood… Joanna Gaines “Magnolia” book by York, in their SureStrip line.

To augment that, the homeowner chose another York pattern, this soft brown / charcoal linen weave stringcloth. It’s a textured material that resembles the fabric of a man’s tailored suit.

It’s beautiful with the wood plank look on the ceiling, and creates a snug, cozy feel in the large room.

I wasn’t happy with the quality of the product. See my previous post about the mismatches at the seams.

In addition, the material was thick and difficult to trim, and difficult to turn around corners. But worse, whatever backing the manufacturer used sucked up paste like the dickens. I pasted the back and booked according to directions. Yet when I went to hang a strip, it didn’t want to stick to the wall. There was virtually no paste on the back … it had all been sucked up into the backing, leaving little on the surface to hold the strip onto the wall. The strips also had a lot of memory, and wanted to keep curling up.

Although the instructions said the substrate was paper, I believe it was a non-woven material. That means it was dimensionally-stable and didn’t need to book or sit for any period after pasting. I tried various installation techniques and finally settled on lightly misting the back of each strip with water , rolling it up and letting it sit for a few minutes while I rolled paste onto the wall (not the back of the paper). Then I applied the paper to the wall.

The misting relaxed the paper and stopped the curling, and also made the material more pliable. Pasting the wall made sure that paste was there to hold the paper to the wall, instead of letting the thirsty substrate soak it all up.

Even so, this has been a difficult install. The paper is thick and hard to trim, and there are issues with the seams that do not make me happy (see yesterday’s post). I worked an 8-hour today and only got two walls done. So I have to go back tomorrow, and the job will take a day longer than I had planned for.

The wallcovering is made by York. I usually like their products, but, like I said, I am a bit displeased with this stuff. The homeowner, however, loves it.

Phillip Jeffries “Wish” Silk Adds Quiet Drama to a Dining Room Wall

February 21, 2019


The homeowners of this newish home in the Bellaire / Braes Heights / Willow Meadows area of Houston like it’s serene, monochromatic look. But they wanted something with more color and eye appeal on this focal wall in the dining room.

They chose this tone-on-tone 4-panel mural by Phillip Jeffries, screened on silk on a paper backing. The soft and whimsical design is called “Wish” – remember when you were a kid and blew the fluffy seed pods off of dandelion stems?!

A mural is pleasing to the eye, in part because it is one scene, and doesn’t have the repeating design motifs that a typical wallpaper pattern has.

I particularly like the way the design mimics the look of the chandelier. These are little things that visually pull the room together. And the homeowner did it without hiring a decorator!

The silk material was bonded to a thin paper backing. The first day, I primed the wall and then hung a liner , a special paper that will cushion the silk wallpaper and provide extra “grab” to hold the seams in place. I let that dry overnight, and hung the mural the second day.

The mural comes in a set of four panels. Each panel came 36″ wide, but there was a selvedge edge that had to be trimmed off by hand with a straightedge and razor blade, reducing the width of each to 33″.

This wall’s width required 21″ of a fifth panel. The mural is printed so that the left side of Panel 1 matches up with the right side of Panel 4. So the homeowners simply needed an additional Panel 1 (which became the fifth panel, last on the right), to cover their wall.

The mural was 11′ high, but this home’s wall was only 9′. So I rolled all the strips out on the floor and plotted out which were the most important design elements to keep, and which we could afford to lose. I cut off about 16″ from the top, and another 8″ or so from the bottom.

Silk is a natural material, and so there are color variations between panels, and even within the same panel. I hate these color variations in grasscloth, but in this silk material, I think they enhance the look. It looks like there are real strips of silk fabric laid on the wall – and that’s exactly what there is! In the close-up shot, you can even see nubs of the silk fibers here and there.

This wallpaper pattern is by Phillip Jeffries, 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.

Keeping Splatters Off The Baseboards

February 20, 2019


In the photo, look above and to the left (10 o’clock) of the electrical outlet. You will see splatters of paint from when the walls were painted, and the workers didn’t bother to cover the baseboards – in this $$$ new home in the Greenwillow / Willow Meadows neighborhood of Houston.

