Archive for May, 2019

Unwrapped Bolt – What’s Wrong With This Picture?

May 30, 2019


This is how the homeowner’s wallpaper arrived – no label, no wrapper, and with two fingerprints marring the first two feet of paper (upper edge, in both rectangles).

This is one of the problems with buying wallpaper off the Internet. This came from a site that sells clothing, jewelry, shoes, and – oh yeah … home accessories, too.

The price may be very cheap.

But you have no idea what you are getting. For instance, this company’s website give virtually no information, other than the dimensions of the bolt, the color, and that it’s printed with water-based ink on “quality wallpaper.” I guess that to an unschooled homeowner, that sounds good. But to a paperhanger, that provided virtually no useable information.

But what’s worse is that many of these outlet type websites are buying up and reselling discontinued, damaged, or returned goods from other sources. That’s why this paper has no wrapper or label. There is no way to know the run number of the bolts she has – so they may well be slightly different shades, which will be unacceptable on her wall.

These companies don’t have a salesperson who is knowledgeable about wallpaper. They have an order-taker, and a guy in the warehouse who runs and grabs some rolls off the shelf, paying no attention to run numbers or condition of the rolls.

I’ve hung this paper before, and know that it’s made by an established manufacturer (as opposed to a “boutique” company with some paper and a digital printer and dubious quality). Even though it would cost a bit more, it would be much preferable to buy wallpaper from the manufacturer itself, or, better, from a local retail store (not a box store) specializing in and knowledgeable about wallpaper.

You’ll have someone who can help you with accurate measurements, the various types of substrates, run numbers, double and single rolls, availability (discontinued patterns), shipping times, and who can easily straighten out any problems if they should occur.

For my recommendations on where to buy wallpaper, see the page at right “Where to Buy Wallpaper In Houston.”

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Tricky Twisting To Make Wonky Walls Look Straight

May 30, 2019


The townhouse where I worked today (Timber Grove area of Houston) had walls that were more like trapezoids than rectangles. Trapezoidal walls make wallpaper run off-kilter. With this rigid geometric print, that meant that the pattern would either mis-match badly in the corners, or start tracking (going downhill) badly along the ceiling line.

So I did this little trick, to keep the pattern straight and nicely matched in the corners. You’re looking at the strips laid out on my table; sorry, no shots of the paper up on the wall. But the pics will give an idea of the process. And it turned out perfect.

I split the strip of wallpaper in two vertically, using a straightedge and a fresh razor blade to follow along the pattern. When applying the paper to the wall, I was able to slightly overlap the left side of the second strip on top of the previous strip, with less overlap at the top and more at the bottom. This enabled me to keep the same design element in the corner to the right (not shown), all the way from the ceiling to the floor. When the next strip went up, the design matched perfectly.

Since the width of the overlap wasn’t more than 3/8″, the black lines of the design disguised any ridges that might be created by the overlap.

Overlapping like this caused some of the vertical lines to be closer to each other than they were supposed to be. See second photo. But the eye notices this much less than if the pattern were very broken up in the corners, which would effect both the horizontal and vertical elements.

“The Wall Prep Is Done, And I’m Ready To Hang Wallpaper”

May 29, 2019


That’s what the “paperhanger” told the homeowner. Luckily, she knew better, and sent the guy packing.

Before wallpaper goes up, the walls need to be smooth, and then primed with a primer appropriate for wallpaper.

Please click and read my page on the right, “Do Not Let The Contractor or Painter Prep for Wallpaper” to learn more.

Wallpaper in Flea Market Décor Magazine, June/July 2019

May 26, 2019


It’s always nice to see wallpaper featured in home décor magazines. What’s extra cool is that I hung that wild and bold floral pattern a year or two ago in a home in the Houston Heights that was featured on their home tour. It’s from Anthropologie.

Another Look at the White-Washed Gold Cork Accent Wall

May 26, 2019


What a perfect look. Walking into the room, the setting is just show-stopping!

See previous post for more information.