There are a lot more speckles that don’t show up in this photo.

I can’t stand these little splatters,,, and they are easy enough to prevent. So before I roll primer onto a wall, I pin protective strips of dropcloth material along the tops of the baseboards, to catch any splatters or drips.

It takes more time, but it protects the homeowner’s baseboards, shoe mold, and floors from speckles and tiny splatters.

Contractor Patches On Top Of Wallpaper – Bad Idea

February 19, 2019


This home experienced a water leak, and the bottom 2′ of drywall had to be cut out and replaced. When taping-and-floating in the new drywall, the contractor didn’t bother to remove the existing wallpaper, but put his smoothing compound right over it. This is bad enough if the old paper is paper, but this wallpaper is vinyl – something you really don’t want buried under layers of joint compound and new wallpaper.

Vinyl is shiny, and few materials will stick well to it over a period of time. It is also thick, and that increases the likelihood that seams will pop up, even if they are buried under this “mud,” as we call it.

So I took a razor and cut above the contractor’s patch. Then I stripped off all the wallpaper above the patch. This left a difference in height between the patched area and the newly-stripped area, which would create a visible ridge under the new wallpaper. So then I took my own smoothing compound (joint compound) and floated over his patch and the now-bare wall, to eliminate any uneven areas.

Waited for it to dry, sanded smooth, removed dust, primed with Gardz, and finally was able to hang the new wallpaper.

This took a LOT more time than I originally planned for this job, but it was worth it to keep vinyl wallpaper from being underneath the new paper, and to prevent any bumps or irregularities from showing under the new paper.

A Nice Faux Grasscloth for Wet Areas – But A Little Difficult to Work With

February 17, 2019


OK, well my “after” shot didn’t turn out, so all I have for you are these close-ups … which do a fine job of showing the texture of this product. It’s made of vinyl, which allows the texture to be embossed into the surface.

In a bathroom, vinyl is a good alternative to real grasscloth, because water splashing on it will not stain it or cause inks to bleed. I run caulk along where the material meets the countertop / backsplash, so that if water pools up along the surface, it can’t be wicked up into the wallpaper (which could cause curling).

This is a fairly thick vinyl on a non-woven backing, and was somewhat difficult to manipulate into areas where it needed to bend – such as pressing tightly against the ceiling or moldings when I needed to trim off excess paper. It took a lot of strength and pushing in order to get a cut that was nice and close to the corner. I just did an accent wall with few obstacles, but this product would have been difficult to work with in a room that had multiple walls to turn around, and things to cut around – windows, cabinets, etc., or outside corners to get the paper to wrap around – you’d probably need to get out the heat gun and spend a bit of time on each such turn.

I used the chalk to color the edges of the dark wallcovering because it had been backed with white material, and also because the edges themselves were a bit burnished.

The faux grasscloth is by Thibaut, and is in one of their new books highlighting textured materials, Texture Resource, Vol. VI. The home is in Oak Forest (Houston) and the interior designer is Stacie Cokinos of Cokinos Design. https://www.cokinosdesign.com/

Sloppy, Lazy Painters

February 16, 2019


Here we are in the master bathroom of a brand newly built home in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston.

Before I put the charcoal-colored wallpaper up, this wall was originally painted white. Somewhere along the line, after the wall light sconces were put up, the painters came to add paint to the wall.

They didn’t bother to remove the sconces, or even to put protective blue painter’s tape around the metal base of the sconces. They also were not able to “cut a neat line” with their brush.

Consequentially, as you can see, they got paint slopped onto the bases of all four of these new-and-expensive light fixtures. Not shown, but the glass shades of the fixtures were dotted with scores of paint drips and splatters.

None of this was very noticeable while the wall was painted black. But now that the new dark wallpaper is in place, it’s very easy to see the white paint slopped around the light fixtures.

I hope the homeowners can live with the ring of white paint on the bases of their light sconces. If not, I’m just betting that any attempt made by these guys to clean or remove the paint from the light fixtures will result in damage to the new wallpaper.