Swirling Dragons and Swooshing Garments

May 25, 2019


OK, that’s a really dumb title. 😦 But every time I look at this restless dragon surrounded by roiling foliage and water, I think about the clothing tumbling in endless summer-saults in the washing machine in this room. Yes, this fun and mystical wallpaper is enhancing a laundry room.

The home is in the Rice University / Medical Center neighborhood of Houston. The wallpaper has bright shades of green-blue on a silver metallic background. It’s a non-woven material, and could be hung by the paste the wall method. Since this room had a lot of obstacles and weird angles and obstructions like non-removable shelving, I opted to paste-the-paper instead. This also rendered the material a lot more flexible and malleable, which was much appreciated, since the room had a lot of features that made it quite difficult to hang.

Normally, I wouldn’t be too crazy about wallpaper in a humid room like a laundry – especially since the air circulation is pretty poor. Humidity can cause wallpaper seams to let loose and curl. But because these newish non-wovens are made of natural and synthetic materials (such as fiberglass), they are more breathable, and thus shouldn’t present issues of curling seams or delaminating. They are also designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate.

This wallpaper is made by York, one of my favorite companies, in their Dwell Studio 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.

Sophisticated Look With White-Washed Metallic Cork

May 24, 2019


I’ve hung lots of metallic cork wallpaper (do a search here), but this is the first time I’ve seen one with a white-wash over the surface, and that has a plaid / stripe sort of design worked in. It’s quite becoming!

The white paint tones down the sheen of the dark gold metallic inks, so you get a bit of glam, but are not overwhelmed. And the crosshatching effect brings a whole new dimension to the look, adding texture and warmth – sort of like a man’s suit fabric.

I was afraid the striped effect would be very evident, but it’s really very subtle and pleasing. And it did a good job of disguising the seams, so there is virtually no paneling or shading like you would have with most natural material wallcoverings.

Of course, this accent wall has only two full-height seams, and the product could look quite different if you had it spread across a larger wall or room. Still, I am very pleased with the way it turned out.

This is on one wall of a living room in a 1939 house in the Rice University / Medical Center area of Houston. It is by Brewster, 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.

Self Defense

May 23, 2019


I usually won’t work on construction sites. But this week, well, it couldn’t be avoided.

One thing you can count on is that some guy coming after you will muck up the new wallpaper. So I bring along these signs, and use them liberally.

Do Bubbles Mean Trouble?

May 20, 2019

The walls in this dining room in a historic house in the Houston Heights had received many coats of paint over its 100 years. The latest was a coat of what appeared to be flat latex paint. Since this is not a suitable surface for wallpaper, I applied a wallpaper-specific primer.

I was surprised to see that, a few minutes after I rolled on my water-based wallpaper primer, blisters appeared.

I thought they would disappear as the primer dried, but they did not.

Obviously, the moisture in the primer was soaking into some of the layers below it, and causing something to expand and “off-gas”, which created the bubbles.

I switched from my wallpaper primer to a penetrating sealer called Gardz (also water-based) – and the same thing happened. (The Gardz dried so glossy that I feared the wallpaper would not stick to it, so I went back to my original Ultra Prime by Roman’s.)

Once the primer was good and dry, I used a stiff putty knife to knock off the high points of the blisters. The areas were not perfectly smooth, but they were OK for use under this particular wallpaper.

I’m doing some research, and am hoping to gain insight as to why this blistering happened, so I’ll know how to prevent it in the future.

Ethnic-Looking Pattern in River Oaks Master Bedroom

May 19, 2019


First picture: Boring white walls

Second picture: Using the laser level to get the first strip nice and plumb, and with the pattern centered in the middle of the wall.

Third picture: Finished accent wall.

Fourth picture: Close up of the pattern. To me, it has a strong ethnic feel.

Fifth picture: This paper is by Cole & Son, a British company. It has a pearlized sheen to the surface. The backing is a non-woven material, so it can be hung by pasting the wall or pasting the material. (I prefer pasting the material.) It is designed to strip off the wall easily and with minimal damage to the wall when it’s time to redecorate.

This wallpaper pattern 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.